- Commemorative Activities of the Great War and the Empowerment of Elderly Immigrant Soviet Jewish Veterans in Israel
- Anthropological Quarterly
- George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research
- Volume 80, Number 4, Fall 2007
- pp. 1035-1064
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- Additional Information
This study deals with the commemoration of the "migrating past" in a new country. The case in focus is the group of Red Army WWII veterans who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s. These elderly immigrant ex-soldiers turn to their combat past, the main symbolic capital in their struggle for belonging in the host country. Performing commemorative work that is embedded in the mnemonic praxis of Soviet veteran culture, the elderly immigrants construct individual, collective and civic identities in their new homeland. The study sheds light on veterans' commemorative practices as a venue for struggling with the rupture created by the interweaving of old age and migration. The study objectifies the experience of war as a powerful symbolic resource for individual empowerment and social mobilization in the contexts of nation-states and flourishing militarism.