Poles and the Holocaust: New Research, Old Controversies

 

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Rywka Wajnberg and Małka Wakslicht, Polish Jews in hiding in Biłgoraj during the Second World War. Image Source: Gazeta Wyborcza.

By Stanley Bill

In 2018, the Polish government’s politics of memory have been a public relations disaster for the country. A declared intention to defend the good name of “the nation” against false accusations of collaboration in the Holocaust has instead created a wave of international outrage and negative media coverage of Poland’s past and present. From the misconceived formulation of the so-called “Holocaust law” to clumsy public statements from Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s leaders have drawn international attention to the vexed question of Polish complicity with German crimes instead of clarifying a complex and painful history in which Polish Jews and non-Jewish Poles suffered on an enormous scale. It is true that Western understandings of Poland’s history under the German occupation are often inaccurate, but the government has only exacerbated the problem through a mixture of tone-deaf incompetence and cynical manipulation of domestic emotions. In belated response to the public relations fiasco, the Polish parliament ratified a hasty “correction” to the law this week, but the damage to Poland’s reputation had already been done.

Despite this uncongenial climate, serious historical research in Poland on the Holocaust has continued to set the highest standards. A new study published in two hefty and well-documented volumes has shed light on “the fate of Jews in selected counties of occupied Poland,” while also igniting fresh controversy over Polish collaboration with German crimes. Edited by leading Holocaust scholars Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski, the study brings together the work of nine different researchers, concentrating on the experience of Jews who went into hiding in small towns and villages after the liquidation of the ghettos by German forces in 1942-1945. Over more than 1600 pages, their work takes an extraordinarily detailed look at nine separate counties (powiaty), using a range of documentary sources from archives in Poland, Germany, Israel and the US to sketch out “micro-histories” of these districts from before the war through the Soviet and German occupations into the postwar period.

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Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski (eds.), Dalej jest noc: Losy Żydów w wybranych powiatach okupowanej Polski (Warszawa: Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, 2018).

The separate pieces of this terrifying mosaic come together to form a heterogeneous, though coherent image. The study shows the many varieties of cruelty implemented by the German occupying forces, the strategies of survival employed by Jews who escaped the ghettos and transportations, the aid of the Polish “righteous,” and the many forms of suffering and death. Most controversially, it presents clear evidence of collaboration of individual Poles in the Holocaust on a scale that has not previously been documented in such detail. In this article, I will summarize and evaluate the key findings, while also interrogating some of the authors’ broader claims, especially on the point of numbers.

More generally, it is important to underline that the vast majority of responsibility for the Holocaust lies with Nazi Germany. The new study deals with those approximately 10% of Poland’s prewar Jewish population who managed to flee the ghettos. Most of the remaining 90% were murdered in German-run death camps or killed by German soldiers, SS men, German police officers and other, largely non-Polish collaborators during liquidations and mass shootings. The study shows that Poles bear at least some responsibility for the deaths of a certain proportion of the 10% who fled. However, even this more limited responsibility is difficult to quantify, since the framework for collaborationist activity was established solely by the German occupying powers. The Germans set the murderous policy, oversaw almost all aspects of its realization, strongly encouraged complicity, brutally punished altruism, and created a general climate of fear, social disintegration and demoralization. In this wider context, the new study shows that some Poles risked everything to save Jews who had escaped the ghetto liquidations, while others helped the Germans to find and kill their fellow citizens in need.

Collaborators and rescuers

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Polish “navy-blue policeman” checking passports in the Kraków Ghetto. Image Source: Wikimedia.

The study’s central conclusion is that “over 60%” of Jews who escaped the ghettos perished, and that the “overwhelming majority” of those cases involved at least some Polish participation. The forms of complicity were diverse: local Poles reported Jews or personally escorted them to the German gendarmerie; Polish “navy-blue policemen” assisted German units in “hunts” for Jews or murdered on their own initiative; local groups and even children flushed out Jews hiding in forested areas; Polish underground resistance units killed desperate fugitives; villagers murdered their long-term neighbors; Polish “gawkers” participated directly in German-led killing during the liquidation of the ghettos. The study includes painstaking detail on hundreds of cases, each one an unimaginable tragedy of fear and suffering for individual human beings. The scholars use mutually-confirming evidence from various sources, including survivor testimony and records of investigations and trials from post-war Poland and West Germany. The overall weight of the evidence is powerful, with over 5000 documented victims among around 7500 people in hiding in the nine counties. The final analysis is uncompromising:

From the research conducted, it emerges unambiguously that in the areas of interest (with the exception of the Bielsk Podlaski and Złoczów counties), the overwhelming majority of Jews trying to save themselves – on the basis of researched and verified cases – died at the hands of Poles or were killed with the complicity of Poles (Volume 1, 38).

