In Search of Transnational and Transcultural Memories of the Holocaust:
Examples from Sweden and Poland
The memory of the Holocaust was one of the first fully-fledged transnational collective memories to travel around the world. Most of the scholarship tracing the transnational flows of representations of Holocaust memory has focussed on literature, films, and other media products. This lecture, on the other hand, foregrounds the research on memory practices in specific geographic places in order to demonstrate the transnational dimension of national and local Holocaust memories, as well as to trace how this memory actually travels across national borders and what happens during this process. What is the potential of transnational Holocaust memories to produce new stories and new social relations and solidarities?
This lecture presents two different examples of transnational Holocaust memory at work in specific localities: one from the Swedish capital, Stockholm, and one from the provincial Polish town of Szydlowiec, that prior to the Holocaust was a shtetl. In connection with these cases, the lecture discusses the extent to which transnational memories are also transcultural or culturally hybrid memories that have a transformative power, enabling people to imagine new communities and new types of belonging.
Barbara Törnquist-Plewa is a Professor of Eastern and Central European Studies at Lund University in Sweden. Between 2012 and 2016, she led the international research network In Search for Transcultural Memory in Europe (in the framework of the EU COST-programme). Her research focusses on nationalism, identity, and collective memories. She is the author and editor of a number of books and articles in English, Swedish, and Polish. Her latest publications include: The Twentieth Century in European Memory, Amsterdam 2017; Disputed Memory. Emotions and Memory Politics in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Berlin/Boston 2016 (both edited with Tea Sindbaek Andersen); and Whose Memory? Which Future? Remembering Ethnic Cleansing and Lost Cultural Diversity in Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe, New York/London, 2016.