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Space & Memory: The Presence of Jewish Absence in Poland's Contemporary Landscape

Humanity in Action Senior Fellows Łukasz Posłuszny, Michelle Shofet and Marissa Sophia Schneiderman created this project, to re-conceptualize the ways of remembering the war and the Holocaust, and to discuss social aesthetics of monuments and alternative forms of memory in the context of trauma, and on the other hand it also promoted tolerance among young people and a motivation to fight anti-Semitism.

The Second World War left a permanent mark, also in the mentality of next generations, and still manifests itself in the political, social and artistic spaces. The project situated itself at the crossroads of different disciplines: sociology, history, memory and art and was to provide tools for the study and understanding of the space marked by the war experience.

 

Specifically, the initiative examined alternative modes of remembering the Holocaust and Jewish life throughout the landscape of Poland. The project team considered the efficacy of memorials in promoting tolerance in the generations that follow the trauma.

This project sought to re-conceptualize the ways of remembering the war and the Holocaust, and to discuss social aesthetics of monuments and alternative forms of memory in the context of trauma.

Through a multimedia approach, the project sought to bridge the gap between past and present to provide a contemporary lens into history as a way of addressing the persistence of Antisemitism in Poland and beyond.

This Action Project addressed these issues using two methods. The first was an active exploration using fieldwork to “excavate” chosen sites through photography, mapping, audio recordings, and informal interviews with the people and spaces encountered. The second method was stationary and more workshop-oriented, wherein a group of young students conducted their own fieldwork on several given sites, and also cultivated a deeper understanding of the topic through workshops, short lectures, and meetings with local specialists and activists.