A few words about the exhibition „Alien and unpleasant”

In Jewish mythology it all started with fratricidal conflict between Jacob and Esau.

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In Jewish mythology it all started with fratricidal conflict between Jacob and Esau. The descendant of Jacob is the nation of Israel, the descendants of his twin — nations alien and hostile to him. The Amalekites, who attacked the Jews wandering in the desert, come from Esau. From him come the Romans and Christianity. Anti-Semitism — teach religious teachers — has existed since prehistory and nothing has changes in this matter. But even such a general statement which tells the Jews to come to terms with the existence of enemies, does not make the enemies more dangerous or less poisonous. They accompany the people of Israel, and are part of their history. Persecution, harassment, prohibitions, expulsion and massacres radically changed the fate of this scattered nation. We will not understand the history or the situation of the Jews without knowing their surroundings, and it was often, very often, simply anti-Semitic.

Polish anti-Semitism of the twentieth century was disgraceful and made Jewish historians write that in the interwar period the Jews on one hand had fantastic opportunities for cultural development, but on the other they were surrounded by hostility growing as the walls of the Warsaw ghetto. In the Jewish Historical Institute we are presenting iconography of hatred. The authors of these drawings were often famous graphic artists. They vented their anger on the Jews as much as they could. We can only ask, why so much anger, where did that fury come from? Anti-Semitic drawings left lasting wounds. Caused fear among the Jews, built indifference to their plight during the war. The worst of the works at this exhibition is a drawing of a train loaded with Jews exported to some middle of nowhere. This image came true. The cartoonist must have been satisfied during the war. He had predicted the death of millions.

Prof Paweł Śpiewak, Director of the Jewish Historical Institute

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