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When tourism refreshes memories: geopolitical acts, geopolitics in action

Isabelle Lefort et Dominique Chevalier
Traduction de TranslateFromTo
Cet article est une traduction de :
Quand le tourisme actualise les mémoires : des actes géopolitiques, des géopolitiques en actes [fr]
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
Quando il turismo rinnova le memorie: atti geopolitici e geopolitica in atti [it]

Résumé

This article offers an analysis of memorial tourism from a geopolitical perspective. An initial focus on the invention and implementation of this type of tourism in various contexts leads to the realisation that it is doubly geopolitical: in the memories that it mobilises and the historic moments that render it (more or less) acceptable. This type of tourism is an operator of memories and, in parallel, an actant of geopolitical relations. An analysis of the devices and the actual practices of memorial tourism leads finally to a discussion of the reception of the messages conveyed by the dedicated structures.

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Peer reviewed Article

Texte intégral

To share an unforgettable moment with a Uyghur family is to be invited to stay amongst them for an evening and taste traditional dishes in a friendly atmosphere. Happy to share their food and meet people from other cultures, Uyghurs welcome travellers with open arms.1 2

1Because tourism these days is a total social fact, it mobilises, gives rise to the systemic movement and circulation of fluxes not only of people and capital but, equally, of imaginations and experiences (Boukhris and Chapuis, 2016). Yet this cultural-economic combination is only made possible by the ongoing development of an offering that is itself indexed to geopolitical conditions. At the international level, the opening-up of long-closed countries - from vast China to little Cuba – has thus expanded the list of destinations placed on the market, while UNESCO is negotiating the agreement of its Member States to the labelling of symbolic places of Humanity, stakeholders in tourist attractiveness. At the level of the world’s major regions, the Asiatic giants and equally the former Soviet bloc, their opening-up to globalised tourism markets has shifted the hereditary hierarchies of tourist areas. At the national level of the ‘old’ tourist countries, attractivity issues exacerbated by a context of heightened competition (Sacareau, Taunay, Peyvel, 2015) are driving the actors in the tourism system to continually refine their offerings.

2It is in this multi-scalar context that the practices of memorial tourism in remembrance of past conflicts (Hertzog, 2017; Chevalier, 2017) have been widely deployed. Together with the major heritagisation process (Lazzarotti, 2017) these practices have moreover occupied so much space in contemporary political spheres that the various actors (public and private) responsible for tourism strategy, piloting and implementation mobilise them in the same way as other territorialised resources (Rieutort and Spindler, 2015). This past, having thus become a tourism resource, still presents an intrinsic geopolitical characteristic, in that the historic moments to which it bears witness (war, genocide, extermination, dictatorship, territorial deconstruction/reconstruction) convey (and continue to convey) ideological and political values. To mobilise them in the tourist arena therefore presupposes a preliminary stage of peace and negotiation (Hourcade, 2015), through the very fact of acknowledging the acts and what motivated them. The showcasing of memorial resources through memorial tourism is thus fundamentally geopolitical, insofar as the actors and the places involved play out their roles from backgrounds of ideological tension.

3In doing so, this type of tourist offering makes an ideal laboratory in which to analyse the complexity of the relationships between History and Memory (Dosse, 1998), always ideologically and geopolitically positioned: through the selection of places and the construction of narratives, it reports on the state of their tensions, pacified to a greater or lesser extent. By putting memories on display (or not), it confirms their veracity (or passes over the facts involved). Memorial tourism3 is thus doubly geopolitical4. On the one hand, proceeding on the basis that these or those memories deserve to be singled out contributes to stabilising them and making the places ‘where it happened’ accessible and visit-worthy, and/or contributes to the creation of new remembrance sites included among the top visitor attractions5. On the other hand, their invention, as symbolic places, falls under the umbrella of geopolitical moments marked by peace-seeking efforts that fluctuate between peace-building (European), recognition (indigenous peoples, slave-trading pasts), ongoing ideological upheavals (Russia, the former Soviet Republics), the emergence of new order geoeconomics (Vietnam, Cambodia) or power plays (China).

4The same designation in the operational field of tourism engineering and generic devices (memorials, itineraries, immersive museography, experiential practices) thus governs this type of tourism, although deployed in very diverse geopolitical moments and contexts - the Cold War, decolonisation, the aftermath of the fall of the Walls, etc. It is precisely this coexistence and co-presence of heterogeneous situations that is analysed in the article, through bringing together a sample group of offerings from the early 2020s available on the memorial tourism market. These empirical materials drawn from research spheres, together with promotional material from websites and political speeches, make multi-scale analyses possible; not exhaustive, it is true, but sufficiently well-founded for us to hypothesise here that they are analytically operative. The selection of case studies is intentionally diverse. It illustrates, beyond periods, different levels of intervention and different communication strategies, and a plurality of objectives - economic, territorial and memorial, thus political - in their geopolitical inscription, at the operational intersection of politics and its inscription in space.

5After putting into perspective the features of its invention (Hobsbawm and Ranger, 2006), we will discuss the touristification of memories through the prism of the operators and then the actants and their impact in terms of geopolitical relations. In both cases, they act in the social and political space; the operators use the space, the memories and its resources according to circumstances that present themselves as actants (memorials, artefacts, words and photographs posted on social networks). Finally, the analysis of devices and actual practices, at the detailed level of the tourists, explores their reception and their challenges. The article concludes by questioning the effectiveness/efficiency of the whole of this offering that promotes learning practices insofar as they constitute a means of working towards geopolitical processes of reconciliation and peace-making.

I. The invention and expansion of memorial tourism

6Memorial tourism, considered from its thanatopic aspect (Folio, 2016), is not new; battlefield ruins (the American Civil War, the Franco-Prussian campaign of 1870, the Great War) were already occasions for pilgrimages and sightseeing visits. However, it expanded rapidly in the memorial aftermath of the 1970s that mobilised and made it a collective imperative to recognise the atrocities of the Nazi regime. The context of ‘globalisation of memories’ (Rousso, 2007) simultaneously aggregates regimes of historicity (Hartog, 2003), of remembrance (Michel, 2015) and of spatiality (Chevalier, 2017), which are not without geopolitical repercussions. While the term may at first sight seem awkward, nonetheless this type of tourism does indeed seem to play a part in valorising these memories, and the word ‘valorise’ has a dual significance here: both to recognise and build the symbolic value of ‘places where it happened’ and to assign a localised economic value.

A. From duty to memorial tourism

7The analysis of this phenomenon rests primarily on the recognition of the spatial dimensions of memory, originally developed in Anglophone writing in the 1970s, the time of the emergence of early works highlighting the ideological and technical specificity of the genocide of the Jews (including the works of Hannah Arendt, Raul Hilberg, Saul Friedlander, George Mosse, Ian Kershaw, Peter Novick and Tom Segev).

