Memory in the Inter-Ethnic Environment: 'Difficult Questions'In the Relations Between the Polish and Jewish Youth
Abstract: The article examines Polish-Jewish youth encounters as a sociological phenomenon, revealing the processes of approaching collective memories of both groups. The authors presents data collected during Polish-Jewish meetings, as well as qualitative analysis of letters and 'difficult questions' written by young Poles and Jews. The main issues of Polish and Jewish collective memories are shaped by the adult discourse, that strongly influences the youth inter-group discourse. However, the main differences that underlie most of the 'difficult questions' in Polish-Jewish dialogue are based on the different ways of approaching the past: individualised and emotional among young Jews, but collectivist, depersonalised and rather neutral among young Poles. These differences show, that not only the content, but also the form (pragmatics) of collective memory has to be studied by the sociologist in order to understand the role of history in inter-ethnic relations.
Can a victim be responsible? Anti-Semitic consequences of victimhood-based identity and competitive victimhood in Poland
Abstract: “The Holocaust was not unique to the Jewish population in Europe. Many oth-ers, including Poles, died in the same way,” said Romanian President Jon Iliescuin 2003 (Davidovitz, 2003), later mentioning that his nation cannot be accused of genocide in Transnistria. Similar statements were often made by other politicalleaders who denied the uniqueness of the Holocaust in order to present their ownnations as unique victims of historical atrocities and to deny the historical cru-elties perpetrated by ingroup members. Thus, perception of ingroup victimhoodserves as a strategy that allows for denial of responsibility
How to Teach about the Holocaust? Psychological Obstacles in Historical Education in Poland and Germany
Topics: Conflict Resolution, Dialogue, Inter-Communal Relations, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial, Holocaust Education
Abstract: Holocaust education in many countries faces severe obstacles, and the effects of such education are far from desirable. Research on German students found that education about the National Socialist period in Germany did not improve intergroup attitudes. Similarly, a study performed on Polish students in Warsaw showed that the extent of Holocaust education did not affect intergroup attitudes and led to more biased vision of the Holocaust. In both countries current Holocaust education seems to convey simplified entitative information about groups—such that all members of perpetrator group are presented as evil, and all bystanders as righteous. Based on psychological research on moral emotions and psychological needs in reconciliation, we propose another approach to the Holocaust education. We suggest that education about the Holocaust should take into account psychological knowledge about the diversity of human behavior during genocide , including greater understanding of dehumanization , stereotyping , moral exclusion and bystander non-intervention.
Abstract: Prezentowany raport stanowi ocenę skuteczności serii warsztatów antydyskryminacyjnych przeprowadzonych przez Centrum Żydowskie w Oświęcimiu. Szczegółowy schemat badań ewaluacyjnych, jak również użyty w badaniu kwestionariusz, została przygotowany niezależnie od organizatorów warsztatów przez członków Centrum Badań nad Uprzedzeniami Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego–dr. Michała Bilewicza i Adriana Wójcika.
Antysemityzm na gruzach sztetl. Stosunek polskiej młodzieży do Żydów w miastach i miasteczkach południowej i wschodniej Polski
Translated Title: Anti-Semitism on shtetl debris. The attitude of Polish youth to Jews in cities and towns of southern and eastern Poland
Topics: Attitudes to Jews, Conflict, Conflict Resolution, Dialogue, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Main Topic: Other, Psychology
Abstract: The goal of the present study was to test the mediating role of personalized cognition (perception of others as similar to self) in the impact of intergroup communication programs onthe improvement of intergroup attitudes. In Study 1, consistent with the contact hypothesis, the participants (N=190 Polish students) showed an increase of liking when they had moreopportunities to meet and to communicate with outgroup members. This effect was media-ted by the perception of outgroup as similar to self. Thus the present results support the personalization theory of intergroup contact. Study 2 (N=97 Jewish students) replicated theresults of Study 1 in an experimental model, with random assignment to contact and no-contact conditions, and demonstrated the mediating role of personalized cognition in theeffectiveness of intergroup communication programs. Both studies reveal the psychologicalnature of the positive effects of intergroup communication and suggest the direction for future real-life interventions.
