Sąsiedzi: Historia Zagłady Żydowskiego Miasteczka
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Sąsiedzi: Historia Zagłady Żydowskiego Miasteczka

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  890 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Tragedia tysiąca sześciuset Żydów z Jedwabnego zamordowanych 10 lipca 1941 roku przez swoich sąsiadów, choć znalazła epilog w łomżyńskim sądzie w maju 1949 roku, nie weszła do historiografii drugiej wojny światowej. Książka wypełnia tę lukę w oparciu o relacje niedoszłych ofiar, świadków i uczestników pogromu. Autor zapytuje, czy w świetle dramatu w Jedwabnem nie należałob...more
Paperback, 163 pages
Published January 28th 2000 by Pogranicze
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Nancy
This is a true and terrifying book I did not want to read...but knew I should. The brief description of the book below is taken from the Princeton Review.

"One summer day in 1941, half of the Polish town of Jedwabne murdered the other half, 1,600 men, women, and children, all but seven of the town's Jews.

Jan Gross pieces together eyewitness accounts and other evidence into an engulfing reconstruction of the horrific July day remembered well by locals but forgotten by history.

It is a story of su...more
Melody Boggs
It's hard to process that, in such a slim volume, Jan T. Gross thoroughly debunks the myth of innocence, ignorance, and "forced" killings that so pervades public understanding of the Holocaust. But the author accomplishes it, weaving historical records with brief narration to give new meaning to the terms "perpetrator" and "collaborator." It's also a study on human motivation and how such mass murders can be abided in the face of that motivation. Gross' argument that half of the Jedwabne communi...more
Betsy
Very interesting, very sickening. Beware when picking this up - graphic and disturbing.

Side note: Jews living in Poland have recently told me that - while his facts are absolutely correct - they felt the book itself has given an overall inaccurate impression of Polish anti-Semitism and has implied that this continues, at the same level, today. That is, they felt it's not as primitive and prevalent and that this book has somehow supported that thought. I can see how it supports it but tried mysel...more
Sam
Interesting in that it explores Polish anti-semitic action during WWII, which is often overlooked. But Gross' bias is quite evident, and even distracting to the story and understanding the history. His attempt to correct the omission of Polish complicity to "the final solution" oversteps its usefulness by misrepresenting in the other direction.
Jaycob
My own family's link to this book: In 1941, my great-grandparents sent my grandfather's younger brother to stay with a family in Jedwabne, Poland, thinking it was safer there. They would later learn that my grandfather's little brother (my great-uncle, though it feels odd to say that given his death 40+ years before I was born) was packed into a barn along with many of the town's other Jews by the townspeople, who then set it on fire. Sadly, as my grandfather eventually became the sole surviving...more
Elliot Ratzman
What went wrong with Poland? The conventional story is that Poles were anti-Semitic because for them Jews ran Communism. When the Nazis invaded Poland, they were greeted as liberators. Gross argues this is not quite right. In 1941 the Catholic half of the town of Jedwabne murdered the Jewish half through obscene and proximate methods: decapitation, drowning, burning. Unlike the anonymity of death camp gas and the morally ambiguous role of soldiers ‘doing their duty’ these Poles were not compelle...more
Saul
A totally fascinating book that shows every aspect of the perfect storm of circumstances that led a small town in the Lomza/Bialystock region to slaughter half its population (the Jewish half) in a single day in July of 1941. For years, it was believed that the Nazis perpetuated this slaughter, as is reported even in Martin Gilbert's famous HOLOCAUST history from the '80's. But it appears that they only watched as the villagers and others from nearby villages orchestrated and carried out the hum...more
Mae
This book is a long academic paper. What actually happened was terrible and heart-rending, so I was surprised at how momentously unmoving a read Neighbors was. I don't think I need a book to be overly flowery or sentimental, but the actual text was so academic it was difficult to pay attention to. A lot of analysis of the various merits of different kinds of sources, and conclusions being back up with words like "furthermore" and "secondly."

I ain't in college no more. Not for me.
Lauren Hopkins
Not a huge fan of this book, which reads like a senior thesis rather than a gripping history of a chilling event. The theory posited by Gross is that the Holocaust is typically seen as mass murder perpetrated by the Nazi war machine, but pogroms like the one that took place in Jedwabne were carried out not by Nazis or Germans, but by Poles...and not just Poles, but the Polish neighbors who knew their victims personally for motives of their own, not because Nazis forced them to do it. In his Afte...more
George
On July 10, 1941, half of the population of Jedwabne, Poland murdered the other (Jewish) half. Approximately 1,600 Jewish men, women and children were killed. Only seven Jedwabne Jews survived, saved by a Polish woman, Antonina Wyrzykowska, who lived nearby. This is the shocking and brutal story of what happened that day.

This story – another in a growing list of books and articles about Polish-Jewish relations, especially in the years before, during, and after WWII – seems to have been forgotten...more
Sarah
This is a very difficult little book, about the pogroms in Eastern Poland in the summer of 1941, particularly that of the village of Jedwabne when about half the adult male population murdered their Jewish neighbours, first in unbelievably brutal humiliation, beatings, slow drownings, live-burial and decapitation - eg of a young girl, whom they all knew, in the village square - then by burning virtually all the rest of the Jewish population alive in a barn. After a visit to Auschwitz, reading mo...more
Doris
Feb 26, 2010 Doris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history students
I have a Polish Jew friend who survived a German concentration camp, and her reaction was that this was on target with one exception - there is a point where it states that the Germans did not kill Jews, and that is incorrect. I would like to quote the page but have returned the book to the library...

