Neighbors

The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland
Narrated by: Rory Barnett
Length: 3 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One summer day in 1941, half of the Polish town of Jedwabne murdered the other half, 1,600 men, women, and children, all but seven of the town's Jews. Neighbors tells their story.

This is a shocking, brutal story that has never before been told. It is the most important study of Polish-Jewish relations to be published in decades and should become a classic of Holocaust literature. Jan Gross pieces together eyewitness accounts and other evidence into an engulfing reconstruction of the horrific July day remembered well by locals but forgotten by history. His investigation reads like a detective story, and its unfolding yields wider truths about Jewish-Polish relations, the Holocaust, and human responses to occupation and totalitarianism. It is a story of surprises: The newly occupying German army did not compel the massacre, and Jedwabne's Jews and Christians had previously enjoyed cordial relations.

After the war, the nearby family who saved Jedwabne's surviving Jews was derided and driven from the area. The single Jew offered mercy by the town declined it. Most arresting is the sinking realization that Jedwabne's Jews were clubbed, drowned, gutted, and burned, not by faceless Nazis but by people whose features and names they knew well: their former schoolmates and those who sold them food, bought their milk, and chatted with them in the street.

As much as such a question can ever be answered, Neighbors tells us why. In many ways, this is a simple audiobook. It is easy to listen to in a single sitting, and hard not to. But its simplicity is deceptive. Gross's new and persuasive answers to vexed questions rewrite the history of 20th-century Poland. This audiobook proves, finally, that the fates of Poles and Jews during World War II can be comprehended only together.

©2001 Princeton University Press (P)2018 Tantor

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Courageous account of what really happened.

Neighbors is a courageous telling of the truth of what happened to many polish Jews during WWII. Killed not by nazis or the German army but by their own neighbors. This story is well known to the few victims who survived the murders, but rarely told. Shamefully, Poland still refuses to admit to the less than heroic tale of their own nations part as Hitler’s willing executioners.

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A perfect historical analysis

This book is so meticulously researched and presented with such precise intention. Gross analyzes the evidence and organizes his arguments with clarity and purpose, in order to drive his conclusions home.

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One of the best narrators

Rory Barnett reads Jan Gross’s, NEIGHBORS, in a clear and smooth fashion, handling the Polish, German, and Russian like a native speaker. His performance is one of the best I have used. Although short, NEIGHBORS tells the story of the killing of nearly all the Jews in the small Polish town of Jedwabne by their Polish neighbors, not by the Nazis, or the Red Army, or the NKVD, or the SS, or the police and security force. Many of the Jews were rounded up in the village square, physically assaulted and forcibly led into a barn and burned alive. Based on numerous witness interviews, depositions, and trial transcripts Gross puts together this ugly historical stain that even today Poles minimize or outright reject.

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Academic

If you're expecting a diarists account or first hand recollection you'll be disappointed. This a historiography.