Die Anwesenheit des Abwesenden

Nostalgie und das kulturelle Gedächtnis böhmisch mährischer Landjuden vor und nach der Shoah

  • Ines Koeltzsch
Keywords: Bohemian and Moravian Jews, memoires, autobiographical fiction, amateur historiography, cultural memory, mourning, public history

Abstract

This paper deals with mostly published memories of Bohemian and Moravian Jews who were born and grew up in villages and small rural towns in the second half of the nineteenth or in the first decade of the twentieth century and who wrote down their histories before or after the Shoah. The first memories, mainly autobiographical fiction, recounting the end of the nineteenth century, were largely a reaction to the process of urbanisation which led to an im- portant migration of Jews to the cities. After 1918, amateur historiography became important in the remembrance of rural Jewish life and was often triggered by feelings of nostalgia. Both forms of cultural memory – (partly autobiographical) fiction and popular historiography – also framed the patterns of remembering rural Jews after the Shoah. Nostalgia was often ex- pressed in connection with sensation, for example in descriptions of religious traditions and habits. In contrast to the testimonies written before the Shoah the ambivalent longing for a place was now overlaid with the irreversible loss of people, the authors’ mourning of their lost relatives, friends and neighbours, and with the emptiness of the remembered places.

Published
2019-08-01