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Ines Koeltzsch
Research Fellow (10/2014 - 08/2015)

Between Oblivion and Nostalgia. Rural Jews in Central European Cultural Memory Before and After the Shoah: The Bohemian Lands and Czechoslovakia


Koeltzsch webOne of the most common stereotypes about Jews in modernity has been that „Jew are an urban population“: it is as much an autostereotype as a heterostereotype. This perception of the 19th and early 20th century has significantly shaped historiography (and more) until our day. The history of the rural Jews can thus be understood as being doubly marginalized: it has either been forgotten or subjected to extreme idealization. My research project at VWI will use the example of the Bohemian lands and Czechoslovakia in order to investigate collective and individual forms of remembering rural Jewish life in Central Europe before and after the Shoah. I am particularly interested in issues and topoi that are either specific to particular regions or comprehensively span larger areas as well as the roles of oblivion and nostalgia in the cultural memory of "village and rural Jews". These will be explored at hand of various media (literature, autobiography, memorial books, etc.). I want to highlight that collective patterns of memory were formed in parallel to individual memories not only after the Shoah but indeed earlier, as urbanization and the decline of rural Jewish communities took hold.


Ines Koeltzsch is a researcher at the Masaryk Institute and Archive of the Academy of Sciences Prague; her research specializations are the history of relations between Jews and non-Jews, urban history and the history of migration in 19th and 20th century Central Europe.

July 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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