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[Extract] At the end of the eighteenth century, by the terms of the second and third partitions of Poland, Russia acquired not only substantial new territory to the west but also several million new subjects, most of them Poles but including half a million Jews.1 It was the first time Russia had had a significant Jewish population, and difficulties in assimilating the Jews led to their relegation to the newly established Pale of Settlement and the emergence of a “Jewish question” in imperial Russia in the nineteenth century. Poland recovered independent statehood after the First World War and took back much of this territory from Russia, but in 1939, by the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, Poland was in effect partitioned again.


Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences

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