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Jewish Poland Revisited

Heritage Tourism in Unquiet Places

Erica T. Lehrer

Publication Year: 2013

Since the end of Communism, Jews from around the world have visited Poland to tour Holocaust-related sites. A few venture further, seeking to learn about their own Polish roots and connect with contemporary Poles. For their part, a growing number of Poles are fascinated by all things Jewish. Erica T. Lehrer explores the intersection of Polish and Jewish memory projects in the historically Jewish neighborhood of Kazimierz in Krakow. Her own journey becomes part of the story as she demonstrates that Jews and Poles use spaces, institutions, interpersonal exchanges, and cultural representations to make sense of their historical inheritances.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: New Anthropologies of Europe


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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p. 4-4

Copyright Page

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p. 5-5

Dedication Page

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pp. 6-7

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Prologue: Scene of Arrival

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pp. ix-x

I climb the stairs in Mateusz’s (temporarily my) shiny, as-yet-ungraffitied apartment block and step through the steel-reinforced, triple-bar winding-bolt door (“Israeli,” Mateusz told me later, an almost prurient glint in his eye). On a nearby cabinet sits a lace doily on which two knitted yarmulkes (skullcaps) are decorously propped. ...

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pp. xi-xvi

First, my teachers and mentors: Jon Andelson at Grinnell College in Iowa inspired me to become an anthropologist with his enthusiasm, kindness, and nurturing instruction in the joys of theoretical thinking. His own teacher (and later mine) at the University of Michigan, the late Skip Rappaport, remains another role model ...

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Introduction: Poles and Jews: Significant Others

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pp. 1-24

Kazimierz, Krakow’s historically Jewish quarter, is one among a number of iconically Jewish spaces that have been “put back on the map” across the new Europe, in places where Jews lived in concentration before World War II and sometimes long before: Berlin’s Scheunenviertel, Paris’s Le Marais, Bologna’s “Il Ghetto,” ...

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1. Making Sense of Place: History, Mythology, Authenticity

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pp. 25-53

I arrived in Kazimierz for the first time in April of 1990. It was a fortuitous moment; ferried by a hospitable middle-aged Polish painter who had become my and my brother’s impromptu tour guide to the city, we drove into the bleak neighborhood under a white banner stretched across the road, advertising the second annual Festival of Jewish Culture. ...

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2. The Mission: Mass Jewish Holocaust Pilgrimage

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pp. 54-90

A few days after arriving in Warsaw on that first East European trip in 1990, which had been inspired by the revolutions of the previous months, my brother and I found ourselves circling the city’s central synagogue. The building’s somber, grey exterior matched the sky and still-leafless trees, and we wondered who, if anyone, would be inside. ...

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3. The Quest: Scratching the Heart

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pp. 91-122

At the Jarden Jewish Bookshop and Tourist Agency in Kazimierz, I bumped into Max Rogers, a forty-year-old Hasidic Londoner who travels to Poland frequently on business. Max had been involved in numerous local projects and delights the employees of the bookshop with his periodic gifts of falafel. ...

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4. Shabbos Goyim: Polish Stewards of Jewish Spaces

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pp. 123-158

Why would a Pole open a Jewish bookstore? Jewish visitors ask. A non-Jewish Jewish bookstore would be cause enough for suspicion (what are they doing with our culture?). But a Polish one? is combination violates the basic order of a Jewish moral universe built from grandparents’ stories of Poles turning over Jews to the Nazis for vodka. ...

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5. Traveling Tschotschkes and “Post-Jewish" Culture

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pp. 159-175

Józef brooded over a vision he had in the early 1960s. He grew animated. “A path led to a wooden fence, and a man sat there, in a black cloak and hat. It was just before dusk, the distance between us was about twenty meters. is man just looked at me. I felt paralyzed, as if something unnatural were happening. I turned away, and then back. ...

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6. Jewish Like an Adjective: Expanding the Collective Self

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pp. 176-196

In mid-summer 2000, Michał, a middle-aged Cracovian translator, traveler, and practitioner of Buddhism, came walking into Szeroka Street unshaven, disheveled, and distracted. I was sitting at the patio of the Nissenbaum restaurant with a couple of American Jewish friends. ...

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Conclusion: Toward a Polish-Jewish Milieu de Mémoire

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pp. 197-216

Locating ethnography in time is a perennial problem for anthropologists. Despite the sense that we are describing current cultural problematics, the “ethnographic present” is already over by the time we sit down to write. Especially in social settings defined by rapid global flows like tourism, the challenge is to capture the emergence, historicity, ...


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pp. 217-242


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pp. 243-262


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pp. 263-274

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About the Author

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p. 296-296

Erica T. Lehrer is Associate Professor in the History and Sociology-Anthropology Departments at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Post-Conflict Memory, Ethnography, and Museology. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780253008930
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253008800

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 25 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: New Anthropologies of Europe