__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1


Titelei Ort 24.11.2003 16:54 Uhr Seite 2

Sifria – Wissenschaftliche Bibliothek Band VII Herausgegeben vom Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien an der Universität Potsdam.


Titelei Ort 24.11.2003 16:54 Uhr Seite 3

Hiltrud Wallenborn, Michal KĂźmper, Anna Lipphardt, Jens Neumann, Johannes Schwarz, Maria Vassilikou (Hrsg.)

Der Ort des Judentums in der Gegenwart 1989 – 2002

be.bra wissenschaft verlag


Titelei Ort 24.11.2003 16:54 Uhr Seite 4

Bibliografische Information der Deutschen Bibliothek Die Deutsche Bibliothek verzeichnet diese Publikation in der Deutschen Nationalbibliografie; detaillierte bibliografische Daten sind im Internet über http://dnb.ddb.de abrufbar.

© be.bra wissenschaft verlag GmbH Berlin-Brandenburg, 2003 KulturBrauerei Haus S Schönhauser Allee 37, 10435 Berlin info@bebraverlag.de Umschlaggestaltung: Hauke Sturm, Berlin Schrift: Times New Roman 9,5/14 Druck und Bindung: Hubert & Co., Göttingen Alle Rechte vorbehalten. Dieses Werk, einschließlich aller seiner Teile, ist urheberrechtlich geschützt. Jede Verwertung außerhalb der engen Grenzen des Urheberrechtsgesetzes ist ohne Zustimmung des Verlages unzulässig und strafbar. Das gilt insbesondere für Vervielfältigungen, Übersetzungen, Mikroverfilmungen, Verfilmungen und die Einspeicherung und Verarbeitung auf DVDs, CD-ROMs, CDs, Videos, in weiteren elektronischen Systemen sowie für InternetPlattformen. ISBN 3-937233-05-9 ISSN 1611-9126

www.bebraverlag.de


Inhalt Vorwort

7

Diana Pinto Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places? On Jewish and Non-Jewish Interaction Today

15

Postkommunistische Ortsfindung John D. Klier Aliyah, Goldene Medina or Neues Vaterland? Emigration Choices in the Late Soviet Jewish Press

29

Ruth Leiserowitz Rekonstruktion von Identität und Imagination. Neue jüdische Gemeinden in Klaipeda und Kaliningrad

47

Bettina Völter Juden im deutschen Postkommunismus eine biographische Ortsbestimmung

63

Frontier Communities Livia Käthe Wittmann From Europe to the Antipodes. Historical Location of Youth and Diasporic Spaces for Jewish Women in New Zealand

81

Liliana Ruth Feierstein Oyf di bregn fun Plata – Am Ufer des Silberflusses. Versuch einer Topographie jüdischer Erfahrungen in Argentinien

93


Leerstellen des Erinnerns? Freddy Raphael/Geneviève Herberich-Marx Une singuliere présence des Juifs en Alsace. La construction d’un oubli

119

Peter Rigney Opfergedenken und institutionalisierte Normalität am Gedächtnisort des Holocaust-Mahnmals

133

Sarah Hoshen In Search of a Collective Identity. Photographic Representations of Jewish Places in the mid-1990s

149

(W)Orte Thomas Nolden Die Koordinaten der Diaspora. Raumkonstellationen in den Texten jüdischer Autorinnen aus Europa

171

Bettina von Jagow Orte einer Reise zwischen Mythos und Realität. Ein jüdisches Leben als rekonstruierte Familiengeschichte – Lena Kugler, Wie viele Züge (2001)

189

Galili Shahar Der Ort und die unheilige Sprache. Versuch über die neue israelische Literatur

205

Joachim Schlör Schlußpanorama

223

Anhang Autorinnen und Autoren

239

Personenregister

245


Vorwort

Der vorliegende Band präsentiert die Beiträge der Konferenz Der Ort des Judentums in der Gegenwart, 1989-2002, die im Juni 2002 von den Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden des Graduiertenkollegs „Makom. Ort und Orte im Judentum“ veranstaltet wurde. Das zum April 2001 an der Universität Potsdam eingerichtete, interdisziplinär angelegte Graduiertenkolleg „Makom“ widmet sich der Frage nach der Bedeutung und der Konstruktion von Orten. Gilt das Judentum gemeinhin als Religion und Kultur, in der Zeit und Geschichte, zeitliches Empfinden und Prägung durch zeitgebundene Vorstellungen Vorrang haben, so steht im Mittelpunkt der Arbeit des Graduiertenkollegs die räumliche Dimension jüdischen Lebens und jüdischer Erfahrung in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Dabei werden vor allem Fragen von Ortsbezug, Ortsbindung, Ortsverständnis und Ortswahrnehmung im europäischen Judentum und dessen außereuropäischen Wurzeln behandelt. Im Rahmen des Forschungs- und Studienprogramms des Graduiertenkollegs hat sich die Konferenz Der Ort des Judentums in der Gegenwart auf die Suche nach dem „Ort“ des Judentums seit den politischen Umwälzungen Ende der 1980er Jahre begeben. Die grundlegenden Veränderungen in Europa haben auch die Juden und die jüdischen Gemeinden einbezogen. Die Entstehung neuer Gemeinden und kultureller Zentren in den Ländern Ost- und Mitteleuropas, die Einwanderung von Juden aus der ehemaligen Sowjetunion in die westlichen Länder, das neu erwachte Interesse europäischer Öffentlichkeiten an jüdischer Kultur und nicht zuletzt auch die Entstehung von Forschungseinrichtungen und Studiengängen im Bereich der „Jüdischen Studien“ haben nicht nur die Räume, in denen Juden sich bewegen und leben,


