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From Assimilation to Antisemitism
The "Jewish Question" in Poland, 1850-1914
Theodore R. Weeks
"Well-written, thoroughly researched, and carefully balanced ... a reliable, concise, and highly accessible account."—American Historical Review
"A significant contribution to our understanding of the relations between Poles and Jews before World War I. An important achievement."—The Polish Review
"Erudite and fascinating. Essential reading."—Religious Studies Review
Before the mid-nineteenth century, Jews in the Polish lands led lives quite separate from their Christian neighbors. As modern ideologies of nationalism gained strength, however, Jewish separateness came to be seen as a problem, even a threat, to the Polish nation. Assimilation, a process by which Jews would become Poles in all but their religious practices, was the solution most often presented by liberal Poles from the late eighteenth century—when the “Jewish question” was first seriously debated in Polish society—until the late nineteenth century. This solution foresaw the cultural, linguistic, and external differences between Catholic Poles and Jews diminishing, thereby allowing Polish-speaking, European-clad Jews to take their appropriate place within the Polish nation.
(2005) 255 pp.
Theodore R. Weeks is Associate Professor of History at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and is the author of Nation and State in Late Imperial Russia.
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