Between Defense and Attack: Revisionist Responses to Anti-Jewish Violence in 1930s Poland Cover Image
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Między obroną a atakiem: syjoniści-rewizjoniści wobec przemocy antyżydowskiej w Polsce w latach trzydziestych
Between Defense and Attack: Revisionist Responses to Anti-Jewish Violence in 1930s Poland

Author(s): Daniel Kupfert Heller
Subject(s): History, Recent History (1900 till today), History of Antisemitism
Published by: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny
Keywords: Zionists-revisionists; Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky; self-defence

Summary/Abstract: While the causes and scope of anti-Jewish violence in 1930s Poland has generated significant attention among historians, few of them have examined the attempts of interwar Polish Jews to determine how best to prevent the attacks upon their communities. This article investigates how one major Jewish political organization, the Union of Revisionist Zionists, struggled to assess the repercussions of organizing self-defence groups to combat anti-Jewish violence in Poland. Despite the Revisionist movement’s leadership cult for its founder, Vladimir Jabotinsky, his public response to Polish anti-Semitism was not readily accepted by all of his followers. The article instead highlights how the movement’s local leaders and members presented diverse and frequently competing responses to anti-Jewish violence in Poland. By exploring their debates, this article sheds light on the multiple political, cultural and regional fault lines that could play a role in configuring Polish Jewish responses to anti-Jewish violence in the 1930s. The article also addresses the extent to which members of the Revisionist movement in towns and cities across the country implemented the competing approaches towards anti-Jewish violence articulated by their movement’s leaders.

  • Issue Year: 258/2016
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 407-429
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: Polish