Millennials as second-person witnesses of the Holocaust : a case study on the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site

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McLean, Ann-Kathrin
The future of Holocaust remembrance is brittle as we navigate transgenerational interpretations of memory. Understanding this trend is important, given a revival in far-right radicalism worldwide and a growing disconnect between the past and future learnings of the Holocaust. As the number of first-hand narratives of the Holocaust dwindles, the next generation must instead rely on vectors of memory and a constellation of media to (re)shape a new form of transitional memory. Drawing on a qualitative grounded theory study of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site in Germany, this research explored the impact on Millennial visitors by understanding the relationship between Holocaust remembrance, collective memory, and the Dachau Memorial Site. Specifically, the study investigated how Millennial visitors make sense of Holocaust remembrance and come to terms with the past. Research participants included Millennials, tour guides, and the administration team at the site. Ethnographic-informed methods were used, including field observation, journaling, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and surveys. My research findings speak to how Millennial visitors move within a new form of memory – the zone of transitional memory of the Holocaust. Keywords: Zone of transitional memory, Holocaust remembrance, Millennials, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, heritage force field, symbolic interactionism, reflexivity, looking glass self, generalized other
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