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Since the 1980s, the politics of remembrance and the central place held by the Holocaust therein have moved into the focus of a global cultural policy debate. Triggered by popular formats such as TV series, the establishment of Holocaust museums, and the erection of memorial sites and memorials, and by documentations, feature films, plays, as well as exhibitions, the highly controversial debate has addressed and continues to address the question of the sense and form of Holocaust remembrance as well as its possibilities and limits.


The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) understands its educational mission as the task of preserving the visibility of the cultural context of remembrance and the media anthropological background as well as the discursive context of popular remembrance of the Holocaust and other genocides for its audience. The materiality and the act of remembrance itself are focussed on by making these the very topic and issue of educational questions. This is achieved on the one hand via academic debate and reasoning, on the other by testing the issue in various contexts by experiment. The latter takes place in the framework of “Interventions in Public Spaces”, involving especially artists and writers.




Echoes, memories, and aftereffects – resonances – are usually laden with emotion, sentimental and individual. The aim of this event series is therefore to cultivate anew a conversation beyond the today much discussed ‘echo chambers’ of social media and to offer a space for mutual thought and reflection – in other words for resonating – at the intersection of living memory, collective memory, and scholarly analysis: Different aspects of, approaches to, and perspectives on the research areas of the VWI will be sounded out here; intergenerational conversations will be enabled; questioning, ruminating, and doubting will be allowed – borrowing freely from the words of Bertolt Brecht and Marcel Reich-Ranicki: “Curtains closed and all the questions open.”


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Anat Gilboa: Imaging the Unimaginable. The Holocaust in Israeli Visual Culture

Tuesday, 10. December 2019, 18:00 - 20:00

Wiener Wiesenthal Institute, Research Lounge, 1010 Vienna, Rabensteig 3, 3rd Floor


This talk analyses the reconstruction of traditional concepts of the ‘Jewish mother’ through visual culture. Based on the 1943 photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Viennese-born Nazi officer Franz Konrad, Nir Hod, an Israeli-born artist, created a series of paintings entitled Mother (2012). In the series, one of the photographed women is painted on several large canvases. The work was influenced by the postwar German artist Gerhard Richter, whose photography-based paintings such as Onkel Rudi (1965) were important references for the Israeli artist. Hod chose to depict an overlooked female figure in the photo and painted her. As opposed to the German artist, whose paintings underline the importance of documenting Germany’s Nazi past and its ideology, Hod chose not to commemorate the past but to use the photograph to paint a better future.

In her talk, Dr. Gilboa will argue that Hod’s work is a visual discourse, promoting cultural internationality and gender equality. She will demonstrate that he utilises the photograph-based painting not just as a reminder of the past, but to offer alternatives to traditional assumptions. To support this argument, she will consider discussions such as Ulrike Brunotte’s studies on traditional gender roles in Judaism as well as in antisemitism. In summary, by dedicating a series of paintings entitled Mother to an overlooked female figure in a photograph of the Warsaw Ghetto, Nir Hod created a symbolic figure of a modern woman whose role as a ‘Jewish Mother’ is a manifestation of modernity.

Please keep in mind that registration is mandatory for participation This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Please also note that, due to increased security measures, identity checking procedures may take place – Please have your passport or identity card at hand for any eventuality. By participating in this event, you agree to the publication of any photos, videos, or audio recordings created in the framework of the event.

Download the invitation as PDF.

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