(Nie)obecność Żydów w krajobrazach pamięci południowo-wschodniej Polski
THE (NON-)PRESENCE OF JEWS IN THE MEMORYSCAPES OF SOUTH-EASTERN POLAND
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The author employs the concept of ‘memoryscape’ (derived from the vocabulary of Arjun Appadurai’s theory) to explore memories of Jews that have been recently re-emerging in Poland’s countryside in various spatial layouts or the lack thereof. This complex process includes the phenomenon of ‘virtual’ Jewishness produced in essentially Polish ‘realms of memory’, simultaneously evoking the country’s multicultural past as a value, a moral obligation, a symbolic resource in the production of local identities, and a commodified resource for tourism. On this backdrop the author studies three main problems: (1) the presence/absence of the Holocaust in spatialized commemorative activities, (2) the impact of the restitution of Jewish communal property, and (3) the process of ‘decommunization’ of Polish public memory. The interplay of factors involved in these processes has in recent years significantly transformed Poland’s memoryscape, sometimes extinguishing certain forms of virtual Jewishness or nostalgic redefinition of the past, and sometimes fruitfully confronting Polish remembrance with a real, if only periodic, Jewish presence. The text concludes with an attempt to present a typology of various attitudes towards memory, space and identity which contextualizes and deconstructs Polish ‘memory of Jews’.
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