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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 20Making Holocaust Memory$
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Gabriel N. Finder, Natalia Aleksiun, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113058

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113058.001.0001

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Memento Mori

Memento Mori

Photographs from the Grave

(p.55) Memento Mori
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 20

Gabriel N. Finder

Judith R. Cohen

Liverpool University Press

This chapter analyzes photographs taken by Jews returning to Poland immediately after the war when they excavated and reburied the corpses of their loved ones and friends. It describes the snapshots that show the determination of the returnees to erect Jewish sites of memory to their loved ones. It also explains how the photos convey the isolation of Jews in their performance of their most human of obligations, as the spaces in which they bury their dead are otherwise eerily empty. The chapter notes that no Poles appear in the photos, apart from Polish workers hired to exhume corpses or to dig graves for reburial. It discusses the irony of the snapshots of keeping the memory of loved ones, while Jews opted to cast the erasure of Jewish memory in Poland into sharp relief.

Keywords:   Poles, photographs, Jewish sites, Polish workers, reburial, Jewish memory

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