Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 19

Polish-Jewish Relations in North America
Edited by Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski and Antony Polonsky

When Poles and Jews emigrated to North America, the relationship between them developed in new ways. This volume looks at various aspects of that relationship, past and present. Key topics include literary and journalistic representations; institutional contacts; attitudes to the Holocaust; the debate over Jedwabne; physical violence and initiatives for mutual understanding. As usual in Polin, substantial space is also given, in 'New Views', to recent research in other areas of Polish-Jewish studies.


Karen Auerbach, Brandeis University
Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski, S. A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish History, Central Connecticut State University
Stanislaus A. Blejwas, late Professor of History, Central Connecticut State University
Alina Cala, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
Robert Cherry, Koppelman Professor of Economics, Brooklyn College, State University of New York
Toby W. Clyman, Professor Emeritus of Russian Literature, State University of New York, Albany
David Engel, Greenberg Professor of Holocaust Studies, Professor of Hebrew & Judaic Studies, Professor of History, New York University; Fellow, Goldstein-Goran Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University
Danusha Goska, formerly William Paterson University
Andrzej Kapiszewski, Professor of Sociology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków
Jonathan Krasner, Assistant Professor of American Jewish History, Hebrew Union College­Jewish Institute of Religion
Sarunas Liekis, Associate Professor, Mykolas Romeris University, Lithuania; Director, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Vilnius University
Karen Majewski, Executive Directror, Polish American Historical Association
Laura Quercioli Mincer, Lecturer in Jewish Culture & History in the Slavic Countries, University of Roma ŒLa Sapienza¹
Ewa Morawska, Professor of Sociology, University of Essex
David Patterson, Bornblum Chair in Judaic Studies, Director of Bornblum Judaic Studies Program, University of Memphis
Gunnar S. Paulsson, Associate, Centre for Soviet & East European Studies, University of Toronto
John T. Pawlikowski OSM, Professor of Social Ethics, Director of Catholic­Jewish Studies Program, Catholic Theological Union, Chicago
Antony Polonsky, 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.
Tomasz Potworowski
John Radzilowski, Fellow, Piast Institute
Anna Petrov Ronell, Wellesley College
Rona Sheramy, Executive Director, Association for Jewish Studies
Daniel Stone, Professor of History, University of Winnipeg
Adam Teller, Senior Lecturer, Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University
Jerzy Tomaszewski, Professor Emeritus, Mordechai Anielewicz Centre for the History and Culture of the Jews in Poland, University of Warsaw
Carla Tonini, Professor of East European History, University of Bologna
Maja Trochimczyk, music historian; former Director, Polish Music Center, University of Southern California
Stephen J. Whitfield, Max Richter Professor of American Civilization, Brandeis University
Marek Wierzbicki, Senior Assistant, Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw



Note on Transliteration

Part I Polish - Jewish Relations in North America


'We're all from Poland': Christians and Jews in Polish Immigrant Fiction

Polish-Jewish Relations in America, 1880 - 1940: Old Elements, New Configurations
Ewa Morawska

Poles and Jews in America and the Polish Question, 1914 - 1918
MieczysLaw B. Biskupski

The American Federation of Polish Jews in Polish--Jewish Relations, 1924 - 1939
Andrzej Kapiszewski

Conflict between Poles and Jews in Chicago, 1900 - 1919
John Radzilowski

American Polonia and Polish Jewry in the United States, 1940 - 1941
David Engel

The Evacuation of Jewish Polish Citizens from Portugal to Jamaica, 1941 - 1943
Tomasz Potworowski

Coverage of the Holocaust in Winnipeg's Jewish and Polish Press, 1939 - 1945
Daniel Stone

The Necessity of 'Bieganski': A Shamed and Horrified World Seeks a Scapegoat
Danusha V. Goska

Constructing Collective Memory: The Re-envisioning of Eastern Europe as Seen through American Jewish Textbooks
Jonathan Krasner

The National Polish American - Jewish American Council: A Short History
Stanislaus A. Blejwas

Why America Has Not Seemed Like the Diaspora
Stephen J. Whitfield

From Auschwitz to Jerusalem: Re-enacting Jewish History on the March of the Living
Rona Sheramy

Contentious History: A Survey on Perceptions of Polish - Jewish Relations during the Holocaust
Robert Cherry

