Jews and Gentiles in Central and Eastern Europe during the Holocaust in history and memory


Holocaust Studies, A Jurnal of Studies and Cultur, Volume 23, 2017 - Issue 1-2: Special issue: Jews and Gentiles in Central and Eastern Europe during the Holocaust in history and memory. From:

Hana Kubátová is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University. She focuses on Jewish-Gentile relations, and the continuities and transformations of anti-Jewish sentiments in Slovakia. Her dissertation, turned into a book, is the first systematic work analyzing popular mood and opinion towards the so-called Jewish question in wartime Slovakia.

Jan Láníček is Lecturer in Jewish history at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He specializes in modern European history and Jewish-Gentile relations during the Holocaust. He is the author of Czechs, Slovaks and the Jews, 1938-1948 (2013) and a co-editor of Governments-in-Exile and the Jews during the Second World War (2013). His newest book, Arnošt Frischer and the Jewish Politics of Early 20th-Century Europe, is forthcoming in 2016 (Bloomsbury Academic).


In Eastern Europe, where the genocide of the Jews became an almost “ordinary”, integral part of life during the war, as well as in Central Europe, removed from the direct proximity of the mass murder, the culpability of the Germans and their principal role in the Holocaust has not been doubted. After all, the Holocaust was an all-German story to tell. Far more complex has been the recognition of the local majority societies’ – that is non-Germans’ – involvement in the persecution and extermination of the Jewish population, and of the majority societies’ ambiguous responses to the return of the Jewish survivors (or refugees and exiles) after 1945. This essay opens a collection of eleven articles that provide diverse insights into Jewish-Gentile relations in Central and Eastern Europe from the outbreak of the Second World War until the reestablishment of civic societies after the fall of Communism in the late 1980s. The interdisciplinary and comparative perspective of this issue enables us to scrutinize the interaction between the individual majority societies and the Jewish minorities in a longer time frame and hence we are able to revisit complex and manifold encounters between Jews and Gentiles, including but not limited to propaganda, robbery, violence but also help and rescue.

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