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The Whole World Revolves Around It

Sex Education and Sex Reform in First Republic Czech Print Media

Karla Huebner

This article explores attitudes towards sex and sexuality in First Republic Czechoslovakia (1918–1938), focusing on the urban Czech population. By looking at articles, advertisements and references to sex and sexuality in Czech periodicals from 1920 to 1935, it shows that inter-war Czechoslovaks were enthusiastic participants in closely linked discourses about hygiene, physical culture, sex education, birth control and sex reform, and provides evidence that Czech discourse about sex and sexuality was al- most always – apart from erotica and pornography – closely tied to discourse about health, hygiene and social reform. The article also shows how inter-war Czechoslovaks participated in the struggle for sexual minority rights. By exploring these discourses, this article helps place Czech ideas about sexuality within the larger framework of European ideas about sexuality, especially in relation to the German discourses with which Czech writers and activists were in constant dialogue.

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Importing Divisionism Instead of Diversity

A Personal Account of Jewish Rebirth in Prague

Martin Šmok

Czechoslovakia but was then Ukraine. They also told me the meat was no good, because it was not fresh: it was canned meat from Budapest. More than once they gave me some small change to keep coming to eat in the kosher kitchen instead of non-kosher places. I

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Daniel F. Ziblatt

The collapse of communism did not follow any single path in east

central Europe. In Hungary and Poland, the transition was marked

by early negotiations between opposition elites and the ruling Communist

party. In East Germany and Czechoslovakia, the regimes fell

victim to a sudden and quick implosion. In Romania and Bulgaria,

internal coups replaced the ruling communist elite with other members

of the nomenklatura. The transitions away from communist rule

diverged from each other in timing, manner, and degree.

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Evelyn Friedlander

The following two essays by Jeremy Adler and Pavel Seifter were given as addresses at the Conference which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the arrival in London of one thousand, five hundred and sixty-four scrolls from Czechoslovakia, where they came into the care of the Memorial Scrolls Trust. Having been ordered to be sent to the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Scrolls which derived from more than one hundred synagogues in Bohemia and Moravia, survived the war and eventually came to be housed under the auspices of the Trust in Westminster Synagogue in London.

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Haunting the Borderlands

Graphic Novel Representations of the German Expulsion

Martha Kuhlman

As part of the Potsdam Agreement following World War II, 2.8 million Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia. Disturbing details of mass executions and forced marches of Germans have become the topic of public debate in the Czech Republic. In recent years, representations of this traumatic episode in Czech history have filtered into popular culture as well. This article considers how the graphic novels Alois Nebel and Bomber, whose authors were inspired by Art Spiegelman's Maus, address the controversial issue of the German expulsion.

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The Body in Motion

Communism and Epistemology in Iva Pekárková's Novel Truck Stop Rainbows

Simona Fojtová

Drawing on feminist conceptualisations of the body, this essay analyses Iva Pekárková’s novel, Truck Stop Rainbows (published as Péra a Perutě [Feathers and wings] in 1989, translated into English in 1992), to show how this contemporary Czech writer challenges the metaphor of the female body as a container through which communist propaganda in Czechoslovakia offi cially sanctioned and established a normative female identity in maternal, economic and civic functions. I seek to demonstrate how Fialka, the female protagonist who lives under the Czechoslovak communist regime of the 1980s, critiques discursive and epistemic formations that conceptualised the female body as a vessel for reproduction and labour and denied the female body the authority to function as a source of knowledge. Striving to spotlight the body in its cognitive role, I argue for an understanding of the body not as an instrument of knowledge or a neutral medium that enables knowledge production but, rather, as a condition of the possibility of knowing.

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Eva Kalousová

‘When I witnessed thousands of children being sent to gas, I swore that if I ever escape this hell alive one day I will devote my future life to the education of Jewish youth when such injustice exists.’ These were the words of Honza Brammer, a survivor of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, a former tutor of young prisoners in these camps and a colleague of the well-known Fredy Hirsch. This young man, originally from Uherský Brod in Moravia, left Czechoslovakia in 1949 for Israel and there accomplished his war decision. He became an organizer of schools in the Israeli desert and besides the work he loved, his life-long passion was photography. Honza Brammer or Dov Barnea as he called himself in the Eretz took hundreds of pictures of people, places and the nature of Israel throughout the post-war decades and his photographs present an interesting mosaic of everyday life there.

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Katharina Bluhm

Research on the enterprise transformation in East Germany after unification has focused mostly on the role of the Treuhandanstalt as the central actor in this process who widely determined its outcomes. David Stark and László Bruszt (1998) even suggest that this top-down model of transformation was rooted in the special institutional past of East German state socialism. They argue that the “Weberian home-land” was characterized by weak social networks among firms in comparison, for example, with firms in Hungary or Czechoslovakia, while the planning system and the industrial organization were extraordinarily centralized and hierarchical. Hence, social networks could easily be destroyed after German unification by market shock and by breaking up large enterprises into manageable pieces by the Treuhandanstalt. Moreover, the former, intact centralized planning system could easily be replaced by another centralized and cohesive administrative apparatus, now backed by the strong West German state.

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Clifford Rosenberg

Between the world wars, France attracted more immigrants per capita than any other country in the world. Roughly 3 million had settled in the Hexagon by 1931, seven percent of the total population according to official statistics. They came primarily from Italy, Poland, and Spain, but also Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Rumania, political refugees and workers alike. France also welcomed a greater non-European minority than any other country on the continent. Well over a hundred thousand arrived, almost exclusively from North Africa, especially Algeria.1 The level of immigration rose so high so fast that many commentators began to worry about the threat of increased crime and miscegenation. Some even feared for the survival of French culture.

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Susanna Trnka

Twenty years after the end of communist rule in Czechoslovakia, numerous public and private acts of remembrance both hail the end of state socialism and rally Czech society to be on guard against its possible return. This article compares three sets of remembrances-official commemorations sponsored by the state and/or private corporations, activists' alternative memory acts, and personal accounts of Czech citizens-to reveal how each of these give voice to fears and anxieties over the possibilities of “forgetting“ communism. Promoting a vision of the nation as united in ensuring that the future remains “communist-free“, widespread concerns over social amnesia and civic apathy become, I argue, a means of bonding citizens together and to the state. What, however, exactly characterizes a “noncommunist“ society is left necessarily ambiguous.