Third Generation

The term that gives this project its title, "Third Generation," refers to individuals who are now a third generation from the Holocaust. “Generation” is a symbolic concept that suggests that people of the same age share a similar social experience and collective memory. This project takes an alternative approach to the third generation by relating the term both to the end of WW2 and the establishment of the State of Israel along with the Palestinian Nakba. The project assembles different individuals’ biographical experiences to unearth the symbolic and political operations of collective memory. Collective identity functions as an ideological umbrella for such concepts as nation, culture and religion. At first glance, this collective mishmash establishes a “post-ideological” culture. The term “generation” thereby functions as an exemplary case of “mythologizing” as defined by Roland Barthes. The discourse on generational experience ultimately turns political questions based on concepts, ideas, and ideologies into pseudo-natural and cultural narratives. Introducing the term “third generation” evokes a different political discourse. Rather than promoting an apologetic approach with regards to German history, the project calls the audience to distance itself from revanchist and nationalistic positions. This appeal dispels the self-evident belonging to a generation and the unquestioned belief that a generation provides a quasi-neutral standpoint with regard to biographical age, oblivious to social, national, or religious background.