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Antisemitism in an Era of Transition

Continuities and Impact in Post-Communist Poland and Hungary

François Guesnet and Gwen Jones

The post-Communist transition in Eastern Central Europe has brought about democratic reform, liberalized economies and accession to the European Union, but also the emergence of political movements that revert to antisemitic rhetoric and arguments. This volume compares the genealogies and impact of antisemitism in contemporary Poland and Hungary. Leading and emerging scholars contrast developments in both countries from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the present, analysing the roles played by organised religion, political leaders, media and press, but also by Communist Parties. They present historical analysis as well as the results of qualitative and quantitative research on contemporary public memory, the image of the Jew, antisemitic media, political constituencies and the interplay of prejudices, specifically anti-Roma racism. A topical bibliography of research on antisemitism in post-Communist Eastern Central Europe offers pathways to further research.
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Between Realpolitik and Redemption: Roman Dmowski’s solution to the ‘Jewish question’: Grzegorz Krzywiec


Grzegorz Krzywiec

The role and place of Roman Dmowski (1864-1939) in the shaping of Polish nationalist ideology can hardly be underestimated. Without a doubt, he was one of the most prominent figures of the Polish nationalist right, and more broadly of Polish nationalism in the first half of the twentieth century.

Dmowski’s early political thinking does not differ much from certain canons of nationalist reflection in 1890s Europe. In his first publication, idealistic anti-rationalism was interwoven with extreme individualism inspired by Nietzsche. Like many radicals on the right of the era, Dmowski rejected the materialism and economism of the first half of the nineteenth century and instead absorbed elements of popular Social Darwinist theories, among others, the ideas of Ernst Haeckl and Hippolyte Taine, but above all Ernst Renan and Gustave Le Bon.1

In his pre-ideologue works one can find other leitmotifs, later scrupulously developed, among them the ideas that man has been given free will and energy to act, and that these character traits define the essence of humanity. From this vision of man and society derived another theme that became important for radical Polish youth in the 1890s: Dmowski argued that only confirmed fanatics could save native society from total decline and annihilation.2 ← 69 | 70 →

The establishment of the periodical Głos [Voice] in 1886 symbolised the idealistic breakthrough of which Dmowski was one of the leading representatives. The ‘young idealists’ as they called themselves, with stronger leanings to the...

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