From Tablet Magazine
During the week of April 19, 2013, the Institute for Public Opinion Research (Instytut Badania Opinii Homo Homini) in Poland released the results from a survey administered to 1,250 Polish middle-school students. The survey focused on students’ “historical understanding” about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, a striking moment of resistance staged by Polish Jews against their Nazi occupiers 70 years ago.
The survey results, which were released amidst a commemorative week in Poland that involved the opening of the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, conferences, memorials, and TV programs about the uprising and other aspects of the Jewish experience in Poland during World War II, have been reported in the Jewish and Polish media and also in the New York Times. What followed has been a public outcry over what seems like a return to the days of Polish anti-Semitism in a country where only a handful of Jews now live.
The report states, in no uncertain terms, that Polish student “historical understanding [about the uprising] is weak.” Specifically, 44 percent of Polish students surveyed believe that Poles and Jews suffered equally during the war. An equal number said they would be disappointed if a Jewish neighbor moved next door—and 60 percent would be disappointed if they found out their significant other were Jewish. In addition, students ranked the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as “only” the seventh most important in a long list of Polish uprisings, a finding that survey analysts believed demonstrated that Polish students did not value the contribution of the Ghetto uprising to Warsaw history.
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Article by Magdalena H. Gross
Photograph information: Wojtek Radwanski/AFP/Getty Images