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Intimate Violence

Anti-Jewish Pogroms on

the Eve of the Holocaust

(Cornell, 2018)


Jeffrey Kopstein

Jason Wittenberg

ARCHIVES  Danyliw Seminar 2018

Jeffrey Kopstein

University of California, Irvine (US)

Jeffrey S. Kopstein is Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine. His books include The Politics of Economic Decline in East Germany, 1945–1989 and Growing Apart?: America and Europe in the 21st Century.

Jason Wittenberg

University of California, Berkley (US)

Jason Wittenberg is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Crucibles of Political Loyalty: Church Institutions and Electoral Continuity in Hungary.


In their novel Kopstein and Wittenberg examine violent attacks on Jews by non-Jews across hundreds of predominantly Polish and Ukrainian communities in the aftermath of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. The authors note that fewer than 10 percent of communities saw pogroms in 1941, and most ordinary gentiles never attacked Jews. They ask why pogroms occurred in some Jewish communities and not others. Intimate Violence locates the roots of violence in efforts to maintain Polish and Ukrainian dominance rather than in anti-Semitic hatred or revenge for communism. Pogroms, they posit, were more likely to occur where Jews demanded to be recognized as a nation and treated like equals, as their Zionist aspirations posed a threat to the building of Polish and Ukrainian nationalist communities. Kopstein and Wittenberg shed new light on the sources of mass ethnic violence and the ways in which such gruesome acts might be avoided.

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