Location: Mała Litera, ul. Nawrot 7

Memory of the Shoah

at 6:00 p.m.
[free entry]

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Memory of the Shoah: Cultural Representations and Commemoration Practices

Research editors: Tomasz Majewski, Anna Zeidler-Janiszewska
Editorial cooperation: Maja Wójcik
Officyna Publishers, Łódź 2009
host: Krystyna Pietrych
The Memory of the Shoah anthology – gathering eighty-six texts by Polish and foreign academics – is an attempt to come to grips with the increasing presence of Holocaust issues in the fields of historiography, sociology, theology, psychiatry and art, and in the public discourse in its broadest terms: in the media and arts criticism, and boldly crossing into the urban space, present in comic books and popular cinema. The texts presented in this volume are diverse in nature – such varied specialists and professionals as philosophers, psychiatrists, cultural researchers, media theorists, architects, literary critics, film critics, political scientists, writers and artists have been invited to take part in the undertaking. They articulate various points of view, which can seem mutually exclusive. General theoretical takes rub shoulders with case studies, and personal impressions with ‘cold’ discourse analyses; the reconstruction of the experiences of the victims – through the means of historiography, psychiatry or literary fiction – with the issue of the instrumentalization of memory in social, political or media frameworks. The majority of the authors approach the Holocaust as a ‘transformative event’ (to use the term devised by Alan Milchman and Alan Rosenberg), which embraces not only the active mourning of the victims and the analysis of the perpetrators’ motives – of which the most spectacular manifestation is Jonathan Littell’s book, recently translated into Polish – but also the positions of the witnesses, most often people indifferent to the fates of their Jewish neighbors and fellow citizens – ‘gawkers,’ as Paul Ricoeur termed them – who sometimes adopted the role of executioners, informers or ‘szmalcowniki’ [blackmailers who took money from Jews in WWII in exchange for silence – trans.]. The texts presented in this volume are grouped into sections provided with separate thematic introductions, allowing the reader to navigate through its variegated, interdisciplinary materials. (Tomasz Majewski)

Zygmunt Bauman about Memory of Shoah:
This is one of , alas, very few occasions for the non-Polish readers to confront face-to-face the ghastly and tragic knowledge carried from the innards of the Nazi hell: to hear voices of millions once earmarked for annihilation, of those yet more numerous who against their will had been made numb witnesses of hellish inhumanity and are still trying to come to terms with the experience defying human comprehension, and of those few who stood up to infernal forces – as their conscience would not allow them to place own life above lives of the others… The insights of foremost Polish scholars collected in this book help us, like no other study can, in our struggle to understand how can one (or at least how one tries) to live with the memory of such experience of one’s own and those around, and how artists or poets can (or at least how they try) to help us in that struggle….