Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland by Jan T. Gross | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland

Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland

2.8 6
by Jan T. Gross, Jant T. Gross
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691086672

ISBN-13: 9780691086675

Pub. Date: 03/26/2001

Publisher: Princeton University Press

One summer day in 1941, half of the Polish town of Jedwabne murdered the other half, 1,600 men, women, and children, all but seven of the town's Jews. Neighbors tells their story.

This is a shocking, brutal story that has never before been told. It is the most important study of Polish-Jewish relations to be published in decades and should become a classic

Overview

One summer day in 1941, half of the Polish town of Jedwabne murdered the other half, 1,600 men, women, and children, all but seven of the town's Jews. Neighbors tells their story.

This is a shocking, brutal story that has never before been told. It is the most important study of Polish-Jewish relations to be published in decades and should become a classic of Holocaust literature.

Jan Gross pieces together eyewitness accounts and other evidence into an engulfing reconstruction of the horrific July day remembered well by locals but forgotten by history. His investigation reads like a detective story, and its unfolding yields wider truths about Jewish-Polish relations, the Holocaust, and human responses to occupation and totalitarianism. It is a story of surprises: The newly occupying German army did not compel the massacre, and Jedwabne's Jews and Christians had previously enjoyed cordial relations. After the war, the nearby family who saved Jedwabne's surviving Jews was derided and driven from the area. The single Jew offered mercy by the town declined it.

Most arresting is the sinking realization that Jedwabne's Jews were clubbed, drowned, gutted, and burned not by faceless Nazis, but by people whose features and names they knew well: their former schoolmates and those who sold them food, bought their milk, and chatted with them in the street. As much as such a question can ever be answered, Neighbors tells us why.

In many ways, this is a simple book. It is easy to read in a single sitting, and hard not to. But its simplicity is deceptive. Gross's new and persuasive answers to vexed questions rewrite the history of twentieth-century Poland. This book proves, finally, that the fates of Poles and Jews during World War II can be comprehended only together.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691086675
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/26/2001
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
705,081
Product dimensions:
4.80(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.98(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 3
Outline of the Story 14
Sources 23
Before the War 33
Soviet Occupation, 1939-1941 41
The Outbreak of the Russo-German War and the Pogrom in Radzilow 54
Preparations 72
Who Murdered the Jews of Jedwabne? 79
The Murder 90
Plunder 105
Intimate Biographies 111
Anachronism 122
What Do People Remember? 126
Collective Responsibility 132
New Approach to Sources 138
Is It Possible to Be Simultaneously a Victim and a Victimizer? 143
Collaboration 152
Social Support for Stalinism 164
For a New Historiography 168
Postscript 171
Notes 205
Index 249

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Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
OlgaS More than 1 year ago
In the novel Neighbors, Jan Gross brings together all of the sources and written documents regarding the murder of Jews in Jedwabne, Poland. The story is a unique one because it displays how brutal people can be to their own neighbors; people they have known for generations. The entire Jewish Community in Jedwabne was destroyed by its Polish neighbors and, only years later, the people responsible were put on trial. The trial itself, though, did no justice to the suffering and humiliation Jews went through. Gross did an amazing job doing research for his novel. It feels like he dug up every paper and interviewed every witness regarding the mass murder. It truly feels like you get the whole inside look and that everything you read is fact. The only thing I did not like about the novel was how the information was presented. I got lost several times in the large amount of foreign names and leaps from topic to topic. The plot could have been presented in a more interesting and easy to read manner but I could see the need for straightforward facts. A major theme that stuck out to me throughout the novel was the lack of human compassion. Out of the 1,600 Jews in Jedwabne, only 7 survived due to a Polish woman named Wyrzykowska. Only one woman came to her senses and had compassion on the Jews out of all of the Polish people in the town. It is amazing to see how fast a human’s beliefs and ethics can be changed with propaganda. I would suggest this book to anyone looking to broaden his/her knowledge or view of World War II. The book is exhaustingly sad but it is an emotion worth risking. The book really gave me a new insight and appreciation for my blissful life. If you liked this book, I would suggest Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Few books that I have read recently have succeeded to the same extent in evoking the feeling, the fear, the terror, the horror, the sheer egregious unreality of the Holocaust. . . as this book does.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My attention was drawn to this book by a review in Newsweek. Jan Gross is a man of courage, a true unbiased historian who seeks out the truth regardless of its consequences. He is a refreshing contrast to the contemporary 'historians' who study the first half of the twentieth century, and are unable to separate their biases from their work. Gross supports his findings with documented interviews and depositions of witnesses and the accused, which resulted from a trial held by the polish authorities in 1949, and was conveniently forgotten for fifty years. Unfortunately, the author has failed to provide any German witnesses or records that might be available in German archives of the massacre. However, he leaves no doubt that the genocide at Jedwabne was perpetrated with brutal fervor by the victim's non-jewish neighbors and other Poles from neighboring towns. Yet, according to Newsweek, the memorial marker at Jedwabne still blames the Germans for this atrocity, just like the memorial at Katyn. Up until this landmark book was published it has been all too easy for the Poles to blame their misdeeds during the war on the Germans. If nothing else, this book will force the Poles to recognize the reality of their own virulent anti-semitism that has pervaded their history for centuries.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Intrigued by 'Neighbors...,' I researched the topic and became shocked by arguments posted by several Polish historians who point to well-documented information, so different from that provided by Gross. The fact that Gross does not take it into account seriously undermines his credibility and the historic value of his book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author in his book says that Germans did not play any role in murdering the Jews. He also forgot to make any serious research on this issue. There are many things that are not included in that book. The first the book did not include the investigation which is under way and which could solve some facts including the role of the Germans. Overall the author did a poor work on this book, and is not critical on many issues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
German archives provide information, completely ignored by Gross, which establishes that it was a German unit, and not the Poles, who herded the Jews into a barn before setting it on fire. Gross also tries, unsuccessfully, in downplaying the fact that large numbers of local Jews had earlier collaborated with the Soviet occupants in sending Poles to horrible suffering and often death in Siberia.