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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1Poles and Jews: Renewing the Dialogue$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113171

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.001.0001

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Polish-Jewish Relations and the January Uprising: The Polish Perspective

Polish-Jewish Relations and the January Uprising: The Polish Perspective

(p.68) Polish-Jewish Relations and the January Uprising: The Polish Perspective
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1

Magdalena Opalska

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on Polish–Jewish relations and the January uprising. The memory of the pro-Polish orientation of the Jews in the January uprising remained alive throughout the 19th and in the early 20th centuries. The legend of patriotic ‘Poles of Mosaic faith’, which crystallized in the 1860s as a part of a broader romantic myth, gained a lasting place in literary tradition. The positive evaluation of the Jewish role generally remained artistically and ideologically rooted in the traditional romantic worldview. From that point of view, many later works can be seen as fossils of Polish romanticism. As the character of Polish–Jewish relations deteriorated, the Jewish legend of 1863 was continually revised in retrospect and it evolved in an increasingly negative fashion. Projecting new problems upon the past, Polish literature of the realist and modernist periods emphasized the economic aspect of Polish–Jewish relations and portrayed Jewish political loyalties with growing ambivalence. Echoing complex structural changes in post-insurrectionary Polish society as a whole, changes which brought about the revision of the larger myth of 1863, the evolution of its Jewish aspect followed closely the course of the debate on the so-called ‘Jewish question’.

Keywords:   Polish–Jewish relations, January uprising, Polish romanticism, Polish literature, Jewish political loyalties, Polish society, Jewish question

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