Ghettoisation Case Study Geography Maps

© Harrie Teunissen
Leiden/Bad Arolsen May-July 2013



Harrie Teunissen and his partner John Steegh are map-collectors from Leiden in Holland. Their jointly build up collection of some 9500 maps and 1300 atlasses and travel guides, mostly from 1750 – 1950, focuses on water management, city development, ethnic relations and military conflicts. They organise exhibitions based on this collection, like ‘The Balkans in maps, five centuries of struggle about identity’ (Leiden University Library 2003). The last years Teunissen researches mainly for his internet-project ‘Mapping Jewish History’.

Topography of Terror: Maps of the Warsaw Ghetto

From Mauritsstad to New Amsterdam: Mapping Early Jewish Presence in the Americas

Lebensraum und Getto. Karten der Warthegau, Pläne von Litzmanstadt


Consulted books

Aly, Götz & Susanne Heim. Architects of Annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction. New York 1999

Ancel, Jean. The History of the Holocaust in Romania. Lincoln / Jerusalem 2011

Barkahan, Menachem (Ed.). Extermination of the Jews in Latvia 1941-1945. Riga 2008

Baedeker, Karl. Das Generalgouvernement, Reisehandbuch. Leipzig 1943

Bassin, Marc. Race contra Space: the Conflict between German Geopolitik and National Socialism. In: Political Geography Quaterly, april 1987

Bennet, G. H. The Nazi, the Painter and the Forgotten Story of the SS Road. London 2012

Benz, Wolfgang & Brigitte Mihok (Eds). Holocaust an der Peripherie, Judenpolitik und Judenmord in Rumänien und Transnistrien 1940-1944. Berlin 2009

Brandon, Ray & Wendy Lower (Eds). The Shoah in Ukraine: History, Testimony. Memoralization. Bloomington 2008

Brauch, Julia, Anna Lipphardt & Alexandra Nocke (Eds). Jewish Topographies: Visions of Space, Traditions of Place. Aldershot / Burlington 2008

Braun, Helmut & Deborah Schulz (Eds.). Der Maler Arnold Daghani: 'Verfolgt - Gezeichnet' (Katalogbuch zur Ausstellung). Springe 2006

Celan, Paul. Verzamelde gedichten (German / Dutch by Ton Naaijkens). Amsterdam 2003

Cole, Tim. Traces of the Holocaust, Journeying in and out of the Ghettos. London / New York 2010

Cole, Tim. Holocaust City, The Making of a Jewish Ghetto. New York / London 2003

Arnold Daghani's Memories of Mikhailowka: The Illustrated Diary of a Slave Labour Camp Survivor (D. Schulz / E. Timms eds.). London 2009

Dawidowicz, Lucy. The War against the Jews, 1933-1945. New York 1975

Diner, Dan. 'Grundbuch des Planeten', Zur Geopolitik Karl Haushofers. In: Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte. Januari 1984

Emmerich, Wolfgang. Paul Celan. Reinbek bei Hamburg 1999

Engelking, Barbara & Jacek Leociak. The Warsaw Ghetto, a Guide to the Perished City. New Haven / London 2009

Fahlbusch, Michael & Ingo Haar (Eds.). German Scholars and Ethnic Cleansing 1920 - 1945. New York 2005

Fahlbusch, Michael & Ingo Haar. Handbuch der völkischen Wissenschaften, Personen - Institutionen - Forschungsprogramme - Stiftungen. München 2008

Felstiner, John. Paul Celan, Poet, Survivor, Jew. New Haven / London 1995

Friedländer, Saul. Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939. New York 1997

Friedländer, Saul. Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination. New York 2007

Gilbert, Martin. Atlas of the Holocaust. New York 1993 (second ed.)

Harms, Heinrich. Neuer deutscher Geschichts- und Kulturatlas. Leipzig 1934

Herb, Guntram. Under the Map of Germany, Nationalism and Propaganda 1918 - 1945. London / New York 1997

Hilberg, Raul. The Destruction of the European Jews. New Haven 2003

Hilberg, Raul. German Railroads / Jewish Souls. In: Society 14.1 Nov./Dec. 1976

Horwitz, Gordon. Ghettostadt: Lodz and the Making of a Nazi City. Cambridge 2008

Ioanid, Radu. The Holocaust in Romania. Chicago 2000

Jantzen, Walther. Die Juden, Geopolitik im Kartenbild. Heidelberg / Berlin / Magdeburg 1940

Jakulyté-Vasil, Milda. Lithuanian Holocaust Atlas. Vilnius 2011

Kuiper, Arie. Een wijze ging voorbij, Het leven van Abel J. Hertzberg. Amsterdam 1997

