Imaginary Neighbors offers a unique and significant contribution to the contemporary debate concerning Holocaust memory by exploring the most important current political topic in Poland: Jewish-Polish relations during and after World War II. Drawing on the controversy and attention generated by Jan Gross’s landmark book Neighbors, whose description of the brutal Jedwabne massacre reignited the debate over Polish-Jewish relations during the war, this timely volume presents a rich and nuanced examination of the manner in which past and present relations between Poles and Jews are understood in Poland and in the Polish and Jewish diasporas.
Rather than revisiting historical details of Jedwabne, this innovative collection uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the reverberations of the events—and the scholarship that has evolved around them—within the context of the Polish national community. Combining scholarly essays with literary and journalistic accounts, Imaginary Neighbors demonstrates that the Holocaust memory in Poland, together with the memory of Polish Jews and Jewish culture, continues to be engaged in conflict. What emerges is a passionate conversation among cultural critics, philosophers, literary theorists, historians, theologians, and writers on the vexing issues of responsibility, forgiveness, reconciliation, and national and religious identity.