Building our own home : the ethnic identity of the Jews of Krakow, 1918-1939 / by Sean Martin.
This work shows how one East European minority community fostered a distinct ethnic identity while attempting integration into the majority culture. The attempt involved the establishment and development of separate Jewish institutions, including Jewish newspapers, schools, and cultural organizations. As community leaders endeavored to integrate into the Polish community, they challenged Polish society not only to accept the presence of multiple ethnic groups but to embrace the cultural diversity multiethnicity provided. Writing in Polish, Jewish nationalist intellectuals created a modern, multifaceted Jewish identity that combined Zionist ideology with elements of Polish culture. Private Jewish schools promoted a distinct ethnic identity, but they also prepared Jewish children to function in the larger society. Jewish academic, professional, theatrical, social, and sports organizations arose alongside more traditional Jewish religious organizations in Krakow, resulting in a more secular and diversified Jewish community. These organizations did not, however, serve to separate the Jewish community from the Polish population, but at times they promoted Polish patriotism and a Jewish affiliation with Polish culture. In short, the Jews of Krakow began to develop unique subcultures with varying components of Zionist Hebrew, Polish national, traditional religious, and secular Yiddish elements. An examination of these subcultures helps to understand the complex reality of Jewish life in interwar Poland. The Jews of Krakow were not a people apart, but part of a nation trying both to maintain its own sense of identity and enter into the larger Polish community.
Record last modified: 2018-05-24 14:02:00
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