In the Periphery and in the Center , at the Shtetls and at the Big Cities: Jews Are Going to the Movie Theaters

In Poland at interwar period the portion of Jews among movie viewers in big and small towns was relatively high. Many of the 750 movie theaters' owners that operated all over Poland acknowledged that they were able to screening films on a regular bases thanks to loyal Jewish films viewers. Around that time the space of film theaters functioned as public arena. In the 1920s and ‘30s, lectures and meetings with envoys who came from Palestine took place in movies theaters For certain Jewish political organizations such as the Bund and Poale Tsiyon Left, this new public space was considered to be neutral space, without any ideological, political or religious affiliations. Jewish movie viewers were aware to this phenomena and therefore they demanded that the theater owners and others engaged with the Polish film industry would take their linguistics and other needs into consideration. The habit of going to movie theaters of Jews in big and small towns had several implications on social and cultural developments as the entrance of secularization into the Jewish society, the clashes between young and old Jewish generations and the encounters between the elites and mass.

In my presentation I will present some of the aspects that relate to the ways in them film theaters in big cities and at shtetls became at 1920s and 1930s new Jewish public arena. As the ways in them the attending of Jewish audience in film theaters in big cities beside Warsaw ((for example Vilna) had been use in order to strengthen the affiliation of Jewish society in Poland as national minority.

5th Annual International
Polish Jewish Studies Workshop

“Centering the Periphery: Polish Jewish Cultural Production Beyond the Capital”

Rutgers University
the State University of New Jersey

March 5-6, 2018
Rutgers University Inn
178 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ  08901