8Henceforward memory has become an almost inescapable argument/instrument, mobilised by various social groups and political actors. The shock waves of the Holocaust (Lindenberg, Garapon and Padis, 2008) gave impetus to others stemming from decolonisation, the end of the Vietnam War and the Middle Eastern conflicts, which have had consequences for the touristification of these places.

  • 6 Twelve sites are currently classified according to this criterion. Among them, six correspond to ex (...)
  • 7 Translated from the French: la mutation d’un bien ordinaire en bien distingué

9In this context, the UNESCO Convention (1972) which promoted the creation of a new level of international heritage, began to classify places of painful memory under criterion VI: ‘[To] be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance’6. The consequences were multiple, and in particular UNESCO established a classification identifying the ‘outstanding value’ of certain places of remembrance (Auschwitz 1979, Gorée 1978, Hiroshima 1996). This heritagisation can thus be understood as a deliberate action aimed at ‘the transformation of an ordinary place into a place of distinction’ (Bondaz et al., 2014, p. 11)7, such that heritage processes, like memory processes, form part of a vast network of social, economic, cultural and political relations (Berliner and Bortolotto, 2013; Guillaud et al., 2016).

10Hence it is the universal dimension that in this way can qualify them twofold. This (geopolitical) initiative subsequently served as a template for many other places of remembrance that have taken up the same educational project. International bodies - UNESCO (Cousin, 2008), UNWTO, the EU - have staked their belief in the educational mission of the handing-down of universal values from generation to generation. In Western Europe, the opening of places dedicated to painful memories is taking shape progressively: at first in an ad hoc fashion, and then more systematically, with international networks being set up, building on this aspiration (Hertzog, 2013; Lazzarotti and Violier, 2007).

11In regions that once were colonised, post-colonial demands have also led to international recognition of three places with painful memories. But valorising the colonial past (architecture, urban planning, amenities) to promote tourism remains a marginal practice in the offerings of these states, which usually prefer to focus on their resources in terms of landscape, environment or local cultures (Senegal's Petite Côte and Grande Côte beaches), drawing a veil over the sites of tragedies in colonial times; the Pangalanese Canal in Madagascar, whose construction cost the lives of thousands of Malagasy, barely sees its history recognised8 or its tourism valorisation gathering any momentum. The invention and promotion of memorial tourism as a localised offer is thus part of a framework of negotiation between economic interests, development politics and regional attractiveness.

B. Memorial tourism: recycling, propaganda and... geopolitical demands

  • 9 Téoros in 2004 and Herodote in 2007 devoted a special issue to this theme.

12The fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Soviet bloc significantly transformed the international tourism map: their ‘opening-up’ set in motion new populations, both transmitters and receivers. Tourist activity thus plays an active role in this geopolitical reconfiguration9. Collectively, the need to proliferate the offering (in line with emerging market segments or repositioning) generates a touristification of resources of every description: from the material to the immaterial, cultural to natural. This expansion of the tourist offering is simultaneously driven by an increased globalisation that seeks to intensify exchanges and make them profitable (MIT Team, 2005; Coëffé, Pébarthe and Violier, 2007) and by its parallel need for an affirmation of individualities, conceived as specific territorial resources, with high added value.

13To the east of the former Iron Curtain, the adjustment has been gradual but complex, due to ongoing geopolitical tensions. During the period of the blocs, the countries structured the tourism sector (places, accommodation, activities), targeting the well-being of the people (sports, health resorts) and discovery of the regime's achievements (Kroni, 2016; Moroz, 2020). We are now seeing reinvestment in pre-Soviet heritage (religious buildings, cultural events) and also, on a more ad hoc basis, a valorisation of the Gulag internment sites. Yakutia Ministry of Tourism is planning to promote three former Gulag camps in Eastern Siberia (Dalstroy, Yanstroi and Senduchensky) as tourist attractions10. Moreover, interest in this prison archipelago extends as far as the capital, Moscow, where a museum of the history of the Gulag was opened in 2001 (Chevalier, 2019). Conversely, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered a ‘de-heritagisation’ process: the renaming of streets and squares and the destruction of statues glorifying the communist regime. Very quickly, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the aftermath of the ‘de-sovietisation laws’ removed anything that ‘carries the ideology of communism’ (Moroz, 2020) from the heritage lists. These once-revered memorials, now scrap, pile up in parks, like clinker that has lost its strength... and are becoming tourist hotspots for fans of GDR nostalgia... or who are not. This is the case for the All-Russia exhibition centre in Moscow, which brings together, on a 200-hectare site, a collection of statues and pavilions decorated with frescos to the glory of workers and Soviet power, and also Memento Park in Budapest.

14This step of recognising (or not) places of memory as such constitutes the first moment, a requisite, in their touristification. Three conditions vie in it. At State level, when an ideological consensus and a strategy prevail, the promotion of historic moments of wars and their victims valorises the current regime and explicitly mobilises their memories; thus, the Cu Chi network of underground tunnels, near Ho Chi Minh City, receives some 20 million visitors of various nationalities every year (Chevalier and Lefort, 2016).

15Conversely, in the absence of any national doxa, tourist offerings emerge at the level of individual actors. In faraway Kolyma, to enable visitors and tourists to experience the closest thing to a typical ‘day in the life of’ Ivan Denisovich11, ‘Vladimir Svertelov, ID number M-1241, puts on his work uniform bearing his ID number each week to go to the memorial named ‘The Mask of Sorrow, inaugurated in Magadan in 1996. In 1994, he founded a private museum here dedicated to the gulag (...)’12. These tourist devices are ad hoc, in no way integrated into a structured tourism strategy and promoted as such, as is shown by the tourist offering around Lake Baikal13. Focusing on ‘nature’, it ignores the nearby internment camp, which has been left just as it was. At the national level, Russia is putting in place a quite different tourism development policy14 .

16In the form of much larger investments, private operators are recycling infrastructures inherited from the Nazi period. This has happened in Prora, on the shores of the Baltic. The Hitler regime had created a very extensive tourist facility there in 1936 (a huge building, 4.5 kilometres long, on the island of Rugen), to accommodate 20,000 holiday-makers under the auspices of the organisation Kraft durch Freude, ‘Strength Through Joy’. With the war, the holiday village became a military hospital and then, after 1945, barracks for soldiers of the GDR, before being abandoned with reunification; it was, however, listed as a historical monument in 1994 (and visited for its architectural dimension: 500,000 visitors a year before the Covid era). A consortium took over this facility to convert it into luxury apartments for coastal tourism on the Baltic. Upon completion of the first phase of the operation, some local residents expressed the wish to see a memorial housed there15, deploring the fact that capitalism, in a modern version, should have finally brought to fulfilment the project initiated by National Socialism.

17These three examples clearly illustrate the inescapable relationship between recognition of memories and the current geopolitical situation that may, depending on circumstances, be based on the promotion of a national ideology, as in Vietnam (Peyvel, 2009), or may express itself in a fragile geopolitical context (Russia), or may contribute to the economic recycling of places, as in the former GDR.

