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Conscious HistoryPolish Jewish Historians before the Holocaust$
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Natalia Aleksiun

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764890

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764890.001.0001

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(p.260) Epilogue
Conscious History

Natalia Aleksiun

Liverpool University Press

This chapter recalls the emergence and dissemination of academic and popular writing of Polish Jewish history by university-trained Jewish historians in interwar Poland, tracing the development of the field from its early beginnings in the nineteenth century to the outbreak of the Second World War and the Holocaust. It discusses how Polish Jewish historians were driven by the hope that their work would have political implications beyond the Jewish community, by influencing Polish historical scholarship and Polish intellectual elites. In explaining the Jews and the so-called Jewish question to a Polish audience, national Jewish historians followed — without acknowledging it — in the footsteps of nineteenth-century integrationist authors. The chapter then highlights how they emphasized the Jewish connection to the country and the flourishing of Jewish culture in the periods of Poland's prosperity, and explores how they underlined the Jews' contribution to the country's economic development. The chapter looks at how historians played an active role in shaping the self-understanding of Jewish citizens of the Second Polish Republic into a decidedly Polish Jewish identity.

Keywords:   Polish Jewish history, Jewish historians, interwar Poland, Second World War, Holocaust, Jewish citizens, Second Polish Republic, Polish Jewish identity

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