Resurrecting the Jew : nationalism, philosemitism, and Poland's Jewish revival

General Information

Zubrzycki, Geneviève, author.
Princeton ; Oxford : Princeton University Press, 2022.
Physical Description
xxii, 264 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.


"In recent years there has been a burgeoning interest in all things Jewish in Poland. The country's recent "Jewish turn" has been characterized by the proliferation of festivals of Jewish culture, the commercial success of klezmer music, the spread of Judaica bookstores and Jewish-style restaurants, the opening of new Jewish museums, the development and expansion of Jewish studies programs and Holocaust research centers, and the public soul-searching about Polish-Jewish relations before, during, and after the Holocaust. Poland's recent sharp turn to the right has not put the brakes on this phenomenon, as it marries well with a certain type of right-wing philosemitism that lauds the Israeli government's ethnocentric understanding of Zionism. Polish Judeophilia has been driven almost entirely by non-Jewish Poles, although the tiny Polish Jewish community is being bolstered by those Poles who have recently discovered their Jewish ancestry and have begun to self-define as Jewish. In this book, Geneviève Zubrzycki draws on more than a decade of field research conducted in Kraków, Warsaw, and Wrocław from 2010-18, during which she tracked changing Polish-Jewish relations and documented non-Jewish Poles' rising interest in Judaism and Jewish culture. She conducted fieldwork at festivals of Jewish culture across Poland, and was a frequent participant-observer at the Kraków Festival of Jewish Culture. She analyzed the core exhibits and programs of five newly opened Jewish museums; attended large Christian "Passover Seders" aimed at Catholics and Protestants eager to learn about Judaism; and accompanied Polish Jewish youth on a Birthright trip to Israel. She also conducted nearly 100 open-ended interviews with key actors and representatives of institutions involved in major Jewish initiatives and activities, such as rabbis, communal leaders, museologists, artists, newspaper editors, and public intellectuals, as well as participants in communal and cultural events. Zubrzycki, while acknowledging that the interests and motives behind this Jewish revival are varied, argues that it is part of a broader struggle to redefine what constitutes Polishness, and specifically to challenge narrowly nationalistic, ethno-cultural associations of Polishness with Catholicism"--
"An in-depth look at why non-Jewish Poles are trying to bring Jewish culture back to life in Poland today. Since the early 2000s, Poland has experienced a remarkable Jewish revival, largely driven by non-Jewish Poles with a passionate new interest in all things Jewish. Klezmer music, Jewish-style restaurants, kosher vodka, and festivals of Jewish culture have become popular, while new museums, memorials, Jewish studies programs, and Holocaust research centers reflect soul-searching about Polish-Jewish relations before, during, and after the Holocaust. In Resurrecting the Jew, Geneviève Zubrzycki examines this revival and asks what it means to try to bring Jewish culture back to life in a country where 3 million Jews were murdered and where only about 10,000 Jews now live. Drawing on a decade of participant-observation in Jewish and Jewish-related organizations in Poland, a Birthright trip to Israel with young Polish Jews, and more than a hundred interviews of Jewish and non-Jewish Poles engaged in the Jewish revival, Resurrecting the Jew presents an in-depth look at Jewish life in Poland today. The book shows how the revival has been spurred by progressive Poles who want to break the association between Polishness and Catholicism, promote the idea of a multicultural Poland, and resist the Far Right government. The book also raises urgent questions, relevant far beyond Poland, about the limits of performative solidarity and empathetic forms of cultural appropriation"--


Catholic Church > Relations > Judaism.
Jews > Poland > History > 21st century.
Jews > Poland > Social conditions > 21st century.
Jews > Poland > Social life and customs > 21st century.
Nationalism > Poland > Religious aspects.
National characteristics, Polish.
Judaism > Relations > Catholic Church.
Poland > Religious life and customs > 21st century.

Bibliographic Information

Geneviève Zubrzycki.
Princeton studies in cultural sociology
Contemporary Poland and "the Jews": an introduction -- Traces and the sensorium: the materiality of Jewish absence -- "The way we were": nostalgia and romantic philosemitism -- Museum encounters: cultural diplomacy and national pedagogy in the new millenium -- Utopian dreams of multiculturalism: symbolic boundaries and registers of cultural engagement -- Coming out: reconstructing Jewish identity -- Conclusion -- Appendix A: Methods and sources -- Appendix B: Jewish life in Poland, 1945-2021 -- Appendix C: Jewish festivals.


Item Type Current Location Collection Call Number Volume Info Shelving Location Public Note
BookOSA Archivum LibraryReference collection305.892/40438 ZUBReference-

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