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Katharina Friedla
Junior Fellow (10/2012 – 09/2013)

Jewish life worlds in Wroclaw, 1933-1949: Strategies of contact and survival, self-assertion and identity, experiences of persecution


FriedlaBoth the extermination the Jewish people of Wroclaw during the war and the politics of the People's Republic of Poland have contributed to the fact the Jewish life could not be reignited in Wroclaw. The memory of the Silesian and especially the Wroclaw Jews, their ostracism, suppression, persecution and extermination by the Nazi regime, as well as the history of Polish-Jewish Wroclaw were deleted during the Cold War: These events have so far hardly received any attention either in the collective memory or in academic discourses in Poland and Germany. This research project will depict the problems and issues of this hitherto hardly addressed history of the Wroclaw Jews in the 20th century. It sets out from an analysis of Jewish life worlds in Wroclaw during the era of national socialism, when state defamation and anti-Jewish violence escalated and which culminated in the ostracism and extermination of the Jews from Wroclaw. Further, I will depict and analyse the change after 1945, the situation of the surviving German Jews in Wroclaw, as well as the Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivors who were established in the city. What were their scopes of action, how did they respond to the situation of persecution, what survival strategies were possible? How was it possible to assert oneself, which identity constructions were possible and which were not? How did the Jewish lives in the city before and after the Second World War intersect?


Katharina Friedla studied History, Jewish Studies, East Europen studies and German studies in Wroclaw, Poznan and Berlin between 1997 and 2000. Since 2009. she has been a PhD student at the Dept. of History at the University of Basel.  Research stay at Yad Vashem Archives Jerusalem (2007), at the Deutsches Historisches Institut in Warsaw (2009), at the Leo Baeck Institut in New York (2009), at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research New York (2009/2010) as well as the Stiftung Dialogik (Mary and Hermann Levin Goldschmied-Bollag, Zurich/ University of Toronto 2010-2011).


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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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