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Rethinking Poles and Jews: Troubled Past, Brighter Future
Edited by Robert Cherry and Annamaria Orla-Bukowska

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Rethinking Poles and Jews: Troubled Past, Brighter Future
Edited by Robert Cherry and Annamaria Orla-Bukowska

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. ,


"These probing essays make a profound contribution to enhanced understanding between today's democratic  Poland and the Jewish people." – David A. Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee

Since Polish Catholics embraced some anti-Jewish notions and actions prior to WWII, many people tend to associate the Nazi death camps in Poland with Polish anti-Semitism. Reinforced by negative images in Holocaust literature, documentaries, and teaching, certain stereotypes infect attitudes toward contemporary Poland, and have a special impact on Jewish youth groups from Israel and the United States who regularly visit the former camps.

Without denying the existence of either historic or contemporary Polish anti-Semitism, this may be the first book to systematically document anti-Polish images in Holocaust material, to describe ongoing efforts to combat these negative stereotypes, and to emphasize the positive role of the Polish Christians in the present resurgence of Jewish life in Poland. Thus, this book presents new information that will be of value both to Holocaust Studies and to the 100,000 annual foreign visitors to the German death camps in Poland.

"The authors of the essays written for this volume, Poles and Jews, are some of the most knowledgeable and committed participants in the contemporary Polish-Jewish dialogue. Their writings are a ray of light amidst the acrimonious and generally uninformed polemics that still dominate so much of Polish-Jewish relations today." – Michael C. Steinlauf, Gratz College; author of Bondage to the Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust

"In a masterful fashion and with breathtaking reach, the authors in this collection both complicate and clarify the historically tense relationship between Jews and Poles. As stereotypes are replaced with facts by Jewish and non-Jewish authors alike, the powerful truth emerges: that without the work of Polish non-Jews the Polish Jewish historical and cultural heritage would be lost." – Holli Levitsky, Loyola Marymount University, Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Poland, 2001-2002

"This collection of essays represents a compelling analysis of the complex, tortured, and often tragic relationship between Poles and Jews. Taken as a whole, the book exposes the distortions, inaccuracies and misunderstandings that have divided these two peoples in recent history. While exploring the roots of mutual antagonisms, the essays do not whitewash the real issues that continue to separate Jews and Poles, even today. While offering an honest, objective examination of persistent sources of Polish anti-Semitism as well as Jewish anti-Polanism, the authors nevertheless find many hopeful signs of improved relations..." – Donald Schwartz, California State University, Long Beach

"This carefully crafted book does more than clarify complex interactions. It shows how sound scholarship can improve human understanding." – John K. Roth, Edward J. Sexton Professor of Philosophy, Director, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights, Claremont McKenna College

List of contributors: Eli Zborowski, Robert Cherry, Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, Thaddeus Radzilowski, Mieczyslaw B. Biskupski, Lawrence Baron, Shana Penn, Guy Billauer, Havi Ben-Sasson, Helene Sinnreich, Helene Sinnreich, John Pawlikowski, Antony Polonsky, Michael Schudrich, Stanislaw Krajewski, Joanna B. Michlic, Natalia Aleksiun, and Carolyn Slutsky.

About the Editors: Robert Cherry is professor of economics at Brooklyn College. He has written dozens of articles and four books on discrimination, and has written extensively on the American Jewish community and the Holocaust. He is the author of Who Gets the Good Jobs? Combating Race and Gender Earnings Disparities, Prosperity for All? The Economic Boom and African Americans, Discrimination: Its Economic Impact on Blacks, Women, and Jews, and The Imperiled Economy: Macroeconomics from a Left Perspective. Annamaria Orla-Bukowska teaches in the sociology department at Jagiellonian University, Krakow.

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