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Jan° Jelenski

JELENSKI, JAN° (1845–1909), editor of an antisemitic Polish weekly. He was the principal opponent of Jewish assimilation to Polish society which developed in the spirit of positivism of the 1860s, mainly aiming to erode the equal rights conferred on Jews by the Wielopolski legislation. In 1870 Jelenski published a rabidly anti-Jewish pamphlet entitled Żydzi, Niemcy i my ("Jews, Germans and Us").

After the pogroms in *Warsaw in 1881, the climate became more propitious for propagating his ideas. In 1883 he founded a weekly, entitled Rola, which for 26 years continued to spread virulent anti-Jewish propaganda. Jelenski inveighed against the dangers of Jewish domination of economic and cultural life. He received support from clerical circles because of his shafts directed against Jewish assimilationist intellectuals. These, he alleged, were introducing degeneracy into the national body, and, inimical to Catholic tradition in Poland, were spreading dangerous progressive ideas. He was assisted in producing Rola by his friend, the notorious antisemitic author Theodor Jeske Choinski (1854–1920).


J. Gruenbaum, Milḥamot Yehudei Polin (1922), 51–57; J. Shatzky, Geshikhte fun Yidn in Varshe, 3 (1953), 96; EG, 1 (1953), 74–78.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.