Accepted Paper:

Relocating significance of materialized memories among postwar Jewish immigrants from Poland   

Author:

Kamila Dąbrowska (Museum of the History of Polish Jews)

Paper long abstract:

Immigrants cope with the absence of the past through creation of memories, embodied in and evoked by objects. The meaning inscribed to a particular object changes depending on fluctuation of memories' significance. The paper will present materialized memories of a transnational group of immigrants, Polish Jews who left Poland after the Second World War, in the mid of 1950s and at the end of 1960s. It will concentrate on their complex and contradictory image of a private homeland (Poland) and its nostalgic, fragmentary representation through objects.

The traumatic memories are related both to the post memory inherited from their parents who survived the Holocaust and their own ones connected with an uprooting process started by anti-Semitic campaigns in the postwar Poland. These negative memories mingle with idealistic ones from their childhood and youth in the communist Poland and with most recent ones from their nostalgic journeys to Poland, they went on after 1989. Objects will be interpreted as a bridge between the past and the present, and as an expression of different identities of the immigrants (both individual and collective).

The paper is based on research made among Polish Jews who emigrated from Poland to Israel and Scandinavia.

Panel W018
Material culture, migration and the transnational imaginary