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From Purimspiel to Polish Masquerade:

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that Purimspiel performance fulfills three conflicting functions: it commemorates pre-war Jewish heritage in Poland; it uses theatrical entertainment to mask Holocaust history, and it serves as a journey to self-discovery and identity formation for third-generation Poles in the context of 21st-century Tykocin, a small Polish town. This book triggered an international debate about Poland's role during the Holocaust, and forced the Jedwabne residents to come to terms with their past, erect a Holocaust memorial, and remember the Jewish victims. However, even when Andrzej Polakowski takes off his tallit and places his hat with the attached fake side-curls in the costume box, the ambivalent memory of the past will linger in the embodied performance of the Purimspiel and its recorded mediations.

Keywords:21st-century; Holocaust; Jewish; Poland; Polish; Purimspiel; Tykocin



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