Symbiosis and Ambivalence: Poles and Jews in a Small Galician Town

Symbiosis and Ambivalence: Poles and Jews in a Small Galician Town

Symbiosis and Ambivalence: Poles and Jews in a Small Galician Town

Symbiosis and Ambivalence: Poles and Jews in a Small Galician Town

Synopsis

In Poland and elsewhere the breakdown of communism has resulted in an increased interest in various aspects of the Polish-Jewish past which can be explained, the author argues, in terms of a broader intellectual need to explore the "blank spots" of Poland's national history. This quest begins and ends with Polish anti-Semitism and the Shoah, during which most of Europe's Jews were annihilated on Polish soil. How is it possible that, considering the virtual absence of a Jewish population in today's Poland, Jews still play an important role in the cultural expressions and the consciousness of the Polish people? A detailed historical-anthropological analysis of archival materials as well as interviews with Polish inhabitants of a small Galician town and Jewish survivors living elsewhere reveal a pattern of Polish-Jewish interdependence that has led to a far more complex picture than is generally assumed and calls into question the prevalence of Polish anti-Semitism.
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