C. Memorial tourism: a mirror of geopolitical situations

  • 16 The case of Oradour-sur-Glane is also politically complex (Fouché, 2011) because it is part of a lo (...)
  • 17 And now, negationist inscriptions are appearing, such as those sprayed on the Memorial Centre of Or (...)

18This type of tourism builds on the value of the place (Debarbieux, 1993; Gentelle, 1995; Piveteau, 1995; Grataloup, 1996; MIT team, 2005). For the duration of the visit, the memory is refreshed, made visible, kept alive; but always in terms of contemporary representations of the past that provides the narrative. Thus in Oradour-sur-Glane in the early 1970s, funeral plaques stated ‘assassinated by the Germans’16. In the early 2000s, in the perspective of the erection of the Memorial Centre, the disappearance of the last eye-witnesses and no doubt the context of the construction of the EU, more temperate inscriptions have come to take their place, as if memories and plaques had adjusted themselves to new expectations17.

19This kind of tourism, thus, functions as an operator of memories. Through the touristic exploitation of dedicated sites, the actors who deliver them, just like the tourists who visit them, make a joint contribution to their realisation, in the sense that they make them real and make the experience of visiting them - the ordeal - not only possible but, above all, desirable for the educational dimension of the places (Gensburger and Lefranc, 2017). In 2018, in this perspective of actional pedagogy (Lebrun and Tutiaux-Guillon, 2016), at the height of the commemorations of the centenary of the Great War, some history and geography teachers decided to take their class of secondary school students to sleep in the trenches, so that they could learn about the living conditions of the ‘poilus’ (the affectionate nickname for the French soldiers)18. This experience could very well have been offered to tourists, so great are the similarities between the two groups (schools/tourists): both follow ‘guides’ whose involvement stems from a willingness and a desire to transmit knowledge composed of a mixture of pleasure, pedagogical and didactic innovations, and instruction. In the financial accounts of tourist businesses, school groups are included under ‘tourists’...

20Although there are differences in the patterns of the examples cited, nevertheless these memorial processes follow a common geopolitical trajectory on three levels: recognising the sites as places of major importance, because events have taken place there and because actors consider it necessary to make them known (gulags), collectively recognising each other as stakeholders in these events (Americans and Vietnamese from Vietnam and the diaspora visit the tunnels together and hear the same commentary delivered by the guides), and mutually recognising one other in the sharing of memories (EU cultural routes).

21These stages are inseparable from their political and geopolitical contexts; and so, likewise, are the narratives, the layouts or even the attempts/temptations to instrumentalise or blot out memorial sites.

II. Tourism: a political operator of memories and an actant of geopolitical relations

  • 19 Translated from the French: Le temps accomplissant son oeuvre de dissolution, les ruines seules ne (...)

22To welcome visitors and give them access to historical material and artefacts that bear witness to events that took place, the dominating principle is that of the memorial and/or interpretation centre. The example of Oradour-sur-Glane where the ruins of the village were classified immediately after the war, in 1946, is eloquent in this respect, as evidenced by the museum's website: ‘As time carries out its work of dissolution, ruins alone would soon no longer be enough to perpetuate a message of remembrance and peace. The time had come to fix this specific memory through the creation of what we call an interpretation centre (inaugurated on July 16, 1999), which has no objects or collections on display, but which permits the visitor to make an explicit, historical and educational journey following the permanent exhibition, giving closure to the irreplaceable emotional and memorial aspect of the preserved martyr village. The memorial centre gives access to the ruins of the martyr village’19. At the same time, other martyr villages such as Dortan, in Ain, remain in the shade.

A. Recognising memories: a process never without tensions

  • 20 But that does not mean that these memories are forever absent. When a dominated group comes into th (...)
  • 21 Translated from the French: Mémoire nationale des victimes des persécutions racistes et antisémites (...)

23The construction of these memorials/visitor centres inevitably brings to light ideological and political tensions, even competition between memorials that can leave other memories in the shade or cloaked in invisibility20. The Maison d'Izieu, the children’s house at Izieux, continues to be recognised, from a historical perspective, as the place where, in the early morning of 6th April 1944, the 44 children and seven teachers, who were present at the time, were rounded up and deported on the orders of Klaus Barbie. The Maison stood forgotten until Barbie's trial in 1987, which at that point gave the raid at Izieu permanent visibility in France's landscape of remembrance. Opened on 24th April 1994, it is now the third place of ‘National remembrance of the victims of racist and anti-Semitic persecution and crimes against humanity21, recognised by decree, along with the Vélodrome d’Hiver (Winter Velodrome) and Gurs internment camp. While commemorations have been set up in memory of the children who were rounded up and deported, nobody ever mentions (or very rarely) the 70 children saved by the settlement, who were absent on the day of the raid.

  • 22 Translated from the French: Lieu de mémoire et d’histoire
  • 23 The resistance on the Plateau was initiated by three pastors, Charles Guillon, André Trocmé and Edo (...)
  • 24 The other aspect that angers neighbouring municipalities, is in fact the tourist attractiveness tha (...)

24Conversely, the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (Haute-Loire) remains famous solely for the saving of Jews. In 1990, the Yad Vashem memorial, on behalf of the State of Israel, conferred upon it the title of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ (Gensburger, 2010). In 2013, a museum, a place of memory and history22, opened its doors in the municipality (Cabanel Joutard, Sémelin and Wieviorka, 2013). However, this political appropriation of the memorial has been the cause of conflicts and controversies23 with neighbouring municipalities. This is evidenced by the reactions to the installation of a tourist sign by the town hall on the RN88 in August 2017, as a reminder of the saving of more than 3,000 Jews during the war (Document 1). Some felt that Le Chambon's elected officials were shamelessly trying to lay their own claim to the heroic deeds of their elders, and to gain advantage from it, particularly for the purposes of tourism24.


B. Destabilisation and stabilisation of memorials, invariably political

  • 25 Compare the reactions put out to criticise the report given by Benjamin Stora to the President of t (...)

25Certain historical events remain lively memorial objects25, as evidenced by the Museum of the History of France and Algeria, which in the end did not open in 2015 as planned. The major construction work was, however, complete; the windows had been purchased, 3,000 items assembled, loans had been arranged from the Quai Branly Museum and MuCEM, the permanent exhibition was in the process of being set up and the first temporary exhibition ‘Algeria and France as a mirror of the Great War’ had been labelled by the Mission du Centenaire ...

  • 26 Translated from the French: un centre d’art contemporain capable d’attirer 800 000 visiteurs par an (...)
  • 27 Marc Ferro, Benjamin Stora, Jean-Robert Henry and Sylvie Thénault, in particular, deplored the thre (...)

