Through the analysis of several commemorative acts in space, matter and image, namely museums and memorials, this book reflects on the ways in which architecture as a discipline, a practice and a discourse represents the Holocaust. In doing so, it problematises how one presents an extreme historical case in a contemporary context and integrates the historical into actuality. By examining several cases, the book defines the issues faced by various architects who dealt with this topic and discusses their separate and distinctive approaches. In each case, it analyses the ways in which the cultural and political contexts of commemoration led to a different interpretation of the condition. Focusing on the Ghetto Fighters’ House, the world’s first Holocaust museum; Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem; the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington; and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, the book discusses how the representation of history by architecture creates a dialectic process in which architecture mediates the past to the present, while at the same time creating a present saturated with historical contexts. It shows how, together, they are incorporated into one another and create a new reality: past and present intertwined.
Eran Neuman is Head of the Azrieli School of Architecture, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
'In this personal, yet deeply learned exploration of Holocaust commemoration on the cusp of "new media," Eran Neuman examines an age when physical memorials and architectural representation of Holocaust memory become something else altogether. Shoah Presence: Architectural Representations of the Holocaust is a sensitive meditation on the ways aesthetic spaces in the landscape conjure internal memory spaces within us.' James E. Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA ’This book studies Holocaust museums on the premise that their location away from the site of trauma poses an intriguing set of representational, philosophical and even political problems. Neuman’s brilliant and thorough analysis brings the reader into the heart of the multi-layered contestations about what architecture should or should not do in these contexts.’ Mark Jarzombek, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA