9th November

Book Launch:
‘Gemeinsam gegen Deutschland’. 

The Yiddish Press in Warsaw and the Rise of National-Socialism in Germany

with Dr Anne-Christin Klotz, Professor Antony Polonsky, Professor François Guesnet (chair)


This event is co-organised with
UCL’s Institute of Jewish Studies

Wednesday, 9 November 2022 18:00 – 19:00 GMT
on Zoom
 The question why the press did not cry out louder against the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany has been thoroughly discussed in Western European and North American academia since the early 1960s and we still don’t have an exhaustive answer. The main reason for this may be that the press did indeed shout but we, as researchers, weren’t looking in the right places. Until rather recently research on press reactions on National Socialism and the Holocaust focused mostly on non-Jewish newspapers and magazines published in North America and Western Europe. A lot of the shouting however, took place in the Jewish press of Central and Eastern Europe that was published mainly in Yiddish, the mother tongue of more than ten million people and a lingua franca throughout the Eastern European Jewish diaspora. If the Jews of Eastern Europe and especially Poland have for the longest time been portrayed as passive and naïve victims of the Nazis one reason for this misconception might be that we simply didn’t take the trouble to read what they themselves had written in the myriad newspapers and other press publications that were published in the interwar period.
The book tries to close this research gap as it examines how Jewish journalists who wrote for the Warsaw daily Yiddish press reacted to the events in Germany from Hitler’s rise to power up to the German invasion of Poland in 1939 on both an individual and a collective level as well as what happened to them in the months following the end of the Second Polish Republic. By analyzing the Warsaw Yiddish daily press and additional archival sources, the author will focus on how Polish Jews acquired and disseminated subversive knowledge of the goings-on in National Socialist Germany in spite of censorship and repression in Germany and Poland alike, and also on how they initiated campaigns of protest and solidarity to the benefit of the people being persecuted.
Anne-Christin Klotz is a postdoctoral researcher at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her PhD in Modern History from the Free University Berlin in 2021 with a thesis on the Warsaw Yiddish press and its struggle against Nazi Germany, which has recently been awarded a special distinction by the jury of the Scientific Research Award of the Polish Ambassador to Germany. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and the German Historical Institute Washington and she worked as a research assistant at the Selma Stern Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg. Before her studies she volunteered at the educational department at the Holocaust memorial site Stutthof (Sztutowo, Poland). For her research she was awarded numerous scholarships including the Saul Kagan Fellowship in Advanced Holocaust Studies and by Yad Vashem. Her current work focuses on Eastern European Jewish landsmanshaftn.
François Guesnet is Professor of Modern Jewish History at University College London. He specializes in Eastern European Jewish History and is co-chair of the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry. His book publications include Polnische Juden im 19. Jahrhundert (Vienna, Cologne, 1998), and, as editor, Warsaw. The Jewish Metropolis (2015, paperback 2017). He also co-edited the collected volume Sources on Jewish Self-Government in the Polish Lands from Its Inception to the Present (Boston, Leiden: 2022).

Antony Polonsky, Chief Historian of the Global Educational Outreach Programme/Polin Museum Warsaw, and Professor Emeritus, Brandeis University, is co-chair of the Editorial Board of Polin Studies in Polish Jewry and the author of numerous studies on eastern European Jewish history, including ‘The Jews in Poland and Russia’, 3 vols (2010, 2012), and ‘The Jews in Poland and Russia. A Short History’ (2013).

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