In the summer time and fall of 1998, ultranationalist Polish Catholics erected thousands of crosses outdoors Auschwitz, environment off a fierce debate that pitted Catholics and Jews opposed to each other. whereas this controversy had ramifications that prolonged way past Poland’s borders, Geneviève Zubrzycki sees it as a very the most important second within the improvement of post-Communist Poland’s statehood and its altering dating to Catholicism.
In The Crosses of Auschwitz, Zubrzycki skillfully demonstrates how this episode crystallized latent social conflicts in regards to the value of Catholicism in defining “Polishness” and the position of anti-Semitism within the building of a brand new Polish id. because the fall of Communism, the binding that has held Polish identification and Catholicism jointly has started to erode, growing unease between ultranationalists. inside their development of Polish identification additionally exists delight within the Polish people’s lengthy heritage of agony. For the ultranationalists, then, the crosses at Auschwitz weren't purely symbols in their ethno-Catholic imaginative and prescient, but additionally an try and lay declare to what they perceived used to be a Jewish monopoly over martyrdom.
This gripping account of the emotional and aesthetic facets of the scene of the crosses at Auschwitz deals profound insights into what Polishness is this present day and what it will possibly become.