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10 June 2009

Book Presentation: Jack Jacobs, Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland

In the years between the two world wars, the Jewish community of Poland — the largest in Europe — was the cultural heart of the Jewish diaspora. The Jewish Workers' Bund won a series of important electoral battles and became, arguably, the strongest Jewish political party in Poland on the eve of the Second World War. While many earlier works on the politics of Polish Jewry have suggested that Bundist victories were not of lasting significance or were attributable to outside forces, Jack Jacobs, Professor of Political Science at John Jay College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, argues convincingly that the electoral success of the Bund was linked to the long-term efforts of the constellation of cultural, educational, and other movements revolving around the party.

The Bundist movements for children, youth, physical education, and for women offered highly innovative programs and promoted countercultural values. Jacobs shows how the development of these programs – such as a program to provide sex education to working class Jewish youth - translated into a stronger, more robust party. At the same time, he suggests the Bund's limitations, highlighting its failed women's movement, and suggests the significant implications of these limitations, thereby providing a thoughtful revision to accepted views.

The event will take place in German.


10 June 2009, 6 pm


Old Building, ground level, Auditorium



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