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Slawomir Jacek Zurek, 21st-Century Polish Literature and the Holocaust: Memory and Artifacts

Event Type
Slavic Languages and Literatures/Program in Jewish Culture & Society
Illini Union 314 A, 1401 W Green St., Urbana
Apr 21, 2022   12:00 pm  
George Gasyna

Slawomir Jacek Zurek, Catholic University of Lublin, Poland, will give a two-part talk.  The first part treats Polish memory of the Holocaust from the end of the Second World War II, until the end of the “Solidarity” revolution (1989). In Poland, during the period of communist rule, the truth about the Shoah was a social and cultural taboo. References to that event were initiated only in the anticommunist underground press. However, after the publication of an historical essay Biedni Polacy patrzą na ghetto (‘Poor Poles look at the ghetto,’ 1986) by Jan Błoński and a book Sąsiedzi (‘Neighbours,’ 2000) by Jan Tomasz Gross, Polish attitudes and reactions to the Shoah began to be discussed more openly in media and society. Yet many Polish people did not accept the idea that Polish people were engaged not only in helping in the survival of Jews during wartime, but also in their annihilation. In the second part of of the talk, Slawomir would like to show the struggle for the memory of the Shoah in Polish literature of the 21-st century and try to answer the question: Who are Jews and Poles after the Shoah in Polish recent literature?

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