Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 9

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 9

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 9

Jews, Poles, Socialists: The Failure of an Ideal

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 9


March 6th, 2008



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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. Editors and contributors: Israel Bartal, Daniel Blatman, Alina Cala, Stephen D. Corrsin, David Engel, Sylvia Barack Fishman, Gershon Hundert, Ross Kessel, Shmuel Krakowski, Dov Levin, Pawel Machcewicz, Stanislaw Meducki, Erica Nadelhaft, Magdalena Opalska, Richard Pipes, Antony Polonsky, Dina Porat, Teresa Prekerowa, Michal Sliwa, Janusz Sujecki, Jerzy Tomaszewski, Barbara Wachowska.


Author Information

Antony Polonsky is Professor Emeritus of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the Polin 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.