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1. Poland - Culture Smart!: the essential
2. Culture Smart! Poland: A Quick
3. The Establishment of Communist
4. Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype
5. Poland's Last King and English
6. The Generation: The Rise and Fall
7. The First Neolithic Sites in Central/South-East
8. The Emancipation of the Jews in
9. Literary and Cultural Images of
10. Poland (Discovering Cultures)
11. Privatizing Poland: Baby Food,
12. Renaissance Culture in Poland:
13. Shtetl Jews Under Soviet Rule:
14. Poland: A Troubled Past, a New
15. They Called Me Mayer July: Painted
16. Polin: Focusing on Jewish Popular
17. Introduction To Poland
18. Poland's Living Folk Culture
19. Poland (Cultures of the World)
20. Life and Culture of Poland (As

1. Poland - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture
by Greg Allen
Paperback: 168 Pages (2006-09-05)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$5.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1857333675
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.

Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include

* customs, values, and traditions
* historical, religious, and political background
* life at home
* leisure, social, and cultural life
* eating and drinking
* do's, don'ts, and taboos
* business practices
* communication, spoken and unspoken

"Culture Smart has come to the rescue of hapless travellers." Sunday Times Travel

"... the perfect introduction to the weird, wonderful and downright odd quirks and customs of various countries." Global Travel

"...full of fascinating-as well as common-sense-tips to help you avoid embarrassing faux pas." Observer

"...as useful as they are entertaining." Easyjet Magazine

"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars An essential for visitors to Poland
Poland is a bit of an enigma compared to the much more popular destination spots of Western Europe. This quick guide introduces visitors to the customs and etiquette norms of Poland. Very well done. If you're planning on a trip to Poland for business or pleasure and you don't know much about the country and its people I would highly recommend this book along with the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide and Adam Zamoyski's history, "Poland."

4-0 out of 5 stars Reader friendly Polish Customs
I found this book covered most of my questions on Polish customs.Would highly recommend reading before visiting Poland.

2-0 out of 5 stars Poland light
So simple and so brief that it didn't help me very much. I expected a bit more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Culture Guide
The school sends students on an oversea's visit to different contries severa; times a year and we have found this book o Poland to to helpful in preparing for a visit. ... Read more

2. Culture Smart! Poland: A Quick Guide to Customs & Etiquette
by Greg Allen
Paperback: 168 Pages (2005-01-01)
list price: US$9.95
Isbn: 1558688463
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

CULTURE SMART! is the series of travel guides written for the smart traveler on the go. Each volume is a quick, accurate guide to customs and etiquette. What you'll find in CULTURE SMART!: --All the essential cultural and etiquette points covered, making you confident in a variety of situations. --You'll know what to expect in each particular culture. --You'll know how to behave in specific social and business situations. --Essential attitudes and values are clearly explained. --You'll find the concise writing style makes each topic a quick, easy read. --Each has the same look, page count, and organization for reference use. --Small and light, it tucks into your pocket or purse for on-the-go use. --Culture Smart! books are written by a staff of experts who consult on world travel as a profession.
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Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Useful if traveling to Poland
Somewhat helpful in explaining customs and etiquette of Poland.Has info on culture and culinary aspects, but does not give info on the Polish character after decades of living under Nazi and the Soviet control which I think explains the dour demeanor and compliance with authority that I witnessed. ... Read more

3. The Establishment of Communist Rule in Poland, 1943-1948 (Societies and Culture in East-Central Europe)
by Krystyna Kersten
Hardcover: 548 Pages (1991-12-11)
list price: US$55.00
Isbn: 0520062191
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First published underground in Poland in 1984, this inside look at Communist subjugation is now available to the English reader. Nowhere has the takeover of any East-Central European country been so searchingly documented by a writer who was living at the time under the imposed Communist regime.Kersten's political analysis and bright narrative will inspire anyone interested in contemporary European history.The author assiduously details the Communist Party's manipulation of Polish society, media, and politics. With remarkable objectivity she depicts the political scene during the critical period from the final years of World War II to the consolidation of Stalinism at the end of 1948. ... Read more

4. Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture (Jews of Poland)
by Danusha V. Goska
Hardcover: 344 Pages (2010-06-30)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$42.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1936235153
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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In this controversial study, Goska exposes one stereotype of Poles and other Eastern Europeans. In the ''Bieganski'' stereotype, Poles exhibit the qualities of animals. They are strong, stupid, violent, fertile, anarchic, dirty, and especially hateful in a way that more evolved humans are not. Their special hatefulness is epitomized by their Polish anti-Semitism. ''Bieganski'' discovers this stereotype in the mainstream press, scholarship, film, in Jews' self-definition, and in responses to the Holocaust. Bieganski's twin is Shylock, the stereotype of the crafty, physically inadequate, moneyed Jew. The final chapters of the book are devoted to interviews with American Jews. These reveal that Bieganski and Shylock are both alive and well among those who have little knowledge of Poles or Poland. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Necessary Book
Dr. Danusha Goska's book was painful for me to read.The truths she discusses about the way Poles are stereotyped as brutal, filthy, stupid, and anti-Semitic are not easy to hear.

As a child, I grew up as a Displaced Person, a refugee, in Chicago following World War II.My parents had both been Polish-Catholic slave laborers in Nazi Germany, and we came to the US because my parents had lost their families during the war and were afraid of returning to Poland.My parents saw America as a promised land, a place where they would find a haven from the brutally and hatred that they experienced in the camps.What they discovered was that this was to some extent just BS, an acronym for one of the first American words they learned.

We discovered we weren't Poles, and we definitely weren't Polish Americans.We heard in the streets and the factories and the schools that we were Dirty Polaks. We were the people who nobody wanted to rent a room to or hire or help. We were the "wretched refuse" of somebody else's shore, dumped now on the shores of America, and many people we came across here wished we'd go back to where we came from--and that we'd take the rest of the Dirty Polaks with us.

Dr. Goska examines and analyzes this ongoing stereotype of the brutal Pole with the care and precision it deserves but has never received.As a graduate student studying American literature and culture many years ago, I remembering looking for books that would explain why Poles were depicted in this negative way, and I found nothing.It was almost as if America did not recognize that its immigrants were often treated as if they were garbage, dangerous garbage.

I am grateful, therefore, that Dr. Goska has had the courage to pursue and publish her study of this stereotype.I only hope that analyzing and discussing it will provide us with the means of making it go away.

5-0 out of 5 stars Necessary
This is an important and necessary book. Someone has finally stepped-up to the plate and tackled this complex and ignored story. Bieganski is a book that was hard to put down and is written with intelligence and fairness. Although the book is unconformable to read at times (because it calls Poles, Jews and other people of fair mind and good-will into action), it also leaves the reader with hope for healing and understanding. My conclusion after reading Bieganski is that the majority of people are fair; some just unclear of the facts. But there is a hateful minority who thrive off of anti-polish bigotry. Good people of all persuasions must not allow bigotry...hateful speech and actions to go unchallenged.
Slated to become a classic in the Polish-Jewish dialogue.
"The everlasting hope and resilience of the Polish people rises above the terror, forced labor, torture, executions and deaths of millions of Poles (and Jews) during Nazi occupation of Polish towns and villages, particularly at Majdanek (and Auschwitz) and other detention centers during World War II. Despite the repeated ravaging and takeover of Poland by outsiders throughout the centuries, the Polish people's will to determine their own destiny continually furnishes them with the fortitude to rebuild what others destroy. As Michener puts it, "A Pole is a man born with a sword in his right hand and a brick in his left. When the battle is over, he starts to rebuild.""

