Advertisement

Absence and Presence: Interpreting Moral Exclusion in the Jewish Museum Berlin

  • Susan OpotowEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter describes research conducted in a museum that interprets injustice that occurred more than seven decades ago. From the vantage of the present, it looks back on the Third Reich, a period when the National Socialist Party (“Nazis”) gained adherents, power, and sought to exterminate Jews and other groups they denigrated as “life unworthy of life” (lebensunwertes Leben). Combining psychological theory with historical background, this chapter examines how museum professionals present this period that legitimated and then carried out a genocide of enormous proportions, The Holocaust. By examining how the Jewish Museum Berlin describes the Third Reich to the public, this chapter offers insight into representations of moral exclusion to engage museum visitors in reflecting on past injustice within their society. The museum’s approach offers scholars of injustice an understanding of the representation of moral exclusion designed to reach people in the present so that they can better understand the past, the dynamics of moral exclusion, and its import for present social relations.

Keywords

Jewish Population Collective Memory Jewish Life Jewish Culture Past Injustice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I thank the Jewish Museum Berlin and Ms. Maren Krüger, Academic Leader of the Permanent Exhibition Mrs. Tanja Petersen, Head of the Educational Department, and Mr. Helmuth F. Braun, Head of the Temporary Exhibitions Department, for their kind and valuable assistance with this research. I thank Elisabeth Kals, Jürgen Maes, and Michelle Fine, wonderful justice researchers and colleagues, for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Any errors of fact or interpretation in this text are my own. Support for this project was provided by a PSC-CUNY Award, jointly funded by The Professional Staff Congress and The City University of New York.

