Reminder: Representing Difficult Histories - Disability and the Holocaust

And leading on from our recent discussion:

Reminder - The Museum Studies Research Seminar Series 2006/7
Monday 29th January 2007 at 1pm in the Dept of Museum Studies
Lecture room 1
Heather Hollins (University of Leicester PhD candidate)
Representing Difficult Histories: Disability and the Holocaust

An estimated 11 million people were killed by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. Of these 11 million an estimated 200, 000 were disabled people, and a further estimated 700, 000 disabled people were sterilised as part of the Nazi eugenics programme.Within 6 months of the Nazi's coming to power the regime had introduced its first law to legalise the sterilisation of disabled people, and the Third Reich began to issue propaganda labelling them as 'useless eaters' and as a burden on society. This led to the development of the T4 programme where disabled people were killed using lethal injection, in gas vans and later in 6 purpose built killing centres. These centres were the first step towards the development of the larger industrialised death camps.

This paper will aim to explore the factors behind why disabled people experiences of the Holocaust have large gone untold. It will also focus the consultation that I am currently involved in at the Holocaust Centre with disabled young people which aims to explore their views of their marginalisation within current interpretations of the holocaust. It will explore the issues behind representing difficult histories and the consequences when museums shy away from these difficult issues.


Popular Posts