5-0 out of 5 stars Stereotyping the Poles
As with most kids that I knew in Grade School in 1950's New Mexico, the first awareness of anything Polish was the Polak joke.To me, a Polak was some distant, undefinable, stupid ethnic group that, initially, I didn't even associate with Poland.I didn't even know where Poland was. We also recited the very un-PC version of "Eenie, meenie, mynee, mo," but after awhile, as my consciousness expanded and I learned who Poles really were, I disliked the jokes and the stereotyping.My Finnish grandfather used to call me a "stupid Svede" whenever I accidently spilled or broke something, and he used to tell Swedish jokes that I recognized as the old Polak jokes I used to tell.Same tired old jokes, different ethnic group.

I realized that every culture probably has its "Polak," someone lower than them, someone to be the butt of their jokes. I wrote about this to the author and then asked her, "Who are Poland's 'Polaks'?"And she responded, "There is no one lower than a Pole."

Chilling words for me to hear, but it wasn't until I read this fine book that I fully realized their full import. Goska cites poet John Guzlowski and his parents living in a D.P. camp (for Displaced Persons) after WWII, coming to America as a D.P., and growing up with that stigma... how it affected his entire life. She cites example after example of Poles whose entire existence has been under the boot of ostracism.

Throughout my life I've had many Jewish and Polish friends, but not a single one of them gave me any hint of animosity toward any ethnic group.Perhaps it's because I'm a musician, as are most of my friends, and we just don't harbor those sort of attitudes.Maybe the bandstand is the true melting pot, the gathering of equals, where one's musicianship is the only thing being judged. Color and ethnicity don't exist.So, it was a revelation for me to learn of Polish anti-Semitism and the degree to which some Jews hate Poles. It was heartbreaking to hear of how, in the eyes of many, the identity of an entire country can be reduced to having hosted Nazi death camps.

For me, however, the best part of the book is Goska's analysis of the bohunk role in the films "A Street Car Named Desire," "The Deerhunter," "The Fugitive," and "The Apartment"--the first of which is nothing short of brilliant. For anyone who has seen the film, this essay reveals incredible insights into Tennessee Williams' wonderful screenplay.

"Bieganski" is a book I highly recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Insightful
Bieganski is a well-researched, well-written, and really darn interesting view of a topic that I came to without a lot of prior knowledge or assumptions. Danusha Goska's comprehensive approach to the topic stimulated my thinking not just of Poles and Jews, but of broader questions about how we interpret, judge and interact on many levels, with all peoples.

Dr Goska paints a full, rich, multi-dimensional picture of the Polish people and introduced real humans, like Cardinal Glemp, who I'd love to meet. The work engendered in me interest in better understanding my Polish-American acquaintances and exploring their perceptions of my Jewishness.

Beyond that, I find myself examining what assumptions I have about other groups.This is the sign of a great work, and I appreciate Dr Goska for what she has produced

3-0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
Fifteen years ago, when Goska was a struggling grad student, I used to look forward to her emailed arguments against the defamation of the Poles, as they made their rounds among Polonian activists. Their substance, crystalline logic and restrained emotion made them unlike what anyone else was writing on this topic.

In fact, these contacts were how Goska came into possession of my letters, briefly cited in Bieganski, which witness that Academic Freedom in America, like much else, operates on a double standard.

Thus, one professor may teach tolerance (49) - without conscious irony - through a Pulitzer Prize-winning comic book and icon of Jewish-American culture that graphically depicts Polish people as swine. But a colleague's well-reasoned protest invokes vicious reprisal, culminating in loss of employment.

The ethno-sensitive road signs may be tacitly observed, but traffic on the US Interstate to a base in the Academy moves strictly in one direction.

Now Goska has arrived as a professional academic in her own right, and she's written a book, under the imprimatur of a distinguished collection about the Jews of Poland. Her book takes on the ugly, Polonophobic stereotypes commonly held and liberally expressed by Jews. But I am disappointed. This conclusion may reflect how much distance our learning curves and life trajectories have put between the author and myself over the course of fifteen years.

On the one hand, Bieganski makes a strong case for Goska's thesis - that a whole range of stereotypes about Poles and Poland, cherished and propagated by Jews, are hurtful, unfair, inconsistent and weakly grounded in fact. The strength of her book is in the historic, folkloric and pop-cultural material she's gathered to this effect. Goska's diligence and scholarship are evident.

Ultimately, however, Bieganski fails because its author pulls too many punches. There would be little injury in the stereotypes she contests were it not for the outsized influence of the offending group. Goska steps with exaggerated caution around the understandable resentments of many Poles, in the face of painful libels secured by an impunity that's as great as the malice that drives them at their source.

By way of contrast, she twice refers to anti-Semitism as a "crime" (32, 91). The Thought Police have indeed diminished American liberties, but I'm not aware they've gone quite so far yet as to criminalize an attitude - leaving aside all question of what is meant by "anti-Semitism"; that's a whole discussion in itself. The unwarranted hyperbole suggests how far Goska is bending over backwards to demonstrate an outlook unblemished by any hint of attitude that might be in any way offensive to Jews.

Bieganski bristles with concessions of this nature. The anti-Semitic "fantasy" around Bernie Madoff (37), the "fabrication ... that Jews controlled the African slave trade" (83), "the lynching of Leo Frank" (102), the "[b]lood libel ... folklore items" (189) and "organ theft legends" (191) refer to questions which, explosive though they be, merit cool and close examination - not the one-size-fits-all, knee-jerk dismissal they receive from Goska.

Likewise, the "favorite conspiracy theory" (10) of "some" who challenge Goska's position deserves study. The jury may still be out on whether or not "'The Jews' [in truth] control the world," but evidence of inordinate - and abusive - Jewish power is simply too conspicuous to ignore. After all, it's this very power imbalance between Jews and Poles that buttresses the stereotypes Goska herself disputes. She backs off much too readily from pointing towards the obvious, apparently frightened of saying anything that would be construed as anti-Semitic.

Yet Goska takes issue with the "politically correct," racial stereotyping in contemporary Hollywood films (141). One might point out that the field in which she holds her academic position, Women's Studies, is quintessentially p.c. So are her numerous dismissals - as inexcusable "stereotypes" - of anything that in any way might reflect unfavorably on a certain highly empowered ethnicity. One can't help but wonder if Goska's tunnel vision in this regard is not shaped by a reluctance to jeopardize the material rewards and respectability she's worked so hard to attain.

Though she quibbles with him on certain points, I find it significant that Goska rates the work of that arch-Poland-basher Jan T. Gross as "excellent and needed" (188). Egged on by the lavish promotion it was getting, and by the indignation of many Poles, I read one of Gross's books, Fear, and judged it an exercise in sophistry. I once admired Antony Polonsky - who's been like a "father" to Goska (13) - for his editorship of the Polin Series on Jewish Civilization, and for a judgment he made at the end of his foreword to Pogonowski's Jews of Poland. But after seeing Gross and Polonsky at the Jewish Museum in New York several years ago, when Gross was promoting his Fear, I came away with a very different impression.

