Memory, Identity and a Painful Past: Contesting the Former Dachau Concentration Camp

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Abstract

The former concentration camp of Dachau is one of the memory sites that have been highly contested for the past 60 years. Having been a concentration camp for mainly political prisoners and boasting a still very active committee of former prisoners, Dachau has always constituted one of the focal points for political struggles and social conflict in the present. This chapter traces some of the predominant mechanisms of political and social contestation of its memory over time. As prominent example of how struggles for political dominance can influence the form public commemoration takes, the discussions surrounding the setup of an International Memorial on the premises of the former Dachau concentration camp is discussed in detail. It traces the political debates preceding the construction, analyses the controversies surrounding the question of who should be represented and focuses on the repercussions the exclusion of certain victim groups had for today’s commemorative practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExcavating Memory: Sites of Remembering and Forgetting
EditorsMaria Starzmann, John Roby
Place of PublicationGainesville
PublisherUniversity Press of Florida
Pages316-335
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Cite this

Sierp, A. (2016). Memory, Identity and a Painful Past: Contesting the Former Dachau Concentration Camp. In M. Starzmann, & J. Roby (Eds.), Excavating Memory: Sites of Remembering and Forgetting (pp. 316-335). University Press of Florida.