History as an obstacle: Impact of temporal-based social categorizations on Polish-Jewish intergroup contact
Topics: Conflict, Conflict Resolution, Attitudes to Jews, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Main Topic: Other, Psychology, Dialogue
Abstract: Two studies examined the role of temporal-based social categorizations for attitude change during intergroup contact between Polish and Jewish students. In Study 1 (N = 190 Polish students), a cross-sectional analysis showed that contact focused on contemporary issues had positive effects on both outgroup attitudes and perceived similarity to the outgroup. No such effects were observed when groups talked about past issues. Study 2 (N = 97 Jewish students) demonstrated this effect experimentally when `historical' and `contemporary' issues were discussed during contact. Contact about the present generated more positive attitudes toward contact partners and (unlike contact about the past) toward the generalized outgroup. The present findings are discussed in the context of common ingroup identity model and collective guilt research.
Zagrażający spiskowcy. Zjawisko antysemityzmu w Polsce na podstawie Polskiego Sondażu Uprzedzeń 2009
Translated Title: Threatening conspirators. Anti-Semitism in Poland based on the Polish Prejudice Survey 2009
Abstract: Systemic transition in post-communist Eastern Europe resulted in high inflation, rapid economic changes, and increased lack of control in everyday life. Atthe same time, anti-Semitic incidents were reported in this region after 1989. The ideological model of scapegoating (Glick 2002; 2005) might serve asan explanation of anti-Semitic prejudice in post-transition Eastern Europe. The model predicts that the ideology defining Jews as powerful, cunning, and dangerous would gain popularity in times of crises and would lead to greater discrimination against Jews. In two nationwide representative sample studies of anti-Semitism, in Poland (n = 1098) and Ukraine (n = 1000), we applied the ideological model of scapegoating to study various forms of anti-Semitism (conspiracy-based belief in Jewish control and discriminatory intentions toward Jews). In both samples, economic deprivation led to increased discriminatory intentions toward Jews; however, only in the Polish sample was deprivation linked with higher beliefs in Jewish control (scapegoat-defining ideology). In Poland the rise of conspiracy beliefs about Jewish control partially explained the effect of deprivation on discriminatory intentions toward Jews. The implications of these results are discussed.
Abstract: In this chapter, we review Daniel Bar-Tal’s pioneering work on collective victim beliefs and how they influence intractable conflicts and intergroup relations more generally. Bar-Tal’s early work on siege mentality and on societal beliefs related to collective victimhood stimulated research in social and political psychology on this important, understudied topic. We discuss his contributions and review empirical evidence of his postulates as well as more recent conceptualizations of collective victimhood that build on his work. In the second part of this chapter, we discuss collective victimhood in Poland where Bar-Tal grew up. Although Poland is not involved in an intractable conflict, centuries of occupation by surrounding empires and countries contribute to a powerful self-view of Poland as the “Christ of Nations.” We discuss research on the relationship between this victimhood-based identity and anti-Semitism as well as reactions to the role of Poles during the Holocaust. We also discuss some evidence of positive consequences of victim beliefs for the support of refugees in Poland, and end with a discussion of interventions and moral exemplars that may help transform collective victimhood and improve contemporary relations between historically victimized groups—in Poland, Israel, and beyond.
