front cover of And Yet I Still Have Dreams
And Yet I Still Have Dreams
A Story of Certain Loneliness
Joanna Wiszniewicz
Northwestern University Press, 2004
And Yet I Still Have Dreams is a departure from many Holocaust memoirs and biographies. Based on interviews with "Alex," an anonymous survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and three concentration camps, the story follows him from his assimilated childhood to his coming to terms with his memories of the Holocaust as an older man. Alex is angry, pugnacious, and contemptuous of the stereotypes found in some survivor literature and honest about the shortcomings of other works.

The book provides a connection to seldom discussed aspects of the Holocaust: the gulf between rich and poor Jews and how this translated into everyday survival; the refusal by Alex to see himself or Jews in general as heroes or victims; his own self-absorption as a teen in the ghetto; and his "priviliged" family's near-indifference to the suffering of those around them. Alex paints a picture of complex and diverse Jewish society in prewar Poland, revealing how, many years later and despite his determine to leave it in the past, the burdens of memory--and the dreams--linger.

front cover of The Ethics of Witnessing
The Ethics of Witnessing
The Holocaust in Polish Writers' Diaries from Warsaw, 1939-1945
Rachel Feldhay Brenner
Northwestern University Press, 2014

Winner, 2015 USC Book Award in Literary and Cultural Studies, for outstanding monograph published on Russia, Eastern Europe or Eurasia in the fields of literary and cultural studies

The Ethics of Witnessing investigates the reactions of five important Polish diaristswriters—Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, Maria Dabrowska, Aurelia Wylezynska, Zofia Nalkowska, and Stanislaw Rembek—during the period when the Nazis persecuted and murdered Warsaw’s Jewish population. The responses to the Holocaust of these prominent prewar authors extended from insistence on empathic interaction with victims to resentful detachment from Jewish suffering. Whereas some defied the dehumanization of the Jews and endeavored to maintain intersubjective relationships with the victims they attempted to rescue, others selfdeceptively evaded the Jewish plight. The Ethics of Witnessing examines the extent to which ideologies of humanism and nationalism informed the diarists’ perceptions, proposing that the reality of the Final Solution exposed the limits of both orientations and ultimately destroyed the ethical landscape shaped by the Enlightenment tradition, which promised the equality and fellowship of all human beings.


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Holy Week
A Novel of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Jerzy Andrzejewski
Ohio University Press, 2006

At the height of the Nazi extermination campaign in the Warsaw Ghetto, a young Jewish woman, Irena, seeks the protection of her former lover, a young architect, Jan Malecki. By taking her in, he puts his own life and the safety of his family at risk. Over a four-day period, Tuesday through Friday of Holy Week 1943, as Irena becomes increasingly traumatized by her situation, Malecki questions his decision to shelter Irena in the apartment where Malecki, his pregnant wife, and his younger brother reside. Added to his dilemma is the broader context of Poles’ attitudes toward the “Jewish question” and the plight of the Jews locked in the ghetto during the final moments of its existence.

Few fictional works dealing with the war have been written so close in time to the events that inspired them. No other Polish novel treats the range of Polish attitudes toward the Jews with such unflinching honesty.

Jerzy Andrzejewski’s Holy Week (Wielki Tydzien, 1945), one of the significant literary works to be published immediately following the Second World War, now appears in English for the first time.

This translation of Andrzejewski’s Holy Week began as a group project in an advanced Polish language course at the University of Pittsburgh. Class members Daniel M. Pennell, Anna M. Poukish, and Matthew J. Russin contributed to the translation; the instructor, Oscar E. Swan, was responsible for the overall accuracy and stylistic unity of the translation as well as for the biographical and critical notes and essays.


front cover of Mapping Warsaw
Mapping Warsaw
The Spatial Poetics of a Postwar City
Ewa Wampuszyc
Northwestern University Press, 2018
Inspired by the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences, Mapping Warsaw is an interdisciplinary study that combines urban studies, cinema studies, cultural studies, history, literature, and photography. It examines Warsaw's post-World War II reconstruction through images and language.

