TAS216 The Polish-Jewish Relations in the Context of Polish Foreign Policy. Poland – Israel – the US and European Community

Teacher responsible:

Brief course description:

Polish-Jewish relations have long played a controversial role in Polish foreign policy. In the interwar period Polish representatives frequently raised the "Jewish Question in Poland" in the League of Nation forum. During the Holocaust the Polish government-in-exile was accused by many of not taking the sufficient action for rescuing Jews in occupied Poland. After the war Polish Communist government used Jewish emigration from Poland as an instrument in the anti-British policy. After 1948 Polish-Israeli relations focused largely on the question of Jewish emigration from Poland. Questions of the restitution of the Jewish property in Poland, the role of Poland in the persecution of the war criminals, complicated relations between the Polish government and the American Jewish Community and U.S. government. After 1989 new issues have emerged. The Polish-Jewish relations were often viewed as something of a test for the democratization of the Polish society. Today the Polish-Jewish relations have emerged as an important element of the Polish relationship with the United States and Polish involvement in the Middle East influences the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU.


The subject adopts a chronological and problem-oriented approach to the study of the Polish-Jewish relations from the beginning of the 20th century to the first years of the 21st century. It aims to provide an in-depth historical analysis of the complex development of the Polish-Jewish relations and the role of the problems resulted from those relations for the Polish foreign policy. In specific terms, course introduces students to the
main secondary literature and primary documentation on the Polish-Jewish relations and Polish foreign policy.


1. Historical overview of the Polish-Jewish relations in interwar Poland.
"Jewish Question" in the Polish foreign policy in 1930s.
2. Polish-Jewish relations during the II World War.
3. Jews in Poland under the Communist rule. Reaction of the world powers to the Jewish emigration from Poland.
4. First years of Polish-Israeli relations, 1948-1953.
5. Anglo-American Jewry and Communist Poland.
6. Polish-Israeli and Polish-Jewish relations 1953-1967
7. The anti-Zionist campaign in Poland in 1967/68 and termination of the diplomatic relations with Israel.
8. Catholic Church in Poland and Polish-Jewish relations.
9. Place of Polish-Jewish relations in the process of democratic changes in Poland in 1990s.
10. The main problems of renewed Polish-Israeli relations: political, economic and cultural dimension.
11. Contemporary problems of Polish-Jewish relations: controversies around the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, restitution of the Jewish property in Poland, the controversies around usage of the phrase "Polish extermination camps" etc.
12. The role of Polish-Jewish relations in the context of  cooperation with the USA.
13. Poland – European Union – Israel.
14. The USA, Poland and the Middle East: Polish participation in the Iraqi war.
15. Conclusions.

Reading list:

Ephraim Ahiram, Alfred Tovias, Whither EU-Israeli Relations? Common and Divergent Interests; Yehuda Bauer, Flight and Rescue: Brihah; Uri Bialer, Between East and West: Israel's Foreign Policy Orientation, 1948-1956; Michael Brecher, The Foreign Policy System of Israel. Setting, Images, Process; Fraser Cameron (ed.), Bridges over the Mediterranean? European and US Perspectives; Cohen Michael J.,  Palestine and the Great Powers. 1945-1947; Einat Dasberg, Is There One Voice in the Field of Foreign Policy? The Case of the Israeli-Arab Conflict; Alan Dowty, Israel and Europe; Herbert Druker, The Uncertain Friendship. The US and Israel from Roosevelt to Kennedy; David Engel, Facing the Holocaust. The Polish government-in-exile and the Jews, 1943-1945; David Engel, In the Shadow of Auschwitz. The Polish Government-in-exile and the Jews, 1939-1942; From Science to Diplomacy. A Pole's Experience in Israel. By Ambassador Jan Dowgiałło with Harvey Sarner; Howard M. Sachar, Israel and Europe. An Appraisal in History; Andrzej Kapiszewski, Conflict across the Atlantic. Essays on Polish-Jewish relations in the US during World War I and in the interwar years; Emma Klein, The Battle for Auschwitz. Catholic-Jewish Relations under Strain; Arnold Krammer, The Forgotten Friendship. Israel and the Soviet Bloc, 1947-1953; Peter Y. Medding, The Founding of Israeli Democracy, 1948-1967; Ezra Mendelsohn, The Jews of East Central Europe between the World Wars; Amikam Nachmani, Great Power Discord in Palestine: the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry into the problems of European Jewry and Palestine 1945-1946; Peter Novik, The Holocaust and Collective Memory; Ritchie Ovendale, Britain, the United States, and the End of the Palestine Mandate, 1942-1948; Don Peretz, Gideon Doron, The Government and Politics of Israel; Robinson Jacob, Palestine and the United Nations. Prelude to Solution; Yaacov Yaacov, Soviet decision making in practice: the USSR and Israel, 1947-1954; Roth John, Rubenstein Richard, Approaches to Auschwitz. The Holocaust and its Legacy; Isabel Wollaston, A War Against Memory? The Future of Holocaust Remembrance.