The Crime and the Silence

The Crime and the Silence

Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne

Book - 2015 | First American edition.
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Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category

A monumental work of nonfiction on a wartime atrocity, its sixty-year denial, and the impact of its truth

Jan Gross's hugely controversial Neighbors was a historian's disclosure of the events in the small Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941, when the citizens rounded up the Jewish population and burned them alive in a barn. The massacre was a shocking secret that had been suppressed for more than sixty years, and it provoked the most important public debate in Poland since 1989. From the outset, Anna Bikont reported on the town, combing through archives and interviewing residents who survived the war period. Her writing became a crucial part of the debate and she herself an actor in a national drama.
Part history, part memoir, The Crime and the Silence is the journalist's account of these events: both the story of the massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past. Including the perspectives of both heroes and perpetrators, Bikont chronicles the sources of the hatred that exploded against Jews and asks what myths grow on hidden memories, what destruction they cause, and what happens to a society that refuses to accept a horrific truth.
A profoundly moving exploration of being Jewish in modern Poland that Julian Barnes called "one of the most chilling books," The Crime and the Silence is a vital contribution to Holocaust history and a fascinating story of a town coming to terms with its dark past.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
Edition: First American edition.
ISBN: 9780374536374
Branch Call Number: 940.531844 Bik
Characteristics: vii, 544 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


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Oct 12, 2016

the book is written that way that you got a good feeling about a mystery, which members of the village wants to keep secret - long time ago in 1941 they burnt in barn their own neighbors, did it for many different reasons, but is hard even to understand motivation because nobody really wants to talk about, they pass lies instead
There is why that book is great.
For polish people Jedwabne was a shock - they considered themselves to be clear and righteous during IIWW, blaming everybody around for war crimes

"When the Nazis invaded in 1941, many Poles welcomed them as liberators" - this is of course lie, nobody welcome Nazis as liberators (except german origin), especially polish nationalists but is true, that nobody also consider soviet occupation as better. Jan Gross in his famous book did lots of mistakes, therefore Anna Bikont's book is much, much better

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