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Philo-Semitic Violence: Poland’s Jewish Past in New Polish Narratives

Hosted By: YIVO

“Philo-Semitic Violence” examines phenomena termed a “new opening in Polish-Jewish relations,” thought to stem from sociocultural change and the posthumous inclusion of those subjected to antisemitic violence. The authors investigate the terms and conditions of this inclusion whose object is an imagined collective Jewish figure. Different creators and media, same friendly intentions, same warm reception beyond class and political cleavages, regardless of gender and age.

The made-to-measure Jewish figure confirms and legitimizes the majority narrative—especially about Polish stances and behaviors during the Holocaust. The consequence: aggression toward anyone who dares to interrupt the self-staging of Polish virtue. “Philo-Semitic Violence” exposes the Polish ethnoreligious identity regime that privileges the concern for the collective image over reality. The authors’ inquiry shows how patterns of exclusion and violence are reproduced when antisemitism—with its Christian sources and community-building function—is not openly problematized, reassessed, and rejected in light of its consequences and the basic principle of equal rights.

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