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Bus Stop a route to remembering Holocaust atrocities

A new installation at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum invites people to reflect on how to remember Nazi atrocities from the other side of the world.

A supplied image obtained on Monday, March 4, 2024, of part of the installation Bus Stop by Berlin artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock. Image AAP

An installation at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum invites people to imagine a bus route that visits the sites of Nazi atrocities across Europe.

Bus Stop, by renowned German artistic duo Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, will be unveiled at the museum on Tuesday.

The work, originally conceived in Berlin in 1995, refers to the red buses that would drive people to actual commemoration sites and former death camps, with "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" written on their sides.

Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime and its allies throughout Europe between 1933 and 1945.

With a timetable and a map showing the route the bus would take, Bus Stop redirected people's attention from static state memorials, to the actual sites of Nazi war crimes that were part of the Holocaust.

But with these locations on the other side of the world, how should those in Australia memorialise the atrocities?

There's no single correct way but the real question is how to keep Holocaust memorials relevant for future generations, said Dr Breann Fallon from the museum.

"We want to think about what it means to memorialise, as we get further and further away from the event itself," she said.

Though the Holocaust happened far away, it is not distant, museum chief executive Dr Steven Cooke said in a statement.

"When survivors immigrated to Melbourne, they brought with them the memories, the loss, and the lessons of the Holocaust," he said. 

Australia is home to the largest per capita number of Holocaust survivors outside Israel.

The museum reopened in November after a three-year rebuilding and expansion project and marked its 40th anniversary on Monday.

Dr Fallon would not be drawn on divisions in the Australian community over the current conflict in Gaza - for her, the focus is on educating as many people as possible about the atrocities of the past.

"We are just coming to work and making sure we're doing the best job that we can," she said.

"We have a lot of great lessons about respect and understanding that can be really useful at any time."

* Bus Stop: A Transformative Art Installation is at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum until March 31.


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