Bearing Witness offers personal insight into the collective experience of Poles over the last sixty years. One of Poland's leading social scientists combines objective, academic rigor with autobiographical, eyewitness accounts of historic events. Maria Jarosz reflects on the post-World War II world and how Poland and its people have been affected by changes in politics, power, and society.

More than a memoir, the book offers keen insights into how history intersects with personal life. That is because Jarosz has spent her entire life studying people. As a reviewer of the original Polish edition noted, it is not possible to understand Polish society, its views and attitudes, and the mechanisms for managing them, without reading this work. This book spans the period from World War II through the communist era in Poland to the present day. It contains a wealth of dramatic detail, including a vivid account of how the author, who has Jewish roots, survived the Holocaust as a child.

This English language edition is updated to include descriptions of recent events. The author focuses intensely on her experiences as one of a few surviving witnesses to the horrors of wartime Poland. Her sober reflections are interspersed with light-hearted anecdotes, testifying to Jarosz's resilient sense of humour a cocktail that makes the book a captivating read.

chapter 1|9 pages

Marked by the Past

chapter 2|9 pages

Shut Off from Life: The Łódź Ghetto

chapter 4|18 pages

First Decade of Communism

chapter 6|4 pages

Yugoslavia: Oddities and Infatuation

chapter 11|20 pages

Democratic Poland: Winners and Losers

chapter 12|14 pages

Corruption: Personal Experience

chapter 13|60 pages

A View from Abroad: Food for Thought