The audience that evening consisted of Jews and Poles, the latter having attended in order to challenge Gross. These were not Goska's stereotypical "brute Polaks." They were the holders of university degrees, well traveled, sensitive, people with the courage and integrity to be at some pains to advance their convictions with good will in an unreceptive, if not hostile, setting. Yet when the cards bearing their questions for Gross were collected, Polonsky shuffled through the whole stack - twice - never said a word, thought for a long time, then shifted the discussion to other channels. Not one question from the audience was entertained. These two lauded scholars ended the event by jeering at their critics, with thinly veiled contempt, clearly enjoying their control of the forum, and one-sidedly critiqued the attitudes of Polish people.

This is the mindset that Goska ingratiates herself to, and this fainthearted disposition has everything to do with why Bieganski fails to achieve the impact it strives for and why it falls short of any very meaningful attainment.

Her two chapters based on interviews with several dozen Jewish volunteers are too anecdotal to bear much weight and, in any case, stray from the book's central thread. I don't know why they were included.

Fiercely contested perceptions in the overlapping histories of Poles and Jews remain intractable, as far as I can tell, notwithstanding Danusha Goska's book and its seal of Jewish approval. There are people of good will among both groups, though proportionally many more of them are Polish, which must reflect, at least in part, the disparity in power between the two ethnicities. Members of the favored caste can anticipate no liability for being unreasonable, and many enjoy the exercise of their license. In the long run, people of either persuasion will stick to their established views - facts, logic and argument having, as usual, little effect.

Here are a few suggestions about where Goska could have gone further.

She begins to generalize from the "brute Polak" stereotype to the denigration of whites in general - bohunks, white trash, trailer trash. This is a valid line of thinking. Regrettably, she doesn't appear to perceive a tectonic shift here in the ethnic power base of America. The writings of Dr. Kevin MacDonald are a good place to gain an overview, through both his books and his topical contributions to The Occidental Observer.

Since much of the stereotyping Goska argues against has emerged from popular representations of World War II and the Holocaust, it's worth looking more deeply than she does into the underlying politics of that event. Goska's views are entirely conventional. This is not to suggest that unconventional views are necessarily more truthful; deceptions abound on every hand. But Henry Ford - whatever one makes of his reputation as an anti-Semite - was correct when he observed that "history is bunk." Jim Condit's online video, "The Final Solution to Adolph Hitler," is an eye-opener. It's within a larger context, such as this, that the victimization of all peoples can be properly understood, and the real perpetrators of evil identified behind the shadow play of conventional history.

The manipulation of money and finance is key to the nefarious exercise of political power on a grand scale. The online video "The Money Masters" provides a good introduction to this topic. Stephen Zarlenga's superb The Lost Science of Money is more comprehensive. Understanding the Federal Reserve is critical to getting at the root of America's now obvious demise. Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins is the definitive work on this subject.

John Coleman's Committee of 300 is the best single introduction I know of to conspiracies. (Yes, there is a conspiracy.) All of Coleman's books are worth reading. I started with the one on the Tavistock Institute. It's highly persuasive, accounting for so much about what's happened over the past century, worldwide, in both the engineering of culture and what's broadly understood as political .

Barbarians Inside the Gates by Donn de Grand Pre, somewhat similarly, though with different emphasis, reveals the hidden underside of US history over the past century. I am grateful to "The French Connection" website of Daryl Bradford Smith for directing me to this book, along with a wealth of other, outside-the-box, social and historical analysis.

Regarding the blood libel and such, Trance Formation of America by Phillips and O'Brien documents shocking practices that really occur. It says nothing about "the Jews," but Satanic beliefs and observances - regardless of whether one takes them as valid or not - do play a central role in the subversion and perversion so ascendant in the world today. Henry Makow, along with much else of real insight, offers additional material on Satanism through an article posted on his website last July 25th.

How to respond in the teeth of such blatant wickedness is addressed by Michael Hoffman's Judaism Discovered - a book that was banned from amazon when it came out two years ago. Hoffman's answer is relevant to much of what Goska deals with in Bieganski. As a Catholic, he advocates the teachings of Christ: we are to love our enemies, to forgive and do good unto those who have injured us. That's a tall order, but if you're up for it, it appears to be as viable a policy as any I've encountered yet.

To sum up, Bieganski contains a lot of good material demonstrating that Poles are meanly and endemically maligned in our culture. Unfortunately, the author, being certified politically correct, stifles the merest hint of any innuendo regarding a particular, libel-mongering ethnicity's baneful appropriation of power, which has made this injustice both outrageous and - so far at least - impossible to redress. ... Read more

5. Poland's Last King and English Culture: Stanislaw August Poniatowski, 1732-1798 (Oxford Historical Monographs)
by Richard Butterwick
Hardcover: 400 Pages (1998-05-14)
list price: US$199.00 -- used & new: US$199.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0198207018
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The attempt by Stanislaw August Poniatowski (1764-95) "to create anew the Polish world" was one of the most audacious enterprises of reform undertaken by any enlightened monarch in the eighteenth century. Inspired by his love of England, the king's efforts helped bring about a flourishing of Polish culture and a constitution admired across Europe. They also provoked the revenge of Russia and the partitioning of the state. With new perspectives on the successes and limitations of the Polish Enlightenment, this book presents a dynamic interpretation of European culture in the eighteenth century. ... Read more

6. The Generation: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Communists of Poland (Societies and Culture in East-Central Europe, No 5)
by Jaff Schatz
Hardcover: 426 Pages (1991-06-25)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$55.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520071360
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Revolutionaries and rebels, shoemakers and tailors, refugees, soldiers, intellectuals, and apparatchiks. They were the extraordinary generation of Polish-Jewish Communists"the last true Communists," as some of them say today. With pathos and deeply informed insight, Jaff Schatz relates the life story of the Jews who joined the Polish Communist Party in the late 1920s and early 1930s, only to become its victims thirty years later.Schatz draws on archival research and interviews with forty-three surviving members of this generation that gave up everything but their dream of a new world order. He frames the personal drama of their rise and fall with important questions about the interaction of biography and history, showing how the lives of The Generation uniquely concentrate the recent history of East-Central Europe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars A rebuttal to Mr. Peczkis
This review is largely a rebuttal, of sorts, to the review already posted.It is quite obvious from Mr. Peczkis's tone that he identifies with many Poles who were incensed by Jan Blonski's much-needed 1987 article "The Poor Poles Look at the Ghetto" and by Jan Tomasz Gross's monumental work, Neighbors.Apparently Mr. Peczkis would like to pin all of Poland's communist-era woes on the handful of Jewish party members who possessed real power, without acknowledging the fact that by the 1960s Polish Jews suffered enormous repression at the hands of the Polish Communist govt., including loss of power within the party, and that by and large the history of Polish communism is that of a state governed--and, yes, supported--by ethnic Poles. Iy hardly needs be mentioned that Gomulka, Gierek, Moczar,and Jaruzelski were all proud members of the Polish nation, or that the quite blatantly antisemitic "anti-Zionist" campaign of the 1960s belies the reality of so-called Polish Jewish Zydokomuna.
Mr. Peczkis even goes so far as to anglicize Jan Tomasz Gross's middle name to Thomas, perhaps as a subtle (or not, but puerile nonetheless) method of questioning Gross's Polishness.Surely it is a sorry sign that Amazon allows such antisemitic rhetoric, dressed up in the guise of objective criticism, to appear on its website.

