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Exile And Identity: Polish Women in theSoviet Union During World War II (Pitt Russian East European)

Jolluck, Katherine R.

Editore: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002
ISBN 10: 0822941856 / ISBN 13: 9780822941859
Usato / Quantità: 1
Da Nearfine Books (Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.)
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Titolo: Exile And Identity: Polish Women in ...

Casa editrice: University of Pittsburgh Press

Data di pubblicazione: 2002

Condizione libro: very good


Gently used. Expect delivery in 2-3 weeks. Codice inventario libreria 9780822941859-3

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Using firsthand, personal accounts, and focusing on the experiences of women, Katherine R. Jolluck relates and examines the experiences of thousands of civilians deported to the USSR following the Soviet annexation of eastern Poland in 1939.

Upon arrival in remote areas of the Soviet Union, they were deposited in prisons, labor camps, special settlements, and collective farms, and subjected to tremendous hardships and oppressive conditions. In 1942, some 115,000 Polish citizens?only a portion of those initially exiled from their homeland?were evacuated to Iran. There they were asked to complete extensive questionnaires about their experiences.

Having read and reviewed hundreds of these documents, Jolluck reveals not only the harsh treatment these women experienced, but also how they maintained their identities as respectable women and patriotic Poles. She finds that for those exiled, the ways in which they strove to recreate home in a foreign and hostile environment became a key means of their survival.

Both a harrowing account of brutality and suffering and a clear analysis of civilian experiences in wartime, Exile and Identity expands the history of war far beyond the military battlefield.

Dal risvolto interno: Exile and Identity focuses on the experiences of hundreds of thousands of Polish women forcibly transported deep into the USSR as prisoners or "special settlers" after the Soviet invasion and annexation of eastern Poland in 1939.

Using firsthand accounts ranging from the briefly factual to the intensely personal, Katherine R. Jolluck reconstructs the daily lives and attitudes of Polish women based on reports collected upon their amnesty and evacuation from the USSR. These moving stories provide a clear and detailed picture of the conditions in which these women were forced to live, and examine how those victimized interpreted and coped with their daily traumas.

In exile, Polish women found little that resembled their former homes. Loaded into cattle cars, women, children, and the infirm were transported to prisons, labor camps, or collective farms where they faced perilous living conditions and brutal treatment. Jolluck recounts how Polish women endured physically debilitating conditions, often working eighteen-hour days to support families suddenly separated from fathers and husbands. Given their meager payment, even this role was beyond their means. Mothers were forced to give up their own children to Soviet orphanages or, worse, watch helplessly as they starved to death. Some women faced sexual abuse or the prospect of forced prostitution for survival.

Almost as painful to these women were the attempts to deprive them of their nationality, culture, and religion. Enduring insults, efforts at reeducation, and the prohibition of the practice and transmission of their religious and national customs, they faced a constant struggle to maintain their identities not only as Poles, but as Polish women. In response to the chaos and trauma of total dislocation, issues of loyalty to the Polish nation and notions of "proper" womanhood emerged as foremost concerns. Jolluck contends that Polish females struggled against the loss of identity in a foreign land by trying to impose the coherence of home and community, in the image of the traditional family, on themselves and the collective. Moreover, the reclaiming of the ideal of the Polish woman in the midst of tragedy offered a strategy for survival.

Exile and Identity offers a ground-level view of Polish nationalism and demonstrates that gender is central to conceptions of nationality. Both a harrowing account of cruelty and suffering and a clear analysis of civilian experiences in wartime, Jolluck’s work expands the history of World War II far beyond the military battlefield.

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