Show Less
Restricted access

Antisemitism in an Era of Transition

Continuities and Impact in Post-Communist Poland and Hungary

Edited By 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.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Old and New Fora for Antisemitic Discourse: Reflections on Poland since the 1990s: Hanna Kwiatkowska

Extract

Hanna Kwiatkowska

Since 1989, Poles have eagerly exercised their right to freedom of speech after years of censorship and suppression. In the early days of democracy, the number of daily newspapers doubled, while there was an even a greater boom in the number of periodicals and magazines.1 For some time, it seemed that anyone with anything to say was publishing it, even in leaflet form. The thirst and enthusiasm for a free press in May 1989 was such that queues, lengthy even by Communist standards, formed to buy the first issue of Gazeta Wyborcza.2 That time brought empowerment and growing expectations, along with insecurities, confusion, alienation of some groups and chaos in many aspects of public life. The sudden abundance of choice and representation of every shade of political opinion were the very downfall of many of those new media ventures. The market was very soon saturated, new titles emerged often unnoticed and disappeared from the shelves almost as quickly as they had arrived.

There was also another, more lasting and worrying, aspect of this inebriation with freedom of speech. The newly gained right to express one’s views was soon abused; criteria of good taste and respect towards others often got lost. The kiosks started to sell pamphlets, which shockingly attacked the Jews, blaming them for the pains and mistakes of the first stages of democratic transition. Those publications gave instructions on how to recognise a hidden Jew, and lists of various vile characteristics of the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.