Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 31

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 31

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 31

Poland and Hungary: Jewish Realities Compared

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 31

2018

December 19th, 2018

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At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Jewish communities of Poland and Hungary were the largest in the world and arguably the most culturally vibrant, yet they have rarely been studied comparatively. Despite the obvious similarities, historians have mainly preferred to highlight the differences and emphasize instead the central European character of Hungarian Jewry. Collectively, these essays offer a different perspective. The volume has five sections. The first compares Jewish acculturation and integration in the two countries, analysing the symbiosis of magnates and Jews in each country’s elites and the complexity of integration in multi-ethnic environments. The second considers the similarities and differences in Jewish religious life, discussing the impact of Polish hasidism in Hungary and the nature of ‘progressive’ Judaism in Poland and the Neolog movement in Hungary. Jewish popular culture is the theme of the third section, with accounts of the Jewish involvement in Polish and Hungarian cabaret and film. The fourth examines the deterioration of the situation in both countries in the interwar years, while the final section compares the implementation of the Holocaust and the way it is remembered. The volume concludes with a long interview with the doyen of historians of Hungary, István Deák.

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Author Information

François Guesnet is Professor of Modern Jewish History, University College London and chair of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies. His publications include ‘Chanukah and its Function in the Invention of a Jewish-Heroic Tradition in Early Zionism’ in Nationalism, Zionism and ethnic mobilisation (ed. Michael Berkowitz, 2004) and Sources on Jewish Self-Government in the Polish Lands from Its Inception to the Present, edited with Jerzy Tomaszewski (2022). Howard Lupovitch is an associate professor of history and director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University. He is the author of Jews at the Crossroads: Tradition and Accommodation during the Golden Age of the Hungarian Nobility, 1729—1878 (Budapest, 2007) and is currently writing a history of the Neolog movement. Antony Polonsky is Emeritus Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University, and Chief Historian of the Global Education Outreach Program at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. His three-volume history the Jews in Poland and Russia (2010–12), also published by the Littman Library, was awarded the Pro Historia Polonorum Prize of the Polish Senate for the best book on the history of Poland in a language other than Polish.