When the home is not a home. Cracow in the shadow of Lvov ; Journal of Urban Ethnology 17 (2019)
Instytut Archeologii i Etnologii PAN
Forced resettlements were the lot of the generation that had survived the Second World War. Experiences associated with displacement are strongly rooted in the sphere of emotions, thus impacting the formation of the narrative about a lost city and a newly settled city. The interpretive scope of the analysis is delineated by the key category of memory and its derivatives: the community of memory, private memory, the emotional community of memory, as well as trauma and nostalgia. A broad spectrum of terms allows us to refer it to the „lived world“ and the practices of everyday that belonged to the former residents of Lvov who arrived in Cracow after the Second World War, as well as their descendants who identified themselves with the family memory. The emotional community of memory of the „Lvov Cracovians” is described by common indicators: an identical place of origin (not necessarily of birth, however), the war trauma and displacement trauma, later, at varying dates – the process of settling in Cracow. These are the contexts in which their experiences are situated: the burden of losing their homes and their city, the sense of rootlessness, the sense of impermanence and alienation, the nostalgia for abandoned places and bygone times. The half-real, half-metaphysical immersion in the space of Lvov – first mundane and familiar, later brutally appropriated by ideology and politics – caused many former residents of Lvov to feel that their new place of residence –Cracow, with all its historical splendour of the cradle of Polishness – did not become a home, even though the values of national culture were very close to their hearts. That the city of origin is transformed into a myth is not surprising, it is an obvious cultural standard; but the relatively limited presence of Lvov in Cracow is worth investigating. In contrast to Wrocław, whose empty post-war space was filled by immigrants, the well-settled community of Cracow treated the otherness of the newcomers from the East with reserve. In Cracow, the memory of lost Lvov was an alienated one. This cannot be explained solely by the fact that in the official discourse of the People’s Republic of Poland the topic of the former Eastern Borderlands of Poland was strictly censored (it is commonly known that, paradoxically, this is precisely what caused the powerful mythicisation of the Borderlands and Borderland cities in the everyday memory of the Polish people). In Wrocław, which was empty of Polish content, the myth of Lvov took a firm root and the city became the heir of the Lvov tradition. Cracow, in contrast, was struggling throughout the post-war period with the ongoing devaluation of its symbolic significance which, although rooted in the Polish national universe, was undergoing ideological manipulation. The Lvov diaspora was constructing its image of Cracow by means of contrasting it to Lvov. In the family tales, “that” Lvov, surrounded with the glow of nostalgia, was – and still is – a mental refuge, strongly rooted in the memory of the first-generation migrants and the memory passed on to children and grandchildren brought up in the new place. It became a symbolic place and, like with Hemingway’s Paris, there is never any ending to it
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Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences
Apr 11, 2021
Feb 17, 2020
|Godula-Węcławowicz, Róża, 2019, Gdy dom nie jest domem. Kraków w cieniu Lwowa||Apr 11, 2021|
Wenzel, Jennifer Szwebs, Weronika
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