Oleg Budnitskii responds to Olga Gershenson's “The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow: Judaism for the masses”
Debate on the exhibit Great Patriotic War and Holocaust at the Moscow Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.
Preface: “The Holocaust as a Part of Soviet History”
Based on extensive collection of interviews with Soviet, mostly - Ukrainian, - Jews born before the World War II, the essay examines the problem of religious observance and attitudes to it before and after the war concentrating on the circumcision, the first rite of passage, primal in Judaism and exceedingly dangerous during the Holocaust.
This edited collection contributes to the current vivid multidisciplinary debate on East European memory politics and the post-communist instrumentalization and re-mythologization of World War II memories. The book focuses on the three Slavic countries of post-Soviet Eastern Europe – Russia, Ukraine and Belarus – the epicentre of Soviet war suffering, and the heartland of the Soviet war myth. The collection gives insight into the persistence of the Soviet commemorative culture and the myth of the Great Patriotic War in the post-Soviet space. It also demonstrates that for geopolitical, cultural, and historical reasons the political uses of World War II differ significantly across Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, with important ramifications for future developments in the region and beyond.
The chapters 'Introduction: War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus', ‘From the Trauma of Stalinism to the Triumph of Stalingrad: The Toponymic Dispute over Volgograd’ and 'The “Partisan Republic”: Colonial Myths and Memory Wars in Belarus' are published open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at link.springer.com.
The chapter 'Memory, Kinship, and Mobilization of the Dead: The Russian State and the “Immortal Regiment” Movement' is published open access under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license at link.springer.com.
Jeffrey Olick is one of the most prominent researchers in the field of memory studies nowadays. Yet, none of his works have been translated into Russian. “Figurations of memory” as the author himself states is one of his most important texts. It is dedicated to the process-relational methodology. J. Olick criticizes traditional approaches as they see collective memory as a static thing, whereas it should be studied as a process. On the other hand author criticizes a mainstream understanding of memory as a unified object. Instead he suggests that there are multiple mnemonic forms and practices that should be investigated. As a result he presents a new methodology that is based on analysis of the four essential aspects of memory work: field (mostly in a sense in which Bourdieu used it), medium, genre and profile. This method of analysis leads to emergence of additional empirical categories, such as official, vernacular, public, and private memory; affective, aesthetic-expressive, instrumental-cognitive, and political-moral media; the normal legitimation, German traditions, German victimhood, and German guilt genres; and the reliable, moral, and normal profiles. Though in the end the model may seem rather complex, author claims that it is by far more clear and precise that other models of research of collective memory. More than that, he claims that this methodology can be universal for studying a large number of sociological topics.
For the first time ever in this book - complete and unabridged - all the available Zalman Gradowski's texts are presented. The Author was one of the Sonderkommando's member at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, who had perished on October 7, 1944 during the mutiny. His notes were discovered at the end of the Second World War in the ashes near the camp crematorium where he had worked. This testimony of the direct witness of the tragedy without any exaggeration could be branded as one of the most important Holocaust documents. This book is addressed to the widest possible readers' audience.
The publication includes an autobiography, a diary and letters from a young man from a former Pale of Settlement. Boris Tanis was born in 1923 into a Jewish family in Western Ukraine. After the partition of Poland, he took Soviet citizenship and, as a soldier of the Red Army, went through World War II. Boris Tanis’ diary, written in the wake of his return home to the Rivne region in 1945–1946, reflects the thoughts and feelings of a Soviet soldier who lost his family during the Holocaust. Having enthusiastically adopted the ideals of the Soviet regime, after the end of the war Boris Tanis goes to Central Asia, where he manages to make a career as an official in the construction sector. Published ego-documents may be of interest to historians of the Second World War, researchers of Jewish and Soviet history, and specialists in the history of emotions. Documents are provided with an introduction and comments.
Ron Eyerman is one of the authors of the cultural theory trauma, that was introduced by him and Jeffrey Alexander. This text may be seen as a case-study, that underlines and illuminates some of the main features of the theory. Using the example of three significant social theory texts, Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment, Freud’s Moses and Monotheism and Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust, this article illustrates the difference between personal, collective and cultural trauma. All of those texts are connected to the same event – Holocaust – and are also the outcome of this event. The authors of these texts could have become the victims, but instead survived bearing the trauma, conceptualizing it and thus becoming predecessors of the cultural trauma theory. Ron Eyerman shows the complexity of relationship between personal trauma, collective trauma and the construction of social theory. Analyzing these texts he goes into history of their creation, finds evidence for the traumatic experience of authors. He also analyzes aesthetic characteristics of the texts, showing those texts as not only pieces of social theorizing but also as personal experiences, trying to find meaning in gaps, voids and inconsistency. The aim is also to illustrate how personal trauma can impact the construction and representation of social theory.