26Initially, the project was to be for a Museum of French Works in Algeria, planned since 2002 by the mayor and president of the urban community, G. Frêche, whose objective was rather to show France's 'positive' influence in Algeria, with the spotlight on the unequivocal memory of the returnees. After his death in 2010, his successor, Jean-Pierre Moure, chose to refocus the museographical perspective, renaming the museum ‘History of France and Algeria’ (Henry, 2018). The undertaking was well advanced when Ph. Saurel, newly elected mayor (Divers Gauche) of the city, notified the local press on 14th May 2014 of its withdrawal and declared his preference for ‘a contemporary arts centre capable of attracting 800,000 visitors a year [rather than a museum of Algeria which would have five visitors a day]’ 26. In the days that followed, the Scientific Council of the Museum drew up a petition in the form of an open letter to the aedile of Montpellier, signed by over a thousand people27.

27This example shows how the local and national levels affect each other and reaffirms the (geo)political dimension of museums as major elements in a tourist device. Since putting together collections to open a museum always involves consulting groups of people (Micoud, 1996), a memorial museum cannot but expose unresolved political and geopolitical tensions/conflicts. The promotion of memorial tourism, thus, always operates in a state of tension between memories that have become collectively reconcilable and those that are not (yet), or less so. Touristification selects memories and synchronises them with the current context. It works as a powerful producer and transmitter of memories.

  • 28 Translated from the French: Quartier du négoce au temps de l'esclavage
  • 29 Report of Reflections and Proposals Committee on the slave trade in Bordeaux. Translated from the F (...)

28In Nantes, a new visitor experience ‘The trading quarter in the slave trade era28 is included in the city's offering, while in Bordeaux, the recognition of slave trading is more delicate. After constant pressure from the Association led by Karfa Dialo, a response was finally given by the Museum of Aquitaine which henceforth will devote four rooms to it, plus a commemorative plaque on the waterfront. But it was not possible to establish either a memorial in Bordeaux's public spaces or a memorial trail. The Report of the Committee on Reflections and Proposals on the Slave Trade in Bordeaux stressed that ‘Bordeaux is a city with a clear international vocation, with at its heart significant African and Caribbean minorities. This vocation assigns to it the role of liaising between all present or future memorial initiatives on the Atlantic coast, from Liverpool (the largest slave port) to Lisbon via Bristol (Bordeaux's twin city) and the French ports. Nantes started work more than ten years ago on a memorial on its past through the intercession of an association (Les Anneaux de la Mémoire) and an elected official (Mr. Chotard), deputy mayor. The Mayor of La Rochelle has expressed the wish to act in conjunction with other cities. He is in contact with a newly-created association that has offered to work in the same perspective: to trigger memories. Bordeaux could be the focal point for pooling, as a network, all that is done or planned on this subject29. Ultimately, the municipality of Bordeaux prefers to head up an international European network, where responsibilities are shared geographically and nationally, rather than establish, in its own public spaces, a clearly identifiable acknowledgement of the Triangular Trade. As noted by Renaud Hourcade (2015), unlike the example of Nantes, no elected official at Bordeaux has turned the memory of slavery into his political ‘cause’. This issue, handled with diffidence, has remained a stumbling block for the image of the city.

29The roll-out of memorial tourism is necessarily subject to the acceptability, by the actors concerned, of its recognition of the past, on gradients whose geopolitical settings historically operate on broad curves. But local resistance remains. Such is the case with Vichy (Haas, 2002), which was, from 1940 to 1944, the capital of the French State. In 1992, for the 50th anniversary of the great raids, Serge Klarsfeld and some friends went there with the firm intention of putting up two plaques at the top of the stairs leading to the front door of the building corresponding to the former Hôtel du Parc, which housed the central French administration during the Occupation, and also Pétain's private apartments. It took a year to reach a compromise with the city hall and for the stele to be officially inaugurated, just opposite the building. At Vichy, this small memorial is also one of very few reminders of the ‘past that does not pass’ (Conan & Rousso, 1994): one single thematic tour was recently offered by the Tourist Office. Although, at first sight, the architecture of the Second Empire and the Belle Epoque appears to have helped stifle the memory of this historic moment and fosters the tourist image of spa resort, Audrey Mallet (2019) shows how much more complex the reality proves to be. It is true that Vichy remains an anomaly in France's landscape of remembrance of the Second World War. However, contrary to what the successive elected officials would have liked, cloaking the war in invisibility has not buried forever recollections of the French State. The author of ‘Vichy contre Vichy. Une capitale sans mémoire’ has developed the app ‘Vichy 1939-1945’30 which enables one to take a fully autonomous guided tour of war-time Vichy.

C. Memorial tourism: an actant of geopolitical relations

  • 31 Tourisme culturel et conscience de l’Europe. La prise de conscience collective des hauts lieux cult (...)
  • 32 Translated from the French: ce ‘système’ d’itinéraires culturels peut être utile pour “raccommoder” (...)
  • 33 Extract from Resolution CM/Res (2013) 66 confirming the establishment of the Enlarged Partial Agree (...)

30The European territory is a laboratory of choice for analysing memorial relations between States. In Western Europe, the 1960s saw the emergence of the need for a ‘collective awareness of the major cultural sites of Europe and their incorporation into the civilisation of leisure’31. However, it had to wait for German reunification and then the integration into the EU of the former socialist states in order that, in this new geopolitical context, more structural devices could begin efforts to pacify memories through cultural processing. The Cultural Routes have been a major element in this since 1987 (Guérin, 2008): ‘This “system” of cultural routes can be useful for “making good” the cracks that exist in the European construction. It can be compared to a canvas where the frame and warp threads are provided by institutions, by governments, by major political decisions, and it is for us, the citizens, to weave it, it is for us to create the finest work possible’32 . These routes are a means, politically, for the EU to achieve the transition from European entity to European identity (Berti et al., 2015), especially since the expansion to include former socialist Central European countries: this ‘cultural, educational heritage and tourism co-operation project aiming at the development and promotion of an itinerary or a series of itineraries based on a historic route, a cultural concept, figure or phenomenon with a transnational importance and significance for the understanding and respect of common European values’33. Among the most recent are the Route of the Iron Curtain (2019) and the route to the Liberation of Europe (2019), whose two most eastern member countries are Germany and the Czech Republic.

  • 34 Translated from the French: En ce sens, on peut dire que ces acteurs et les projets qu’ils portent (...)

31Their aims? To promote, through travel and tourism, a collective pedagogy together with ownership by the citizens of Europe of a history written to be shared, telling a story that is different from national historical narratives. Their implementation thus clearly has to do with internal geopolitics, in the form of a European ‘Utopia’ (Gaillard, 2017), as a possible new reality (Ricoeur, 1997): ‘In this sense, we can say that these actors and the projects they work on and support make Europe sympathetic because they are of a human size, just as they make it communicable in the sense of communication as putting in common, as sharing, as communion’34 (Gaillard, 2017).

