Shoah Recollections

by Lior Israel
Eva Kun
Independence Park; Tel Aviv, Israel

Contemporary Commemorative Architectural Representation of the Holocaust in Israel

We are nowadays nearing the unique moment in time, since the end of WWII, when the final holocaust survivor passes away. Alongside with the demise of the last survivor, we will lose any possibility for a tangible, first-hand human connection to this major historic event. Our memory balance would necessarily shift from the “possibly personal” to the “inevitably collective”. My thesis digs exactly into the relations and tension between the personal and the collective memories of the holocaust. In my work I try to offer a possible answer to the question of how this changing reality should contextualize a new holocaust-related discourse in Israel, and how it would in-turn affect its commemorative architectural representation.

View to the Southeast from within the Untouched Garden

My intention was to expand the canvas of representation by planning an Israeli holocaust memorial that would not reproduce or reinterpret the familiar approaches and gestures of existing holocaust memorials in the country. I wished not to impose any ever present, top-down narrated memory, and wished not reflect the atrocities and genocide; rather, I wished to bring onstage fractions of memories from individual victims and their lives, and fortify these memories by accompanying architectural performance. My experimental memorial consists of both tangible objects such as flora and rusty steel, in combination with intangible elements such as light, shade, colour, smell and ambience. The effort was made to produce a coherent phenomenological experience: a place and space where the cultural aspects are derived from the sensory perspective of the built environment.