Poles and Others: Living Together, Apart? Jews, Christians and Coexistence in Modern Poland

History 174B

Spring 2015
Day & Time: 
MWF 2-3P

Every study of Jewish life in the Polish lands invariably harbors assumptions regarding integration. Did Jews and non-Jews living in early modern times share a cultural framework and linguistic sphere?  Could social interactions transcend ghetto walls? Did edicts and legal reforms emancipating Jews engender integration during the modern period?  When we speak about the "Polish Jews" across space and time, scholars must decide how and to what extent Jews raised families, ate, worked, shopped, spoke and died with (or simply alongside) their non-Jewish neighbors.  Did Jews and non-Jews truly live together? Or did they exist in parallel spaces while spending the majority of their lives apart? This seminar uses autobiographies, letters, official reports, memoirs, poetry, fiction and film to explore how “Jews” and “Poles” lived together and apart in the early modern and the modern period, from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, through the partitions of Poland, the First World War, the reconstituted Polish Republic, the Second World War, throughout the communist period and beyond 1989. Especially since the publication of Jan Gross’ book Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, the issue of Polish-Jewish relations has become a topic of historical, historiographical and popular intrigue.  Students will approach this particular during the course of our seminar while learning more about modernization, nationalism, socialism, communism, urbanization, fascism, war, the Holocaust and memory in the east European context. 

Course Books

Together and Apart in Brzezany: Poles, Jews and Ukrainians, 1919-1945 by S. Redlich Indiana. ISBN: 978-0253340740 Required
Diary from the Years of Occupation, 1939-1944 by Z. Klukowski Illinois. ISBN: 978-0252019609 Required
Caviar and Ashes: A Warsaw Generation’s Life and Death in Marxism by M. Shore Yale. ISBN: 978-0300143287 Required
Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland by J. Gross Princeton. ISBN: : 978-0142002407 Required
The Jews of Poland between Two World Wars by I. Gutman, editor Tauber Institute for the study of European Jews Series. ISBN: 978-0874515558 Required
Who will write our History? Emanuel Ringelbum, The Warsaw Ghetto and the Oyneg Shabes Archive by S. Kassow Indiana Univ. Press. ISBN: 978-0307455864 Required
The Family Moskat: A Novel by I. Singer Farrer, Strauss and Giroux. ISBN: 978-0374530648 Required
The rebbe's daughter : memoir of a Hasidic childhood by M. Shapiro The Jewish Publication Society. ISBN: 978-0827607255 Required
he rebbe's daughter : memoir of a Hasidic childhood by M. Shapiro The Jewish Publication Society. ISBN: 978-1934843635978-0827607255 Required
A World Apart: A memoir of Jewish life in 19th century Galicia by J. Margoshes Academic Studies Press. ISBN: 978-1934843635 Required
Founder of Hasidism: A Quest for the Historical Ba'al Shem Tov by M. Rosman UC Press. ISBN: 978-1906764449 Required
, A biography of no place: From ethnic borderland to Soviet Heartland by K. Brown Harvard. ISBN: 978-0674019492 Required
Memoirs of a grandmother: Scenes from the cultural history of the Jews of Russia in the nineteenth century by P. Wengeroff The Hebrew University. ISBN: 978-0804768801 Required
The Image of Jew in Polish Folk Culture by Alina Cala The Hebrew University. ISBN: 978-9652239006 Required
Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post-reformation Era by Magda Teter Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521109918 Required
The Shtetl: New Evaluations by Stephen Katz, editor NYU Press. ISBN: 978-0814748312 Required
Kith, Kin and Neighbors: Communities and Confessions in Seventeenth Century Wilno by David Frick Cornell. ISBN: 978-0801451287 Required
Living in the Land of Ashes by K. Gebert Austeria. ISBN: 9788389129604 Optional