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Today, post-communist Europe is experiencing a museum boom as countries try to consolidate a collective identity in museums that tell their nation’s story in a way that was not possible under communism. Jewish museums and Holocaust memorials offer not only histories of Jewish communities in a given town or country, but also a perspective on the place of those communities within a larger national history and a country’s self-understanding. For decades, in the public sphere, the subject of Jewish history and memory was largely off-limits in the Eastern bloc. In the last 25 years, however, since the fall of communism, there has been a revival of public Jewish culture and institutions in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the former Soviet Union (FSU). New museums, memorials, and education centers are an important part of this trend. This special issue is dedicated to this phenomenon, first charting a map of new Jewish museums throughout post-communist Europe, and then attempting to draw some analytical conclusions about the place and meaning of such museums.
Updated: Nov. 25, 2015