Instead of Negationism. Symbolic typography of the area of the former Warsaw Ghetto and narratives about the Holocaust Cover Image
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Zamiast negacjonizmu. Topografia symboliczna terenu dawnego getta warszawskiego a narracje o Zagładzie
Instead of Negationism. Symbolic typography of the area of the former Warsaw Ghetto and narratives about the Holocaust

Author(s): Elżbieta Janicka
Subject(s): History
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów & IFiS PAN
Keywords: symbolic topography; politics of memory; double genocide theory; holocaustization; anti-Semitic discourse; myth of Judeo-communism; Warsaw Ghetto; Katyń; monuments in the area of the former Warsaw Ghetto; Katarzyna Kobro’s theory of spatial composition

Summary/Abstract: A comparative analysis of the two monuments erected on one of the streets in the area of the former Warsaw Ghetto — the Umschlagplatz monument (1988) and the Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East (Pomnik Poległym i Pomordowanym na Wschodzie) (1995) — shows how the equation of Nazism with Stalinism, if not with communism, has become inscribed in the symbolic topography of that place. The stake in this operation is the holocaustisation of the “Polish fate,” epitomised by deportations into the interior of the USSR and the massacre in Katyń. The anticommunist discourse with a still undefused anti-Semitic potential (the myth of Judeo-communism, the double genocide theory) constitutes the overall narrative framework. The result is the rationalisation (presentation as a well deserved punishment or self-defence) of the stances of the majority of the Polish society and its behaviour toward Jews during the Holocaust. Instead of upsetting the heroic-martyrologic narratives about the dominant group’s past, the increasing knowledge about the facts leads only to their mutation and strengthening. The context of this phenomenon is the politics of memory adopted by Poland and the Baltic states on the European forum. Its dynamic consists in shifting the limits of the European memory compromise, that is, in rationalisation of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism in an attempt to preserve one’s image as the hero and victim.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 209-256
  • Page Count: 48
  • Language: Polish