0112 A Journey, the Pain of Others, and Historical Experience: Susan Silas

  • Roma Sendyka (Author)
    Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Wydział Polonistyki

    Roma Sendyka – works at the Department of Literary Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Polish Studies at the Jagiellonian University, scholarship holder of the Kościuszko Foundation, Erste Stiftung (Vienna) and European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (NIOD, Amsterdam), visiting lecturer at the University of Chicago. Author of: Nowoczesny esej. Studium historycznej świadomości gatunku (2006), co-editor of: Od pamięci biodziedzicznej do postpamięci (2013), Pamięć i afekty (2014 – in print) and Nowa Humanistyka series (IBL PAN). Her academic interests include literary and cultural theory and studies on visual culture, especially the visual aspects of the Holocaust.

    Roma Sendyka – pracuje w Katedrze Antropologii Literatury i Badań Kulturowych Wydziału Polonistyki Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, była stypendystką Fundacji Kościuszkowskiej, Erste Stiftung (Wiedeń) i European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (NIOD, Amsterdam), wykładała na University of Chicago. Autorka książki Nowoczesny esej. Studium historycznej świadomości gatunku (2006), współredaktorka tomów Od pamięci biodziedzicznej do postpamięci (2013), Pamięć i afekty (2014 – w druku) i serii Nowa Humanistyka (IBL PAN). Zajmuje się teoriami badań literackich i kulturowych, studiami nad kulturą wizualną, w tym zwłaszcza badaniami nad widzialnością Zagłady.

Identifiers (Article)


The author interprets Susan Silas' Helmbrechts walk (1998-2003), a unique series of forty-five photographs and supplementing visual and textual materials collected during the walk along the route of two hundred and twenty-five miles. The walk repeats the route which in 1945 had to undertake women prisoners from the concentration camp in Helmbrechts near Flossenbürg in their death march to Prachatice in Czech Republic. The pictures Silas takes, the people she meets, and finally the trees, the very materiality of the road become the factors of creating her own, individual memory of the event from the past. Silas selects an object from "the margins of the Holocaust" – a forgotten event that she re-presents by reacting to contemporary objects placed along the route of the event. Silas' work offers an opportunity to critically review the concept of memory landscapes (where is memory located in a landscape?) and the phenomenon of dark tourism (is following in the footsteps of the prisoners a kind of pilgrimage, tourism, or therapy?). Silas problematises the question of memory, as well as examines different kinds of non-memory. Her camera is directed at locations that can be termed "the non-sites of memory."


Susan Silas, memory, postmemory, memory landscape, dark tourism, non-site of memory