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Date: 2013
Abstract: Despite the Holocaust’s profound impact on the history of Eastern Europe, the communist regimes successfully repressed public discourse about and memory of this tragedy. Since the collapse of communism in 1989, however, this has changed. Not only has a wealth of archival sources become available, but there have also been oral history projects and interviews recording the testimonies of eyewitnesses who experienced the Holocaust as children and young adults. Recent political, social, and cultural developments have facilitated a more nuanced and complex understanding of the continuities and discontinuities in representations of the Holocaust. People are beginning to realize the significant role that memory of Holocaust plays in contemporary discussions of national identity in Eastern Europe.

This volume of original essays explores the memory of the Holocaust and the Jewish past in postcommunist Eastern Europe. Devoting space to every postcommunist country, the essays in Bringing the Dark Past to Light explore how the memory of the “dark pasts” of Eastern European nations is being recollected and reworked. In addition, it examines how this memory shapes the collective identities and the social identity of ethnic and national minorities. Memory of the Holocaust has practical implications regarding the current development of national cultures and international relationships.

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction
John-Paul Himka and Joanna Beata Michlic
1. "Our Conscience Is Clean": Albanian Elites and the Memory of the Holocaust in Postsocialist Albania
Daniel Perez
2. The Invisible Genocide: The Holocaust in Belarus
Per Anders Rudling
3. Contemporary Responses to the Holocaust in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Francine Friedman
4. Debating the Fate of Bulgarian Jews during World War II
Joseph Benatov
5. Representations of the Holocaust and Historical Debates in Croatia since 1989
Mark Biondich
6. The Sheep of Lidice: The Holocaust and the Construction of Czech National History
Michal Frankl
7. Victim of History: Perceptions of the Holocaust in Estonia
Anton Weiss-Wendt
8. Holocaust Remembrance in the German Democratic Republic--and Beyond
Peter Monteath
9. The Memory of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Hungary
Part 1: The Politics of Holocaust Memory
Paul Hanebrink
Part 2: Cinematic Memory of the Holocaust
Catherine Portuges
10. The Transformation of Holocaust Memory in Post-Soviet Latvia
Bella Zisere
11. Conflicting Memories: The Reception of the Holocaust in Lithuania
Saulius Sužied<edot>lis and Šarūnas Liekis
12. The Combined Legacies of the "Jewish Question" and the "Macedonian Question"
Holly Case
13. Public Discourses on the Holocaust in Moldova: Justification, Instrumentalization, and Mourning
Vladimir Solonari
14. The Memory of the Holocaust in Post-1989 Poland: Renewal--Its Accomplishments and Its Powerlessness
Joanna B. Michlic and Małgorzata Melchior
15. Public Perceptions of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Romania
Felicia Waldman and Mihai Chioveanu
16. The Reception of the Holocaust in Russia: Silence, Conspiracy, and Glimpses of Light
Klas-Göran Karlsson
17. Between Marginalization and Instrumentalization: Holocaust Memory in Serbia since the Late 1980s
Jovan Byford
18. The "Unmasterable Past"? The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Slovakia
Nina Paulovičová
19. On the Periphery: Jews, Slovenes, and the Memory of the Holocaust
Gregor Joseph Kranjc
20. The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Ukraine
John-Paul Himka
Conclusion
Omer Bartov
Contributors
Index
Editor(s): Blobaum, Robert
Date: 2005
Author(s): Kijek, Kamil
Date: 2017
Abstract: Artykuł ten przedstawia najważniejsze wątki krytycznej debaty wokół treści wystawy stałej Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich Polin. Analizując różnice między dwoma polami badawczymi – studiami żydowskimi i studiami nad relacjami polsko-żydowskimi – autor broni tezy, że wiele krytycznych głosów w debacie wynika z niezrozumienia różnic między przedmiotem badań tych dwóch pól, po części wynikającego z obecnej sytuacji – panującego nacjonalizmu i etnocentryzmu, wywierających wpływ również na polskie debaty historyczne. Domaganie się od wystawy opowiadającej tysiącletnią historię Żydów na ziemiach polskich, aby koncentrowała się głównie na stosunku społeczeństwa większościowego do Żydów, grozi popełnieniem błędu teleologii, to jest interpretowaniem wcześniejszych wydarzeń i procesów jako nieuchronnie prowadzących do Zagłady, a także pomijaniem wszystkich tych elementów dziejów żydowskich, które z perspektywy Holokaustu i badań nad antysemityzmem nie mają znaczenia. Tego rodzaju postulaty i stojące za nimi metahistoryczne założenia grożą pozbawieniem Żydów roli podmiotów w ich własnej historii. Z drugiej strony autor tekstu wskazuje na elementy narracji wystawy stałej Muzeum Polin, w których rzeczywiście w niedostateczny sposób uwzględniona została problematyka antysemityzmu jako ważnego elementu żydowskiego doświadczenia i kluczowego czynnika dziejów Żydów w Polsce. Przywrócenie rzeczywistego dialogu i komunikacji pomiędzy przedstawicielami studiów żydowskich i badaczami relacji polsko-żydowskich, przy zachowaniu autonomii tych dwóch pól i zrozumieniu różnic pomiędzy nimi, jest też istotne z punktu widzenia niewątpliwych zagrożeń w postaci prób wykorzystania Muzeum Polin w budowie upolitycznionych, bezkrytycznych wizji historii Polski i stosunku Polaków do Żydów.

