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The Holocaust and dark tourism Jangula, Craig

Abstract

There are many different topics that continue to be explored in the vast field of "Holocaust Studies." In dealing with any segment of history there is always an intersection where various disciplines such as politics, history, philosophy and ethics seem to collide. This is especially true in the recently defined area of "Dark Tourism." Dark Tourism takes a closer look at why people travel to sites of death and disaster, and examines the complex historical, political, ethical and moral rational behind these developments. There are seemingly endless dark places that people travel to such as, the Anne Frank House, Vimy Ridge, the Somme, the D-Day beaches, Gettysburg, and the Channel Islands. In more recent years, sites such as the Dakota apartments (where John Lennon was shot), Oklahoma City and Ground Zero have also become centers of Dark Tourism. It seems that the popularity of traveling to these types of places is increasing. With this in mind, researchers have become interested in studying this Dark Tourism phenomenon. Arguably some of the "darkest" of the dark sites people currently travel to are sites associated with the Holocaust. The severity of the Holocaust often makes it stand out as a candidate for special consideration within the broader field of "Tourism Studies" or even "Dark Tourism Studies" for that matter. The central purpose of this thesis is to explore how these dark Holocaust sites became tourist venues. This thesis will explore the contests over the right to interpret, ethical and moral dilemmas and the emerging dynamics of the commercialization and marketing of Holocaust sites as tourist venues. Hence, this thesis will chronicle and present these emotionally-charged and unresolved issues, and highlight the Dark Tourism dilemmas that threaten to become unsolvable.

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