June 18th Goethe Institute Amsterdam

Lecture Frances Tanzer

Vanishing Vienna. Modernism, Philosemitism, and Jews in a Postwar City

Frances Tanzer will discuss her new book, Vanishing Vienna: Modernism, Philosemitism, and Jews in a Postwar City (University of Pennsylvania Press), which traces the reconstruction of Viennese culture from the 1938 German Anschluss through the early 1960s. The book reveals continuity in Vienna’s cultural history across this period: a framework for interpreting Viennese culture that has relied on antisemitism, philosemitism, and a related discourse of Jewish presence and absence. As she shows, antisemitism and philosemitism were not contradictory forces in post-Nazi Austrian culture. They were deeply interconnected aspirations in a city where nostalgia for the past dominated cultural reconstruction efforts and supported seemingly contradictory impulses. Philosemitism was much more than a simple inversion of antisemitism—instead, Tanzer argues, philosemitism defined Vienna in the era of postwar reconstruction. Vanishing Vienna uncovers a rarely discussed phenomenon of the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust—a society that consumes, redefines, and bestows symbolic meaning on the victims in their absence.

Comment: Ido de Haan (Utrecht University)

Frances Tanzer is the Rose Professor of Holocaust Studies and Jewish Culture at Clark University. She is a historian of modern Jewish culture, the Holocaust, and Modern Europe. Her book Vanishing Vienna: Philosemitism, Modernism, and Jews in a Postwar City is forthcoming with University of Pennsylvania Press. She has had articles published in the Leo Baeck Institute Yearbook and Contemporary European History. In 2021, she received the Sosland Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She is currently a fellow at the Remarque Institute at NYU.

Facilitated by:

University of Amsterdam: Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture

National Research School for Art History

Menasseh ben Israel Instituut

Goethe-Institut Amsterdam