The Forbidden Muse as ‘mnemonic’ practice.

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  How the Dutch Collective Memory shifted in the years 1945-1970, explored through the commemoration exhibition Verboden Muze in the Jewish Historical Museum.
  The Forbidden Muse as ‘mnemonic’ practce: How the Dutch Collecve Memory shifed in the years 1945-1970, explored through thecommemoraon exhibion Verboden Muze  in the Jewish Historical Museum. Laura Hupperetz11 January 2019Curatorial Pracces in the Contemporary World IIPro. Ingrid Vermeulen 1  Laura Hupperetz 11-01-2019 Curatorial Pracces in the Contemporary World II Absrac The phenomenon o collecve memory has been increasingly inuenal as an exercised a growinginuence as an academic and public concern. This paper centers on the Dutch remembrance cultureo the Second World War, specically in the period 1960-1970, on the basis o the emergence o Dutch exhibions that commemorate the liberaon o the Netherlands rom the German occupaon.In the ollowing pages I propose to draw a connecon to the exhibion Verboden Muze:Onderdrukking van kunst en cultuur 1933-1945 that took place in the Jewish Historical Museum romapril 16 unl 15 juni 1970 and the broader museological eld o commemoraon exhibions. Thispaper thereby argues that Verboden Muze is an exhibion that demonstrates the shif within theDutch collecve memory rom 1945 up unl 1970. Inroducton The Second World War is commemorated in the Netherlands on 4 may (Remembrance day) and 5May (Liberaon Day). The Liberaon Day was ocially introduced in 1954 as a day to celebrate theliberaon o the naon rom the Nazi German occupaon in 1945. Taking place in 1970, exactly 25years afer the Liberaon o the Netherlands rom Nazi Germany, the commemoraon exhibion Verboden Muze: Onderdrukking van kunst en cultuur 1933-1945 is part o a period that, in context o studies on ‘generaonal memory’, is considered as ‘the crical period’. (Schuman & Corning, 2012)Despite the act that the Second World War is sll seen as the single most important historical evento the 20th century, the generaon born afer the war is urther removed rom the historical event,and thereby aaches less importance to the commemoraon o the Liberaon day. (Coopmans,2018, 2) This paper aims to discuss the shif in Second World War commemoraon(s) as aconsequence o this post-war generaon. How does the commemoraon o World War II within the‘memory landscape’ shifs rom a celebraon o patrioc reedom and naonal resistance in the1950s towards a mentality o vigilance regarding democrac reedom and a more inclusive approachregarding the vicms o the war, in the 1970s? This shif in approaching the naonal history o theSecond World War will be explored in the rst chapter o this paper, using the book Oorlogslessen (Dienke Hondius, 2010) and the paper ‘De oorlog in het museum: Herinnering en verbeelding’ (ErikSomers, 2014) that both came orth out o the NWO research program ‘Dynamiek van deHerinnering’. What is commemorated, and by whom? What history is taught in school classes,exhibion spaces and commemoraon events? Much o this research concentrates on thetransmission o shared memories within society, reerred to as collecve memory (Halbwachs, 1992).Classic maniestaons o mnemonic pracces are the commemorave observances organised by anaon, in remembrance o crucial moments in its history as a naon. In this paper I perceiveexhibions as ‘mnemonic’ pracces, designed to aid collecve memory. The second chapter willexplore the curatorial consideraon o the exhibion Verboden Muze substanated by the archivalmaterial ound in the archive o the Jewish Historical Museum. In what way did the presentaon o the artworks, the raonale o the catalogue texts and the specic ocus on Hitler’s Kulturpolik  smulate the Dutch cultural memory mentality o vigilance and plurality, discussed in the rstchapter. 2  Laura Hupperetz 11-01-2019 Curatorial Pracces in the Contemporary World II Chaper 1. Summary of he Duch Collectve Memory 1945-1970 § 1.1 Dutch collecve remembrance in the years 1945-1965: naonal consensus and the myth o unanimous resistance. The German occupaon o the Netherlands rom 1940 ll 1945 had been a traumazing experience.Although srcinally iniated to remember and honour vicms o the Second World War, the post wargovernment considered the naonal commemoraon as a way to strengthen the naons eeling o naonal belonging amongst its cizens (Gillis, 1994). As part o this sel-condent image o theNetherlands the government put an emphasis on the resistance struggle. In the arcle ‘The polics o memory. Resistance as a collecve myth in post-war France, Belgium and the Netherlands, 1945-1965’ the historian Pieter Lagrou sees this as a myth that was constructed to commemorate andeducate a uniorm story, or which a moralizing black and white division between those labeled‘good’ (resistance ghters) and ‘bad’ ( NSB’ers and the Germans) was created. In the late 1940s and 1950s the Netherlands portrayed itsel as ‘a small but brave country’.