Much Forgotten, Little Learned: Jan Tomasz Gross, Fear. Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz: An Essay in Historical Interpretation and Joanna Beata Michlic, Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present
Antisemitism in Poland is the focus of this review article, which combines two recently published studies of Poland. The first is Jan Gross’ book, Fear, which discusses antisemitism after Auschwitz. This study is to a large extent a sequel to Gross’ book Neighbors, which was about the murders of Jews by their neighbors in Jedwabne in the summer of 1941. In his book Fear, Gross seeks to broaden the scope and establish a wider interpretive framework that will help in gaining a better understanding of Polish violence and hostility to the Jews. Jewish property, gaining control over it and the fear that it would return to its owners constituted the basis of Gross’s research, and as far as he is concerned, also the basis of postwar Polish discontent which was motivated by the fear of losing what they had gained during the war. Joanna Michlic’s research examines the Jewish stereotype in Polish eyes from 1880 to the present. Michlic emphasizes the Jew’s position as the Other in Polish society: a position which, according to Michlic, played a decisive role in the emergence of the modern Polish nation. The link between Polish dialogue and antisemitic dialogue constitutes an additional and fundamental stage in Michlic’s research, which undertakes a significant analysis of anti-Jewish dialogue in Poland.