1st Edition

Bearing Witness A Personal Perspective on Sixty Years of Polish History

Edited By Maria Jarosz Copyright 2009
    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    276 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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


    Maria Jarosz