Nowadays, Židovská ulica (Jewish Street), wedged between Bratislava castle and the historic city centre, is only a meagre leftover of what it used to be. Forming one of the central locations of the city’s Jewish quarter, a large stretch of the street was destroyed in 1972 during the construction of the New Bridge (officially called ‘The Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising’), as was a large part of the Jewish quarter with it. Even though more recent years have seen efforts to resuscitate the Jewish heritage of the city, including the opening of the Museum of Jewish Culture in 1993, the destruction of the community’s built environment as late as the 1970s underlines a difficult, near erased heritage. With a focus on the painting Židovská Street III (1935–1936), this article seeks to redraw a connection between interwar Jewish life in the eastern part of Czechoslovakia (Slovakia and Subcarpathian Ruthenia) and a prominent representative of Slovak modernism: the Jewish-Hungarian-Slovak painter and graphic artist Imrich/Imre/Imro Weiner (later Weiner-Kráľ , 1901–1978). Ultimately, it argues that if we interpret Weiner-Kráľ s work in the light of his Jewish identity, we might also question traditional interpretations of Slovak modernism that have seen it primarily as an expression of national identity.
‘Weak’ Antisemitism in Interwar Vienna: New essay by Julia Secklehner
CRAACE researcher Julia Secklehner has published a new essay in the volume Visual Antisemitism in Central Europe edited by Jakub Hauser and Eva Janáčová.
Her book chapter ‘Simple Entertainment? Die Muskete and “Weak” Antisemitism in Interwar Vienna’ considers the impact of ‘weak’ antisemitism in the Viennese popular press between 1918 and 1938. It argues that, in addition to the aggressive rhetoric of right-wing forces, visual antisemitism in interwar Viennese satirical magazines was also permeated by softer undercurrents of Jewish stereotyping. Masked as light entertainment, these were perhaps less obvious than their aggressive counterparts, but nonetheless represented a dangerous aspect of popular campaigns to ostracise the Jewish population. Juxtaposing aggressive forms of antisemitism from the satirical magazine Der Kikeriki with ‘weak’ antisemitism in the humorous magazine Die Muskete, the article shows that the ‘othering’ of the Jewish population was widely asserted as a cultural fact in the popular entertainment press, and, particularly in its weaker forms, spanned all political and social lines.
Artwork of the Month, November 2020: The Neolog Synagogue in Žilina by Peter Behrens (1928–31)
In May 2017 a new art exhibition and concert venue opened in the Slovak town of Žilina. The result of a six-year restoration project that had been partly crowd-funded and also partly funded by the EU, the Slovak government and the town council, the building won a number of awards on the basis not only of the quality of the restoration but also for its mobilisation of grass-roots support and funding. Just around the corner from the Puppet Theatre and the substantial municipal theatre, the new centre provided a valuable addition to the cultural life of the provincial town, located some 200 kilometres northeast of Bratislava. The organisation that manages the centre, Truc Sphérique, also organises cultural events in the Stanica Žilina-Záriečie, in the town’s still operational railway station, and provides an instructive example of the productive regeneration of sites as cultural venues.