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Jabotinsky's ChildrenPolish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism$
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Daniel Kupfert Heller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174754

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174754.001.0001

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Taming the Shtetl

Taming the Shtetl

(p.167) 5 Taming the Shtetl
Jabotinsky's Children

Daniel Kupfert Heller

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the efforts of Betar's leaders in Warsaw to capture the hearts and minds of Jewish youth in provincial towns across central and eastern Poland. Armed with long-standing stereotypes about shtetl life, Betar leaders were certain that bringing “modernity” and “progress” to these towns would mobilize provincial youth for the Zionist cause. The chapter studies the YIVO (Yidisher visnshaftlekher institut) autobiography collection, as well as correspondence between Betar's headquarters in Warsaw and its small-town outposts, to reveal the tensions that arose between these urban activists and the young Jews they sought to transform. Providing a vivid account of Jewish life in small towns across interwar Poland, it exposes the vast gap between the ideological vision of Betar's leaders and the political beliefs and experiences of its members.

Keywords:   Betar leaders, Warsaw, Jewish youth, Poland, shtetl life, provincial youth, Zionist cause, YIVO, Jewish life, interwar Poland

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