Juxtaposing close readings of photo books, socialist-era newsreels called the Polska Kronika Filmowa, the comedies of Leonard Buczkowski and Jan Fethke, the writing and films of Tadeusz Konwicki, and a case study on the Palace of Culture and Science—a "gift" from none other than Stalin—this study investigates the rhetorical and visual, rather than physical, reconstruction of Warsaw in various medias and genres. 

Ewa Wampuszyc roots her analysis in the historical context of the postwar decade and shows how and why Poland's capital became an essential part of a propaganda program inspired by communist ideology and the needs of a newly established socialist People's Republic. Mapping Warsaw demonstrates how physical space manifests itself in culture, and how culture, history, and politics leave an indelible mark on places. It points out ways in which we take for granted our perception of space and the meanings we assign to it.

front cover of The Subtenant / To Outwit God
The Subtenant / To Outwit God
Hanna Krall
Northwestern University Press, 1992
This volume presents two works by acclaimed Polish journalist Hanna Krall: The Subtenant, a semi-autobiographical novel, and To Outwit God, a remarkable interview with Marek Edelman, the last surviving leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The Subtenant explores the troubled and ever-shifting relationships between Poles and Jews, beginning with the author's concealment as a child during the Nazi years and ending in 1981 when martial law was declared in Poland. In To Outwit God, Edelman's words assault conventional assumptions about heroes and heroism, taking in his time not only in the Warsaw Ghetto but his careers as a physician and a Solidarity activist. Taken together, the two works form a powerful memoir of Jewish survival, a meditation on Polish-Jewish relations, and a commentary on the forces that have produced modern Polish opposition movements.

front cover of Warsaw
David Crowley
Reaktion Books, 2003
Warsaw has an unenviable reputation in the minds of many: often invoked as the epitome of the brutal environment produced by Soviet aesthetics and planning, its name conjures up a grey, faceless world of tower blocks and Orwellian governmental buildings; its image – perhaps more so than that of any other city in the former Soviet block – inextricably tied to the fate of the Communist system. Warsaw appears to have been locked in the vice of history – crushed by one totalitarian system, remade by another, only now being liberated by market forces. The history of this power play is only one of the stories that can be told about the life and environment of Warsaw; however, to those who live there or know the city well, Warsaw can be an exciting and stimulating place.

Avoiding the predictable pathways of conventional architectural and urban history writing, David Crowley reveals Warsaw’s visual and urban cultural history through narrative and anecdote, telling stories of the everyday, albeit in extraordinary circumstances. Warsaw examines the ways in which the fabric of the city has been shaped by Communist ideology since the late 1940s, and shows how the city has been spectacularly transformed since the introduction of a market economy in 1989. It also reflects on the ways in which the citizens of Warsaw use and enrich their living areas and the city they inhabit. In Warsaw, the past runs deep, and buildings are marked by myths and curses. David Crowley acts as our guide through this scarred yet uplifting terrain.

front cover of The Warsaw Uprising of 1944
The Warsaw Uprising of 1944
Wlodzimierz Borodziej
University of Wisconsin Press, 2006

The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 dramatically tells the largely unknown story of the Warsaw resistance movement during World War II. Desperate to free themselves from German military oppression but also hoping to show the advancing Soviets that they could not impose easy rule upon the citizens of Warsaw, the Poles launched an almost hopeless attack against the Germans on August 1, 1944.

    Wlodzimierz Borodziej presents an evenhanded account of what is commonly considered the darkest chapter in Polish history during World War II. In only sixty-three days, the Germans razed Warsaw to the ground and 200,000 people, mostly civilians, lost their lives. The result—a heroic and historically pivotal turning point—meant that the Poles would lose both their capital and an entire generation. This concise account of the trauma—little known to English-speaking readers—will appeal to anyone interested in the history of World War II in general and is a must-read for students of Polish history in particular.

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