8

Vorwort

neu definiert, sondern auch neue Interaktionsräume für Juden und Nichtjuden eröffnet. Konnte Diana Pinto angesichts der gerade angedeuteten Renaissance europäisch-jüdischen Lebens die 1990er Jahre als Jewish Decade bezeichnen und das Wachsen eines Jewish Space, in dem Juden und Nichtjuden sich über jüdische Themen austauschen konnten, konstatieren, so stellt sich zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts angesichts eines wieder aufflammenden Antisemitismus in Europa und angesichts einer neuen Intifada in Israel und Palästina die Frage, wie nachhaltig der Aufbruch der 1990er Jahre war und wie sehr statt des Optimismus Ernüchterung am Platze ist. Dieser Frage geht Diana Pinto in ihrem einleitenden Konferenzbeitrag Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places? On Jewish and Non-Jewish Interaction Today nach und eröffnet damit das Feld, auf dem sich die Tagung bewegt. Die erste Sektion der Konferenz widmet sich unter dem Titel „Postkommunistische Ortsfindung“ den Auswirkungen, die die politischen Umwälzungen seit dem Ende der 1980er Jahre auf das Leben von Juden in Europa hatten. So geht John Klier auf der Basis seiner Analyse der in Moskau bzw. St. Petersburg erscheinenden Zeitungen Evreiskaia Gazeta und Ami/Narod Moi den Debatten russischer Juden über die seit 1989 neu eröffneten Möglichkeiten der Auswanderung nach. Soll man gehen? Wenn ja, wohin? Bietet Israel, die USA oder gar Deutschland die besten Voraussetzungen für eine gesicherte Existenz? John Kliers Ausführungen machen nicht nur deutlich, wie groß der Diskussionsbedarf über dieses Thema war, sondern auch, welche Erwägungen bei den unterschiedlichen Emigrationsoptionen jeweils eine Rolle spielen konnten. Richtet John Klier den Blick auf Fragen der Emigration von Juden aus den Ländern der ehemaligen Sowjetunion, so befaßt sich Ruth Leiserowitz mit denjenigen, die sich – zumindest vorläufig – für das Bleiben entschieden haben. Mit Klaipeda und Kaliningrad beschreibt sie zwei jüdische Gemeinden, die 1989, noch in der Sowjetunion, gegründet wurden und heute in deren Nachfolgestaaten – Litauen und dem Kaliningrader Gebiet der Russischen Föderation – existieren. Dabei analysiert sie nicht nur die mit diesen Gemeinden neu entstandenen sozialen Räume und deren Stellung innerhalb ihres jeweiligen politischen und gesellschaftlichen Kontextes, sondern sie geht auch der Frage nach, wie angesichts eines massiven Bevölkerungsaustauschs und des Abreißens jüdischer Traditionen zu sowjetischer Zeit heute in Klaipeda und Kaliningrad die Rekonstruktion jüdischer Identität(en) möglich ist.


9

Ruth Leiserowitz beschreibt hier einen komplizierten Prozeß, der sich „im Spannungsfeld von eigener Illusion (von innen) und fremder Imagination (von außen)“ bewegt und dessen Ergebnis noch nicht absehbar ist. Während die Beiträge von John Klier und Ruth Leiserowitz die Frage der „postkommunistischen Ortsfindung“ unter dem Gesichtspunkt von Migrationsfragen behandeln, richtet Bettina Völter den Blick stärker auf das Individuelle. In ihrem Beitrag Juden im deutschen Postkommunismus. Eine biographische Ortsbestimmung präsentiert sie Ergebnisse einer Drei-Generationen-Studie, die die Erfahrungen analysiert, die Angehörige jüdischer kommunistischer Familien in der DDR und nach der deutschen Vereinigung bei der Auseinandersetzung mit ihrer Identität machten. Um deutlich zu machen, auf welche Weise das Judentum in einzelnen Lebensgeschichten an Orientierungskraft gewinnen konnte, geht sie detailliert auf die jeweiligen lebens-, familien- und gesellschaftsgeschichtlichen Konstellationen ein und kann so Hinweise darauf geben, warum und inwiefern in den letzten zehn bis zwanzig Jahren die jüdische Herkunft als Identitätsmerkmal gerade auch in Familien jüdischer Kommunisten an Bedeutung gewonnen hat. Handelt es sich bei den Fragen der „postkommunistischen Ortsfindung“ um ein in vielen Punkten auf Europa bezogenes Thema, so lenkt die zweite Sektion, „Frontier Communities“ den Blick über Europa hinaus. Beide Beiträge dieser Sektion machen jedoch deutlich, daß europäische Erfahrungen und Erinnerungen auch in für den europäischen Blick „entlegenen“ jüdischen Gemeinden präsent sind und daß sich dort zum Teil ähnliche Fragen nach Identität, historischer Anknüpfung und gesellschaftlicher Verortung stellen wie im gegenwärtigen Europa. Livia Wittmann verfolgt in ihrem Beitrag die Lebensgeschichten von fünf Frauen unterschiedlichen Alters, die aus Mittel- und Osteuropa nach Neuseeland immigriert sind. Welche jüdischen Identifikationsmodelle haben sich in der Kindheit und Jugend dieser Frauen herausgebildet? Wie wurden diese nach Neuseeland „transportiert“? Welche Rolle spielt hierbei die Sprache – Hebräisch und Jiddisch, die Sprache des Geburtslandes und schließlich Englisch, die Sprache des Immigrationslandes? Von den unterschiedlichen Antworten auf diese Fragen, so zeigt Livia Wittmann, hängt ab, auf welche Weise die in der Studie präsentierten Frauen Neuseeland als diasporic space wahrnehmen und gestalten.


