Littman Library of Jewish Civilization

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry

Volume 9: Jews, Poles, Socialists: The Failure of an Ideal
Edited by Antony Polonsky, Israel Bartal, Gershon Hundert, Magdalena Opalski and Jerzy Tomaszewski

As a re-examination of Socialist attitudes to the 'Jewish question' and antisemitism, of how the growth of socialism affected relationships between Poles and Jews, and of the character of Jewish Socialist groups in Poland, it makes a significant contribution to the history of the Jews in Poland. It also sheds light on the history of Socialism in east-central Europe and the complexity of nationality problems there.

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'The less antisemitism exists among Christians, the easier it will be to unite the social forces . . . and the sooner workers' solidarity will emerge: solidarity of all who are exploited and wronged . . . Jew, Pole, Lithuanian.'
Józef Pilsudski, 1903

The Socialist ideals of brotherhood, equality, and justice have exercised a strong attraction for many Jews. On the Polish lands, Jews were drawn to Socialism when the liberal promise of integration into the emergent national entities of east and central Europe as Poles or Lithuanians or Russians of the Hebrew faith seemed to be failing. For those Jews seeking emancipation from discrimination and the constraints of a religious community, Socialism offered a tantalizing new route to integration in the wider society. Some Jews saw in Socialism a secularized version of the age-old Jewish messianic longing, while others were driven to the Socialist movement by poverty and the hope that it would supply their material needs.

But in Poland as elsewhere in Europe, Socialism failed to transcend national divisions. The articles in this volume of Polin investigate the failure of this ideal and its consequences for Jews on the Polish lands, examining Socialist attitudes to the ‘Jewish question’, the issue of antisemitism, how the growth of Socialism affected relationships between Poles and Jews, and the character of Jewish Socialist groups in Poland.

The result is a significant contribution to the history of Jews in Poland. It also sheds light on the history of Socialism in east-central Europe and the complexity of national problems there.

 

About the editors

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.
Israel Bartal is Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Director of the Centre for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews.
Gershon Hundert is Professor of History and holds the Montreal Jewish Community Chair in Jewish Studies at McGill University.
Magdalena Opalski is Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Central/East European and Russian Area Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa.
Jerzy Tomaszewski is Professor of History in the Institute of Political Science at the University of Warsaw, and Director of the Mordecai Anieliewicz Centre for the Study of the History and Culture of Polish Jews.

Contributors

Israel Bartal, Professor of Modern Jewish History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Director, Centre for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews
Daniel Blatman, Lecturer, Institute for Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Research Fellow, International Institute for Holocaust Studies, Yad Vashem
Alina Cala, Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw
Stephen D. Corrsin, Professor and Chief of Research and Access Services, Brooklyn College, Library, City University of New York
David Engel, Professor of Modern Jewish History, New York University
Sylvia Barack Fishman, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department; Senior Research Associate, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, both at Brandeis University
Ross Kessel, formerly Professor and Head, Medical Humanities Program, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Shmuel Krakowski, Senior Adviser (formerly Director), Yad Vashem Archives
Dov Levin, Director, Oral History Division, Institute for Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; researcher, Yad Vashem
Pawel Machcewicz, Assistant Professor, Institute of Political Sciences, Warsaw
Stanislaw Meducki, Director, Department of Economic History, Swietokrzyska Polytechnic
Erica Nadelhaft, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department, Brandeis University
Richard Pipes, Baird Professor of History, Harvard University
Dina Porat, Senior Lecturer, Department of Jewish History, and Head, project for the Study of Antisemitism, Tel Aviv University
Teresa Prekerowa
Michal Sliwa, Professor of Political Science, Pedagogical Academy, Kraków
Janusz Sujecki, Historical Institute, University of Warsaw
Barbara Wachowska, Professor of History, Historical Institute of Lodz

 

Contents

Note on Transliteration, Translation, and Place Names
Abbreviations

Introduction ANTONY POLONSKY

Part I Jews, Poles, Socialists: The Failure of an Ideal
Jewish Socialists in the Kingdom of Poland ALINA CALA
The Jewish Problem in Polish Socialist Thought MICHAL SLIWA
The Relation of the Polish Socialist Party: Proletariat to the Bund and the Jewish Question, 1900-1906 JANUSZ SUJECKI
The Jews, the Left, and the State Duma Elections in Warsaw in 1912: Selected Sources translated by Stephen D. Corrsin Jews and the Russian Revolution: A Note RICHARD PIPES
The Bund in Poland, 1935-1939 DANIEL BLATMAN
Lodz Remained Red: Elections to the City Council of 27 September 1936 BARBARA WACHOWSKA
The Jews of Vilna under Soviet Rule, 19 September-28 October 1939 DOV LEVIN
The Polish Underground and the Extermination of the Jews SHMUEL KRAKOWSKI
The Jewish Underground and the Polish Underground TERESA PREKEROWA
The Pogrom in Kielce on 4 July 1946 STANISLAW MEDUCKI
Antisemitism in Poland in 1956 PAWEL MACHCEWICZ
Part II New Views
Dov of Bolechów: A Diarist of the Council of Four Lands in the Eighteenth Century ISRAEL BARTAL
A Peaceable Community at Work: The Chevrah of Nasielsk ROSS KESSEL
Zionist Pioneering Youth Movements in Poland and their Attitude to Erets Israel during the Holocaust DINA PORAT
Resistance through Education: Polish Zionist Youth Movements in Warsaw, 1939- 1941 ERICA NADELHAFT
The Second Competition of Scholarly Works on Polish-Jewish Themes ALINA CALA
Part III
Reviews

REVIEW ESSAYS
History, Drama, and Healing: On the Television Play A i B, by Harvey Sarner DAVID ENGEL
Inside, Outside: Interpreting Jewish Difference SYLVIA BARACK FISHMAN

BOOK REVIEWS

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF POLISH-JEWISH STUDIES, 1993

Notes on Contributors
Notes on Translators
Glossary
Index