1st Edition

Memory, the City and the Legacy of World War II in East Central Europe
The Ghosts of Others

ISBN 9781138914360
Published July 16, 2019 by Routledge
242 Pages

USD $155.00

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Book Description

After the Second World War, millions of people across Eastern Europe, displaced as a result of wartime destruction, deportations and redrawing of state boundaries, found themselves living in cities that were filled with the traces of the foreign cultures of the former inhabitants. In the immediate post-war period these traces were not acknowledged, the new inhabitants going along with official policies of oblivion, the national narratives of new post-war regimes, and the memorializing of the victors. In time, however, and increasingly over recent decades, the former "other pasts" have been embraced and taken on board as part of local cultural memory. This book explores this interesting and increasingly important phenomenon. It examines official ideologies, popular memory, literature, film, memorialization and tourism to show how other pasts are being incorporated into local cultural memory. It relates these developments to cultural theory and argues that the relationship between urban space, cultural memory and identity in Eastern Europe is increasingly becoming a question not only of cultural politics, but also of consumption and choice, alongside a tendency towards the cosmopolitanization of memory.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Memory of Lost Others and the City as Text. 2. Absence, Ruins and Remembering. 3. Martyrdom, Memory and the Other City. 4. Thrills, Chills and Sensations: Lost Others in Consumer and Popular Culture. 5. Popular Literature and Lost Others. 6. City, Text and Photograph. Conclusion

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Uilleam Blacker is a lecturer in comparative Russian and East European culture at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.


"He examines "the paradoxical combination of the trauma of loss and the desire for belonging” (2) and how place-based memories have been constructed after war, destruction, mass murder, and displacement. Following the introduction's theoretical analysis, six chapters discuss urban ruination, memory loss and martyrdom, representations in popular literature, and the importance of photographic images in remembering lost urban communities. The conclusion summarizes these diverse strategies of “memory culture” and how they have been crucial in creating urban cultures in East-Central Europe."

--B. Osborne, emeritus, Queen's University at Kingston, CHOICE, March 2020 Vol. 57 No. 7

Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduates through faculty, and professionals.