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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32Jews and Music-Making in the Polish Lands$

François Guesnet, Benjamin Matis, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764739

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764739.001.0001

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(p.vii) Preface

(p.vii) Preface

Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32
François Guesnet, Benjamin Matis, Antony Polonsky
Liverpool University Press

THIS VOLUME has as its theme Jewish musicians and Jewish music-making in the Polish lands. The astounding variety of music of all genres and styles produced by musicians of Jewish heritage in Europe since 1750 has so far been examined almost entirely in the context of German-speaking Europe.

The editors of this volume of Polin have sought to examine this phenomenon in the area of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and its successor states from 1750 to the present. They see the dilemma of where to locate the modern study of Jewish music between Jewish studies, cultural studies, and the anthropology of music as a fascinating opportunity for a multi-disciplinary approach to the issues of Jewish musical life in all its aspects.

The volume is divided into five sections, ‘Cantorial and Religious Music’, ‘Jews in Popular Musical Culture in Poland’, ‘Jews in the Polish Classical Music Scene’, ‘The Holocaust Reflected in Jewish Music’, and ‘Klezmer in Poland Today’. The editors have not attempted to define what may well be undefinable—that is, what Jewish music is—but rather to explore the activities and creativity of musicians self-identifying as Jews in the many fields in which they worked in the Polish lands from 1750 to the present. The chapters by Eliyana Adler, Slawomir Dobrzanski, Julia Riegel, Joel Rubin, Carla Shapreau, Joseph Toltz, and Maja Trochimczyk were first presented at the conference ‘The Musical Worlds of Polish Jews, 1920–1960: Identity, Politics, and Culture’, held at Arizona State University in November 2013. The conference was hosted by the Center for Jewish Studies at Arizona State University (ASU) and co-organized with the OREL Foundation, and took place over two days at the Center for Jewish Studies and the School of Music at ASU. We are very grateful to these organizations for permitting us to publish this material.

Polin is sponsored by the Institute of Polish–Jewish Studies, which is an associated institute of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and by the American Association for Polish–Jewish Studies, which is linked with the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University. As with earlier issues, this volume could not have appeared without the untiring assistance of many individuals. In particular, we should like to express our gratitude to Professor Ron Liebowitz, president of Brandeis University, to Mrs Irene Pipes, president of the American Association for Polish–Jewish Studies, and to Andrzej Szkuta, treasurer of the Institute for Polish–Jewish Studies. These three institutions all made substantial contributions to the cost of producing the volume. A particularly important contribution was that made by the Mirisch and Leben-heim Foundation, and the volume also benefited from a grant from the Koret (p.viii) Foundation. As was the case with earlier volumes, this one could not have been published without the constant assistance and supervision of Connie Webber, managing editor of the Littman Library, Janet Moth, publishing co-ordinator, Pete Russell, designer, Mark Newby, copy-editor, Joyce Rappaport, proof-reader, and the staff at Liverpool University Press.

Plans for future volumes of Polin are well advanced. Volume 33 will examine Jewish religious life in Poland since 1750. Future volumes are planned on Jewish autonomy in the Polish lands; Jews, Poland, and the Land of Israel; on childhood, children, and childrearing in Jewish eastern Europe; and on encounters between the Jews of Poland and Germans, German Jews, and Germany. We should welcome articles for these issues. We should also welcome any suggestions or criticisms. In particular, we are always grateful for assistance in extending the geographical range of our journal into Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania, both in the period in which these countries were part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and subsequently.

Owing to the length of time it takes to publish reviews in an annual publication, we now post all our reviews on the website of the American Association for Polish Jewish Studies (aapjstudies.org) instead of publishing them in hard copy, enabling us to discuss new works much nearer to their date of publication. We welcome the submission of reviews of any book or books connected with the history of the Jews in Poland–Lithuania or on Polish–Jewish relations. We are happy to translate reviews submitted in Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Hebrew, or German into English. They should be sent to one of the following: Dr Władysław T. Bartoszewski, Forteczna 1a, 01-540, Warsaw, Poland (email: wt@wtbartoszewski.pl); Professor Antony Polonsky, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass. 02254-9110 (email: polonsky@brandeis.edu); Professor Joshua Zimmerman, Yeshiva University, Department of History, 500West 185th Street, New York, NY 10033-3201 (email: zimmerm@yu.edu).

We note with sadness the deaths of the following major figures in our field, Walter Laqueur, a leading figure in the history of Zionism and the history of the Jews; Jerzy Wyrozumski, one of the pioneers of the revival of the study of the Jewish past in Poland; Simcha Rotem, one of the last surviving members of the Jewish Fighting Organization in the Warsaw ghetto; Amos Oz, a great Israeli writer and moral authority; and Leon Kozłowski, often described as the ‘last klezmer’ in Poland. They will be sadly missed.