Patterns of Anti-Jewish Violence in Poland, 1944-1946
This is an attempt at a systematic and thorough examination of the anti-Jewish violence in Poland following World War Two. Government records together with contemporary diplomatic and Jewish reports and studies enable us to draw tentative and approximate inferences concerning where and when Jews in postwar Poland were at greatest risk. No exact figures of Jews murdered during the first two postwar years can be adduced, but historians’ earlier estimates of 1,000 – 1,500 seem high. The peak periods of violence – March-August 1945 and February-July 1946 - coincided with periods during which the number of Jews in Poland was increasing through emergence of liberated Jews from hiding and repatriation from the USSR. The precipitous drop in anti-Jewish violence following the Kielce pogrom, July 4, 1946, seems connected to a number of factors: the adoption of avoidance measures by Jews; the emigration of many survivors; government action to reduce the violence; and the restraining influence of armed anti-communist groups, who saw the international focus on the survivors’ plight as detrimental to their cause.