Jonathan Zisook Lectures on “Passover for the Passed Over”: Jewish Religious Life in Poland after 1968

Most Jews in Eastern and Central Europe were annihilated during the Holocaust, and those who survived and remained in the Eastern bloc, were often repressed by the succeeding Communist regimes. The Jewish community in postwar Poland experienced several intense periods of hostility by the postwar Communist regime, culminating in the March 1968 antisemitic campaign, in which approximately 15,000 of the remaining 30,000 Jews were expelled. Relying especially on JDC archival documents, this talk explored the observance of Passover as a case study for understanding divergent processes of Jewish identity maintenance and formation in Poland during the period of late socialism (1970s-1980s) through the fall of Communism.

Dr. Jonathan Zisook, a recipient of the 2021 Fred and Ellen Lewis / JDC Archives Fellowship, is a Visiting Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also serves on the faculty of Jewish Studies. His research in the JDC Archives deals with the sociopolitical and religious history of Jewish life in Poland after 1968.

The JDC Archives Fellowships allow scholars engaged in graduate level, post-doctoral, or independent study to conduct research in the JDC Archives, either in New York or Jerusalem. All fellows give a public presentation on their research; watch more of these JDC fellowship lectures here.