Managing Jewish heritage assets in European urban landscapes

Sonia Catrina (CSIER-Centre for the Study of the Jewish History in Romania & CEREFREA-Centre Régional francophone de recherches avancées en sciences sociales)
George Iordachescu (IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca)
Start time:
21 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This session raises the question of the physical state of the Jewish heritage assets in European urban landscapes, by inquiring into the issues of their productions, uses, manipulations, negotiations, and "ownership claims and entitlements" (Verkuyten, 2013: 151).

Long abstract:

The extermination of European Jewry during the 20th Century led to the abandonment, degradation, decay or even to the disappearance of the "Jewish social and memorial infrastructure" (Lehrer, 2010: 273) across Europe. To keep them out of destruction, some of the Jewish historical buildings and memory sites have been recycled and converted to other social, cultural, tourist, entrepreneurial uses. How is Jewish urban heritage shaped by "the top-down state policies of territorialisation and resources" or "bottom-up movements" (Warnier, 2011, 96) of social responsibility? Who are the actors taking possession of Jewish vestiges, symbols of Jews' cultural memories in urban landscapes of Europe? Which functions such Jewish evocative sites, once shared identity catalysts for Jewish communities, fulfil in the perpetuation of "cultural memory" (Assmann, 2010) of the respective communities and how the transmission is operated? How do the (mis-)uses of this heritage shape the social relations in contemporary European societies? What role does this heritage accomplish in the reconciliation of the memory of a difficult past of Jews in Europe? In line with these issues, we are looking for studies using theoretical and empirical approaches that examine the management of various Jewish heritage assets by public authorities, their social uses in European urban landscapes as well.