Collective memory at the jewish museum and the holocaust memorial in Berlin: Kollektivschuld

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Contemporary German history has been shaped by at least two monumental events: the Holocaust and the German Reunification. These two events, immense in their consequentiality, have become ingrained in the collective memory of the Germans. They have become renowned subjects of public discourse and have found expression in several works of art, literature, and other cultural manifestations. The study of collective memory is quite important for Germany as well as for Indonesia because both countries have experienced traumatic episodes in their recent history. Oral discussions and written discourse about such ordeals assist people in understanding and remembering the significance of past events. They also facilitate a learning process that can help nations come to terms with their history. This paper accomplishes its study of the collective memory of the Holocaust through an analysis of the architetural designs of Holocaust memorials and their positioning in the collective memory of Germans. To this end, the study uses data and information collected from field observations and relevant literature. The collective memory of the Holocaust is displayed prominently in Berlin across 15 thousand square meters of land at the Jewish Museum (2001) and on 19 thousand square meters of land at the Holocaust Memorial. However, the Jewish Museum is located in a relatively unimposing neighborhood, while the Holocaust Memorial is centrally situated in the area frequented by tourists visiting Berlin. Additionally, the Holocaust Memorial spans a public, open space that can serve multiple purposes, especially as a part of the memory industry. Regardless of these differences, the main function of both sites is to evoke specific collective memories. The architectural designs of the sites themselves effectively elicit such commemmoration. Through an examination of the physical features of the two sites and an elucidation of the implications of these structural attributes, this paper posits that the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin are two repositories of German collective memory. It also infers, based on the observation of the process of cultural memory preservation at both sites, that the Holocaust Memorial shares the same function as the Jewish Museum: to reactivate and to preserve Germany's collective memory.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProblematising Representation in Popular Culture
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781536179583
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020


  • Collective memory
  • Space as text
  • The Holocaust
  • The Holocaust Memorial
  • The Jewish Museum in Berlin


Dive into the research topics of 'Collective memory at the jewish museum and the holocaust memorial in Berlin: Kollektivschuld'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this