The camp and geographical imaginations

A powerful piece by Derek Gregory on Auschwitz – reflecting both on a visit there and Agamben’s work.

geographical imaginations

Last Thursday, the last full day of my visit to Ostrava, Tomas took me to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in the Polish town of Oswiecim: I’m still trying to come to terms with what I saw and felt.

It was Tomas’s third visit.  Last time, he said, it was in the depth of winter, with the ground covered in snow: Auschwitz rendered in the sombre black and white tones we’ve come to expect.  On Thursday it all seemed so incongruous: full colour on an unexpectedly sunny day – brilliant blue sky, flowers coming in to bloom and birds singing – and made even more unsettling by the new housing at the edge of the town and the supermarket up the road.  To say that is at once to invoke a moral geography of sorts, and in a series of revealing essays Andrew Charlesworth, Robert Guzik, Michal Paskowski and…

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