Katrin Steffen

is a historian at the Northeast Institute Lüneburg at the University of Hamburg.


Disputed memory

Jewish past, Polish remembrance

Before WWII, over 3 million Jews lived in Poland. Almost all of them were killed during the Shoah. The Communist regime forbade commemoration of Jews as a special group of victims. That has changed since 1990, but remembrance of Jews still polarises Polish society. That is shown by the debate over Jedwabne and the post-war pogroms. There exists a competition of victims between Jews and Poles. A mythological and symbolic figure of “the Jew” is still at work in Polish memory. Moreover, a “virtual Jewry” has come into being at former sites of Jewish life.

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