Sun, Jul 09|
Stumbling Stones, Commemoration, and Family History
Time & Location
Jul 09, 2023, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
About the Event
New commemorating initiatives in Europe lead to renewed interest in Jewish family histories.
Searching for the history of his house, Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld stumbled upon the dramatic history of a Jewish family and a son who was murdered in Auschwitz. With the help of surviving relatives and by doing archival research, Bijsterveld was able to reconstruct the family’s past, while reconnecting scattered family members at the same time. As a result, they were able to place a stumbling stone, create a documentary film, and write a book.
In this talk, Bijsterveld will sketch the wider context of the changes in the Dutch memory culture of World War II and the Holocaust. This can be characterized as a transformation of remembrance to a more individual approach, doing justice to the agency of the people involved as well as to the nuance and paradoxes that come with every family history. The stumbling stones are a case in point, as these exemplify this transformation. Recently, the focus has shifted from a single narrative on the Holocaust in the Netherlands to multiple narratives. Research on life and family histories is essential to further this approach. This asks of the (family) historian to strike a balance between personal involvement and professional attitude.