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Jewish lives in the Polish language: The Polish -Jewish Press, 1918–1939Angela White
The Polish-language Jewish press is an important test case for the development of Polish-Jewish relations in interwar Poland. Although its publicists repudiated complete assimilation into Polish culture, the press had close ties to the Polish language and sought to use Polish as a third language of Jewish national life, along with Yiddish and Hebrew. The press defined a Polish-Jewish identity that combined Jewish national consciousness with respect for Poland and a deep Polish patriotism. An examination of the contents of the three major Polish-Jewish dailies—Nowy Dziennik (Cracow), Nasz Przegląd (Warsaw), and Chwila (Lwów)—demonstrates that enthusiasm for a modus vivendi with Polish society faded only gradually in response to the intractability of anti-Jewish attitudes in Poland. The failure of a formal agreement, the Ugoda of 1925, began a slow shift in the press’ attitudes toward Polish nationalism and hopes for reconciliation. Legislation against kosher slaughter in 1936 proved a turning point in Jewish perceptions of the openness of Polish culture and willingness of Poland to accord equal treatment to Polish Jews. As anti-Semitism proved itself impenetrable to publicists’ attempts to dispel negative stereotypes about Jews, the press shifted to self defense and a greater interest in the internal dynamics of the Jewish community. Although editorialists had once seen Polish anti-Semitism as a curable illness, by the mid-1930s anti-Semitism had become a “mythology,” impervious to logic.
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Interwar period; Jews; Poland; Polish-Jewish relations; European history; Journalism; Judaic studies; 0751:Judaic studies; 0335:European history; 0391:Journalism
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