Monthly Publications Update, November 2022, PSA/H-Poland Member Submissions

Patrice Dabrowski's picture

(5 entries:  book, special issue of peer-reviewed journal [= 6 articles], articles, chapter in edited volume)



1.  Machteld Venken, Peripheries at the Centre. Borderland Schooling in Interwar Europe. New York: Berghahn Books, 2021. Open Access:



Special issue of peer-reviewed journal:

2.  History & MemoryVol. 34, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2022): Special Issue: 

Re-membering Poland: History, Memory and Society in East Central Europe, edited by Scott Ury.


From the Editor While this special issue of History and Memory focuses on the intersection between history, memory and society in Poland, the questions raised by the issue's six articles are also relevant for scholars interested in the wider study of memory, including: the critical role of historical memory in periods of radical transition; the intricate connection between national movements and accompanying struggles over collective memory; the central place that minority groups often play in the construction of national memories, histories and societies; the local, urban and material aspects of historical memory; and various attempts to come to terms with (or, alternatively, to refuse to come to terms with) the dark, traumatic chapters that lurk in every nation's historical closet, from slavery in the United States to the Holocaust in Germany to Stalinism in the Soviet Union, and beyond.   

            Scott Ury, Tel Aviv University  


Table of Contents:


Barbara Törnquist-Plewa, Igor Pietraszewski, "Cosmopolitan Memories under Pressure: The Case of Postcommunist Wrocław"  

Abstract: This article uses the Polish case of Wrocław (formerly Breslau), a city burdened by memories of war and forced displacement, to show the dynamics between hegemonic memories, dominant memories and countermemories. After the fall of communism, the city changed the previous nationalist-communist narrative of its past by institutionalizing a new official narrative that promotes cosmopolitan memory. The authors investigate how these local, "Europeanized" politics of memory have since 2015 been confronted by exclusionary narratives of Polish memory and identity that the Polish national government strives to make hegemonic. The study pinpoints the successful maneuvers of the liberal local government determined to resist this nationalist pressure.  


Kinga Polynczuk-Alenius, "Palimpsestic Memoryscape: Heterotopias, 'Multiculturalism' and Racism in Białystok"   

Abstract: This article examines the palimpsestic memoryscape of Białystok to illuminate the ongoing struggle in contemporary Poland between two memory regimes: the declarative "multiculturalism" and the submerged racism. It employs the concept of "heterotopia" and the method of walking in order to study the Jewish Heritage Trail (JHT) as an attempt to recover the memory of bygone multiethnicity and, in doing so, to construct a new "multicultural" brand for the city. By analyzing the post-Jewish spaces located on the JHT—all of which have been appropriated, erased and/or marginalized—the article shows that this new "multicultural" memory regime actually reproduces the inequalities and segregation that structured interethnic relationships in the past.  


Alejandro Perez-Reyes, "A Monumental Reinterpretation: Deciphering the Meanings of Rzeszów's Monument to the Revolutionary Act"  

Abstract: This article evaluates the multifaceted meanings of Rzeszów's Monument to the Revolutionary Act to understand how decommunization is taking place in Poland locally. Using Alexander Etkind's framework of memory hardware and software to interpret the monument's physical symbolism and its appearance in local discourses, the article analyzes various memory events in which the meaning of the monument is contested and competing identity claims are advanced. By doing so, the article explores the limitations of legislating the past and the fluid function of monuments in the formation of city brands and identities.  


Michał Rauszer, Elżbieta Durys, "Monuments of Oblivion: Forgetting, Prosthetic Memory and the Polish Nation" 

Abstract: In the sixteenth century, the Polish nobility created a concept of the noble nation, which excluded the peasants. As modern national identities emerged in the nineteenth century, this concept was extended to include other strata of the population living in the Polish lands. When peasants acquired the national identity, they also acquired the memory of a noble and national past that was not theirs. The article demonstrates this process by examining roadside shrines erected by peasants to celebrate the abolition of serfdom and as a sign of gratitude to the emperors of Russia and Austria for their emancipation. After Poland regained independence, many of these shrines were converted into memorials to Polish national heroes, thus erasing peasant remembrance.  


Eliyana R. Adler, "Entangled Memories: Wartime Experiences in the Soviet Interior in Postwar Holocaust Testimonies" 

Abstract: This article probes the ways in which two purportedly distinct Polish Jewish survival experiences of World War II are in fact entangled. Although living through the Holocaust in Poland and flight into the unoccupied regions of the USSR have generally been presented as separate—with the Holocaust largely overshadowing survival in the Soviet Union—both during the war and afterward, many individuals, families, and communities experienced them as linked. Examining the interconnections helps to chart the development of Holocaust memory.  


Wojciech Tworek, "Nostalgia, Canonization and the Messianic Renewal: The Case of the Chabad Hasidic Movement"  

Abstract: Focusing on the stories by Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn (1880–1950), the leader of the Chabad Hasidic movement, this article explains the significance of nostalgia for the survival of Hasidic communities following the First and Second World Wars. By examining the social and performative function of these stories, it shows how Schneersohn's nostalgic depictions of his lost ancestral home in Lubavitch translated into ideas, collective memories, tangible practices, and brick-and-mortar institutions that helped him forge a new Chabad community in interwar Poland and safeguard its survival in 1940s America. The article also argues that the deployment of nostalgia in Schneersohn's stories testifies to the realignment of the medium of the Hasidic story with contemporary trends in modern Jewish literature and society.  




3.  James Bjork, 'Wartime Germans, Postwar Poles:  Nation Switching and Nation Building after 1945, Journal of Modern History 94:3 (September 2022), 608-47.

Keywords: Poland, Germany, Second World War, Volksdeutsche, rehabilitation, nation switching, national indifference, Catholic church

Abstract:  This article investigates the role that citizens who had spent the Second World War categorized as Germans played in the reconstruction of Polish society after 1945. Existing accounts of the fate of wartime Germans in postwar Poland focus on their expulsion or their tenuous, temporary persistence at the margins of national life. But several million people who had the status of Reichsdeutsche (pre-1939 German citizens) or Volksdeutsche ("ethnic Germans" among pre-1939 Polish citizens) were not only verified or rehabilitated as Poles but also asserted themselves as role models for a new, modern Poland. Disproportionately working-class and highly devout, former Volksdeutsche and Reichsdeutsche displayed precisely the qualities valued, respectively, by Poland's Communist regime and the Catholic Church. Promotion of wartime Germans as icons of heavy industry tended to be strained and awkward since the leadership of Poland's Communist party had few personal links to this milieu. The Roman Catholic hierarchy and clergy, by contrast, were not only sympathetic to wartime Germans but also often recruited from their ranks. Experiences of the war and its immediate aftermath that we would normally identify as "German" thus became integrated into "Polish" memories articulated and legitimized by that ostensibly most national of Polish institutions, the Roman Catholic Church.


4.  Machteld Venken. “Secondary school principals and liminality in Polish Upper Silesia (1919-1939).” Journal of Modern European History (2021). Open Access:


Chapter in Edited Volume:


5. Johanna Jaschik and Machteld Venken. “Dialoguing Borders in the Post-soviet Space through Citizen Science – Ukrainian borderland Perspectives”. In: Sabine von Löwis and Beate Eschment, Beate (eds.), Post-Soviet Borders. A Kaleidoscope of Shifting Lives and Lands. New York: Routledge, 2023, 67-84.