Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 13

The Holocaust and its Aftermath
Edited by Antony Polonsky

The assessment of the Nazi genocide in Poland, an issue which has deeply divided Poles and Jews, lies at the core of this volume. Also included are discussions of Polish attitudes to the nearly 300,000 Jews who tried to resettle in post-war Poland; the little-known testimony of Belzec survivor Rudolf Reder; a discussion of Holocaust victims as martyrs; and a presentation of how the Auschwitz Museum sees its future.

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Few issues have divided Poles and Jews more deeply than the assessment of the Nazi genocide in Poland, in which 90 per cent of Polish Jewry perished. Many Jewish historians have claimed that the Polish government’s attempt to undermine the economic viability of the Jewish community after the death of Pilsudski in 1935 made Hitler’s task easier. On this view, the persistence of the economic crisis in the late 1930s, the example of Nazi Germany, and the attempt by some members of the Polish government to widen their power base by wooing young antisemitic zealots of the nationalist opposition all contributed to a growing mood of antisemitism; in consequence, most Poles were unwilling during the Nazi occupation to see Jews as fellow-citizens. Many Polish historians, in contrast, have denied the connection between the pre-war and wartime situations; they stress that the harshness of the Nazi occupation led to death for many Poles, and that hiding a Jew was a capital offence.

The core of this volume deals with these still controversial issues, broadening the perspective to include several articles on Polish attitudes to the nearly 300,000 Jews who tried to resettle in Poland after the war and the ensuing pogroms. Other articles include a translation of the powerful but little-known testimony of Rudolf Reder, one of a handful of Belzec survivors; a discussion of Holocaust victims as martyrs, with special reference to religious Jews; and a description of the Auschwitz Museum today and its plans for the future.

In addition, the volume looks more generally at anti-Jewish stereotyping in Poland in the twentieth century. It reports an important debate which took place in 1998 on the character and strength of antisemitic feeling there; contains an eye-witness account of the consequences of the 1906 pogrom in Siedlce; and covers a number of other topics, including Polish–Jewish literary interaction, an interview with the Polish Jewish historian Marian Malowist, and biographical studies of philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel and of Ludwik Rajchman, the founder of UNICEF. There are also the regular Review Essay and Book Review sections.


About the editor

Antony Polonsky is Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Chief Historian of the Permanent Collection of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw.

Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, Professor of American and Comparative Literature, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin
Marta Aleksandra Baliska, Historian specializing in the origins of international heath and relief structures
Józef Bekker
Jan Ryszard Bychowski
Alina Cala, Researcher, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
Waldemar Chrostowski, Director,Institute for Catholic-Jewish Dialogue, and Principal Editor, Collectanea Theologica
Joanna Rostropowicz Clark, Rutgers University
Maria Einhorn-Susulowska, late Professor of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków
Elzbieta Ficowska, Co-founder, 'Children of the Holocaust in Poland'
Regina Grol, Professor of Comparative Literature, Empire State College, State University of New York
Jan Gross, Professor of Politics and European Studies, New York University
Edward K. Kaplan, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Brandeis University
Padraic Kenney, Associate Professor of History, University of Colorado
Janusz Korczak
Stanislaw Krajewski, Department of Philosophy, University of Warsaw
Diana Kuprel, Post-doctoral Fellow, Literary History Project, University of Toronto
Józef Lewandowski, formerly Professor of History, University of Uppsala
Marian Malowist
Joanna Michlic-Coren, University College London
Stanislaw Musial, formerly Secretary, Commission of the Polish Episcopate for Dialogue with Judaism
Gunnar S. Paulsson, Senior Historian, Holocaust Exhibition Project, Imperial War Museum, London
John T. Pawlikowski, Professor of Social Ethics, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
Adam Penkalla, Lecturer, Institute of History, Higher School of Education, Kielce
Maya Peretz, Translator, Washington, D.C.
Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC.
M. M. Rubel, independent scholar
Simon Schochet, historian and writer
Teresa Swiebocka, Editor-in-Chief, Zeszyty Oswiecimskie; Head, Auschwitz- Birkenau State Museum Publishing House
Bozena Szaynok, Lecturer, Department of History, University of Wroclaw
Jerzy Tomaszewski, Professor, Institute of Political Science, and Head, Mordecai Anieliewicz Research Center on the History of the Jews in Poland, University of Warsaw
Nerijus Udrenas, Lecturer, Department of History, University of Vilnius
Jonathan Webber, Fellow in Jewish Social Studies, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Hebrew Centre Lecturer in Social Anthropology, University of Oxford
Andrzej Zbikowski, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw


