CFP: Representations of the Holocaust in the Cold War Eastern Bloc: the Early Decades

The conference examines the memory of the Holocaust in fine arts within the Eastern Bloc from 1945 until the end of the 1960s.

Freie Universität Berlin

Dates: 9–10 June, 2023
Location: Berlin, Germany
Organised by: Freie Universität Berlin, Kunsthistorisches Institut in cooperation with the Museum of Fine Arts – Central European Research Institute for Art History (KEMKI), Budapest
Organisers: Agata Pietrasik (Freie Universität Berlin), Daniel Véri (KEMKI)
Supported by: Alfred Landecker Foundation
Deadline for submissions: 15 March, 2023

The conference examines the memory of the Holocaust in fine arts within the Eastern Bloc from 1945 until the end of the 1960s. We are interested in realised and unrealised projects or works, created either in the Eastern Bloc or exhibited/presented there by artists from the region and the world, especially in international memory sites, such as former concentration camps.

We would like to explore commissioned works of art, created in connection with official memory politics, as well as non-commissioned works, created on the artists’ initiative, or for private viewing. We are equally interested in how artistic practices were entailed in public and private rituals connected to the memory of the Holocaust, how the artists referred to earlier artworks creating an iconographic lineage, how earlier and historical Holocaust-related works were reused and restaged in this period, as well as how art generated public debates and discussions. We also would like to bring up unrealised ideas, rejected projects, and submissions and consider the reasons for their fiasco.
The conference aims to investigate the role that significant global events, such as the Nuremberg trials, the Auschwitz trials, the Eichmann trial, and the Six-Day War had on shaping the memory of the Holocaust in the domain of fine arts and also to explore the impact of similar, local events.

Another important point of focus is the role of national and transnational organisations, state authorities and unions of former prisoners, especially in the case of antifascist memory politics, as well as local Jewish communities and various Zionist organizations, most notably in the early post-war period.

We would like to consider the various ways in which the memory of the Holocaust was intertwined into the frameworks of competing victimhood and various national narratives, as well as antifascist and communist memory politics. We are interested in case studies bringing up complexities of local entanglements between aesthetics, memory, and politics. 
The conference is planned in a workshop format, allowing time for reflection and discussion; based on the panels, we plan to invite discussants to contribute to the exchange of ideas.

We can cover the travel and accommodation costs for a limited number of researchers; if you would like to be considered for financial support, please indicate this in your application.

Please send the abstract (max. 300 words) of your proposed 20-minute presentation, together with a short biographical note (max. 150 words), by 15 March, 2023 to and Notification of acceptance will be sent by 22 March, 2023.

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Picture: Agamemnon Makrisz and Irene Papas at the Hungarian National Gallery, 1978. On the right: Agamemnon Makrisz, Model for the Hungarian Martyr Memorial in Mauthausen, 1960, detail. KEMKI ADK / Fortepan, no. 144408

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