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Fear : anti-semitism in Poland after Auschwitz : an essay in historical interpretation

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Fear : anti-semitism in Poland after Auschwitz : an essay in historical interpretation
Call No: 943.8054 G87f

Call Number943.8054 G87f
Statement of ResponsibilityJan T. Gross.
Creators & ContributorsGross, Jan Tomasz (author)
Summary"Poland suffered an exceedingly brutal Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Close to five million Polish citizens lost their lives as a result. More than half the casualties were Polish Jews. Thus, the second largest Jewish community in the world-only American Jewry numbered more than the three and a half million Polish Jews at the time-was wiped out. Over 90 percent of its members were killed in the Holocaust. And yet, despite this unprecedented calamity that affected both Jews and non-Jews, Jewish Holocaust survivors returning to their hometowns in Poland after the war experienced widespread hostility, including murder, at the hands of their neighbors. The bloodiest peacetime pogrom in twentieth-century Europe took place in the Polish town of Kielce one year after the war ended, on July 4, 1946. Jan Gross's Fear attempts to answer a perplexing question: How was anti-Semitism possible in Poland after the war? At the center of his investigation is a detailed reconstruction of the Kielce pogrom and the reactions it evoked in various milieus of Polish society. How did the Polish Catholic Church, Communist party workers, and intellectuals respond to the spectacle of Jews being murdered by their fellow citizens in a country that had just been liberated from a five-year Nazi occupation? Gross argues that the anti-Semitism displayed in Poland in the war's aftermath cannot be understood simply as a continuation of prewar attitudes. Rather, it developed in the context of the Holocaust and the Communist takeover: Anti-Semitism eventually became a common currency between the Communist regime and a society in which many had joined in the Nazi campaign of plunder and murder-and for whom the Jewish survivors were a standing reproach. Jews did not bring communism to Poland as some believe; in fact, they were finally driven out of Poland under the Communist regime as a matter of political expediency. Poland's Communist rulers fulfilled the dream of Polish nationalists by bringing into existence an ethnically pure state." —Publisher
  1. Poland abandoned
    • The underground state ; Discovery of the Katyn mass graves ; The destruction of Warsaw ; The "Lublin Poles," or the Soviet politics of the faits accomplis ; The symbolism of "Yalta" ; The decommissioning of the London-affiliated underground ; Monopolization of power by the Communist Party ; The landscape after the battle
  2. The unwelcoming of Jewish survivors
    • Anti-Jewish violence ; The takeover of Jewish property by Polish neighbors ; The takeover of Jewish property by the Polish State Administration ; Prosecution of Crimes against Jews ; Anti-Jewish bias in local administration ; Employment discrimination ; Anti-semitism in schools ; A pogrom that wasn't
  3. The Kielce pogrom: events
    • The taste of cherries ; The opening phase ; Assault on the building at Planty ; The breakdown of law enforcement ; A change of venue ; Passionless killings ; Conversations between strangers ; On the railroad
  4. The Kielce pogrom: reactions
    • How the working class reacted to the Kielce pogrom and what the Communist Party made of it ; The party draws conclusions ; The response of the Polish intellectual elite ; How the Catholic clergy reacted to the pogrom ; Confidential report from the Bishop of Kielce ; The response of Bishop Kubina ; Not much official ado about the Kielce pogrom ; The taste of matzo
  5. Blinded by social distance
    • The rhetoric of estrangement ; A warning ; The forgotten interface ; What was recorded about the murder of Polish Jews in Podlasie ; The limits of understanding
  6. Żydokomuna
    • The interior context ; Wartime and postwar official Soviet attitudes toward the Jews ; The Jewish Antifascist Committee and "The black book of Russian Jewry" ; Jews in the PPR ; Frakcja PPR in the CKZP ; Jews and the postwar regime ; The co-optation of radical nationalists ; Jews in the apparatus of repression ; A pragmatic approach to the "Jewish question" in Eastern Europe ; Recapitulation
Physical Description xv, 303 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Carrier Typevolume
PublisherNew York : Random House
EditionFirst Edition
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages [265]–273) and index
RecognitionGifted in 2013 by Stuart Michelson