Have Only Jews Suffered? Holocaust Remembrance and Polish National Resentment
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University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2015-06-30
Polish Sociological Review 2015;190(2):207-222
In this article the term ‘resentment’, as used by Friedrich Nietzsche and then redefined by Max Scheler, is employed to explain anti-Semitic attitudes in Poland. The resentful attitude is based on the emotion of jealousy, which leads to a desire to degrade anyone with whom comparisons are made, in order to increase feelings of self-worth. This characteristic of the term was used to description of the group’s attitudes. In this article, modern anti-Semitism is portrayed as an inseparable element of a wider Catholic nationalist ideology, which creates the image of (symbolic) Jews as morally inferior and unfairly competing with (symbolic) Poles. In research conducted between 1992 and 2012 the author finds correlations between strong nationalist feelings and attitudes of jealousy and a desire to degrade Jewish people. The image produced by the empirical data is one in which the Jews are the enemy, directed by their own national (sic!) interests, and desiring to take advantage of the Poles, who are honest and idealistic, driving by theirs declarations and values, even against their own, actual interests.The author hopes the article can be a starting point for discussing the idea of resentment as a theoretical tool in research devoted not only to anti-Semitism, but also to xenophobia and attitudes to other groups in the democracy.
The shorter version of this paper was presented at the mid-term conference of Research Network 31 of the European Sociological Association “Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism in the Shadow of the Holocaust,” University of Vienna, Vienna, 4–6 September 2014.
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