Ragged Houses and Candlelight. The Romance of the Jewish Past and Memory Work in the Last Decade of the Communist Rule in Kraków, Poland

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Abstract

It has often been proposed that the Jewish past of Poland had been largely forgotten and that first popular commemorations of the destroyed minority took place after the fall of Communism in 1989. Challenging this chronology the present article examines the commemorations in Kraków, the cultural capital of Poland, in the 1980s. It analyses the work of local Jewish museum and preservation projects developed during the decade and establishes that the Jewish past had been remembered in the city since at least 1980. It demonstrates that local, mid-ranking officials, a group situated mid-way in the polar opposites of the government and the society, were responsible for this rediscovery of the Jewish past. In particular, this article points towards the heritage preservationists and comments on their importance for urban memory work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-733
Number of pages17
JournalCultural and Social History
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2017

Keywords

  • Memory work
  • jewish past
  • krakow
  • heritage
  • museum

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