Forced under threat of expulsion

A commenter pointed out Ghetto benches, which was a form of segregation I hadn’t heard of before.

Ghetto benches or bench Ghetto (known in Polish as getto ławkowe)[1][2] was a form of official segregation in the seating of students, introduced in Poland‘s universities beginning in 1935 at Lwow Polytechnic.[3] By 1937, when this practice became conditionally legalized, most rectors at other higher education institutions had adopted this form of segregation.[4] Under the ghetto ławkowe system, Jewish university students were forced, under threat of expulsion, to sit in a left-hand side section of the lecture halls reserved exclusively for them. This official policy of enforced segregation was often accompanied by acts of violence directed against Jewish students by members of the ONR (delegalised already after three months in 1934) and other extreme right and anti-Semitic organizations.[5]

The “bench Ghetto” marked a peak of antisemitism in Poland between the world wars.[6]

So that’s the kind of thing you’re making friends with, vice-chancellors of UK universities. God I hope you’re embarrassed.



  1. says

    What makes the reference chilling is thinking about the students who arrived at school the first day it was introduced and discovered that they weren’t just students, as they’d thought, but a separate and lesser category whose segregation could be discussed and declared by the leaders of their university, and the shock, pain, fear, and distrust this must have caused.

    When I was first reading your articles about this, that’s what I imagined: the women who were going along thinking of themselves as just students being hit with the knowledge that, as women, their status and possible segregation are up for debate by the people in charge – that their equality can so easily be discarded. And at the request of misogynists who would deny them basic human rights.

  2. rnilsson says

    So chancellors of vice, UKU are Polarizing the discourse? Let me express doubt they win a Polar Prize for it.


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