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Relocating Auschwitz: Affective Relations in the Jewish-German-Polish Troika


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In recent years, Jews, Germans, and Poles have stood at three corners of a triangle, labeled, respectively, as victims, perpetrators, and bystanders by genocide researchers treating the Holocaust. The formulation advanced previous equations, where scholars could only imagine the duality of victim-perpetrator.3 Newrevelations about kinds and layers of complicity, competing claims to victim-hood, and the recognition that individuals may inhabit more than one of the categories, force us to confront the complexity of interrelations. Yet, the rise of attention to public memory in Holocaust studies suggests, rather than a permanent two-dimensional geometry, a different idiom: an active, jockeying troika of nations, yoked together by a difficult history. This new metaphor allows us to anticipate and attend to the ongoing tensions and shifts that occur among members of the team, on whom different memorial burdens may be placed. In this chapter, I address the circumstances of a major, and quite recent, transmogrification of the symbolic Jews-Germans-Poles constellation. Namely, I argue that in the framework of Jewish Holocaust tourism to Poland, Nazi Germany (i.e., the perpetrator) disappears. In its place, Poland has emerged as much more satisfying object of opprobrium, even as—and indeed, I will argue, because—Poland is also beginning to be excavated as a site of more general relevance in Jewish memory-culture.




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Link to article (paywalled), Relocating Auschwitz: Affective Relations in the Jewish-German-Polish Troika

Bibliographic Information

Lehrer, Erica Relocating Auschwitz: Affective Relations in the Jewish-German-Polish Troika. Germany, Poland, and Postmemorial Relations: In Search of a Livable Past. Palgrave Macmillan. 2012: 213-237.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.1057/9781137052056_11