As for the merits of the above book, it is competent and made good use of the sources which were available at the time, but is somehwat dry in its prose, and perhaps in an effort to be objective does not make stronger, more conclusive arguments of the kind scholars look for, but if read in conjunction with Marci Shore's new monograph Caviar and Ashes: A Warsaw Generation's Life and Death in Marxism, 1918-1968, the reader is treated to an enlightening narrative as to the reasons why a small group of Polish Jewish intellectuals found in Marxism a key to a better life.That they were sorely disappointed later, and indeed in many cases were broken by the beast they helped to create, is one of the twentieth century's more bitter ironies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Zydokumuna, Polish-Jewish Property Disputes, and Much More
Jewish author Schatz provides a great deal of information about the Zydokumuna (Jewish Communism in Poland), tracing this phenomenon from before WWI through the 1970's.

In common with many others, he suggests that the desire for a better world and the elimination of anti-Semitism were major causes of the Zydokumuna. However, there are problems with this thesis. Anyone who became a Communist willfully overlooked the fact that Communism was from the beginning, to anyone who looked objectively at it, a movement based on lies, violence, and totalitarianism. Instead, throughout the 1920's, Polish Jews chose to look at the Soviet Union through rose-colored glasses. The eventual appearance and growth of anti-Semitism among Communists (p. 354), the arrests and executions of many Jewish Communists by Stalin (p. 102), the WWII deportations of Polish Jews to Siberia (p. 161), the obvious rottenness of Soviet society (p. 155), etc., all failed to permanently turn devotees away from Communism. An obvious double standard emerged: The real or imagined injustices of Polish society were cited as a ground for turning to Communism, but the much greater injustices under Communism were willfully overlooked.Perhaps becoming (and remaining) a Polish Communist had less to do with fighting injustice and more with exercising a visceral and entrenched hatred of Poland, of religion, and of free enterprise.

Schatz estimates that Jews comprised as much as 70% of high and medium level functionaries in the Communist party (pp. 360-361), with overall membership commonly reaching 50-60% (p. 96), sometimes more. In fact, Schatz (p. 96) remarks: "Given this background, a respondent's statement that "in small cities like ours, almost all Communists were Jews' does not appear to be a gross exaggeration". Note that a 50-70% level corresponds to Jews being five to seven times more common in the Communist Party than in the general Polish population.

However, Schatz attempts to minimize the overall scale of the Zydokomuna by alleging that, while a lot of Polish Communists were Jews, comparatively few Polish Jews ever became Communists. This is disingenuous. To begin with, only a small percentage of the population of a given nationality ever becomes active formally active in politics.Second, for every CP member, there are many fellow travelers. In fact, Schatz later inadvertently demolishes his own argument when he writes (p. 82): "Western analysts who deem the membership of the Polish Communist party as insignificantly small often commit the mistake of forgetting that the movement acted underground, that membership was punishable by a severe prison sentence, that the devotion of the movement's cadres made up formuch of its quantitative weakness, and, finally, that the movement had significant influence on a relatively large group of sympathizers and supporters."

Schatz (p. 98) allows for Polish Jews accounting for 2/5ths of the Communist vote (meaning that the Jewish popular vote for Communism was fourfold that of the Jewish share of Poland's prewar population). He then again tries to downplay the scale of the Zydokomuna by alleging that only 5% of Polish Jews voted for the Communists. However, this ignores at least two facts. First of all, voters usually prefer to vote for parties that have a chance of winning an election. Second, most Communist sympathy was covert in nature, only becoming manifest when Polish rule weakened.Apropos to this, Schatz neglects the large number of Jews who seemingly came out of the woodwork to attack Poles during the 1920 Polish-Bolshevik War and only superficially (and euphemistically) discusses the repeat of the same (p. 153) during the Soviet conquest of eastern Poland in 1939. Schatz argues that the degree of postwar Jewish involvement in the UB (Bezpieka: Communist security forces) cannot be accurately known. In doing so, he does not mention numerous reports of Polish political prisoners who identified their torturers as Jews.Second, the determination of the true scale of Zydokomuna is hindered by the fact that Polish Communist Jews were strongly encouraged, on numerous and successive occasions (pp. 184-185, pp. 213-214,and p. 365) to hide their Jewishness by changing their names and otherwise pretending to be ethnic Poles.Note also that this disguise began long before the Red Army had entered Poland and set up the UB terror apparatus, which eventually cost the lives of perhaps 300,000 Poles.

The killing of a few hundred Jews by Poles, partly the result of postwar property disputes, has recently gotten a great deal of one-sided media attention as a result of the publication of Fear, by Jan Thomas Gross.Writing 15 years earlier, Schatz had the following take on this subject (p. 206): "Thus, the stonethrowing and grudging surprise that `so many Jews are still alive' that met many returnees on crossing the border were not accidental. The wartime German occupation resulted in a barbarization of social life, and Nazi propaganda contributed to the dehumanization of the Jew in the public mind. Against this background, the fact that Jewish Communists were conspicuous in the regime's side of the power struggle reinforced one of the traditional elements in image of the Jew, namely, that of a servant of anti-Polish interests (to such a degree that anyone who served the new regime was liable to be suspected of being a Jew).It was not the actual number of Jews on the regime's side but their visibility that reinforced this Jewish stereotype."

Again, bearing in mind the gentile disguise of most Polish Communist Jews, the true scale of Zydokomuna can only be given a minimal estimate. However, note that, unlike the fantastic anti-Polish thesis advanced by Jan Thomas Gross, Schatz is, to his credit, at least willing to recognize the brutalization of the war-ravaged Polish people, and the very real Zydokomuna, as factors in these killings. In conclusion the Zydokomuna was no bogeyman. It was detrimental to the Polish nation and contributed to the sufferings of Poles and Jews alike.

... Read more

7. The First Neolithic Sites in Central/South-East European Transect Volume V: Settlement of the Linear Pottery Culture in Southeastern Poland (bar s)
by Agnieszka Czekaj-Zastawny
 Paperback: 131 Pages (2009-12-31)
list price: US$87.50 -- used & new: US$87.50
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Asin: 1407306251
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Volume V in a series of inventories of 'First Neolithic Sites' in Europe. The series will consist of I) Bulgaria, II) Romania, III) Eastern Hungary, IV) Eastern Slovakia, V) Southeastern Poland. The main themes of each volume will be: 1) General information about cultural evolution at the onset of the Neolithic, 2) Additional data on cultural and economic problems specific for a given region, 3) A list of radiometric dates, 4) A catalogue of sites in alphabetical order. Contents of volume V: 1) Introduction; 2) Linear Pottery Culture in Southeastern Poland; 3) Settlement of earliest farming communities; 4) Funerary rite of the Linear Pottery Culture; 5) Final remarks; 6) Catalogue of Linear Pottery Culture sites in Southeastern Poland. ... Read more

