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Jacky at home
Jacky at home
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Jonathan Taylor

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Description: Crowds watchinig the final concert of the 17th Annual Jewish Culture Festival.


Before World War II, Jews made up 10% of the Polish population and more than 50% of many small towns; one in three people in Warsaw was a Jew. Similarly, Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter of Krakow since the middle ages, was home in 1939 to 45,000 Jews.

But while Nazi extermination and subsequent Soviet brutalities emptied Poland almost completely of Jews, the void that was left behind has become the site of a sudden boom in commercial ?Jewish culture.? For some this new growth can seem parasitic, systematic of the rise of capitalism and consumer culture after communism. But what appears at first glance to be a tourist Disneyland hides one country?s ? and two peoples? ? attempts to come to terms with the traumatic past.

Popular interest in Jewish culture among local non-Jews ranges from a genuine intention to restore and maintain the remains of Jewish heritage, to the opportunistic drive to profit from the sale of an entirely virtual Jewish world. Jews, who flock to Poland seeking lost pasts, both horrific and nostalgic, find themselves accidental tourists, with the accompanying ?baggage? of an industry based on comfort, leisure, and a packaged encounter with difference. What becomes of the memory of tragedy, the history of violence and hatred, in a global commercial age, when history and culture are toured, bought, sold, consumed?

If you are interested in this project or, in particular, if you can help support the project, please let me know. Photographers? please feel free to give me advice on how to find support for this project. You can email me at solilawrence(at)yahoo(dot)com
Keywords: Poland, Polish, Krakow, Jew, Jewish, Culture, Festival, Auschwitz, Synagogue
Date: 02.11.2007 13:20
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