Publication details

Format 23.5 x 15.5 cm / 6" x 9"
Pages 496 pages
ISBN 978-1-874774-47-1
Price £21.95 / $34.95
Hardback out of print
Date of publication 2000


Note on People and Place-Names
Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations

Part 1 The Holocaust and its Aftermath
Anti-Jewish Violence in Poland, 1918-1939 and 1945-1947 JOANNA MICHLIC-COREN
Jewish Reaction to the Soviet Arrival in the Kresy in September 1939 ANDRZEJ ZBIKOWSKI
Reflections on Soviet Documents Relating to Polish Prisoners of War Taken in September 1939 SIMON SCHOCHET
The Demography of Jews in Hiding in Warsaw, 1943-1945 GUNNAR S. PAULSSON
Psychological Problems of Jews who Used Aryan Documents MARIA EINHORN-SUSULOWSKA
Early Swedish Information about the Nazis' Mass Murder of the Jews JOZEF LEWANDOWSKI
Jewish Identities in the Holocaust: Martyrdom as a Representative Category JONATHAN WEBBER
Three Essays on Jewish Education during the Nazi Occupation MARIAN MALOWIST
Two Coffins on Smocza Street and Sliska Street JANUSZ KORCZAK
Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski: A Poet Hero JOANNA ROSTROPOWICZ CLARK
Paper Epitaphs on a Holocaust Memorial: Zofia Nalkowska's Medallions DIANA KUPREL
Stereotypes of Polish-Jewish Relations after the War: The Special Commission of the Central Committee of Polish Jews JAN GROSS
The Bund and the Jewish Fraction of the Polish Workers' Party in Poland after 1945 BOZENA SZAYNOK
Whose Nation, Whose State? Working-Class Nationalism and Antisemitism in Poland, 1945-1947 PADRAIC KENNEY
Poles and Jews in the Kielce Region and Radom, April 1945-February 1946 ADAM PENKALLA
Polish Jews during and after the Kielce Pogrom: Reports from the Communist Archives JOANNA MICHLIC-COREN
Belzec RUDOLF REDER, with an introduction by M. M. RUBEL
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum: From Commemoration to Education TERESA SWIEBOCKA
Part II A Debate about Antisemitism in Poland Today
The Sin of Antisemitism: A Response to Waldemar Chrostowski STANISLAW MUSIAL
Difficult Remarks to Write STANISLAW KRAJEWSKI
A Shadow over the Dialogue MONIKA ADAMCZYK-GARBOWSKA
Part III Marian Malowist on History and Historians
Part IV: New Views
The Day after the Pogrom: A Documentary Account JOZEF BEKKER
Jewish Theatre in Poland before the Second World War: Its Audiences and its Critics MAYA PERETZ
Forbidden Fruit: Illicit Love Affairs between Jews and Gentiles in the Novels of Julian Stryjkowski REGINA GROL
Ludwik Rajchman: A Biographical Sketch of a Polish Jew MARTA ALEKSANDRA BALINSKA
Abraham Joshua Heschel in Poland: Hasidism Enters Modernity EDWARD K. KAPLAN
Part V Reviews
Recent Books on the Catholic Church in Poland JOHN T. PAWLIKOWSKI
'You shall not bear false witness': Stanislaw C. Napiorkowski (ed.), A blizniego swego . . . Materialy z sympozjum 'Sw. Maksymilian Kolbe - Zydzi, masoni JERZY TOMASZEWSKI
A Lithuanian Account of Life in the Camps: Balys Sruoga, Forest of the Gods: Memoirs NERIJUS UDRENAS
Analyses of World Antisemitism Published between 1991 and 1997 ALINA CALA



Notes on contributors



'Polin is an exceptionally successful example of interdisciplinary studies. The Holocaust and its aftermath in Poland is treated from many different points of view and disciplines, which give a good picture both of the current state of research and of Polish-Jewish relations during and after the Holocaust. Quite simply, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.'
Lars M. Andersson, Historisk Tidskrift