10

Vorwort

Liliana Feierstein geht in ihrem Beitrag Oyf di bregn fun Plata der Geschichte von Juden in Argentinien nach. Indem sie schlaglichtartig Elemente und Facetten kollektiver jüdisch-argentinischer Erinnerung erhellt, reflektiert sie die Erfahrungen von Selbstbehauptung, Integration und Ausschluß, innerhalb derer sich diese Geschichte bewegt. Wenn sie am Ende ihres Artikels von den Anschlägen berichtet, die in den 1990er Jahren auf die israelische Botschaft und das Gebäude der „Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina“ (AMIA) in Buenos Aires verübt wurden, fühlt man sich in vielen Punkten an Fragen und Probleme erinnert, wie sie auch Europa zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts bewegen. Eine dieser Fragen betrifft den Umgang mit dem Grundstück des zerstörten AMIA-Gebäudes: Wie kann in angemessener Form an das traumatische Ereignis erinnert werden? Wie soll ein neues Gebäude an diesem Platz aussehen? Oder muß der Ort nicht vielmehr leer bleiben als Erinnerung an die Toten? Fragen wie diese, Fragen nach Erinnerung, Gedenken, bewußter Auslassung, Konstruktion und Rekonstruktion, sind es, denen sich die dritte Sektion der Tagung unter dem Titel „Leerstellen des Erinnerns?“ zuwendet. Dabei geht es in den ersten beiden Beiträgen dieser Sektion nicht um Themen jüdischer Erinnerungskultur, sondern um den Platz jüdischer Geschichte und Verfolgungsgeschichte im kollektiven Gedächtnis heutiger – weitgehend nichtjüdischer – Gesellschaften. Festgemacht wird dies an konkreten Orten: So berichten Freddy Raphael und Geneviève Herberich-Marx, wie alle ihre Nachforschungen nach den vierhundert Grabsteinen, die nach der Besetzung des Elsaß durch das nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1940 auf dem jüdischen Friedhof in Wintzenheim zerstört und abtransportiert wurden, noch in den 1990er Jahren auf eine Mauer des Schweigens stießen. Die Leerstelle auf dem jüdischen Friedhof in Wintzenheim wird auf diese Weise zum Zeichen dafür, wie Vergessen „gebaut“ werden kann. Mit einer anderen „Leerstelle“ setzt Peter Rigney sich auseinander, wenn er sich mit dem leeren Gelände zwischen dem Brandenburger Tor und dem Potsdamer Platz beschäftigt, auf das alle Projektionen deutscher Versuche einer „Bewältigung der Vergangenheit“ seit einigen Jahren gerichtet sind. Indem Peter Rigney die Debatten um das „Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas“ in den bundesrepublikanischen Erinnerungsdiskurs einordnet und die diesem Diskurs zugrundeliegenden Annahmen und Haltungen offenlegt, wirft er die Frage auf, inwieweit die Errich-


11

tung des geplanten Mahnmals nicht gerade eine Form der Entlastung von der Vergangenheit und eine Strategie der Vermeidung von Fragen nach der gesamtgesellschaftlichen Verstrickung in den systematischen Völkermord darstellt. Während sich die Beiträge von Freddy Raphael/Geneviève Herberich-Marx und Peter Rigney mit dem Platz jüdischer (Verfolgungs)geschichte innerhalb der nichtjüdischen Erinnerungskultur auseinandersetzen, widmet sich der Beitrag von Sarah Hoshen der Konstruktion jüdischer Orte aus jüdischer Perspektive. Sie stellt die Arbeiten von vier Fotografen vor, die im Rahmen der Ausstellungen Jews in Arab Lands Today. Photographs und Jews / America / A Representation. Photographs by Frederic Brenner in den 1990er Jahren im Diaspora-Museum in Tel Aviv gezeigt wurden. So macht sie deutlich, unter welchen Blickwinkeln sich zeitgenössische jüdische Fotografen „anderen“ Juden zugewandt haben und auf welche Weise sie durch ihre fotografische Darstellung versucht haben, in den „fremden“ jüdischen Gemeinden und Milieus Anknüpfungspunkte für die Einbindung in die eigene jüdische Identität zu setzen. Die letzte Sektion der Konferenz, „W(O)rte“, beschäftigt sich schließlich mit sprachlichen und literarischen Konstruktionen jüdischer Orte. So fragt Thomas Nolden in seinem Beitrag Die Koordinaten der Diaspora, welche „Vektoren“ in den Texten jüdischer Autorinnen der zweiten und dritten Generation in Europa am Werk sind und welches Verständnis von Diaspora sich in den Raumkonstellationen verbirgt, die in diesen Texten zutage treten. Dabei zeigt er auf, daß ein distanziertes Verhältnis zu den Heimatorten der Vorfahren, den verloren gegangenen Zentren jüdischer Erfahrung, für die Texte der nachgeborenen jüdischen Autorinnen ebenso kennzeichnend ist wie die Tendenz, den eigenen Daseinsort als Raum kreativer Sinnstiftung zu akzeptieren und das Leben in der Diaspora als (positives) Identitätsmerkmal jüdischer Existenz zu begreifen. Unternimmt Thomas Nolden es, die Spezifik zeitgenössischen jüdischen Schreibens in europäisch-vergleichender Perspektive zu untersuchen, so wendet sich Bettina von Jagow mit einem ähnlichen Anliegen einer einzelnen Autorin und ihrem Erstlingswerk zu: An Lena Kuglers 2001 erschienenem Roman Wie viele Züge demonstriert sie, wie hier ein ungewohntes und neues Bild von der Geschichte jüdischen Lebens in Europa entworfen, die traditionelle Symbolik deutsch-jüdischer Literatur zugunsten einer individuellen Metaphorik verschoben und eigene, innova-


