Niewyjaśnione pogromy

Marek Wierzbicki



Unexplained Pogroms

Witold Mędykowski’s book W cieniu gigantów. Pogromy 1941 r. w byłej sowieckiej strefie okupacyjnej. Kontekst historyczny, społeczny i kulturowy (Warszawa 2012) deals with a tide of pogroms and other forms of violence that in the summer of 1941 swept across Eastern Europe, occupied in 1939–1941 by the Soviet Union.

The author postulated to examine those phenomena in a sprawling and ethnically diversified region from the viewpoint of comparative and interdisciplinary studies and within a wide historical, social, and cultural context. None of those proposals, however, have been realised to a satisfactory extent. The selection of an overly vast territory resulted in an excessive simplification of the narration and a superficial approach.

Such errors were also produced by the applied methodology and used sources, with the author constructing general conclusions chiefly upon the basis of individual accounts by witnesses, as a rule the victims of violence. In doing so he omitted other numerous evidence, documents or pertinent writings. For this reason, it is difficult to recognise such opinions as reliable, and the book becomes one-sided by presenting as reliable the point of view of only a single group participating in the events of summer 1941. It must be stressed that the material comes almost exclusively from the Yad Vashem archive and does not take into account the resources of other archives. The reviewed publication should, therefore, be regarded as a wasted opportunity for a monographic interpretation of the eruption of violence in the summer of 1941.

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