Guest Lecturers

Cilly Kugelmann and the complexity of Holocaust museums

IMG_1681Last week we cooperated in the fourth installment of our cooperative efforts to foster Israeli-German academic dialogue.  In this effort we have partnered with our colleagues at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, Massuah Institute, and the Freidrich Ebert Foundation.

The seminar focused on Holocaust Museums and featured Cilly Kugelmann, Program Director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin.  Kugelmann spoke about the paradoxical history of the museum and explained the relation of the building’s architecture to its curatorial content. She showed that museums of history face unique challenges because history is an intellectual construction, that it needs to be both constructed and re-constructed, and that museums are required to use material remains of the culture they are representing in order to create these worthwhile constructions.
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She presented the narrative of the Jewish Museum in Berlin as a very institutionalized one because it only discusses National Socialism from the Jewish perspective.  She also discussed the challenges of telling the history of the Holocaust from a historical perspective rather than from the perspective of a time-witness.  This dilemma is of course central to Holocaust research and museum content around the world as survivors become less and less available to share their perspectives.
We were proud to give our students the opportunity to learn from Cilly Kugelmann, and we look forward to this continued collaboration.
Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website: http://holocaust-studies.haifa.ac.il/
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