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The Expulsion of Jews from Communist Poland

Memory Wars and Homeland Anxieties

In March 1968, against the background of the Six-Day War, a campaign of antisemitism and anti-Zionism swept through Poland. The Expulsion of Jews from Communist Poland is the first full-length study of the events, their precursors, and the aftermath of this turbulent period.

Plocker offers a new framework for understanding how this antisemitic campaign was motivated by a genuine fear of Jewish influence and international power. She sheds new light on the internal dynamics of the communist regime in Poland, stressing the importance of middle-level functionaries, whose dislike and fear of Jews had an unmistakable impact on the evolution of party policy.

The Expulsion of Jews from Communist Poland examines how Communist Party leader Wladyslaw Gomulka's anti-Zionist rhetoric spiraled out of hand and opened up a fraught Pandora's box of old assertions that Jews controlled the Communist Party, the revival of nationalist chauvinism, and a witch hunt in universities and workplaces that conjured up ugly memories of Nazi Germany.

About the Author

Anat Plocker teaches at the School of General Studies at Stockton University, specializing in Modern European History. Her work on communist Poland has appeared in English, Polish and Hebrew.


"In the first comprehensive English-language study of the crucial March 1968 events in Poland, Anat Plocker deftly analyzes the sources of the upheaval that ended in the forced emigration of 13,500-15,000 Jews from the country. Using a wide array of archival and memoir sources, Plocker convincingly demonstrates that the communist party's anti-Zionist campaign was the product of Polish nationalist thinking in the party as it intersected with Polish anti-Semitism and the politicized memory of the war and Holocaust. This is a personal and deeply scholarly account that makes for riveting reading."—Norman Naimark, Stanford University

"This is the first comprehensive English monograph of the infamous "anti-Zionist campaign" of 1968, which forced in exile thousands of Polish Jews and almost ended the organized Jewish life in Poland. Analyzing a broad source base, including previously top secret documents of the communist party and Security Service, it expands our knowledge and challenges some of the key theses of Polish historiography on the topic."—Dariusz Stola, Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN

"Plocker challenges our understanding of recent Polish history by exploring a seemingly episodic event: the antisemitic campaign conducted by the communist government in 1967-68 against the remnants of the Jewish community in Poland. This powerful book shows us how the forced emigration of alleged "Zionists" was a defining moment for the consolidation of Polish ethnonationalism and a distinct memory of World War Two that continues to shape Polish politics today. Extensively researched and lucidly argued, this book masterfully combines intellectual rigor with a deeply humanistic narrative."—Malgorzata Fidelis, University of Illinois at Chicago.

"In this clear-sighted and compelling book, Anat Plocker skillfully mines the archives to trace the origins, course, and legacies of the anti-Zionist campaign in 1960s Poland, when communist leaders and lower-level officials alike mobilized antisemitism to advance their political agendas. By focusing on the language and processes of exclusion, she also offers timely context for understanding the revival of both Polish nationalist narratives of the Holocaust and fear-based campaigns against vulnerable populations across the world."—Kathryn Ciancia, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Indiana University Press
The Modern Jewish Experience

9780253058669 : the-expulsion-of-jews-from-communist-poland-plocker
240 Pages
$80.00 USD
9780253058652 : the-expulsion-of-jews-from-communist-poland-plocker
Paperback / softback
240 Pages
$30.00 USD

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