Tuesday, February 27th
The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne examines the events in the small Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941, when the citizens rounded up the Jewish population and burned them alive in a barn. The massacre was a shocking secret that had been suppressed for more than sixty years, and it provoked the most important public debate in Poland since 1989.
“A daring exposure. Bikont’s fearless research … makes this a fantastic book.”
―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Including the perspectives of both heroes and perpetrators, Bikont chronicles the sources of the hatred that exploded against Jews and asks what myths grow on hidden memories, what destruction they cause, and what happens to a society that refuses to accept a horrific truth. Her writing in turn subsequently became a crucial part of the debate and she herself an actor in a national drama.
Part history, part memoir, The Crime and the Silence is a journalist’s account of these events: both the story of the massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past.
This reading is co-presented by Classrooms Without Borders in partnership with the Departments of History, English and Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh.
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