Terezin - Photographic Memories

Twitchin, Mischa. 2021. 'Terezin - Photographic Memories'. In: Memory Studies Association Fifth Annual Conference. Warsaw, Poland 5-9 July 2021. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

The idea of “photographic memory” usually suggests the power of literal, indeed, forensic recall of a scene, an image, a speech or a text: offering a mental image in which different times and places are linked as if they were suddenly identical, as if the veracity of the one attested to that of the other. In fact (as critics from Bergson to Stiegler, for example, have shown), this conjunction of terms attests to the historically conditional sense of even the memory that supposedly lends a “naturalising” aura to the photographic. In this paper, I will explore questions of both temporal and ethical implication in examples of photographs taken in Terezin, which for one part of its history was presented as a so-called “model” ghetto within the Nazi’s programme of genocide against European Jewry. Indeed, what questions concerning a “model” are exposed in the relation between photography and memory, when refracted through the name of Terezin? My presentation will reflect on both the contrast between Arnost Lustig and Claude Lanzmann filming in the town (where the idea of film in Terezin is haunted by the Nazi’s own use of the medium there); and the contrast between the understanding of photography offered by Maurice Rossel (the Red Cross representative who visited Terezin on 23rd June 1944) and W.G. Sebald (in his novel Austerlitz), as these four examples continue to address public understanding of the town’s particular history today.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


6 July 2021Completed

Event Location:

Warsaw, Poland

Date range:

5-9 July 2021

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Date Deposited:

07 Jul 2021 08:35

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2021 08:35



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