ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201612.0129.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, History Keywords: history; museology; Israeli culture; Holocaust; Israeli society
Online: 26 December 2016 (10:43:31 CET)
Tiny by physical size, the State of Israel retains some of the world’s most important cultural treasures, along with many other great cultural institutions. Archeological treasures have yielded much information as far as biblical history and have been well adapted to a Zionist narrative by both the Jewish press and international news organizations, such as the New York Times whose archives are replete with reports of Jewish history being dug up by the Jewish people. Once the State of Israel gained independence in 1948, the course was set for the development of historical museums whose discourse would reflect the most significant events in Jewish history, most especially the Holocaust and the state of constant warfare that continues to imbue the cultural consciousness of its citizens. In this paper we outline, through categorization, the various historical museums, which are currently operating. Furthermore, this article hopes to shed some light upon the cultural sensibilities conveyed through these institutions.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0435.v1
Subject: Arts & Humanities, History Keywords: British Prisoners of War; Auschwitz; Holocaust; Jewish Survival Strategies in Nazi Camps; Allied Intelligence Operations in Nazi Camps
Online: 25 January 2023 (02:57:54 CET)
Between 1942 and 1945, Jewish inmates of a forced labour camp and later Auschwitz subcamp at Blechhammer (Blachownia Śląska, Upper Silesia) worked alongside British prisoners of war on the construction site of a giant synthetic fuel facility, the Oberschlesische Hydrierwerke. The paper examines the multifaceted forms of interaction between these two groups, who were situated at the opposite ends of a spectrum ranging from high survival rates to certain death. By reframing the Jewish inmates’ perceptions of the POWs, it seeks to shed new light on a controversial debate on the nature of the relationship between them and British prisoners. The paper argues that important aspects have been missing from this debate, as the Jewish inmates were not sufficiently represented and not viewed as active protagonists. The relations between Jews and British POWs were not one-sided, but rather interdependent in complex ways. Both groups used these contacts to gain strategic information on the war and jointly contributed to the Allied resistance effort. The barter with British POWs played a crucial role in the collective and individual survival strategies of Jewish inmates, whereas the British increasingly depended on the Jewish inmates to procure basic foods when German rations ceased to be allocated. An analysis of the effects of British aid giving showed that the actual impact on the physical survival of the emaciated inmates was negligible. However, these humanitarian gestures significantly boosted their mental strength and equally helped them to cope better with post-traumatic stress disorders after the war. Altogether, the British were encouraging symbols of resistance against the Nazi regime in the eyes of the inmates. Negative experiences were rarely corroborated and were often linked to poor English language skills or a stronger identification with other nationalities.