12

Vorwort

tive Strukturen aufgebaut werden, um so verschiedenartige Räume des jüdischen Lebens neu zu konstituieren und eine neuartige Poetologie deutsch-jüdischer Literatur zu formieren. Dabei tritt die grundlegende Denkfigur des Romans zutage: Wahrheitsfindung im Sinne einer lückenlosen Rekonstruktion der eigenen Familiengeschichte ist unmöglich. Lediglich die Suche danach kann als Prozeß beschrieben werden, der jedoch nicht zum Abschluß kommt. Beschäftigen sich Thomas Nolden und Bettina von Jagow mit zeitgenössischem jüdischem Schreiben in der Diaspora, so richtet schließlich Galili Shahar den Blick auf die aktuelle israelische Literatur. Er untersucht die Arbeiten von Orly CastelBloom, Yoel Hofmann und Hanoch Levin, die sich, zum Teil auf der Suche nach Alternativen zu den zionistischen Paradigmen, aus den bisherigen sprachlichen und diskursiven Verläßlichkeiten herausbegeben. Galili Shahar beschreibt damit drei Perspektiven, in denen sich der Verlust des „Ortes“ im Hebräischen, eine neue „Heimatlosigkeit“ der hebräischen Sprache andeutet, und stellt am Ende seiner Ausführungen fest: „Es ist schwer, zu Hause zu sein.“ Die Durchführung der Konferenz und der Druck des vorliegenden Bandes wären nicht möglich gewesen ohne die Unterstützung zahlreicher Institutionen und Personen. Genannt seien hier an erster Stelle die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft und das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur des Landes Brandenburg, die durch ihre Förderung des Graduiertenkollegs „Makom“ die Finanzierung der Tagung ermöglicht haben; weiter das Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum für europäisch-jüdische Studien, Potsdam, das nicht nur dem Graduiertenkolleg einen verläßlichen und attraktiven Ort für seine Veranstaltungen bietet, sondern insbesondere auch bei der Durchführung der Konferenz organisatorische Unterstützung geleistet hat; den Professoren im Graduiertenkolleg, insbesondere dem Sprecher Prof. Dr. Julius H. Schoeps, für ihre inhaltlichen Anregungen und kritische Begleitung; und schließlich dem Bundesministerium des Inneren für die Bereitstellung eines Druckkostenzuschusses für diesen Band.

Potsdam, im Sommer 2003 Die Herausgeber und Herausgeberinnen


13


Diana Pinto

Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places? On Jewish and Non-Jewish Interaction Today

Places carry great symbolic weight. As we gather in Potsdam for a conference on „Place and Space in Modern Jewish Experience, 1989-2002“, sponsored by the Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum, which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary, it is hard to imagine that just three years prior to 1989, in this very city, on the Glienicke Bridge, Nathan Sharanski, the symbol of Soviet Jewry’s resistance, was freed from the Gulag and sent to the West in a prisoner exchange. Until 1989, the half of Europe under Communist rule was a territory without a publicly visible Jewish life, without public debates on Jewish topics and without public historical memory based on open archives. Back in 1989, the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex was still depicted as an anti-fascist camp, best symbolised by the national pavilions commemorating its Austrian, Belgian, Czechoslovak resistance fighters. Jews came last in the long alphabetical list as „Zyds“, for the overwhelmingly Jewish presence in the camp was still very much hidden by the imperatives of ideology. Before 1989, both Eastern and Western Europe had no Jewish museums or „living“ Holocaust memorials in our current sense of the term. Countries across Europe had not yet transformed Jewish memory, history and cultural themes via museums and Holocaust memorials into a central piece of their own democratic and public Öffentlichkeit – as a near compulsory reference guaranteeing their own future-oriented pluralist essence. Instead, there were Jewish collections within Jewish communities, accompanied by Jewish documentation centres and frozen monuments. The realm of Jewish Studies was still very much dominated by a Hebraist


16

Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places?

world view, to which were added a few courses on Jewish history and culture in what still remained a very marginal and fragmented field. „Things Jewish“ had not yet become a part of general culture, nor was there a highly visible Jewishness in public debates. At the time, the Jewish „story“ was still confined to the Jewish world. In brief, living Jews were still on the sidelines, and the Jewish „absence“ had not yet become an overwhelming „presence“. Jewish Places of course existed, but there were no Jewish Spaces, for such spaces could only be the fruit of open and pluralist democratic societies willing to integrate the Jewish experience in their own collective lives. In addition to an open continent, two other prerequisites were indispensable for this to happen. For one, Europe’s elites and public opinion-makers had to have a feeling that the Jewish historical experience, and of course the Holocaust itself, were both historically important and relevant to a new perception of the continent’s own identity. For another, contemporary Jewish life had once again to be perceived as both a visible and significant piece of Europe’s pluralist world, not merely as a relict. All of these conditions were fulfilled during the 1990s, a period I have come to call the „Jewish Decade“,1 when the Jewish Space came into its own. The Jewish Space blossomed in Europe in the 1990s, because it lay at the crossroads of several important political and cultural moments. The most important of these moments was the cycle of 50th anniversary Holocaust commemorations, when all countries, irrespective of their own wartime record, commemorated the Holocaust by underscoring the Jewish specificity of its victims and by focusing on what had (or had not) happened to their own Jews during the Nazi era. Beyond the political agendas behind many of these commemorations, the desire to implant the Holocaust in Europe’s collective memory marked a major turning point in Europe’s consciousness. But Jewish Space transcended Holocaust commemoration alone. A second impetus to the construction of a Jewish Space was the fact that both Jews and nonJews – and their respective governments – sought to commemorate in a more positive vein the Jewish life which had existed „before“. More generally, even in countries such as Spain, which were not at the centre of the Holocaust world, pursuing even the oldest and most remote traces of Jewish life rapidly became an intellectually „fashionable“ field and a way of celebrating the country’s pluralist past. In reality – and this is the third aspect –, what was being celebrated was each country’s


