On a summer day in 1941 in Nazi-occupied Poland, half of the town of Jedwabne brutally murdered the other half: 1,600 men, women, and children-all but seven of the town’s Jews. In this shocking and compelling study, historian Jan Gross pieces together eyewitness accounts as well as physical evidence into a comprehensive reconstruction of the horrific July day remembered well by locals but hidden to history. Revealing wider truths about Jewish-Polish relations, the Holocaust, and human responses to occupation and totalitarianism, Gross’s investigation sheds light on how Jedwabne’s Jews came to be murdered-not by faceless Nazis, but by people who knew them well.
“An important contribution to the literature of human bestiality unleashed by war.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Like an oral tale transcribed by a folklorist, it has the ring of the eternal to it…. Hatred like this runs deep in human nature and is ever ready to erupt again. Be warned.” —Los Angeles Times
“Extraordinary.” —New Republic
Outline of the Story
Before the War
Soviet Occupation, 1939-1941
The Outbreak of the Russo-German War and the Pogrom in Radzilow
Who Murdered the Jews of Jedwabne?
What Do People Remember?
New Approach to Sources
Is It Possible to Be Simultaneously a Victim and a Victimizer?
Social Support for Stalinism
For a New Historiography