Although the reconciliation of Jewish and Polish memories of the Holocaust is the central issue in contemporary Polish–Jewish relations, this is the first attempt to examine these divisive memories in a comprehensive way. Until 1989, Polish consciousness of the Second World War subsumed the destruction of Polish Jewry within a communist narrative of Polish martyrdom and heroism. Post-war Jewish memory, by contrast, has been concerned mostly with Jewish martyrdom and heroism (and barely acknowledged the plight of Poles under German occupation). Since the 1980s, however, a significant number of Jews and Poles have sought to identify a common ground and have met with partial but increasing success, notwithstanding the new debates that have emerged in recent years concerning Polish behaviour during the Nazi genocide of the Jews that Poles had ignored for half a century. This volume considers these contentious issues from different angles.
Among the topics covered are Jewish memorial projects, both in Poland and beyond its borders, the Polish approach to Holocaust memory under communist rule, and post-communist efforts both to retrieve the Jewish dimension to Polish wartime memory and to reckon with the dark side of the Polish national past. An interview with acclaimed author Henryk Grynberg touches on many of these issues from the personal perspective of one who as a child survived the Holocaust hidden in the Polish countryside, as do the three poems by Grynberg reproduced here.
The ‘New Views’ section features innovative research in other areas of Polish–Jewish studies. A special section is devoted to research concerning the New Synagogue in Poznan, built in 1907, which is still standing only because the Nazis turned it into a swimming-pool.
CONTRIBUTORS: Natalia Aleksiun, Assistant Professor in Eastern European Jewish History, Touo College, New York; Jolanta Ambrosewicz-Jacobs, Head, Section for Holocaust Studies, Centre for European Studies, Jagiellonian University, Kraków; curator, International Centre for Education about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum; Boaz Cohen, teacher in Jewish and Holocaust Studies, Shaanan and Western Galilee Colleges, northern Israel; Judith R. Cohen, Director of the Photographic Reference Collection, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC; Gabriel N. Finder, Associate Professor, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia; Rebecca Golbert, researcher; Regina Grol, Professor of Comparative Literature, Empire State College, State University of New York; Jonathan Huener, Associate Professor of History, University of Vermont; Carol Herselle Krinsky, Professor of Fine Arts, New York University; Marta Kurkowska, Lecturer, Institute of History, Jagiellonian, University, Kraków; Joanna B. Michlic, Assistant Professor, Holocaust and Genocide Program, Richard Stockton College, Pomona, New Jersey; Eva Plach, Assistant Professor of History, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada; Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, Brandeis University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC; Alexander V. Prusin, Associate Professor of History, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro; Jan Schwarz, Senior Lecturer, Department of Germanic Studies, University of Chicago; Maxim D. Shrayer, Professor of Russian and English, Chair of the Department of Slavic and Eastern Languages, Co-Director, Jewish Studies Program, Boston College; Michael C. Steinlauf, Professor of Jewish History and Culture, Gratz College, Pennsylvania; Robert Szuchta, History teacher, Stanislaw I. Witkiewicz High School, Warsaw; Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, Lecturer in Cultural Anthroplogy, Warsaw University; Chair, Department of Cultural Anthropology, Collegium Civitas, Poland; Scott Ury, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Department of Jewish History, Tel Aviv University; Bret Werb, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC; Seth L. Wolitz, Gale Chair of Jewish Studies and Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Texas at Austin.
Antony Polonsky was born in Johannesburg, and studied history and political science at the University of the Witwatersrand. He went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship in 1961 and read modern history at Worcester College and St Antony's College. He taught at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1970 to 1992. Since then he has been at Brandeis University, where in 1999 he was appointed Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, an appointment held jointly at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Brandeis University. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Warsaw, the Institute for the Human Sciences, Vienna, and the University of Cape Town; Skirball visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; and Senior Associate Member of St Antony's College, Oxford.
Gabriel N. Finder is Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia. He is writing a book on the role of the politics of memory in rebuilding Jewish life in post-war Poland; he has published articles in the journals Polin, Gal-Ed, and East European Jewish Affairs and contributed to the forthcoming YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe.
Natalia Aleksiun is an associate professor of Jewish History at Touro College, New York.
Note on Place Names
Note on Transliteration
PART I: MAKING HOLOCAUST MEMORY
GABRIEL N. FINDER
Memento Mori: Photographs from the Grave
GABRIEL N. FINDER AND JUDITH R. COHEN
The Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, 1944–1947
Who Am I? Jewish Children’s Search for Identity in Post-War Poland, 1945–1949
JOANNA B. MICHLIC
Jewish Collaborators on Trial in Poland, 1944–1956
GABRIEL N. FINDER AND ALEXANDER V. PRUSIN
Auschwitz and the Politics of Martyrdom and Memory, 1945–1947
A Library of Hope and Destruction: The Yiddish Book Series Dos poylishe yidntum (Polish Jewry), 1946–1956
Rachel Auerbach, Yad Vashem, and Israeli Holocaust Memory
Holocaust Memorialization in Ukraine
Jedwabne and Wizna: Monuments and Memory in the Lomza Region
So Many Questions: The Development of Holocaust Education in Post-Communist Poland
From Silence to Reconstruction: The Holocaust in Polish Education since 1989
What Story to Tell? Shaping the Narrative of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews
MICHAEL C. STEINLAUF
Bearing Witness: Henryk Grynberg’s Path from Child Survivor to Artist (An Interview with Henryk Grynberg)
JOANNA B. MICHLIC
PART II: NEW VIEWS
‘On the Gallows’: The ‘Politics of Assimilation’ in Turn-of-the-Century Warsaw
Shabes, yontef un rosh-khoydesh: A Close Analysis of the First Line of Goldfadn’s Song
SETH L. WOLITZ
Józefa Singer, the Inspiration for Rachela in Stanislaw Wyspianski’s Wesele, 1901
Introducing Miss Judaea 1929: The Politics of Beauty, Race, and Zionism in Inter-War Poland
Shmerke Kaczerginski, the Partisan-Troubadour
You from Jedwabne
PART III: THE NEW SYNAGOGUE OF POZNAN
The Synagogues of Poznan
CAROL HERSELLE KRINSKY
The Dedication of the New Synagogue in Poznan (Posen)
PART IV: DOCUMENT
A Selection from Part 1 of Lev Levanda’s Seething Times
MAXIM R. SHRAYER
Notes on Contributors
235 x 155 x 41 mm
59 B&W photo/halftones
November 29, 2007
Polin Studies in Polish Jewry 20