Julie Dawson, Alexandra Toma, Razvan Anton, Matei Bellu
NGO Hosman Durabil
Absence as Heritage
In the town of Mediaș, founded by the Transylvanian Saxons, ethnic and linguistic identities remain a sensitive topic in the region. While a sense of pride in Transylvania’s multiethnic character (as opposed to southern Romania) is common, there is a simultaneous amnesia or ignorance regarding the history and role of other segments of the population, now absent, in particular of the Jewish population, whose absence is a result of mass emigration during the 1950s and 1960s. Discovered in 2008 in a locked and shuttered synagogue, the archives and library of the former Jewish community of Mediaș, Romania, contain thousands of documents and books recording the peaceful evolution of a commonplace Jewish community in multiethnic Central Europe over the course of approximately 200 years.
The activities carried out within this Creative Co-Production are aimed at exploring and exploiting the built heritage of the synagogue complex and the documentary heritage of archives and religious and secular printed material, using artist and researcher residencies. Its objective is to connect to Transylvania’s intrinsic multilingualism with documents or publications in German, Hungarian, Romanian, and Yiddish, and evaluate the value of heritage of absent populations to those that remain, researching on how these places, items, or traditions of “abandoned” heritage can be used to understand a collective past and how they can be employed to create a future of positive, multifaceted European identities.