The Festival in Kraków: Examining the revival of Jewish culture in Poland
Over the past three decades, a renewed interest in Jewish heritage in Poland has emerged. This phenomenon has its origins in the late 1970s and early 1980s and has since developed into a recognizable trend often described as the "Jewish revival" or "Jewish renaissance." The annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow is the most prominent manifestation of this movement. Every summer, Krakow is turned into a stage by performances of Klezmer music, theatre and art exhibits dealing with Jewish culture. Workshops on Jewish traditions intend to educate the participants about the century-long presence of Jewish life in Poland and Polish-Jewish co-existence. Despite its popularity in Poland, the Festival has met with criticism and skepticism internationally. The most vocal critics are members of Jewish communities across North America and Western Europe, who accuse Poles of misappropriating and misrepresenting Jewish culture. Many commentators point to the antagonistic nature of Polish-Jewish relations suggesting a lack of historical sensitivity on the part of the Poles and question the motivation and sincerity of the Jewish culture revival. This point of tension reflects the existence of two opposing narratives which have come to dominate Polish and American/Western European historical discourse respectively. This dissertation aims to dissect the root and explain the cause of these competing perspectives. To achieve this goal, this study investigates the renaissance of Jewish culture through the lens of the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow. In reference to Pierre Nora's concept of the lieu de memoire, it examines the value of the Festival as a site of memory and analyzes performance in relation to the specific space and time in which it occurs. More specifically, it contests the nature, popularity and educational value of the Festival within the discussion of cultural ownership.
Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations Jewish Culture Jewish Heritage Main Topic: Culture and Heritage Memory
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