Belz, Bobowa, Leżajsk: Official Memory about the Jewish Past

Belz, Bobowa, Leżajsk: Official Memory about the Jewish Past

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Alla Marchenko 

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences / Center for Urban History

September 23, 2019 / 4.00 pm

Library, Center for Urban History

According to the concept of Pierre Nora, we live in the epoch of cultural memory characterized by the replacement of content by forms, such as museums and monuments, commemorative events and dates, etc. At the same time, all the forms characterize the present vision of the past, power relations, and hierarchies of significance within the community. It is especially notable through the examples of official memory. The workshop will explore official memory about the Jewish past in three towns of Belz (Ukraine), Bobowa, and Leżajsk (Poland). The three towns are symbolically united by the regular pilgrimage of the Hasidim, which determines their international visibility and actualizes process connected to cultural memory about the Jewish past.

How is the past represented in official sources, and which is its role within the general narrative of urban history? What exactly is reflected in the documents and in public spaces of Belz, Bobowa, and Leżajsk, and what is omitted? Who keeps and releases the memories in each of the towns? Which memory practices are related to the Jewish past? Has the official memory on Jewish past been modified over the recent years and in which way? What factors can help explain the shared, the different, and peculiar things in each town – are they international, national, regional, or local, social or individual?

Alla Marchenko presents a range of answers to these questions, among others, on the basis of her analysis of official pages of the towns’ cultural centers and town councils, tourist guidebooks and maps, local history publications, as well as memorial sites within public spaces of the three towns. The research is part of her doctoral thesis.

The event has a format of a workshop, with the guest researchers to discuss academic projects and research works on different stages of progress, and of the completed projects prepared for print.

Participation in the Urban Seminar implies reading and discussing the researcher’s text. If you wish to join the workshop, please, send an email to Nataliia Otrishchenko ( to receive the materials in advance.