This article focuses on ongoing contestations around burned human remains originating from the Holocaust, their changing meanings and dynamics, and their presence/absence in Holocaust-related debates, museums and memorial sites. It argues that ashes challenge but also expand the notion of what constitutes human remains, rendering them irreducible to merely bones and fleshed bodies, and proposes that incinerated remains need to be seen not as a ‘second rate’ corporeality of the dead but as a different one, equally important to engage with – analytically, ethically and politically. Challenging the perception of ashes as unable to carry traces of the personhood of the of the dead, and as not capable of yielding evidence, I posit that, regardless of their fragile corporality, incinerated human remains should be considered abjectual and evidential, as testifying to the violence from which they originated and to which they were subjected. Moreover, in this article I consider incinerated human remains through the prism of the notion of vulnerability, meant to convey their susceptibility to violence – violence through misuse, destruction, objectification, instrumentalisation and/or museum display. I argue that the consequences of the constantly negotiated status of ashes as a ‘second rate’ corporeality of human remains include their very presence in museum exhibitions – where they, as human remains, do not necessarily belong.
Representations of Rwanda have been shaped by the display of bodies and bones at Tutsi genocide memorial sites. This phenomenon is most often only studied from the perspective of moral dimensions. This article aims in contrast to cover the issues related to the treatment of human remains in Rwanda for commemorative purposes from a historical perspective. To this end, it is based on the archives of the commissions in charge of genocide memory in Rwanda, as well as interviews with key memorial actors. This study shows the evolution of memorial practices since 1994 and the hypermateriality of bodies in their use as symbols, as well as their demobilisation for the purposes of reconciliation policies.
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
cemeteries and memorial sites. However, administrative rationalization also occurred following a new round of regional reforms. Each district was now required to have its own genocide cemetery, which therefore involved further consolidation. The most contentious matter in this respect concerned bodies being buried by surviving family members on their own land. Following numerous land reforms, in particular in the city of Kigali, large-scale expropriations and population movements have occurred since the end of the 1990s. This new situation has made keeping bodies on
some photographs. The crowds are milling around, gathering, forming into groups. There are plenty of notices here – information about opening hours, what is not permitted, warning that there are no public restrooms on site – and one in a different format, black on white, telling us that this is a memorial site and demanding our respect. I’d read and been told by a friend about the security measures and the long walk from EDKINS 9781526119032 PRINT.indd 114 22/02/2019 08:34 loss of a loss 115 3 Entrance, 9/11 Memorial, May 2014 the entrance to the site itself
from the site of the former extermination camp, Krystyna Oleksy, a representative of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, framed it as ‘bordering on theft’ and a desecration of the grave.5 The first director of the newly established museum-memorial site at Bełzec, Robert Kuwałek, also pointed out the almost unlawful character of the deed: ‘It is strictly forbidden to take “souvenirs” whilst visiting our premises’;6 ‘I have no knowledge of another instance of laying hold of such a peculiar souvenir by one of the guests’.7 Thus, he both intimated and explicitly
Institution (ed.), Jasenovac Memorial Site: Catalogue (Jasenovac: Biblioteka Kameni Cvijet, 2006), p. 162. See Goldstein & Goldstein, Holokaust u Zagrebu, p. 317. See Dulić, Utopias of Nation, p. 277. USHMM, Photograph #46689. See report by the Croatian gendarmerie post at Široka Kula, 3 Sep tember 1941, s. Zapovjednictvo OK Gospić to Grupa Generala Lukica kod 2. Talianske Armate, 3 September 1941, AVII, NDH/67, 3/20-1. VOZ Mostar to the military office of Poglavnik, 18 September 1942, AVII, NDH/229, MHD br. 4628/Taj; and report of the Croatian gendarmerie post at Široka
’ is repeated in four languages – English, Malay, Tamil, and Chinese. As before, attendance at the commemoration ceremony comprised primarily Chinese community leaders, politicians, and MPAJA veterans. Curiously, Zhan Gujing, a political attaché of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia, led the commemoration proceedings. There was no coverage in the mainstream press and if there were any dissenting voices, they were silent. Today, the two monuments still stand on opposing sides at the Anti-War Memorial site in Nilai Memorial Park. Despite
ibikorwa bya kinyamaswa,34 and sexual violence in particular. This interest in the specific methods employed serves to remind us that the memory of the genocide committed against the Tutsi is not founded solely upon the bodies of the victims.35 The weapons of the killers also hold significant memorial value. These objects, abhorrent as they are, are the ‘prolongation of the body’ of the killer, and even of that of the victim. For this reason, a great number of genocide memorials exhibit these implements of torture next to the remains of victims. At the memorial site in
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