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Simon Wiesenthal Lecture
!!! CANCELLED !!! Joanna Tokarska-Bakir: The Figure of the Bloodsucker in Polish Religious, National and Left-Wing Discourse, 1945-1946

Thursday, 26. November 2015, 18:30 - 20:00

Dachfoyer des Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchivs, Minoritenplatz 1, 1010 Wien


The lecture will consider the metaphor of the ‘Jewish Bloodsucker’, widely disseminated in 20th-century Central and Eastern Europe. This archetypal metaphor, activated by critical situations, recalls the sorcerer-vampire who penetrates into the community and deprives it of its life substance, leaving only empty shells. Its role in shaping the imagination of Poles in the first two years after the Second World War is difficult to overrate. The figure of the bloodsucker revealed its murderous potential in the wave of pogroms that swept across the country in 1945 and 1946, incited by rumours of Jewish ritual murders. The genealogy of the figure of the bloodsucker and its role in shaping the imagination of Polish people in the first two years after the Second World War will be presented in terms of religious, national and left-wing political discourse.

Joanna Tokarska-Bakir is a cultural anthropologist, religious studies scholar, and professor at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences at Warsaw. She specialises in the anthropology of violence and is the author of, among other publications, a monograph on blood libel, Légendes du sang. Une anthropologie du préjugé antisémite en Europe, Paris 2015. As a holder of the Marie Curie Gerda Henkel Fellowship (2013 – 2015), she has most recently been working on a project on post-war anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton, NJ.


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