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The Holocaust in Occupied Poland: New Findings and New Interpretations

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Jan Tomasz Gross

New archival materials have provided the basis for rethinking the dynamic of the Holocaust in Poland. These historical sources consist primarily of court papers from postwar trials of Polish citizens. Using such files, historians are now better able to document and write the dramatic story of antagonism between Jews evading the Nazi dragnet, and a hostile rural populace which sometimes collaborated in persecution. Although important works on the Holocaust appeared earlier in Poland, only during the last several years has a scholarly milieu emerged in the country for taking the Holocaust out of its intellectual ghetto as a strictly «Jewish» subject, and repositioning it at the center of Poland’s wartime history.

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Benjamin Frommer: Postscript. The Holocaust in Occupied Poland, Then and Now

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Benjamin Frommer Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois Postscript The Holocaust in Occupied Poland, Then and Now In late October 2010, I was privileged to participate in the Princeton University conference “The Holocaust in Occupied Poland—New Findings and New Interpretations.” As someone new to the field, I was deeply impressed by the papers even before I had the opportunity to meet their authors. The analyses rep- resent a remarkably vibrant field that is continually pushing new boundaries, both in terms of recently discovered sources and challenging interpretations. Those papers have been printed in this volume and, thus, can speak for them- selves. Instead, my brief postscript will focus on the conference itself and the controversies it provoked. I wish to draw a contrast between the written texts presented and the reaction of the audience, as the conference took place in at least two registers: a scholarly consideration of new evidence and a public con- frontation over old prejudices. Whereas the former broke new ground and of- fered promise for the future, the latter was both a depressing reminder of the shackles that still bind this field and, in the best light, evidence for the value of historical research. The climax of the event came unexpectedly early. In the middle of the first day, a representative from the Polish consulate in New York City asked for the attention of the assembled. He first apologized that his superior, Consul Gen- eral Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, could not attend and then proceeded to read a statement...

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