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Pogrom Cries – Essays on Polish-Jewish History, 1939–1946

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Joanna Tokarska-Bakir

This book focuses on the fate of Polish Jews and Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust and its aftermath, in the ill-recognized era of Eastern-European pogroms after the WW2. It is based on the author’s own ethnographic research in those areas of Poland where the Holocaust machinery operated. The results comprise the anthropological interviews with the members of the generation of Holocaust witnesses and the results of her own extensive archive research in the Polish Institute for National Remembrance (IPN).

«[This book] is at times shocking; however, it grips the reader’s attention from the first to the last page. It is a remarkable work, set to become a classic among the publications in this field.»

Jerzy Jedlicki, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Chapter 4: “Our Class”, in Klimontów Sandomierski

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A historian reviewing pre-war class registers in Klimontów Sandomierski archives can observe the universality of a Polish historical image that Tadeusz Słobodzianek draws on by placing his drama about Jedwabne in a classroom.

Marking sheets from Elementary School No. 1 in Klimontów, dating from 1922–1939, contain almost all the names relevant to our story. School year 1931/32 includes the report card of Aron [Abram] Złotnicki (born 16 March 1924, son of Herszl, a merchant1), who will be killed by Poles2 on the night of 16–17 May 1945 in a house on Sandomierska Street.

Years later, a local historian will accuse Abram of disclosing proscription lists containing names of Polish patriots3 to the NKVD. However, Klimontów residents interviewed by a journalist4 and several ethnographers5 will not corroborate this, recalling ‘Jabrom’ as someone who had ‘a big mouth’, and ‘would always speak his mind’, expecting the Poles to vacate Jewish properties after the war.6 Five other people will die with him in the house on Sandomierska Street: ← 161 | 162 → Szyja7 Lederman, aged 35; his brother Chil, 28, owner of a mill;8 and Chaim and Rywka Pęczyna, a couple expecting a child, whose names do not appear in the school registers.

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