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Book description

Survivors tells the harrowing story of life in Warsaw under Nazi occupation. As the epicenter of Polish resistance, Warsaw was subjected to violent persecution, the ghettoization of the city's Jewish community, the suppression of multiple uprisings, and an avalanche of restrictions that killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed countless lives. In this study into the unique brutality of wartime Warsaw, Jadwiga Biskupska traces how Nazi Germany set out to dismantle the Polish nation and state for long-term occupation by targeting its intelligentsia. She explores how myriad resistance projects emerged within the intelligentsia who were bent on maintaining national traditions and rebuilding a Polish state. In contrast to other studies on the Holocaust and Second World War, this book focuses on Polish behavior and explains who was in a position to contest the occupation or collaborate with it, while answering lingering questions and addressing controversies about the Nazi empire and the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.


'In this chilling portrait of the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Biskupska uncovers how the Polish intelligentsia struggled to preserve the nation through their networks in prisons and concentration camps, clandestine schools, churches, dissident movements, and armed opposition. With compassion and clarity, she reveals the complex moral choices Poles faced as Nazi efforts to subjugate Poles evolved into a campaign of annihilation.'

Emily Greble - Vanderbilt University

'Jadwiga Biskupska's Survivors is a lively and well-informed history of German-occupied Warsaw seen from the perspective of the Polish intelligentsia. Particularly notable is the sensitive way Biskupska excavates the diverse and distinctive voices of intelligentsia members as they experienced Nazi genocidal attacks, the vicissitudes of underground resistance, and the tragic uprisings of the Warsaw ghetto in April 1943 and of the city as a whole in August 1944.'

Norman M. Naimark - Stanford University

'Following the violent fate of the Polish elites in German-occupied Warsaw, Jadwiga Biskupska offers a broad picture of Poland during the Second World War. A master of summarization, she aptly explains intricacies of the Polish past. Erudite, readable, and engaging, the book is a great gift for all history lovers, and for specialists in twentieth-century Poland.'

Piotr J. Wróbel - University of Toronto

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