"Nationalism in the Lands of the Habsburg Monarchy: The Challenge to
Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street (between 1st and 2nd
Avenue), New York City
Sponsored by the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews and the
Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences.
FEBRUARY 10, 2011 at 7.00 pm
"Imperial Embraces and Local Challenges: The Politics of Jewish
Identity in Bohemia, 1867-1914”
Hillel Kieval, Washington University in St. Louis
When Jan Neruda’s Pro strach židovský (For Fear of the Jews) appeared
in book form in 1870, his publisher Eduard Grégr—in language that
would be picked up over and again—referred ominously to the Jews of
Bohemia and Moravia as “our fiercest enemies.” Were Jews the enemies
of Czech nationalism? Did they champion German cultural and political
hegemony in the Bohemian lands? What role did Austrian imperial
policies play in structuring Jewish identities? And how did Jews come
to express their own sense of self over the course of the 19th and
early 20th century? Taking up themes first addressed in The Making of
Czech Jewry, Hillel Kieval revisits the position of Jews in the Czech
and German national conflict, their identification with Austria and
the Habsburg dynasty, and their changing attitudes toward the question
of national belonging.
Hillel Kieval is the Gloria M. Goldstein Professor of Jewish History
and Thought at Washington University in St. Louis and is the author of
Languages of Community: The Jewish Experience in the Czech Lands
(University of California Press, 2000) and of The Making of Czech
Jewry: National Conflict and Jewish Society in Bohemia, 1870-1918
(Oxford University Press,1988).
FEBRUARY 24, 2011 at 7.00 pm
"The Emergence of Slovak Jewish Identity in Interwar Czechoslovakia"
Rebekah Klein-Pejšova, Purdue University
Before the Interwar period, there was no "Slovak" Jewry. This talk considers
the emergence of a distinctive Slovak Jewish collective identity among the
Jews of the territory of Slovakia, formerly northern Hungary, as they
reoriented themselves in the new state of Czechoslovakia after the First
World War. This process took place through Jewish national politics,
communal architectural enterprise, and how they did - and did not -
commemorate their war dead.
Rebekah Klein-Pejsova is Jewish Studies Assistant Professor of History
at Purdue University. After completing her M.A. degree at the Central
European University in Budapest she earned her Ph.D. from Columbia
University in 2007. She is currently working on a book manuscript
concerning the dynamics of Jewish nationality and citizenship in
Interwar East Central Europe. Her article, "Abandon Your Role as
Exponents of the Magyars': Contested Jewish Loyalty in Interwar
(Czecho) Slovakia," was published in the November 2009 issue of the
journal Association of Jewish Studies Review.
APRIL 27, 2011 at 7.00 pm
"Being Jewish in Slovakia and Poland after the Second World War"
Anna Cichopek-Gajraj, University of Western Ontario
After the Second World War, the Czechoslovak and Polish state
redefined the boundaries around its national/ethnic community,
defining anew who belonged and who did not. The process primarily
involved the redefinition of criteria for citizenship. Of all the
people negotiating recognition as citizens, few faced more challenges
than the Jewish returnees and their communal leaders. In her talk,
Anna Cichopek-Gajdar will discuss how Jewish survivors in postwar
Slovakia and Poland struggled to get citizenship through dialogue and
conflict between their representatives, local administration and the
central governments. By focusing on the daily efforts of Polish and
Slovak Jews to rebuild their lives, she investigates the limits of
belonging to national/ethnic communities in Central Eastern Europe
after the Holocaust.
Anna Cichopek-Gajraj is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the
University of Western Ontario (until spring 2011) and an Assistant
Professor at the Arizona State University. She earned her Ph.D. in
History from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has an M.A.
in History from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. Her
M.A. thesis on the anti-Jewish pogrom in Cracow in August 1945 was
published as a book in 2000 in Poland. She also contributed to
Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and its
Aftermath (Zimmerman, 2003).
Contact: Dr. Eva Derman
President, Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews
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