Studies from Polin: From Shtetl to Socialism

BookStudies from Polin: From Shtetl to Socialism

Studies from Polin: From Shtetl to Socialism

Studies from Polin

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry


December 1st, 1993

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Until 1939 Poland was the heartland of European Jewry, and the Polish Jewish community was still one of the largest and most important in the world. For nine centuries it was one of the central forces in the shaping of Jewish culture and its impact on the shaping of modern Jewry-religious and secular-was profound. An understanding of the history of the Jews of Poland is thus essential to a proper understanding of Jewish history. This book, comprising a selection of studies drawn from the first seven volumes of Polin, provides that understanding. Written by scholars from Europe (including Poland itself), Israel, and North America, it illuminates the most critical aspects of the history of the Jews in Poland and illustrates how these issues are being treated by the leading and most innovative scholars in the field. A broad spectrum of subjects is discussed, covering the origins and development of the community and the many crises it experienced from the earliest date of Jewish settlement in Poland to the establishment of Communist rule in postwar Poland. Maps and a chronology of Polish Jewish history are also provided, and the book is prefaced by an extensive introduction by Antony Polonsky, general editor of Polin.
CONTRIBUTORS: Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska, Israel Bartal, David Biale, Eugene C. Black, Jan Blonski, Norman Davies, David Engel, Jacob Goldberg, Gershon David Hundert, Krystyna Kersten, Stefan Kieniewicz, Pawel Korzec, Ewa Kurek-Lesik, Magdalena Opalski, Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka, Eugenia Prokopowna, Laura Quercioli-Mincer, M. J. Rosman, Szymon Rudnicki, Pawel Samus, Robert Moses Shapiro, Chone Shmeruk, Shaul Stampfer, Michael C. Steinlauf, Pawel Szapiro, Jean-Charles Szurek, Janusz Tazbir, Jerzy Tomaszewski, Paul Wexler, Anna Zuk

'An outstanding history of Jewish life in Poland ... The introduction and sensitive editing by Antony Polonsky give us an insight into scholarship covering a fascinating history and the basic problems of Jewish life which are not only the mark of Polish/Jewish history but become paradigmatic of all the Jewish life ... brings together the writings of those scholars who have specialized in Polish history and have total command of both Yiddish and Polish, but are also aware of other scholars and their contributions ... becomes a summary of a decade of scholarship, and is also an introduction for what should be more than a decade of future work ... This first volume should be followed by other texts which will help us to gain wisdom and understanding-the central purpose of the Littman Library, which must be congratulated for this new venture.'
European Judaism

‘Antony Polonsky’s monumental collection of studies cover the ten centuries of Jewish life in Poland . . . written by acknowledged scholars . . . The spectrum is broad . . . One can only express admiration for the editor and the institutions concerned for this effort to enlighten us and future generations about some aspects of Jewish existence in a land where, practically speaking, Jews live no more.’
Alexander Zvielli, Jerusalem Post

‘. . . to be welcomed.’
Harry Rabinowicz, Le’ela

Author Information

Antony Polonsky is Emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University, and Chief Historian of the Global Educational Outreach Project at the Museum of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page 4
Editors and Advisers7
List of Maps15
Part I: Pre-Partition Poland (to 1795)38
1. The Reconstruction of Pre-Ashkenazic Jewish Settlements in the Slavic Lands in the Light of Linguistic40
2. Some Basic Characteristics of the Jewish Experience in Poland56
3. Images of the Jew in the Polish Commonwealth63
4. A Minority views the Majority: Jewish Attitudes towards the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth and Interaction with Poles76
5. The Changes in the Attitude of Polish Society toward the Jews in the Eighteenth Century87
6. A Mobile Class. The Subjective Element in the Social Perception of Jews: The Example of Eighteenth-Century Poland101
Part II: The Nineteenth Century118
7. The Jews of Warsaw, Polish Society, and the Partitioning Powers, 1795–1861120
8. The Jewish Community in the Political Life of Łódź in the Years 1865–1914140
9. Aspects of the History of Warsaw as a Yiddish Literary Centre157
10. Non-Jews and Gentile Society in East European Hebrew and Yiddish Literature 1856–1914171
11. Trends in the Literary Perception of Jews in Modern Polish Fiction188
12. Eros and Enlightenment: Love against Marriage in the East European Jewish Enlightenment205
13. Gender Differentiation and Education of the Jewish Woman in Nineteenth-Century Eastern Europe224
14. Polish Synagogues in the Nineteenth Century249
Part III: Between the Two World Wars286
15. Ethnic Diversity in Twentieth-Century Poland288
16. Some Methodological Problems of the Study of Jewish History in Poland between the Two World Wars304
17. Lucien Wolf and the Making of Poland: Paris, 1919317
18. Aspects of Jewish Self-Government in Łódź, 1914–1939349
19. The Image of the Shtetl in Polish Literature371
20. The Polish Jewish Daily Press385
21. From 'Numerus Clausus' to 'Numerus Nullus'412
Part IV: The Second World War436
22. Jews and Poles under Soviet Occupation (1939–1941) Conflicting Interests438
23. The Western Allies and the Holocaust460
24. The Conditions of Admittance and the Social Background of Jewish Children Saved by Women's Religious Orders in Poland, 1939–1945476
Part V: After 1945508
25. The Contexts of the So-Called Jewish Question in Poland after World War II510
26. Is there a Jewish School of Polish Literature?524
27. A Voice from the Diaspora: Julian Stryjkowski540
28. Poles and Poland in I. B. Singer's Fiction555
Notes on Contributors570
Chronological Table576