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.'
‘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