By Jackie Feldman
Israeli adolescence voyages to Poland are some of the most well known and influential sorts of transmission of Holocaust reminiscence in Israeli society. via extensive player remark, staff discussions, pupil diaries, and questionnaires, the writer demonstrates how the kingdom shapes Poland right into a dwelling deathscape of Diaspora Jewry. during the voyage, scholars endure a ceremony de passage, within which they're remodeled into sufferers, positive survivors, and eventually witnesses of the witnesses. by means of viewing, touching, and smelling Holocaust-period ruins and is still, by means of accompanying the survivors at the websites in their affliction and survival, crying jointly and acting commemorative ceremonies on the loss of life websites, scholars from a wide selection of kinfolk backgrounds develop into providers of Shoah reminiscence. they arrive to determine the nation and its safety because the romanticized solution to the Shoah. those voyages are a bureaucratic reaction to uncertainty and fluidity of id in an more and more globalized and fragmented society. This examine provides a measured and compassionate moral voice to ideological debates surrounding academic and cultural sorts of encountering the previous in modern Israel, and increases extra questions on the illustration of the Holocaust after the dying of the final residing witnesses.
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Extra info for Above The Death Pits, Beneath The Flag. Youth Voyages to Poland and the Performance of Israeli National Identity
The survivors’ sense of their approaching demise often led them to make public experiences that they had silenced or repressed in the past. The increased receptiveness to these stories was also facilitated by the passage of generational time and the growing temporal distance from the trauma. Furthermore, as Israel’s life-situation oscillated between periods of war and reprieve, her self-perceptions fluctuated between strength and vulnerability, between openness to the surrounding world and hostility.
But when secular Zionism chose religious affiliation as the major criteria for entry into the collective (as expressed in the Law of Return), and took up traditional symbols as a means of expression and legitimation, especially after 1967 (cf. Liebman and Don Yehiya 1983; Kimmerling 1985), it exposed itself (consciously or unconsciously) to the latent content of those symbols. Thus, secular Zionism’s ambivalent relation to past Jewish symbols became even more troublesome with the demise of the secular pioneering ethos and the reaffirmation of ties to tradition on the part of many groups within Israeli society.
Thus, we find a wide variety of players, narratives, and needs occupying the stage of Poland, employing a panoply of strategies to advance different, sometimes conflicting, interests and desires (Edensor 2000; Eade and Sallnow 2000 ; Crang 1997). All these will need to be identified and brought into connection with each other in the course of the analysis. Organization of the Book In order to portray the interaction of structural and performative aspects within certain sociopolitical contexts pertaining to the voyage, I have chosen to organize my ethnography of the voyage into separate chapters focusing on sociohistorical contexts, structure, performance, and ceremonies: Chapter 2 will deal with the social and historical contexts of the voyage in Israeli society.
Above The Death Pits, Beneath The Flag. Youth Voyages to Poland and the Performance of Israeli National Identity by Jackie Feldman