Are Surveys and Opinion Polls Always a Valid Tool to Assess Antisemitism? Methodological Considerations
Abstract: The harmfulness of anti‐Semitic beliefs is widely discussed in current political and legal debates (e.g., Cutler v. Dorn). At the same time, empirical studies of the psychological consequences of such beliefs are scarce. The present research is an attempt to explore the structure of contemporary anti‐Semitic beliefs in Poland—and to evaluate their predictive role in discriminatory intentions and behavior targeting Jews. Another aim was to determine dispositional, situational, and identity correlates of different forms of anti‐Semitic beliefs and behavior. Study 1, performed on a nation‐wide representative sample of Polish adults (N = 979), suggests a three‐factorial structure of anti‐Semitic beliefs, consisting of: (1) belief in Jewish conspiracy, (2) traditional religious anti‐Judaic beliefs, and (3) secondary anti‐Semitic beliefs, focusing on Holocaust commemoration. Of these three beliefs, belief in Jewish conspiracy was the closest antecedent of anti‐Semitic behavioral intentions. Study 2 (N = 600 Internet users in Poland) confirmed the three‐factor structure of anti‐Semitic beliefs and proved that these beliefs explain actual behavior toward Jews in monetary donations. Both studies show that anti‐Semitic beliefs are related to authoritarian personality characteristics, victimhood‐based social identity, and relative deprivation.
Abstract: The article discusses the phenomenon of antisemitic prejudice in Poland after 1989. The comparative cross-national data suggests that prejudice against Jewish people remains visible in Poland independent of the difficult history of Polish-Jewish relations. The studies reviewed in this article present potential causes and mechanisms of anti-Jewish attitudes in Poland, such as relative deprivation, victimhood-based national identity, and authoritarian political attitudes. The role of Catholic clergy and the relative decline of traditional religious antisemitic beliefs are also considered, as well as the contrast presented by political antisemitism, which has remained unchanged for the past two decades.
Does identification predict community involvement? Exploring consequences of social identification among the Jewish minority in Poland
Abstract: Previous research indicated that people who strongly identify with their own group are more involved in the group's actions. The current study examines the relation between three dimensions of group identification (affect, ties, centrality) and forms of community involvement among members of the Jewish minority in Poland. The strength of ingroup ties predicted involvement in the ethnic minority community. The link between identification and involvement was mediated by the cultural dominance. The reported study was the first quantitative survey of the Jewish community in post-War Poland.
Reconciliation through the Righteous: The Narratives of Heroic Helpers as a Fulfillment of Emotional Needs in Polish−Jewish Intergroup Contact
Topics: Psychology, Conflict Resolution, Memory, Holocaust Education, Jewish - Non - Jewish Relations, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial
Abstract: Postwar Polish−Jewish relations are heavily affected by divergent narratives about the Holocaust. Debates about the role of Poles as passive bystanders or perpetrators during the Holocaust have deeply influenced mutual perceptions of Poles and Jews. Previous research has shown that historical issues raised during Polish−Jewish encounters inhibit positive consequences of intergroup contact, mostly due to frustrated emotional needs related to past genocide. The aim of the present intervention was to reconcile young Poles and Israelis by presenting narratives that could change stereotypical thinking about the past. Our results indicate that the narratives of historical rescuers of Jews during WWII allowed overcoming the negative impact of the past on intergroup contact by fulfilling frustrated needs for acceptance among Polish participants. The article discusses the potential role of the heroic helpers’ narrative for reconciliation after mass violence, as it may prevent entitative categorizations of groups as victims, perpetrators, and bystanders.
Living on the ashes: Collective representations of Polish–Jewish history among people living in the former Warsaw Ghetto area
Topics: Memory, Jewish Heritage, Jewish Neighbourhoods, Holocaust Memorials, Post-War Reconstruction, Main Topic: Holocaust and Memorial
Abstract: Before WWII Jews constituted one third of the Warsaw population. Muranów is the heart of the former Jewish district, the central area of the Warsaw Ghetto, installed by the Nazis in 1940. This district was totally destroyed during the war and its present urban shape not in the least reminds of its pre-war past. In this study, we investigated the collective memory of the district and representations of the Polish–Jewish history shared by contemporary inhabitants of Muranów. Ninety four residents were interviewed at their homes. The results show that “people living on the ashes” perceive the Jewish history of their place of residence as important and meaningful even though almost no visible remnants of the Jewish pre-war district have survived. The present attitudes and memories of the contemporary inhabitants seem to be shaped by the public ceremonies and educational tours which take place in the district, by presence of commemorating monuments and by the street names. These findings emphasize the crucial role of urban reminders such as museums, monuments and street names in the dynamics of collective memory.