By Jan T. Gross
One summer season day in 1941, 1/2 the Polish city of Jedwabne murdered the opposite part, 1,600 males, ladies, and kids, all yet seven of the town's Jews. Neighbors tells their story.
it is a surprising, brutal tale that hasn't ever earlier than been advised. it's the most vital examine of Polish-Jewish kin to be released in many years and will develop into a vintage of Holocaust literature.
Jan Gross items jointly eyewitness debts and different facts into an engulfing reconstruction of the bad July day remembered good through locals yet forgotten by way of historical past. His research reads like a detective tale, and its unfolding yields wider truths approximately Jewish-Polish kinfolk, the Holocaust, and human responses to profession and totalitarianism. it's a tale of surprises: The newly occupying German military didn't compel the bloodbath, and Jedwabne's Jews and Christians had formerly loved cordial kinfolk. After the struggle, the close by kin who stored Jedwabne's surviving Jews was once derided and pushed from the realm. the one Jew provided mercy via the city declined it.
such a lot arresting is the sinking cognizance that Jedwabne's Jews have been clubbed, drowned, gutted, and burned no longer by way of faceless Nazis, yet by way of humans whose beneficial properties and names they knew good: their former schoolmates and those that offered them foodstuff, acquired their milk, and chatted with them on the street. up to this type of query can ever be spoke back, Neighbors tells us why.
in lots of methods, it is a easy publication. you can still learn in one sitting, and difficult to not. yet its simplicity is dishonest. Gross's new and persuasive solutions to vexed questions rewrite the historical past of twentieth-century Poland. This booklet proves, ultimately, that the fates of Poles and Jews in the course of global struggle II could be comprehended simply together.
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Additional info for Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland
11 Borawski managed to stay on the run until July 4th. He identiﬁes in his testimony some half a dozen traitors—one he met face-to-face in prison during a confrontation staged by his captors—and none of them is a Jew. The manager of the cooperative where Borawski was 51 employed, a certain Lewinowicz, was present at the time of Borawski’s arrest in Jedwabne. 12 But we have yet another interesting document at our disposal that bears on the matter. Early in 1941, some six months after the Kobielno debacle, the chief of the Białystok District NKVD, Colonel Misiurev, wrote a memo to the secretary of the Białystok District Committee of the CP(b)B (Communist Party of the Bolsheviks of Belorussia), a certain Popov.
But, clearly, what stuck in the prosecutor’s mind was the ﬁrst date, June 25th, mentioned in Wasersztajn’s testimony. And for many months neither the prosecutor’s ofﬁce nor the court bothered to correct the mistake. 8 I present all this information, peripheral to the substance of the case, in order to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that this was not a SOURCES 30 political trial. Indeed, the content of the control-investigative ﬁles, which reﬂect the thinking and plans of the Security Ofﬁce, conﬁrms this assessment.
First, we need a reminder that Jewish testimonies about the Shoah have been deliberately written down in order to provide an exact and comprehensive account of the catastrophe. This is evidenced in the numerous memoirs and journals kept by Jews at the time, as if the apocryphal exhortation of the great hisSOURCES 24 torian Simon Dubnow, before his deportation from Riga, calling on his fellow Jews “to write it all down” truly resounded in the hearts and minds of Jewish memoirists. 4 Since it appeared impossible to save the Jewish people who were being methodically annihilated by the Nazi-organized killing process, a sense of obligation grew among Jewish record-keepers (they say so explicitly and repeatedly) that they must at least preserve the evidence of the very process of destruction.