I will return to the question of the “overwhelming majority,” as this claim is not very clearly supported. However, first of all, it is important to emphasize that the study constitutes an extremely significant achievement. Since the two volumes cover an impressive 9 of 63 counties in the General Government and Bezirk Białystok administrative units (the two large areas mostly overlapping with the territories of both prewar and post-war Poland), it may be possible to extrapolate from these numbers to make much broader claims. In any case, the scope of the study is wide enough to be meaningful in its own right. The authors themselves suggest the need for further work across the remaining counties. In the meantime, the study presents a large body of evidence that Polish complicity in the Holocaust was more widespread than previously thought.

At the same time, the book introduces plenty of specific detail and nuance as to what “complicity” meant. The authors explain and hypothesize a range of different circumstances and motivations. In many cases, Poles betrayed Jews on direct German orders in an extreme climate of fear and recrimination. In her chapter on Bielsk Podlaski county, Barbara Engelking suggests that unquestioning subordination to authority was a prevalent characteristic of the Polish “village mentality,” inclining people simply to obey the occupiers and thus to report various kinds of illicit activity, not just the concealment of Jews (Volume 1, 165-66). Very often local village authorities oversaw actions to hunt down Jews on German instructions. In some cases, preexisting antisemitic prejudices, local score-settling and inexplicable appetites for cruelty seem to have been additional contributing factors. In other circumstances, simple greed for goods and property was the main motive.

On the other hand, the study also shows that around 30% of Jewish fugitives from the ghettos survived in the nine counties. In the vast majority of cases, survival was only possible with substantial assistance from local Poles, some of whom have later been recognized as “righteous among the nations” by Yad Vashem in Israel. Jews survived mostly by hiding in barns and outbuildings, or, less commonly, in rooms, cellars and attics of houses. Many were forced to move from place to place, often spending periods in forests and fields; others were lucky enough to find a single hiding place until the end of the war.

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Józef and Wiktoria Ulma, who lost their lives together with their children and members of the Szall and Goldman families they tried to rescue. Image Source: Yad Vashem.

As with the Polish perpetrators, the motives of the Polish “righteous” were various. Some helped from profound commitment to their (usually Christian) personal value systems; some rescued people they already knew and liked; some helped largely or exclusively for financial gain. All were taking significant risks, as the Germans frequently executed helpers and their families (though not in all cases). To both Jews and their saviors, other Polish neighbors represented an ever-present threat, often due to widespread fear of the potential collective consequences of altruism in the deadly climate established by the German occupiers:

Those who were willing to help quickly met with the hostility of those around them, who did want to take on a collective risk to save their Jewish neighbors. [. . .] There was no collective agent of rescue. In every situation of aid that I came across, the collective signified danger and death, while those who recognized in the hunted, denounced and murdered Jews people in need of rescue were absolute exceptions (Volume 2, 344, 355).

Much of the evidence suggests that hostility and indifference were widespread among Polish “bystanders” in local communities. Some non-collaborators tacitly consented to the murder of Jews by failing to impose even informal social sanctions on collaborators. Poles who had killed Jews were often not ostracized from their communities. On the other hand, pity, horror and outrage were also common reactions to the unfolding violence.

When it comes to the broader apportioning of blame, several key questions remain. What proportion of the murdered fugitives were killed with Polish complicity? What proportion of local Polish populations were engaged, respectively, in the activities of saving and betraying? Finally, in the context of overall German responsibility for the occupied territories and in the absence of a collaborationist Polish state, how can we quantify the general level of moral responsibility that Poles must bear for these actions? As Barbara Engelking observes, there is a desire to arrive at a precise figure to capture the level of “Polish” guilt. Regrettably, some of the early discussions of the new study have muddied the waters in questions that require either precision or a suspension of judgment until sufficient evidence becomes available.

Controversial numbers

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Cover of Newsweek Polska: “‘How Poles finished off the Jews: For every three Jews who escaped from the Germans during the war, two were murdered by Poles.”

