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Sarah Cramsey

Research Fellow (12/2016-08/2017)


Uncertain Citizenship Jewish Belonging and the ‘Ethnic Revolution’ in Poland and Czechoslovakia, 1918–1948


CRAMSEYUsually, the creation of the State of Israel is cast a story that begins with Herzl and is brought to fulfilment by the Holocaust. Uncertain Citizenship: Jewish Belonging and the ‘Ethnic Revolution’ in Poland and Czechoslovakia, 1917-1947, considers the resolution of questions concerning Jewish political belonging in Europe not as the endpoint of a well-known history but the unexpected result of transnational intellectual debates, diplomatic manoeuvrings, demographic pressures and policies at local, state and international levels. The project will explore questions of Jewish ethnicity and citizenship from the perspective of the three decades before Israel’s Independence and seeks answers from various East Central European actors of Jewish and non-Jewish background. In sum, I show how the process by which east central Europeans “solved” questions of Jewish citizenship offers a synecdoche for the history of the unprecedented nationalisation of space in the region more generally. Arguably, the overall disentangling of populations in post-WWII east central Europe demanded the simultaneous embrace of a Jewish homeland in Palestine as a territorial nationalist project.


Sarah A. Cramsey is a Professor of Practice of Jewish Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans. She received her doctorate in history in Berkeley as well as degrees from Oxford University and the College of William & Mary. She has received funding from the NSEP Boren Scholarship Program, the Fulbright Program, the Mellon Foundation, the Institute for International Education, the American Council of Learned Societies and the German Historical Institute to complete research in the Czech Republic, Poland, the United Kingdom, Israel and the United States.

May 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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