The Jews in Poland and Russia

Volume III: 1914 to 2008

By Antony Polonsky

In his three-volume history, author Antony Polonsky provides a comprehensive survey - socio-political, economic, and religious - of the Jewish communities of eastern Europe, from1350 to the present. Until the Second World War, this was the heartland of the Jewish world: nearly three and a half million Jews lived in Poland alone, while nearly three million more lived in the Soviet Union. Although the majority of the Jews of Europe and the United States, and many of the Jews of Israel, originate from these lands, their history there is not well known. Rather, it is the subject of mythologizing and stereotypes that fail both to bring out the specific features of the Jewish civilization which emerged there and to record what was lost. Jewish life, though often poor materially, was marked by a high degree of spiritual and ideological intensity and creativity. Polonsky recreates this lost world - brutally cut down by the Holocaust and less brutally but still seriously damaged by the Soviet attempt to destroy Jewish culture. Wherever possible, the unfolding of history is illustrated by contemporary Jewish writings to show how Jews felt and reacted to the complex and difficult situations in which they found themselves. This third volume deals with the 20th century. Starting from the First World War and the establishment of the Soviet Union, the book deals in turn with Poland, Lithuania, and the Soviet Union up to the Second World War. It then reviews Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War and examines the Soviet record and the Holocaust. The final chapters deal with the Jews in the Soviet Union and in Poland since 1945, concluding with an epilogue on the Jews in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia since the collapse of communism. (Volume I covers the period 1350 to 1881, while Volume II covers 1881 to 1914.) *** "In elegant prose, the author engages major historiographical issues while analyzing important cultural, religious, social, and political trends among eastern European Jewry. Throughout, Polonsky masterfully navigates the different realms of a turbulent eastern European Jewish world, conveying both the richness of its history and the tragedy of its destruction. Highly recommended". - J. Haus, Choice, November 2012, Vol. 50 No. 03 *** "Definitive . . . The scope is immense and the author does an impressive job of synthesizing a vast literature . . . This trilogy will no doubt serve as a standard history of east European Jewry for a long time." - Shaul Stampfer, Religious Studies Review, Vol. 38, No. 4, December 2012 *** "Antony Polonsky's particular scholarly achievement lies in the fact that he combines a masterful grasp of Jewish history with that of Eastern Europe. . . . these beautifully narrated volumes should not only be seen as a staple for university courses, but also as a must-read for anyone attempting to understand any aspect of modern Jewish history and religious tradition.... It all originates in Eastern Europe, Antony Polonsky reminds us, and without understanding our collective past, how can we understand our present." - European Judaism, Vol. 46, No. 2, Autumn 2013 *** "Magisterial . . . all three volumes, but particularly Volume 3, should be of special interest to Polish Americans and all Americans interested in the history of the Jews in Poland, Lithuania, and Russia." - Anna M. Cienciala, Polish Review *** "The first serious, and most successful, effort thus far to summarize the history of the Jews of 'Eastern Europe' . . . the first book to synthesize the vast research that has emerged since the seventies . . . comprehensive and multidisciplinary . . . there is no book today that can compare to its scope and to the vast and new materials that he brings forth and analyzes with a broad imagination, an intensive approach, and a moderate style." - Moshe Rosman, Zion [Subject: History, Jewish Studies, Polish Studies, Russian Studies, East European Studies]~~

1040 pages

Publication Date: 2/9/2012
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781904113485