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Describing Who?

Poland in Photographs by Jewish Artists


Joanna Auron-Gorska

«Describing Who?» reveals the significance of photographs taken in contemporary Poland by professional American, French and Israeli Jewish photographers. Writing critically from the vantage point of her Polish and Jewish background, Joanna Auron-Górska argues that while visual representations of Poland and the Poles may appear atemporal, they are neither ahistorical nor apolitical. They are, instead, influenced by the culturally conditioned construct within which Poland serves to maintain the memory of the Shoah, by war trauma, and by post-war politics. The attitudes of foreign Western Jewry to non-Jewish Poles and Poland have so far received limited scholarship; this analysis is a contribution towards enlightening the conversation between Poles and Jews from outside of Poland.
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Grateful acknowledgement is made for permission to reprint the following photographs:

“Park in Former Jewish Enclave,” “Swastika Graffiti on Izaaka Street in the Former Jewish Quarter,” and “Auschwitz in Winter #1” from Silent Places: Landscapes of Jewish Life and Loss in Eastern Europe by Jeffrey Gusky. Copyright © 2004 by Jeffrey Gusky, reprinted by permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc., on behalf of the author.

“Auschwitz Concentration Camp. A display of thousands of spectacles that were confiscated from the victims” from POLAND. Auschwitz camp “victims” visit camp by Micha Bar-Am. Copyright © Micha Bar-Am/Magnum Photos, reprinted by permission of Micha Bar-Am/Magnum Photos.

„POLAND. Warsaw. 1994. First grade at the Ronald Lauder Foundation Jewish School taught by Piotr Kowalik” from 1994, CZECHOSLOVAKIA & POLAND. Vestige of Judaïsm in Eastern Europe by Leonard Freed. Copyright © Leonard Freed /Magnum Photos, reprinted by permission of Leonard Freed /Magnum Photos.

„Untitled” from Ojczyzna by Matĕj Stránsky, galeria 113 w Białymstoku, 2002. Copyright © Matej Stransky, reprinted by permission of the author.

“Outside the Tykocin Synagogue”, Tykocin, Poland 2013, by Andrzej Górski, used by permission.

“The Hagbah at Beit Warszawa Synagogue”, Warsaw 2013, by Judyta Avigail Sulicz, used by permission.


Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. The publisher apologizes for any errors or omissions in the above list and would be grateful for notification of...

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