"The Question of Aiding Jews in the Countryside in the General Government during the Second World War"
Zuzanna Schnepf-Kolacz is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw, Poland. She received an M.A. in social communication with a specialization in Jewish studies from Warsaw University, Historical Institute. For her Raul Hilberg Fellowship, Ms. Schnepf-Kolacz conducted research for her dissertation project, “The Question of Aiding Jews in the Countryside in the General Government during the Second World War.”
Ms. Schnepf-Kolacz is the author of “Linguistic Walls of the Ghetto: Language of Anti-Semitic Propaganda” in Young Polish Researchers on Jewish Issues (Warsaw University, 2008) and “The Fate of Journalists of German Reptile Press during the Second World War, According to Documents of Postwar Trials from the Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland” in Yearbook of Center for Holocaust Research, Volume 2 (Polish Academy of Science, 2006). Ms. Schnepf-Kolacz works at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw conducting research and gathering and preparing materials for the Museum’s exhibitions. She participated in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the International Tracing Service’s 2008 International Summer Research Workshop, Exploring the Newly Opened ITS Archive in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Ms. Schnepf-Kolacz’s native tongue is Polish; she is fluent in English with language skills in German and Yiddish as well.
During her tenure at the Center, Ms. Schnepf-Kolacz researched the attitudes of Polish peasants and other villagers toward aiding Jews in the General Government during World War II. She identified various methods employed in helping Jews as well as the factors that influenced how the Poles approached aiding the Jews. Apart from reconstructing the historical narrative, Ms. Schnepf-Kolacz used tools from the field of emotional sociology to analyze the relations between Jews and their rescuers from both the Jewish and Polish perspectives. She utilized the Museum’s oral history collection, particularly testimonies of Jewish survivors and Poles to conduct her research. She also used archival collections on the Former Special State Archive in the Russian State Military Archive, War Crimes Investigations and Prosecutions, and other collections referring to small locations, Jewish communities and ghettos.
Ms. Schnepf-Kolacz was in residence at the Mandel Center from July 1 to September 30, 2009.