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A Dark Side of History Left Out of the Textbooks

Princeton Professor Tells How Jews Were Massacred by their own Neighbors
October 13, 2010
Press Release #10-176


In July 1941 in the small Polish town of Jedwabne, virtually all the town's 1,600 Jewish residents were massacred in a single day. It was assumed they were killed by German occupiers, but by using eyewitness testimony author Jan Gross says they were shot by their own Polish neighbors. Gross will discuss "On the Periphery of the Holocaust: Killings and Plunder of Jews by their Neighbors" at 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 26, in Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary's Hall at St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Gross' lecture is the annual Alice Fenwick Fleury Zamanakos Endowed Lectureship in History, which was established in April 2008 by Arthur Zamanakos in memory of his wife.

A native of Poland and professor of history at Princeton University, Gross's book, Neighbors, published in 2001 and a finalist for the National Book Award, stimulated a widespread re-evaluation of Polish-Jewish relations during World War II. "His talk argues that on the basis of court testimonies and individual depositions of witnesses, killings and pillage of Jews by their neighbors were a commonplace occurrence during the Holocaust," said Thomas Barrett, St. Mary's professor of history. "Gross is writing some of the most important Holocaust history these days, presenting an even more disturbing picture of this horrific period."

St. Mary's College of Maryland, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. More than 2,000 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary's River in Southern Maryland.