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The world that was lost LIFE BEFORE THE WAR. Essential Questions  What were the varieties of Jewish life that existed in Poland before World War II?

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Presentation on theme: "The world that was lost LIFE BEFORE THE WAR. Essential Questions  What were the varieties of Jewish life that existed in Poland before World War II?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The world that was lost LIFE BEFORE THE WAR

2 Essential Questions  What were the varieties of Jewish life that existed in Poland before World War II?  What was Jewish life like in Poland before World War II?  Was there a way to predict that it would be threatened? THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE IS NOT JUST THE HOLOCAUST, AND THE HOLOCAUST IS NOT JUST THE JEWISH EXPERIENCE. JEWISH EXPERIENCE EXISTS BEFORE AND AFTER THE HOLOCAUST. THE HOLOCAUST IS PART OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE, HUMAN HISTORY.

3  Poland had >3,000,000 Jews before the war. (Israel only reached 6 million last week.)  In 1937, there were only 4.7 million Jews in all of the U.S.  There were ~ 16.5 million Jews in the whole world in 1939  There were Jews in every country in Europe  Polish Jews had been in Poland ~ 1,000 years  Poland = center of Jewish life, not America  Major cities:  Warsaw: 30% Jewish  Lodz: 33% Jewish  Kielce: 40%  Shtetls: 75% to 90% Jewish JEWISH LIFE BEFORE THE WAR

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5 FAMOUS SYNAGOGUES Warsaw, Poland Lodz, Poland

6  Most of the Polish population was rural  Most of the Jewish population was urban  Only 4% of Jews = farmers, whereas >60% of Poles = farmers  In Lodz, 80% of doctors = Jewish  In Warsaw, 66% of doctors = Jewish  Jews just recently given right to vote  Poles worried they would be outvoted by minorities CAN YOU SEE THE ROOTS OF ANTI-SEMITISM BEING BUILT? DEMOGRAPHICS

7  In census, 88% of Polish Jews said mother tongue was Yiddish  70% said nationality was Jewish, not Polish.  Many different groups of Jews, each with own newspapers, publications, social events, political arm 1.Hasids 2.Bund 3.Zionist 4.Communist 5.Agudat Israel 6.Youth Movements 7.Bais Yaakov POLISH JEWRY WAS NOT MONOLITHIC, BUT A MOSAIC, all struggling with balancing modernity with tradition. JEWISH CULTURE

8 YIDDISH IN PRINT

9 Sciences  Albert Einstein  Sigmund Freud Literature  Sholom Aleichem  Isaac Peretz  Isaac Bashevis Singer Film  Aizik Samberg  Leon Kharaz  Simkhe Rozen FAMOUS ICONS Religion  Baal Shem Tov  Rebbe Nachman  Gerer Rebbe Philosophy  Martin Buber  Abraham Joshua Heschel  Franz Rosensweig

10 Membership card of Breyndel Chliwner (Betti Kenig), a member of the Yiddish Actors Union, Warsaw, (YIVO)

11  Accultration: Adoption by a minority cultural group of a majority cultural group's customs and attitudes. Minority group manages to stay a distinct, although, altered, society.  Assimilation: Does not leave minority culture intact. Minority group will gradually adopt the customs and attitudes of the dominant culture until inevitably it becomes completely absorbed by the dominant culture.  Poland: Accultration  German: Assimilation  WHICH IS BETTER? ACCULTRATION VS. ASSIMILATION

12 WHICH IS BETTER? Poland Vienna

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14 THE NUMBERS CountryPrewar Jewish Population Postwar Jewish Population % killed POLAND3,000,00045, % ROMANIA980,000280,00071% GREECE100,0007,00093%


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