Diana Pinto

17

pluralist aspirations in the present, because the glorious pages of Jewish life across Europe that were most often evoked had all ended in tragedy. This interest in the Jewish historical past was supplemented by a growing and far more widespread interest in Jewish culture, an all-encompassing term which covered Jewish religious texts, philosophy, folklore, music, cooking and jokes – a broad category that could be called „things Jewish“. Next to „things Jewish“, there was a separate category encompassing Israeli music, literature and films. But Israeli reality occupied only a small portion of the Jewish Space, compared to the ever-growing nostalgic interest in the presence of the Jewish absence, whether it be in the increasingly mythical shtetls, in the „magic“ cities of Prague, Vienna and Budapest at the height of their Jewish splendour, or more recently in places like Odessa and Vilnius as the pulsating capitals of a far more „ethnic“ or religious Jewish life. On this count, one could say that the Jewish Space was most predominant in those countries where the Jewish absence was greatest, i. e. in Spain, Germany and Poland, whereas in countries where there were still strong Jewish communities such as France or Great Britain, the Jewish Space had to cohabit with the productivity of living Jews themselves. In the 1990s, all countries, irrespective of their wartime status, had intellectuals and cultural activists who engaged in some form of Holocaust guilt or moral responsibility, intellectual nostalgia for a lost Jewish world, pluralist visions of an intercultural future and in some cases even multicultural trendiness. In doing so, they all contributed to the strengthening of the Jewish Space at a time when there was also much interest, both in the Jewish and the non-Jewish world, in the revival of a new Jewish life across Europe. In the 1990s, in great part due to Holocaust commemoration, all of these themes seemed to intermingle in a continuum of identities which bound together Jewish and non-Jewish actors across four very different settings. The first was the JewishJewish world, centred around the synagogue and community life, with its associated Jewish-sponsored Holocaust documentation centres and cultural/artistic productions and collections. To be an actor in this world, one had to be Jewish, even though the definition of who was a Jew varied according to orthodox, conservative or liberal Jews. The second was the more hybrid world of Jewish foundations, cultural centres, and publications, which, while run by Jews who defined its Jewish framework, was nevertheless open to non-Jews as interlocutors and contributors. The third


18

Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places?

world corresponded to the Jewish Space itself, a space moulded by Jewish and nonJewish influences, a space in which one did not have to be Jewish in order to participate, but in which the pursuit of Jewish themes constituted the common denominator and even the common motor. This world was centred around three new institutional pillars: national memorials and foundations set up to pursue Holocaust commemoration within each country – no longer a memory sponsored by the Jewish community; national, regional or local Jewish museums; and finally the ever growing number of Jewish Studies departments in the universities. Each of these pillars brought with it associated publications, exhibits, public conferences, seminars and colloquia. This universal Jewish Space was quite specific to Europe in the 1990s insofar as it was often populated, staffed and even manned by non-Jews alongside Jews. In Israel, the same space was of course „Jewish“ by virtue of the state’s selfproclaimed identity, and it was run by Jews. But the same was also true in the United States, where the Jewish Space was a sociological and cultural space belonging to Jews, much in the same way that the Afro-American space belonged to the Blacks. Europe’s Jewish Space was thus far more open to non-Jewish actors and considerations, even though the Jewish world retained its latent reference, both in terms of the professional context (Israeli and Jewish-American peer groups) and the historical references (from the medieval Jewish world to the Haskalah, or the Holocaust). The fourth space that should be added to the list could be defined as the fully universal democratic agora in which Jewish themes not only competed with other themes in the market of ideas and cultural references, but could also be used (and misused) by non-Jews who lacked any Jewish-inspired references or backgrounds. Such non-Jews could be sympathetic, neutral or even hostile toward the Jewish world, as they wielded their own readings of increasingly available Jewish references for their own purposes. In the 1990s, all of these worlds cohabited creatively with virtually no clashes, except at the extremes. On the one hand, there were ultra-Jews who lacked any real interest in the Jewish Space, since they thought of Judaism either in purely religious or in purely ethnic terms, and both in an inward, confined manner. On the other hand, there were non-Jewish actors in the universal space who had no interest in the Jewish Space because they had a strong antipathy for Jews and Jewish themes. The vast majority of Europe’s Jewish and non-Jewish cultural actors harboured no


Diana Pinto

19

similar „isolationist“ tendencies. Jewish Spaces and Jewish Places thus strengthened each other as they cohabited during a decade in which Jewish themes relating to Europe’s past were very much at the forefront not only of Europe’s national cultural debates and life, but also of the interests of the Jewish world. The lines between these spaces were further blurred by the fact that non-Jewish funding permeated all levels, including the financing of even the most orthodox of Jewish religious groups. Being Jewish or being interested in Jewish themes was no longer a strictly private affair, nor could it be seen as a neutral or indifferent res publicae. Quite the contrary. At the end of the 1990s, one could celebrate the consolidation of this Jewish Space by invoking its brilliant future without reservations.2 Such a Space incarnated the ideal context in which living Jews, Jewish life, and non-Jewish interest in the Jewish world could come together in the best spirit of cultural and political pluralism, with non-Jews ideally adding to the Jewish context the astigmatic leaven that Jews had traditionally offered to Europe as a whole. If anything, the Jewish Space at the time was suffering from growing pains. It had expanded so rapidly and in so many different directions, that both Jews and specialised non-Jews had trouble controlling it. Pop culture, fleeting fashions and trendy references often clouded the very real cultural developments, as „things Jewish“ gained the upper hand in an epoch when Klezmer music became the quintessential „Jewish“ phenomenon. During those years, new types of „Jewish Places“ emerged that had little to do with the Jewish Places of traditional Jewish cultural and religious life. Many of these places were actually Jewish voids, i. e. places that had once contained Jewish life, but where none could be found any longer – places of historical memory rescued from oblivion by Jews and non-Jews most keen on finding Jewish „traces“. The newly opened lands of Eastern Europe were particularly rich on this count. But the phenomenon transcended the east-west divide. Non-Jews could comfort themselves in such nostalgic Jewish Places, even when there could be found living Jews going about their own Jewish daily life down the road. Not only Rome’s Ghetto or Paris’ Marais were good illustrations of this non-interactive process, but also and increasingly even Berlin. In all three cities, orthodox Jews lived next to trendy „Jewish“ tourist sites with their stores, cafés and museums. Meanwhile, the vast majority of each countr’ Jews could be found far from both types of Jewish Places.


