Poland: the Great Paradox of Tolerance Book Review

Poland: the Great Paradox of Tolerance
A historical and analytical look into Celia Heller's "On The Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland Between The Two World Wars".
# 128190 | 3,004 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2009 | US

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This paper discusses how in her work, "On The Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars", Polish-born scholar and professor Celia Heller portrays the heterogeneous identities of Jews between 1918 and 1939 as well as the hardships they endured. The paper examines how, beginning with the historical perspective of Jews in Poland before 1918, Heller traces the roots of Polish anti-Semitism back to Church oppression, mercantile pressure, and the first outbreaks of anti-Jewish violence. The paper then examines how Heller moves on to the social definition of the Jews in the interwar period, as foreigners with unalterable differences and high objective and subjective visibility.

From the Paper:

"The time between WWI and WWII became the worst time for Jews in their history so far in Poland. Jews who had inhabited the Polish land for centuries were treated as traitors (Heller, 51) and "terrorism was rampant on trains and in railroad stations" (Heller, 52). While spontaneous anti-Jewish violence grew commonplace, organized violence followed, purported by the right Endecja party. The failure of the Minorities Treaty, which was to ensure equal rights for all minority groups in newly independent Poland, confirmed paradox of "tolerant Poland"--a label given to a land by its own people and disproved by its own people. From the failure of such a treaty, coupled with the social climate of racism that had been building since the 19th century, the concept of the caste cemented "the chief elements of the prevalent social definition of the Jews in Poland . . . their foreignness and inferiority" (Heller, 58). "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Blatman, Daniel. "Polish Antisemitism and 'Judeo-Communism': Historiography and Memory," Eastern European Jewish Affairs, Vol. 27, 1997.
  • Heller, Celia S. On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland between the Two World Wars. Wayne State University Press, Michigan: 1977.
  • Jacobs, Jack. Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100. New York University Press, New York: 2001.
  • Modras, Ronald. "Interwar Polish Catholic Press on the Jewish Question," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 548 The Holocaust: Remembering for the Future. Sage Publications, USA: 1996.
  • Rothschild, Joseph. "Ethnic Peripheries Versus Ethnic Cores: Jewish Political Strategies in Interwar Poland," Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 96, 1981.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Poland: the Great Paradox of Tolerance (2010, July 04) Retrieved August 03, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/poland-the-great-paradox-of-tolerance-128190/

MLA Format

"Poland: the Great Paradox of Tolerance" 04 July 2010. Web. 03 August. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/poland-the-great-paradox-of-tolerance-128190/>