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Abstract

Since 1989 the Polish have struggled with their history and memory. The most heated debates were provoked by two historical books, Neighbors (Sasiedzi 2000) and Fear (2006, Strach, Polish trans. 2008). The author of these books, Jan T. Gross, challenged the Poles’ view of themselves as solely innocent victims of German Nazism, showing how anti-Semitism could lead them to kill Jews both during and after the war. This chapter analyses the Polish reactions to Gross’s book Fear and identifies amongst them a number of coping strategies typical of a trauma situation. The author argues that the memory of Polish anti-Semitism during and after the Holocaust became established as a cultural trauma in post-communist Poland and Jan T. Gross’s writings have played a crucial role in this process. This chapter demonstrates how the cultural trauma has been constructed but at the same time points to the fact that it has not yet resulted in a radical revision of Polish memory and identity. Thus the study shows the weakness of the normative aspects of the theory of cultural trauma. The construction of cultural trauma does not necessarily lead to empathy, greater moral responsibility and reconciliation as postulated by the authors of the theory.

In: European Cultural Memory Post-89

Abstract

Since 1989 the Polish have struggled with their history and memory. The most heated debates were provoked by two historical books, Neighbors (Sasiedzi 2000) and Fear (2006, Strach, Polish trans. 2008). The author of these books, Jan T. Gross, challenged the Poles’ view of themselves as solely innocent victims of German Nazism, showing how anti-Semitism could lead them to kill Jews both during and after the war. This chapter analyses the Polish reactions to Gross’s book Fear and identifies amongst them a number of coping strategies typical of a trauma situation. The author argues that the memory of Polish anti-Semitism during and after the Holocaust became established as a cultural trauma in post-communist Poland and Jan T. Gross’s writings have played a crucial role in this process. This chapter demonstrates how the cultural trauma has been constructed but at the same time points to the fact that it has not yet resulted in a radical revision of Polish memory and identity. Thus the study shows the weakness of the normative aspects of the theory of cultural trauma. The construction of cultural trauma does not necessarily lead to empathy, greater moral responsibility and reconciliation as postulated by the authors of the theory.

In: European Cultural Memory Post-89
In: Cultural and Political Imaginaries in Putin’s Russia
In: Cultural and Political Imaginaries in Putin’s Russia
In Cultural and Political Imaginaries in Putin’s Russia scholars scrutinise developments in official symbolical, cultural and social policies as well as the contradictory trajectories of important cultural, social and intellectual trends in Russian society after the year 2000. Engaging experts on Russia from several academic fields, the book offers case studies on the vicissitudes of cultural policies, political ideologies and imperial visions, on memory politics on the grassroot as well as official levels, and on the links between political and national imaginaries and popular culture in fields as diverse as fashion design and pro-natalist advertising. Contributors are Niklas Bernsand, Lena Jonson, Ekaterina Kalinina, Natalija Majsova, Olga Malinova, Alena Minchenia, Elena Morenkova-Perrier, Elena Rakhimova-Sommers, Andrei Rogatchevski, Tomas Sniegon, Igor Torbakov, Barbara Törnquist-Plewa, and Yuliya Yurchuk.
In: The Twentieth Century in European Memory
In: The Twentieth Century in European Memory
Transcultural Mediation and Reception
The Twentieth Century in European Memory investigates contested and divisive memories of conflicts, world wars, dictatorship, genocide and mass killing. Focusing on the questions of transculturality and reception, the book looks at the ways in which such memories are being shared, debated and received by museum workers, artists, politicians and general audiences. Due to amplified mobility and communication as well as Europe’s changing institutional structure, such memories become increasingly transcultural, crossing cultural and political borders.
This book brings together in-depth researched case studies of memory transmission and reception in different types of media, including films, literature, museums, political debate printed and digital media, as well as studies of personal and public reactions.

Contributors are: Ismar Dedović, Astrid Erll, Rosanna Farbøl, Magdalena Góra, Gunnthorunn Gudmundsdottir, Anne Heimo, Sara Jones, Wulf Kansteiner, Slawomir Kapralski, Zoé de Kerangat, Zdzisław Mach, Natalija Majsova, Inge Melchior, Daisy Neijmann, Vjeran Pavlaković, Benedikt Perak, Tea Sindbæk Andersen, and Barbara Törnquist-Plewa.