Grafeneck as Heterotopia
Chapter 1 presents a detailed history of the Nazi euthanasia program and of its commemoration by means of an analysis of the former killing center of Grafeneck in southern Germany and various recent commemorative events associated with it. This analysis facilitates an exploration of the historical reasons for the marginalization of the memory of Nazi euthanasia within the discourse on the Holocaust, as well as the various steps that have been and are being taken to overcome this marginalization. The chapter incorporates not only Grafeneck's postwar history but also its present-day function as a home for the disabled. This ambiguous status challenges visitors’ assumptions about what commemoration is or should be and how it invites them to consider the place of disability in contemporary society. The chapter concludes with a reading of Grafeneck as what Michel Foucault terms heterotopia, a liminal space suspended between reality and unreality, past and present. This offers a key to understanding the uncanny character of the site.
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