Biographies and Politics: Involvement of Jews and Activists of Jewish Origin in Leftist Movements in 19th and 20th Century Poland
The aim of the conference is to outline the actual involvement of Jews and activists of Jewish origin in the leftist movements of the 19th and 20th centuries from the perspective of individual motivations, ideological choices and personal biographies.
1-2 December 2019, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
To explore the different paths which led Jewish individuals to engage in leftist parties and organizations, we suggest approaching the topic from a biographical perspective. We thus invite scholars to present their findings on the formation of Jewish political identities based on biographical sources, especially ego-documents like diaries, personal letters, memoirs or oral testimonies.
Possible questions to be addressed might be:
- Was being Jewish an important factor in choosing a specific political path?
- Which other factors led Jews and people of Jewish origin to affiliate with a particular political group?
- How did their leftist involvement influence their attitude towards imperial settings, occupying powers, internationalist movements, as well as Poland and Polish identity?
- How did they assess their leftist engagement later in their lives?
- Biographies: individual and collective paths of Jewish leftists, circumstances of social and political involvement in leftist movements and organizations, self-perceptions, alternatives to leftist engagement, entangled ideologies (e.g. leftists Zionists), generational transmission of ideologies;
- Methodologies: biographical approach, gender history, oral history, and others;
- Ideologies: attractive leftists ideas for Polish Jews (socialism, communism, labor Zionism etc.);
- Historical culture and politics of history: Perceptions and instrumentalizations of “Jewish” leftist biographies.