Search results

Antonius C. G. M. Robben

Thousands of people died in Rotterdam during the Second World War in more than 300 German and Allied bombardments. Civil defence measures had been taken before the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and these efforts were intensified during the country’s occupation as Allied bombers attacked Rotterdam’s port, factories, dry docks and oil terminals. Residential neighbourhoods were also hit through imprecise targeting and by misfired flak grenades. Inadequate air raid shelters and people’s reluctance to enter them caused many casualties. The condition of the corpses and their post-mortem treatment was thus co-constituted by the relationship between the victims and their material circumstances. This article concludes that an understanding of the treatment of the dead after war, genocide and mass violence must pay systematic attention to the materiality of death because the condition, collection and handling of human remains is affected by the material means that impacted on the victims.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Methodological approaches

Mass violence is one of the defining phenomena of the twentieth century, which some have even called the 'century of genocides'. The study of how the dead body is treated can lead us to an understanding of the impact of mass violence on contemporary societies. Corpses of mass violence and genocide, especially when viewed from a biopolitical perspective, force one to focus on the structures of the relations between all that participates in the enfolding case study. Argentina is an extraordinary laboratory in the domain of struggle against impunity and of 'restoration of the truth'. It constitutes a useful paradigm in the context of reflection on the corpses of mass violence. Its special character, in the immediate aftermath of the military dictatorship, is to test almost the entirety of juridical mechanisms in the handling of state crimes. The trigger for both the intercommunal violence and the civil war was the mass murders by the Ustaša. This book discusses the massacres carried out by the Ustaša in Croatia during the Second World War. After a brief presentation of the historical background, the massacres carried out by the Ustaša militia and their corpse disposal methods are described. Using Rwanda as a case study, the book proposes an agenda for ethnographic research to explore the relationship between concealment and display in contexts of genocide. This relationship is explored in detail after a discussion of the historical background to the 1994 genocide.

Massacres, missing corpses, and silence in a Bosnian community
Max Bergholz

, DHR.indb 15 5/15/2014 12:51:04 PM 16  Max Bergholz particularly those of their relatives, neighbours, and fellow fighters, and the ebb and flow of mass killing. The community in question lived in the Kulen Vakuf region of north-western Bosnia, approximately 50 km from the city of Bihać. On the eve of the Second World War, the municipality of Kulen Vakuf comprised a section of the Una River valley and its surrounding hills. In the valley were Muslim villages and the town of Kulen Vakuf. Its population was nearly entirely Muslim, while in the surrounding hills were

in Destruction and human remains
Alexander Korb

area. ‘The exhumations were a dreadful task’, the general said. ‘Nobody could enter the cave because the rotting bodies stank so badly. One man who we lowered down on a rope fainted and we had to pull him out again.’ 2 It seems that the soldiers were finally equipped with gas masks. During the Second World War, up to 45 million people lost their lives.3 Almost a quarter of them were victims of targeted attacks with the intent to kill and mass murders, rather than armed hostili­ ties. While the death of the victims can be said to have been well researched, many

in Human remains and mass violence
Olivier Thomas Kramsch

dereliction reigns over the whole surface of the structure, made all the more acute by being juxtaposed with the prim row of single-family detached houses situated just opposite. As I circle the building on foot, it feels like walking around a wartime ruin. And, in a flash, I am transported to the images of wartime destruction which fell upon this Dutch/German borderland during the Second World War in September 1944, when the Allies unsuccessfully attempted to force an entry from France into Germany over the Rhine by seizing bridges across the Maas, the Waal and the Lower

in Migrating borders and moving times
Open Access (free)
Portraying the exhumation and reburial of Polish Jewish Holocaust victims in the pages of yizkor books
Gabriel N. Finder

accomplices killed Poland’s Jews mainly in death camps and concentration camps, but a sizable proportion of the victims perished in ghettos, in hiding, in open fields, in forests, by the side of roads, and in small labour camps unequipped to cope with a cascade of dead bodies. And since the rate of killing in death camps and concentration camps eventually exceeded their capacity to incinerate their victims, by the end of the Second World War these camps, too, were overrun by corpses. By the same token, hundreds of Jewish cemeteries lay in ruins, desecrated, their human

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
Why exhume? Why identify?
Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

comparative and exploratory goal in mind. Thus, the treatment of soldiers’ remains does not fall within the scope of our research programme. Of course, the first mass exhumations of the previous century were initiated by European states after the Second World War, in an unprecedented enterprise of identifying and repatriating the bodies of combatants.5 In addition, techniques for the management of corpses and human remains on Introduction   3 a grand scale, for classification and record-keeping, were developed by the military before civilian agencies were forced to do so

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
The tales destruction tells
Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

made to serve as a political message of ultra-violence, as in Guatemala in the 1980s and in Eastern Europe during the Second World War (see chapter 3, DHR.indb 3 5/15/2014 12:51:03 PM 4  Élisabeth Anstett & Jean-Marc Dreyfus by McConnell). Bodies have also been reused, as resources, giving death and the dead an ultimately utilitarian purpose. Hair was collected at Auschwitz II – Birkenau, and gold teeth at Treblinka.9 Sometimes bodies have reappeared, without the knowledge of the murderers. This was the case with many of the bodies of victims of the Chinese

in Destruction and human remains
Open Access (free)
How grave robbers, activists, and foreigners ended official silence about Stalin’s mass graves near Kiev
Karel C. Berkhoff

and car rides spent on shooting people and transporting bodies.5 The main killing locations were a prison at Rosa Luxemburg Street (today’s Lypky Street), where the NKVD of the Kiev oblast (region) had its headquarters and shot people in the cellar; a prison in the Lukianivka district, where prisoners were brought up in an elevator; the republican NKVD’s headquarters on Instytutska Street, known as the October Palace (rebuilt after the Second World War and now housing an International Centre of Culture and Arts); and a police prison at Korolenko Street (now

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
Lorenzo Ferrarini and Nicola Scaldaferri

influenced by the interactions between the representations of Basilicata that circulated from after the end of the Second World War – especially novels, films and photographs – and the legacies of ethnographic research in the region – chiefly those that received institutional recognition. Therefore, we now move to providing context for the setting of our research and its histories of representation. Basilicata: ethnographic and media imaginaries Also known by the ancient name of Lucania, Basilicata is a largely mountainous region. At less than 10,000 square kilometres

in Sonic ethnography