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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
Open Access (free)
Individuality, identification and multidirectional memorialisation in post-genocide Rwanda
Ayala Maurer-Prager

to retain its force as subject or stand as object. Enabled by a context of mass violence in which death ceases to singularly signify exceptional abjectness because of the ubiquity with which it is seen and experienced, identifications between the living subject and the corpse are enacted within new parameters. Rwanda’s corpses  –​viewed by many as the ultimate evidence of her genocidal history –​have become a literal part of the country’s landscape. At memorial sites such as Murambi, Nyamata and Nyarubuye, decomposing bodies and the bones of the dead commemorate

in Human remains in society
Where and when does the violence end?
David M. Anderson and Paul J. Lane

, Edinburgh University in 2012, Uppsala University in 2013 and at the third annual and international conference of the research programme ‘Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide’, University of Manchester, September 2014. Lane extends his thanks to all of the participants on these occasions, and especially Dr Joost Fontein and Professor Lynn Meskell, for their comments and critical suggestions and to Lotte Hughes for comments on an earlier draft. We would also like to thank Dr Élisabeth Ansett and Dr Jean-​Marc Dreyfus for their invitation to contribute to this volume, for

in Human remains in society
Open Access (free)
Curation and exhibition in the aftermath of genocide and mass-violence

This book addresses the practices, treatment and commemoration of victims’ remains in post- genocide and mass violence contexts. Whether reburied, concealed, stored, abandoned or publically displayed, human remains raise a vast number of questions regarding their legal, ethical and social uses.

Human Remains in Society will raise these issues by examining when, how and why bodies are hidden or exhibited. Using case studies from multiple continents, each chapter will interrogate their effect on human remains, either desired or unintended, on various political, cultural or religious practices. How, for instance, do issues of confiscation, concealment or the destruction of bodies and body parts in mass crime impact on transitional processes, commemoration or judicial procedures?

Open Access (free)
Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

1 Introduction. Corpses in society: about human remains, necro-​politics, necro-​economy and the legacy of mass violence Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-​Marc Dreyfus The visible presence of human remains within societies is not a new phenomenon.1 Whether these remains have been placed on view for religious reasons (through the creation of ossuaries or the use of relics, for example), for the purposes of experimental science (in particular through the use and preservation of human tissues and skeletons by the disciplines of medicine, biology and physical

in Human remains in society
Forensic and archaeological approaches to locating the remains of Holocaust victims
Caroline Sturdy Colls

and mass violence in Argentina, the former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Iraq in particular have seen the development of sophisticated search and recovery methodologies.6 The evidence collected and examined by forensic archaeologists and anthropologists has been used in court to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable and in a humanitarian context in order to satisfy the needs of families and friends of victims wishing to know the fate of their loved ones. Likewise, in some countries (such as the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States

in Human remains in society
Rumours of bones and the remembrance of an exterminated people in Newfoundland - the emotive immateriality of human remains
John Harries

this problem by re-​establishing its presence by undertaking a form of archival exhumation, a sort of historiographic disinterment in which the unseen body is once again brought into visibility thanks to the persistence of the researcher. Those of us who are concerned with the political lives of dead bodies perhaps tend to overly focus on these processes of unearthing in which the dead are made present in the (re)appearance of their mortal remains, either as they are undertaken by others, particularly in the exhumation of histories of mass violence, or by ourselves

in Human remains in society
David Deutsch

for the post-​war issue of exhumations but also for rulings relating to life and death, and questions arising during the Holocaust itself. Interestingly, the agreement on the methodological form of argumentation did not mean that the rulings were identical. 18 The research and the collection of this material was financed by the generous funding of the research programme ‘Corpses of Mass Violence and Genocide’, funded by the European Research Council. 19 Y. Chazani, ‘Bringing bones from the diaspora’, in Zomet Institute (ed.), Tchumin, vol. 13 (Gush Etzion

in Human remains in society
The afterlives of human remains at the Bełzec extermination camp
Zuzanna Dziuban

and ce­meteries, as well as the very ambivalent status of the dead body, were well-​ established cultural conventions, symbolically and affectively structuring the handling of human remains. Thus, the fact that the grave-​robbery involved only a small minority of Poles living in the vicinity of Bełzec and, for that matter, all Nazi extermination camps in Poland,36 and was not representative of Polish society as a whole, does not render it less disturbing. Neither does the existence of other accounts of lootings of the graves of victims of mass violence occurring

in Human remains in society