Ferdinand de Jong

all photos courtesy of the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, except where otherwise noted

We have reached a point where all destinations, all bright lights, arouse mistrust.

William Kentridge, Six Drawing Lessons (2014)

Since the Holocaust was recognized as a historical calamity without precedent, Germany has publicly atoned for its history through official apologies, financial reparations, and public commemoration. While the Holocaust has been acknowledged as a crime against humanity, atrocities perpetrated under German colonialism slipped from public attention and were subject to colonial aphasia. Ironically, the memorial politics commonly referred to as Vergangenheitsbewältigung have obscured German involvement in atrocities perpetrated in the colonies. Apart from a memorial stone in Berlin's Neuköln neighborhood and a rededicated statue of an elephant in Bremen, no permanent display currently bears testament to the genocide of the Herero perpetrated in German South-West Africa.1 However, in response to political demands...

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