ACJC Research Seminar Series, Dr Jan Lanicek, ‘What Does It Mean To Be Loyal? Jewish Survivors in Postwar Czechoslovakia (1945-1948)’

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Date(s) - 31/07/2013
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm



Dr. Jan Lanicek (University of New South Wales), ‘What Does It Mean To Be Loyal? Jewish Survivors in Postwar Czechoslovakia (1945-1948)’

Interwar Czechoslovakia (1918-1938) prided itself on its excellent treatment of ethnic minorities, in particular the Jews. The “myth” of the uniqueness of the Czechoslovak democracy was promoted as a crucial part of Czechoslovakia’s image abroad and was trumpeted to the world by Czechoslovak politicians during and after the Second World War, Nevertheless, Jewish survivors returning to Czechoslovakia in 1945 from Nazi concentration camps faced hostilities from the non-Jewish population, including significant obstacles in their personal and material restitution. This seminar examines the roots of the Jewish predicament in postwar Czechoslovakia, arguing that its origins can be traced to the policies of the Czechoslovak government during the war and should be viewed in the context of the policies of postwar Czechoslovakia toward minorities in general – that is, the national homogenization of Czechoslovakia. The seminar will predominantly address the issues of divergent perceptions of loyalty to the Czechoslovak Republic as one of the major factors that contributed to the Jewish predicament in postwar East Central Europe.

Dr. Jan Lanicek is a postdoctoral fellow in Jewish history at the University of New South Wales. Originally from the Czech Republic, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Southampton in Britain in 2011. His expertise is in East European Jewish history. Dr. Lanicek’s book, Czechs, Slovaks and the Jews, 1938-1948, was published in June, and he is also co-editor of an edited volume released earlier this year titled Governments-in-Exile and the Jews during the Second World War.