November, 2010: Jacob Goodwin's Sites of Memory
Sites of Memory
Jacob Goodwin’s great-grandfather was an Austro-Hungarian Jew. That’s what propelled Jacob, a senior history major, to go to Hungary. Though Jacob’s ancestor emigrated to the U.S. in 1900, the Jews who remained in his birthplace in northern Hungary would eventually be deported, and most murdered, by the Nazis and their collaborators.
Jacob is interested in Jewish sites of memory, public places such as cemeteries, synagogues, and memorials that are distinctly Jewish but remain in communities whose Jewish populations have been decimated. How do communities deal with these sites? How do they incorporate them into their historical memory, if they do at all?
Learning that the majority of Jewish cemeteries in Hungary are untended, and armed with a UNH research grant, Jacob crafted a project: in the summer of 2010, he would adopt a Jewish cemetery in Hungary and restore it, and collect oral histories from town residents to ascertain how this site and other local Jewish sites figure in their historical awareness.