Date of Award
Master of Science
Micheline van Riemsdijk
Joshua Inwood, Ronald Foresta, GIlya Schmidt
Geographers have long been interested in the ways that states and individuals use cultural landscapes to shape the meaning and understanding of the past. In this thesis, I argue that individuals and the state embed different interpretations of the Holocaust past in the German landscape. In particular, I focus on the German artist Gunter Demnig and his Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) Project as a case study of memorial projects created by an individual. The Stolpersteine are small memorial stones for a single Holocaust victim. The stones are installed in front of homes and businesses that were the last known location of the victim before deportation or murder by the Nazi regime. While the project began as a small art installation to memorialize Romany Holocaust victims in Cologne, the memorial stones are now installed for all victims of the Holocaust, including Jews, Roma, Sinti, the handicapped, homosexuals, political opponents, euthanasia victims, and others. I compare the Stolpersteine Project to three large Holocaust memorial projects in Berlin that were sponsored by the German government.
This project incorporates qualitative methods to research the ways that Demnig creates meaning in the landscape and to observe how people respond to the Stolpersteine. The findings provide insights into how cultural landscapes are produced and also contribute to the literature on landscape studies and memorial processes. I explain how the Stolpersteine fit into the broader context of Holocaust memorialization through an explanation of the scholarly debate on how to represent the Holocaust.
Cook, Matthew Russell, "Redefining Memorial Landscapes: The Stolpersteine Project in Berlin. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2012.