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A National Institute for Polish and Polish American Affairs


Analysis of Adam Kirsch's Review of FEAR
Kirsch's review appeared in the "New York Sun" on June 28th, 2006

Link to PDF of Article

Adam Kirsch's review contains a number of points that require explication:
  1. Mr. Kirsch follows Professor Gross in his estimate of 1,500 Jews killed in the post-war period without noting that the most recent careful studies put the figure at half of this estimate. In fact, Professor Gross himself acknowledges that scholars such as David Engel (whose work Professor Gross calls “impeccable”) estimate the number as between 500 and 600. 
  2. Mr. Kirsch’s review asserts that the murderous anti-Semitism that was exhibited at Kielce was a continuation without diminishment or change of “the age old hate” of Poles for Jews. The long history of Polish-Jewish relations, of course, shows nothing of the sort. Further and more importantly, Jan Tomasz Gross explicitly denies the charge in the very book Mr. Kirsch is reviewing (“Neither could one explain postwar anti-Semitism by pointing to the historical roots of Polish anti-Semitism, which was not exterminatory in the first place” (J.T. Gross, FEAR, p.246). 
  3. Mr. Kirsch describes Professor Gross’s analysis of the cause of the Kielce affair and postwar anti-Semitism as “imaginative” and “unorthodox” but does not subject it to a critical review, nor does Mr. Kirsch mention that the reason Professor Gross must adopt this unusual mode of analysis is that he has little concrete evidence to support his thesis.
  4. In closing his review, Mr. Kirsch notes material Professor Gross cites showing that Poles welcomed the genocide of the Jews without noting the existence of a significant body of other evidence to the contrary, some of which Professor Gross himself makes sure to cite.
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