The publication of the two-volume study has met with a predictably mixed response in Poland. Liberal and centrist media and intellectual circles have welcomed it as an important contribution to ongoing research and public discussion, sometimes even reacting with a sensationalized emphasis on Polish guilt (see the “Newsweek” cover pictured). Some conservatives have responded with outrage, accusing the authors of “trying to convince Poles that they – together with the Germans – are co-perpetrators or perpetrators of the Holocaust.” Members of the government have also reacted negatively. One of the book’s editors, Barbara Engelking, will reportedly not have her position as the Chairwoman of the International Auschwitz Council renewed by Prime Minister Morawiecki. Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin has publicly described Engelking’s work as “controversial.” The Head of the Institute of National Remembrance has expressed reservations about the book.

Much of this criticism seems motivated by knee jerk public patriotism insisting on Polish historical virtue. At the same time, the study is not without flaws, and some of the more laudatory public discussion around it has also been inflammatory and inaccurate. In particular, claims made in the international media, and even by one of the book’s editors, are not specifically supported by the new research. In a short article on the study, The Times of Israel claimed that “over half a million Jewish Holocaust victims [. . .] died as a result of the actions of non-Jewish Poles.” It is unclear where this figure comes from, but it certainly has nothing to do with the evidence presented in the study. In part, the inflated figure may have been extrapolated from earlier claims made by editor and contributor Jan Grabowski, who estimated in an interview in 2017 that Poles might have been at least partially responsible for around 200,000 Jewish deaths:

One can start by saying that about 35,000 Polish Jews survived the war in Poland (excluding those who fled into the Soviet Union and returned after the war). We also know that close to 10 percent of Jews fled the liquidated ghettos in 1942 and 1943 – which would give you a number of about 250,000 Jews who tried to survive in hiding.  Subtract the first number from the second and you will see the scale of the ‘dark’ territory, in which the Poles, for the most part, decided who lived and who died.

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Jan Grabowski. Image Source: Gazeta Wyborcza.

In a more recent interview given for the launch of the new study, Grabowski stood by these earlier claims. However, the research in the two volumes he has edited does not specifically support them. If the book’s documented research is generalizable – and this would seem to be a safer approach than mere subtraction – then we arrive at a figure of 75,000 survivors, or 30% of the total 250,000 Jews in hiding (more than double Grabowski’s figure of 35,000 survivors).[1] It is also possible that even this extrapolated figure is too low, since survival rates may have been higher in large cities, not covered by the study, where there were more assimilated Jews with connections among non-Jewish Poles. On the other hand, if we assume that “over 60% perished” means, say, 65% (my approximate finding after trawling through the two volumes), then the figure of those who died after initially escaping the ghetto liquidations would be around 160,000.

But is it reasonable to assume that the “overwhelming majority” of these approximately 160,000 victims died with at least some level of Polish culpability? For the nine counties examined, the study shows that this was certainly not the case in all locations. Engelking and Grabowski mention Bielsk Podlaski and Złoczów counties as particular exceptions, but there are also other counties for which the evidence is imprecise. The overall figures for direct and indirect Polish complicity remain unclear, as the separate chapters on the individual counties give different types of information and sometimes no figures at all.[2] The significant presence of non-Polish civilians, especially Ukrainians and Belarusians, in some of the counties covered by the study further complicates the picture.

This lack of consistency on numbers is especially irksome given the editors’ own emphasis on their importance: “The number of those who wanted to save themselves but perished has not only historical but also moral significance” (Volume 1, 28). Above all, there is no clearly presented evidence to demonstrate how the editors calculate that Poles were partially responsible for the “overwhelming majority” of the documented deaths. The book’s introduction includes tables to show the overall number of Jews in hiding, but presents no transparent data on total deaths and their probable causes across the nine counties.

Based on the most conservative estimates, my calculation from the evidence presented across the two volumes of the study is that around 56% of all victims among those Jews in hiding after the ghetto liquidations died with at least some demonstrable complicity from ethnic Poles (Grabowski suggests the number could be anywhere between 60% and 90%). This lower figure is still very substantial, but it does not represent an “overwhelming majority.” If we return to the projected total number of 160,000 victims, then we get a conservative estimate of around 90,000 victims killed with at least some Polish involvement – a figure that is shockingly high, but much lower than Grabowski’s 200,000. On the basis of similar projections, we might calculate that Poles were responsible for saving the majority of approximately 75,000 Jewish survivors.

