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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2021

Refugees ‘as Jews’. Travelling Images of Atrocities

Iwona Kurz

Abstract

During the so-called refugee crisis in 2015, the analogy to Jewish refugees from before World War II was used intensely in public debate. This article, based on the concept of the imaginary (Castoriadis), analyzes the use of this analogy, the presence of the memory of the Holocaust in contemporary discourse, and the use of images and visual clichés associated with this event in contemporary discussions. The theoretical, visual argument is based on the work Positives (2002-2003) by Zbigniew Libera. The material comes from the Polish debate put in this interpretative context. In 2015 Polish society, like most of its Central European neighbours, took the anti-refugee approach, mostly as the result of propaganda activities by media and right-wing parties.

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