Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and Its Aftermath

Overview

Few issues have divided Poles and Jews more deeply than the Nazi occupation of Poland during the Second World War and the subsequent slaughter of almost ninety percent of Polish Jewry. Many Jewish historians have argued that, during the occupation, Poles at best displayed indifference to the fate of the Jews and at worst were willing accomplices of the Nazis. Many Polish scholars, however, deny any connection between the prewar culture of antisemitism and the wartime situation. They emphasized that Poles were ...
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Overview

Few issues have divided Poles and Jews more deeply than the Nazi occupation of Poland during the Second World War and the subsequent slaughter of almost ninety percent of Polish Jewry. Many Jewish historians have argued that, during the occupation, Poles at best displayed indifference to the fate of the Jews and at worst were willing accomplices of the Nazis. Many Polish scholars, however, deny any connection between the prewar culture of antisemitism and the wartime situation. They emphasized that Poles were also victims of the Nazis and, for the most part, tried their best to protect the Jews.

This collection of essays, representing three generations of Polish and Jewish scholars, is the first attempt since the fall of Communism to reassess the existing historiography of Polish-Jewish relations just before, during, and after the Second World War. In the spirit of detached scholarly inquiry, these essays fearlessly challenge commonly held views on both sides of the debates. The authors are committed to analyzing issues fairly and to reaching a mutual understanding.

Joshua D. Zimmerman is an assistant professor of East European Jewish History at Yeshiva University, where he holds the Eli and Diana Zborowski Chair in Holocaust Studies. He is the author of the forthcoming title Poles, Jews and the Politics of Nationality: The Jewish Labor Bund and the Polish Socialist Party in Late Czarist Russia, 1892-1914.

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Editorial Reviews

H-Net Reviews
This volume of essays offers a summary of scholarly thought on Polish-Jewish relations at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Slavic Review
His introduction presents a concise and useful summary of Polish and Jewish historiography and public debate from the early 1980s.
Journal of Contemporary Religion
This book tries to pave the way for greater understanding by examining Polish-Jewish relations during three distinct historical periods.
Los Angeles Times
This book deserves praise for offering a fascinating insight into a significant piece of modern history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813531588
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 1/10/2003
  • Pages: 348
  • Lexile: 1480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction: Changing Perceptions in the Historiography of Polish-Jewish Relations during the Second World War 1
1 Emigration versus Emigrationism: Zionism in Poland and the Territorialist Projects of the Polish Authorities, 1936-1939 19
2 Lwow, 1918: The Transmutation of a Symbol and Its Legacy in the Holocaust 32
3 Psychological Distance between Poles and Jews in Nazi-Occupied Warsaw 47
4 Polish Jews under Soviet Occupation, 1939-1941: Specific Strategies of Survival 54
5 Facing Hitler and Stalin: On the Subject of Jewish "Collaboration" in Soviet-Occupied Eastern Poland, 1939-1941 61
6 Jews and Their Polish Neighbors: The Case of Jedwabne in the Summer of 1941 69
7 The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Final Solution: What Conditioned Its Actions and Inactions? 85
8 The Attitude of the Polish Underground to the Jewish Question during the Second World War 97
9 Polish Catholics and the Jews during the Holocaust: Heroism, Timidity, and Collaboration 107
10 Poland and the Polish Nation as Reflected in the Jewish Underground Press 123
11 Jewish and Polish Perceptions of the Shoah as Reflected in Wartime Diaries and Memoirs 134
12 Polish-Jewish Relations in the Writings of Emmanuel Ringelblum 142
13 Metaphysical Nationality in the Warsaw Ghetto: Non-Jews in the Wartime Writings of Rabbi Kalonimus Kalmish Shapiro 158
14 Ringelblum Revisited: Polish-Jewish Relations in Occupied Warsaw, 1940-1945 173
15 Hiding and Passing on the Aryan Side: A Gendered Comparison 193
16 Some Issues in Jewish-Polish Relations during the Second World War 212
17 The Cracow Pogrom of August 1945: A Narrative Reconstruction 221
18 The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Attitudes in Postwar Poland 239
19 Jewish Responses to Antisemitism in Poland, 1944-1947 247
20 Teaching about the Holocaust in Poland 262
21 Collective Memory and Contemporary Polish-Jewish Relations 271
22 The Impact of the Shoah on the Thinking of Contemporary Polish Jewry: A Personal Account 291
List of Contributors 305
Index 311
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2004

    Solid book

    Impressive piece of work, highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2003

    Thoughtful examination of difficult issue

    This book highlighted a problem little known outside of Holocaust Academics--the disagreement in how to characterize and understand the Polish response to the Nazi invasion and Holocaust of the Jews of Poland. The editor has done a wonderful job selecting and arranging the essays to show the evolution of understanding on the part of both Jewish and Polish historians. I found that the essays were all of high quality--even where I disagreed with the conclusion. This volume opens doors to those not familar with the 'trends' in Holocaust literature and raises many questions about good and evil.

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