Difficult Pasts and Haunted Presents: Dissonant Heritage in Historical Perspective


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, October 29, 2017 | Rabin Building, Room 2001

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the notion of cultural heritage in both Humanities and Social Sciences research. The vast scholarship has brought us enriched and profound understanding of this subject as well as various new contexts for its analysis and interpretation. Inter alia, a stronger focus has been placed on the heritage associated with conflicts, massive violence, atrocities, persecutions and other traumatic events, in light of which it appears as “ambiguous”, “ambivalent”, or “negative” heritage. As such, it presents a significant challenge to everyday life of individuals, social structures, political agendas and national imaginaries, yet often evolving into an inseparable part of local landscapes.

The conference brings together scholars dealing with various examples of cultural heritage (artifacts, monuments, sites, places, buildings, properties etc.), that became a repository of dissonant memory of wars, battles, pogroms, expulsions, and ethnic cleansing. How did they influence the local communities and their relation to the traumatic events? How were they perceived and accommodated within the language as well as social and political practices – were they remembered, rewritten, restructured, reused, neglected, forgotten? What was their role in establishing and shaping personal stories, local narratives, and national historiographies? How one may read such spaces and objects in historical perspective? The studies presented at the conference explore these questions within both Jewish and general history in the twentieth century.

09:30 Gathering

10:00 Greetings
Chair: Dani Schrire, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
• Regina Bendix, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen:
Keynote Lecture: Stumbling Stones: Negotiating Paths through
Difficult Pasts

11:15 Coffee Break

11:45 Jewish Spaces in Post-war Europe
Chair: Amos Goldberg, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
• Michael Meng, Clemson University:
The Frankfurt “Ghetto” (Judengasse) after the Holocaust
• Yechiel Weizmann, University of Haifa:
Pollution and Cleansing. The Perception of Jewish Sites in
Communist Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust

13:00-14:15 Lunch Break

14:15 Dark Sites of Nation States: Cultural Violence in the 20th Century
Chair: Abigail Jacobson, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
• Zeynep Kezer, Newcastle University:
Assemblage / Disassemblage / Reassemblage: Remaking Elazig
under the Republican Rubric
• Anna Kawałko, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
Building New Polish. West: German Property in Lower Silesia, 1945-1947

15:30 Coffee Break

16:00 Spatial Politics in the State of Israel
Chair: Yonatan Mendel, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
• Haim Yacobi, University College London:
Chronopolitics of the Arab Village
• Yfaat Weiss, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
Resting in Peace in No Man’s Land: The British Military Cemetery on
Mount Scopus in Jerusalem
• Tawfiq Da’adli, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem:
Heritage Marginalized – The Fate of al-Lid and al-Ramle