Searching for Villa Grimaldi

Macarena Gómez-Barris

in Where Memory Dwells

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780520255838
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942493 | DOI:
Searching for Villa Grimaldi

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On an unusually warm autumn day in 2002, about three hundred people gathered in front of a makeshift amphitheater at Villa Grimaldi Peace Park. Those involved in the vision, planning, and architecture of the site spoke of the its origins and mission. Others memorialized young militants from the Socialist Party who had been killed at the Villa Grimaldi concentration camp between 1974 and 1977. This chapter analyzes the former concentration camp turned memorial that is located on the outskirts of the nation's capital. Villa Grimaldi's transformation is not a story of a conventional heritage site that cements foundational history. The site is more than a symbol of state violence and the recuperation of historical memory. Its grounds, the stories told there, and the cultural and political gatherings that take place at the former concentration camp offer a way to attenuate the persistent afterlife of political violence and present the opportunity for building deeper alternative spaces of political democracy. The chapter explores the following questions: How can violence be represented in a way that does not tame memory? What archival and other sources are necessary for uncovering what transpired at the site during authoritarianism? What is the role of a former concentration camp turned memorial park in Chile's process of democratization?

Keywords: Villa Grimaldi; Chile; concentration camp; memorial; political violence; democracy

Chapter.  9594 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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