After Liberation: the Journey Home of Jewish Survivors in Poland and Slovakia, 1944-46
Title: After Liberation: the Journey Home of Jewish Survivors in Poland and Slovakia, 1944-46
Author: CICHOPEK, Anna
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2009/09
In this paper, I tell the stories of Jewish survivors who made their way to their hometowns in Poland and Slovakia between the fall of 1944 and summer 1948. I describe liberation by the Soviet Army and attitudes toward the liberators in Poland and Slovakia. I ask what the Jewish position was in the complex matrix of Polish-Russian relations in 1944 and 1945. Then I follow the survivors during the first hours, days, and weeks after liberation. I describe their pursuit of something to eat and wear and a place to sleep. Finally, I focus on the journey home of Jewish survivors leaving for their hometowns in the hope of finding living relatives and their homes intact. I look at all those experiences as a time of exchange and confrontation between liberators and the liberated and among travelers on the road. I argue that these encounters were not homogenously marked by violence, hatred, and mutual resentment, but also by curiosity, solidarity, and indifference.
Subject: Jewish history; Polish-Jewish relations; Slovak-Jewish relations; modern East European history; ethnic studies; ethnic violence; post-1945 studies; Holocaust studies; social history
Type of Access: openAccess