Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Perry - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Hugh Hudson

Third Advisor

Dr. Jared Poley


This thesis explores representations of the Holocaust in the Jewish Museum Berlin and the impact of commercialism on representational choices. Daniel Libeskind’s bold architectural design, which ultimately became the Jewish Museum Berlin, is in many ways a Holocaust memorial. By exploring curatorial strategies in regards to exhibition design and content, this thesis analyzes the debates within the Jewish Museum Berlin over the appropriate manner to represent the Holocaust to the museum-going public in contemporary Germany. This thesis argues that commercialism and the prospects of commercial viability played a significant role in curatorial decisions concerning exhibition narrative. Germany leads the world in acknowledging and exploring their past social crimes but, this thesis argues, an important opportunity for atonement was lost when the administration of the Jewish Museum Berlin privileged commercial success over the presentation of more difficult and uncomfortable, yet socially necessary, representations of the horror of the Holocaust.