In all this analysis, a conservative approach seems especially advisable when we consider that such tentative numbers are based on estimation and extrapolation rather than comprehensive evidence. There can be no certainty that the 9 documented counties are representative of the whole 63. In some counties, the presence of Ukrainians and Belarusians affects the figures, though the study largely takes this fact into account when discussing the specific complicity of ethnic Poles (as have I). Much more research is required to reach a more precise quantitative statement of “Polish responsibility.”

Difficult conclusions

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Jan Tomasz Gross’s book Neighbors (Sąsiedzi, 2000) brought the Jedwabne massacre, perpetrated by Poles under German supervision in 1941, to public attention.

So what is the point of all this? Am I splitting hairs to get the final number of victims down? Far from it. In overall terms, the real number of Jewish victims who perished with at least some Polish complicity over the entire period of the Second World War may well be higher. Many unexplained deaths are probably attributable to Poles, and there may have been unrecorded killings perpetrated by local Poles opportunistically and without witnesses. Moreover, the new research does not include the pogroms of 1941 (for instance, the Jedwabne massacre described by Jan Tomasz Gross), local Polish participation in murders during and after the liquidation of ghettos (this participation is documented in horrifying detail in the new study), and post-war violence. If we add all these numbers together, it is even conceivable that Grabowski’s inflated estimate might not be very far from the mark as a final sum of Polish partial guilt. However, there is not currently enough concrete evidence to substantiate this type of general claim.

In this context, such an extrapolative leap is surely an irresponsible move for a historian. Moreover, it is a tactical error in a highly charged domestic debate, as such imprecision supplies a ready-made defense to those who are not interested in truth, but simply wish to deny any Polish wrongdoing. It is difficult not to reach the conclusion that the constant aggression from the present Polish government and other conservative circles has shaken the scholarly equanimity of historians like Grabowski and Jan Tomasz Gross, pushing them – perhaps understandably – into imprecise, polemical and even emotive declarations.

In all these estimates, including my own, we also risk missing the crucial broader context. General figures conflate very diverse circumstances. There is an enormous moral distinction between a person who reports a neighbor in abject fear of the occupying regime and a shameless blackmailer or murderer acting for naked personal gain. Yet these diverse cases are all included under the same general understanding of “Polish complicity.”

Moreover, the concentration on Polish guilt inevitably pushes the Germans out of the picture. In fact, none of the killing and betrayal could have happened outside the conditions of an occupation for which the Germans bear full responsibility, as Angela Merkel has recently underlined. Even in the most flagrant individual instances of murderous opportunism from local Poles, the German occupying powers still carry a large part of the blame. Inter-war Poland was an increasingly hostile place for Polish Jews, but it was not the scene of mass murder. Moreover, the Polish state did not collaborate with Nazi Germany, but rather went abroad and underground to fight the occupation, sometimes offering aid to Jews. Especially outside Poland, where historical oversimplification often inflates Polish guilt, these contexts demand repeated emphasis.

In the final analysis, my reading of the study leads to the conclusion that almost one-third of Jews in hiding in nine counties of German-occupied Poland were saved with the help of Poles, while at least one-third (and probably more) were killed with the complicity of Poles. These numbers do not tell us what proportion of the Polish population was involved in these activities, and they cannot address the moral and political questions of what it all means for collective responsibility. How should contemporary Poles process this information? To what extent should the guilt of a minority of individuals acting without the support of the Polish state weigh on collective memory today? Does the emerging research suggest the need for further changes to the dominant narratives of Poland’s traumatic experience under the German occupation? The current Polish government has not created an atmosphere conducive to reflection on these serious questions.

I would argue that in the brutalizing circumstances of the occupation, and in the context of prewar Polish antisemitism, it is not the level of collaboration that surprises, but rather the relatively high number of those in hiding who were saved. Poles could do little to stop the transportations to the German death camps. But in situations in which they had genuine opportunities to help, non-Jewish Poles rescued one-third of their Jewish neighbors. In the gathering darkness of a growing understanding of individual Polish complicity with German crimes, this figure shines as a beacon of courageous dissent and decency. We should reflect deeply both on this number and on the weak response of the Western allied powers to the Holocaust before we judge Poles. And then leave it to Poles to judge themselves.

