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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 31Poland and Hungary: Jewish Realities Compared$
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François Guesnet, Howard Lupovitch, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764715

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764715.001.0001

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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: 26 September 2021

Suicides of the Polish and Hungarian Types

Suicides of the Polish and Hungarian Types

Jewish Self-Destruction and Social Cohesion in Interwar Warsaw and Budapest

(p.329) Suicides of the Polish and Hungarian Types
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 31

Daniel Rosenthal

Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores how rates of Jewish suicide in Europe began to rise along with the rates of non-Jewish suicide — though later and slightly more slowly — first in the west and centre and spreading to the rest of the continent over the course of the nineteenth century as industrialization increased and the population grew dramatically. The suicide patterns of Polish and Hungarian Jews reflected developments within their respective wider societies. Using press reports, statistics, and individual accounts, the chapter investigates the responses to and contemporary understanding of increases in suicidal behaviour and of suicide itself among Jews in the Hungarian and Polish capitals between the wars. Hungary, and Budapest in particular, had been plagued by suicide to such a degree that the international hit song 'Gloomy Sunday', first recorded in Hungarian in 1935 and in English the following year, was internationally known as the 'Hungarian Suicide Song', lending weight to the idea that the country was more prone to self-destruction. Yet Polish Jews, and seemingly the rest of the Jewish world, were focused on the perception of an epidemic of suicides in Poland and especially Warsaw.

Keywords:   Jewish suicide, industrialization, suicide patterns, Polish Jews, Hungarian Jews, suicidal behaviour, Jewish self-destruction, Warsaw, Budapest

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