Afterlives : Jewish and Non-Jewish Polish Survivors of Nazi Persecution in Sweden Documenting Nazi Atrocities, 1945-1946

Sammanfattning: This dissertation examines how Jewish and non-Jewish Polish survivors of Nazi persecution who came to Sweden in 1945 as ‘repatriates’ and were associated with the Polish Research Institute in Lund, Sweden (PIZ) were engaged in transnational social and political processes during the early postwar period, including documenting Nazi persecution and contributing to postwar humanitarian and justice efforts. PIZ, a transnational initiative that documented the experiences of Polish survivors of Nazi persecution for history and justice in 1945 and 1946, was one of the few such initiatives undertaken by survivors who were refugees in a country not directly involved in the Second World War. It is also noteworthy as one of the few survivor historical commissions of the early postwar period that involved and documented both Jewish and non-Jewish survivors and their experiences. The dissertation examines some of the specific ways the survivors contributed to social and political processes taking place in the postwar period; what role the survivors’ vulnerability, agency, and various forms of structural support had in their activities and efforts; and what part gender and other differences played in the actions of the survivors and continue to play in their discursive and historiographical interpretations and constructions. The findings demonstrate how the Polish survivors associated with PIZ, although living in Sweden in layered states of precarity and vulnerability, deployed their past activism and networks of resistance and support, and applied their knowledge, ethics, and practical strategies to improve their conditions and pursue justice. In doing so, this dissertation contributes new insight that begins to fill gaps in existing Swedish and international research on the Second World War and Holocaust, survivor historical commissions and documentation centers, displaced persons in the postwar era, post-conflict relations between Jewish and non-Jewish Poles, migrant knowledge, and postwar humanitarian and justice efforts. 

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