Return of the Jew: Interview with Katka Reszke

Nadeslal Slawomir Grinberg

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On June 24, 2013, in a program co-presented in partnership with the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Katka Reszke appeared at YIVO to launch her new book, Return of the Jew: Identity Narratives of the Third Post-Holocaust Generation of Jews in Poland, with Dr. Sheila Skaff serving as moderator. The book is published in the U.S. by Academic Studies Press, and in Poland, asPowrót Żyda, published by Austeria.

Return of the Jew offers the first in-depth study of the so-called third post-Holocaust generation of Jews in Poland, those born in the late 1970s to early 1990s. It provides a revealing account of the experience of being or perhaps becoming Jewish in unique and compelling circumstances.

A new, “unexpected” generation of Jews made an appearance in Poland following the fall of the communist regime. Once home to the greatest Jewish community in the world and then site of the biggest tragedy in Jewish history, today Poland is experiencing what some have called a “renaissance of Jewish culture.” Simultaneously, more and more Poles are discovering their Jewish roots and beginning to seek forms of Jewish affiliation. The Return of the Jew is multi-layered: there is the return to the Polish landscape of the Jew in discourse and imagery, but there is also the return of Jewish life.

Katka Reszke’s book analyzes Jewish identity construction set against the backdrop of contemporary Poland with its difficult memory of the past and its new and complex Jewish culture. Can there be “authentic” Jewish life in Poland after decades of oppression?

katka Reszke

Katka Reszke (Ph.D., Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) is a researcher in Jewish history, culture, and identity. As a writer and documentary filmmaker, she specializes in human rights, social justice, minority and gender issues, as well as Polish-Jewish history and relations.

Yedies editor Roberta Newman sat down with her to discuss her book and her thoughts on Jews of the post-Holocaust generation in Poland today.

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