Remembering Ideological Identities: Transference of Holocaust Memory through Artistic Expression

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


We are rushing into an era where there will be no more witnesses to carry on the conversation about what happened during the Holocaust, but that does not mean there will be a lack of facts. The issues are rather how to remember, who is to remember what, and even why remember such atrocities at all. It is often stated that we have to remember to make sure “it” never happens again. Commemorations days are held and monuments are erected to prompt remembrance because we are perceived to have a duty to remember that which we might otherwise forget, but who “is” we? What memory holds, and how it´s content is remembered and expressed, and even why it is remembered at all, differs from person to person.
By analyzing the transference of Holocaust Memory through the artistic expression in the comic Maus: A Survivors Tale, by Art Spiegelman, and the ash paintings “Memory Works”, by Carl Michael von Hausswolff, using social semiotics, psychoanalysis, and ethical reasoning, I question if Holocaust art is a constructive use or a destructive abuse of a collective memory? I argue that if art is understood as objects that help preserve a society’s history aesthetically, and cultural memories are taken as the subjective that delineates an individual’s identity psychologically, then they can both be considered sensible tools for the function of creating an all-inclusive collective memory in regards to the Holocaust Memory sociologically. In other words, I question if art can be a tool usable to work with what we know, as well as towards that which we cannot reach, to help close the gap between the incomprehensible and the reality of the Holocaust, to assist an understanding of human ethics.


Research areas and keywords


  • Holocaust Memory , transference, Art Spiegelman´s Maus: A Survivors Tale, Carl Michael von Hausswolff´s “Memory Works”, Ethics of Care
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Place of PublicationLund, Sweden
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch

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