Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 21

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 21

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 21

1968 Forty Years After

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 21


November 27th, 2008





In the mid-1960s, public opinion in Poland turned against the Gomulka regime for a variety of reasons. In an attempt to regain public support and divert attention from the real problems, Gomulka adopted an antisemitic stance. On 19 March 1968 he delivered a speech to party activists in which he divided Jews into three categories: 'patriotic Jews', 'Zionists', and those who were neither Jews nor Poles but 'cosmopolitans', who should 'avoid those fields of work where the affirmation of nationality is indispensable'. In consequence, nearly 15,000 Jews--a very large part of Poland's Jewish community--left for Israel, western Europe, and North America, effectively ending Jewish life in the country for over a decade.
The events of 1968 were long ignored by scholars but in recent years their importance in the process which led to the collapse of communism has become increasingly evident. This volume illuminates the events that triggered the crisis, the crisis itself, and its consequences. Different aspects of this are examined by Dariusz Stola, Jerzy Eisler, and Wlodzimierz Rozenbaum, while the role of the the Polish Military Intelligence Service during 1945-1961 in precipitating the crisis is analyzed by Leszek Gluchowski.
Several contributors consider the background to the crisis in terms of the concerns of the Jewish community. Audrey Kichelewski describes developments in the community between the consolidation of Gomulka's power in 1957 and the outbreak of the Six Day War. Malgorzata Melchior examines how Jews who had survived in Poland during the Second World War responded to the crisis. Joanna Wiszniewicz provides a group portrait of pupils of Jewish origin in Warsaw schools in the 1960s, a milieu from which important elements in the student opposition were drawn. Karen Auerbach sharpens the focus in her consideration of the situation of Yiddish writer Naftali Herts Kon, while Holly Levitsky describes the travails of the Jewish communist writer Sara Nomberg-Przytyk. The book also reprints the testimonies of several people who lived through these painful events: Jerzy Jedlicki, Henryk Dasko, and Miroslaw Sawicki. Bozena Szaynok analyses the rhetoric of the period and examines the role of 'Israel' in the crisis. The controversies which it still arouses are reflected in the exchange between generals Pioro and Jaruzelski concerning the impact of the purge of Jewish officers from the Polish People's Army and in the responses to the publication by Piotr Gontarczyk of a report on the role of Jacek Kuron in 1968.
As in previous volumes of Polin, in the section 'New Views' substantial space is also given to new research into a variety of topics in Polish-Jewish studies. These include a study by Kalman Weiser of the Yiddishist Ideology of Noah Prylucki; an reassessment by Julian Bussgang of the role of Metropolitan Sheptytsky during the Holocaust; an account by Michael Beizer and Israel Bartal of the tragic career of Moses Schorr; an evaluation by Krzysztof Czyzewski of the work of the Polish poet Jerzy Ficowski; and a description of the reception in Poland of Art Spiegelman's Maus.
CONTRIBUTORS Karen Auerbach, Israel Bartal, Michael Beizer, Teresa Bogucka, Julian Bussgang, Wojciech Czuchnowski, Krzysztof Czyzewski, Henryk Dasko, Jerzy Eisler, Leszek W. Gluchowski, Piotr Gontarczyk, Anna Jarmusiewicz, Wojciech Jaruszelski, Jerzy Jedlicki, Audrey Kichelewski, Holli Levitsky, Krzysztof Link-Lenczowski, Tomasz Lysak, Jacek Maj, Malgorzata Melchior, Joanna B. Michlic, Karol Modzelewski, Tadeusz Pioro, Wlodzimierz Rozenbaum, Maciej Rybinski, Dariusz Stola, Bozena Szaynok, Kalman Weiser, Joanna Wisniewicz, Tadeusz Witkowski, Piotr Wrobel, Rafal Ziemiewicz.


Author Information

Leszek W. Gluchowski is an independent scholar and writer based in Hamilton, Ontario. He received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Cambridge and has published numerous articles and documents, primarily with the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He has recently completed a novel, entitled ‘Father, Son, Holy . . . Spy’, based on the defection to the CIA in 1953 of Lt. Col. Józef Sawiatlo of the Polish Ministry of Public Security. 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

Section TitlePage
on Place Names
Note on Transliteration
leszek W. Gluchowski and Antony Polonsky
Hate Campaign of March 1968: How Did It Become Anti-Jewish?
Dariusz Stola
Jews, Antisemitism, Emigration
Jerzy Eisler
March Events: Targeting the Jews
Wlodzymiersz Rozenbaum
Critical Analysis of the Activities of the Polish Military Intelligence
Service, 1945–1961
leszek W. Gluchowski
in the Events of March 1968
Bozena Szaynok
Community under Pressure: Jews in Poland, 1957–1967
Audrey Kichelewski
Antisemitism in Poland during the Second World War and in March 1968
Malgorzata Melchior
Children and Youth in Downtown Warsaw Schools of the 1960s
Joanna Wiszniewicz
Exile of Sara Nomberg-Przytyk: Polish Jewish Communist
Holli Levitsky
Fate of a Yiddish Poet in Communist Eastern Europe: Naftali Herts Kon in
Poland, 1959–1965
Karen Auerbach
Shame: A Conversation with Professor Jerzy Jedlicki
Anna Jarmusiewicz
Interview with Mirosław Sawicki (August 2006)
Joanna B. Michlic
Henryk Dasko
Controversy Aroused by the Role in 1968 of General Wojciech Jaruzelski: The
Purges in the Polish Army 1967–1968
Tadeusz Pióro
Painful and Complex Subject
Wojciech Jaruzelski
to General Jaruzelski
Tadeusz Pióro
Controversy Aroused by the 1968 Events in 2006: A Meeting with Jacek Kuron as
Reported by Secret Collaborator ‘Return’ (Leslaw Maleszka): A Contribution to
the Discussions about the Events of March 1968
Piotr Gontarczyk
Institute for National Remembrance Slanders Jacek Kuron
Wojciech Czuchnowski and Seweryn Blumsztajn
Am, Therefore I Write: Uses and Abuses
Maciej Rybinski
Rafal Ziemkiewicz
Moczar Lives! An Interview with Karol Modzelewski
Adam Leszczyński
the Institute for National Remembrance and Gazeta Wyborcza: The Cracked Code
Tadeusz Witkowski
Moral Bankruptcy of the Security Service (SB)
Teresa Bogucka
Yiddishist Ideology of Noah Prylucki
Kalman Weiser
Sheptytsky: A Reassessment
Julian J. Bussgang
Case of Moses Schorr: Rabbi, Scholar, and Social Activist
Michael Beizer and Israel Bartal
Can’t Do It Just Like That... or, Jerzy Ficowski’s Path to Reading the Ashes
Krzysztof Czyżewski
Debates on the Holocaust in Poland: The Reception of Art Spiegelman’s ‘Graphic
Novel’ Maus
Tomasz Łysak
Mercury, and Soviet Jews
Piotr Wróbel
Stanislaw Musial
Józef Andrzej Gierowski
Jerzy Ficowski
on the Contributors