Natasha Goldman, Bowdoin College
Please join us for the 2019 Berger Family Holocaust Lecture: Holocaust Memory in East and West Germany, hosted by the Jewish Studies Program and presented by Natasha Goldman.
East and West Germany worked through Holocaust memory, in the form of public memorials, in different ways. While East Germany favored socialist realist public sculptures, some artists, by the late 1950s, incorporated elements of the prewar avant-garde in their work–but not without controversy. Meanwhile, in the West, a “safe” approach to public sculpture meant turning to an acceptable modern aesthetic that tended to avoid direct reference to Jews–or to the Holocaust. An investigation of the commissions of two memorials, Will Lammert’s 1957 design for the Ravensbrück memorial, and Gerson Fehrenbach’s 1963 memorial to a destroyed synagogue in West Berlin, reveal complexities that enrich our understanding of post-war Holocaust memory in both countries.