8. The Emancipation of the Jews in Poland, 1780-1870 (Jewish Society and Culture)
by Artur Eisenbach
 Hardcover: 632 Pages (1991-11)
list price: US$52.95 -- used & new: US$40.00
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Asin: 0631178023
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The legal emancipation of the Jews in most European countries was one of the most significant achievements of 19th century liberalism. The establishment of formal legal equality for the Jews was intended to heal deep divisions between the Jewish and Christian worlds, transforming the Jews from a national religious community - linked by a common culture, a common religion and a set of shared rules governing all aspects of life - into citizens of their respective countries of residence. Emancipation (and the assimilation and acculturation which would follow) would, according to the confident optimism of the liberal idealogues and their Jewish supporters, transform Jews into Englishmen and Frenchmen of the Hebrew faith. The explanation of how and why a proto-nation of Jews developed in Poland is central to modern Jewish history. In this work, set against the backdrop of 19th-century Europe and the Polish struggles for independence, Artur Eisenbach provides a comprehensive account of a fascinating chapter in the development of modern Europe. ... Read more

9. Literary and Cultural Images of a Nation without a State: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Poland (Austrian Culture)
by Agnieszka B. Nance
Hardcover: 182 Pages (2008-08-01)
list price: US$64.95 -- used & new: US$46.75
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Asin: 0820478660
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Literary and Cultural Images of a Nation without a State applies Benedict Andersons theory about the coherence of imagined communities by tracing how Galicia, the heart of Polish culture in the nineteenth-centurywhich would never be an independentnation-stateemerged as a historical and cultural touchstone with present-day significance for the people of Europe. After the Three Partitions and Polands complete disappearance from Europes political map, images of Poland arose to replace the lost kingdom with a national identity grounded in culture and tradition rather than in politics. This book examines the circumstances leading to Galicias emergence as the imagined and representative center of Polish culture, juxtaposing the eras political realities with its literary texts to provide evidence of the cultural community that existed among ethnic Germans and Poles. Collectively, these images reflect a dialogue about Polish identity, and in consequence about the rise of a new European identity that did not correspond to ethnic nation-states but rather to a shared culture, history, and community that Galicia came to represent until its division between Poland and the Ukraine following World War I. ... Read more

10. Poland (Discovering Cultures)
by Sharon Gordon
 Library Binding: 48 Pages (2004-07-30)
list price: US$28.50 -- used & new: US$12.90
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Asin: 0761417249
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11. Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business, and the Remaking of Labor (Culture and Society After Socialism)
by Elizabeth C. Dunn
Paperback: 204 Pages (2004-06)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$17.92
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Asin: 0801489296
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The transition from socialism in Eastern Europe is not an isolated event, but part of a larger shift in world capitalism: the transition from Fordism to flexible (or neoliberal) capitalism. Using a blend of ethnography and economic geography, Elizabeth C. Dunn shows how management technologies like niche marketing, accounting, audit, and standardization make up flexible capitalism’s unique form of labor discipline.This new form of management constitutes some workers as self-auditing, self-regulating actors who are disembedded from a social context while defining others as too entwined in social relations and unable to self-manage.

Privatizing Poland examines the effects privatization has on workers’ self-concepts; how changes in "personhood" relate to economic and political transitions; and how globalization and foreign capital investment affect Eastern Europe’s integration into the world economy. Dunn investigates these topics through a study of workers and changing management techniques at the Alima-Gerber factory in Rzeszow, Poland, formerly a state-owned enterprise, which was privatized by the Gerber Products Company of Fremont, Michigan.

Alima-Gerber instituted rigid quality control, job evaluation, and training methods, and developed sophisticated distribution techniques. The core principle underlying these goals and strategies, the author finds, is the belief that in order to produce goods for a capitalist market, workers for a capitalist enterprise must also be produced. Working side-by-side with Alima-Gerber employees, Dunn saw firsthand how the new techniques attempted to change not only the organization of production, but also the workers’ identities. Her seamless, engaging narrative shows how the employees resisted, redefined, and negotiated work processes for themselves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Analysis out of context
Author Elizabeth Dunn offers one of the few inside looks at "post-socialist privatization" that stepped beyond cold war triumphalism to see what "free market democracy" really meant to those fated to endure it.Her analysis of what Western management, auditing, and "standards" brought to Poland, in the micro example of this firm - and more importantly, what they took away - is an important corrective to those who believe history "ended" in this region in 1989.

However, the book has a major conceptual flaw, and the reason I'm forced to give it three stars: the basic fact that capitalism, as known in the West, had NEVER existed in Poland, and its development post-1989 was only partially a return.It was essentially something completely unprecedented in Poland and eastern Europe.Ms. Dunn takes capitalist "Fordism" and "Taylorism" as the theoretical antithesis of socialist state planning, and contrasts producing for The Plan as the latter's essence.However, the "shortage system" was not the creation of state planning; rather, shortages created state planning.

Capitalism in eastern Europe was not at all like American production.In Poland, capital was concentrated in three clusters: foreign investors and banks, and local ethnic German and Jewish merchants.Their relations with their employees and communities was patriarchal - very much like the state in socialist Poland - and their access to resources and markets continually hampered by poor communications and war (military and economic). In Poland these sources of capital were destroyed by World War Two in one way or another; thus state ownership was the only viable means of production in an economy where private property owners had been "liquidated" by war and the existing plant devastated.There was no one to "sell" such assets to, even if they had been worthy of buying at market value.

Shortage was an economic way of life long before socialism.It was shortage and poor transportation that wrecked the Russian economy in WW I, and Lenin's model for development was not Marx but German "war planning."Allocation of resources and production with vertical integration was a scheme to overcome shortage, unsuccessful not because of socialism but in the very undercapitalized nature of the local economy.

Workers' resistance to Western imported capitalism likewise did not stem from the "socialist system," but from a very traditional sense of community embedded in the Polish political economy.Factories were built around the existing communities that supplied their workforce.Craft traditions remained strong, especially in core industries like mining and metallurgy, from the nineteenth century straight through the socialist era.Socialism not only built on these traditions; they in turn were the basis of workers' revolts.The Solidarity movement would have been impossible without these traditional networks not only remaining under socialism but serving as its foundation.Destroying this community foundation is the essence of modern capitalism, explaining why no new Solidarity has arisen to challenge the "shortages" of jobs and income in the free market.

