IJS Events

Bringing the Dark to Light – Memory of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe

Publication date: Jan 16, 2014 11:25 AM

Start: Jan 21, 2014 06:00 PM

Joanna Michlic

Tuesday January 21st


Joanna Michlic

Joanna Beata Michlic is a social and cultural historian, and founder and Director of HBI (Hadassah-Brandeis Institute) Project on Families, Children, and the Holocaust at Brandeis University. In September 2013 she WAS appointed a lecturer in Contemporary History  at the Faculty of the Department of Historical Studies at Bristol University, UK.  Her major publications include 'Neighbors Respond: The Controversy about Jedwabne' (2004, co-edited with Antony Polonsky), 'Poland's Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present' and 'Bringing the Dark to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in Postcommunist Europe' (2013, co-edited with John-Paul Himka). She is also the editor of the forthcoming 'Jewish Families in Europe, 1939-Present: History, Representation, and Memory', (2014). Her current research topics are the history of rescuers of Jews and East European Jewish childhood, 1945-1950. She is a recipient of many academic awards and fellowships, most recently the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Haifa University, 2013/2014.

In 1945, only a few grasped the extent of the destruction of East European Jews and their civilization and the implication of this loss for the region. Today, the Holocaust has become the European paradigm of lieu de mémoire and the universal icon of evil. Most recently some have claimed the Holocaust an international paradigm of human rights. These developments have evolved in different directions, creating greater understanding of the impact of the Holocaust on the one hand, and on the other making poor analogies and producing competing narratives of martyrdom. In Europe, in spite of the establishment of the International Day of Holocaust Remembrance (27 January), the memory of the Holocaust does not cease to cause tensions between the West and the postcommunist countries. The presentation discusses the two major stages of the process of restoration of memory of the Holocaust in postcommunist Europe and argues that in order to understand its ongoing dynamics three key dimensions recurring in the landscape of memory of Jews and the Holocaust should be considered: remembering to remember, remembering to benefit, and remembering to forget. By studying these dimensions carefully, we learn the nature of the reconceptualization of Jews and the Holocaust, and the limits of the recognition and integration of the “dark past” by broader multigenerational sections of postcommunist societies.

Lecture 6pm  Institute of Archaeology lecture theatre,

31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY.

No reception but we will be offering a glass of wine when you come in.

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For more events, see our Lectures Programme for Spring 2014.

Page last modified on 16 jan 14 10:37