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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Polish-Jewish Studies

The guide serves as an introduction to Polish-Jewish studies and draws on Polish and Jewish studies collections of the UIUC Library.

Search terms and LCSH subject headings

Jews-Poland; Jews-Poland-History; Jews-Poland-Sources; Jews-Poland-Bibliography; Jews, East European; Jews, East European-History

Call Numbers

The best place to look for books is in the library catalog. However, if you do find yourself shelf browsing, look for books that start with these Dewey call numbers:





Foundational Works

Majer Bałaban

From the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe: Majer Bałaban was a founder and architect of modern Polish Jewish historiography and the first to synthesize both Polish archival sources and Jewish communal records and rabbinic responsa.” Throughout his career he continued to pursue his bibliographical research, culminating a comprehensive list of works related to Polish Jewish history and the history of Jews in neighboring lands. In 1928 he founded the Institute for Jewish Studies and, in the same year began lecturing on Jewish history at the University of Warsaw where he was “the only person to hold a university post in Jewish history in Poland between the two world wars.” Bałaban’s contributions to Polish-Jewish studies are legendary and his work is considered foundational to the field.

Below is a compilation of books authored by Majer Bałaban that are held by the UIUC library:

Dzieje Żydów w Krakowie i na Kazimierzu, 1304-1868 (1912-) - Majer Bałaban
Call Number: 325.25693 B18D
2 volumes. A monumental work by Majer Balaban, founder and architect of modern Polish Jewish historiography and the first to synthesize both Polish archival sources and Jewish communal records and rabbinic response. This work is one of earliest publications concerned with the history of Polish-Jews specifically in city of Krakow and its historical district of Kazimierz. The first volume deals with the years 1304 to. 1655. Volume two covers 1656 to 1868.

Historja i literatura żydowska : ze szczególnem uwzględnieniem historji Żydów w Polsce - Majer Bałaban
Call Number: 296.09 B18h
Volume 2 of 2. This book explores the history and literature of the Jews with a specific empahsis on the Jews of Poland.

Studja Historyczne (1927) – Majer Bałaban
Call Number: 325.25693 B18s

Die Judenstadt von Lublin (1919) – Majer Bałaban*
Call Number: 943.8 B18J
German. This book concerns the Jewish quarter in Lublin, Poland.
*Also available as an e-book, please see the Digital Collections tab for more information or click here.

Other Foundational Works

History of the Jews in Russia and Poland (1918) - Simon Dubnow 
Call Number: 296 D946vef2000
Reader’s Guide to Judaism: “a classic survey of Polish Jewish history. The first historian of the Jews to write extensively about Eastern Europe, Dubnow saw the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as the premier center of world Jewry in its time. His first volume traces the origins and growth of that center, its decline after the Cossack massacres of 1648 and 1649, and the absorption of its largest part into the Russian empire between 1772 and 1825. ... [the narrative] emphasizes the function of autonomous Jewish communal institutions. The second and third volumes focus almost exclusively on the relations between Imperial Russia and the Jews, with Polish Jewry discussed mainly from the perspective of Polish-Jewish relations.”


Other Works

This is a very partial listing of important works of Polish-Jewish history, organized in rough chronological order of the time periods considered.

Full Text Digital Books

Die Judenstadt von Lublin – Majer Bałaban (via Hathi Trust)
German. This book provides information about the Jewish quarter in Lublin, Poland.
*Also available in a hardcopy through the library. For more information please see the Books tab or click here.