Miss Dunn's great error is that of Western analysis in general, through ignoring the historic context of the Polish and east European economy.Thus she fails to really understand why capitalism was so bitterly resented by so many in the region; a failure of analysis also gripping east Europeans "educated" according to Western models and seeking to apply them with no appreciation of their completely different foundations.Poland and east Europe were always marginal and dependent peripheries of Europe, and under free market conditions have returned to this status while introducing truly revolutionary transformations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
One of the best books on the chaos, stress, and culture shock of post-socialist transformation on the market. The research is fascinating, the writing is great, and the whole premise is really cool. Buy this book! ... Read more

12. Renaissance Culture in Poland: The Rise of Humanism, 1470-1543
by Harold B. Segel
 Hardcover: 286 Pages (1989-09)
list price: US$60.50
Isbn: 0801422868
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This is the first book-length account of Renaissance humanismin 15th- and 16th-century Poland. Harold B. Segel demonstrates that a lively community of intellectuals--Copernicus among them--helped to bring Poland into the mainstream of contemporary European culture and to lay the foundations for the Polish High Renaissance of the second half of the sixteenth century. ... Read more

13. Shtetl Jews Under Soviet Rule: Eastern Poland on the Eve of the Holocaust (Jewish Society and Culture)
by Ben-Cion Pinchuk
Hardcover: 186 Pages (1991-01)
list price: US$42.95 -- used & new: US$150.00
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Asin: 0631174699
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In September 1939 part of Eastern Poland was incorporated into the Soviet Union under the terms of a secret protocol drawn up between Molotov and Ribbentrop. A central issue in this crucial episode of East European history is the extent to which the Jews in the area collaborated in the imposition of Soviet rule, how they learned to live under a new system, and how a new culture evolved. But in the summer of 1941 the Red Army retreated from the region in the face of German invasion, and close behind the German army came the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile death units. This is an important moment in the history of the Holocaust which is subjected to detailed examination in Ben-Cion Pinchuk's book. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Partial Insights into Jewish-Soviet Collaboration in USSR-Conquered Eastern Poland
This is one of the few books, written by a Jewish author, which acknowledges the fact that large numbers of Polish Jews collaborated with the Soviet authorities who had invaded eastern Poland in September-October 1939. Not mentioned, however, is the role which local Jews played in fifth-column attacks on Poles, and the disarming of Poles during the Soviet conquest of eastern Poland. (See Peczkis review of Przemilczane zbrodnie: Zydzi i Polacy na Kresach w latach 1939-1941 (Polish Edition)). Also not mentioned is the fact that large number of Poles were sent to horrible deaths in Siberia as a result of this collaboration. Despite these serious omissions, Pinchuk has provided us an important work.

Pinchuk asserts that, at first, Jews had it better under the Soviets than under the Poles. Perhaps so, but they apparently failed to consider that this advantage was only temporary and that they were willfully overlooking the murderous character of Communism. In any case, those who chose to collaborate with the Soviets also chose to become the enemies of the Poles. Pinchuk also claims that this collaboration was initially caused by Jewish fears of the Nazis. But then he shoots down his own argument when he acknowledges that most eastern-Polish Jews had possessed a high opinion of the Germans and could not even imagine that the Germans would do what they later did. (The reader should furthermore remember that the systematic mass-murder of Jews by Nazis was not to begin for almost another two years!)

There is an interesting irony to those who say that Jewish-Soviet collaboration was driven by prior Polish anti-Semitism. Under Polish rule, Jews faced discrimination intended to limit their economic dominance. They never faced destruction of Jewish communal or religious life. To the contrary--these flourished under Polish rule. Now enter Pinchuk. He actually states that there was no anti-Semitism at all under the Soviets, but then he describes how the Soviets destroyed Jewish communal and religious life. Evidently, Pinchuk has an interesting definition of anti-Semitism: If the destruction of Jewish communal and religious life had been done by Poles or other Christians, it would certainly be considered anti-Semitism. But when actually done by the Communists, he would not call it anti-Semitism. Go figure.

It is unfortunate that this work, as well as my review of it, has been distorted into some kind of justification for anti-Semitism--and even of pogroms! Nevertheless, Jewish enmity against Poles was a very real part of Polish-Jewish relations, and by no means occurring the first time in 1939. It must be squarely faced--not ignored or excused--if there is to be any genuine Polish-Jewish reconciliation.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Does Not Justify Pogroms
Unlike the previous reviewer, I do not see this book as a "justification" for anti-Semitism and an absolution for pogroms.The assertion that the Jews supported Communism is part of the old "Jew-Bolshevik conspiracy" canard, exploited by the Nazis.A lot of good this anti-Semitism did for Poles when the Nazis finally came.If a good number of Jews were Soviet-friendly, it must be remembered that interwar Poland was a very intolerant place, and that after 1935 pro-German and pro-Nazi feeling was growing in Poland up to the Nazi invasion of '39.

To say that Jews "chose" to become the enemies of Poles by said "collaboration" is totally beyond the scope and intent of the book and indicates only twisted anti-Semitism, excusing the pogroms of Cracow and Kielce in 1946. In truth, Poles chose Jews as enemies long before there was Communism in Poland; and most Jews in the area were not affiliated with Moscow or Communism.Stalin lost not wink of sleep over the destruction of Jews in this area, before or after the war.By this twisted logic, one can in turn "justify" Communism in Poland as retribution for Kielce.But anyone who knows postwar Poland is quite aware that Communist authorities sidestepped Jewish issues to curry favor with Polish workers, even "outing" assimilated Jews in the Party in the 60s.

It is a shame that that the hard political choices offered Jews in these years - ably portrayed in this book - is misused by some in the spirit of denial and rationalization for the very crimes it describes. ... Read more

14. Poland: A Troubled Past, a New Start (Exploring Cultures of the World)
by Eleanor H. Ayer
Library Binding: 64 Pages (1996-02)
list price: US$27.07 -- used & new: US$27.07
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Asin: 0761401989
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Discusses the history, geography, daily life, culture, and customs of this country of northern east-central Europe. ... Read more

15. They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland before the Holocaust
by Mayer Kirshenblatt, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Hardcover: 411 Pages (2007-09-24)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$21.97
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Asin: 0520249615
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Intimate, humorous, and refreshingly candid, this extraordinary work is a remarkable record--in both words and images--of Jewish life in a Polish town before World War II as seen through the eyes of an inquisitive boy. Mayer Kirshenblatt, who was born in 1916 and left Poland for Canada in 1934, taught himself to paint at age 73. Since then, he has made it his mission to remember the world of his childhood in living color, "lest future generations know more about how Jews died than how they lived." This volume presents his lively paintings woven together with a marvelous narrative created from interviews that took place over forty years between Mayer and his daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett. Together, father and daughter draw readers into a lost world--we roam the streets and courtyards of the town of Apt, witness details of daily life, and meet those who lived and worked there: the pregnant hunchback, who stood under the wedding canopy just hours before giving birth; the khayder teacher caught in bed with the drummer's wife; the cobbler's son, who was dressed in white pajamas all his life to fool the angel of death; the corpse that was shaved; and the couple who held a "black wedding" in the cemetery during a cholera epidemic. This moving collaboration--a unique blend of memoir, oral history, and artistic interpretation--is at once a labor of love, a tribute to a distinctive imagination, and a brilliant portrait of life in one Jewish home town.
Copub: The Judah L. Magnes Museum ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars aaaaa
I can't figure out how to finish this review and exit.I will NOT respond to these amazonrequests again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kirshenblatt recreates a shtetl in full color
Having recently returned from a trip to the Polish town of my mother's childhood, I was eager to see Mayer Kirshenblatt's paintings of Jewish life in prewar Poland on exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York. I immediately recognized buildings and landscapes I had seen on the trip--the small, square houses surrounding the town square, ruins of once impressive, multi-tiered synagogues--but the exhibition instantly filled me with joy because Mayer Kirshenblatt's paintings put the people back in a panoramic view of life before the Holocaust.

At once naive and sophisticated, Kirshenblatt's art captures the energy and diversity of life as it was lived in prewar Apt (Opatów in Polish), a shtetl in southern Poland. Shunning nostalgia for accuracy, the paintings are rich in ethnographic detail and show every area of activity, some with the artist as a blue-clad schoolboy looking on. The 93-year-old Toronto artist, who started painting in his seventies, is becoming internationally known; his work was recently exhibited at the Galician Jewish Museum in Kraków.

