Abstract

This essay makes a case for integrating the Holocaust—the systematic murder of a substantial part of Poland’s population, violent destruction of entire families, disappearance of a culture with its rich network of institutions—as part of Polish history. It reflects on the challenges in conceiving an approach in which the Jewish experience is understood as part of the inclusive history of Polish citizens. Only when historical investigation goes beyond the discussion of wartime attitudes of Poles—who are understood as being “ethnic Poles”—can questions be raised regarding the space for Jewish Poles as equal subjects. At the same time, the challenge is to avoid forcibly Polonizing the victims who were murdered as Jews. Close reading of Jewish accounts and focusing on daily lives offer a useful lens for such research.

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