III. Devices and narratives: when geopolitics orchestrate memorial tourism

  • 35 The Massacre of Nanjing is part of China's painful past perpetrated by the Japanese army in 1937.
  • 36 Erected in memory of all the victims of the 11th September 2001 attacks, the victims at the twin to (...)
  • 37 The genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda took place between 7th April 1994 and 17th July 1994.

32Tourist memorial devices face a conundrum that is difficult to resolve: how to organise, arrange - sometimes rearrange - the past, so as to contemplate the world at the present time and to come? Holocaust memorials are essential points of reference in this domain: the Nanjing Massacre Memorial35, New York's September 11 Memorial36, the Kigali Genocide Memorial37 and many more bring together, in the same way, eye-witness accounts, films, photographs, victims’ names written on walls, works of art in museums and sometimes adjacent gardens, and a quiet room to reflect and perhaps project oneself before leaving. An exhibition lays out objects with the (constitutive) intention of making them accessible to its public (Davallon, 1999). The similarities in memorial devices observable since the 1990s are characterised by the recurrence of the same scenic principles that govern them and have identical objectives: that every visitor, who also carries their own history, is able to bear witness after their visit.

A. Experiential devices and contrasting experiences

  • 38 Sobibor, one of three camps of ‘Operation Reinhardt’ built in 1942, was constructed with gas chambe (...)
  • 39 This camp had seen a prisoner uprising in October 1943 during which dozens of Jews managed to escap (...)

33This was the case for Sobibor Museum38, opened in October 2020. Featuring broken lines in wood that symbolise the railway ramp that led to the camp, the visitor centre and museum were built on the exact location of the barracks where the prisoners had to undress before going into the gas chambers. Inside, a chronological themed trail tells the story of the killing centre and the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Poland. The exterior insinuates itself into the device via horizontal windows that permit visitors to embrace the spot where the prisoners killed SS officers at the start of the revolt39. A model reconstructs the entire camp as faithfully as possible. The exhibition includes 700 objects - almost all found during excavations at the site since 2000 – which are displayed on a long table, 25 metres in length, retracing the stages in the victims' lives, from freedom to death. These little personal things - jewellery, medicines, clothes, labels, toiletries - are all that is left of the deportees.

34Here, the exhibition designers develop recurrent narrative strategies: the collections and archives are displayed with very particular museographical attention paid to the construction of the narrative (the victims' origins, the chronology of the events), to their emotional charge, and to the transmission of human values. The devices bear witness, by exhibiting evidence, and expect an individual reception such that will ensure that the message is passed on. The anticipated educational and pedagogical virtues are paramount in this, and are multiple: to encourage identification with the victims, to trigger emotions that may never have been felt for these memories, to reinforce messages - to make use of these places and these rooms to create a bulwark against other barbarities. At the Memorial of the Massacre of Nanjing, a device has also been specifically designed to ‘put your feet’ in a series of casts of footprints of the survivors of the massacre. During this ‘walk of remembrance’, visitors thus concentrate on placing, with varying degrees of precision, their feet into the various footprints set out on the floor (Chevalier, 2018).

  • 40 This dynamic can be found in works looking at visits to Ground Zero (on this issue cf. Joy Sather-W (...)
  • 41 Translated from the French: il faut venir ici pour en prendre vraiment conscience. Recurrence of th (...)

35This incorporation, this impregnation, is what many visitors say they are looking for here, in a tangible, material and concrete way, which up to then was only approached via the channel (and the voice) of the media, books and history text-books40: ‘you have to come here to really understand’ is a recurrent phrase in visitor books41.

36But some do not conform to the implicit and expected normative prism of respecting these paradigmatic places (Knafou, 2012). Was this the case for those visitors to Buchenwald camp who, frustrated by being unable to ski freely, came specifically to go tobogganing on the mounds of the graves on 15th January, 202142? Earlier, in March 2019, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum had published a message on Twitter. ‘When you come to Auschwitz, remember that you are on a site where a million people were killed. Respect their memory. There are better places to learn to walk while balancing on rails than on the site that symbolises the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people to their deaths43’ (Document 2). Posing for souvenir photographs is a well-known and very old tourist practice, but here it takes on a different, and polemic, tone (Chevalier and Lefort, 2016). In Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is very popular with people taking selfies. The German artist Shahak Shapira created a mise en abyme of these practices with his project Yolocaust (Chevalier, 2021): he collected a number of selfies and photographs published on social media and reworked them, putting them inside archive images of the corpses of deportees. Then, in his turn, he (re)published these images on-line, thus artistically denouncing this clash of memories and souvenirs.

Document 2: Tweet from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. 20th March 2019

Document 2: Tweet from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. 20th March 2019

B. Transforming experiential memorial tourism into transformational tourism and dreaming of peace in geopolitics?

  • 44 cf. in particular the work of Bernard-Donals M. (2005); Feldman J. (2010); Jonchery A. and Biraud S (...)

37What do tourists come looking for at these places? An experience? An eye-witness account? One of ‘life's lessons’? A desire to be able to build something together? To satisfy their curiosity? No doubt a complex and very personal mixture of these different motivations44, especially since these visits are part of the pool of offerings where plurality is the norm: in Poland, combination tickets allow one to visit Krakow, Auschwitz and the ‘Wieliczka’ salt mine; in Rwanda, visits combine Volcanoes Park, Akagera Park and the Genocide Memorial in Kigali; on Gorée, one visits the House of Slaves and also its surroundings (colonial buildings) and buy craft products; in Besançon, one visits the Citadel and get a combo ticket for the zoo and the Resistance Museum. Memorial tourism is just one fragment of the tourist trails.

38At certain places, motivation is expressed. This is the case for Afro-American tourists from the African diaspora who come to visit the island of Gorée and the Slave House (Senegal's most visited museum). Their trips have a pilgrimage dimension, even an ‘initiatory journey’ (Fourcade, 2010). The return to a ‘homeland’ arouses strong emotions (Document 3) arising from a search for identity (Bachimon, Decroly and Knafou, 2016). At these places, and through them, the racialised identity constructions from the past are replayed (Fouéré, 2020). On the subject of Gorée, A. Gaye has clearly shown (2020) how, beyond slavery and colonial conquest, the House of Slaves holds a place within a geopolitical network in which Europe, America and Africa can vie with each other in denouncing slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity.

Document 3: Entry in the visitor book of the House of Slaves. Gorée. February 2017

Document 3: Entry in the visitor book of the House of Slaves. Gorée. February 2017

Photo: D. Chevalier

Document 4: The House of Slaves with its famous double-helix staircase. Below, the Door to the Voyage without Return. ‘The’ most often-recurring souvenir photo taken by tourists. February 2017

Document 4: The House of Slaves with its famous double-helix staircase. Below, the Door to the Voyage without Return. ‘The’ most often-recurring souvenir photo taken by tourists. February 2017

Photo: D. Chevalier

  • 45 Regarding this Door to the Voyage, a major landmark in terms of its symbolism and also its historio (...)

