Żydowscy sąsiedzi. O więziach społecznych w pamięci mieszkańców południowej Polski
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Jewish neighbours. Social ties as recalled by inhabitants of Southern Poland
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The memory of Polish and Jewish relationships is one of the most intriguing issues within sociology and social anthropology. The present study focuses on neighbour relationships and collective memory. By exploring memories of witnesses of the events predating World War II, this paper demonstrates that the cohabitation of Poles and Jews did not generate community-building ties. Due to the extensive cultural alienation of Jews, the spatial proximity was not sufficient for close relationships to flourish. Rather, these groups predominantly showed limited community bonds, marked by a tolerance for otherness that did not translate into solidary actions. Poles remember that Jews were somewhere close but their otherness prevented them from having more intimate, constructive neighbour relationships. Based on witnesses’ memories, the paper demonstrates that the memory of relationships between individuals is more positive than the memory of relationships between the two communities. Built upon stereotypes, the latter reinforced the negative image of Jews as a community despite positive experiences with individual Jews who were close neighbours.
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