Polish Literature and Genocide  book cover
1st Edition

Polish Literature and Genocide

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 31, 2021
ISBN 9781032109138
December 31, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
272 Pages 25 B/W Illustrations

SAVE ~ $32.00
was $160.00
USD $128.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Polish Literature and Genocide presents the attitude of national literature to the twentieth-century acts of genocide. This volume examines the reflection of the Holocaust and the massacre in Srebrenica in a rich, detailed, and comprehensive way, expanding the existing research and, in some cases, challenging the former sometimes ossified ideas. Polish literature also records what had been largely overlooked: the extermination of disabled and mentally ill people, the Roma and Sinti, and the Soviet prisoners of war by the Nazis. This volume includes analysis of the literary works of Władysław Szlengel, the most prominent Polish-language poet in the Warsaw ghetto; the peculiar reception of Julian Tuwim’s famous poem for children “Locomotive;” the memoir of Leon Weliczker, a prisoner of the Janowska concentration camp in Lviv and a member of the ‘death brigade’ (Sonderkommando); the origins of Medallions by Zofia Nałkowska, who ‘processed’ historical documents into literature and contributed to the making of professor Rudolf Spanner’s ‘dark legend’, and the textual origins of Tadeusz Różewicz’s ‘poetry after Auschwitz.’ Furthermore, this volume addresses issues related to the genesis and function of ‘genocide literature’ –– aesthetic, cognitive, ideological, and social. This volume will be a crucial resource for academics interested in key debates within Holocaust studies.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Introduction: The Holocausts

Prologue: Echoes of the Armenian Genocide

"Disinfection": The Extermination of the Mentally Ill

Władysław Szlengel (in the Warsaw Ghetto)

The Locomotive (to Bełżec)

The Death Brigade (Leon Weliczker’s)

Not Only Asfitz: The Destruction of the Gypsies

"History Rounds Off Skeletons to the Nearest Zero": The Extermination of the Soviet Prisoners of War

"Professor Spanner” by Zofia Nałkowska and ‘Soap from Human Fat’

Tadeusz Różewicz’s Excursion to the Museum (and Library)

Epilogue: "It Repeats Itself Before Our Eyes" –– Srebrenica


Index of Names

View More



Arkadiusz Morawiec is a professor at the Faculty of Philology at the University of Łódź and a literary critic. His research interests primarily include the history of Polish literature of the 20th and 21st centuries, in particular literary texts representing totalitarianism, genocide (including the Holocaust), concentration and extermination camps. His research also concerns literature as a medium of memory. He has published six books: Poetyka opowiadań Gustawa Herlinga-Grudzińskiego. Autentyzm –– dyskursywność –– paraboliczność [The poetics of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński’s short stories: Authenticity –– discursiveness –– parables] (2000), Seweryna Szmaglewska (19161992). Bibliografia [Seweryna Szmaglewska (1916–1992): Bibliography] (2007), Literatura w lagrze, lager w literaturze. Fakt – temat – metafora [Literature in concentration camps, concentration camps in literature: Fact –– theme –– metaphor] (2009), Polityczne, prywatne, metafizyczne. Szkice o literaturze polskiej ostatnich dziesięcioleci [The political, the private, and the metaphysical: Essays on the Polish literature of the last decades] (2014), Zofia Romanowiczowa. Pisarka nie tylko emigracyjna [Zofia Romanowiczowa: More than an émigré writer] (2016), and Literatura polska wobec ludobójstwa [Polish literature on genocide] (2018). He has edited eleven monographs, including: The Literature in/after Concentration and Death Camps (2017), Lager, łagier, obóz –– zapis. Obszary [Konzentrationslager, gulag, obóz –– records: Research areas] (2017), Lager, łagier, obóz –– zapis. Lektury [Konzentrationslager, gulag, obóz –– records: Texts] (2018); Zagłada wobec innych ludobójstw [Holocaust in the face of other genocides] (2020).