20

Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places?

They were neither ultra-orthodox nor „dead Jews“, but very much living in the residential neighbourhoods of their respective cities because fully integrated in their countries, just as Berlin’s pre-war German Jews had lived in Wilmersdorf and Charlottenburg rather than in what has now become the „trendy“ Jewish Berlin around the Scheunenviertel, the area in which none but the poorest Ostjuden immigrants had lived. Non-Jews and Jews thus risked referring to very different Jewish Places – the former to sites of the past, the latter to living entities of the present, as they moved about in a reconstructed Jewish „world“. Throughout the 1990s, Europe’s Jews and non-Jews could overcome these topographical contradictions, because they were all engaged in a common effort of Jewish renewal through the search for roots, Holocaust commemoration, and cultural revival, to which could be added a renewed interest in Jewish religion. Looking back on the 1990s, one can say that there was an implicit glue which bound all of these currents together within an ever-expanding Jewish Space. The importance of this glue became apparent only once it had disappeared: after the end of the Oslo peace process. Throughout the 1990s, the idea that Israel was inexorably heading toward peace with its neighbours effectively freed the energies of a Jewish world that until then had been obsessed first and foremost by Israel’s security. It also pacified a European left-wing that had often been critical of Israel. In the 1990s, Europe’s pre-Holocaust Jewish past, the Holocaust itself, and the renewal of Jewish life in the present could command such attention because Israel, on the path to peace, was off their radar screens and itself immersed in its own pluralist dilemmas. The Jewish Space could thus bring together Jews and non-Jews in a spirit of open dialogue, unmarred by political considerations, in an atmosphere where anti-Semitism ceased to be the Jewish world’s pre-eminent concern because it was confined to the most marginal and extremists of groups. The context is no longer the same in 2002. Today, we are not any more in such a celebratory mood. Europe’s Jewish Spaces may still be expanding, but are they as dynamic and vital? Inevitably, they have become filled with institutions. Holocaust foundations, Jewish museums and Jewish Studies departments are now fully established entities, engaged in „routine“ work with their associated bureaucracies – incidentally also to be found within the Jewish world. We have reached the point of consolidation, but it is appropriate to ask oneself whether this consolidation is not


Diana Pinto

21

taking place at the expense of the initial Jewish and non-Jewish unity of purpose, which had characterised most of the 1990s. It is my fear that, as a result of the events in the Middle East and their repercussions on the European scene, both Jews and non-Jews may be tempted to quietly withdraw into their respective Jewish Places, the former in a state of fear and crisis, the latter in a state of ever greater professional competence with respect to a dead Jewish past, but also of emotional distancing with respect to the Jewish present. Briefly put, the Jewish confrontation with the Jewish past, even when carried out in the most impeccable scientific manner, remains embedded in a perpetual existential process of questioning. Non-Jewish confrontation with the same Jewish past cannot transport a similar ongoing angst. Ideally, these two outlooks should be complementary, but in practice they can also lead to very different intellectual priorities and even tensions. The fears of the Jewish communities of Europe regarding the return of anti-Semitism or the purportedly anti-Israeli bias of Europe’s media, its cultural and intellectual elites, when juxtaposed to the quiet „normality“ of nonJewish work in Europe’s historic Jewish Places, runs the danger of ripping through what had been the promising Jewish Space of the 1990s. This new political and psychological situation explains why, in the title of my conference presentation, I chose to use versus – as opposed to a more positive and – to describe the connection between Jewish Spaces and Jewish Places. But please note the question mark. Mine is not a pessimistic assessment, for I am pointing to a potential danger, not to a certainty. Nevertheless, Jews and non-Jews need to understand the stakes involved in keeping the Jewish Space alive as an important pluralist cultural entity at a moment when there is the risk that each side may go their separate way to their respective Jewish Places. And when I am speaking of Jewish Places in today’s context, I refer to the growing rift between Jews, who are anguished over the Jewish and Israeli future, and non-Jews, who are still trying to understand (while also mourning) the Jewish life of the past. Briefly put, Jewish angst and non-Jewish nostalgia make for strange bedfellows. The former leads to self-defence, the latter to reclusive study. Jewish Europe is thus „coming back“ as nostalgia, memory and history for non-Jews and as a recurrent fear for Jews. If the current Jewish anguish continues, Jewish Places best defined by Jewish ghetto-like fears will be juxtaposed to Jewish Places professionally reconstructed in a non-


22

Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places?

