"A Joyful Act of Worship": Survivor Testimony on Czech Culture in the Terezín Ghetto and Postwar Reintegration in Czechoslovakia, 1945-48

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This article examines memoirs by three survivors of the Terezín (Theresienstadt) ghetto, and especially their testimony about the cultural life of the ghetto, in the context of postwar reintegration. Czech Jewish survivors of the concentration camps returned to a society very different from the prewar Czechoslovakia they remembered. Many found themselves struggling to adapt to the rejection of German-language culture, the shift to the political Left, and postwar antisemitism. The authors of these memoirs were bilingual and thus represented both Czech- and German-language prewar cultures. In their memoirs, they described their intense love of the specifically Czech works performed in Terezín. In doing so, they attempted to establish common ground with their non-Jewish fellow Czechs and to overcome the suspicion engendered by their prewar association with German-language culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-228
Number of pages20
JournalHolocaust and Genocide Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

Bibliographical note

A previous version of this article was published in Czech as “Touha po milované vlasti: Sveˇdectví o cˇeské kulturˇe v terezínském ghettu a o poválecˇné reintegraci” (“Longing and love for the beloved homeland”: Survivor Testimony on Czech Culture in the Terezín Ghetto and Postwar Reintegration) in the journal of the Institute for Czech Literature, Cˇeská literatura 58, no. 4 (2010): 444–63.

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