The Memorial Ethics of Libeskind's Berlin Jewish Museum

  • Arleen Ionescu

Part of the The Holocaust and its Contexts book series (HOLC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Arleen Ionescu
    Pages 1-9
  3. Arleen Ionescu
    Pages 11-72
  4. Arleen Ionescu
    Pages 73-126
  5. Arleen Ionescu
    Pages 127-195
  6. Arleen Ionescu
    Pages 197-256
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 267-305

About this book


This book is a detailed critical study of Libeskind’s Berlin Jewish Museum in its historical, architectural and philosophical context. Emphasizing how the Holocaust changed our perception of history, memory, witnessing and representation, it develops the notion of ‘memorial ethics’ to explore the Museum’s difference from more conventional post-World War Two commemorative sites. The main focus is on the Museum as an experience of the materiality of trauma which engages the visitor in a performative duty to remember. Arleen Ionescu builds on Levinas’s idea of ‘ethics as optics’ to show how Libeskind’s Museum becomes a testimony to the unpresentable Other. Ionescu also extends the Museum’s experiential dimension by proposing her own subjective walk through Libeskind’s space reimagined as a ‘literary museum’. Featuring reflections on texts by Beckett, Celan, Derrida, Kafka, Blanchot, Wiesel and Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger (Celan’s cousin), this virtual tour concludes with a brief account of Libeskind’s analogous ‘healing project’ for Ground Zero.


Shoah 'Ethics as optics' Holocaust 'Literary museum’ Architecture

Authors and affiliations

  • Arleen Ionescu
    • 1
  1. 1.Universitatea Petrol-Gaze din PloieştiPloieştiRomania

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-1-137-53830-7
  • Online ISBN 978-1-137-53831-4
  • Buy this book on publisher's site