A head shot of Frances Tanzer as she appears in the Choices Program's video series on Weimar Germany.

Frances Tanzer

Clark University

Frances Tanzer is the Rose Professor of Holocaust Studies and Modern Jewish History and Culture at Clark University. She is a historian of modern Jewish culture, the Holocaust, and Modern Europe. She is interested in writing histories of modern Europe that focus on the paradoxical but crucial roles of refugees and minorities in shaping the continent’s identities and cultures. Her research examines the aftermath of the Holocaust in Central Europe; refugees and migration; Holocaust memory; and the history of antisemitism and Islamophobia. A sustained interest in the visual culture and performance unites her explorations of these themes.

Tanzer’s book, Vanishing Vienna: Jewish Absence in Postwar Central Europe, analyzes the fraught attempts to restore the cultural dynamism of pre-Nazi Vienna as Austrians and Jews reimagined themselves and Central European culture after the Holocaust. Her second book project, Klezmer Dynasty: An Intimate History of Modern Jewish Culture, 1880-2019, focuses on her own family, the Brandwein klezmer musicians of Habsburg Galicia. They innovated klezmer music and Jewish culture from 1880 to 2019 as they experienced the changes wrought by modernity, migration, the Holocaust, and its aftermath.

Tanzer’s videos will be used as part of a forthcoming (2024) Choices curriculum unit on Weimar Germany.

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