Chapter 1 explores a layering of time and space along the border between Germany and the Netherlands. At one time heavily patrolled, the Dutch-German border has been reduced to near-insignificance by recent EU decisions; but borderland signifiers encourage observers to remember and challenge both past and present meanings. The border can be seen as a montage which gives time a spatial representation. It enables a flaneur-like gaze on memory and mobility; a variety of signs present a palimpsest of meanings and historical referents, revealing the strangeness of a ‘blocked temporal passage’ between different types of border regimes. The flaneur recounts the spatial experience of relics of the past, whose afterlives awaken the observer to new conceptual constellations. Indeed, the juxtaposition of arbitrary relics, randomly witnessed, denaturalises assumed truths about the present and about borders, including the spatial power relations of conflicting border regimes
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shows the undeniable contribution and the limits of the biopower theory in the understanding of dead bodies en masse. It talks about the fact that criminology has for so long ignored mass crime, even though the link between the corpse and the criminal is one of the fundamentals of the discipline. The book addresses the issue of the practical and symbolic treatment of corpses by societies affected by mass violence. It shows how working ideologies along with historical legacy and geographical landscapes determined the disposal of the bodies. The book examines the simultaneously diplomatic and medicolegal nature of the activities of the French Search Commission for Corpses of Deportees in Germany. It also draws on German archives to describe the various modalities of treatment of corpses in Croatia.