Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory

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Univ of California Press, Jul 26, 2011 - Religion - 362 pages
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“In this rigorous and beautifully written account, Hirsch and Spitzer chronicle a search for a vanished world and, through the terrible lacuna of the Holocaust, discover the life before and after. Simultaneously a history of a fascinating Central European town, an excavation of a thriving culture, and a journal of several returns, Ghosts of Home adds both scholarly and human dimensions to our knowledge of the Holocaust, the vicissitudes of memory, the predicament of the second generation, the poignant impossibility of recapturing the past – and the need to understand and honor it in its full complexity.”—Eva Hoffman, author of Time

“This exemplary masterpiece of cultural memory interweaves the thoughtful reflections of the post-memorial family memoir with astute historical recontextualisation of one family's experiences of the complex Jewish negotiations of cultural modernity and shifting political dominions in Central Europe. Built around the figure of the journey that takes the reader back and forth across the layered histories of the city of former Czernowitz the text explores the fabric of memory in places, images and things which have the affective power to undo amnesia. This book re-engages us not only with an important fragment of 'the past' but asks us to think about what it means to carry lost histories, intergenerationally, and to transform 'the past' by tenderly and thoughtfully reinserting such memories, often transmitted by images and objects, into the still fragile picture of the experience of European Jews across the long twentieth century.”—Griselda Pollock, author of Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum: Time, Space and the Archive

"Ghosts of Home is a compelling cross-generational memoir of Czernowitz, once a vital center of a fragile German-Jewish cultural symbiosis in the outer reaches of the Habsburg Empire. Hirsch and Spitzer have created a remarkable narrative of live voices, documents, photographs, travelogues, and memorabilia out of which emerges the 'idea of Czernowitz,' ghostlike and filled with gaps, but like a promise of another history which was not to be. This is embodied cultural history at its best."—Andreas Huyssen, author of Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory

"In Ghosts of Home, Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer have written a remarkable inter-generational memoir of Czernowitz and its remarkable German-Jewish cultural world, vanished in the Holocaust. With grace and precision, they use both history and memory to shape a profound set of reflections on loss and survival. Anyone interested in reading a verse of Celan or a short story of Appelfeld should start here. What a gift to join these two scholars on their moving, penetrating journey back to what was once home, somewhere in the now-vanished Jewish world of Czernowitz."—Jay Winter, author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History

"In a very fine intertwining between the private and the public, this book evokes landscapes of memory animated by ghosts emerging from the past. Hirsch and Spitzer provide us with a multifaceted image of the complex universe of memory. This volume is an important contribution to our way of conceiving the practice of history, its meaning and methodology, its struggle against the unknowns of memory and its choice to give up the claim to omniscience. It is also a delicate and moving story of how individuals connect to each other in the effort to give us back the richness and frailty of the past. For us readers, like for the children of survivors, a passage of memories takes place that allows us to say 'it's our story now.'”—Luisa Passerini, author of Memory and Utopia: The Primacy of Intersubjectivity

"This is an engaging and exciting multilayered, guided tour through the city of many names—Czernowitz/Chernivtsi/Cernauti—that perhaps never existed except in memories, dreams, and nightmares. Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer's work is an experiment in story-telling, part history and part dialogical memoir that incorporates voices of parents, survivors, and witnesses and is full of precise and poignant details."—Svetlana Boym, author of The Future of Nostalgia
 

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Contents

Where are you from? 3
3
Cernăuti Primăria 1920 and Chernivtsi city hall 1998 5
5
Rosa Zuckermann in her apartment 17
17
Vienna of the East 20
20
6
24
7
31
Postcard showing Theater Square with the Jewish National House the Municipal Theater and statue of Schiller
33
the east side of the Ringplatz early twentieth century
40
Lotte and Carl in Cernăuti
163
detail of figure 26 showing Carls lapel
165
Stars on the Herrengasse ca 1943
167
The temple of Czernowitz burned by the German and Romanian armies 1941
174
Hedy and Bubi Brenner 1939
175
List of Jewish specialists 1942
184
Cernăuti identity cards issued to Jews 1942
187
There was never a camp here
197

The former Dreifaltigkeitsgasse 41 ca 1998
50
Strolling the Herrengasse
53
Herrengasse ca 1911
54
advertisements
57
Strolling the Herrengasse
66
a street photograph captures class differences
69
The Idea of Czernowitz
72
Str Regele Ferdinand Cernăuti
76
Carl Hirschs Hashomer Hatzair group 1928
85
Hashomer Hatzair outing in Dorna Vatra 1930
87
Poets on the Herrengasse
94
Are we really in the Soviet Union?
99
Red Army welcomed in Cernăuti June 1940
101
The Crossroads
122
Cernăuti ghetto commemorative plaques
129
Deported Jews on the banks of the Dniester 1941
131
Traian Popovici mayor of Cernăuti in 1941
133
Part Two The Darker Side 2000
145
Maps to Nowhere
147
An image from maus
148
Mischa Flexor during his time in the Red Army 1940s
158
The Spot on the Lapel
162
Dr Arthur Kessler and Judith Kessler Cernăuti late 1930s
200
Model of the Vapniarka camp
203
David Kessler in front of the only remaining building of the Vapniarka camp 2000
208
Vapniarka 194243 by Moshe Leibel and Ilie
211
Infirmerie by Moshe Leibel and Ilie
215
The little book
221
The pages in the little book
222
This was once my home
232
The old bridge over the Pruth 2007
234
Deportees at the Dniester 1941 and the Dniester in 2006
258
Images from the Czernowitz Reunion 2006
271
old ghetto street and synagogue 2006
283
The Tile Stove
290
David Kessler in what he believes is his familys old apartment 2000
299
Chernivtsi night 2008
302
The former Jewish temple now a cinema and arcade 2008
306
The metal railings in the Jüdisches Haus with Stars of David
310
Natalya Shevchenko shows museum plans
313
photograph from Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina
315
Installation in the Bukowina Jewish Museum of History and Culture
316
illustrations
353
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About the author (2011)

Marianne Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and Co-Director of the Institute of Research on Women and Gender, at Columbia University. She is the author of Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory, among other books. Leo Spitzer is Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History Emeritus at Dartmouth College, and the author of many books, most recently Hotel Bolivia: A Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism.

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