Audience:General/trade: Interest age, years 18
Dimensions:9.25in x 6 x 0.8 in | 460 gr
Page Count:248 pages
Illustrations:31 b&w halftones, 1 map
In Warsaw Ghetto Police, Katarzyna Person shines a spotlight on the lawyers, engineers, young yeshiva graduates, and sons of connected businessmen who, in the autumn of 1940, joined the newly formed Jewish Order Service.
Person tracks the everyday life of policemen as their involvement with the horrors of ghetto life gradually increased. Facing and engaging with brutality, corruption, and the degradation and humiliation of their own people, these policemen found it virtually impossible to exercise individual agency. While some saw the Jewish police as fellow victims, others viewed them as a more dangerous threat than the German occupation authorities; both were held responsible for the destruction of a historically important and thriving community. Person emphasizes the complexity of the situation, the policemen's place in the network of social life in the ghetto, and the difficulty behind the choices that they made. By placing the actions of the Jewish Order Service in historical context, she explores both the decisions that its members were forced to make and the consequences of those actions.
Featuring testimonies of members of the Jewish Order Service, and of others who could see them as they themselves could not, Warsaw Ghetto Police brings these impossible situations to life. It also demonstrates how a community chooses to remember those whose allegiances did not seem clear.
Published in Association with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Katarzyna Person is a historian working at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, and author of Assimilated Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
"Warsaw Ghetto Police is a trenchant study of adaptation to escalating demands for brutality and opportunities for corruption. An invaluable contribution to scholarship, it confronts the searing topic of Jewish policemen's participation in the destruction of Warsaw's Jewish community."- Christopher R. Browning, Emeritus at UNC Chapel Hill, author of Ordinary Men
"Person's masterful scholarship contends with the difficult question of Jewish collaboration, dealing with these complex moral issues clearly and with well-balanced judgment. Warsaw Ghetto Police is a must-read."- Antony Polonsky, Emeritus at Brandeis University, author of The Jews in Poland and Russia
"Warsaw Ghetto Police will become one of the most important works published on the Holocaust in Poland in the last few decades."- Evgeny Finkel, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, author of Ordinary Jews
"[Person's text] is a multifaceted and rich explanation of the Jewish community's condemnation of the Ordnungsdienst that leaves room for the acknowledgment that ghetto policemen, like Poland's Jewish community more broadly, had few if any better options in the face of the Holocaust. Paired with a wealth of haunting photographs of the policemen at work in 1941, this short volume performs an essential service in expanding the English-language conversation on Jewish community life during the Holocaust and on the complexity of the perpetration landscape in Nazi-occupied Poland."- H-Net