Wikipedia:Today's featured article/December 11, 2005

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Polish Jewish dress from the 17th and 18th centuries

The history of the Jews in Poland reaches back over a millennium, encompassing both a long period of tolerance and prosperity for its Jewish population and the nearly complete genocidal destruction of the community by Nazi Germany in the 20th century. From the founding of the Kingdom of Poland in the 10th century through the creation of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569, Poland was one of the most tolerant countries in Europe, becoming home to one of the world's largest and most vibrant Jewish communities. Though religious tolerance for the Jews in Poland declined following the partitions of Poland in 1795, prior to World War II the country still had the world's second largest Jewish community, despite growing anti-Semitism. Over 90% of the Jews in Poland were killed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, though, with a few tragic exceptions, Poles did not cooperate in the genocide and many protected their Jewish neighbors. In the postwar period, many of the 180,000–240,000 survivors chose to emigrate from the communist People's Republic of Poland to the nascent State of Israel, and most of the Jews remaining were forced out by a state-sponsored anti-Jewish campaign in the 1960s. After the fall of the communist regime in Poland in 1989, the situation of Polish Jews has normalized. The contemporary Polish Jewish community is generally estimated to have approximately 8,000 to 12,000 members, though the actual number of Jews may be several times larger.

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