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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14Focusing on Jews in the Polish Borderlands$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774693

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774693.001.0001

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The Image of the Holocaust in Polish Historical Consciousness

The Image of the Holocaust in Polish Historical Consciousness

(p.315) The Image of the Holocaust in Polish Historical Consciousness
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 14

Feliks Tych

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the low level of historical consciousness, cultural awareness, and moral sensitivity regarding the Holocaust in Poland. It shows how the majority of Polish society up to this very day has some peculiar mental block concerning the Holocaust. On the whole, it mainly results from historical ignorance caused by the shortcomings, or rather conscious distortions, of the communist public education system of the first 45 years after the war. But it is also the product of what the family and social milieu have said on the matter, and is influenced by the endemic antisemitism of pre-war Poland, both of a religious nature and resulting from economic competition between Poles and Jews. This residual pre-war antisemitism was strengthened through the war years by witnessing the unashamed Nazi crimes against the Jewish population.

Keywords:   Polish historical consciousness, Holocaust, antisemitism, historical ignorance, communist public education, Nazi crimes

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