Digital Holocaust Memory from the Margins: Practices, Places, and Narratives
Online International Conference | June 1-3, 2021
Esther and Sidney Rabb Center for Holocaust and Revival Studies
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
In recent years, the “digital" is redefining Holocaust memory. Digital media facilitates the co-production of memory by a wide spectrum of new agents. Museums capitalize on new technologies in their permanent exhibits and educational activities. Augmented reality helps visitors to visualize the destroyed site of Bergen-Belsen; “Eva's Story" brings the experience of young Holocaust victims to the cellphones of millions of teenagers; selfies at death sites summon up reactions of internet friends. More recently, as the COVID-19 pandemic spiraled worldwide, all Holocaust commemorations went digital, as social-distancing policies curtailed on-site, offline activities. These examples speak to the culture of “virtual Holocaust memory" (Walden, 2019) that (re)defines how people engage with the Holocaust and its remembrance.
While digital culture opens new horizons, it also poses new challenges for Holocaust memory, education, and commemoration, which have yet to be critically understood. For example, core questions regarding the digital divide are highly relevant to Holocaust memory practices: What are the consequences of digitalization for Holocaust-memory institutions located in the Global South? What are the possibilities of Holocaust education in peripheral areas that have no broadband internet connection? Does digitalization create new intergenerational forums or marginalize survivors with limited access to internet platforms? Are we turning Holocaust commemoration and education into the privilege of more connected (Western) societies? If so, how does this impact the discourse on the globalization and democratization of Holocaust narratives? The online international conference: “Digital Holocaust Memory from the Margins - Practices, Places, and Narratives" engages these questions in an attempt to develop critical thinking on the culture of digital Holocaust memory. In this conference, we seek to promote an interdisciplinary conversation between acknowledged and new understandings of Holocaust research.
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Abstracts Rabb 2021 - Digital Holocaust Memory from the Margins - Practices, Places, and Narratives.pdf