• Die fabelhaften Jungs aus Theresienstadt: Junge tschechische Männer als dominante soziale Elite im Theresienstädter Ghetto

    Author(s):
    Anna Hajkova (see profile)
    Date:
    2009
    Group(s):
    Cultural Studies, German Literature and Culture, Jewish Studies
    Subject(s):
    Cultural history, Gender studies, Holocaust studies, Oral history
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    masculinity, czech history, ghetto
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6S924
    Abstract:
    This is (to my knowledge) the first piece of scholarship to systematically analyze victim masculinity in the Holocaust. Survivor testimonies paint a picture of Terezín as a society dominated by an elite strata of dynamic young men, respected by almost everyone in the ghetto. This is a surprise, since the cultures from which all deported Jews originated favored communal leadership by established older men, a pattern we find in most Eastern European ghettos. Terezín was in many respects a multicultural community forced to live together under extreme conditions; it served as a transit ghetto for all Czech Jews as well as sizeable groups of German, Austrian, Dutch and Danish Jews between November 1941 and 1945. This article outlines the power relations within the ghetto and how these were negotiated within the inmates’ society. Apart from clear positions of power, such as administrators in charge of transport lists, food and accommodation played a major role. While material access to positions of power formed one aspect of these power relations, belonging to a dominant group mattered not less. Within Terezín’s temporary society, the prominent group were Czech Jews, being the most youthful and the largest. In this paper, I demonstrate how language and use of rituals and codes to express cultural identity functioned as group markers. Status in ghetto had a considerable social impact; for example, these “fabulous young men“ enjoyed the keen attention of women prisoners. In the second part of the essay I discuss the bodily display in sports, particularly soccer/football matches, played in the ghetto. I examine the emergence and functioning of status of these young men, thereby exploring how prestige and status functioned both structurally and situationally.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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