STUDIES: Szaber frenzy Cover Image
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STUDIES: Szaber frenzy
STUDIES: Szaber frenzy

Author(s): Marcin Zaremba
Subject(s): History
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów & IFiS PAN
Keywords: looting (szaber); war chaos; culture of poverty; property pillage

Summary/Abstract: The subject of this article is war, and especially post-war, szaber – a phenomenon of mass looting of unattended property. The text is divided into three parts. In the first part, I attempt to explain theoretically the origin of szaber, indicating (among other things) its links with the culture of poverty and a necessary condition for the szaber to take place – a moment of chaos and a temporary decline of the power structures. In the second part, I formulate a hypothesis that ethnic difference was a necessary condition for szaber to emerge. I illustrate it with examples from September 1939, when first we faced a phenomenon of mass looting of unattended property. The article also deals with the pillage of the ghettos by Poles in 1942. The third part is devoted to the highest wave of looting, which took place mostly in the Regained Western and Northern Territories, immediately after the war. The text is constructed in such a way that at the end I return to the origin of the phenomenon, formulating a thesis that it created a certain szaber culture.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 173-203
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: English