Open Access (free)
Kitty S. Millet

This article has two aims: to examine the effects of victim proximity to crematoria ashes and ash pits both consciously and unconsciously in a subset of Holocaust survivors, those who were incarcerated at the dedicated death camps of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, as well as Auschwitz-Birkenau; and to contrast these effects, the subject positions they produce, with their suppression as the basis both for a strategy of survival during incarceration and for a reimagined identity after the war. Within a cohort of four survivors from Rudolf Reder (Belzec), Esther Raab (Sobibor), Jacob Wiernik (Treblinka) and Shlomo Venezia (Auschwitz), I trace the ways in which discrete memories and senses became constitutive in the formation of the subject prior to and after escape – the experience of liberation – so that essentially two kinds of subjects became visible, the subject in liberation and the subject of ashes. In conjunction with these two kinds of subjects, I introduce the compensatory notion of a third path suggested both by H. G. Adler and Anna Orenstein, also Holocaust survivors, that holds both positions together in one space, the space of literature, preventing the two positions from being stranded in dialectical opposition to each other.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Jean-Marc Dreyfus

From 1945 until around 1960, ceremonies of a new kind took place throughout Europe to commemorate the Holocaust and the deportation of Jews; ashes would be taken from the site of a concentration camp, an extermination camp, or the site of a massacre and sent back to the deportees country of origin (or to Israel). In these countries, commemorative ceremonies were then organised and these ashes (sometimes containing other human remains) placed within a memorial or reburied in a cemetery. These transfers of ashes have, however, received little attention from historical researchers. This article sets out to describe a certain number of them, all differing considerably from one another, before drawing up a typology of this phenomenon and attempting its analysis. It investigates the symbolic function of ashes in the aftermath of the Second World War and argues that these transfers – as well as having a mimetic relationship to transfers of relics – were also instruments of political legitimisation.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Jessica Auchter

The after-effects of mass atrocity – bodies and bones – struggle to be defined within memorial projects. This article seeks to examine the politics at play in displaying dead bodies to interrogate the role of materiality in efforts to memorialise and raise awareness about on-going violences. It focusses on the nexus between evidence, dignity, humanity and memory to explore bone display in Rwanda. It then takes up two artistic projects that play on the materiality of human remains after atrocity: the art of Carl Michael von Hausswolff, who took ashes from an urn at the Majdanek concentration camp and used them as the material for his painting, and the One Million Bones Project, an installation that exhibits ceramic bones to raise awareness about global violence. In thinking about the intersections between human biomatter, art and politics, the article seeks to raise questions about both production and consumption: how bones and ashes of the dead are produced, and how they are consumed by viewers when placed on display in a variety of ways.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
David Deutsch

prevalent question in responsa literature dealt with the exhumation of human remains from mass execution sites. Out of the thirty questions posed at the time, there are at least eleven entries directly related to mass exhumation.20 Besides corpses, the literature dealt with other types of human remains. For example, in nine cases the status of human ashes was discussed. This is highly relevant in the context of the Holocaust, since, after mass murder, crematoriums were often used to burn the corpses. In six entries, other types of human remains were discussed (bones, hair

in Human remains in society
Open Access (free)
Warfare, politics and religion after the Habsburg Empire in the Julian March, 1930s– 1970s
Gaetano Dato

On 3 December 1945, four factory workers, on behalf of Trieste Council, removed the rubble of the crematorium, which had been blown up by Nazis immediately before the end of the conflict on 29 April. Under the debris, a large amount of human remains, ashes and bones, was found.46 Immediately, communists sent men to patrol the area, because the victims’ relatives would come in the hope of ­finding some remains, and would take some of the ashes to honour them privately.47 On 6 December 1945, the Allies’ police forces conducted a more in-​depth inspection and

in Human remains in society
Open Access (free)
History, legend and memory in John Sayles’ Lone Star
Neil Campbell

layers of earth which make up its true continuity . . . It is there fore now the visual image, the stratigraphic landscape, which in turn resists the speech-act and opposes it with a piling-up. (Gilles Deleuze) 1 John Sayles’ Lone Star examines ‘life beneath the ashes or behind the mirrors’ by

in Memory and popular film
Open Access (free)
Portraying the exhumation and reburial of Polish Jewish Holocaust victims in the pages of yizkor books
Gabriel N. Finder

desecrated. In the absence of bodies to bury, Weichselfish resolved to bring ashes from Chełmno, where the Germans had gassed Kutno’s Jews, to Kutno for reburial. Weichselfish met other Jews from Kutno in Łódź and Warsaw and shared with them his idea to transport ashes from Chełmno and rebury them in Kutno, with a monument to mark the site. They formed a committee and received the permission of local authorities. The committee delegated two survivors from Kutno to travel to Chełmno, where they placed ashes from the crematorium in a black box. 46   Gabriel N. Finder

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

new anthropological studies of contemporary societies’ relations with human remains in all their forms: whole or dismembered corpses, complete skeletons or single bones, tissues, organs, appendages, and finally, ashes. Indeed, it seems important to us to understand what is at stake in the ‘exhumatory’ act itself, and thereby to attempt, as far as possible, to resituate the history, geography, and sociology of these mass exhumations. One of the first results of the research presented here thus obliges us, quite unsurprisingly, to move away from a triumphalist

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

living human being, first and foremost, affectively fuelled the debate over the fate of the Bełzec molar. One could therefore see the ethically and aesthetically saturated problem of what is considered permissible and impermissible, thinkable and unthinkable with respect to the body part at its epicentre. Thus, an attempt to frame the various forms of engagement with the bones and ashes resulting from the extermination in the Nazi death camp in Bełzec through the conceptual prism of the ‘uneasy objecthood/​subjecthood’ of human remains can be conceived as the main

in Human remains in society
Open Access (free)
Machines of mass incineration in fact, fiction, and forensics
Robert Jan van Pelt

trade journals. Such avenues were closed to the company – and not only because it was participating in genocide. The ovens themselves broke German law because they were based on multi-corpse incineration, which made the identification of ashes impossible, and because they brought the corpse into direct contact with the flame. The German cremation law of 1934 stipulated that the body should be incinerated through the application of hot air, and that only one corpse at a time could be cremated in a muffle: these ashes, this name. Yet, in order to safeguard its

in Destruction and human remains