Warsaw. The Jewish Metropolis (paperback)

Essays in Honor of the 75th Birthday of Professor Antony Polonsky

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Warsaw was once home to the largest and most diverse Jewish community in the world. It was a center of rich varieties of Orthodox Judaism, Jewish Socialism, Diaspora Nationalism, Zionism, and Polonization. This volume is the first to reflect on the entire history of the Warsaw Jewish community, from its inception in the late 18th century to its emergence as a Jewish metropolis within a few generations, to its destruction during the German occupation and tentative re-emergence in the postwar period. The highly original contributions collected here investigate Warsaw Jewry’s religious and cultural life, press and publications, political life, and relations with the surrounding Polish society. This monumental volume is dedicated to Professor Antony Polonsky, chief historian of the new Warsaw Museum for the History of Polish Jews, on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

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Biographical Note

Glenn Dynner, Ph.D., Brandeis University, is Professor of Religion and Chair of Humanities at Sarah Lawrence College. He is author of Men of Silk: The Hasidic Conquest of Polish Jewish Society (Oxford University Press, 2006) and Yankel's Tavern: Jews, Liquor and Life in the Kingdom of Poland (Oxford University Press, 2014).

François Guesnet, Ph.D., Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, is Reader in Modern Jewish History at University College, London. His publications include Polnische Juden im 19. Jahrhundert (Böhlau 1998), Der Fremde als Nachbar (Suhrkamp 2009), numerous articles, and several edited volumes.

Review Quotes

This excellent collection of essays pays a fitting tribute to Antony Polonsky who has been instrumental to the field of Polish-Jewish history for almost four decades as a teacher, scholar, and founding editor of POLIN: Studies in Polish Jewry...This complex and dynamic history [of Warsaw] is analysed in twenty-four chapters that range from the economic history of the early modern Jewish mercantile elite to the cultural history of clothing decrees to the religious history of Warsaw’s rabbis to the intellectual history of the city’s Jewish historians during the interwar era. Students and established scholars wishing to conduct research on Warsaw’s Jewish history will turn to this volume as an indispensable first source for some of the most recent research in the field."-- Michael Meng, Clemson University, ZfO JECES 66 (2017) 2, pp. 261-263.

"Warsaw. The Jewish Metropolis" is an impressive collection of twenty five scholarly essays devoted to Warsaw and its Jewish community, from the earliest (mostly illegal) Jewish settlements in the Polish capital in the sixteenth century to the destruction and reconstruction of the Jewish community in the twentieth century." -Dr. Milosz K. Cybowski, Pol-Int (2015)

Table of contents

Notes on the Contributors
Introduction
PART ONE: THE RISE OF THE METROPOLIS
Illegal Immigrants: The Jews of Warsaw, 1527–1792 Hanna Węgrzynek
Merchants, Army Suppliers, Bankers: Transnational Connections and the Rise of Warsaw’s Jewish Mercantile Elite (1770–1820) Cornelia Aust
In Warsaw and Beyond: the Contribution of Hayim Zelig Slonimski to Jewish Modernization Ela Bauer
The Garment of Torah: Clothing Decrees and the Warsaw Career of the first Gerer Rebbe Glenn Dynner
From Community to Metropolis: The Jews of Warsaw, 1850–1880 François Guesnet
An Unhappy Community and an even Unhappier Rabbi Shaul Stampfer
Distributing Knowledge: Warsaw as a Center of Jewish Publishing, 1850–1914 Nathan Cohen
In Kotik’s Corner: Urban Culture, Bourgeois Politics and the Struggle for Jewish Civility in Turn of the Century Eastern Europe Scott Ury
Hope and Fear: Y. L. Peretz and the Dialectics of Diaspora Nationalism, 1905–1912 Michael Steinlauf
“Di Haynt-mishpokhe”: Study for a Group Picture Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov
A Warsaw Story: Polish-Jewish Relations during the First World War Robert Blobaum
The Capital of “Yiddishland”? Kalman Weiser
The Kultur-Lige in Warsaw: A Stopover in the Yiddishists’ Journey between Kiev and Paris Gennady Estraikh
Enduring Prestige, Eroded Authority: the Warsaw Rabbinate in the Interwar Period Gershon Bacon
From Galicia to Warsaw: Interwar Historians of Polish Jewry Natalia Aleksiun
Negotiating Jewish Nationalism in Interwar Warsaw Kenneth B. Moss
PART TWO: DESTRUCTION OF THE METROPOLIS AND ITS AFTERMATH
The Polish Underground Press and the Jews: The Holocaust in the Pages of the Home Army’s Biuletyn Informacyjny, 1940-1943 Joshua D. Zimmerman
“The Work of My Hands is Drowning in the Sea, and You Would Offer Me Song?!”: Orthodox Behaviour and Leadership in Warsaw during the Holocaust Havi Dreifuss
The Warsaw Ghetto in the Writings of Rachel Auerbach Samuel Kassow
Stories of Rescue Activities in the Letters of Jewish Survivors about Christian Polish Rescuers, 1944-1949 Joanna B. Michlic
The Politics of Retribution in Postwar Warsaw: In the Honor Court of the Central Committee of Polish Jews Gabriel N. Finder
The End of a Jewish Metropolis? The Ambivalence of Reconstruction in the Aftermath of the Holocaust David Engel
The Reconstruction of Jewish Life in Warsaw after the Holocaust: A Case Study of a Building and Its Residents Karen Auerbach
In Search of Meaning after Marxism: The Komandosi, March 1968, and the Ideas that Followed Marci Shore
“Context is everything.” Reflections on Studying with Antony Polonsky Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern
Index

Readership

Academics with an expertise in Jewish History, Polish and Eastern European History, Urban History, Holocaust Studies and interethnic relations will find this volume of interest, with numerous contributions of interest for the informed general public.

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