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Describing Who?

Poland in Photographs by Jewish Artists

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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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List of Illustrations

Extract

 

1.“Park in Former Jewish Enclave”, Ustrzyki Dolne, Poland 2001, in: Jeff Gusky, Silent Places, Overlook Duckworth, Woodstock, New York, London 2003

2.“Swastika Graffiti on Izaaka Street in The Former Jewish Quarter”, Cracow, Poland 2001, in: Jeff Gusky, Silent Places, Overlook Duckworth, Woodstock, New York, London 2003

3.“Auschwitz in Winter #1”, Auschwitz, Poland 1996, in: Jeff Gusky, Silent Places, Overlook Duckworth, Woodstock, New York, London 2003

4.“First grade at the Ronald Lauder Foundation Jewish School taught by Piotr Kowalik”, Leonard Freed, Czechoslovakia & Poland. Vestige of Judaism in Eastern Europe, Warsaw, Poland 1994 © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos, FRL1994021W00018/5(NYC421). Reprinted by permission.

5.“Auschwitz K.2 Camp, a display of remnants of victims of the Holocaust, thousands of spectacles that were recuperated from the victims”, Micha Bar-Am, Auschwitz camp ‘victims’ visit camp, Auschwitz, Poland 1989, © Micha Bar-Am / Magnum Photos, BAM1989015W02519F/29(PAR119036). Reprinted by permission.

6.[Untitled], in: Matĕj Stránsky, Ojczyzna, Poland 2002, by permission of the author

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

8.Devotional imagery, side by side: the Holy Family and portrait of a Jew. Outdoor market stall, Jastrzębia Góra 2012

9.A park hiding a pre-war Jewish cemetery, Bialystok, Poland 2014, photograph by the author

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