Jewish spirit of „Egyptology“. It is still too early to say whether the 1990s will, with time, appear to have been a happy parenthesis of Jewish and non-Jewish interaction within the „normal“ anguished context of Israeli isolation and a return to antiSemitism, or whether the years 2000–2002 are instead only a passing moment of crisis before the calmer climate of the 1990s returns. But on this count, the Jewish and non-Jewish actors who populate Europe’s Jewish Spaces can make a difference. With the outbreak of the Second Intifada in September 2000 and increasingly so in the post-September 11th context as well as in the wake of the suicide bombings of 2002 and Israel’s own military operations, Jewish energies have been re-centred on Jewish problems. Conversely, Israel’s actions have re-awoken the old antiZionist stances of Europe’s left-wing, to which has been added the populist rhetoric of anti-globalisation. Through the filter of the Muslim world, the line that separated anti-Semitism in Europe and anti-Zionism vis à vis Israel has collapsed. This is not the place to analyse the Middle East conflict or the complex question of whether anti-Semitism has really „returned“ to Europe. In both cases, the categories of old are useless. Neither Jews nor Israelis are victims as in the past, but this does not mean that they have lost all ties to their Holocaust past. Complexity is in order. Instead, the opposite is happening. Most Jews in Europe have resumed their defensive mode by once again withdrawing into their own Jewish Places, driven by the impression that Europe’s media and public opinions have abandoned them. The most pessimistic among them now even look back on the „Jewish Decade“ with disillusionment, if not with rage, feeling that Holocaust commemoration and the spreading of „things Jewish“ effectively harmed the Jewish world rather than helping it. In this view, Jewish specificity was destroyed by a non-Jewish world which, in trivialising the Holocaust, facilitated the transfer of the Nazi-victim analogy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; a world which preferred to commemorate dead Jews rather than confront living Jews and Israelis, the heirs of the Holocaust tragedy. There is no reason why the preoccupations of „living“ Jews within the Jewish Space should be shared by non-Jews, nor why these non-Jews should stand unconditionally behind Israel. But it is unlikely that they, as non-Jews in the Jewish Space, can remain totally aloof from these tensions. Those studying the Jewish past and culture in their respective countries can claim that they are pursuing research in a scientific field among many others: Jewish Studies as „Egyptology“. Those pur-


Diana Pinto

23

suing Holocaust research can even justify maintaining this distance by the desire to preserve historical „purity“ and uniqueness. Others can say that studying Israel is no different from studying any other foreign country: Jewish Studies as area studies. Or those who study Jewish life as that of a religious or ethnic group can think of Jewish Studies as minority studies. However, I am afraid that in Europe, at any rate, such clean intellectual divisions are impossible to maintain. Given Europe’s past, the Jewish Space, even if it contains the most impeccable scientific research and objective analyses, remains a committed space. Non-Jews who entered the Jewish Space in the optimistic 1990s may be in for a rude awakening. They thought they had entered an expanding professional field full of promise, in which it was also possible to feel „good“ about participating in one’s country’s more than salutary open confrontation of hitherto taboo pasts. Today they are confronted with new dilemmas. Can they, as non-Jewish experts, study the Jewish aspects of their national pasts – and their tragic end – while remaining completely oblivious to the torments of their Jewish peers, as if Israel were disconnected from the Holocaust? Is it possible to study turn of the 20th century Vienna, Berlin, Odessa, Vilnius or Budapest, or for that matter Moscow or Saint Petersburg, as so many Jewish Atlantises, without doing two parallel things: taking into account today’s Jews, including those who „still“ live there; and drawing lessons from the pluralist might-have-been(s) that could have prevented the catastrophes, while helping to strengthen the pluralist camp in these same countries today – even if such lessons are now applied to Europe’s non-Jewish others? Conversely, can Jewish and non-Jewish experts in Europe’s Jewish Spaces come together to perform a third and equally central „mission“, that is to de-dramatise the often false or exaggerated historical analogies which a frightened Jewish world makes when confronted with anti-Semitism and Israel-bashing? The ideal Jewish Space should offer a calmer and more complex reading of the Jewish past across Europe, one that can put into perspective and even qualify the predominant Zionist-inspired readings which conditioned (and still condition) Israel’s self-perception and its perception of others. The Jewish Space in Europe could serve as a hinterland for Israel’s own pluralist reflections, even for its future identity as a potential European „insider“. In the years ahead, non-Jews within the Jewish Space may find themselves confronted with other tasks and challenges. They might be called upon to play a mod-


24

Jewish Spaces versus Jewish Places?

erating role in the fourth fully universal realm, where Jewish references can also be used by hostile others. They could even constitute a first line of „civic“ defence, should anti-Semitism truly raise its ugly head. After all, given their understanding of the complexities of the Jewish past, they are in a position to collectively „sense“ when red lines are crossed. Equally important, they could also, simply by setting the historical record straight in all of its complexities, act as reassuring forces to prevent false historical analogies on the part of an over-anguished Jewish world, This could also apply to the non-Jewish treatment of the Jews in pre-Holocaust Europe. For those Jewish pessimists who are quick to make comparisons with the 1930s or with an eternally anti-Semitic Europe, the very existence of the Jewish Space and its non-Jewish actors constitutes a major historical difference. Over the centuries, it was always non-Jews who determined the content and shape of the Jewish field, either for theological or for political reasons. All too often, this meant manipulating the Jews, either to turn them into Christians or to cleanse them of their Jewish „obscurantism“ in the name of universal values. The uniqueness of the Jewish Space today is constituted by the fact that neither Jews nor non-Jews „own“ the trademark to it and that its roots and interpretative structures have been fashioned by Jews with non-Jews in a minority position. Ideally, this Jewish Space should maintain links to living Jewish-Jewish and even Israeli spaces. The professional ties which non-Jewish scholars maintain with Israeli scholars in the field of Jewish Studies should be perceived as emblematic of the Jewish Space as a whole: equal and complementary relations in a field which grasps Jewish reality from all sides and which offers a non-Jewish reading as a corrective to a uniquely Jewish world view. For if Jewish Spaces without Jews would be little more than spent museums, Jewish Spaces without non-Jews would become little more than expanded and therefore anaemic community structures. It is the intertwining of Jews and non-Jews in the Jewish Spaces that ensures their importance in Europe’s pluralist evolution. Should Jews and non-Jews retreat to their respective Jewish Places – the former in a spirit of combative self-defence against an inherently hostile or indifferent world, the latter in a spirit of scholarly commemoration eschewing any civic commitment –, it is not just the Jewish world that would be the loser, but Europe as a whole. The Jewish Space is a European laboratory of pluralist modernity. May the Jews and non-Jews engaged in it commit themselves to such an ideal in the name of the