Date: 2011
Author(s): Underhill, Karen C.
Date: 2011
Abstract: In Israeli director Yael Bartana’s 2007 film Mary Koszmary—meaning “Bad Dreams” or “Nightmares”—a young Polish politician delivers a resounding speech to an empty, crumbling, communist-era Stadion Dziesięciolecia in Warsaw. The speech, he says, is an appeal: “This is a call. . . . It is an appeal for life. We want three million Jews to return to Poland, to live with us again. We need you! Please come back!” This article considers the powerful and perhaps disturbing premise of these lines and explores their possible meanings in a contemporary Polish context. What can it mean for Poles and Polish culture to need Jews—and in particular, to need those Jews who can never return? The complex phenomenon of Jewish memory in Poland and Eastern Europe cannot be contained within specific, present-day borders—whether of geography or of academic discipline: similar dynamics to those Bartana has identified in Poland exist throughout the region. Thus, against the background of Bartana’s film, the article considers the growing phenomenon and importance of local Jewish festivals in Poland and present-day Ukraine, focusing in detail on two specific festivals: the annual festival “Encounters with Jewish Culture,” held in Chmielnik, Poland, and the biannual Bruno Schulz Festival in Drohobych, Ukraine. The analysis explores ways that the memory of Polish Jews—and more specifically the figure of the absent Polish Jew—can function as a central element in the construction of new, communal Polish and Ukrainian narratives since the fall of Communism.
Author(s): Almog, Yael
Date: 2018
Author(s): Wynn, Natalie
Date: 2017
Author(s): Janicka, Elżbieta
Date: 2015
Abstract: The text refers to the space around the Nathan Rapoport’s Monument to the Fighters and Martyrs of the Ghetto and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN in Warsaw (Poland). The site of death – at the heart of the former Warsaw Ghetto – has now become a site overloaded with other symbolic messages. Two main symbolic centers (the 1948 Monument and the 2013 Museum) are today encircled by ten other, additional memorials. The message emerging from the content as well as the proportion of commemorations is that Polish solidarity with the Jews was a fact and it stood the test of terror and death brought by the Germans. Although it does not undermine the veracity of the few and isolated exceptions, such a version of events is drastically different from the actual facts. Both symbolic centers are perceived as emblems of Jewish minority narrative. Additional artefacts are a message formulated by the Polish majority. They constitute a kind of symbolic encirclement, block. Emphasizing the dominant majority’s version of the events in this place is in fact a symbolic pre-emptive action. It is meant to silence the unwanted narrative or suppress even the mere possibility that it might emerge. What turns out to be at stake in the dominant Polish narrative about the Holocaust and Polish-Jewish relations is the image of Poland and the Poles. This shows not only the topographic and symbolic situation but also the socio-cultural context of the functioning of the new Museum.
Author(s): Gershenson, Olga
Date: 2015
Abstract: In 2012, a new Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center opened in Moscow – an event unthinkable during the Soviet regime. Financed at the level of $50 million, created by an international crew of academics and museum designers, and located in a landmark building, the museum immediately rose to a position of cultural prominence in the Russian museum scene. Using interactive technology and multimedia, the museum's core exhibition presents several centuries of complex local Jewish history, including the Second World War period. Naturally, the Holocaust is an important part of the story. Olga Gershenson's essay analyzes the museum's relationship to Holocaust history and memory in the post-Soviet context. She describes the museum's struggle to reconcile a Soviet understanding of the “Great Patriotic War” with a dominant Western narrative of the Holocaust, while also bringing the Holocaust in the Soviet Union to a broader audience via the museum. Through recorded testimonies, period documents, and film, the museum's display narrates the events of the Holocaust on Soviet soil. This is a significant revision of the Soviet-era discourse, which universalized and externalized the Holocaust. But this important revision is limited by the museum's choice to avoid the subject of local collaborators and bystanders. The museum shies away from the most pernicious aspect of the Holocaust history on Soviet soil, missing an opportunity to take historic responsibility and confront the difficult past.
Author(s): Zaagsma, Gerben
Date: 2011
Author(s): Woolfson, Shivaun
Date: 2013
Abstract: Once regarded as a vibrant centre of intellectual, cultural and spiritual Jewish life, Lithuania was home to 240,000 Jews prior to the Nazi invasion of 1941. By war's end, less than 20,000 remained. Today, 4,000 Jews reside there, among them 108 survivors from the camps and ghettos and a further 70 from the Partisans and Red Army. Against a backdrop of ongoing Holocaust denial and a recent surge in anti-Semitic sentiment, this thesis presents the history and experiences of a group of elderly survivors in modern-day Vilnius through the lens of their stories and memories, their special places and their biographical objects. Incorporating interdisciplinary elements of cultural anthropology, social geography, psychology, narrative and sensory ethnography, it is informed, at its core, by an overtly spiritual approach. Drawing on the essentially Hasidic belief that everything in the material world is imbued with sacred essence and that we, as human beings, have the capacity through our actions to release that essence, it explores the points of intersection where the individual and the collective collide, illuminating how history is lived from the inside. Glimpses of the personal, typically absent from the historical record, are afforded prominence here: a bottle of perfume tucked into a pocket before fleeing the ghetto, a silent promise made beside a mass grave, a pair of shoes fashioned from parachute material in the forest. By tapping the material for meaning, a more embodied, emplaced, experiential level of knowing, deeper and richer than that achieved through traditional life history (oral testimony and written documents) methods, can emerge. In moving beyond words and gathering a bricolage of story, legend, artefact, document, monument and landscape, this research suggests a multidimensional historiography that is of particular relevance in grasping the lived reality of survivors in Lithuania where only the faintest traces of a once thriving Jewish heritage now remain.
Author(s): Woolfson, Shivaun
Date: 2014

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