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  • Memory Layers of a Holocaust Memorial Site

    Students’ Design Contest, Faculty of Architecture, Debrecen University

    Text: Péter Kovács, Péter Sugár

    Nagy Marianna terve

    Design: Marianna Nagy

    The city of Debrecen made a decision to build a holocaust monument and thus the Faculty of Architecture published an architectural design contest for this project in 2013. As a result of this exceptional initiative a winning design submitted for this contest is going to be realised funded by the city. The message of this memorial site associates many questions. Who are the people commemorating it? What do we actually want to remember? Is there still a live memory or must we revive it? Because of collective and inherited amnesia and the lack of information the city does not feel the absence after the disappearance of a community and it’s not easy to ask the descendants of its handful survivors questions. Presenting the absence is not only an intellectual issue in this case as the task is to make the interpretation of absence a memorable one. The task is a multi-layered one on every plane. Jewish culture is latent and yet present in the city’s fabric and structure. This hardly visible layeredness has just survived the turbulent times, and can be still brought to surface. The memorial site can only be interpreted simultaneously with it. The composition of the memorial site with architectural means may actually mean multi-layeredness. Narration is expected, but is less manageable for us. The creation of a traumatic space is a viable solution now, but would it also mean sustainable commemoration? Of the works of 14 students a total of 7 designs were recommended for the jury. The first prize went to Marianna Nagy, and thus her design is going to be realized. Anna Iszály, Artur Lente and Csaba Nyitrai have received further awards.