Edited By Jan Tomasz Gross
Joanna Tokarska-Bakir: Cries of the Mob in the Pogroms in Rzeszów (June 1945), Cracow (August 1945), and Kielce (July 1946) as a Source for the State of Mind of the Participants
Joanna Tokarska-Bakir Warsaw University and Polish Academy of Science Cries of the Mob in the Pogroms in Rzeszów (June 1945), Cracow (August 1945), and Kielce (July 1946) as a Source for the State of Mind of the Participants Judging from the popularity of conspiracy theories regarding the postwar Polish pogroms against Jews,1 Polish historians are less interested in what was overt in those pogroms than in what was hidden in them. Very few studies have dealt with, for example, the character and conditions of aggression against the Jews quite manifest in the pogroms.2 In this article, I analyze source materials hitherto overlooked that refer to immediacy. The immediacy of sources appears in historical discourse when—instead of paraphrasing the utterances of the actors—they are simply allowed to speak. A paraphrase is always anachronistic, whereas speech written down in sources is a kind of fossil that transmits the spirit of the era. Inspired by Victor Turner’s anthropology of performance,3 I will analyze a particular aspect of this voice—the screaming of pogrom mobs in three inci- dents. The first is an exploration of the group gathered along the route traveled on 12 June 1945 by the Jewish tenants of a house at 3 Tannenbauma Street, es- corted by the militia; the second cites the words of mobs gathered on 11 August 1945 at 27 Miodowa Street in Kraków; and the third explores words of those gathered at 7 Planty Street in Kielce on 4 July 1946.4...
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