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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15Focusing on Jewish Religious Life, 1500-1900$
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Antony Polonsky and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774716

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Auschwitz: Site of Memories

Auschwitz: Site of Memories

(p.383) Auschwitz: Site of Memories
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15

Sławomir Kapralski

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines memory understood as a public discourse that helps to build group identity; memory that is entangled in a relationship of mutual dependence with other identity-building processes. Here, memory cannot be interpreted as a fixed, unchangeable entity. Rather, it is a representation of past reality, constantly revised according to the different demands of present-day identity. The latter is not a fixed entity either: it also changes, in part because of what is remembered by a given group at a given time. The discussion here focuses on Auschwitz. The fact that Auschwitz is such an important site of ‘memory work’, in which different ‘politics of memory’ seek to master the ‘unmasterable past’, can actually be taken for granted. To elucidate the essential nature of memory work or the politics of memory, however, the chapter asks why Auschwitz is such a ‘convenient’ location for displaying collective memories and identities.

Keywords:   Auschwitz, memory, identity-building processes, group identity, memory work, politics of memory

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