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Jews and Non-Jews: Memories and Interactions from the Perspective of Cultural Studies


Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich and Jacek Partyka

The book adds new studies of memories and interactions between Jews and non-Jews to the historical and cultural research on this topic. It gathers in one volume the results of work by scholars from several countries, while the topics of the articles cover various disciplines: history, sociology, psychology, literary and language studies. The specific themes refer to the cultures and interactions with non-Jews in places such as Kiev, Vienna, Ireland, Springfield, Sosúa as well as reflect upon interactions in literary texts by Czesław Milosz and other Polish writers, some contemporary Jewish-American novelists and South American writers. Finally there are texts referring to the experience of the Holocaust and the post-Holocaust trauma as well as German-Israeli and Polish-Jewish relations and heritage.
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The Sacralization and Secularization of the Jewish Cemeteries in Poland



These days in many cities, towns and villages in Poland, the Jewish cemetery remains the only material remnant and testimony to the historical presence of a Jewish community. Out of an estimated number of 1,400 Jewish cemeteries in Poland today, only a few are still functioning as burial places for the current Jewish communities in Poland (Gebert and Datner). While many of the cemeteries have been preserved and reconstructed in recent years, others are neglected, abandoned or destroyed. In some towns, only remnants of a wall or a clearing in the forest mark the place where once a Jewish cemetery stood. But in order to thoroughly answer the question of what remains of the Jewish cemeteries in Poland we must understand this question not only in material terms, but also in terms of collective memory and consciousness.

The aim of this essay is to tell the post-Holocaust story of the Jewish cemeteries in Poland from the point of view of Polish society. I intend to do so by using the conceptual framework of the sacred and the profane. More specifically, I would like to analyze the material and symbolic transformation of the Jewish cemeteries in Poland since the Holocaust as an ambivalent and dialectic process of “sacralization” on the one hand, and “secularization” on the other. I would like to offer this sacralization-secularization dichotomy as an explanatory model for understanding how the Jewish cemeteries were perceived by Christian Poles, and how the...

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