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Dr. Jan Gross
2011-2012 Sosland Foundation Fellow

"Plunder and Killings of Jews by Their Neighbors"

Professional Background

Dr. Jan Gross is Professor of History and Norman B. Tomlinson ’16 and ’48 Professor of War and Society at Princeton University. Born and raised in Poland, he attended the University of Warsaw before immigrating to the United States, where he received a PhD in sociology from Yale University. For his Sosland Foundation Fellowship, he conducted research on the relationships between Jews and the indigenous population in the Kresy and in areas east of the prewar Polish state boundary.

Dr. Gross is the author of several publications, including the forthcoming Golden Harvest (with contributions by Irena Grudzinska Gross), Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz (2007), and Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (2001), which was a finalist for the National Book Award. An examination of the 1941 massacre of 1,600 Jewish villagers by their Polish neighbors, Neighbors led to an unprecedented reevaluation of Jewish-Polish relations during World War II and touched off passionate debate. In 2004, many of the Polish voices in this debate were gathered in the collection The Neighbors Respond. More recently, Fear sparked a new discussion with its argument that just after the war Poles persecuted and murdered some of the few Jews who managed to survive Hitler’s genocide. Dr. Gross is also the author of Revolution from Abroad and Polish Society under German Occupation and is the coeditor with Irena Grudzinska Gross of War Through Children’s Eyes.

The recipient of numerous grants and awards, Dr. Gross was honored with the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 1996, granted to foreigners for their exceptional role in fostering cooperation between Poland and other nations, and has received Senior Fulbright Research, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial, and Rockefeller Humanities fellowships.

Fellowship Research

During his tenure at the Center, Dr. Gross researched the relationships between Jews and the indigenous population in the Kresy and in areas east of the prewar Polish boundary. He also continued the research he conducted for Golden Harvest by expanding the territorial area and adding a variety of additional sources and drew from the Museum’s collections to develop new ideas for future publications.

Dr. Gross was in residence at the Mandel Center from October 1, 2011 to March 30, 2012.