Shades of Grey: The Role of the Sublime in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

  • Karen Wilson Baptist


As a ‘post-disaster’ landscape, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe does, arguably, occupy ground where the mass extermination of the Jewish people of Europe was masterminded, but it is not physically a site of death. Commonly, memorial landscapes are erected upon the location where violence, tragedy and disaster have occurred. Divorced from the diasporic dead it seeks to honour, the memorial employs spatial form, the surrounding atmosphere and human memory to potentialise a sublime experience for visitors. The sublime plays an essential role in memorial landscapes because sublime experiences are heightened, unforgettable and enduring. This reduces the possibility that visitors will depart the memorial unscathed, leaving the monument to bear the burden of memory. While a sublime experience can be optimised, it cannot be given, thus, the onus of remembering the Holocaust remains our responsibility.

Author Biography

Karen Wilson Baptist