Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 23

BookPolin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 23

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 23

Jews in Krakow

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 23


December 2nd, 2010

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Few Polish cities have evoked more affection from their Jewish inhabitants than Kraków, and this volume brings together the work of leading historians from Israel, Poland, Great Britain, and the United States to explore how this relationship evolved. It takes as its starting point 1772, when Poland was partitioned between the Great Powers and Kraków came under Austrian rule, and examines the relationship between the Jewish minority and the Polish majority in the city in the different stages of its history down to the period of German occupation in the Second World War. An additional perspective is provided by a consideration of how Jewish life in Kraków has been remembered by Holocaust survivors, and how it is portrayed in post-war Polish literature. The main explanation for the specific nature of relations between Poles and Jews in Kraków as it emerges from these studies seems to be that Jewish acculturation to Polish culture was more pronounced in Kraków than anywhere else in Poland. The Jewish community as a whole opened itself up to contemporary currents and participated in the life of the city, above all in its cultural dimension, while nevertheless retaining a highly articulated sense of Jewish identity and unity. This meant that they were able both to defend their interests effectively and to establish links with the rest of the population from a position of strength. An additional important factor appears to have been the more tolerant atmosphere which prevailed in the Austro-Hungarian empire, which meant that ethnic tensions were less acute than elsewhere on the Polish lands. Furthermore, the fact that the city was largely pre-industrial and conservative, and was a spiritual and intellectual centre for both Catholics and Jews, may paradoxically have mitigated ethnic conflict, as did the fact that the two societies—Polish and Jewish—were largely socially separate. While the increase in antisemitism after 1935 and the consequences of the Holocaust are still etched in the minds of many, the city nevertheless has a special place in Jewish hearts and will continue to be remembered as one of the great centres of Jewish culture in east-central Europe. As in other volumes of Polin, the New Views section examines a number of important topics. These include a general investigation of the situation of the Jews in Galicia; an analysis of the position of Jewish slave labourers in the Kielce area under Nazi rule; an investigation into the resurgence after 1944 of the myth of ritual murder; and a discussion of the history of the Jewish settlement in Lower Silesia after the Second World War.

'Together the essays give a well-rounded view of one of the oldest and largest Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.'
Research Book News

'This collection of studies on post-1772 Kraków Jewry is an extremely valuable and very readable contribution to the literature . . . Most are by well-known specialists, but not all of them have been widely published in English, which gives added value to this volume . . . corrects many misconceptions about Judaism in modern Poland. The articles can also stand alone, which adds to the utility of the volume for students. The glossary and fine index help to make this book very accessible to non-experts.'
Religious Studies Review

Author Information

Michał Galas is Associate Professor in the Department of Jewish Studies of the Jagiellonian University and the Secretary of the Commission on the History and Culture of the Jews at the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences in Kraków. He is the author of Rabin Markus Jastrow i jego wizja reformy judaizmu: Studium z dziejów judaizmu w XIX wieku (2007) and editor of Duchowość żydowska w Polsce (2000); Żydzi lelowscy: Obecność i ślady (Kraków, 2006); and Światło i słońce: Studia z dziejów chasydyzmu (2006). He has also written numerous articles on the history of the Jewish religion in Poland, particularly on Sabbatianism and Frankism. 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 Jewry11
Note on Place Names15
Note on Transliteration16
Part I: Jews in Kraków since 177218
Chapter 1. Jewish Primary and Secondary School Education in the Free City of Kraków 1815–184666
Chapter 2. Changes in the Jewish Community of Kraków in Autonomous Galicia80
Chapter 3. Ambiguities of Assimilation: The Kraków Conservatives and the Jews100
Chapter 4. The History of the Jewish Community of Podgórze120
Chapter 5. The Association of Progressive Jews in Kraków, 1864–1874136
Chapter 6. The Impact of New Ideologies: The Transformation of Kraków Jewry between 1895 and 1914152
Chapter 7. Orthodox Jewry in Kraków at the Turn of the Twentieth Century182
Chapter 8. The Polonization of Jews: Some Examples from Kraków216
Chapter 9. Jewish Participation in the Elections to Kraków City Council during the Inter-War Period230
Chapter 10. The Political Thought of the Zionist Nowy Dziennik in its Early Period, July 1918–January 1919258
Chapter 11. Between Politics and Spirituality: The Case of Dr Ozjasz Thon, Reform Rabbi of Kraków278
Chapter 12. Sarah Schenirer, Founder of the Beit Ya’akov Movement: Her Vision and her Legacy286
Chapter 13. The Beit Ya’akov School in Kraków as an Encounter between East and West294
Chapter 14. Future Generations: Associations for Jewish Children in Kraków, 1918–1945308
Chapter 15. Jewish Artists in Inter-War Kraków338
Chapter 16. Jewish Antiquarian Booksellers in Kraków352
Chapter 17. The Ethnic Panorama of Nazi-Occupied Kraków366
Chapter 18. The Jewish Orphanage in Kraków374
Chapter 19. The Image of Post-War Kraków in Jewish Writing, 1945–1950378
Chapter 20. Kraków in Jewish Literature since 1945400
Chapter 21. ‘A World before a Catastrophe: Kraków Jews between the Wars’426
Chapter 22. Speech by Rafael Scharf Given at the Unveiling of the Plaque at the Hebrew High School in Kazimierz in 1998432
Part II: New Views436
Chapter 23. Notes on Galician Jews438
Chapter 24. Jewish Slaves in Forced Labour Camps in Kielce, September 1942– August 1944454
Chapter 25. The Myth of Ritual Murder in Post-War Poland: Pathology and Hypotheses482
Chapter 26. A History of Jewish Settlement in Lower Silesia, 1945–1950524
Jan Błoński540
Abe Brumberg546
Bezalel Narkiss552
Henryk Halkowski556
Karol Jonca558
Notes on the Contributors568