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Distributed for Brandeis University Press

The Resistible Rise of Antisemitism

Exemplary Cases from Russia, Ukraine, and Poland

Distributed for Brandeis University Press

The Resistible Rise of Antisemitism

Exemplary Cases from Russia, Ukraine, and Poland

Antisemitism emerged toward the end of the nineteenth century as a powerful political movement with broad popular appeal. It promoted a vision of the world in which a closely-knit tribe called “the Jews” conspired to dominate the globe through control of international finance at the highest levels of commerce and money lending in the towns and villages. This tribe at the same time maneuvered to destroy the very capitalist system it was said to control through its devotion to the cause of revolution. It is easy to draw a straight line from this turn-of-the-century paranoid thinking to the murderous delusions of twentieth-century fascism. Yet the line was not straight.

Antisemitism as a political weapon did not stand unchallenged, even in Eastern Europe, where its consequences were particularly dire. In this region, Jewish leaders mobilized across national borders and in alliance with non-Jewish public figures on behalf of Jewish rights and in opposition to anti-Jewish violence. Antisemites were called to account and forced on the defensive. In Imperial and then Soviet Russia, in newly emerging Poland, and in aspiring Ukraine—notorious in the West as antisemitic hotbeds—antisemitism was sometimes a moral and political liability. These intriguing essays explore the reasons why, and they offer lessons from surprising places on how we can continue to fight antisemitism in our times.

280 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

History: European History

Jewish Studies

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“A brilliant interpretation of the ways in which anti-Jewish sentiment were used for popular mobilization, national legitimation, and the defense against liberal modernity.”

Shulamith Volkov, Tel Aviv University

“In these brilliant and lucid essays, Laura Engelstein considers moments in Russian, Ukrainian, and Polish history when antisemitism became a public liability for those who trafficked in it …. Elegantly written and soberly argued, The Resistible Rise of Antisemitism resonates powerfully today.”

Paul Hanebrink, Rutgers University

“A consummate political history, finely tuned to the dilemmas of our present moment.”

Ben Nathans, University of Pennsylvania

"Recommended. All levels."


Table of Contents

Preface & Acknowledgments
Introduction: Morris Greenfield Encounters Some “Very Fine People”
Chapter 1. Against the Grain: Russians in Defense of the Jews
Chapter 2. “That Scoundrel Petlyura”: The 1927 Schwarzbard Trial
Chapter 3. “How to Convince Them You’re Not”: The Enigma of Andrzej Bobkowski
A Tale of Two Mobilizations: Some Conclusions

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