Jews in Museums: Narratives of Nation and 'Jewishness' in Post-Communist Hungarian and Polish Public Memory
Staging Traumatic Memory: Competing Narratives of State Violence in Post-Communist Hungarian Museums
Topics: Main Topic: Culture and Heritage, Jewish Museums, Memory, Holocaust Commemoration, Holocaust Education, Holocaust Memorials, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Post-1989, Communism
Abstract: The article examines the way three contemporary Hungarian museums–the House of Terror Museum, the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial and Documentation Center–represent the history of the Holocaust and the history of Jewish/non-Jewish relations. Reflecting different political agendas, each of the three museums offers a different interpretation of how the Holocaust fits into the larger narrative of Hungary's 20th century history. The article argues that post-communist public memory has been constructed through debates about these histories. By analyzing the three museums' displays, narratives and the debates surrounding them, the article argues that Hungarian public discourse has yet to come to terms with the meaning and place of “Jewishness” (and the way it has informed “Hungarianness”) in modern Hungarian history. Despite the centrality of Jews and Jewish-non-Jewish relations to the museums' narratives, none are able to offer a clear definition of what “Jewishness” means and how it functioned at different times throughout the 20th century.