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The dissertation project by Jasmine Quinn Rice

At the Babyn Yar Memorial this memorial stone provides site visitors with a view of the ravine as it was on the days following the massacre of an estimated 34,000 Jewish people. Visitors who look into the observation lens will see how the valley would have looked at that time from this vantage point. The aftermath of the massacre is brought out of the invisibility created by the ravine’s changed landscape and into focus through this memorial intervention.


Memorialization and Invisibility at Holocaust Traumascapes

The Holocaust left Europe with a web of sites marking the landscape with the weight of tragedy and suffering of humanity’s greatest crime, genocide. In the eighty years that have passed since the Holocaust, different narratives of the Holocaust have weaved themselves into the collective memory of the citizenry of countries near and far from the sites of the tragedy. The traumascapes left behind by the Holocaust have acted as repositories of the attitudes of local communities and institutions and have reflected different memories to the public through official interpretations and through the memory practices carried out there. This research explores the role that invisibility plays in the memorial constructions and practices recently carried out at the Holocaust traumascapes of Belzec, Sobibor, and Babyn Jar.

The invisibility at these sites created by attempts at hiding their traumatic events and by a lack of historic fabric and site survivors has been/is being made visible by vast memorial complexes. This research examines the ways in which acts of remembrance, including the creation of monuments and interpretive schemes, concretize certain narratives. Additionally, it highlights the influence of global factors on the creation of memorial structures at Belzec, Sobibor, and Babyn Jar and local resistance to this influence. It asks whether the Holocaust memories that have developed outside of Poland and Ukraine over the past decades will fill the open spaces created by this invisibility. To reveal answers to the questions of why and how these specific sites are being made visible now, while many Holocaust traumascapes remain invisible, the motivations and intentions of the memory workers at these sites will be studied.



Jasmine Rice is a doctoral scholarship holder of the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Humanities Cologne. She is a doctoral candidate of the Modern and Contemporary History Department. Her dissertation is supervised by Professor Dr. Habbo Knoch and Professor Dr. Peter W. Marx. She has received a joint master’s degree in Heritage Conservation and Site Management from Brandenburg Technical University and Helwan University (Cairo). She worked as a student assistant and scientific assistant for the DFG Research Training Group 1913 “Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings". She gained practical experience in conservation practices as an intern at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and Higgins Armory Museum in the USA. She received her BA in Classical Civilization from Wellesley College.