References

  1. Apfelbaum, E. (1979). Relations of domination and movements of liberation: An analysis of power between groups. In W. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 188–204). Monterey: Cole.Google Scholar
  2. Bal, M. (1999). Introduction. In M. Bal, J. Crewe, & L. Spitzer (Eds.), Acts of memory: Cultural recall in the present (pp. vii–xvi). Hanover: Dartmouth.Google Scholar
  3. Brenner, M. (2002). The Weimar years (1919–1932) (M. S. Cullen & A. Brown, Trans.). In A. Nachama, J. H. Schoeps & H. Simon (Eds.), Jews in Berlin (pp. 137–179). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  4. Brittain, D., Spotten, J. (Producers and directors). (1965). Memorandum [film]. Ottawa: National Film Board of Canada.Google Scholar
  5. Bunschoten, R., & Binet, H. (1997). A passage through silence and light: Daniel Libeskind’s extension to the Berlin museum. London: Black Dog.Google Scholar
  6. Deutsch, M. (1975). Equity, equality, and need: What determines which value will be used as the basis of distributive justice? Journal of Social Issues, 31(3), 137–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fine, M., & Ruglis, J. (2009). Circuits and consequences of dispossession: The racialized realignment of the public sphere for U.S. youth. Transforming Anthropology, 17(1), 20–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fineberg, J. (1970). The nature and value of rights. Journal of Value Inquiry, 4, 243–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gay, P. (1998). My German question: Growing up in Nazi Berlin. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gillis, J. R. (1994). Introduction. In J. R. Gillis (Ed.), Commemorations: The politics of national memory (pp. 3–24). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gross, L. (1982). The last Jews in Berlin. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  12. Halbwachs, M. (1950/1992). On collective memory. (Ed., Trans., and with an introduction by L. A. Coser). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hammer, J. (2009, October 17). A night to remember (cover story). Forbes, pp. 108–113. Retrieved March14, 2011, from EBSCO/host/.Google Scholar
  14. Jewish Museum Berlin. (2001). Stories of an exhibition: Two millennia of German Jewish history. Berlin: Jewish Museum Berlin.Google Scholar
  15. Koshar, R. (2000). From monuments to traces: Artifacts of German memory, 1870–1990. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  16. Levinger, M. (2000). Enlightened nationalism: The transformation of Prussian political culture, 1805–1848. Oxford/New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  17. Lewin, K. (1943). Defining the “field” at a given time. Psychological Review, 50(3), 292–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Libeskind, D. (1999). Jewish Museum Berlin/Architect Daniel Libeskind (with a photo essay by Hélène Binet). Basel: G+B Arts International.Google Scholar
  19. Macdonald, S. (1996). Introduction. In S. Macdonald & G. Fyfe (Eds.), Theorizing museums: Representing identity and diversity in a changing world (pp. 1–18). Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  20. Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Nachama, A., Schoeps, J. H., & Simon, H. (2002). Preface. (J. S. Cullen & A. Brown, Trans.). In A. Nachama, J. H. Schoeps, & H. Simon. Jews in Berlin (pp. 7–8). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  22. Opotow, S. (1987). Limits of fairness: An experimental examination of antecedents of the scope of justice. Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, New York, NY. Retrieved August 16, 2010, from Dissertations & Theses @ Columbia University (Publication No. AAT 8724072).Google Scholar
  23. Opotow, S. (1990). Moral exclusion and injustice: An overview. Journal of Social Issues, 46(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Opotow, S. (1993). Animals and the scope of justice. Journal of Social Issues, 49(1), 71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Opotow, S. (1995). Drawing the line: Social categorization, moral exclusion, and the scope of justice. In B. B. Bunker & J. Z. Rubin (Eds.), Conflict, cooperation, and justice (pp. 347–369). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  26. Opotow, S. (2001). Social injustice. In D. J. Christie, R. V. Wagner, & D. D. Winter (Eds.), Peace, conflict and violence: Peace psychology for the 21st century (pp. 102–109). New York: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  27. Opotow, S. (2011). How this was possible: Interpreting the Holocaust. Journal of Social Issues, 67(1), 205–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Opotow, S., & Gieseking, J. (2011). Foreground and background: Environment a site and social issue. Journal of Social Issues, 67(1), 179–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Opotow, S., & McClelland, S. I. (2007). The intensification of hating: A theory. Social Justice Research, 20(1), 68–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Opotow, S., & Weiss, L. (2000). Denial and exclusion in environmental conflict. Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 475–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pratt, M. L. (1991). Arts of the contact zone. Profession, 91, 33–40.Google Scholar
  32. Rawls, J. (1971). A theory of justice. Cambridge: Belknap.Google Scholar
  33. Sampson, E. E. (1998). Life as an embodied art: The second stage – Beyond constructionism. In B. M. Bayer & J. Shotter (Eds.), Reconstructing the psychological subject: Bodies, practices and technologies (pp. 21–32). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Schneider, B. (2007). Daniel Libeskind: Jewish Museum Berlin. New York: Prestel.Google Scholar
  35. Schoeps, J. H. (2002). The imperial era (1891–1918) (M. S. Cullen & A. Brown, Trans.). In A. Nachama, J. H. Schoeps & H. Simon (Eds.), Jews in Berlin (pp. 53–88). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  36. Schütz, C. C. (2002). The imperial era (1871–1918) (M. S. Cullen & A. Brown, Trans.). In A. Nachama, J. H. Schoeps & H. Simon (Eds.), Jews in Berlin (pp. 89–136). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  37. Shyovitz, D. (2010). The virtual Jewish history tour – Berlin. Retrieved March 17, 2011, from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/berlin.html
  38. Simon, H. (2002). Jews during the period of national socialism (M. S. Cullen & A. Brown, Trans.). In A. Nachama, J. H. Schoeps & H. Simon (Eds.), Jews in Berlin (pp. 181–220). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  39. Smee, J. (2006, Nov 30). A belated victory against the Nazis. The Guardian. Retrieved January 25, 2011, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/nov/03/religion.germany.
  40. Young, J. E. (2000). At memory’s edge: After-images of the Holocaust in contemporary art and architecture. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations