Modern Identities and the Creation of History: Stories of Rescue among the Jews of Denmark
Anthropological analysis of the construction of history and tradition has focused on the role of the past in expressing group identities and interests. It has done so primarily in contexts where group identities are relatively clearly marked, as in nationalist movements or colonial situations. In many places, however, including many modern urban settings, group identities are ambiguous and poorly defined. In such contexts, standard approaches to the construction of the past are difficult to apply. This article contains a consideration of one such case, the Jewish community of Copenhagen, Denmark. A variety of Jewish accounts of the rescue of the Danish Jews from the Nazis in 1943 are analyzed. Emerging from a complex and deeply fragmented community, these narratives defy abstraction into a group version of the event. Thematically, however, all address problems of sameness and difference endemic to Danish Jewish life. A focus on such thematic issues allows a cultural analysis of the construction of the past, even where group identities are fragmented and incoherent.
Link to article (paywalled), Modern Identities and the Creation of History: Stories of Rescue among the Jews of Denmark
Modern Identities and the Creation of History: Stories of Rescue among the Jews of Denmark. 1999: 1-17. https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.2307/3317569