From Galicia to Warsaw: Interwar Historians of Polish Jewry

Natalia Aleksiun

Touro College, Graduate School of Jewish Studies

In the Second Polish Republic, university trained Jewish historians strove to make Polish Jewish history an acceptable, legitimate and useful professional field of academic inquiry. They debated the necessary initiatives and organized new institutions to form a cadre of professional historians, to continue their work and expand the scope of the field. Ideas about the role of Polish Jewish history and historians of Polish Jewry, articulated in the Galician context before the First World War, were imported to and applied in Warsaw. The field relied heavily on Galician-born intellectuals and students, who flocked to Warsaw. The capital of the newly reestablished independent Polish state emerged as the centre of Polish Jewish historiography. In Warsaw future Jewish historians pursued academic training and promoted new historical enterprises.

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