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.