Analysis Of Neighbors: The Destruction Of The Jewish Community In Jedwabne, Poland By Janet Gross

910 words - 4 pages

Most narratives out of the Holocaust from the Nazis point of view are stories of soldiers or citizens who were forced to partake in the mass killings of the Jewish citizens. Theses people claim to have had no choice and potentially feared for their own lives if they did not follow orders. Neighbors, The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, by Jan T. Gross, shows a different account of people through their free will and motivations to kill their fellow Jewish Neighbors. Through Gross’s research, he discovers a complex account of a mass murder of roughly 1,600 Jews living in the town of Jedwabne Poland in 1941. What is captivating about this particular event was these Jews were murdered by friends, coworkers, and neighbors who lived in the same town of Jedwabne. Gross attempts to explain what motivated these neighbors to murder their fellow citizens of Jedwabne and how it was possible for them to move on with their lives like it had never happened.
The account of Jedwabne is unique in the fact that it focuses on one mass murder of roughly 1,600 Jewish residents, which occurred in July 1941. The murder occurs during the violent German campaign of anti-Semitism in Poland. The main occurrence seen across Germany and Poland of the anti-Semitism campaign was the killing and justified harassment of Jewish residents. Without a doubt the event in Jedwabne was triggered by Nazi influence. What is interesting is how Gross represents these influences. He shows that the killings of Jedwabne were planned, organized, and enthusiastically conducted by local authorities and citizens of the non-Jewish community. Gross also points out that it is possible that Germans did not participate in this killing and that it is even possible Germans never requested the killings to take place at all. This however seems to be unlikely because of the circumstances during the anti-Semitism movement. He does point out that additional mass killings similar to the one in Jedwabne happened in a near by towns five days prior. Jedwabne appears to be another town on the road to destruction by Nazi Germany. What are chilling about this account is Gross sets up the non-Jewish community to appear they willingly murdered their neighbors and covered it up after the war had ended. Unlike German soldiers, these killers knew there victims on personal levels, and it was not a blind killing.
Gross examines all the facts from both sides of the story. The town is filled with first hand accounts either through journal entries in written form, or through verbal testimonies through those who had survived the event. Gross provides a meticulous account of the...

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