A Question of Identity: Polish Jewish Composers in California
Maja Trochimczyk

Three American Jewish Writers Imagine Eastern Europe (Thane Rosenbaum, Rebecca Goldstein, and Jonathan Safran Foer)
Anna P. Ronell

The Jedwabne Debate in America
Antony Polonsky

The Holocaust: A Continuing Challenge for Polish-Jewish Relations
John T. Pawlikowski

Part II New Views

'In the Land of their Enemies'? The Duality of Jewish Life in Eighteenth-Century Poland
Adam Teller

The Controversy over Mickiewicz's Jewish Origins
Laura Quercioli Mincer

The Double Voice in Polish Jewish Women's Autobiographies of the 1930s
Toby W. Clyman

The Polish Plan for a Jewish Settlement in Madagascar, 1936 - 1939
Carla Tonini

A Historian in Ideological Fetters
Jerzy Tomaszewski

Polish - Jewish Relations in the City of Vilna and the Western Vilna Region under the Soviet Occupation, 1939 - 1941
Marek Wierzbicki

Jewish - Polish Relations and the Lithuanian Authorities in Vilna, 1939 - 1940
Sarunas Liekis

The Report of the Instytut Pamici Narodowej on the Massacres in North-Eastern Poland in Summer 1941

The Black Book of Lithuanian Jewry
David Patterson

An Attempt to Recover its Voice: The Towarzystwo Spoleczno Kulturalne Zydow w Polsce, the Jewish Community, and the Polish State, 1956 - 1960

'I am an example that it is possible to be both a Pole and a Jew': Polish Jewish Identity and the 1968 Events in Henryk Grynberg's Memorbuch
Karen Auerbach

The Antyk Bookshop: Three Expert Opinions Submitted to the Early 2003 Court Case
Jerzy Tomaszewski

New edition of the Memoirs of a Jewish Policeman: The True Testimony of Perechodnik, reprinted from Rzeczpospolita, 11 December 2004

Part III Exchange

Reply to the Review by Andrzej Trzcinski and Marcin Wodzinski, 'Some Remarks on Leszek Hondo's Study of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Kraków


Jacek Kuron

Notes on the Contributors



'Very successful . . . a comprehensive introduction and eighteen separate essays, arranged roughly in chronological order, which discuss different aspects of interactions between Polish and Jewish ethnic communities . . . a plethora of accomplished scholars focus on sources of tension as well as examples of collaboration . . . a solid, provocative, and much-needed contribution to the scholarship; hopefully it will become a must-read to all those who in the future will undertake further exploration of Polish-Jewish relations in North America.'
Anna D. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, American Jewish History

'In the last fifteen years serious academic research into Polish-Jewish history has emerged as a burgeoning field at Polish universities. Indeed, Polin has played a major role in disseminating this research among an international audience . . . This volume brings together a number of very specific and more general essays, written by leading representatives of both fields, and from both perspectives. These articles point to a new and promising research sub-discipline in American ethnic history.'
Tobias Brinkmann, Journal of Jewish Studies

'Polin has long been a journal commanding attention and respect. This volume demonstrates that it sets the agenda for scholars of Polish-Jewish studies, contributes to the ongoing dialogue on the history of Polish-Jewish relations, and helps to understand how our relationships with members from each group might improve as a result of greater knowledge . . . Apparent throughout the volume is the immensely valuable service the editors provide to the scholarly community by including views on current happenings.'
Sean Martin, Polish Review

'Polin has for more than two decades defined the field of Polish-Jewish studies. Volume Nineteen continues that tradition by opening up the area of Polish-Jewish relations in North America . . . The introductory articles by the editors stands as a model of its kind. It not only introduces the articles in the collection and ties them together, but also stands as one of the best contributions in the volume for its incisive weaving of the Polish and Jewish stories in North America . . . This volume, like its predecessors, belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in Polish-Jewish relations.'
Thaddeus C. Radzilowski, Shofar

'Rich and diverse . . . a must for anyone taking up serious studies of Jewish issues not only in the United States, but also in Poland.'
Przemysław Różański, Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung



Polish American Historical AssociationWinner of the 2008 Oskar Halecki Prize, awarded by the Polish American Historical Association