(Blom, 1993). The division between civilians that took part in underground resistance groups againstthe German occupiers and the majority o civilians that ‘just went on living’ under occupaon,vanished afer the liberaon. Ido de Haan (1998) states that there was a naonalizaon o theresistance, by which the Dutch polical elite 1  were using their spirit and moves with those o theresistance groups, as to deuse the power o the more radical resistance groups such as the Communissche Parj Nederland (CPN) and the Revoluonair-socialissche Arbeidersparj (RSAP ).One o these organizaons that has had a lot o social and polical inuence is Expogé (associaon o ex-polical prisoners). Minories such as the Jews could not claim their naonal resistance acvies,and they thereore did not receive alimony afer the war like ocially acclaimed resistance ghters.(Hondius, 2010, 66) The lefist resistance ghters ound each other in alternave organizaons suchas Verenigd Verzet Nederland  . The naonalizaon o the victory, emphasizing peace and order as or the advancement o the economic reconstrucon, led to the opening o the rst substanal exhibion about the SecondWorld War, entled Weerbare democrae - tentoonstelling volk in verzet (   translated into Englishunder the tle Resilient Democracy  ), commissioned by the Grote Advies Commissie van de Illegaliteit  (the Great Advisory Commiee o Illegality) on occasion o the rst commemoraon o the Februaristaking  in 1946. The exhibion was opened on the 1st o March 1946 by prime ministerWillem Schermerhorn. Already in August 1944 at insistence o the Dutch government situated inLondon, the Great Advisory Commiee o Illegality (GAC) was ormed under the chairmanship o Willem Drees. In the commiee, about twenty naonally operang resistance organizaons wererepresented, who would serve the government unl the rst elecons afer the liberaon o advice.(Somers, 2014)The Dutch historian Erik Somers, who works at the NIOD : Instute or War, Holocaust andGenocide Studies, studied how the Second World War has been remembered in the Dutchmuseological context, ocusing on the concepts o remembrance and imaginaon concerning warand resistance museums. In this book he collected a wide range o cricism on the exhibion Weerbare democrae , mainly ound in newspapers:  1   Faced with relentless persecuon by the Nazi’s, radical acon against the occupiers required exceponal courage which convenonal polical orces - with there ocus on a stable uture rather than targeng the occupier - would not undertake. 3  Laura Hupperetz 11-01-2019 Curatorial Pracces in the Contemporary World II “The communist resistance group Spartacus  complained that the exhibion was small-minded as itpaid too much aenon to the idea that the majority o the Dutch populaon was acve as areedom ghter. 'The wrong "inormaon" wants to make the people believe that the Dutch "naon"with the excepon o the "moenknechten" as one big hero opposes the occupiers’" (Somers, 2014,126)However, the act that the exhibion aracted no less than 160,000 visitors showed that thestandpoint o the exhibion is an indicaon or the dominant remembrance culture o the late 1940sand 1950s, responding to a strong need to see the post war years rom the perspecve o a uniedvictory over the German Nazi’s. §1.2 Dutch collecve remembrance in the years 1960-1970: the post-war generaon and thedevelopment o a pluralisc image o the vicms and heroes o the WWIIThe way the Second World War was commemorated in the rst decades afer the Allied victory,underlines how much public memories are connected with social condions, with prevailing policaland social relaonships, ideologies and cultural values. In the second hal o the 1960s, a newgeneraon o youngsters born afer 1945, began to revolt against the conservave norms o the me,ofen reerred to as the Counterculture Movement. This generaon, that did not have any directexperiences o the war, quesoned the dominant narrave o authority and government anddemanded a stronger representaon o minories. This resulted in a debate concerning thecommemoraon o the Second World War. Comparing the exhibion Weerbare Democrae (1946) to the commemoraon exhibion Mooie Vrijheid!? (1970) taking place in De Nieuwe Kerk   25 years later, the tendency o a moreevaluave celebraon o reedom and democracy becomes visible. In the accompanying brochure orthe exhibion Mooie Vrijheid!? , deputy director Harry Paape stated that ‘more and more numerousare those who can no longer provide an answer to the queson or the reasons o thecommemoraon and the celebraon.’ 2  The exhibion aimed to place the concepts o 'reedom' and'lack o reedom' in historical perspecve, thereby acknowledging the posion o a young and cricalgeneraon that quesoned the celebrated noon o 25 years o reedom. The imperave was nolonger just to remember, but rather how and what   to remember. This debate relates to MauriceHalbwachs (1877-1945) pioneering sociological studies, that had been o major inuence or theconnuing studies on collecve memory (Erll, 2011). Halbwachs contributed to the discourse byemphasizing the role o the amily in the transmission o collecve memory. Looking at the waygeneraons inuence the commemorave pracces, disnguishing between two types o memory; Living memory   and Borrowed memory  .