 

 

[1] In fact, the study implies that the number of people in hiding was probably closer to 220,000 – around 10% of the 2.2 million Jews formerly living in the occupied zones of the General Government and Bezirk Białystok.

[2] In a number of other cases, the “overwhelming majority” description is justified and clearly illustrated by the evidence: Biłgoraj county (66%), Łuków county (75%), Miechów county (73%), Węgrów county (99%). These are all shocking numbers, prompting Jean-Charles Szurek to note in reference to Łuków county that “the Polish countryside in the region was an open-air prison for Jews” (Volume 1, 590). In these areas, the attitudes of Polish neighbors made it difficult or impossible for Jews to escape. On the other hand, the figures are much lower in other counties: Bielsk Podlaski (46%), Złoczów (49%), and – according to my more conservative estimates based on the imprecise evidence in the study – Bochnia (30%) and Dębica (28%). No clear numbers are given for Nowy Targ county.

 

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14 comments

  1. Richard Harris

    Anti-Polish historian Jan Grabowski has little credibility. He claimed that “200,000 Jews were killed by Poles”….and then later he took that statement back when Poles requested hard facts for this. All of these Jewish critics of Poland love to find fault with Poland. But they NEVER explain WHY over half of the world’s Jews CHOSE to live in Poland for ONE THOUSAND YEARS…..if Poland was as anti-semitic as they say Poland is.

    Many times, these Jewish critics of Poland FAIL to point out that Poland was the ONLY Nazi German occupied nation where a civilian helping to save a Jew was punished with the Death Penalty…along with his WHOLE FAMILY. So IF the Nazi Germans felt a Pole was NOT collaborating with the Nazi Germans to kill Jews….he and his WHOLE FAMILY were killed by the Nazis. This begs the question….WHY was Poland the ONLY NATION where saving Jews was severely punished by the Nazi Germans? It was because the Nazi Germans got ANGRY and FRUSTRATED at all of the Poles they saw saving Jews. WHY don’t these “historians” like Jan Gross talk about that?????

  2. Pole

    Occupied Poland was multi ethnic. Saying that all Jews were killed or betrayed by “Poles” is nonsense.

    Jews who fled from Camps and Ghettos often died naturally (cold, hunger, injuries) or during regular fights with the Germans (see Bielski brothers) or they were killed/betrayed by Germans, Belarusians, Russians, Poles, Lithuanians, Jews (see Zagiew), Ukrainians and others (like Mathias Schenk from Belgium, who suppressed the Warsaw Uprising).

    I highly recommend Rzeczpospolita’s article http://www.rp.pl/Plus-Minus/305179916-Pogruchotana-pamiec-o-Zagladzie.html and
    this unpublished part of the book “Dalej jest noc” http://proszyk.blogspot.com/2018/05/nienapisany-rozdzia-powiat-bielski.html It shows how difficult it is to prove that ethnic “Poles” killed or betrayed all those Jews.

  3. Stanley Bill

    Dear Anonymous Commentator, Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I recommend that you read the book. All these points are considered. The authors specifically take into account deaths from “natural causes”, “fights with the Germans”, and the activities of non-ethnic Poles (Ukrainians, etc.). So the figures discussed are for “ethnic Poles.” Nevertheless, these complexities are indeed part of the reason I have raised questions about some of the book’s broader claims, suggesting that more conservative estimates would be more appropriate for now. Thank you very much for your interest.

  4. Pole

    Yes, Stanley they consider those points in the book, You are right. But they ignore those points in their conclusions, when they say that “2 out of 3 Jews” died at the hands of “Poles”.

    • Stanley Bill

      Dear Anonymous, Thank you for your constructive engagement. Yes, to repeat, this is precisely why I have criticized those very conclusions in my article. I put the figure closer to one-third, based on the researchers’ own evidence. Please read the article in full, especially the second half. Thanks again for your kind interest.

  5. Walter Orlowski

    Stanley, you must have a different definition of scholarship than I. Please tell me what is the basis for your conclusion: “But is it reasonable to assume that the “overwhelming majority” of these approximately 160,000 victims died with at least some level of Polish culpability?” Jan Grabowski and Engelking, his co-author? How in the world can you extrapolate what Grabowski supposedly studied to the rest of the Country? Having read Gross’s anti-Polish fantasies, I have no intention of torturing myself again, so I will skip reading the two books. The addendum to the IPN law punishing those who slander (for money) the Polish nation, was meant for “scholars” like Gross and Grabowski. They are paid attack dogs.