39Opening onto the sea, a passage was dug in the walls of the slave house: the Door to the voyage without return, through which the slaves set off for the Americas (Document 4). It is precisely here at this door, the place where the memory of slavery is condensed (Debarbieux, 1995)45 that on 22nd February 1992 Pope John Paul II asked forgiveness from Africa (“We implore forgiveness from heaven”) because many priests blessed the slave ships before they left. Long is the list of politicians who have been there, conferring upon the place its symbolic value, because it brings people together in the truest sense.

  • 46 It is about how the past is replayed. The re-enactment arises from a past / present dialogue, often (...)

40The recurrence of scenographies and museographies is like the pacifist mantras (‘never again’), at least at the places where a memorial convergence has stabilised (Gensburger and Lefranc, 2017). They are based on the principle of re-enactment46: that this memorable visit initiates, instils and reinforces the value of the messages and ensures efficient transmission. It is therefore at the individual level of receiving the message that the aestheticisation of devices comes into play. Aestheticisation, in both senses of the word: aesthetics as the perceptual and immediate modality of being at the place (far from history as it is told at school or the media library); aesthetics as the artistic translation of the spirit of these places (the architecture, statuary, landscaping). But, from aestheticisation to the cosmetisation of emotions (slick presentations, neatly-arranged materials, and so... tidying-up the narratives), it is a narrow line that separates it from an emotional ‘theme park’ formula. The display devices, virtually interchangeable, irrespective of the facts being portrayed, throw ‘bones to gnaw’ to an audience that may be keen on sensationalism, at the risk of a standardisation of emotions.

C. Where visits meet political projects

  • 47 cf. the incidents at the international symposium on 21st and 22nd February 2019 at the EHESS: ‘La n (...)
  • 48 Between 2000 and 2011, the works of the Polish-born American historian Jan T. Gross - Neighbors (20 (...)
  • 49 The site records ever increasing visitor numbers: in 2019, 2.32 million visitors, representing near (...)

41In Poland and Hungary, the task of reconciliation that has guaranteed historical research since the post-1989 democratic opening is now under threat (Potel, 2016; Behr, 2018) from the Polish government led by the ultraconservative nationalist Law and Justice party of J. Kaczynski, who has now taken it upon himself to rewrite history (Behr, 2015). This new ‘historical politics’ seeks to play down or even deny the participation of Polish people in tracking down and killing Polish Jews47. This fiercely nationalist discourse breaks with the evolution that, for some 15 years, had led the Poles to confront the long and complex history of Jews in Poland (Gross, 2002; 2010)48 as it is nonetheless still told in the POLIN Museum of Warsaw, opened in 2013 (Document 5). The museum's main tenet leaves no room for doubt: Poland would not be the same without the Jews, and the Jews would not be the same without Poland. Visiting the museum is now an essential part of ‘memorial tours’ and B. Kirsenblatt-Gimblett, head curator of the permanent exhibition, mentioned in an interview she gave to Paul Gradvohl in 2018 the case of Israeli tourists beginning to combine the visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau49 with a visit to the POLIN Museum.

Document 5: Warsaw. POLIN Museum (architects Rainer Mahlamäki, Ilmari Lahdelma, 2013). Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto (Nathan Rapoport, 1948) in the foreground. 3rd December 2018

Document 5: Warsaw. POLIN Museum (architects Rainer Mahlamäki, Ilmari Lahdelma, 2013). Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto (Nathan Rapoport, 1948) in the foreground. 3rd December 2018

Photo: D. Chevalier

42In a similar nationalist rationale, a new memorial sculpted by Peter Raab Parkanyi was erected in Budapest in 2014. It features a bronze eagle which extends a menacing wing over the Archangel Gabriel, a symbol of the innocent Hungary. This allegorical statue erected in Liberty Square, one of Budapest's main squares, represents the country as a victim of the Third Reich. Its detractors call it ‘revisionist’ because it ignores the responsibility of the Horthy regime in the deportation of Jews from Hungary. While the subject matter of this construction is obviously not touristic, the anti-memorial erected by a group of residents and historians in reaction to this controversial monument has become practically a must for tourists visiting the Hungarian capital. Candles, photographs and personal objects that belonged to the deportees are exhibited, both as a protest and as a commemoration. This symbolic space also serves as a place of civic expression: debates and meetings are regularly held here, and tourists come to observe, by choice or by chance, the objects and posters on display.

  • 50 Translated from the French: À la mémoire des victimes tuées dans le Danube par des miliciens du Par (...)

43Other memorial works erected in the city at the turn of the 2000s recall the raids that took men, women and children, in the heart of winter, to the banks of the Danube (Document 6). This is especially the case with Shoes on the Danube Bank, a work by Gyula Pauer and Can Togay (2005), which represents the shootings carried out on these shores. The ‘Walk of the Shoes on the Danube’ is a recommended visit in guidebooks. These shoes of every size are a reminder that here, stripped of their clothes and their shoes, in a temperature approaching minus 20°, men, women and children were placed in rows, facing the river, before being shot. But these Shoes on the Danube Bank do not actually allow tourists to identify exactly what victims are being commemorated: the cast iron plaques set in three places do not mention that they were Jews, although it was for this precise reason that they were murdered: ‘In memory of the victims killed in the Danube by militia of the Arrow Cross Party in 1944-1945. Erected on 16th April, 2005’ 50.

Document 6: Budapest. Shoes on the Danube Bank. By Can Togay and Gyula (2005).

Document 6: Budapest. Shoes on the Danube Bank. By Can Togay and Gyula (2005).

Bronze of men's, women's and children's shoes laid out over some 50 metres. February 2017

Photo: D. Chevalier

Conclusion

44Clearly, then, it is in acts and contexts that tourism refreshes memories: those of the local actors, governments and international bodies and of the tourists themselves. On the global tourism stage, collective narratives are being developed and enacted, with never any guarantee of stabilisation. Therefore, this type of tourism is far from presenting itself as a universal theatre of remembrance: its cartography (places/territories) and its topology (places/networks) are indexed to geopolitical and ideological contexts, shifting and conflicting because they are historical. Together, relying on an individual transmission of values of humanity by aesthetic and sensitive immediacy, from a personal relationship to collective political events in no way guarantees that the message will be satisfactorily received. The present is proof of this, with domestic and international tourism rushing to China despite international campaigns denouncing the persecution of the Uyghurs or an NGO, as far back as 2012, denouncing human displacements in southern Myanmar51. One might wonder whether tourism practices, through the pragmatic re-enactment approach that has been implemented, could be the only good bulwark against the opposite of memory, oblivion.

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Notes

1 http://www.chineescapade.com/guide-touristique/Turpan/diner-chez-ouigours.html: the term ‘génocide culturel’, cultural genocide, is regularly used to refer to the repression suffered by the Uyghur people.

