Museums and Monuments

Matti Bunzl

in Symptoms of Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238428
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937208 | DOI:
Museums and Monuments

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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On June 20, 1999, Vienna's Jewish community commemorated the 150th anniversary of its official existence with a festive event held at the city's Burgtheater. The event and its mass-media representation stood in stark contrast to the cultural logic of the postwar era. During the first decades of Austria's Second Republic, the state and its various apparatuses had gone to great lengths to bar Jews from the country's public sphere. As embodied critics of Austria's victim myth, Jews threatened to undermine the postwar nation-state, necessitating their structural exclusion from the imagined community. Austria's Jews continued to figure in opposition to the country's fiction of collective victimization, but by the late 1990s, this no longer represented an impediment to their integration into the national sphere. On the contrary, the anniversary event made clear that the state now sought the inclusion of Jews in Austria's imagined community. As such, the IKG celebration was indicative of a larger structural transformation that had fundamentally altered the relationship between the Austrian state and its Jewish citizens. This chapter focuses on that transformation, which occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s and resulted in the creation of several state institutions designed to bring Jews into the country's national fields.

Keywords: Jewish community; Austria; collective victimization; structural transformation; Austrian state; Jews; social policy

Chapter.  13363 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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