Engaging Auschwitz: an analysis of young travellers’ experiences of Holocaust Tourism
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This article considers the experiences of young travellers visiting the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. Semi-structured interviews were used to generate qualitative data on the way individuals approach, engage with and interpret their experience of visiting Auschwitz. In analysing findings from interviews, this paper focuses first on the various motivational factors that initiate individuals‟ visit and, further, the manner in which individuals seek to actively engage with the site. The latter is seen to draw on imaginative devices, employed by young travellers to feel a greater connection to the site. The influence of historical, pedagogical and cinematic accounts of the Holocaust and how these are seen to interact with individuals‟ experiences of visiting the camp in reality are considered. Finally, an account of the meanings which individuals ascribe to their experiences is offered. Such is suggested to occupy two positions. First, achieving a greater understanding of the historical facts of the Holocaust and, second, the affirmation of humanist values as understood, at times ambivalently, with reference to contemporary society.
Thurnell-Read, T. P. (2009) 'Engaging Auschwitz: an analysis of young travellers’ experiences of Holocaust Tourism', Journal of Tourism Consumption and Practice 1(1), pp. 26-52.
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