    Stanley, what you fail to mention is that the source for Grabowski’s and Gross’s libelous attacks are NKVD and UB “show trials” of Polish Underground (AK) soldiers during the post-war “reign of terror” perpetrated by the NKVD. A 150,000 Poles were murdered in that period (the Communists only admit to 75,000). An equal number and more were deported to Soviet Gulags. The Soviets began calling the AK a Polish Nazi army and Nazi sympathizers as soon as the Katyn graves were discovered in spring of 1943. I doubt if most of the people who signed the confessions ever read the content having been beaten to a pulp. The convictions in show trials were largely obtained on the basis of “confessions” beaten out of the victim by the NKVD or UB thug.

    You also ignore the fact that the Polish Directorate of Public Resistance made it clear that aiding Nazis in capturing Jews would be severely punished. If the legitimate government took power those who committed those crimes would be punished.
    Finally, you acknowledge in one sentence that the population of the most areas that you Grabowski used, were located where there was a mixed population, some dominated by minorities. You should have researched it further. In Lvow, Tarnopol and Podkarpacie, not to mention Wolyn, there were large Ukrainian minority. The same was true in many areas Eastern and Southeastern Government General. The Polish villages were under constant attack first from OUN gangs, but then by UPA which came into being by merging of these gangs. In those areas Polish villages were safe heavens for Jews and not death traps. In Eastern Galicia, those villages also served as rest stops for the Soviet partisans (mainly Ukrainians from Eastern Ukraine), which was not the case in Polesie and Wilno area. In East Galicia, over 700 villages were attacked and most inhabitants killed by UPA and SS-Galizien who worked together.

    Stanley, you have been duped by the Soviet and their Polish Communist collaborators. What the so called Holocaust scholars are peddling is different versions of Soviet anti-Polish propaganda. The Polish Communist government and post-Communist governments (after 1989) in the hands of former Communists were the primary source of defamation of the Polish nation. There is very little if any truth in all of their charges.

    • Stanley Bill

      Thank you for your comments, Walter. You will find answers to most of your concerns in the article. For your convenience, I quote the relevant sections below. Do read the book before dismissing it. And it is rather ironic that you accuse certain scholars of “slander” while simultaneously describing them as paid “attack dogs” with no evidence of any kind to support this claim.

      1. On estimates, I essentially agree with your point, and I am very critical of loose use of numbers:
      “In all this analysis, a conservative approach seems especially advisable when we consider that such tentative numbers are based on estimation and extrapolation rather than comprehensive evidence. There can be no certainty that the 9 documented counties are representative of the whole 63. [. . .] Much more research is required to reach a more precise quantitative statement of ‘Polish responsibility.’ [. . .] Such an extrapolative leap is surely an irresponsible move for a historian. [. . .] In all these estimates, we also risk missing the crucial broader context. General figures conflate very diverse circumstances. There is an enormous moral distinction between a person who reports a neighbor in abject fear of the occupying regime and a shameless blackmailer or murderer acting for naked personal gain.”

      2. On punishment of Poles and general German responsibility:
      “Even this more limited responsibility is difficult to quantify, since the framework for collaborationist activity was established solely by the German occupying powers. The Germans set the murderous policy, oversaw almost all aspects of its realization, strongly encouraged complicity, brutally punished altruism, and created a general climate of fear, social disintegration and demoralization. [. . .] All [Poles who helped Jews] were taking significant risks, as the Germans frequently executed helpers and their families (though not in all cases).”
      You might also notice that I included a photograph of the Ulmas with a description of their fate.

      3. On sources: In the article, I suggest the diversity of sources used in the book. In general, the scholars try to confirm facts from multiple sources. It is true that post-war court records are potentially problematic. However, firstly, they are not the only sources. Secondly, most of these trials were not “anti-AK show trials,” but rather local proceedings without a clear political background or motivation. Therefore, the scholars argue that there is no strong reason to exclude this evidence.

      Thank you once again for your interest.

