Book Reviews benches issues also add to the general picture presented in most accounts of interwar Polish-Jewish history. The major focus of this book is the Jewish community itself, according to the subtitle, and the book could have focused more clearly on Jewish society; most of the book presents a general picture of Polish-Jewish political relations. While the author needed to establish the Polish side of the equation clearly, he should have explored the Jewish side in greater depth. The internal workings of Jewish political parties are rarely examined, and leading personalities such as Gruenbaum, Ehrlich, Dubnow, and Jabotinsky are not discussed at length. Their overall ideologies and policies need to be established to provide a context for their handling of the issues of the day. One of Melzer's most interesting assertions is that the 1934 Polish-German NonAggression pact had a "profound effect" on Polish government policies towards the Jews. Jews have often suspected collaboration between German and Polish antisemites, regardless of their other differences, while Polish historians see the Pilsudskiite government as deeply anti-German and the National Democrats as fiercely nationalistic (i.e., at least as anti-German as anti-Jewish). Melzer makes a better case than most but still
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 3, 1999
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