Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer. Ghosts of Home. The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory
In modern-day Ukraine, east of the Carpathian Mountains, there is an invisible city. Known as Czernowitz, the "Vienna of the East" under the Habsburg empire, this vibrant Jewish-German Eastern European culture vanished after World War II—yet an idealized version lives on, suspended in the memories of its dispersed people and passed down to their children like a precious and haunted heirloom. In this original blend of history and communal memoir, Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer chronicle the city's survival in personal, familial, and cultural memory. They find evidence of a cosmopolitan culture of nostalgic lore—but also of oppression, shattered promises, and shadows of the Holocaust in Romania. Hirsch and Spitzer present the first historical account of Jewish Czernowitz in the English language and offer a profound analysis of memory's echo across generations.
An S. Mark Taper Foundation Book in Jewish Studies, 392 Seiten, Sprache Englisch,ISBN-10: 0520257723, ISBN-13: 978-0520257726
E-book version available
"In this rigorous and beautifully written account, Hirsch and Spitzer chronicle a search for a vanished world and, through the terrible lacuna of the Holocaust, discover the life before and after. Simultaneously a history of a fascinating Central European town, an excavation of a thriving culture, and a journal of several returns, Ghosts of Home adds both scholarly and human dimensions to our knowledge of the Holocaust, the vicissitudes of memory, the predicament of the second generation, the poignant impossibility of recapturing the past – and the need to understand and honor it in its full complexity."—Eva Hoffman, author of Time
"This exemplary masterpiece of cultural memory interweaves the thoughtful reflections of the post-memorial family memoir with astute historical recontextualisation of one family's experiences of the complex Jewish negotiations of cultural modernity and shifting political dominions in Central Europe. Built around the figure of the journey that takes the reader back and forth across the layered histories of the city of former Czernowitz the text explores the fabric of memory in places, images and things which have the affective power to undo amnesia. This book re-engages us not only with an important fragment of 'the past' but asks us to think about what it means to carry lost histories, intergenerationally, and to transform 'the past' by tenderly and thoughtfully reinserting such memories, often transmitted by images and objects, into the still fragile picture of the experience of European Jews across the long twentieth century."—Griselda Pollock, author of Encounters in the Virtual Feminist Museum: Time, Space and the Archive