Friday, July 25, 2008

Conference: Urban Jewish Heritage and History in East Central Europe, Lviv (Ukraine), October 29-31, 2008

Conference: Urban Jewish Heritage and History in East Central Europe, Lviv (Ukraine), October 29-31, 2008

In October 2008, the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe will hold an international conference dedicated to Urban Jewish Heritage and History in East Central Europe. The conference will coincide with the opening in Lviv of the exhibit Wo ist Lemberg? that originated in Berlin.

The conference is the first such gathering in Lviv and one of the first in Ukraine, and will address the physical and cultural legacies of the Jewish civilization destroyed by the Holocaust have long been neglected in Eastern and Central Europe. One goal of the conference is to bring the experiences of other Jewish heritage centers to Ukraine, where planning, preservation and education have lagged since 1989.

According to the organizers, “With the end of the Soviet Union and the fundamental liberalization of politics and society, which accompanied it, however, the region's Jewish heritage, too, has entered processes of rediscovery and reconstruction. With respect to urban space, the regeneration or revitalization of historic Jewish quarters has become one main focus of attention, where several complex and challenging fields of theory and practice overlap: The relationship between the past, memory, and history; questions of reality, authenticity, and virtuality; urban-planning and economic aspects of regeneration. The Center seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary as well as international group of scholars and practitioners to discuss these issues in Lviv, which used to be a main center of Jewish urban life in East Central Europe but which is also still marked by oblivion and neglect of this past.”

My sister, Ruth Ellen Gruber, author of Virtually Jewish: Reinventing Jewish Culture in Europe (2001) and Jewish Heritage Travel, 4th edition (2007) will keynote the conference.

I will be speaking on “Jewish Heritage in Lviv in the Context of International Experience.” I'm using the months leading up to the conference to reacquaint myself with the most pressing Jewish heritage issues in Lviv (former Jewish cemetery, now the Krakowski Market; the TaZ synagogue and adjacent areas; Judaica collections in musuems and aechives; the Tzori-Gilad Synagogue; and the Janowska Road Concetration/Death Camp). Most important is to look to see how to knit these sites together to create a meaningful hertiage landscape for local people and visitors alike. Changing hearts, minds and pocketbooks in Ukraine is not easy - but there have been enough small successes to make us hope for bigger changes in the future.

Other anticipated speakers at the conference include Eleonora Bergman (Warsaw), Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (New York University), Sabine Offe, Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek (Vienna Jewish Museum), Cilly Kugelmann (Berlin Jewish Museum), Vasyl Rasevych, Shelley Salamensky, Michał Szulc, Sofiya Grachova, Sergey Kravtsov, Rudolf Klein, Thomas Hubka, and Bob Martens.

For details and updates check at:

1 comment:

sireb said...

I want to make you aware of a wonderful 1907 synagogue. Temple
Emanu-El of Staten Island. A beautiful neo-classical structure on the nationalo register. look up website for pictures