In addition to being witnesses of a vanished past, ruins refer to the former building and tell the story of its destruction. Two ruins, which can also be described as memorial sites, can exemplify different strategies of dealing with these material remnants: the destroyed synagogue of Worms and the St Nikolai Church in Hamburg. The destroyed synagogue of Worms was rebuilt as a symbol of the history of the Jewish community prior to 1933 and as a memorial to the Holocaust. In contrast, the St Nikolai Church in Hamburg was left in ruins which constitute a memorial for the air raids as well as a reminder of the Nazi crimes. The following article will reflect on these different strategies and on the reactions and perceptions of the visitors. Furthermore it will try to reveal the different levels of meaning and the interconnectedness of the memories of the German-Jewish past, the Second World War and the Holocaust.
© De Gruyter 2015