Diana Pinto

25

past, so that Auschwitz can at last enter Europe’s consciousness, no longer as a locus of friction, but in all of its fullness as a Jewish Place, a Jewish Space, and above all as a universal space. Let this commitment, above all, be made in the name of the future, so that Europe can prepare for and welcome its future „Muslim Spaces“ in a spirit of pluralist openness, but also of democratic rigour. The challenges on both fronts have only just begun.

Notes 1

I first developed the notion of the Jewish Space in 1996; cf. Diana Pinto, A new Jewish identity for post-1989 Europe, in: JPR Policy Paper 1 (1996). Another version appeared in 1999; cf. Diana Pinto, Europa – ein neuer „jüdischer Ort“, in: Menora 10 (1999), pp. 15–34. The concept was subsequently used by Ruth Ellen Gruber in her book Virtually Jewish. Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe (Berkeley 2002). As for the notion of the „Jewish Decade“, it lies at the heart of a book I am writing on Europe and the Jewish world: toward a possible reconciliation?

2

Cf. Diana Pinto, Europa- ein neuer „jüdischer Ort“ [wie Anm. 1], S. 15-34.


Postkommunistische Ortsfindung


John D. Klier

Aliyah, Goldene Medina or Neues Vaterland? Emigration Choices in the Late Soviet Jewish Press

„To Go or Not To Go?“ an article in the St Petersburg Jewish newspaper Ami/ Narod Moi asked its readers in 1994.1 For those who were tempted, the paper offered a tongue-in-cheek questionnaire. It was the sort usually found in western women’s magazines that allows readers to test the solidity of their marriage, or the vibrancy of their sex lives. Readers assigned themselves points for such factors as: „Do you believe that dollars in other countries: 1.) lie at your feet; 2.) fall from the sky; 3.) are sold for roubles?“ The total score indicated whether the reader should stay or go. In short, by 1994, Jewish emigration from Russia had become a laughing matter. This bore out the same paper’s observation, a year previous, that „emigration has now become civilised“ and was no longer just a headlong flight from „zoological anti-Semitism“.2 For Jews who had undergone the travails of attempted migration in Soviet times, to say nothing of the cadre of Refuseniks, who had long languished in the bureaucratic wilderness, matters had indeed changed dramatically. Beginning in 1989, it began slowly to dawn on Soviet Jews – and on their western defenders – that the authorities were serious when they asserted that the doors were open and that Jews could freely leave the Socialist Motherland.3 But new opportunities presented a whole new set of problems, particularly in those countries, such as the United States, which had made demands for freedom of movement a major bone of contention in East-West relations. Almost by definition, the grant of free emigration to some groups (if not all) of a population removed the


30

Aliyah, Goldene Medina or Neues Vaterland?

claim that they were victims of state policy, or a persecuted minority entitled to refugee status. The de facto grant of open departure to Soviet Jews through interpretations of the new law of 1987, broadened still further by the draft law on emigration introduced in the USSR Supreme Soviet in October 1989, was followed, almost immediately, by a revision of American regulations awarding refugee status, with all the concomitant benefits, to all departing Soviet Jews.4 There was one country, Israel, that declared itself ready and willing to take all departing Soviet Jews. But events in the Middle East gave many would-be emigrants pause. There was the unsettled international situation that would lead in a few years to the Gulf War; the threat of Arab terrorism; concern for equivalent professional advancement; and fear of being settled in ghettos in the Occupied Territories beyond the Green Line. Nor were parents taken with the thought that their teenage sons and daughters having escaped the rigors of service in the Red Army would almost immediately be pressed into service in the Israeli army. None of the factors were of great significance for ardent Zionists. But the truly committed had, in the main, left the Soviet Union before its collapse. Those who considered emigration in 1989 and after were much more calculating in their choice of a destination, which was precisely why so many of them had preferred emigration to the United States. Indeed, in 1989, only 17 percent of departing Soviet Jews went to Israel; the balance went to the US.5 After 1989, however, the United States no longer stood with open doors. There were added considerations, of course. American politicians had always presented the situation of would-be emigrants from the Soviet Union as escapees from „Communist tyranny“, while the special advocacy of the rights of Soviet Jews was based on their Jewishness. Whether defined in ethnic or religious terms, Jews could be depicted as victims of Soviet persecution directed against both their national culture and their religion. Departure from the USSR would safeguard these elements, most logically through emigration to the Jewish state, Israel. But as one Israeli academic put it, it must be „emigration to Israel not Brighton Beach [USA]“.6 The contradiction of providing Soviet Jews with open access to the US rather than to Israel had provoked diplomatic tensions, especially at the time of the noshrim („drop-out“) phenomenon, when the American Jewish relief body, the

Profile for be.bra.verlag

Der Ort des Judentums in der Gegenwart 1989 -2002 (Leseprobe)  

Eine Sammlung von Beiträgen zur Konferenz „Der Ort des Judentums in der Gegenwart, 1989–2002“. Die Autoren begeben sich in ein Feld, das Dia...

Der Ort des Judentums in der Gegenwart 1989 -2002 (Leseprobe)  

Eine Sammlung von Beiträgen zur Konferenz „Der Ort des Judentums in der Gegenwart, 1989–2002“. Die Autoren begeben sich in ein Feld, das Dia...

Advertisement