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.