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Nina Viršíková MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Modern & Contemporary History, Political History, Religious History & Theology, Visual Culture

Cohort/Start PhD: 2023-2024

“Soft” Antisemitism? Cartoons and the Decline of Democracy in Interwar Czechoslovakia

University of Amsterdam
Supervisors: dr. Ewa Stańczyk, dr. Alex Drace-Francis
Aanstelling: October 2023-januari 2028

This research project aims to map out the presence of antisemitic imagery within the Czechoslovak media landscape of the interwar period with a focus on cartoons in humoristic and satirical periodicals. By doing so, I attempt to challenge the long-standing assumption that such depictions were uncommon in seemingly highly democratic political entities of the interbellum, which is an attribute often given to the First Czechoslovak Republic. Relying on primarily archival research, I am dissecting the manifold visual manifestations of antisemitism (or those strictly opposing it) and piecing together the different themes, periodicals, political motivations, authors, and publishing houses along with reactions from the public and various institutions. While these cartoons oftentimes seem subtle at first, I deem the analysis of more implicit forms of antisemitism crucial in order to track the descent into the blatant antisemitic propaganda of World War II. With this project, I aim to contribute to the field of Czechoslovak 20th century history, all while expanding the body of knowledge available about Jewish life and identity in the region.