Polish myths and their deconstruction in the context of Polish-Jewish relations
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Arch Psych Psych 2011;13(1):35-41
Aim. The aim of this paper is to outline the basic threads of Polish mythology that are central for understanding of the Polish-Jewish relations. It was written in the context of stormy and painful discussions held within the frame of Polish-Israeli Mental Health Association between 2002 and 2004. The Association, founded in 1999 by, among others, late professor Adam Szymusik and professor Maria Orwid, wished to deepen understanding of mutual relations by touching upon taboo issues, breaking stereotypes, being ready to initiate work on the memory and to confront unspoken events of common history. The important element of this process was the necessity to refer to the frame of the traditional Polish national identity. The text was presented at the fifth Polish-Israeli Symposium of the Association in June 2004 in Krakow. The authors recently decided to work on it and to present it, convinced that the issues surrounding and related to the Polish identity should be the subject of an ongoing wide debate and reflection. Discussion. The vivid presence of the Polish myths in the social space and their defensive functions are exemplified by, inter alia, stormy reception of Gross's book Strach (Fear) published in 2008, and on the other hand, by the processes taking place in our country after the Polish President's plane crash near Smolensk. The paper describes the basic Polish myth and its influence on Polish-Jewish mutual relationships and understanding the past and the present. Conclusion. Work on memory is ongoing often painful process which should be done among all social groups including groups of professionals that are interested in developing Polish-Israeli Mental Health Association.
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