Pogroms in Kraków in 1918 and 1945: Historical analysis

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What can a temporal comparison of two pogroms in the same city in the wake of two vastly different military conflicts reveal about context and function of anti-Jewish violence? What can it tell us about historical continuity and change? These questions frame the history below which focuses on two pogroms in the city of Kraków on April 16, 1918, and August 11, 1945. This article argues that in both cases perpetrators perceived the state as failing to meet their basic economic, national, and moral expectations after the wars which left political and social chaos, economic ruin, and dismal law and order. To address the state's failings and restore the “moral balance,” the perpetrators targeted the Jews whom they perceived as the state's beneficiaries. After the Second World War, the violence only intensified when the medieval myth of ritual murder reemerged, and Jewish women and children became the targets of aggression. This change can only be explained by the specific context of WWII when redemptive antisemitism of Nazi propaganda and the daily practice of genocide stripped Jews of the remains of their humanity thus marking them as the ultimate threat to Polish survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalConflict Resolution Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Polish-Jewish relations
  • antisemitism
  • first world war
  • holocaust
  • pogrom
  • second world war

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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