The Institute of National Remembrance Branch in Łódź
and the Centre for Jewish Research of the University of Łódź
are sponsoring an international scientific conference

"Jewish towns are now all gone…”

The destruction of Jews in the Polish countryside.
Victims – Perpetrators – Witnesses 

The conference will be held
at the Institute of History
of the University of Łódź
27–28 October 2011


The Program

The main objective of the conference is to present the situation of the Jewish population in the Polish countryside during World War Two. It is an attempt to find answers to questions concerning the organization of the mechanism of the destruction of Jews (legal system, administrative apparatus) and the process of extermination itself. Another significant issue involves the response of the Polish and German society to the drama of thousands of Jews.

Another objective of the conference is to present the current status of research of the Holocaust of small Jewish communities. On the one hand, subjects covering the major ghettos (Warsaw, Łódź, Kraków, Białystok) and extermination camps (Auschwitz, Chełmno on the Ner, Majdanek) are dominant in the historiography, while on the other hand, the majority of research is focusing on the subject of territories incorporated into the General Government as compared with the area of Poland annexed by the Third Reich.

The program of the conference will include the following thematic groups:

Panel I – Shtetl

This section will feature a concise presentation of the Jewish countryside on the eve of World War II. The main emphasis will be placed on the depiction of Polish-Jewish relations (economic, political, etc.). The interwar period, especially in the late 1930s, seems to be extremely important for a better understanding of Polish-Jewish relations under the Nazi occupation (especially in the initial period).

Panel II – Victims

The second part of the conference will be devoted to the discussion of the course of extermination of the Jewish community living in the Polish countryside. The main question in this section will be as follows: was the process of the Holocaust the same in all areas of the Nazi-occupied Poland? Is it possible to distinguish certain common features or differences in the implementation of the policy of extermination in the lands of the General Government and those incorporated into the Third Reich? Were the chances of rescue and survival "outside the ghetto fence" the same in both these areas?

Panel III - Perpetrators

The next section will present the structure and functioning of the Holocaust mechanism of the Jewish community in the Polish countryside (such as the German administrative and policing apparatus). It will also present the profiles of those responsible for carrying out the extermination actions.

Panel IV – Witnesses

Section of the conference devoted to the reactions of Poles and Germans witnessing the Holocaust – such as neighbors or members of the Polish resistance. The subject still provokes intense emotions, also outside the historians’ circles. The purpose of the conference is not only to present the results of individual studies but also, more importantly, to provide an opportunity for a public debate.

Panel V – Memory

The last part of the conference will be an attempt to answer the question about the memory of the Jewish residents of the Polish countryside. Were the victims commemorated after the war had ended? Has the memory of the fate of towns’ residents been cultivated? Is it limited to the period of the Holocaust? In this panel, we will focus on the differences in the methods of commemorating the community in large cities and in the countryside.


The Program:

27 October (Thursday)

9:00 – 9:30



9:30 – 10:00

dr Ingo Loose (Institut für Zeitgeschichte München)

Discovering the countryside in the historiography of the Holocaust


10:00 – 10:20

dr Damian Pałka (UAM)

Anti-Semitism, anti-Judaism, asemitism - reflections on the attitude of the Catholic Church towards Jews in the interwar Poland

10:20 – 10:40

prof. dr hab. Zbigniew Zaporowski (UMCS)

“Town and shtetl”. Poles and Jews in the Lublin province before WW2

10:40 – 11:00

Kamil Kijek (IH PAN)

Political radicalism of the shtetl youth in the thirties

11:00 – 11:20

Michał Trębacz (IPN Łódź, UŁ)

Polish-Jewish relations in the Lodz region,

11:20 – 12:05


12:05 – 12:25



12:25 – 12:45

dr hab. Grzegorz Berendt (IPN Gdańsk, UG)

Fugitives - the scale of the phenomenon of escape from ghettos and camps for Jews in the occupied Polish

12:45 – 13:05

Jakub Petelewicz (IFiS PAN)

