Chidusz 3/2019: Polish and Jewish Police during the war, Stolpersteine in Poland, devastated cemeteries

CHIDUSZ no 3/2019 (in Polish) is out, just in time for Passover!

What are we writing about in this issue?

Stolpersteine. First Stolpersteine appeared in Wrocław in 2016, and we covered the topic extensively also in the English-language issue of Chidusz (here and here). Since then, due to an extremely complicated procedure, it was almost impossible for any ancestors of people who perished in the Holocaust to have the stones installed. This February, only thanks to the engagement of a local architect (who was able to do the complicated paperwork) two families succeeded. However, in Kraków the ceremony of Stolpersteine installation planned for July 2018 had to be cancelled due to the Institute of National Remembrance’s (IPN) and the local authorities’ opinion that the stones are “foreign” to the Polish culture of remembrance. In other Polish towns the struggle of many families to obtain permission continues [read the article in Polish]

Jewish cemeteries. It is already a third issue of Chidusz this year in which we bring the topic of abandoned Jewish cemeteries and various attempts to rescue them into focus. In the interview with Krzysztof Bielawski we try to answer the question who and to what extent is responsible for the destruction of Jewish cemeteries in the territory of Poland, what were the tombstones used for, and finally, who should be responsible for protecting what was left.
In the second article Michał Bojanowski describes the cemetery in Miłocice (30 kilometers from Wrocław) and its gradual destruction, first after the war, then, well documented, since the 1980s. In 2018, the inmates of the remand prison in Wrocław helped with preservation works on the site. The cemetery is now supposed to be returned to the Wrocław Jewish Community, but its current proprietor, Oława Forest District, is hesitant to sign an agreement in which they would oblige themselves to check (not: take care of) the shape of the cemetery twice a year

Polish Police and Jewish Ghetto Police. Two interviews on the topics which are causing heated debates in Poland. Since the new government took power in Poland in 2015, the dominant historical policy has been to whitewash Polish complicity in the Holocaust. This has also been apparent in public (and these generously sponsored by state-owned companies) media outlets, where journalists follow suit. Many articles appeared recently in which the role of the Jewish police was misinterpreted and the Polish police glorified. Our interviews are the answer to these. We talk to Sylwia Szymańska-Smolkin, PhD, (Uppsala University) about the Polish Police and to Katarzyna Person, PhD, (Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw)

I will come back when you sleep (Wrócę, gdy będziesz spała). A review of a newly published book by Patrycja Dołowy on children saved by Polish women. Children of the Holocaust, now all in their 70s and 80s, talk about their relation with “Polish” and “Jewish” mothers

— The next chapters of the Yiddish novel Edenia — a City of the Future, in which we find out that after twenty years without wars, people only die because of their old age, and experiments made on rabbits indicate that bringing people back to life will be possible

Torah Queeries — except for a Passover text, in this issue we translated a commentary to the Acharei-Mot parasha, which deals with the infamous line: “You shall not lie with a man as a man lies with a woman; it is an abomination”. Its author, rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, debates the limits of the flexibility of the Jewish Law with regard to that prohibition.


Wishing you Hag Pesach Sameach,

Chidusz team