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Conflict or Harmony? Poles and Jews in a Small Galician town

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image of International Journal on Minority and Group Rights

An analysis of Polish-Jewish relations which reveals the ambivalent aspects of the relationship and argues that Polish hostility towards the Jews is not inevitable. Even during periods of open conflict mechanisms existed which reduced tension. This argument is developed through a historical account of Polish-Jewish relations in Miasteczko, a village in south-east Poland. Particular attention is paid to economic competition and interdependence as well as the maintenance of ethnic boundaries and relations between Jewish patrons and Polish clients. The dynamics of ethnic conflict are then analysed through a case study of a Jewish girl who became a Roman Catholic during 1928. While the conversion generated considerable ill feeling at the time relations between the two communities were not radically affected. Despite tensions and inequalities between the two communities inter-ethnic relations were shaped by a long-established structure of extensive social and political cooperation between Poles and Jews.

Affiliations: 1: Research Officer, Amsterdam School for Social Science Research


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