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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16Focusing on Jewish Popular Culture and Its Afterlife$
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Michael C. Steinlauf and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774730

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Polish ‘Neighbours’ and German Invaders: Anti-Jewish Violence in the Białystok District during the Opening Weeks of Operation Barbarossa

Polish ‘Neighbours’ and German Invaders: Anti-Jewish Violence in the Białystok District during the Opening Weeks of Operation Barbarossa

Chapter:
(p.431) Polish ‘Neighbours’ and German Invaders: Anti-Jewish Violence in the Białystok District during the Opening Weeks of Operation Barbarossa
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16
Author(s):

Alexander B. Rossino

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.003.0025

This chapter evaluates anti-jewish violence in the Białystok district during the opening weeks of Operation Barbarossa. By employing agitators to whip up anti-Jewish sentiment to the point of explosion, German propagandists were able to depict the massacres among the Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian civilian populations in the regions adjacent to East Prussia and the General Government as spontaneous outbursts of popular violence. Citing outbursts of ‘spontaneous’ violence as evidence that Jews were exploiting and terrorizing the non-Jewish population, the SS was then able to justify its own murderous attacks on Jewish communities. This dynamic of German agitation, Polish ‘pogrom’, and SS killing action was integral to the anti-Jewish policy implemented by the SS in the Białystok district and elsewhere in eastern Poland during the first eight weeks of Operation Barbarossa. The elimination of Jews in regions of Lithuania and eastern Poland along the frontier of East Prussia and the General Government was also central to the progressive radicalization of SS anti-Jewish policy in the summer of 1941 that ultimately resulted in genocide.

Keywords:   anti-jewish violence, Białystok district, Operation Barbarossa, German propagandists, popular violence, Jews, SS, Jewish communities, anti-Jewish policy

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