“How would you explain…?” Jewish Intelligentsia on Polonisation and Assimilation in the Warsaw Ghetto Cover Image
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„Czym wytłumaczy Pan…?” Inteligencja żydowska o polonizacji i asymilacji w getcie warszawskim
“How would you explain…?” Jewish Intelligentsia on Polonisation and Assimilation in the Warsaw Ghetto

Author(s): Justyna Majewska
Subject(s): History, Jewish studies, Recent History (1900 till today), WW II and following years (1940 - 1949), History of Antisemitism
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów & IFiS PAN
Keywords: acculturation; underground Warsaw Ghetto Archive; Warsaw ghetto; intelligentsia milieu; Polonisation

Summary/Abstract: In the 􀏐irst half of 1942 pollsters of Oneg Shabbat’s underground archive of the Warsaw ghetto conducted interviews with eight Jewish intellectuals on the inf􀏐luence of the ghetto reality on the Jews’ social life and identity. Among the many topics discussed in those questionnaires, the author focuses on the respondents’ opinions on acculturation, which she presents in three contexts: the respondents’ personal experiences, their political views (almost all of them were Doikeit ideology supporters), and the pre-war discussion on the role of the Yiddish language and culture in formation of Jewish national identity. The respondents gave the acculturation in the ghetto a new dimension. Even though before the war Polonisation was not perceived as a de􀏐initely negative phenomenon, in the ghetto it began to be interpreted as a conscious decision to reject Jewish identity. Acculturation, which according to the respondents was not imposed by the Germans, became the main form of pathology in the Jewish intelligentsia milieus. In their critical interpretation of the ghetto reality the respondents perceived those processes as a danger to their nation’s identity comparable to the destructive activity of the Germans.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 11
  • Page Range: 325-346
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Polish