Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 20

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 20

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 20

Making Holocaust Memory

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 20


November 29th, 2007

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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.

Author Information

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 Professor of Modern Jewish History at Touro College, Graduate School of Jewish Studies, New York. She is the co-editor, with Antony Polonsky and Brian Horowitz, of 'Writing Jewish History in Eastern Europe' (2016), and has published widely on Polish Jewish issues. Among several prestigious fellowships, she has been a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich and at the Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies in Vienna, and the Pearl Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC. 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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page4
Copyright Page5
Editors and Advisers7
Polin Studies in Polish Jewry8
Note on Place Names17
Note on Transliteration18
Part I: Making Holocaust Memory20
Chapter 1. Introduction22
Chapter 2. Memento Mori: Photographs from the Grave74
Chapter 3. The Central Jewish Historical Commission in Poland, 1944–194793
Chapter 4. Who Am I? Jewish Children’s Search for Identity in Post-War Poland, 1945–1949118
Chapter 5. Jewish Collaborators on Trial in Poland, 1944–1956142
Chapter 6. Auschwitz and the Politics of Martyrdom and Memory, 1945–1947169
Chapter 7. A Library of Hope and Destruction: The Yiddish Book Series Dos poylishe yidntum (Polish Jewry), 1946–1966193
Chapter 8. Rachel Auerbach, Yad Vashem, and Israeli Holocaust Memory217
Chapter 9. Holocaust Memorialization in Ukraine242
Chapter 10. Jedwabne and Wizna: Monuments and Memory in the Łomża Region264
Chapter 11. So Many Questions: The Development of Holocaust Education in Post-Communist Poland291
Chapter 12. From Silence to Recognition: The Holocaust in Polish Education since 1989325
Chapter 13. What Story to Tell? Shaping the Narrative of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews338
Chapter 14. Bearing Witness: Henryk Grynberg’s Path from Child Survivor to Artist. An interview with Henryk Grynberg344
Part II: New Views357
Chapter 15. ‘On the Gallows’: The ‘Politics of Assimilation’ in Turn-of-the-Century Warsaw359
Chapter 16. Shabes, yontef un rosh-khoydesh: A Close Analysis of the First Line of Goldfadn’s Song374
Chapter 17. Józefa Singer: The Inspiration for Rachela in Stanisław Wyspiański’s Wesele, 1901380
Chapter 18. Introducing Miss Judaea 1929: The Politics of Beauty, Race, and Zionism in Inter-War Poland388
Chapter 19. Shmerke Kaczerginski: The Partisan-Troubadour412
Chapter 20. You from Jedwabne433
Part III: The New Synagogue of Poznan449
Chapter 21. The Synagogues of Poznań451
Chapter 22. The Dedication of the New Synagogue in Poznań (Posen)466
Part IV: Document477
Chapter 23. A Selection from Part I of Lev Levanda’s Seething Times479
Notes on the Contributors493