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Reconstructing Jewish Identity in Pre- and Post-Holocaust Literature and Culture


Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pedich and Malgorzata Pakier

The volume aims to illuminate the issue of Jewish identity in the context of its pre-Holocaust European origins and post-Holocaust American and Israeli settings. Jewish experience and identity construction in Europe, America and Israel are presented through diverse perspectives: Merchant of Venice in the light of Levinas’ ethics, Italian Jews in the 20th century, German-speaking Jewish authors in the Nazi 1930s, the Hassidic culture of learning, the representation of contemporary Poland in Jewish photography, Jewish life in America in a kashrut observing Orthodox neighbourhood, Kaballah in feminist cyberpunk fiction by Marge Piercy, constructing Jewish identity in British fiction in novels by Will Self and Muriel Spark, and Israeli films focusing on ethical solutions to political problems.


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Empty Spaces. Representations of Poland and the Poles in ProfessionalJ ewish Photography from Western Europe and the USA. Joanna Auron-Górska


Empty Spaces. Representations of Poland and the Poles in Professional Jewish Photography from Western Europe and the USA Joanna Auron-Górska This analysis initiates an examination of the images of the Poles as constructed by Jewish artists. It is a case study of five sets of photographs taken in Poland by professional, contemporary Jewish photographers from western Europe and the USA. The images come from the 2003 album Diaspora-Homelands in Exile by a French-Jewish photographer Frédéric Brenner, the 2002 “Poland. Ausch- witz/Birkenau Concentration Camp” and the 2005 “Varsaw at Night” (sic!), hosted by the prestigious Magnum Agency website for a French-Jewish reporter Patrick Zachmann, and from the 1994 Czechoslovakia & Poland. Vestige of Ju- daïsm in Eastern Europe by a Jewish American Leonard Freed. The other two Jewish-American photographers are Jason Francisco, with Far From Zion, pub- lished in 2006, and Jeffrey Gusky, with his 2003 Silent Places. I approach pho- tographic image as an outcome of the photographer’s encounter with his object: in other words, I believe that images tell us more about how the photographer felt about the object than reveal the “nature” of the object. The photographs by Brenner and Zachmann, by Gusky and Francisco (but not by Freed) reveal that, in the encounter between the Jewish photographer and Poland, the focus falls not on Poland but on Jewish suffering during the Shoah. While, in the areas of research which lie outside depictions of Poland, Jew- ish themes tend to reveal differences between the European...

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