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Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz: An Essay in Historical Interpretation
Jan T. Gross

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"You read [Fear] breathlessly, all human reason telling you it can't be so--and the book culminates in so keen a shock that even a student of the Jewish tragedy during World War II cannot fail to feel it."--Elie Wiesel, Washington Post Book World

"Provocative . . . powerful and necessary . . . One can only hope that this important book will make a difference."--Susan Rubin Suleiman, Boston Globe

"Imaginative, urgent, and unorthodox . . . The 'fear' of Mr. Gross's title . . . is not just the fear suffered by Jews in a Poland that wished they had never come back alive. It is also the fear of the Poles themselves, who saw in those survivors a reminder of their own wartime crimes. Even beyond Mr. Gross's exemplary historical research and analysis, it is this lesson that makes Fear such an important book."--New York Sun

"After all the millions dead, after the Nazi terror, a good many Poles still found it acceptable to hate the Jews among them. . . . The sorrows of history multiply: a necessary book."--Kirkus (starred review)

"Gross illustrates with eloquence and shocking detail that the bloodletting did not cease when the war ended. . . . This is a masterful work that sheds necessary light on a tragic and often-ignored aspect of postwar history."--Booklist (starred review)

"This is an extraordinary book which, almost accidentally, demonstrates that in Poland (and, almost certainly, throughout central Europe) there was such a deep anti-Sematism that not even a recognition of the horrors of Auschwitz could modify or expunge it. This book, rather distressingly, demonstrates that racism transcends politics and morality and lives deep in the heart."--Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald

"Gross's Fear carries us to post-war Poland, establishing and examining in sedulous depth the plundering slaughter of Jews across 1945 and 1946. . . . Fear's anguishing exposé is brilliantly scholarly, analytical, sober, yet compellingly readable."--Jack Hibberd, The Australian

"Competing conceptions of victimhood are thrust into a dynamic that oscillates between denationalization and re-nationalization. . . . Gross's book maneuvers beautifully between those poles while at the same time restoring the lost and last memory of Polish Jewry, who continue to haunt Polish society as ghosts of the past."--Natan Sznaider, H-Genocide

"In addition to Gross' thoughtful and thorough analysis, the reader finds a wealth of information--both historiography and analysis--that makes this book a rich resource for further study of Polish anti-Semitism."--Gabrielle Weinberger, European Legacy


"Jan Gross's newest book, Fear, is a terrific piece of historical scholarship. Its primary focus is on the 1946 pogrom in Kielce, Poland, the worst case of anti-Jewish violence in postwar Europe. I remain shaken to the core by what he has related about Kielce and the violence that radiated out from the pogrom. Among the questions Gross asks are: How could it be that the persecution of the Jews continued after the Nazis were long gone? Why did the Jews need to flee Poland after the war? How was it that after the liberation those Poles who had protected and sheltered Jews were tormented by and afraid of their compatriots? Gross suggests that the answers lie in the nasty behavior of Poles toward the Jews during the war. It has to do with taking Jewish property and betraying Jewish Poles to the Nazis. The fear came from being faced with what they had done during the war; the surviving Jews reminded them of their recent rapacious and immoral past. Gross is a brilliant writer. There is never anything ponderous about his prose. It's clear and engaging, even if the stories he has to tell are terrifying."--Norman Naimark, Hoover Institution

"Jan Gross's Fear is an extraordinary account and analysis of postwar Polish anti-Semitism. In many ways, this book is a sequel to Gross's celebrated Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland. While Neighbors described and analyzed the assault by Polish citizens on their Jewish neighbors in the immediate aftermath of the German occupation of East Poland in the summer of 1941, Fear reconstructs and interprets physical and ideological attacks on Jews by Poles after Poland's liberation from the Nazis. But unlike the case of Jedwabne, here no one can argue about the presence or absence of German perpetrators. Anyone who reads this frightening account will realize the intensity and pervasiveness of anti-Jewish sentiments in postwar Polish society. This is a passionate yet well-documented, powerfully argued, and tightly controlled book. It is remarkable."--Omer Bartov, Brown University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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