The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland

By Garber, Zev | Shofar, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland


Garber, Zev, Shofar


edited by Anthony Polonsky and Joanna B. Michlic. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004. 489 pp. $19.95.

On June 22, 1941, German forces captured the town of Jedwabne, in the Lomza region in northeastern Poland. Less than three weeks later, on July 10, 1941, the Jewish community of Jedwabne, whose roots go back more than 300 years, was destroyed by local townspeople. With the publication of Sasiedzi: Historia zaglady ydowskiego miasteczka (Sejny, 2000) and its English translation Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (Princeton, 2000), Jan Tomasz Gross (Polish émigré, now Professor of Politics and European Studies at New York University) challenged Poles to confront the Polish involvement in the Jedwabne massacre: "[H]ad Jedwabne not been seized by Germans, the Jedwabne Jews would not have been murdered by their neighbors."

Gross's thesis elicited a plethora of apologetics and polemics. Many seethed in overt antisemitism and revisionism, and others raised the issue of "Poles as heroes and victims." Remarks from the leadership of the Polish State and Church at the 60(th) anniversary of the Jedwabne pogrom (July 10, 2001) reflected the intensity and kind of Polish self-criticism: "I apologize on my own behalf and on behalf of those Poles whose consciences have been stirred by that crime, who believe that one cannot be proud of Polish history's greatness without simultaneously feeling pain and shame at the evil committed by Poles against each other" (President Aleksander Kwasniewski); "Nevertheless, we cannot allow the case of Jedwabne to disseminate false ideas about Poland's co-responsibility for the Holocaust or innate antisemitism in Poland" (Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek); and the absence of Jósef Cardinal Glemp, the Primate of Poland, who "didn't want politicians to tell the Church how it should express its sorrow for crimes committed by some group of its believers." An attempt to understand contested views on the Jedwabne pogrom and its affect on Polish-Jewish relations is the purport of the book under review.

Editors A. Polonsky and J. Michlic's Introduction sets the stage for the chapters that follow. They summarize the murky history of Jewish-Polish relationship. Jews began living in Poland in approximately the tenth century. To be sure, individual Jewish communities coexisted tolerably with Poles in "this land of blessed refuge."(1) But with the coming of such traumas as the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648-1649 and all the successive acts of discrimination, fanaticism, ghettoization, persecution, and finally extermination that followed, the deep alienation between Jews and Poles became the foremost means by which these respected groups defined each other. Needless to say, Gross's Neighbors raises the issue of Polish reaction towards mass murder of Jews on Polish soil during World War II in general and in Jedwabne in particular. The editors respond by evaluating Polish national character, identity, and memory thereof and suggest pointed directions to normalize the traumatic Jewish-Polish past.

Following the Introduction, the volume is divided into seven parts, with introductory matter provided by the editors, and contributions from Catholic clergy, historians, intellectuals, journalists, and jurists; all are of Polish birth or descent. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.