“The undamental change in temporal horizon occurs, as Halbwachs clearly understood,where living generaons disappear, and with them all contact with ways o being, withgestures and atudes that, in conveying a past that younger generaons could not haveknown directly, reveal shifs in temporal context that otherwise remain unperceived.”(Barash, 25) Through the borrowed memory, a member o society can recall and re-experience an importantevent that he did not himsel take part in. Collecve Memory, is the reconstrucon o a history that is 2  Paape, A.H. Mooie vrijheid!? Stichting Nationale Tentoonstelling 5 mei 1970, Amsterdam 1970. Page 4. 4  Laura Hupperetz 11-01-2019 Curatorial Pracces in the Contemporary World II in constant evoluon, always subject to the needs o the current social, polical, cultural andinstuonal context. In the 1970s, the commemoraon o the Second World War is a collecve memory sharedwith a generaon that does not consists o this memory organically. The realizaon that the SecondWorld War would become a memory on the verge o disappearing caused or a new approach o catering the themac or the commermaon to the youth culture. With the strong aim on thevigilance and prevenon o ascist ideology, the ocus on the historical me rame o the war alsoshifed. Resulng in an eort to reconstruct the painul history o destrucon and persecuon, goingback to the ‘early warning signs’, by ocusing on Fascism and Naonal Socialism that started in the1930s (Dienke Hondius, 172; Fuhrmeister, 2011). The next chapter will ocus on reconstrucng theexhibion Verboden Muze, thereby enabling to embed the exhibion within the shifing ocus incommemoraon discussed in this chapter. Chaper 2. How does his shiing memory landscape applies o he exhibiton Verboden Muze? §2.1 Reconstrucon o the exhibion with archival material, an interview, catalogue text and thecommiee o expertsThe exhibion aims to historically reconstruct the history o Hitler’s  kulturpolik   beore and duringthe nazi-occupaon o the Netherlands. The move o the exhibion can parally be unraveled byanalysing the catalogue cover (Appendix A), designed by Oo Treumann (1919-2001) 3 . As Treumannused a collage technique, the poster consists o the ollowing three elements; burned papers, a quoteby Heinrich Heine and a photograph o the Nazi book burning on May 10, 1933 at the Opernplatz inBerlin. The quote on top o the burned papers, ‘Das war ein Vorspiel nur; dort wo man Bücherverbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen’ (Almansor, 1820) was wrien by Heinrich Heine(1797-1856), a German Jewish poet and journalist who was part o the progressive Young Germanywriters movement. His work got banned by the Frankurt Bundestag in December 1935 as his wringwas seen as an aack to the Chrisan religion in the most impudent way, degrade exisng condionsand destroy all discipline and morality with belletrisc wrings. The quote is taken rom the book  Almansor  , a Medieval tragedy wrien in 1821. In the book, Grand Inquisitor Fransisco Jimenez deCisneros ordered the burning o 5000 books o Islamic theology. Servant Hassan reacts to this orderstang that "where they burn books, so too will they in the end burn human beings." 4  This sentencewas interpreted as Heine’s prophec statement regarding the burning o books in Nazi Germany1933, in which his own books were burned too. The thousands o books that smouldered in 34German universies were an order made by the Main Oce or Press and Propaganda o the GermanStudent Union, on the 8th o may 1933. This was seen as an acons against the “Un-German Spirit.”Given the historical context o Heine’s quote, on a background o burned paper and adistorted picture o the German book burning, the poster design transcends its own historicalcontext, merging two periods o democrac decay and growing censorship in Germany into oneimage. This brings us to what I argue to be the move o commemoraon in the exhibion VerbodenMuze , which is movated by Braat in his introducon or the exhibion catalogue: 3     Oo Treumann was a German jew who ed to the Netherlands in 1935 and went hiding in Leidschendam in 1942, as result o the third razzia, with a orged identy card. (Tool Lauwen, Oo Treumann: Graphic Design in the Netherlands, 1972) He played a crucial role in the Dutch resistance movement by orging documents or the illegal Identy Card Centre headed by Gerrit Jan van der Veen, whose sculpture  Zelfportret (1932) was part o the exhibion Verboden Muze . This sculpture 4  Original quote “Dort wo man Bucher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen” (Heinrich Heine, Almansor, 1820) 5
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