2

Translated from the French: Partager un moment inoubliable avec une famille ouïgoure, c'est être invité à rester le temps d'une soirée parmi eux et goûter aux plats traditionnels dans un cadre convivial. Heureux de partager leur nourriture et de rencontrer des peuples d'une autre culture, les Ouïgours accueillent les voyageurs à bras ouverts.

3 The word ‘memory’ is used sometimes in the singular, sometimes in the plural, depending on its sense. In the singular, memory can mean a category of analysis commonly shared in social sciences; in the plural, memories will examine specific expressions of remembrance.

4 This is not the place to (re)write an epistemology of the word. In particular, we would refer readers to the special issue of L'Espace Politique devoted to a situational analysis of political geography and geopolitics.

https://journals.openedition.org/espacepolitique/4327#tocto1n2 or to the article by Agnieszka Legucka (2013).

5 https://www.partir-a-new-york.com/visites-incontournables/visiter-le-9-11-memorial-du-11-septembre-a-ground-zero

Lobservatoire-de-la-One-World-Trade/d687-5250P22

https://www.getyourguide.fr/cracovie-l40/visite-guidee-d-une-journee-a-auschwitz-birkenau-t54910/

https://lespepitesdumonde.com/2018/12/27/visite-de-choeung-ek-killing-fields-de-phnom-penh/

6 Twelve sites are currently classified according to this criterion. Among them, six correspond to explicitly painful memories: the Old Bridge area of the Old City of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina; the archaeological site of Valongo Wharf in Brazil; the forts and castles of Volta, Accra and the surrounding area and the Central and Western Regions; the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome); Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland; and Senegal’s Gorée Island.

7 Translated from the French: la mutation d’un bien ordinaire en bien distingué

8 https://www.madagascar-tribune.com/Debut-de-la-rehabilitation-du-canal-des-Pangalanes-25017-25017-25017-25017-25017.html

9 Téoros in 2004 and Herodote in 2007 devoted a special issue to this theme.

10 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/russia-sakha-republic-yakutia-proposes-tourist-camps-former-gulags

11 Title of the novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, published in 1962, in which the author describes living conditions in a gulag camp during the early 1950s.

12 Lia Motskobili, ‘Tourisme. La Kolyma, sa nature enchanteresse, ses vestiges du goulag’, Courrier international, 09/09/2004. A look at tourism in Russia, cf. Ekaterina Andreeva-Jourdain (2016).

13 Marie Jego, ‘Olkhon, du goulag au tourisme’, Le Monde, 23/07/2013, https://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2013/07/23/olkhon-du-goulag-au-tourisme_3451592_3214 .html

14 cf. https://www.geo.fr/voyage/la-russie-decidee-a-redorer-son-blason-avec-le-tourisme-196766

15 https://www.swissinfo.ch/fre/prora--le-colosse-qui-ne-veut-pas-se-laisser-oublier/6784850

16 The case of Oradour-sur-Glane is also politically complex (Fouché, 2011) because it is part of a long-fragmented national memory (role played by the Alsatian Malgré-Nous).

17 And now, negationist inscriptions are appearing, such as those sprayed on the Memorial Centre of Oradour-sur-Glane in August 2020.

18 https://www.liberation.fr/france/2018/04/30/pas-si-simple-de-trouver-une-tranchee-ou-dormir_1646659/

19 Translated from the French: Le temps accomplissant son oeuvre de dissolution, les ruines seules ne suffiraient bientôt plus à perpétuer un message de mémoire et de paix. Le moment était venu de fixer cette mémoire spécifique par la création d’un centre dit d’interprétation (inauguré le 16 juillet 1999), ne présentant ni objet ni collection, mais permettant au visiteur d’effectuer un cheminement explicite, historique et pédagogique dans le parcours de l’exposition permanente, complétant l’aspect émotionnel et mémoriel irremplaçable du village martyr conservé. Le centre de la mémoire constitue l’accès aux ruines du village martyr. 

20 But that does not mean that these memories are forever absent. When a dominated group comes into the public domain, these memories can emerge from the shadows. All that is needed is for someone to collect archive material and eye-witness accounts, and new narrative patterns emerge and make themselves known.

21 Translated from the French: Mémoire nationale des victimes des persécutions racistes et antisémites et des crimes contre l’humanité

22 Translated from the French: Lieu de mémoire et d’histoire

23 The resistance on the Plateau was initiated by three pastors, Charles Guillon, André Trocmé and Edouard Theis, following their Protestant tradition. The aedile who brought the site of remembrance project to Le Chambon was Mrs E. Wauquiez (a Catholic). The various controversies with neighbouring municipalities are thus rooted in religious, political, geographical and memorial differences.

24 The other aspect that angers neighbouring municipalities, is in fact the tourist attractiveness that the sign represents. Moreover, some residents of Le Chambon accused their town hall of wanting to make money from this past and this memorial [...]. Between 10 and 15,000 tourists come each year to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, specifically to visit the site of remembrance. (L’autre aspect qui provoque la colère des communes voisines, c’est en effet l’attrait touristique que représente ce panneau. Certains habitants du Chambon reprochent d’ailleurs à leur mairie de vouloir faire commerce de ce passé et de cette mémoire […]. Entre 10 et 15.000 touristes viennent chaque année au Chambon-sur-Lignon, notamment pour visiter le lieu de mémoire) In https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/societe/le-chambon-sur-lignon-terre-de-justes-un-panneau-cree-la-polemique-sur-la-n88-1503945307

25 Compare the reactions put out to criticise the report given by Benjamin Stora to the President of the Republic in January 2021. For memories of this war, Raphaëlle Branche speaks of the emergence of ‘pruritus memorials’ https://laviedesidees.fr/Histoire-et-memoire-de-la-guerre-d.html

26 Translated from the French: un centre d’art contemporain capable d’attirer 800 000 visiteurs par an [plutôt qu’un musée de l’Algérie qui aura cinq visiteurs par jour. Le Monde, 29th May, 2014

27 Marc Ferro, Benjamin Stora, Jean-Robert Henry and Sylvie Thénault, in particular, deplored the threefold waste - intellectual, financial and political - of something that could only have strengthened Montpellier's position and contributed, at the national level, to a Franco-Algerian reconciliation process. In the South of France, it tends to be ‘nostalgeria’ that dominates.

