The changing role of Holocaust memorial sites

My latest story is one that’s been on my mind for a long time: it’s about how institutions of memory, particularly the sites of former Nazi concentration camps, are adjusting to new political and cultural realities.

Such institutions face a handful real and urgent challenges. For one, there’s the rise of right-wing populist parties—which in addition to ushering in more xenophobic rhetoric, take on questions of history and historical revisionism directly. There’s rising anti-Semitism, which has seen a resurgence in recent years. And all of this is taking place as the last of the Holocaust survivors, who played a pivotal role in education about the era, are dying out.

The idea for this story first came to mind last October, when I traveled to Auschwitz for a three-day seminar with a group of other journalists. For the piece, I was also able to spend time at Sachsenhausen Memorial, the site of a former Nazi concentration camp just outside Berlin.

These questions of history and the rise of the far right will be at the center of my ICWA fellowship over the next two years, so I’m excited to finish my time as a full-time freelancer by jumping into the issues.

You can read the piece here, in The Atlantic. More updates soon as I launch into my ICWA fellowship next week!

The entrance to the Sachsenhausen memorial in Oranienburg, Germany