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The Devil's ChainProstitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland$
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Keely Stauter-Halsted

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801454196

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801454196.001.0001

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Reforming the National Body

(p.1) Introduction
The Devil's Chain

Keely Stauter-Halsted

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter describes the public concern over the problem of prostitution in Poland from the 1880s to the country's founding years of the Polish Second Republic during the twentieth century. Residents of Warsaw complained that every other house had become a brothel and that the cacophony of singing, dancing, and brawling was disrupting their orderly lives. They were worried over the mass kidnapping of virgin women, as well as gang-related sexual violence—as demonstrated by the Alfonse Pogrom in 1905 which had left dozens of casualties. In addition, syphilis raged throughout the city and the country, infecting huge portions of the population. Hence, an exploration of Poland's prostitution industry can assess the country's difficult transition to modernity in context of its struggling movement for political independence.

Keywords:   prostitution, Poland, Polish Second Republic, Warsaw, mass kidnapping, sexual violence, syphilis

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