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A Place of Eclectic Remembrance : the Former German Concentration Camp on Namibia’s Shark Island

Title data

Lehmann, Fabian:
A Place of Eclectic Remembrance : the Former German Concentration Camp on Namibia’s Shark Island.
In: Journal of Namibian Studies. (December 2019) Issue 26 . - pp. 29-50.
ISSN 1863-5954

Official URL: Volltext

Abstract in another language

Shark Island is a tranquil peninsula on the outskirts of the harbour town of Luderitz in Namibia’s south. It hosts a campsite that is popular with international tourists. It is also the location of the central memorial site of Luderitz and features an eclectic collection of memorials representing various times in the history of Namibia. By contrast, the history of the peninsula itself, which was used as a German concentration and extermination camp during the German Namibian War between 1904 and 1907, is all but ignored. In this paper, I first present an overview of the historical concentration camp, then analyse its current appearance focusing on the monuments on the central memorial site and discussing the extent to which the peninsula’s cruel history is represented there. Subsequently, I will introduce two works by Namibian artist Nicola Brandt, who confronts popular images of the Namibian landscape presented as empty and ahistorical with gloomy pictures that lead the viewer to histories rarely acknowledged. Her work demonstrates that the images produced by the Namibian tourism industry are hardly compatible with the urge to address a past with which one has not yet come to terms. In the end, I determine if Shark Island can, indeed, be understood as a lieu de mémoire in the sense of Pierre Nora.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Namibia; Colonialisms; Luderitz; memory; concentration camp; Nicola Brandt; lieu de mémoire; Pierre Nora
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions > Research Units > Iwalewa-Haus - Afrikazentrum der Universität Bayreuth
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 700 Arts and recreation > 770 Photography, computer art
900 History and geography > 940 History of Europe
900 History and geography > 960 History of Africa
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2019 09:24
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2019 09:24
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/53625