November Hopes. Jews and the Independence of Poland in 1918

POLIN Museum, 6 Anielewicza St., 00-157 Warsaw
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews Institute of History, University of Warsaw
29.11.2018 - 30.11.2018
Joanna Wojcicka

The conference will fill in the void in the historical awareness concerning the history of Polish Jews and in the study of their problematic relations– with the administration as well as with non-Jewish residents of reborn Poland. The main emphasis shall be laid on the presentation of varied attitudes and opinions voiced by the Jewish communities on the basis of new archival sources, including the sources available only in the Jewish languages.

The papers and discussions will focus on varied attitudes amongst the Jewish community in Poland towards both the process of regaining independence itself and the shape of the reborn state. We wish to demonstrate how these events were received by diverse Jewish milieus: the traditional Jewish circles, the acculturated Jews, as well as the Jews affiliated with various political movements (e.g. Zionism, folkism, socialism).

During the conference, the scholars will address the three main issues:
- the Jewish community’s hopes flared up by Poland regaining independence,
- fears fuelled by rapid political changes,
- the reality awaiting Jews in the newly reborn state.

The conference is organized within the Global Education Outreach Program.

The conference was made possible thanks to the support of the European Association for Jewish Studies.

The international conference “November hopes. Jews and independence of Poland in 1918” is financed under contract no. 880/P-DUN/2018 by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education within the framework of disseminating research findings.

The conference was made possible thanks to the support of the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture, the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, and the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.

Conference is organized under the patronage of the Polish Society for Jewish Studies


Day 1, 29 November 2018

10.00 am Opening session
Dariusz Stola, Łukasz Niesiołowski-Spanò

10.15 am -12.00 pm Roundtable I
Polish Independence, Jewish Questions and the Neighbors

Chair: Michał Trębacz

Panelists Christhardt Henschel, Stephan Stach, Darius Staliunas, Andrei Zamoiski

12.00 – 12.30 pm Coffee break

12.30 – 2.30 pm Session I: Hopes

Chair: Kamil Kijek

Natalia Aleksiun
Jews in Galicia Imagine Independent Poland

Joshua Zimmerman
A Black Spot in Polish-Jewish Relations that Won't Go Away: the 1920 Internment Camp for Jewish Soldiers at Jabłonna

Marcos Silber
November Hopes for Genuine Equality: Citizenship, Nationalism and national autonomy

Commentary: David Engel

2.30 - 3.30 pm Break

3.30 - 5.30 pm Session II: Fears

Chair: Jerzy Kochanowski

Piotr J. Wróbel
Jewish-German Relations in the Polish Narratives of 1914-1918

Theodore R. Weeks
Jews between Poland and Lithuania: Wilno, "Middle Lithuania" and Modern Nationalisms, 1918-1922

Michał Trębacz
Great Fears of a Great War. Lodz Jews on the Eve of Polish Independence

Commentary: Antony Polonsky

5.30 – 6.00 pm Coffee break

6.00 - 7.30 pm Keynote lecture: David Engel
Independence for Whom? Jews and the New Political Order in Eastern Europe after the First World War

Day 2, 30 November 2018

10.00 am – 12.00 pm Session III: Realities

Chair: Dariusz Stola

Konrad Zieliński
Jewish Population on the Polish Lands on the Eve of Poland’s Independence

Robert Blobaum
The Specter of Judeo-Polonia and the Politics of Containment: 1918 and Beyond/

Eugenia Prokop-Janiec
1918: Institutions of Jewish Culture on the Eve of Poland’s Independence

Commentary: Jochen Böhler

12.00 - 12.30 pm Coffee break

12.30 – 2.30 pm Roundtable II
Jews and Polish Independence. 100 Years Later

Chair: Antony Polonsky

Panelists: David Engel, Jochen Böhler, Piotr Wróbel, Jolanta Żyndul

2.30 - 3.30 pm Break

3.30 – 5.00 pm Jews and Polish Independence: core exhibition and temporary exhibition tour, guide: Tamara Sztyma


Joanna Wojcicka

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, 6 Anielewicza St., 00-157 Warsaw

November Hopes. Jews and the Independence of Poland in 1918, 29.11.2018 – 30.11.2018 Warsaw, in: H-Soz-Kult, 15.11.2018, <>.
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