Jews in Communist Czechoslovakia: Official and Private Sources
In the few works that have been written about postwar Jewish history in Czechoslovakia, scholars have focused mostly on the attitude of the state toward the Jews, and especially on the Slánský Trial in 1952. Consequently, they have emphasized the discriminatory character of the regime and the pressure on the Jews to assimilate. In my talk, based on a broad range of archival documents and on interviews, private correspondence and photos in private possession, I aim to show the much more complex lived experience of a vibrant and diverse community. Not surprisingly, this different perspective questions many of the dominant assumptions and interpretations.
Kateřina Čapková is a senior researcher at the Institute of Contemporary History, Prague, and teaches at Charles University and NYU in Prague. Her book Czechs, Germans, Jews? National Identity and the Jews of Bohemia (2012) was named an Outstanding Academic Title in 2012 by Choice magazine. With Michal Frankl, she co-authored Unsichere Zuflucht (2012), a book about refugees to Czechoslovakia from Nazi Germany and Austria. She is currently working on a book comparing the postwar history of the Jews of Poland and of Czechoslovakia. In 2016, she initiated the establishment of the Prague Forum for Romani Histories (www.romanihistories.usd.cas.cz).