Löwenthal, Ernst (Ed.). Philo-Atlas, Handbuch für die Jüdische Auswanderung. Berlin 1938

Lower, Wendy. Nazi Empire-Building and the Holocaust in Ukraine. Chapel Hill 2005

Madajczyk, Czeslaw (Ed.). Vom Generalplan Ost zum Generalsiedlungsplan, Dokumente. München 1994

Meyer, Konrad. Landvolk im Werden. Berlin 1941

Michman, Dan. The Emergence of Jewish Ghettos during the Holocaust. New York / Jerusalem 2011

Penk, Albrecht. Deutscher Volks- und Kulturboden. In: K. L. von Loesch (Ed.). Volk unter Völkern. Breslau 1925

Pudelko, Alfred. Rasse und Raum als geschichtsbestimmende Kräfte. Berlin 1939

Putzgers Historischer Schul-Atlas. Grosse Ausgabe 54. Bielefeld / Leipzig 1937

Roest, Friso & Jos Scheren. Oorlog in de stad, Amsterdam 1939-1941. Amsterdam 1998

Rössler, Mechtild. 'Wissenschaft und Lebensraum', Geographische Ostforschung im Nationalsozialismus. Berlin / Hamburg 1998

Seraphim, Peter-Heinz. Das Judentum im osteuropäischen Raum. Essen 1938

Snyder, Timothy. Bloodlands, Europe between Hitler and Stalin. London 2010

Stone, Dan. Histories of the Holocaust. Oxford 2010

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto. Boston / New York / Toronto / London 1997

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Historical Atlas of the Holocaust. New York 1996

Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. Holokausto Ekspozicijos Katalogas / Catalogue of the Holocaust Exhibition. Vilnius 2011

Voren, Robert van. Undigested Past, the Holocaust in Lithuania. Amsterdam / New York 2011

Wiesel, Elie. Night (new edition). New York 2010

The Yad Vashem Encyclopedia of the Ghettos during the Holocaust. Two Volumes. Jerusalem 2009


Consulted websites

For Daghani's manuscript map of Thoroughfare IV:

For the Geographies of the Holocaust project at the USHMM:

For information on Hassinger and Krallert:

For the city plan of Lodz/Litzmannstadt see also:

Messerschmidt, Manfred. 'Grösste Härte ...'. Verbrechen der Wehrmacht in Polen, September/Oktober 1939. In Reihe: Gesprächskreis Geschichte Heft 63. Bonn 2005:

For Strange Maps 352 - Fritz and Ships: An 11-Year-Old's Map of Jewish Emigration:

Teunissen, Harrie. Czernowitz, topografie en poëzie (4 columns):

For the 'Volkstumskarte' of Romania from 1941 in 44 sheets:

Learning Objectives:

In this module, students will become familiar with the relationship between space, architecture, and memory. This unit is more theoretical in nature, but will allow for the discussion of why site-specific, place-based study is important. What broader connections can be extracted from the study of the Venice Ghetto relevant for the examination of other sites of memory globally and historically? How do we map, chart, and record the layers of historical and cultural memories that attach themselves to this place? How do different mediums register these overlapping strata of historical remembrance – architectural remains, literary works, memorials and monuments, photography, traditional and digital maps?

The readings take a tactile approach to memory-spaces, as the theorists below argue that an intimate relationship to place is integral to maintaining what Robert Bevan might call the “touchstones of memory” for a community. How we can activate these “touchstones of memory” in the 21st century? What are other, comparable sites of memory – in other words, what lessons can we glean from utilizing the Venice Ghetto as case study? The unit could end with an examination of new theories of textured, digital mapping, taking the concept of cartographical palimpsests into the 21st century.


Bassi, Shaul and di Lenardo, Isabella.The Ghetto Inside Out. Corte del Fondego, 2013.

  • Starting with this brief history of the Ghetto, students will trace a very condensed trajectory of how the space has evolved and changed over time. The authors of this short piece prompt relevant questions, leading to an examination of the relationship between space, place, and memory: “In 2016 the Venetian Ghetto will be 500 years old. What more or less visible traces still mark today the ancient Jewish quarter, the centre of a community destined to influence the whole of Europe?” (n/p)

Theoretical underpinnings (*recommended: introductions and/or excerpted chapters if instructors wish to supplement)

Bevan, Robert. The Destruction of Memory, Architecture at War. Reaktion Books, 2007.

