Cartographies of Suffering: Mapping Holocaust Memory

Sharon Oster, University of Redlands, Professor, English

Can digital GIS maps visualize the terrifying journeys of Holocaust survivors? For all maps show, what can’t they represent? What is the memory work of maps? This project, “Cartographies of Suffering: Mapping Holocaust Memory,” analyzes GIS StoryMaps of the forced journeys of six unrelated Holocaust survivors, based on USC Shoah Foundation testimonies, created by English students at the University of Redlands. Combining spatial inquiry, historical research, and literary close reading, this project shows how GIS maps powerfully reveal the scope and scale of Nazi genocide, but also expose the limits of quantitative technologies to “map,” based on statistical “samples” or data sources, human memories of suffering. This project was supported by a grant by the Holocaust Education Foundation of Northwestern University (HEFNU).

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