Studies of the Simon Dubnow Institute, Volume 3
Ethnizität und Nation im Spiegel
der polnischsprachigen jüdischen Presse 1918-1939
422 pp., Hardcover with dust jacket
Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004
Price: 57,00 € (D)
During the Second Polish Republic, the Jewish print media flowered. There was a broad spectrum of Jewish newspapers and magazines, most in Yiddish. There was also a Jewish press in Polish, concentrated in the three urban centers of Warsaw, Cracow and Lvov. Its readership was a secularized Jewish middle class and members of the intelligentsia who, though grounded in Polish culture, in terms of national values were more inclined to Zionist ideas.
Katrin Steffen explores how the identity of a »Jewish Polishness« constructed in this press was manifested, where a rejection of assimilation went hand in hand with national loyalty to Poland, and civil equality was linked with cultural difference. In this construction, Jewish traditions in Poland were interwoven with Polish national traditions and interpreted as a joint struggle for freedom and democracy. At a time when Jews were confronted with powerful currents bent on their exclusion, it was possible to see this concept as a communicative bridge between Jewish and non-Jewish Poles. In this way, the Polish press with its design or construction of a »Jewish Polishness« appears as an intermediary in the borderlands between Polish and Jewish culture.