  • In the introduction to his work, Bevan notes that certain spaces inspire a call to remember – an observation that is particularly relevant with respect to the globally iconic site of the Ghetto. He writes of these sites of layered memory that: “…a continuity of successive experiences, setting down layers of meaning, can … result in an especially strong power of place – a psycho-geography, an ‘awareness’ of the past (rather than an architectural avatar of a petrified spirit) that is dynamic, handed down by the people rather than recorded on the very stones … If the touchstones of identity are no longer there to be touched, memories fragment and dislocate” (16). This piece will push students to think about the particular “touchstones” of identity and memory that are relevant in the context of the Venice Ghetto, and prompt students to question: what is architecture’s role in preserving collective memory?

Hirsch, Marianne 2014, “Presidential Address 2014 –Connective Histories in Vulnerable Times”, PMLA, vol. 129, no. 3, pp. 330-348.

  • This short piece, originally delivered as the 2014 MLA Presidential Address, calls upon scholars in the humanities to move away from questions of comparison, and towards questions of connectivity. Hirsch considers issues of connectivity through the lens of trauma, memory, and post-memory – positioning each instance of historical violence within ever-multiplying networks; she questions, “…what do these entangled responses do in the present? What do they demand of their viewers?” (341). This work will encourage students to think about the ways in which distinct historical events – ones that span both time and space – can be thought of as connected. This will aid in mapping the ways in which the Venice Ghetto is both a specific phenomenon – tied to a historical moment and physical location – and a kind of “memory space that travels.”

Huyssen, Andreas. Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Stanford           University Press, 2003.

  • In this book-length work, Huyssen considers various sites of public memory in cities such as Berlin, New York, and Buenos Aires. In these case studies, he examines the role of the monumentalization of historical trauma, arguing that architecture has become a malleable form: “We have come to read cities and buildings as palimpsests of space, monuments as transformable and transitory, and sculptures as subject to the vicissitudes of time” (7). While the Ghetto is not included in this work, the piece pushes its readers to think about the relationship between space and storytelling. How have stories about the Ghetto and its afterlife shaped the way in which we experience its architectural shell? What kinds of stories will be told about the space of the Ghetto in the future?

Presner, Todd, David Shepard, and Yoh Kawano. Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital    Humanities. Harvard University Press, 2014.

  • Write Presner, Shepard, and Kawano regarding their concept of thick, digital maps: “Thick maps are conjoined with stories, and stories are conjoined with maps, such that ever more complex contexts for meaning are created … In this sense, ‘thickness’ arises from the never-ending friction between maps and counter-maps, constructions and deconstructions, mappings and counter-mappings” (19). This unit will ask students to consider the utility of digital mapping platforms in representing the palimpsest-like layering of stories and memories that attach themselves to place. What is the potential of using digital mapping to record memories of the Ghetto of Venice? Digital mapping provides the opportunity to layer spatial and historical connections, linking audio, visual, literary, and historical documents on a single platform. These maps are dynamic, polyvocal, and participatory.

Rothberg, Michael. Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of      Decolonization. Stanford University Press, 2009.

  • Rothberg’s work argues that memory is “multidirectional” in nature in that public commemorations simultaneously hide and reveal other moments of historical injustice: “It is precisely that convoluted, sometimes historically unjustified, back-and-forth movement of seemingly distant collective memories in and out of public consciousness that I qualify as memory’s multidirectionality” (17). This reading will prompt students to ask which memories are currently “visible” in the space of the Ghetto, and which remain hidden or suppressed. What kinds of multi-directional memories stem from studying the physical site of the Venice Ghetto, and what type of memory-work does its study encourage?

Young, James E. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History. Yale University Press,          1993.

  • While this work focuses specifically on Holocaust memorials, its introduction generates a set of questions: How does the built environment shape or mold memory narratives? As Young writes: “How does a particular place shape our memory of a particular time? And how does this memory of the past shape our understanding of the present moment?” (15) This reading will help students to evaluate how built interventions (or lack there of) within the built space of the Ghetto contribute to the kind of memory work that takes place there.

Can be assigned with:

Instructors might ask students to experiment with digital mapping tools, such as ESRI’s StoryMaps or even simple programs such as GoogleEarth to record spatially some of the information that they have uncovered about the Venice Ghetto and its afterlives. (Each mapping tools allows students to annotate site-specific, cartographical points with layered information – both textual and visual.) This exercise could challenge the class to think about the various ways in which we can imagine the relationship between place & memory.

Our collaboration has experimented previously with digital mapping, choosing the tool StoryMaps. Examples can be found on our websites, under the tab, “digital mapping projects.” Here, we have paired our explorations of this memory site with relevant literary works. The instructor of this course might imagine pairing this module with relevant, literary or historical units found in our modular syllabus in order to give the students concrete “case studies” in which to apply these theoretical underpinnings.

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