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In Fitting Memory

The Art and Politics of Holocaust Memorials

Text by Sybil Milton
Photographs by Ira Nowinski

Holocaust, Art History

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Paperback
Available February 2018
ISBN: 9780814343753
Pages: 352 Size: 8.25x10.25
Illustrations: 134 black and white photographs
eBOOK
Available February 2018
ISBN: 9780814343760

In Fitting Memory, a critical survey of Holocaust memorials and monuments in Europe, Israel, and the United States, focuses on the archeological remains at the original sites of Nazi terror that constituted the first postwar memorials. The Holocaust is defined here as the collective designation for the Nazi mass murder of Jews, Gypsies, and the handicapped, and for the related persecution of Soviet prisoners of war and other ideological opponents. Featuring text and photographs, the book shows how, since 1945, memorials and monuments have served not only as secular shrines but also as temporal institutions reflecting changing public constituencies and distinctive political, social, and cultural contexts. Sybil Milton poses two vital and provocative questions about the memorials built since the end of World War II: to whose memory were they built and how fitting are they?

The Holocaust is a sensitive subject whose representation demands accuracy and tact. This volume, the first study of the institutionalization of public memory, demonstrates how various nations, politicians, and designers have attempted to do justice to this subject in public art and sculpture, and shows how national origin, ethnic allegiance, political ideology, and prevailing artistic style determined how memorials were commissioned and installed. His book also provides an analysis of the complex interrelationship between authentic historic sites, disparate and ephemeral representations of history, and the changing political and aesthetic balance between commemoration and escapism.

In Fitting Memory includes 127 specially commissioned photographs by Ira Nowinski from seven European countries, the United States, and Israel. Nine additional photographs are by photographers from Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States. The riveting images provide the reader with a visual tour of these memorials. Along with an annotated bibliography, the volume also contains a comprehensive list of memorials in Europe, the United States, and Israel. An essential tool for those interested in visiting the memorial sites, the book also provides a critical analysis for serious researchers.

The Holocaust is a sensitive subject whose representation demands accuracy and tact. This volume, the first study of the institutionalization of public memory, demonstrates how various nations, politicians, and designers have attempted to do justice to this subject in public art and sculpture, and shows how national origin, ethnic allegiance, political ideology, and prevailing artistic style determined how memorials were commissioned and installed. This book also provides an analysis of the complex interrelationship between authentic historic sites, disparate and ephemeral representations of history, and the changing political and aesthetic balance between commemoration and escapism.

In Fitting Memory includes 127 specially commissioned photographs by Ira Nowinski from seven European countries, the United States, and Israel. Nine additional photographs are by photographers from Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States. The riveting images provide the reader with a visual tour of these memorials. Along with an annotated bibliography, the volume also contains a comprehensive list of memorials in Europe, the United States, and Israel. An essential tool for those interested in visiting the memorial sites, the book also provides a critical analysis for serious researchers.

Sybil Milton was the resident historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Council in Washington, D.C. She is co-author of Art of the Holocaust, the definitive work on the subject and the winner of the National Jewish Book Award in visual Arts in 1981. She is also the editor of The Art of Jewish Children, Germany, 1936–1941: Innocence and Persecution. Sybil Milton earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Ira Nowinski, an independent photographer, is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and a recipient of three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work is represented in many permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, Yad Vashem, and the Judah L. Magnes Museum. His books include Café Society: Photographs and Poetry from San Francisco’s North Beach, No Vacancy: Urban Renewal and the Elderly, and Grandissimo Pavarotti.