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Andrzej Grzegorczyk

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.

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
Open Access (free)
The daily work of Erich Muhsfeldt, chief of the crematorium at Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, 1942–44
Elissa Mailänder

2 A specialist: the daily work of Erich Muhsfeldt, chief of the crematorium at Majdanek concentration and extermination camp, 1942–44 1 Elissa Mailänder In the context of the invasion of the Soviet Union, due to begin on 22 June 1941, Heinrich Himmler, visiting Lublin on 20 June that year, ordered a camp to be built in this Polish city situated in the south-east of occupied Poland, the so-called Generalgouvernement. Officially run as the ‘Lublin Waffen-SS prisoner of war camp’, the camp – which the prisoners named after the Lublin suburb of Majdan Tatarski

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

38 2 (Re)politicising the dead in post-​Holocaust Poland: the afterlives of human remains at the Bełzec extermination camp1 Zuzanna Dziuban At the official dedication of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe on 10 May 2005 in Berlin, Lea Rosh, a German journalist who launched and led the long-​lasting campaign for the erection of this contentious monument,2 herself became a source of extreme controversy. During her impassioned speech, held in front of a large and engaged audience including Holocaust survivors, their relatives and Jewish religious

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

163 7 ‘Earth conceal not my blood’: forensic and archaeological approaches to locating the remains of Holocaust victims Caroline Sturdy Colls Introduction ‘Earth conceal not my blood’. It is this statement with which every visitor to Sobibór in Poland was confronted as they entered the memorial site marking the former Nazi extermination camp that existed there from April 1942 to October 1943.1 This echoed the biblical statement in the Book of Job, in which Job pleads ‘O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no resting place’.2 Although this line

in Human remains in society
Open Access (free)
Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

first few years of the post-​war period, the people living next to the actual sites of the extermination camps in Poland dug up and sifted through the soil from Treblinka, Sobibór and Bełzec, creating a local gold-​panning rush that constituted a final profanation. This is shown in the excellent account given by 10 10   Human remains in society Zuzanna Dziuban in her chapter on the spatiality of the death sites in Poland. Yet while these same sites have yielded corpses to be identified and returned to their families, they are also destinations for tour operators

in Human remains in society
Alexander Korb

dispose of the corpses of their victims also resulted in delays in the murder procedures themselves, as was sometimes the case when the crematoria in the Nazi extermination camps broke down.35 For instance, Croatian authors have claimed that the mass murders of the Gypsies were postponed from winter to summer 1942 because the ground was frozen and it was not possible to bury the corpses.36 Apart from the fact that there is no documentary proof for such speculations, they make the assumption that the perpetrators had a coherent extermination programme which they worked

in Human remains and mass violence
Open Access (free)
A war of extermination, grave looting, and culture wars in the American West
Tony Platt

-Hall, 1940), p. 391. S.  F. Cook, The Conflict between the California Indian and White Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1943). L. McMurtry, Oh What A Slaughter: Massacres in the American West, 1846–1890 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005), p. 56. E. Mailänder, ‘A specialist: the daily work of Erich Muhsfeldt, chief of the crematorium at Majdanek concentration and extermination camp (1942–1944)’, in Anstett & Dreyfus (eds), Destruction and Human Remains, pp. 46–68. 28   Tony Platt 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

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

the various agents of the mass violence committed in Bosnia in the 1940s, whose long and fatal posterity is well known (chapter 1), Elissa Mailänder’s study of Erich Muhsfeldt, crematorium director of the concentration and extermination camps at Majdanek (chapter 2), and Michael McConnell’s study of the agents of Nazi atrocities in Eastern Europe and their representations of violence (chapter 3). A second avenue concerns the procedures for handling bodies. In association with lethal expertise and techniques, it is crucial to take this aspect of the production of

in Destruction and human remains
Élisabeth Anstett

incarcerated therefore varies from around 10 to up to 20 million, according to the period under consideration, the particular courts and legislation involved, and the type of sentences in question.16 However, after long years of controversy, and based on the most recent research, historians are now in general agreement that the gulag system caused the death of around 2 million people, a figure to which must be added the 800,000 murdered by the Soviet regime during the great purges.17 Unlike the Nazi extermination camps, the history and sociology of which have been the

in Human remains and mass violence