The severe restrictions on public life in many countries following the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic specifically affected Holocaust memorials and museums in all parts of the world, especially in Europe and in Israel. These measures posed a significant challenge, because contemporary forms of Holocaust commemoration are particularly based on the personal experience of presence at museums and historical sites. In contrast to the experience of distancing in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing the presence of the past is thus a crucial element of contemporary Holocaust commemoration. This article explores the relationship between presence and absence, proximity and distance, guided commemoration and online engagement by critically analyzing digital activities of Holocaust memorials and museums in response to the pandemic. It argues that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Holocaust memorials began experimenting with the potential of social media for Holocaust memory. These experiments finally accepted the ongoing generational change and reacted to significant previous shifts in media consumption that were already affecting Holocaust commemoration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Research for this article was supported through a Visiting Fellowship, sponsored by the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and the European Forum at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Grant Agreement No. 822670.
© The Author(s) 2020.
- digital culture
- social media