Silent Memories

Kuper’s reading gave an interesting sight at the Jewish history in Amsterdam and Rotterdam. I was intrigued to learn the politics behind the football teams and how each city perceived itself when it came to historical events that occurred in their communities. Nevertheless, history is everywhere to be found. As Kuper mentioned about Hangar 24 Square, although people nowadays that are working around the plaza might not have any idea about the historical significance of their location, it still bears meaning to those who remember and know. And those that know, will certainly pass this knowledge down to their future generations. And when the time comes they too will stop to look and remember rather than passing on to the other side of the street.

When thinking about the Holocaust, I remember the Armenian Genocide, when Armenians faced extermination at the hands of the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the 20th century. And even though the diasporas spread worldwide to escape persecution, it took Armenians some time to begin advocating for recognition and remembrance. And only 100 years later, we heard the first American president recognize that the persecutions that occurred against Armenians were truly a genocide. In a way, I feel the same energy in Kuper’s reading when he talks about the Jewish community and their silent memorials across the cities. Yet, this feeling is almost impossible to put to words, as they are very close to the heart.

When it comes to comparing Feddes’ 1941 Amsterdam map of Jewish residence to STIWOT’s images of stumbling stone memorials, I believe that both successfully memorialize those murdered in the Holocaust but from different prespectives. Whereas Feddes’ map demonstrates the vast population of the Jewish community in Amsterdam, the stone memorials directly mention the people that were invovled. And of course, people do not get to see Feddes’ map on everyday basis, but the stones with the engraved names are bolted onto the streets for eternity. However, although streets and walls might be renovated across time, the maps will always remain in the archives to be retrieved. Therefore, I believe that both are successful in keeping the memories of those fallen to the underserved cruelty of tyrants and both should always be preserved, especially if we wish for history not to repeat itself.

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