ISSN 2451-2966


Katarzyna Bojarska

(Un)moved: On the Holocaust and Watchers, Players and Chroniclers of History. An Affective Perspective.


An analysis of a book that is unique and important – in the field of both theatre research and cultural studies, and even in the humanities in Poland – Grzegorz Niziołek’s Polski Teatr Zagłady [Polish Theatre of the Holocaust]. Bojarska stresses that the author harnesses literary, artistic and film works to his story. The material he uses is rich, but selected and composed very conscientiously. It is not governed by the logic of free associations, but rather the rhythm of affective arousals. The book’s central thesis is twofold: first, the conviction that in the very experience of works about the Holocaust, an important role is played by theatrical structure – the division into stage/offstage and actors/audience; second, that the post-war space of the theatre is a place where a return is possible – and has on occasion occurred – to what was repressed in the original event – the traumas of participation of the audience, the viewers, the Hilbergian bystanders in this war history. Niziołek constructs the narrative on two levels, complementary but not subordinated to each other: the textual and the visual. He attempts to develop tools to analyse the unaware or actually unconscious affective structures that determine the shape of post-war symbolic space in Poland. A major role in this process is played by psychoanalytical tools, employed aptly and effectively. The author therefore writes his story of Polish theatre, audiences and the (non)memory of the Holocaust in an experimental fashion. He writes about that which is unseen (or seen wrongly), unexperienced and unremembered, though present there and then (during the war and after it on theatre stages), and experienced.


affective history; bystander; holocaust; trauma

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Katarzyna Bojarska

(1981), PhD, assistant professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, member of the editorial board of Teksty Drugie and View: Theories and Practices of Visual Culture magazines. Author of Wydarzenia po Wydarzeniu. Białoszewski-Richter-Spiegelman and translator of Susan Buck-Morss’s Hegel, Haiti and Universal History, Dominick LaCapra’s History in Transit: Experience, Identity, Cultural Theory, and Ursula Philips’s Feminizm i religia. Narcyza Żmichowska.