“A Dark Enormous Cloud is Hanging Above Us and It Is Bound To Fall...” The Reaction of Jews in Large and Small Towns in the General Government to News about Operation Reinhardt Cover Image
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„Czarna, ogromna chmura wisi nad nami i na pewno spadnie…” Żydzi w miastach i miasteczkach Generalnego Gubernatorstwa wobec wiadomości o akcji „Reinhardt”
“A Dark Enormous Cloud is Hanging Above Us and It Is Bound To Fall...” The Reaction of Jews in Large and Small Towns in the General Government to News about Operation Reinhardt

Author(s): Maria Ferenc Piotrowska
Subject(s): Studies in violence and power, Victimology, History of the Holocaust, History of Antisemitism
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów & IFiS PAN
Keywords: Operation Reinhardt; the provinces; news of the Holocaust; denial; limit situations; anthropology of death; Polish-Jewish relations; witness;

Summary/Abstract: This article regards the existential experience of Holocaust victims and the psychological and cognitive mechanisms in confrontation with the first news about the functioning of the death camps. It analyzes the testimonies of Jews from over 40 towns and small towns in the General Government regarding the gradual influx of news about the Holocaust and the consequent reactions. Initially, the hearsay came mostly from afar, and then from increasingly close localities. The Poles were the source of that (imprecise) information about the lot of the deported Jews, while in certain localities appeared escapees from the death centers who gave accounts of what they had witnessed. That hearsay and those testimonies met with different reactions – from despair, through denial, suppression, and resignation, to attempts to save one’s life. This article devotes special attention to a reflection on the possibility of death of oneself and one’s family as well as the phenomenon of denial and pushing the news about the Holocaust away from oneself.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 13
  • Page Range: 295-324
  • Page Count: 30
  • Language: Polish