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Apr 16, 2015 7:00 PM

Last Year in Marienbad: Why Jews loved the Bohemian Spas

A lecture by Mirjam Zadoff, Indiana University.

From the last decades of the nineteenth century through the late 1930s, the West Bohemian spa towns of Carlsbad, Franzensbad, and Marienbad were fashionable destinations for visitors wishing to "take a cure". A very high proportion of visitors were Jewish. Secular and religious Jews from diverse national, cultural, and social backgrounds mingled in idyllic and often apolitical-seeming surroundings. During the season, shops sold Yiddish and Hebrew newspapers, kosher kitchens were opened, and theatrical presentations, concerts, and public readings catered to the Jewish clientele. This talk explores the contradictions between this idyllic image and the reality that in the off-season, the same resort towns –under the influence of increasingly hostile nationalisms– would often turn virulently anti-Semitic.

Mirjam Zadoff is associate professor of Jewish Studies and History and Alvin H. Rosenfeld Chair in Jewish Studies at Indiana University. She is the author of Next Year in Marienbad: The Lost Worlds of Jewish Spa Culture (2012) and Der rote Hiob. Das Leben des Werner Scholem (2014).



321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Apr 16, 2015 7:00 PM


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