Hiding and denunciations in Łowicz. Franciszek Berkowicz and Józef Markusfeld denounced by Jan Sierszak. Case study

13:05 – 13:25

Robert Kuwałek (Państwowe Muzeum na Majdanku)

Destruction of the Jewish Chełm. Jews in Chełm Lubelski in 1939-1944

13:25 – 13:45

Alina Skibińska (USHMM, IFiS PAN)

The fall of the house of Trińczer. Gniewczyna Łańcucka, near Przeworsk

13:45 – 14:30


14:30 – 15:30



15:30 – 15:50

dr Marcus Roth (Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Herder Institut)

County governors and the annihilation of Jews in the Polish countryside in the General Government

15:50 – 16:10

dr Sebastian Piątkowski (IPN Radom)

The participation of the German police in the extermination of the Jewish population in the General Government  (based on the example of the northeastern part of the Radom district)

16:10 – 16:30

Adam Sitarek (IPN Łódź, UŁ)

The role Gettoverwaltung of the Łódź ghetto in the extermination of provincial ghettos in Warthegau

16:30 – 17:00


17:00 – 17:20

prof. Jan Grabowski (Université d’Ottawa)

Peasants, firefighters, Baudienst and ”blue policemen” and the extermination of Jews in rural areas in the Krakow District

17:20 – 17:40

dr hab. Barbara Engelking (IFiS PAN)

Denouncement and murder of Jews in the Polish countryside

17:40 – 18:10





28 October (Friday)


9:00 – 9:20

dr Ewa Rogalewska (IPN Białystok)

Destruction, resistance, support. The town of Supraśl on the edge of Knyszyńska Forrest

9:20 – 9:40

dr hab. Jean-Yves Potel (Mémorial de la Shoah)

The Conscience of the Witness: reflections from the Diary of Dr Klukowski

9:40 – 10:00

prof Joanna B. Michlic (Brandeis University)


Varying Shades of Human Kindness In The Archives Of Murder And Destruction: Depictions Of Motivation to Rescue By Christian Polish Rescuers and Jewish Survivors

10:00 – 10:20

dr Aleksandra Namysło (IPN Katowice)

Repressions suffered by the Poles for helping Jews in the light of the trial files of the German Special Courts

10:20 – 11:05


11:05 – 11:25



11:25  – 11:45

dr Marcin Urynowicz (IPN Warszawa)

"Where, the train goes, wild people live" - 
Memory of Poland and Poles in reportages 
in Yiddish in the first postwar years

11:45 – 12:05

Nathan Lavie (Tel Aviv University)

Commemoration of Polish Countryside

12:05 – 12:25

Ewa Koźmińska-Frejlak

In view of the past - visions of pre-war times
as part of the reconstruction of the identity
Survivors in the immediate post-war

12:25 – 12:55


12:55 – 13:15

Tomasz Frydel (University of Toronto)

Constructing the Memory of Rescue of Jews
in the Polish Countryside: A Case Study of
Radomyśl Wielki and Mielec County

13:15 – 13:35

Katarzyna Tomczak (Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny Kraków)

The function of literature in the process of
the memory of the
of the Jews in the Polish countryside

13:35 – 13:55

Andrzej Albiniak

Between a village and a small town.
and memory of rural Jews
from the Lublin region

13:55 – 14:25


14:25 – 15:30



15:30 – 16:00

prof. dr hab. Rafał Stobiecki (UŁ)

Cognitive and methodological aspect of
Golden Harvest". A voice in the discussion.

16:00 – 16:30

dr hab. prof. UŁ Marek Czyżewski (UŁ)

Intermediary work in the Polish-Jewish
. Biographical experience and
public discourse.

16:30 – 17:00



17:00 – 18:30

dr Krzysztof Persak (IPN Warszawa)


dr hab. prof. UG Grzegorz Berendt (IPN Gdańsk, UG)
dr Dariusz Libionka (IFiS PAN, State Museum in Majdanek)
dr Jacek Walicki (UŁ)



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