Synopses & Reviews
In his three-volume history, Antony Polonsky provides a comprehensive survey - socio-political, economic, and religious - of the Jewish communities of eastern Europe from 1350 to the present. Until the Second World War, this was the heartland of the Jewish world: nearly three and a half million Jews lived in Poland alone, while nearly three million more lived in the Soviet Union. Although the majority of the Jews of Europe and the United States, and many of the Jews of Israel, originate from these lands, their history there is not well known. Rather, it is the subject of mythologizing and stereotypes that fail both to bring out the specific features of the Jewish civilization which emerged there and to illustrate what was lost. Jewish life, though often poor materially, was marked by a high degree of spiritual and ideological intensity and creativity. Antony Polonsky recreates this lost world - brutally cut down by the Holocaust and less brutally but still seriously damaged by the Sovi
The focus of this volume is on how the Jews were affected by Polish independence in 1918. Other topics covered include Jan Blonski's article 'The Poor Poles Look at the Ghetto'; Polish historiography on the privileges granted to the Jews; the decline of the kahal in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the social perception of Jews in the eighteenth-century; representations of Jews in nineteenth-century literature; nineteenth-century synagogues; the Jewish Polish-language press in the interwar period; and antisemitic slogans in Endecja political campaigns.