Ghosts of Home (Hardcover)

The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory

By Marianne Hirsch, Leo Spitzer

University of California Press, 9780520257726, 392pp.

Publication Date: January 19, 2010

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (7/26/2011)

List Price: 65.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In modern-day Ukraine, east of the Carpathian Mountains, there is an invisible city. Known as Czernowitz, the “Vienna of the East” under the Habsburg empire, this vibrant Jewish-German Eastern European culture vanished after World War II—yet an idealized version lives on, suspended in the memories of its dispersed people and passed down to their children like a precious and haunted heirloom. In this original blend of history and communal memoir, Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer chronicle the city's survival in personal, familial, and cultural memory. They find evidence of a cosmopolitan culture of nostalgic lore—but also of oppression, shattered promises, and shadows of the Holocaust in Romania. Hirsch and Spitzer present the first historical account of Jewish Czernowitz in the English language and offer a profound analysis of memory's echo across generations.

About the Author

Marianne Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature, and Co-Director of the Institute of Research on Women and Gender, at Columbia University. She is the author of Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory, among other books. Leo Spitzer is Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History Emeritus at Dartmouth College, and the author of many books, most recently Hotel Bolivia: A Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism.

Praise For Ghosts of Home: The Afterlife of Czernowitz in Jewish Memory

“[This] monumental book . . . is a stunning marriage of intellectual curiosity and personal search. [It] reads with the poignancy of memoir, yet in a collective voice. . . . The overarching authorial voice is nuanced and reflective but also informed. ”

— Pri’s The World

“Hirsch and Spitzer expose the complex layers that inform our understanding of the past.”

— Jewish Book World

“Unique . . . Ghosts of Home collects the fragments of one place and provides us with an artifact that is as close as we will ever come to ‘perfect rest.’”

— Tikkun Magazine

“An interesting volume.”

— German Studies Review

“Eminently readable. . . . Hirsch’s depiction of prewar Jewish life is masterful.”

— Norman Ravvin

“The ability to observe, evaluate, and contextualize habits and specific objects is one of the greatest strengths of this book.”

— Austrian History Yearbook