Overall this is disturbing not so much in what happened - I have heard eyewitness accounts. What is scary, frightening, terrifying even - is that the people performing these horrors were not faceles...more
Mateusz
Gross’s book is a look at the relations of Poles and Jews during the years of World War II occupation through the prism of the pogrom that occurred in Jedwabne, a village in eastern Poland in June 1941, just as the German troops took the control of the region away from the Soviets. Gross pieces together the few eyewitness accounts of the event with other evidence, mainly the depositions taken by Polish prosecutors between 1949 and 1953 during the trial of the pogroms’ perpetrators. The resultin...more
Stevie
This is a sad and sobering book about how a village massacred almost all of its Jewish inhabitants by archaic means such as stoning, clubbing, and burning to death. It hurt my heart to read it, and reminded me of the depravity of man and a yearning for God’s justice.

Poignant Quotes:

Since it appeared impossible to save the Jewish people who were being methodically annihilated by the Nazi-organized killing process, a sense of obligation grew among Jewish record-keepers (they say so explicitly and...more
Chris
This book brings to light a small little war that broke out between two groups of people that were for the life of them friends. Because of the prejudices coming about during WWII, many people became fearful of other races, even if they were friends before. This book shows the horrors of what happens when people let their fears take over and direct them to committ such horrendous actions without fear of the consequence. This fight took place between the polls and the jews in this small town. Onc...more
Chris
What makes people kill those they live next to? Not sure, but this book does a close up of the question.

Gross' book apparently raised quite a discussion in Poland. It is short and despite the subject matter, rather easy to read. It is as if Gross knows that if he goes too emotional, the reader will have to put the book down. The most haunting section is the last section which is simply pictures.

The book is important because it does showcase how history can be forgotten or overlooked. It also sh...more
Jenny
An academic historiography of the massacre of Jews in a Polish town during the German occupation (1941.) The shocking aspect is that this wasn't perpetrated in a Nazi concentration camp, the Jews in Jedwabne, Poland were murdered by their non-Jewish, non-Nazi neighbors.

This goes along with a new & controversial aspect of research into genocide. The theory being that totaliarian regimes manipulate and set the stage for state-sponsored genocide but often in order for the genocide to occur ther...more
Anne Daigler
Gross is excellent in his research and presentation of this book about a small town where neighbors became enemies in Holocaust Poland. The psychology behind it all is incredible. I'm pretty much obsessed with anything to do with WWII and the Holocaust, and this book is different in that it is about ordinary non-Jewish civilians taking lives of thier own Jewish neighbors. Horrifying and intriguing. A lot of controversy surrounds the book, but it is still probably one of the best on this subject...more
JoséMaría BlancoWhite
The reason why half a Polish village one day in 1941 killed the other half was -allegedly- anti-Semitism. Actually it could have been any other reason, as it could have been any other place in the world. When hatred, envy, and the darkest in the human soul is continuously aroused against a population, then these things happen, even today. This book serves as a warning to evil sowers of propaganda in their own political benefit, demagogues of all nationalities.

Just after the Second World War 1,60...more
Jay McCue
I was completely blown away by this story. The fact that something as horrific as what this book describes happened is really terrible, but the fact that it was almost forgotten by history altogether is just another tragedy. This book provides a particular insight into the very worst that humanity is capable of. The author gives answers to the who, how, and why questions of this tragedy. Let more be aware of this story so that something like this can be avoided in the future and never repeated.
Jodi
A largely unknown story about the anti-semitism that permeated Europe during WWII. Neighbors literally bludgeoned each other to death, corralled Jewish neighbors in a barn and burned them to death, and many other atrocities. The author examines what caused people to turn so violently and vehemently against their neighbors. I found this book disturbing, and fascinating. I also found many parallels between this situation and the Rwandan Genocide.
Anna
Books on such subject are important, but for me Gross went in wrong direction. The book is poorly written; for me the notes should be at the end of the book. The subject is disturbing and horryfing. But also see two sides:
- in Jedwabne Poles murdered their Jewish neighbours;
- Righteous Amnog the Nation.

I think that Gross concentrated too much on aspects of prejudice and fear.
Andrew Rosner
My grandfather grew up in Poland and fled to Czechoslovakia when he was 16, but not before he paused to spit on Polish soil. After reading this book, it's easy to understand why. A truly horrifying examination of what Sebastian Haffner termed the "endemic and murderous" nature of Eastern European anti-semitism.
IAMLEGION
This is not as incredible as it sounds. This Poland community turned in the favor of the Nazis, with the common man (your neighbor) jumping in to do there bidding against the Jews. This is a true story. A very quick read, but "a must" if you want to understand human behavior durnig the worst of times.
Joey Dhaumya
3 stars because of the lack of corroborative research, such as looking through German archives, as well as a few important factual inconsistencies. The criticisms and controversies can be easily accessed online, so do pardon my laziness. I will, however, say that this is a very important book.
Eric
A couple weeks after the Nazis invaded the Soviet half of Poland, the Poles of the small town of Jedwabne took it upon themselves to murder the 800 Jews who lived there--their neighbors. This is one of the creepiest historical accounts I've ever read.
Darla
I read this for a class, well actually for a paper for a class. It was and is one of those books that left a lasting impact on my life. Its sad so be prepared, but a book I think anyone would enjoy.
Andy
Gripping and completely overwhelming, this book reveals a mostly unknown aspect the Holocaust: many Poles participated in the mass murder of Jews during World War II.
Zoe Zunica
An amazingly well researched and written book that opens your eyes to a previously overlooked part of history.
Shayla
Fascinating tale of the capacity humanity has for evil. Changed how I view the events of the Holocaust.
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