In the Absence of Ruins: The “Non-sites of Memory” in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah and Daniel Mendelsohn’s Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million

  • Angeliki Tseti


Taking the lead from Pierre Nora’s perception of sites of memory as lieux “where memory crystallizes and secretes itself” (7), this article wishes to discuss the attempt at approaching, perhaps even (re)constructing, the limit historical event, and preserving its memory through—and despite—the absence of mnemonic sites, the effacement of debris and traces, the persistence of aporias and lacunae. The works chosen for this exploration, a film and a photo-textual memoir, respectively, employ visuality and the fragments of witnesses’ or bystanders’ memories as the cardinal aspects of their endeavour to narrate the catastrophe and destruction of European Jews during World War II. Both auteurs (re)turn to the sites of torture and seek to reconstruct the past in and through the present, by highlighting, precisely, the erasure of traces.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angeliki Tseti
    • 1
  1. 1.National and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece

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