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Topographies of Suffering

Buchenwald, Babi Yar, Lidice

Jessica Rapson

242 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-709-1 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (August 2015)

ISBN  978-1-78533-511-2 $29.95/£21.00 Pb Published (June 2017)

eISBN 978-1-78238-710-7 eBook

Hb Pb   Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Buy the ebook from these vendors


“Jessica Rapson has written a fascinating book… that can be immensely inspiring. One may not agree with her all the time, but this makes her discourse contribution even more valuable.” · H-Soz-Kult

“This book is a clear interdisciplinary innovation in debates over memory. Making controversial and important new arguments, through very well-chosen and well-balanced case studies, it is a significant intervention in the field and should be widely read.” · Robert Eaglestone, University of London

“…An interesting and original work, which… prompts us to reflect on memories as dynamic elements and presents the past as a challenging arena always in connection with the present.” · Alexandre Dessingué, University of Stavanger


Commentary on memorials to the Holocaust has been plagued with a sense of “monument fatigue”, a feeling that landscape settings and national spaces provide little opportunity for meaningful engagement between present visitors and past victims. This book examines the Holocaust via three sites of murder by the Nazis: the former concentration camp at Buchenwald, Germany; the mass grave at Babi Yar, Ukraine; and the razed village of Lidice, Czech Republic. Bringing together recent scholarship from cultural memory and cultural geography, the author focuses on the way these violent histories are remembered, allowing these sites to emerge as dynamic transcultural landscapes of encounter in which difficult pasts can be represented and comprehended in the present. This leads to an examination of the role of the environment, or, more particularly, the ways in which the natural environment, co-opted in the process of killing, becomes a medium for remembrance.

Jessica Rapson is a Lecturer in the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London. She is co-editor, with Lucy Bond, of The Transcultural Turn: Interrogating Memory Between and Beyond Borders (de Gruyter 2014).

Subject: Genocide Studies General Cultural Studies
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations



Chapter 1. Defining and Redefining Buchenwald
Chapter 2. Semprun’s Buchenwald
Chapter 3. Buchenwald to New Orleans


Chapter 4. Marginalized Memories
Chapter 5. Babi Yar’s Literary Journey
Chapter 6. Kiev to Denver


Chapter 7. Between the Past and the Future
Chapter 8. Lidice Travels
Chapter 9. Twinning Lidice

Conclusion: Travelling to Remember


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