Rethinking Polish/Jewish relations
in After ’89
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In the twentieth century the antisemitism either directed at Jews in Poland or which was more broadly at work within ideological systems was largely disavowed, deployed for political point-scoring or simply prohibited from critique in public discourse. In chapter 5, the focus on Polish-Jewish relations gives particular attention to the public debate provoked by the publication of the historian Jan T. Gross’ Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (2001), which attributes guilt for the 1941 Jedwabne pogrom to ethnic Poles rather than the German fascists. The publication of Gross’s monograph caused mass outrage, provoking Joanna Michlic to identify the debate around the pogrom as the most important and long-standing in postcommunist Poland. A large number of productions by artists such as Krzysztof Warlikowski, Jan Klata, Tadeusz Słobodzianek, Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk, Artur Pałyga and Marcin Liber appeared within an environment of public outrage and recriminations over culpability for antisemitic violence in Poland over the course of the last century that gave voice to alternative and often repressed histories, Jewish lives and experiences, and which mark a haunting and acutely felt absence of Jewish populations after the Holocaust and the purges of 1968.

After ’89

Polish theatre and the political

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