Der Fall Hilsner
Der Ort Polna
This is the beta-version of an interactive exploration of a major historical media event, the so-called
. The various media that appeared during the murder trials (1899 and 1900) of the Bohemian casual labourer, Leopold Hilsner, are presented here and analysed in order to form a cultural background to key events in 20
century Europe. It is
anti-Semitic fantasy of "Jewish ritual murder"
transformed and channelled
modern discourse (in medicine, law, criminology) and media (the press, cartoons, postcards, photographs, posters)
, into a primitive force, temporarily invalidating the rules of law and scientific reasoning. Presenting the documents in this way provides a striking example how language and images, combined with advanced media and communication techniques, can be used to reject modern, civilized society and create a neo-archaic society based on violence and cruelty. The examination of the visual and linguistic techniques used in the Hilsner case provides crucial insights into key historical events of central Europe in the 20century.
The concept for this site was developed in a seminar for media and literature students at the University of Siegen during the 2002-03 academic year. It is currently being constructed so as to form a framework for an international research network. This work is being completely with the support of a grant by the Heinrich-Hertz-Foundation (Düsseldorf), and the Institute for Media Research at the University of Siegen. Our goal is to present the material in different ways, in order to stimulate different stakeholders: professionals in media, culture and historical studies; teachers and students; journalists; and members of the general public with an interest in history and politics. In addition, the site is intended as a platform and resource for
, linking relevant projects to the appropriate site sections, thereby fostering the gradual build-up of a
encompassing individual researchers, research groups and institutions.