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Objects of WarThe Material Culture of Conflict and Displacement$
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Leora Auslander and Tara Zahra

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781501720079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501720079.001.0001

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Lisa’s Things

Lisa’s Things

Matching German-Jewish and Indian-Muslim Traditions

(p.223) 8 Lisa’s Things
Objects of War

Gerdien Jonker

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at Lisa Oettinger's trunks, the contents of which unravel not one but two family stories, which Lisa purposefully joined: her own German-Jewish past and that of her husband's family, which is rooted in reformist Islam. The suitcases are therefore filled with the relics of German/Jewish/Muslim/South Asian bourgeois life and reflect one woman's efforts to make sense of her displacement by collecting objects from Germany and South Asia that “matched” or mirrored one another. Indeed, the carefully preserved intimate items are the material traces of a quite extraordinary migration story. Ultimately, Lisa Oettinger's collection saved two families from being forgotten: the Oettingers from Marienwerder and the Ur-Rahmans from Lahore. The collection allows them not only to live on in their things but also to join their family traditions in one box. For that reason, her collection is neither specifically Jewish nor specifically Muslim. It is in-between.

Keywords:   Lisa Oettinger, German-Jewish traditions, reformist Islam, Muslim traditions, migration, material objects, family traditions

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