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Kamila Dabrowska

The Mnemonic Community of the March ’68 Emigrants and Their Attitudes toward Poland

This paper will discuss the mnemonic community of Polish Jews who were expelled from Poland after the anti-Semitic campaign in March 1968, and analyze how the memory of these events serves as a crystalizing agent for the formative practice of the “68 generation.” By analyzing that group’s ambivalent nostalgia, the paper will highlight the relationship between traumatic and mythologized memory, and explain the ways in which the past figures in the construction of the transnational Polish Jewish diasporic identity. The paper concludes with a presentation of POLIN Museum’s program for the 50th Anniversary of March 1968, and a discussion of how the Museum is addressing the gap between Polish society’s absent collective memory of the 1968 anti-Semitic campaign and the collective trauma of expelled Jews.

Kamila Dabrowska received her PhD in social science from the University of Warsaw, where her dissertation concerned the issues of collective memory for the post-war generation of Polish Jews. Her academic interests focus on post-war Jewish history in Poland, Polish-Jewish relations, Jewish diasporas, collective and individual memories, museums and informal education, and anti-discrimination issues. She is co-editor of the volume Anthropology towards Discrimination (in Polish, 2016) and author of the articles: “The Changing Meaning of Material Memories among Post-war Polish Jewish Immigrants in Israel” (2011), “Controversial Citizenship: Narrations about Exclusion” (2013), and “Nostalgia and Return to the No Longer Present Past: The March of the Living in the Context of Jewish Memorial Trips to Poland” (2016). Dabrowska heads the Guides Section and is responsible for the development of anti-discrimination trainings at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, where she also leads preparations for the 50th Anniversary of March 1968 program.