Translated Title: The returns of Krakow’s jews to their home townin the light of personal document literature
Abstract: Krakow's Jews, scattered around the world, reminisce about their hometown. The main reasons for returning to Krakow are recurring images of the past and the urge to see their life story as a coherent whole. The returnees rediscover their hometown through their own traces of memory, although there are shared stops on the way. These are the places associated with their childhood and their family history, but also with the heritage of Krakow's Jews and the Holocaust. Such diverse stops on the trail of memories show dual identity of the city – the city of a once glorious past but also stigmatised by blood, murder and loss. The absence of the families of the murdered Jewish community is equivalent to the lack of natural environment of commemoration. Those returning are looking for a new commemorative milieu, and everyone who remembers will also become part of it (e.g. their school friends, teachers, neighbours etc.). Finally, the returnees are coming back home – to the house where they were born, but one that is not home anymore.
Translated Title: Odrodzenie życia żydowskiego w Krakowie?
Abstract: Many readers may be taken aback by the eponymous question. The “reconstruction”, “renaissance”, or “revitalization” of Jewish life has usually been referred to in the affirmative, not necessarily denoting one and the same notion of that phenomenon in each case. It may be worthwhile setting out to explore this issue by establishing in the first place what “Jewish life” consists of, where “the Jewish” and “the non -Jewish” have their dividing line, and what criteria should be assumed if the choice were between the objective and the subjective ones. More questions arise from such deliberations, pertaining to the definition of Jewish culture, Judaism, Jewish space, and Jewish identity; should these concepts be looked at from the perspective of essentialism or constructivism? or may be a new perspective is to be sought, one that sits somewhere at the junction of these two extremes? Every community obviously faces problems caused by the designata of collective categories; however, the contemporary Jewish community seems to be particularly affected by these in Poland. It is beyond doubt that the principal reason for that situation stems from the Holocaust – the experience and aftermath of that tragic event.