This article seeks to show that the bodies of Jewish people who died in the Drancy internment camp between 1941 and 1944 were handled on French soil in a doubly normalised manner: first by the police and judicial system, and then in relation to funeral arrangements. My findings thus contradict two preconceived ideas that have become firmly established in collective memory: first, the belief that the number who died in the Drancy camp is difficult to establish; and second, the belief that the remains of internees who died in the camp were subjected to rapid and anonymous burial in a large mass grave in Drancy municipal cemetery.
The Kulmhof extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem was the first camp set up by the Nazis to exterminate Jews during the Second World War. The history of Kulmhof has long been an area of interest for academics, but despite thorough research it remains one of the least-known places of its kind among the public. Studies of the role of archaeology in acquiring knowledge about the functioning of the camp have been particularly compelling. The excavations carried out intermittently over a thirty-year period (1986–2016), which constitute the subject of this article, have played a key role in the rise in public interest in the history of the camp.
This essay analyses the literature on the foibe to illustrate a political use of human
remains. The foibe are the deep karstic pits in Istria and around Trieste where
Yugoslavian Communist troops disposed of Italians they executed en masse during World War
II. By comparing contemporary literature on the foibe to a selection of archival reports
of foibe exhumation processes it will be argued that the foibe literature popular in Italy
today serves a political rather than informational purpose. Counterpublic theory will be
applied to examine how the recent increase in popular foibe literature brought the
identity of the esuli, one of Italy‘s subaltern counterpublics, to the national stage. The
paper argues that by employing the narrative structure of the Holocaust, contemporary
literature on the foibe attempts to recast Italy as a counterpublic in the wider European
public sphere, presenting Italy as an unrecognised victim in World War II.