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Rediscovering Traces of Memory: The Jewish Heritage of Polish Galicia Paperback – September 15, 2009


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Hold Still by Sally Mann
Hold Still by Sally Mann
Acclaimed photographer Sally Mann sorted through boxes of family papers and old pictures to find "deceit and scandal, alcohol, domestic abuse, car crashes, bogeymen, clandestine affairs, dearly loved and disputed family land ... racial complications, vast sums of money made and lost, the return of the prodigal son, and maybe even bloody murder." Learn more | See similar books
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Rediscovering Traces of Memory: The Jewish Heritage of Polish Galicia + The Galitzianers: The Jews of Galicia, 1772-1918 + Galician Trails: The Forgotten Story of One Family
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Schwarz's photos are striking, incisive and heartbreaking..." —Jewish Exponent, February 11, 2010

(Jewish Exponent 2010-01-00)

"Wonderfully detailed... highly readable... evoke[s] a rich texture of memory and tradition and loss and even hope." —Ruth Ellen Gruber, author of National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe

(Ruth Ellen Gruber, author of National Geographic Jewish Heritage Travel: A Guide to Eastern Europe)

"A stunning tribute to the Jewish heritage of Polish Galicia.... A treasure for future generations." —Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, author of Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage

(Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, author of Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage)

"Polish-Jewish relations have long suffered from stereotypes and false accusations on both sides, and this is a major attempt to right the wrongs of the past." —Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland

(Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland)

"A moving account of what is being done to preserve the memory of what was lost and of the people, both Poles and Jews, involved in this important undertaking." —Antony Polonsky, Polin

(Antony Polonsky Polin)

"Webber's notes, in particular, distinguish Rediscovering Traces of Memory from other albums.... Close attention to detail, together with cooperation between photographer and anthropologist, makes the work an important contribution to scholarship." —H-Judaic, March 2011

(H-Judaic 2011-01-00)

"This rich, thought-provoking, and meticulously researched book will offer a good introduction to the topic of Jewish history in Galicia to students of contemporary European history, and will serve as a valuable supplement to those studying modern European Jewish culture, the history of the Holocaust, topics in East European ethnography, and the complex Polish-Jewish relations of the past and today." —Slavic and East European Journal

(Slavic and East European Journal)

About the Author

Jonathan Webber holds the UNESCO Chair in Jewish and Interfaith Studies at the University of Birmingham. He is a founding member of the International Auschwitz Council and was awarded the Golden Cross of the Polish Order of Merit for services to Polish-Jewish relations.

Chris Schwarz (1948–2007) was an acclaimed British photojournalist who exhibited and published many collections of his photographs on social welfare issues. In 2004 he opened the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland, to bring the story of the Jewish heritage in Polish Galicia to Poland and to the world.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; 1St Edition edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253221854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253221858
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The area in question is western Galicia, in southern Poland. (Eastern Galicia is now in the Ukraine, following the confiscation of these territories by the USSR in 1939 and 1944.). Poland's Judaica comes alive! It is a shame that this lucid book is not better known. It shows numerous photographs, with detailed accompanying descriptions, of past and present Jewish cultural objects. Synagogues and cemeteries are especially featured. The amount of detail is unbelievable!

Krakow (Cracow) and its once-flourishing Jewish community are highlighted. For background on Krakow's Jews and the Holocaust, please read the detailed English-language Peczkis review of Zaglada Zydow w Krakowie (Cracoviana) (Polish Edition).

This work does not focus exclusively on the past. It also features modern Jews living in Poland, as well as Poles who are working on the restoration of long-neglected Jewish cultural objects. In some cases, Poles have set aside the sites of Jewish cemeteries, leaving them undisturbed, even when there are no traces of tombstones or other grave markers. (p. 111).

Not all old Jewish cultural objects are in disrepair. Some currently functional synagogues are especially beautiful. This is true, for example, of the Rema Synagogue in Krakow (p. 52), as well as the synagogues at Lancut (p. 49) and Lesko. (p. 50). Some Jewish cemeteries are also well preserved, and have their own architectural beauty, such as the one in Lubaczow. (p. 55).

This book also features the western Galician Nazi death camps, notably at Belzec and Auschwitz.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A voracious reader on August 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This subject matter means a lot to me because I've been to Poland several times and have visited some of the sites featured in the book. However, anyone who has an interest in Jewish Poland would undoubtedly love this book. I had the pleasure of attending a lecture given by Jonathan Webber in NYC when the exhibit was shown at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Sadly, the book's photographer - Chris Schwarz - died four years ago. I'd once been in contact with him and he was passionate about the subject matter, plus the fact that he founded the Galicia Jewish Museum and that's where the photos from this book are exhibited.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robyn Weast on October 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
We went to the Galicia museum in Krakow this summer (2012) and found it to be very powerful and emotional. We bought this book there in the gift shop because it had all the photos and commentary from the museum plus some additional information and insight. I read through the book shortly after coming home and it was true to the museum but not as emotionally powerfull as actually being there and seeing it all for the first time in person.

We did enjoy it enough that now we're going to pick up a couple more books to give to our friends who also have an interest in this period and place in history.
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