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Wąwolnica

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Wąwolnica is a village in Puławy County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland. It is the seat of the gmina (administrative district) called Gmina Wąwolnica. It lies approximately 19 km (12 mi) south-east of Puławy and 31 km (19 mi) west of the regional capital Lublin.

From the 18th century to the beginnings of World War II, Wąwolnica had a substantial Jewish population. Most of the population fell victim to the Holocaust.

Wąwolnica in "Shtetl Days"Edit

In the mid-21st Century, the Greater German Reich's Commissariat for the Strengthening of the German Populace established Wawolnice as a tourist attraction, showcasing the culture of the Jews the Reich had wiped out a century before.

Wawolnice was a meticulous recreation. Re-enactors were hired to play the parts of the extinct Jews and Poles who'd inhabited the village in the past. They learned the languages of their subjects, the trades, the religious believes and traditions. Aryan men were even given a substantial raise in pay for getting a circumsicion. The gift shop sold fake Jewish noses and beards, as well as copies of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Tourists would come from all over the world to watch the actors go about their business. At the end of the day, the actors would go out one of the many doors located at the rear of the buildings of the village, shower, change, collect their things from their lockers, and go home.

However, certain of the actors, Veit Harlan and his wife Kristi Söderbaum foremost among them, soon began to identify with their Jewish characters more than with the way of life imposed by the Nazis. After more than a year as re-enactors, most of the "Jews" in Wawolnice privately resolved to become Jews in all ways possible.


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