Is Jewish Identity a Matter of Choice?

The Case of Young Jews in Contemporary Poland

in European Judaism
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In the current wave of academic and media interest on the apparent renaissance of a Jewish community in Poland after 1989, it has become customary to define the new generation of Polish Jews by the element of choice in their identity construction. Such a distinction is poignant in the light of Poland’s troubled postwar history. Following the tragedy of the Shoah, in which ninety percent of the 3.3 million prewar Jewish population perished, those who survived and remained in the country were almost entirely polonised. After 1947, manifestations of Jewishness were increasingly curtailed as part of the Stalinist drive to create an ethnically homogenous nation.