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Notes from a Polish Jewish Feminist


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Agnieszka Graff’s piece was presented at the panel “Polish Jewish Women and Leadership: Then and Now” which took place in the scope of the Bet Debora conference in Wroclaw, September 1-4 2016. She chronicles how she arrived at understanding the ways in which feminism and Jewishness are interconnected. In the early days of her career as a feminist, Agnieszka Graff did not attribute much importance to the fact that she had a Jewish father and thus a Jewish name. When she returned to Poland after studying in the United States, she had begun identifying as a feminist but would not recognize that many other Polish feminists including her fellow campaigners Bożena Keff and Kazimiera Szczuka were also Jewish.

In 2005, the year that marked the first resurgence of nationalism in Poland since 1989, Graff realized that a number of the persons she had labelled as homphobic, conservative and mysogynistic in her first publication World Without Women (2001) were in fact also anti-semitic.

After several interviews with prominent second wave feminists and a visit to Israel in 2010, Agnieszka Graff came to the realization that Jewishness and gender were interlinked in complicated but undeniable ways, and she was alerted to the historical interconnectedness of anti-semitism and mysogyny that extended to Poland in the present day. She found the most profound correlation, however, to exist in Jewishness’ and feminism’s history of hate, oppression and fear.



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Graff, Agnieszka Notes from a Polish Jewish Feminist. Bet Debora Journal. 2018:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-1714