The summer of 1941, the start of Operation Barbarossa, witnessed the mass murder of Jews in two provinces in north-eastern Poland (Łomza and Grajewo), murders in which local Poles played a significant role, on their own initiative. The murder of the Jews of one of the communities in the region, Jedwabne, was the subject of Jan Gross’s Neighbors, yet thorough research indicates Jedwabne was not the only such case. This essay, based on numerous accounts by both Poles and Jews, seeks to examine the part played by Poles in Jews’ murders in nine additional communities in the area, prior to events in Jedwabne. In order to draw a full picture of events, the essay describes relations between Jews and Poles in the region during the inter-war period, as well as under Soviet rule (1939–41). At the same time it describes the emergence, in both provinces, of the idea of settling the score with the Jews in an attempt to get rid of them once and for all. Since these events were unprecedented and unique in Poland at that period, the essay also addresses the issue of why the murders were committed in this specific region.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2013, copyright 2013 Vallentine Mitchell.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science