1st Edition

Bearing Witness
A Personal Perspective on Sixty Years of Polish History

Edited By

Maria Jarosz

ISBN 9781412855952
Published July 30, 2015 by Routledge
276 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Bearing Witness offers personal insight into the collective experience of Poles over the last sixty years. One of Poland's leading social scientists combines objective, academic rigor with autobiographical, eyewitness accounts of historic events. Maria Jarosz reflects on the post-World War II world and how Poland and its people have been affected by changes in politics, power, and society.

More than a memoir, the book offers keen insights into how history intersects with personal life. That is because Jarosz has spent her entire life studying people. As a reviewer of the original Polish edition noted, it is not possible to understand Polish society, its views and attitudes, and the mechanisms for managing them, without reading this work. This book spans the period from World War II through the communist era in Poland to the present day. It contains a wealth of dramatic detail, including a vivid account of how the author, who has Jewish roots, survived the Holocaust as a child.

This English language edition is updated to include descriptions of recent events. The author focuses intensely on her experiences as one of a few surviving witnesses to the horrors of wartime Poland. Her sober reflections are interspersed with light-hearted anecdotes, testifying to Jarosz's resilient sense of humour—a cocktail that makes the book a captivating read.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

From the Author

1. Marked by the Past
A Sociologist and a Witness to History
1939: War Breaks Out

2. Shut Off from Life: The od Ghetto

3. Warsaw in the 1940s: The Ghetto and the
"Aryan Side"
The Warsaw Ghetto
Occupied Warsaw
Szmalcownicy and Heroes

4. First Decade of Communism
Poland or France?
My Universities

5. 1956: Workers' Councils, Godzik, and
First Steps in Academia
Workers' Councils: The Case of era

6. Yugoslavia: Oddities and Infatuation

7. 1968 and the Aftermath: Excluded from Society
Forced into Unemployment
Emotional Aspect of the March Purges

8. GUS: The Job I Didn't Want and the
Research I Dreamed Of
Up Against the Censors
Varna Congress: Changing Soviet Research
Postdoctoral Qualification

9. Martial Law: Signs of Social Disintegration
Institute of Crime Problems: Solidarity
and the People in Power
Martial Law and the Ghosts of the War
The State of Society as Reflected by the
Suicide Rate

10. Polish Academy of Sciences and Adventures
with Research
An Unusual Grant
Empirical Research in a Free Poland: Being
Part of the Research Community

11. Democratic Poland: Winners and Losers
1989: The Round Table
The Costs of Transition
Social Disorganization and Corruption

12. Corruption: Personal Experience
Bribing the Mexican Police
Greasing Palms in a Communist Hospital
Greasing Palms in a Postcommunist
Hospital: Pay or Perish

13. A View from Abroad: Food for Thought
On the Go: By Rail and Air
Airport Adventure: Hijack Attempt
In France
In Ukraine
In China
In Vietnam
In Japan
In Cuba
In Israel—About Poland
In Italy
In Germany
America: The Polish Perspective

14. Ethnic Hodgepodge: A Politically Correct

15. Facts of Life: Cops and Robbers, Lost and
Found, and the Pernicious Effects of
Too Much Alcohol

16. Closing Reflections: The World Has
Changed . . .

About the Author

Index of Surnames

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