The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

How did the Jewish Policemen in the Warsaw Ghetto Tell their Stories in their Wartime Memoirs?

Despite the multiplicity of studies related to the Jewish police and known memoirs written by Jewish policemen, the Jewish policemen`s personal voice is mostly used not to understand their personal experience but to explain all kinds of situations or interactions. Still, the research does not examine their particular point of view and their self-representation.

Often, the policemen are described in diaries, testimonies, and studies in general as a negative element. Sometimes the policemen are represented by the research as an example of the human tragedy of individuals or the Jewish collective. Still, their voice is not heard to comprehend [`verstehen`] them as subjects.

How to face their perspective? How to comprehend their experience, and how do they explain them to themselves and others? How to deconstruct their argumentations?

In the proposed paper, I`ll present their narration. The paper will demonstrate how the writer`s self-awareness of the documentation process and the presence of an anonymous future reader leads them to blur their individual-intimate voice, or at least to minimalize it, even when apparently it is present in the text.

I will show how the policemen erased the uniqueness of their role, covering it with a system of argumentations in order to present their behavior as a parallel or even as the same phenomenon as that of the Jewish leadership and Jewish population. These are the explicit layers of regime justifications and explanations to legitimize their views of their behavior.

However, reading against the grain, through details, anecdotes and arguments they unintentionally used, I would uncover layers of their narration they decided to ignore. In this way, we can glimpse attitudes, topics, and situations they chose to exclude from their narration.