As we have seen in the previous chapter, the production of an emotive response is valued by memorials as a key method of connecting individuals, particularly those with no living memory of the East German past, to the memories of repression that are narrated at these sites. However, the production of authenticity is only half of the story; the interpretation of the space or objects by the visitor reconstructs the meaning attributed to this authenticity. As Seaton (2009, p. 96) argues, ‘all spaces, probably most of all auratic spaces, do not have an absolute value but are polysemic, which is to say they may have different meanings for different audiences’. In this regard, Seaton (2009, p. 97) adds, ‘thanatourism1 management may involve the anticipation and negotiation of contradiction and conflict, due to the polysemia of place’. The highly contested nature of the GDR past and its significance for contemporary Germany make this particularly true for the sites under consideration in this study.
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- Whose Memory Is It Anyway? Memorial Museums and Modes of Authority
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