Category: historical events

Destruction of Memory: Film Screening

András Riedlmayer, UN war crimes tribunal expert witness and Bibliographer in in Islamic Art and Architecture at Harvard’s Fine Arts Library, will be talking to Tim Slade, the film director and producer of The Destruction of Memory after the film screening on February 20th.

This film chronicles the destruction of culture in Syria, Mali, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and elsewhere from World War II to the present day. It also relates the heroic efforts to save landmarks and libraries from the ravages of war. Through interviews and documentary footage, the film shows how individuals have used law and policy and sometimes risked their lives to save world heritage. The post-screening conversation will be moderated by Bonnie Docherty from Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic.

Destruction of Memory: Film Screening 

February 20, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Where: Wasserstein Hall (Harvard Law School)

WCC 1010  (

1585 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA

Co-sponsored by the Armed Conflict & Civilian Protection Initiative and Islamic Legal Studies: Law and Social Change.  Dinner will be served.

Human Rights @ Harvard Law

András’ research interests include Ottoman history, Islamic art and culture in the Balkans, and the protection of cultural heritage under national and international law. He prepared many expert reports on the destruction of cultural heritage in Bosnia and Kosovo, and testified as an expert witness in nine trials at the ICTY and before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the genocide case Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro.

Please join us for the film screening and the conversations after the film. Dinner will be served.


Color lithographs of the Siege of Paris

La Tramblais, E. de. Les désastres de Paris en 1871.  Paris : E. de La Tramblais, [1871?]

All of the scenes depicted in Les désastres come from the final, desperate ‘May Days’ of the Commune, when many of the great landmarks of Paris were burned to the ground. The printer Badoureau established himself on the rue Sainte-Isaure in the 18th arrondisement, conveniently located just north of the Seine and at the heart of the battle. The fact that the artist Edouard de La Tramblais chose  to render the most famous buildings (the Palace of Justice, the Place de la Bastille, and the Place de la Concorde, for instance) and that the captions were given in both French and English suggest that this work was intended from the start as a war souvenir.

The most well-known image to come out of the Siege of Paris is the destruction and subsequent collapse of the Vendome Column. As a symbol of the hated Second Republic the column was one of the first targets of the Commune. After the crushing of the revolt it was rebuilt and became a symbol of the folly of the Communards – a prototype of the way visual symbols change meaning in our own time.