The Stranger Comes (Back) to Town: The Restitution of Jewish Property and Civil Society in Southeast Poland.


EES Dissertation


New School for Social Research


This research examines the effects that the restitution of Jewish property in Poland after the fall of Communism has had on communities in rural southeastern Poland. The working hypothesis is that legal controversies associated with restitution, as well as local debates over memory, have stimulated the rise of civic engagement in small Polish towns, where Jewish properties have been reclaimed. This research will examine the cases of three small towns (Wielkie Oczy, Dynow, Kanczuga), located in South-Eastern borderlands of Poland. It will trace the chronology of the restitution process in these towns, seeking to identify the communities' activities, and the meaning they had to individuals. The research analyzes the role of emerging public memory in the development of civic engagement.