Lecture Series: Jewish Material Cultures in East-Central Europe in the 20th Century

Lecturers:: Anna Holzer-Kawalko
Dr. Enrico Lucca
Judith Siepmann
Research Colloquium
Time: Thursday, 17:15–18:45 (every other week)
Start: 4. April 2019

Modern Jewish history can be explored anew by assuming a perspective that adopts materiality as its point of departure. As portable belongings, visible remnants, or just silent reminders of lost stories, objects illuminate the Jewish experience of migration and transfer, as well as expulsion, annihilation, and destruction, from a unique angle.

Against this background, the colloquium addresses the fate of Jewish cultural artifacts and the institutions to which they belonged in the twentieth century. It explores libraries, archives, as well as private book collections in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Czech lands, Hungary, and Poland. This focus will offer a glimpse of the richness of European Jewish intellectual and spiritual life in the interwar period, it will shed light on the history of destruction in the course of World War II and the Nazi looting of Jewish cultural property. Finally, it will enable us to track the reconstruction of Jewish cultural heritage in the aftermath of the Holocaust. While presenting a sort of biography of objects, it will reflect some fundamental changes that affected both the cultural geography of the Jewish world and Europe’s geo-political map after 1945.


4. April 2019
Leora Auslander(Chicago)
Jewish Things? Material Culture and Jewish Studies

2. Mai 2019
Vera Ábrahám, Dóra Pataricza (Szeged)
Zwischen Szeged und Jerusalem: Das Schicksal der Immánuel-Löw-Bibliothek

16. Mai 2019
Andrea Jelínková (Prag)
Silent Witnesses: Books in Ghetto Terezín during and after World War II

27. Juni 2019
Michal Czajka (Warschau)
Remnants of the German-Jewish Past: Archival Holdings at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw after 1945

4. Juli 2019
Janusz Spyra (Czestochowa)
Spuren einer zerstörten Welt: Das deutsch-jüdische Kulturerbe in Slask Cieszynski nach 1945


Vera Ábrahám, Sámuel Birnfeld Library of the Jewish Community, Szeged (Hungary) | Prof. Dr. Leora Auslander, The University of Chicago (USA) | Michał Czajka, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw (Poland) | Andrea Jelínková, Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague (Czech Republic) | Dr. Dóra Pataricza, Sámuel Birnfeld Library of the Jewish Community, Szeged (Hungary) | Prof. Dr. Janusz Spyra, Jan Długosz University, Częstochowa (Poland)

4th April to 4th Juli 2019, thursdays 5.15–6.45 p.m. (CEST); 11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. (EST)
Dubnow Institute