header image

A National Institute for Polish and Polish American Affairs


Analysis of Jay Freeman's Review of FEAR
Freeman's review appeared in "Booklist" on June 1st, 2006

Link to PDF of Article

Jay Freeman’s review is a brief and accurate, if largely uncritical summary of Jan Tomasz Gross’s book FEAR. Friedman’s lack of critical perspective leads him to accept without question that the Kielce pogrom and postwar anti-Semitism was the result of the desire by returning Jews to claim property lost during the Holocaust. Professor Gross, as analyses of his essay show repeatedly, asserts but never proves that this was the cause of the Kielce affair. In fact, he fails to show in any convincing or systematic way that this was a significant cause of anti-Jewish sentiment across the country.

Freeman is also mistaken in his assumption that the Kielce pogrom was the sole cause of the migration of Jews from Poland after the war. Although the pogrom accelerated the process, the exodus was well underway before July 1946 and was not primarily the result of anti-Semitism. He is also mistaken in asserting that this incident is “often ignored.” It has been the object of major studies and a large document collection since 1990 in Poland. That it is not well known in the U.S. is certainly not the result of Polish suppression of the narrative.

Print E-mail