Ephemeral Ruins: the Fragility of Holocaust Memory

This event is held as part of Arts Week 2016

Thursday 19 May 2016 | Room: G03, 43 Gordon Square | 18:00-19:30


Since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps the question of preservation of these sites of mass destruction has been intensely debated by national representatives of victim groups, survivors and their families as well as a diverse group of museum practitioners and educators. Key questions for debate include: Should nature overtake and completely efface the concentration camps? Will this dissolution lead to oblivion? Can preservation ensure remembrance? This talk by Dr. Diana Popescu, Research Fellow at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, will look at these questions from the multiple perspectives offered by memorial museums, contemporary artists and visitors from Poland and Germany.

Dr. Jessica Rapson, King’s College London, will offer a response, followed by discussion.

Book your free place via Eventbrite.


Diana PopescuDr. Popescu is a cultural historian with expertise in representation and memorialisation of the Holocaust in areas of public art, museum studies and visual arts. Currently, her research focuses on audience reception and engagement with artistic and educational projects commemorating the Holocaust that promote a high degree of visitor participation and interaction. This research aims to shed light upon the broad cultural and public significance of performative commemoration and the possibilities it offers to strengthen remembrance and promote a global culture of social and moral activism, tolerance and civil responsibility.

Dr. Rapson is Lecturer in Cultural and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She recently published a monograph, Topographies of Suffering: Buchenwald, Babi Yar, Lidice (2015), which examines a range of Holocaust memorial landscapes in Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and the United States, and associated mediation in literary and cultural texts. She is also the co-editor (with Lucy Bond) of The Transcultural Turn: Interrogating Memory Between and Beyond Borders (2014).


Further reading |

Revisiting Holocaust Representation in the Post-Witness Era, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 (co-edited with Tanja Schult)

‘The Eruv and the Wall in Jewish Contemporary Artistic Imagination’ in A. Gromova, F. Heinert and S. Voigt, eds, Jewish and Non-Jewish Spaces in the Urban Context, Neofelis Verlag, 2015, pp. 259-272

Remembrance at a Distance? The Israeli Third Generation in Yael Ronen’s Third Generation Play (2009)’ in E. Jilovsky, J. Silverstein and D. Slucki, eds, In the Shadows of Memory: The Holocaust and the Third Generation, Valentine Mitchell, 2015, pp. 209-226.

‘The ‘Defamiliarizing’ Aspect of Art About the Holocaust: New Curatorial Strategies of Display’ in Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, 18: 1, Summer 2012, pp. 102-118