Images of the Jew Focused on in the Translated Polish Works of Tadeusz Borowski, Jerzy Andrzejewski, and Czeslaw Milosz
- Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
- Purdue University Press
- Volume 18, Number 3, Spring 2000
- pp. 13-26
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- Additional Information
Historically Poles have been unable to resist writing about Jews. "Judeophilic" writing in Polish literature was impressive—illustrative of the often affectionate attitude toward Jews. On the other hand, the writing was often remarkable for its palpable departure from real-life situations. From the years 1530-1990 a body of work was produced that was characterized by stereotypes, distortions, paternalism, and condescension toward Jews. In this essay several works from the nineteenth century are summarized as illustrating the efforts of Polish writers to bring the Jew into the mainstream of Polish life. The essay then turns to Borowski's This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, which exemplifies the confrontation of one writer to the concentrationary experience, Andrzejewski's Holy Week, which concerns a failed attempt to save one Jewish woman during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and Milosz's poetry, which deals with the impact of history upon moral beings and the search for ways to survive spiritual ruin in today's world.