28 Translated from the French: Quartier du négoce au temps de l'esclavage

29 Report of Reflections and Proposals Committee on the slave trade in Bordeaux. Translated from the French: Bordeaux est une ville à vocation manifestement internationale, avec en son sein des minorités africaines et antillaises significatives. Cette vocation la désigne pour faire la jonction de toutes les initiatives mémorielles présentes ou futures sur la façade atlantique, depuis Liverpool (le plus grand port négrier) jusqu’à Lisbonne en passant par Bristol (ville jumelée de Bordeaux) et les ports français. Nantes a entrepris un travail de mémoire il y a plus de dix ans sur son passé de traite par l’intercession d’une association (Les anneaux de la mémoire) et d’un élu (Maître Chotard), maire-adjoint. Le Maire de La Rochelle a émis le souhait d’agir en concertation avec d’autres villes. Il est en contact avec une association nouvellement créée qui se propose d’oeuvrer dans la même perspective : activer la mémoire. Bordeaux pourrait être le point focal d’une mise en commun, donc en réseau, de tout ce qui se fait ou se conçoit en la matière.

30 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.acoustiguidemobile.am_vichy&fbclid=IwAR1oEKMXtFVLhAIVSAl1DAPf1oyJlrbSA8RehS75vylzaIdbRDWUO7x5qHA

31 Tourisme culturel et conscience de l’Europe. La prise de conscience collective des hauts lieux culturels de l’Europe et leur incorporation dans la civilisation des loisirs, a report submitted by D. Pouris and C.A. Beerli, Working Group ‘L’Europe Continue’, Strasbourg, 13th and 14th October 1964, Council for Cultural Cooperation, no. 9.

32 Translated from the French: ce ‘système’ d’itinéraires culturels peut être utile pour “raccommoder” les fissures existant dans la construction européenne. Il est possible de le comparer à un canevas où la trame et les fils sont fournis par les institutions, par les gouvernements, par les grandes décisions politiques et c’est à nous, citoyens, de broder, c’est à nous de réaliser la plus belle œuvre. ICCE Document (97) 11t - Proceedings of the seminar on cultural routes, ‘Enjeux de la citoyenneté et du développement durable’, 1996. Introduction by José Maria Ballester, head of the Cultural Heritage Department at the Council of Europe.

33 Extract from Resolution CM/Res (2013) 66 confirming the establishment of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) and adopted by the Council's Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 18th December 2013.

Member countries of these Routes are not necessarily all members of the EU, as is shown by Andalusian heritage route (Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Tunisia) or the Jewish Heritage route (Turkey and Azerbaijan but not Israel).

34 Translated from the French: En ce sens, on peut dire que ces acteurs et les projets qu’ils portent et qu’ils défendent rendent l’Europe sensible car à taille humaine, tout autant qu’ils la rendent communicable au sens de la communication comme mise en commun, comme participation, comme communion.

35 The Massacre of Nanjing is part of China's painful past perpetrated by the Japanese army in 1937.

36 Erected in memory of all the victims of the 11th September 2001 attacks, the victims at the twin towers of the World Trade Centre but also in the Pentagon and Shanksville

37 The genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda took place between 7th April 1994 and 17th July 1994.

38 Sobibor, one of three camps of ‘Operation Reinhardt’ built in 1942, was constructed with gas chambers where 180,000 Jews perished.

39 This camp had seen a prisoner uprising in October 1943 during which dozens of Jews managed to escape, eventually surviving the war.

40 This dynamic can be found in works looking at visits to Ground Zero (on this issue cf. Joy Sather-Wagstaff (2011), Gerome Truc (2015) Antichan (2020).

41 Translated from the French: il faut venir ici pour en prendre vraiment conscience. Recurrence of this phrase in visitor books of museums of painful memories, systematically studied at each visit by the authors.

42 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-55676147

43 Translated from the French: Quand vous venez à Auschwitz, souvenez-vous que vous êtes sur un site où un million de personnes ont été tuées. Respectez leur mémoire. Il y a de meilleurs endroits pour apprendre à marcher en équilibre sur des rails que sur le site qui symbolise la déportation de centaines de milliers de personnes vers leur mort.

44 cf. in particular the work of Bernard-Donals M. (2005); Feldman J. (2010); Jonchery A. and Biraud S. (2016) etc.

45 Regarding this Door to the Voyage, a major landmark in terms of its symbolism and also its historiographical controversies, cf. Aliou Gaye (2020).

46 It is about how the past is replayed. The re-enactment arises from a past / present dialogue, often even from pluralistic historicities cf. Anne Bénichou: https://entre-temps.net/le-reenactment-en-questions-entretien-avec-anne-benichou/

47 cf. the incidents at the international symposium on 21st and 22nd February 2019 at the EHESS: ‘La nouvelle école polonaise d’histoire de la Shoah’. https://ahcesr.hypotheses.org/1592

48 Between 2000 and 2011, the works of the Polish-born American historian Jan T. Gross - Neighbors (2002), Fear (2008) and Golden Harvest (2011) - have generated in Poland debates and controversies of national scope that led to a comprehensive review of Jewish-Polish relations during the Occupation.

49 The site records ever increasing visitor numbers: in 2019, 2.32 million visitors, representing nearly 170,000 visitors more than in 2018, itself a record year.

50 Translated from the French: À la mémoire des victimes tuées dans le Danube par des miliciens du Parti des Croix fléchées en 1944-1945. Érigé le 16 avril 2005

51 https://www.consoglobe.com/tourisme-une-ong-denonce-les-ignobles-safaris-humains-cg

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Table des illustrations

Crédits https://www.francebleu.fr/​infos/​societe/​le-chambon-sur-lignon-terre-de-justes-un-panneau-cree-la-polemique-sur-la-n88-1503945307 28th August 2017
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6900/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 238k
Titre Document 2: Tweet from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum. 20th March 2019
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6900/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 264k
Titre Document 3: Entry in the visitor book of the House of Slaves. Gorée. February 2017
Crédits Photo: D. Chevalier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6900/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 1,2M
Titre Document 4: The House of Slaves with its famous double-helix staircase. Below, the Door to the Voyage without Return. ‘The’ most often-recurring souvenir photo taken by tourists. February 2017
Crédits Photo: D. Chevalier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6900/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 1,1M
Titre Document 5: Warsaw. POLIN Museum (architects Rainer Mahlamäki, Ilmari Lahdelma, 2013). Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto (Nathan Rapoport, 1948) in the foreground. 3rd December 2018
Crédits Photo: D. Chevalier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6900/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 979k
Titre Document 6: Budapest. Shoes on the Danube Bank. By Can Togay and Gyula (2005).
Légende Bronze of men's, women's and children's shoes laid out over some 50 metres. February 2017
Crédits Photo: D. Chevalier
URL http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/docannexe/image/6900/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 1001k
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Référence électronique

Isabelle Lefort et Dominique Chevalier, « When tourism refreshes memories: geopolitical acts, geopolitics in action », Via [En ligne], 19 | 2021, mis en ligne le 26 juillet 2021, consulté le 01 décembre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/viatourism/6900 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/viatourism.6900

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Auteurs

Isabelle Lefort

PU, Lyon 2 University, EVS Research Unit (UMR5600)

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Dominique Chevalier

MCF-HDR, Lyon 1 University, EVS Research Unit (UMR5600)

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Via Tourism Review est mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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