Assets and Liabilities: Synagogues and Cemeteries in the Communist Czech Lands

3 June 2015 - 5 PM

Jacob Labendz (Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung, Berlin)

The postwar Jewish communities in the Czech lands came into the possession of hundreds of cemeteries and former synagogue buildings. Caring for them and determining their fates demanded tremendous attention from Jewish leaders, state administrators, local officials, and still others. Whereas most scholarship on this topic focuses on issues of memory and antisemitism, Jacob Ari Labendz will elucidate the important, structuring role that property played in determining Jewish-state relations and Jewish life during the communist years. [Property established a structural ground for Jewish-state mutuality during the 1950s and 1960s, served as a tool for placing pressure on Jewish communities in the 1970s and then as a means for attracting western sympathies in the 1980s. How we have remembered property relations has left a lasting mark on historiography and it continues to affect Jewish politics today.


Modern Jewish History Seminar

The seminar is intended to provide a platform for academic discussion about the latest research on Jewish history especially of the last three centuries. Though primarily focused on the Jews of central and east central Europe, the seminar also includes topics related to the Jews of other regions. The seminar is further enriched by including topics not directly concerned with Jews, but enabling one to see Jewish history from other perspectives (for instance, the perspective of other marginalized communities).

Despite our preference for the methods of historical research, the organizers welcome multidisciplinary approaches to the topics, including those of sociology, political science, religious studies, and art history.

The seminar is held in the library of CEFRES, Na Florenci 3, Prague 1 always at 5:30 p.m. The language of the seminar is English. The seminar is organized by Kateřina Čapková and Michal Frankl. Since 2018/2019 the seminar is included into the MA program of the Prague Center for Jewish Studies at the Charles University. Due to Michal Frankl’s stay abroad this academic year, all the questions and suggestions should be sent to Kateřina Čapková (