The text of this book, which includes 200 full color reproductions, represents another kind of achievement. Each painting tells a story, evoking memories of people, trades, and events. Mayer Kirshenblatt collaborated with his daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a scholar of Eastern European Jewish culture and folklore, on a captivating text recording his almost encyclopedic range of memories of the town up to 1934, the year he departed for Canada.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, who co-authored Image Before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland with Lucjan Dobroszychi, a book based on the photographic collection of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, comments on her father's art: "Until Mayer's paintings, all my images of Jewish life in Poland were black and white because all of them were from photographs," she writes. "That world, thanks to Mayer's paintings, was now emerging in vibrant color." Kirshenblatt's extraordinary visual memory, humor, and love can revivify this world for us all.

5-0 out of 5 stars Journey through a Lost World - through a Young Boy's Eyes
This wonderful book matches up primitive paintings with an engaging narrative to take you through a journey to a lost world - a largely Jewish town in pre-WWII Poland. Mayer Kirshenblatt, the artist who created these paintings (starting in his 70s!), had an incredible visual memory for the world of his youth. The text, crafted by his daughter (a well-known anthropologist/folklorist), is a first-person narrative, largely told in his smart-ass adolescent voice, then coming back every now and then to his adult voice to provide updates on "where are they now?" Or --given the time and place -- how did they die at the hands of the Nazis? However, this is NOT a Holocaust book; it's a visual journal of youth in a Polish town, in a largely Jewish community. The paintings are primitives, from his youthful viewpoint - the rooms have improbably high ceilings, more a reflection of a child'sshortness, always looking up at everything.

The paintings provide a tableau of pre-war Jewish life, including celebration of life events, Sabbath and holidays. However, this isnot an overly sentimental memoir of the Old Country. The painter wasn't always good little boy who minded his parents and teachers - he skipped school to check out all parts of his town, including many of the grimier aspects. The painter's sly graphical sense of humor is well matched by the text, where his daughter (after spending years hearing her father's stories) did a lovely job of echoing his youthful voice. There are, of course, some pretty terrible events that are depicted - some of them based on the painter's imaginings of events that happened after he left Poland as a teenager. But overall, there is more to laugh about than cry - many of the stories are very funny.

I saw the exhibition of this art work at the Jewish Museum in NY. It was a wonderful show, and made me run back to read the book again.By the way, Mayer Kirshenblatt (z"l) passed away last month.

4-0 out of 5 stars They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland before the Holocaust
I bought this book after visiting Mayer July's exhibition in Jewish museum, NY. Both, the exhibition and the book are remarcable!

5-0 out of 5 stars Window onto a lost way of life
I love this book!Mayer is incredibly talented and his memories and reflections are a window onto the past that is otherwise lost to us.His daughter, Barbara's commentary is also important for situating Mayer's work theoretically so that the reader understands where his work belongs within memory and aesthetic theory and practice. ... Read more

16. Polin: Focusing on Jewish Popular Culture in Poland and Its Afterlife (Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry)
Paperback: 628 Pages (2003-11)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$30.54
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Asin: 1874774749
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Scholarship on the civilization of Polish Jews has tended to focus on elite culture and canonical literature; even modern Yiddish culture has generally been approached from the perspective of 'great works'. This volume of Polin focuses on the less explored but historically vital theme of Jewish popular culture and shows how, confronted by the challenges and opportunities of modernity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it blossomed into a complex expression of Jewish life. In addition to a range of articles on the period before the Second World War there are studies of the traces of this culture in the contemporary world. The volume as a whole aims to develop a fresh understanding of Polish Jewish civilization in all its richness and variety.Subjects discussed in depth include klezmorim and Jewish recorded music; the development of Jewish theatre in Poland, theatrical parody, and the popular poet and performer Mordechai Gebirtig; Jewish postcards in Poland and Germany; the early Yiddish popular press in Galicia and cartoons in the Yiddish press; working-class libraries in inter-war Poland; the impact of the photographs of Roman Vishniac; contemporary Polish wooden figures of Jews; and the Krakow Jewish culture festival. In addition, a Polish Jewish popular song is traced to Sachsenhausen, the badkhn (wedding jester) is rediscovered in present-day Jerusalem, and Yiddish cabaret turns up in blues, rock 'n' roll, and reggae garb.There are also translations from the work of two writers previously unavailable in English: excerpts from the ethnographer A. Litvin's pioneering five-volume work Yidishe neshomes (Jewish Souls) and several chapters from the autobiography, notorious in inter-war Poland, of the writer and thief Urke Nachalnik.As in earlier volumes of Polin substantial space is also given to new research into a variety of topics in Polish Jewish studies.These include the origins of antisemitism in Poland; what is known about the presence of German forces in the vicinity of Jedwabne in the summer of 1941; and the vexed question of Jews in the communist security apparatus in Poland after 1944.The review section includes an important discussion of what should be done about the paintings in Sandomierz cathedral which represent an alleged ritual murder in the seventeenth century, and an examination of the 'anti-Zionist' campaign of 1968.CONTRIBUTORS Michael Aylward, Nathan Cohen, Walter Zev Feldman, Natan Gross, Ruth Ellen Gruber, Francois Guesnet, Ellen Kellman, Ariela Krasney, Anna Landau-Czajka, Erica Lehrer, Alex Lubet, Yaakov Mazor, Barbara Milewski, Andrzej Paczkowski, Brian Porter, Edward Portnoy, Alexander B. Rossino, Wlodzimierz Rozenbaum, Shalom Sabar, Jeffrey Shandler, Joshua Shanes, Michael C. Steinlauf, Andrzej Trzcinski, Bret Werb, Marcin Wodzinski, Seth L. Wolitz, Gwido Zlatkes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Has an English Translation of Andrzej Paczkowski's Study of Jews in the Post-WWII Communist Security Forces (U. B., or Bezpieka)
This review expands an earlier one. Andrzej Paczkowski (pp. 453-464), using archival sources, examines the over-representation of Jews in the leadership of the UB, or Bezpieka. He comments: "One of the few reliable sources is a report sent by Nikolay Selivanovsky, the chief Soviet advisor at the Ministerstwo Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego (Ministry of Public Security, MBP) to Beria on 20 October 1945. According to this report, Jews made up 18.7 per cent of the ministry's workforce and held half of the managerial positions...we must accept these data, at least initially, as reliable." (p. 456). To put these numbers in perspective, post-Holocaust Jews constituted only 1% of Poland's postwar population.

Other figures cited by Paczkowski are either lower or higher, and these discrepancies probably stem from different reckonings based on geographical coverage, different criteria for "managerial position", etc. (p. 457).In any case, they all agree on the gross over-representation of Jews in the leadership of the hated Bezpieka--a force responsible for the torture and murder of tens of thousands of Poles.

The over-representation of Jews in the Bezpieka has at times been equated with Poles' over-representation earlier in the Cheka (the post-1917 Soviet Communist police). In actuality, the former was much more extreme than the latter. Poles, at about 2% of USSR's population, peaked at 6.3% membership in the Cheka (in September 1918), and declined rapidly thereafter. (p. 454).

