Rediscovering Traces of Memory

Rediscovering Traces of Memory - Jonathan Webber

Rediscovering Traces of Memory

The present-day traces of the Jewish past in Poland are complex. Jewish life lay in ruins after the Holocaust. Much evidence of ruin remains, but there are also widespread traces that bear witness to the elaborate Jewish culture that once flourished there, even in villages and small towns. One also sees places where Jews were murdered by the Germans in the war: not only in death camps and ghettos, but also in fields, forests, rivers, and cemeteries. After the war forty years of communism suppressed even the memory of the destroyed Jewish heritage. Today, by contrast, the historic Jewish culture of Poland is increasingly being memorialized, by local Poles as well as by foreign Jews. Synagogues and cemeteries are being renovated, monuments and museums are being set up. There are festivals of Jewish culture, hasidic pilgrims, and Jewish tourists; and local people who rescued Jews during the war are being honoured. In rediscovering the traces of memory one also finds clear signs of a local Jewish revival.

This extensively revised second edition includes forty-five new photographs and updated explanatory texts. Together they suggest how to make sense of the past and discover its relevance for the present. This innovative, multi-layered book will appeal to everyone concerned with questions of history, memory, and identity.
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The present-day traces of the Jewish past in Poland are complex. Jewish life lay in ruins after the Holocaust. Much evidence of ruin remains, but there are also widespread traces that bear witness to the elaborate Jewish culture that once flourished there, even in villages and small towns. One also sees places where Jews were murdered by the Germans in the war: not only in death camps and ghettos, but also in fields, forests, rivers, and cemeteries. After the war forty years of communism suppressed even the memory of the destroyed Jewish heritage. Today, by contrast, the historic Jewish culture of Poland is increasingly being memorialized, by local Poles as well as by foreign Jews. Synagogues and cemeteries are being renovated, monuments and museums are being set up. There are festivals of Jewish culture, hasidic pilgrims, and Jewish tourists; and local people who rescued Jews during the war are being honoured. In rediscovering the traces of memory one also finds clear signs of a local Jewish revival.

This extensively revised second edition includes forty-five new photographs and updated explanatory texts. Together they suggest how to make sense of the past and discover its relevance for the present. This innovative, multi-layered book will appeal to everyone concerned with questions of history, memory, and identity.
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