Jedwabne is a small town in the North-East part of present-day Poland. In September 1939, the town was occupied by the Soviet Union. In the summer of 1941, it was occupied by National Socialist Germany. This was followed, on 10 July 1941, by a massacre or a pogrom, which killed at least 340 Jews. A group of Poles were involved, with the German role being controversial.
The killings were initially mainly blamed on the Germans, with help of some Polish collaborators. A postwar trial by the Communists involved torture during the interrogations and is now admitted to have been a miscarriage of justice. The 2001 book Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne instead argued that Poles were the perpetrators and that they were not coerced by Germans. Later Polish investigations have stated that the pogrom was committed by a group of Polish inhabitants of the town, with the complicity some Germans.
The general background include argued Polish anti-Semitism due to argued undue Jewish influence in Poland which had a large Jewish population, anti-Jewish policies by Poland after the independence of Poland after WWI, and argued cooperation between parts of the Polish Jewish community and the Communists committing atrocities in Poland during the Soviet occupation.