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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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The Question of the Assimilation of Jews in the Polish Kingdom (1864-1897): An Interpretive Essay

The Question of the Assimilation of Jews in the Polish Kingdom (1864-1897): An Interpretive Essay

Chapter:
(p.130) The Question of the Assimilation of Jews in the Polish Kingdom (1864-1897): An Interpretive Essay
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1
Author(s):

Alina Cała

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.003.0011

This chapter explores the question of the assimilation of Jews in the Kingdom of Poland. What had in fact occurred to 19th-century Polish Jewry? Firstly, the idea developed that its social structure was abnormal. The demand to reform this, understood as calling for changes in economic and political status, had been aired already in the 18th century. Such ideas were strengthened in the 19th century, both in the minds of Poles and some Jews, so that in the wake of the January rising this problem was raised together with the necessity for the Polish caste system to be destroyed. By the end of the century, the specific features of Jewish assimilation in the Polish Kingdom took on quite different forms from those the assimilationist programme itself had assumed. In the 19th century, Jewish assimilation occurred on a widespread scale throughout Europe. The movement generated its own ideology and a large body of literature. In the Congress Kingdom, this ideology was promoted primarily by publicists. In post-insurrectionary conditions in Poland, it was forced to adopt too the role of a quasi-political current.

Keywords:   Kingdom of Poland, Polish Jewry, Poles, Jews, Polish caste system, Jewish assimilation, Polish Kingdom, assimilationist programme, Congress Kingdom

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