“Fear” reopens controversy over antisemitism

Publishing Company Znak has organized a meeting in Krakow with Jan Tomasz Gross, author of “Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz – An Essay in Historical Interpretation,” on Jan. 24.

The book, available in Polish since Jan. 11, is an essay on anti-Semitic violence in Poland, continuing after the end of World War II. Generating strong opinions among its readers, Fear thoroughly reconstructs the 1946 pogrom in Kielce, a town near Krakow, along with the reactions of Poles.

The point of focus in Fear is the brutal discrimination encountered by Polish Jews upon their return to Poland, recounted through descriptions of horrifying scenes. According to Gross, postwar Polish anti-Semitism developed due to circumstances of the Holocaust and the Communist takeover, rather than from the persistence of pre-war views.

Understandably, the arguments put forward by Gross have generated conflicting emotions and shaken public opinion. While some view Fear as too one-sided, dealing only with stereotypes while supporting arguments with the facts that suit his thesis, others feel the book is necessary in order for Poles to realize the reasons for the negative image of Poland formed among Jews.
Born and raised in Poland, Gross is a professor of history at Princeton University and has written extensively on aspects of post-War Polish life.

The discussion will take place at 18:00 in the Auditorium Maximum of the Jagiellonian University, located on ul. Krupniczej 35.

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