Making Holocaust Memory
The reconciliation of Jewish and Polish memories of the Holocaust is the central issue in contemporary Polish-Jewish relations, yet this is the first volume to examine Poles’ and Jews’ shared yet divisive memory of the Holocaust in a comprehensive way. The ‘New Views’ section features several examples of recent innovative research in other areas of Polish–Jewish studies, including the history of the New Synagogue in Poznan which was converted by the Nazis into a swimming-pool.
Although the reconciliation of Jewish and Polish memories of the Holocaust is the central issue in contemporary PolishJewish relations, this is the first attempt to examine these divisive memories in a comprehensive way. Until 1989, Polish consciousness of the Second World War subsumed the destruction of Polish Jewry within a communist narrative of Polish martyrdom and heroism. Post-war Jewish memory, in contrast, has been concerned mostly with Jewish martyrdom and heroism (and barely acknowledged the plight of Poles under German occupation). Since the 1980s, however, a significant number of Jews and Poles have sought to identify a common ground and have met with partial but increasing success, notwithstanding the new debates that have emerged in recent years concerning Polish behaviour during the Nazi genocide of the Jews that Poles had ignored for half a century. This volume considers these contentious issues from different angles.
Among the topics covered are Jewish memorial projects, both in Poland and beyond its borders; the Polish approach to Holocaust memory under communist rule; and post-communist efforts both to retrieve the Jewish dimension to Polish wartime memory and to reckon with the dark side of the Polish national past. An interview with acclaimed author Henryk Grynberg touches on many of these issues from the personal perspective of one who as a child survived the Holocaust hidden in the Polish countryside, as do the three of his poems reproduced here.
The 'New Views' section features innovative research in other areas of PolishJewish studies. A special section is devoted to research concerning the New Synagogue in Poznan, built in 1907, which is still standing only because the Nazis turned it into a swimming-pool.
Natalia Aleksiun is Assistant Professor in Eastern European Jewish History, Touro College, New York. Her publications include Dokad dalej: Ruch syjonistyczny w Polsce, 1944–1949 (Where further? The Zionist Movement in Poland, 1944–1949) and more than twenty scholarly articles.
Gabriel N. Finder is Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia. He is writing a book on the role of the politics of memory in rebuilding Jewish life in post-war Poland; he has published articles in the journals Polin, Gal-Ed, and East European Jewish Affairs and contributed to the forthcoming YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe
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. He is the author of Politics in Independent Poland (1972), The Little Dictators (1975), The Great Powers and the Polish Question (1976), The Jews in Poland and Russia, Volume 1 and 2 (forthcoming), and co-author of A History of Modern Poland (1980) and The Beginnings of Communist Rule in Poland (1981).
Jan Schwarz is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Germanic Studies, University of Chicago, and author of Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers.
Note on Place Names
Note on Transliteration
PART I: MEMORY OF THE HOLOCAUST
Gabriel N. Finder
Memento Mori: Photographs from the Grave
Gabriel N. Finder and Judith R. Cohen
The Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, 1944–1947
Who Am I? Jewish Children’s Search for Identity in Post-War Poland, 1945–1949
Joanna B. Michlic
Jewish Collaborators on Trial in Poland, 1944–1956
Gabriel N. Finder and Alexander V. Prusin
Auschwitz and the Politics of Martyrdom and Memory, 1945–1947
A Library of Hope and Destruction: The Yiddish Book Series Dos poylishe yidntum (Polish Jewry), 1946–1956
Rachel Auerbach and Israeli Holocaust Memory
Holocaust Memorialization in Ukraine
Jedwabne and Wizna: Monuments and Memory in the Łomża Region
So Many Questions: The Development of Holocaust Education in Post-Communist Poland
From Silence to Reconstruction: The Holocaust in Polish Education since 1989
What Story to Tell? Shaping the Narrative of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Michael C. Steinlauf
Bearing Witness: Henryk Grynberg’s Path from Child Survivor to Artist (An Interview with Henryk Grynberg)
Joanna B. Michlic
PART II: NEW VIEWS
‘On the Gallows’: The ‘Politics of Assimilation’ in Turn-of-the-Century Warsaw
Shabes, yontef un rosh-khoydesh: A Close Analysis of the First Line of Goldfadn’s Song
Seth L. Wolitz
Jozefa Singer, the Inspiration for Rachela in Stanislaw Wyspianski’s Wesele, 1901
Introducing Miss Judaea of 1929: The Politics of Beauty, Race, and Zionism in Interwar Poland
Shmerke Kaczerginski, the Partisan-Troubadour
You from Jedwabne
PART III: THE NEW SYNAGOGUE OF POZNAN
The Synagogues of Poznan
Carol Herselle Krinsky
The Dedication of the New Synagogue in Poznan (Posen)
PART IV: DOCUMENT
A Selection from Part 1 of Lev Levanda’s Seething Times
Maxim R. Schrayer
Notes on Contributors