Dance with Death

A Holistic View of Saving Polish Jews during the Holocaust Joanna Drzewieniecki. Dance with A Holistic View of Saving Polish Jews during the Holocaust JAROSEAW PIEKAEKIEWICZ Dance with Death Dance with Death A Holistic View of.

Dance with Death

More than seventy-five years have passed since the Holocaust and the terrors visited by German Nazis on occupied Europe. Yet this history continues to be the subject of research, debate, and controversy. One particularly delicate issue is the question of whether non-Jews did all they could to help Jews during the war. In this book, Jarosław Piekałkiewicz examines this issue in detail as it relates to Poland—the country that experienced the harshest German occupation and was slated for permanent incorporation into the German Reich. He examines all the different factors influencing the capacity and willingness of Poles to save Jews and documents the efforts made to save them despite these impediments. Unlike other books on the subject, Piekałkiewicz chooses to start with a chapter on the thousand-year-long history of Jews in Poland. This allows readers to understand why one-third of the world’s Jews lived in Poland before WWII and to learn about their rich and diverse culture. Equally clear are the dark clouds that gathered before the war in the form of fascism and antisemitism expanding in Poland and elsewhere in Europe. Piekałkiewicz is a political scientist who participated in the Polish Resistance as a teenager along with other members of his family. This combination of academic rigor and personal experience gives readers a more realistic understanding than usually available of resistance under German occupation and amid the Holocaust. He provides a detailed understanding of German occupation of Poland and the operations of the Polish Underground and goes on to describe efforts by Poles from many walks of life to save Jews. The text is interspersed with his vivid personal testimonies of surviving and fighting in occupied Poland. At the same time, the author does not shrink from revealing the dark side of the German occupation: fear, envy, greed, demoralization, and collaboration with the Germans to betray Jews, the Poles who hid them, resistance members, and even personal enemies. This book provides readers with the basic elements to understand Polish-Jewish relations during WWII as well as what is probably the last testimony that will ever be published of a former resistance fighter.

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Dance with Death
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