Paczkowski rejects those who say that U.B.-serving Jews were no longer Jews. He compares it to those who say that Polish Communists are not "real" Poles. Besides, many U.B. Jews identified, to varying degrees, with their Judaism. (pp. 459-460). (Finally, according to Israel's Law of Return, one is Jewish if born to a Jewish mother, provided that one does not convert to another religion.)

Studying the U.B.--Jewish connection, according to Paczkowski, is a legitimate one, and is not "racist". (Is study of Polish misdeeds against Jews "racist"?)

Overall, this volume gives various perspectives on Jewish-Polish relations during and immediately after WWII. But I take issue with some claims. In one article, Antony Polonsky cites a document from the mainstream Polish underground (AK) wherein the AK would come out in open combat if the Germans tried the same thing to Polish gentiles that they did to the Jews. From this, Polonsky infers that the leadership of the Polish underground saw Polish deaths as worth averting, but not Jewish deaths. But this is a complete non-sequitur on Polonsky's part. Remember that, along with 3 million Polish Jews, 2-3 million Polish gentiles were also being murdered by the Germans, yet the AK did not start a national uprising on behalf of the 2-3 million gentiles any more than it did on behalf of the 3 million Polish Jews. What the AK leadership was actually saying was that a national uprising would not be in the offing unless a large fraction of the Polish population was in danger of being exterminated in a full-blown genocide, at which time there would be nothing to lose, for Polish people as a whole, to come out in open warfare against the German occupation authorities. The Jews, of course, had nothing to lose already in 1942, but the Polish gentiles, as a whole, still did. That is the actual reason for the AK withholding more overt military action on behalf of the Jews.

Nevertheless, the AK did aid Jews in various ways, including supplying the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Uprising not with 50, but with several hundred firearms. (See Peczkis review of Two Flags: Return to the Warsaw Ghetto). Even this may not seem like much, but remember that every gun was worth its weight in gold. In fact, if was worth human lives, as each donated firearm had been procured at risk of a Polish gentile's life, and kept at risk of a Polish gentile's life. And, of course, each gun donated to the Jews meant one less gun available to Polish gentiles to conduct guerrilla actions against the Germans, and to protect Polish gentiles in the event of a full-blown German genocide against the entire Polish population.

4-0 out of 5 stars Seldom-Heard Perspectives On Polish-Jewish Relations
Most Holocaust-related material, especially the films, seem to always portray Poles in a unilaterally negative light. This volume, by contrast, is well worth the reader's time. It gives various perspectives on Jewish-Polish relations during and immediately after WWII. But I take issue with some claims. In one article, Antony Polonsky cites a document from the mainstream Polish underground (AK) wherein the AK would come out in open combat if the Germans tried the same thing to Polish gentiles that they did to the Jews. From this, Polonsky infers that the leadership of the Polish underground saw Polish deaths as worth averting, but not Jewish deaths. But this is a complete non-sequitur on Polonsky's part. Remember that, along with 3 million Polish Jews, 2-3 million Polish gentiles were also being murdered by the Germans, yet the AK did not start a national uprising on behalf of the 2-3 million gentiles any more than it did on behalf of the 3 million Polish Jews.What the AK leadership was actually saying was that a national uprising would not be in the offing unless a large fraction of the Polish population was in danger of being exterminated in a full-blown genocide, at which time there would be nothing to lose, for Polish people as a whole, to come out in open warfare against the German occupation authorities. The Jews, of course, had nothing to lose already in 1942, but the Polish gentiles, as a whole, still did. That is the actual reason for the AK witholding more overt military action on behalf of the Jews. Nevertheless, the AK did aid Jews in various ways, including supplying the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Uprising with 50 firearms. This may not seem like much, but remember that every gun was worth its weight in gold. In fact, if was worth human lives, as each donated firearm had been procured at risk of a Polish gentile's life, and kept at risk of a Polish gentile's life. And, of course, each gun donated to the Jews meant one less gun available to Polish gentiles to conduct guerrilla actions against the Germans, and to protect Polish gentiles in the event of a full-blown German genocide against the entire Polish population. ... Read more

17. Introduction To Poland
by Olgierd; American Institute Of Polish Culture Budrewicz
 Hardcover: Pages (1985)

Asin: B000I04M8I
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18. Poland's Living Folk Culture
by Anna Sieradzka, Christian Parma
Hardcover: 96 Pages (2005)
-- used & new: US$14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8374190140
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"Poland remains one of the few European countries in which with the onset of the 21st century one can still encounter some 'living' manifestations of folk culture. And it is to this phenomenon that the present book is devoted."
- From Poland's Living Folk Culture

A richly illustrated book featuring many facets of Poland's folk culture. The book is divided into five sections, entitled:
- Historical Outline
- In The Religious Sphere
- On Festival Days...
- ...And Day In, Day Out
- To Save Folk Culture From Being Forgotten ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Polish folklore in stunning photography
Christan Parma is very well known in Poland for his achievements in photography.Back few years ago he decided to share his amazing library of pictures with the world, created publishing house and released many, many wonderful books and coffee table size albums.One of them is this inexpensive photo guide of Polish folk customs and culture.

I agree with every word below, book is nicely published, pictures and copy excellent...nice job.

"Poland remains one of the few European countries in which with the onset of the 21st century one can still encounter some 'living' manifestations of folk culture.And it is to this phenomenon that the present book is devoted."- From "Poland's Living Folk Culture

A richly illustrated book featuring many facets of Poland's folk culture.The book is divided into five sections, entitled:"Historical Outline", "In The Religious Sphere", "On Festival Days. . .", ". . . And Day In, Day Out", and "To Save Folk Culture From Being Forgotten". ... Read more

19. Poland (Cultures of the World)
by Jay Heale, Pawet Grajnert, Paul Grajnert
Library Binding: 144 Pages (2005-04-05)
list price: US$42.79 -- used & new: US$40.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0761418474
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Kids and Adults
This book is an excellent introduction to Poland, covering numerous integral topics of the country, with clear writing and enjoyable photographs for children and enough factual information to sustain an adult's interest.

Nothing more than an anti-Polish hate book. What is truly tragic is that this "hate" writing is directed at school children. Very upsetting and confusing. If Paul Grajnert has no knowledge of Poland, he should not write about it. There is a word for people who write using "horrible" generalizations against an entire people or race. I'll let you, the reviewer, figure out that word. It begins with a "B." However, Grajnert's book gets an "F-."

1-0 out of 5 stars Demeaninig, Cold, HurtfulAnti-Catholic, Anti-Polish
Paul Grajnert is consistent in falsely demeaning and villifying a Poland that has suffered so horribly at the hands of the Nazis and Soviets. Grajnert mentions absolutely "nothing" of how Christian Poles have amazingly endured partitions, wars, Nazi death camps, and brutal occupations of despots like Hitler and Stalin.This is suppose to be a book about Poland, and not about paul Grajnert's "hate" of Poland. What is most tragic about Grajnert's writing about Poland is that he aims his "hate" at children. A very disturbing, confusing and upsetting diatribe. This book just takes many steps backwards for a better world. ... Read more

20. Life and Culture of Poland (As Reflected in Polish Literature)
by Waclaw Lednicki
 Hardcover: Pages (1944)

Asin: B000H85TEC
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