Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Historic Preservation

Advisor

Stiefel, Barry

Committee Member

Rosengarten, Dale

Committee Member

Hudgins, Carter

Committee Member

Russell, Robert

Committee Member

Rosengarten, Theodore

Abstract

Holocaust commemoration is a vast, multifaceted enterprise. Diverse styles and forms have continued to emerge, and a chronology of types has evolved throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Holocaust remembrance began with narratives, communicated as oral histories and sermons, published in books, journals, newspapers, and magazines, and presented in dramatic performances. In the 1960s and '70s many Holocaust groups sought something more substantial to represent the horror that the Holocaust wrought. Synagogues, community centers, and Jewish businesses installed plaques, stained glass windows, and displays containing Holocaust relics to commemorate the Shoah. Cemeteries became the appropriate location to dedicate larger structures, since Holocaust monuments would serve as tombstones for victims denied proper burial. The 1980s and '90s brought another transformation--suddenly, memorialization caught public attention. Not only had the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in 1993, but that same year, the award-winning movie Schindler's List was released. Another major museum opened in 1997--the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Interest grew on a local level as well. Large memorials were erected in public parks, creating physical spaces for commemoration and inviting community gatherings. This surge of remembrance activity directly parallels Jewish Americans' socio-economic change. Jews in the United States had become affluent and powerful over the course of the twentieth century, and they now had the ability to commemorate on a larger scale. The chronology of memorialization has progressed into the twenty-first century, with educational programs implemented in conjunction with the built environment.
The purpose of this research is to analyze the evolution of Shoah commemoration and the emergence of physical structures--monuments, memorials, and museums. This is illustrated through the exploration of several case studies in the Southeastern United States. Basic investigations revealed each project's development, organization, leadership, and community involvement. Additional information was gained through personal interviews, phone conversations, and electronic communication with engaged participants. Memorials will outlast eyewitnesses, and they have the potential to exist longer than original Holocaust structures. Through their preservation and the production of didactic tools, the Shoah will be remembered.

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