To Walk in the Footsteps of Your Ancestors: Roots Tourism in Yiddishland

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In recent years, there has been a great interest among descendants of East European Jewish immigrants to travel to the old country “to walk in the footsteps of their ancestors,” as the advertisements say. You can go on either an organized heritage tour or a personally designed roots tour, through which you travel specifically to places where your ancestors lived. At the same time, the old Jewish culture is being revived in these countries, and often by people who are not Jewish themselves. In this chapter, the author goes on such a roots tour, first to Paris and then to Romania, to find traces of her Jewish ancestors. She asks whether you can get a sense of the life that was lived at that time or whether it is nostalgia for a lost time. In this autoethnography, she not only draws on her own experiences but also includes sources from other roots tourists and scholars studying this phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Perspectives on Jewish Cultural History : Boundaries, Experiences, and Sensemaking
EditorsMaja Gildin Zuckerman, Jakob Egholm Feldt
Number of pages23
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9780367341244
ISBN (Electronic)9780429324048
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesStudies for the International Society for Cultural History

Cite this

Lützen, K. C. (2019). To Walk in the Footsteps of Your Ancestors: Roots Tourism in Yiddishland. In M. G. Zuckerman, & J. E. Feldt (Eds.), New Perspectives on Jewish Cultural History: Boundaries, Experiences, and Sensemaking (pp. 188-211). Routledge. Studies for the International Society for Cultural History