Dr Grzegorz Krzywiec

Curriculum Vitae

Grzegorz Krzywiec is adjunct professor at the Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk, PAN). His fellowships include: Vrije Universitet Brusels, Brussels; Bronisław Geremek Fellowship, Institut fűr die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Vienna); and Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv. Krzywiec has largely published on Polish anti-Semitism, Polish-Jewish relations, and on the right-wing in Poland in the Central and East European context. He is currently completing a book on modern Polish anti-Semitism in the Central and East European context (1905-1914).

Research project at the Kolleg

East Central European Fascism, the Polish Style: Ethnic Homogeneity, Native Modernity and the Paths to Christian National Community in Comparative and Transnational Perspective. Historians, and social scientists in general, typically ignore the Polish contribution to the legacy of fascism in the broader region of East Central Europe. My project aims to make a revision to this paradigm, and thus challenge the presumptions of marginality and of the imitative character of the Polish fascist movement. Moreover, I will argue that Polish fascist groups were not only similarly influential, as in Romania and Hungary, but also paradoxically shaped the Polish politics of the late 1930s, even though 'a fascist regime from above' (specifically appropriate to the Polish context) was in power in Poland for only a few years (1936-1939).
A point of departure for my considerations is an early form of Polish mass fascist organization (ca. 200,000 members), the Camp of Great Poland (Obóz Wielkiej Polski) established as a nationalist answer to Józef Piłsudski's coup d'état (1926) and likely the biggest fascist movement in the region. On practical terms, the Camp did not achieve much, having been outlawed in 1933 by the Piłsudski regime. Nevertheless, as it expanded, this early version of Polish fascism revealed its social, political and ideological physiognomy. My project deals with the cultural legacy and the paradoxical afterlife of this phenomenon.
In my project, fascism in its Polish version is seen as a toxic fusion of different strands of racial and ethnic elitism, paramilitary politics, 'Christian' anti-liberal demagogy, and first and foremost, radical anti-Semitism ingrained in popular emotions and imaginations. Ultimately, though I assume that Polish fascism had one overriding goal to make a new and powerful nation-state that would dominate the region in opposition both to Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, it also had some original influence on the other Eastern European rightist radicalisms of the time.
My research project tries to rethink a couple of old, almost everlasting questions. Where were its intellectual roots -- only in Italy and eventually in Germany as it has usually been argued? What was the role of a generational shift in the Eastern European politics of the mid-1930s? Were its social, economic, and cultural aims (whether essentially national, or at least transnational) revolutionary or counter-revolutionary; or both? Another particular aim of my research is to see the Polish case in a broader European and international context. Inasmuch as there are still a plethora of mystifying and taboo questions about nature of this phenomenon whether in Eastern Europe or in Poland in particular, a new conceptualization and the broader cross-national approach seems to be an urgent necessity for research of the problem.

Main areas of research

  • Anti-Semitism in Poland and in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Right-wing ideologies and fascism in Central and Eastern Europe
  • Intellectual History/ Social History of Ideas

Positions and memberships

  • Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies
  • Stowarzyszenie Otwarta Rzeczpospolita Przeciwko Antysemityzmowi i Ksenofobii (Open Republic Association Against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia)