Abstract

Through a juxtaposition of two recent memorials in Berlin—the Neue Wache in central Berlin and the "Places of Remembering" memorial in the Bavarian Quarter neighborhood—I explore ongoing controversies in the aesthetics and politics of remembrance in Germany.

After situating the study within the larger debate surrounding "collective identity" and "social memory," I draw on Walter Benjamin's notion of "dialectical image" in order to trace the fault-lines that fissure the Neue Wache memorial throughout its history, even as it is used repeatedly to forge national unity that conflates civil and military traditions in remembering the war dead.

Following a brief excursus in which I argue for the futility of Holocaust memorials oriented around the (im)possibility of representing historical catastrophe, I turn to the Bavarian Quarter memorial as itself constituting dialectical images which induce the lived or pragmatic perception of what Benjamin called "non-sensuous similarity" as a genuine historical experience.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6601
Print ISSN
1071-6068
Pages
pp. 133-173
Launched on MUSE
2005-02-10
Open Access
No
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