But Howard taught me that accepting the nationalism of my younger years reduced history to jingoism and thus accepted the premises of white supremacy, leaving its roots unscathed.
the Polish Institute of National Memory estimates that there were some 5.5 million wartime deaths in the country, of which about 3 million were Jews...
A non-Jewish Pole in Warsaw alive in 1933 had about the same chances of living until 1945 as a Jew in Germany alive in 1933.
The Polish literary critic Maria Janion said of Poland’s accession to the European Union: “to Europe, yes, but with our dead.”
In her book To Europe - Yes, but Together with our Dead, a collection of sketches and interviews, Maria Janion, the author of numerous works about Polish Romantic culture, concentrates on the decline of our present cultural paradigm. Janion reveals the dark side of the Polish heritage astutely and uncompromisingly. The courage of asking the most unpleasant questions about today's Polish identity explains why the book has been the subject of broad discussion and is seen as one of the most important intellectual contributions to Polish literature in recent years.
"Our dead" of the title refer mainly to Jews. Janion's book engenders an atmosphere unusual in a work of literary history. It is an attempt to initiate the grieving for the Jewish contribution to Polish culture which has been lost. In the author's opinion, this is something which can no longer be postponed.
When I asked Snyder why he is so intent on putting Holocaust history in an Eastern European context, he said, “It relativizes. When you read Jan’s book about the Jews being burned in the barn [in Jedwabne], it’s a horrible thing, but when you know that there were a couple of thousand instances like that, most of them not involving Jews, it relativizes it. We see it more as a question of what humans can do to humans.” In 1943-44 there was a war between Ukrainian nationalists and their Polish counterparts. Ukrainians tortured Poles and burned them alive, men, women, and children; and Poles responded in kind, with violence just as gruesome. Those who ask how Poles and Ukrainians could have done what they did to Jews overlook the fact that they did the same terrible things to each other. After the war, in Poland, “Jews were not substantially more at risk of losing their lives than Ukrainians and Germans, or Polish oppositionists, for that matter,” Snyder explained. You wouldn’t know that from Gross’ Fear, which describes the epidemic of lynchings that terrorized Jewish survivors who returned to Poland in 1945 (nearly all of them left; many, ironically, for the safety of DP camps in Germany).
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