    • sue knight

      Thanks Walter, for a gallant effort against the odds.
      One problem, I think, is that the victims of Stalin still have no political weight, for all their millions – any more than the victims of Chairman Mao do, for all their millions and millions. So it seems using Stalinist sources is no problem in the world of Academe, As I probably said in my first post. Stalin even managed to get the Polish army re-defined as “fascist” the moment WW2 had ended and they were still bruised and breathless from fighting Hitler. And you point out where and when that revision started. What a horribly devious thing politics is.
      And judging by the fury that greeted this new law, is it no longer politically acceptable to object to the re-defining of Nazi concentration camps as “Polish”?
      What next? Time will tell, I guess.
      In the meantime I expect we will continue to be “studied” by Academe. Oh joy. By the way, are the Russian and the Chinese people studied in this way because of the horrors of the Mao and Stalin regimes? I hope not for their sake – they too had a terrible time in the last terrible century. Haven\t they suffered enough? Haven’t we all suffered enough?
      And its not as if we – the children of Adam – are leaning anything from all this because otherwise we would not still be fighting and killing each other. In fact I wonder if it isn’t making us all more and more angry.
      But, when we listen to our Creator, the God of Abraham, we will learn the truth. He is already teaching millions, from every tribe and nation and tongue, to live in peace as the brothers and sisters we truly are.

      And to end on a positive note, in a world full of negativity, I would like to say how grateful I am to the generations of Jewish scribes who so faithfully transcribed God’s word down the generations. They have left us a rock of truth in a dark and spinning world.

  6. sue knight

    Hello Stan. I do need to read your thoughtful review again – when I have more time – busy day ahead. But this “new study” does seem a classic of its kind – in line with the Zeitgeist that has prevailed pretty much since the day after WW2 ended and my father and his comrades in the Polish army (which fought on the Allied Side) went from being “our gallant allies the Poles” to becoming “fascist thugs” and were barred from the Victory Parade.

    And if there is anyone out there – in Outerplanetistan perhaps – who doesn’t yet know that us Poles/Polonians are More Horrid than Anyone Else in Time and Space, and that we are on the “unter” page – then I guess this study will be very useful for them.

    I don’t need to read it, thank goodness, as I already know my place in the world.

    As a Polonian I too have many injuries to keep account of, if I wish to. I guess all of us damaged children of Adam do, because what a terrible 6,000 years it has been – just the last century alone… As the Hebrew Scriptures rightly warn us: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” And my injuries now include the constant, continuing untering from the most powerful media and academe in the world.

    How should I react? In kind? Or should I choose to remember that love “does not keep account of the injury”., and take a positive lesson from this rather than become bitter and angry, and start vilifying others? Because doesn’t this underline the wisdom of staying neutral and staying out of these cruel wars? The nations that managed to do so during WW2 did not suffer as Poland did, they aren’t blamed for anything, nor do they come in for all this “untering” either. They are not continually studied by Academe either.

    I hope you know that a rescue is on the way. The God of Abraham, the Creator of this lovely earth, which floats like a blue and white jewel in the immensity of space, has promised us that He will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth”. There is more happiness ahead for us right here on the earth than we can now imagine. And dead will not be forgotten at that time.

    So, as you say, this is not a time to be judging others. But its urgent to remember that we are all under judgement, and all in need of undeserved kindness from our Creator.

  7. peter urbanski

    I have watched from a far and sadly I see Poland going blind with a frustration from the past wars sadly. Poles do kill Poles, my father took out the ultimate target. Polish PM – General Wladyslaw Sikorski at Gibraltar in 1943 and yes the Polish IPN have no clue. He did not touch him, just his plane as he was allowed to be there. Under orders, also using a pseudonym and false name and rank. His group OW-ZJ upon England’s command, spurred on after the KATYN discover and other reasons before that, used a special signal over the Gibraltar radio to take his plane down. In detail we now release my book to explain precisely. ‘ To Live Well is to Hide Well ‘ available on AMAZON thought out the world. So in the end, Poles do kill Poles but its usually under extreme reasons or duress.

    • michal karski

      @ Peter Urbanski

      This is a sensational claim. I wonder if it will be taken up by anyone in the Polish press?

      • michal karski

        My apologies if I’m straying miles from the topic of the above article, but as for Mr Urbanski’s claim – (and I suppose I ought to have read his book before commenting) – it seems there has been some reaction already:

        https://www.quora.com/Was-Polish-premier-W%C5%82adys%C5%82aw-Sikorski-killed-by-Winston-Churchill

        Today, the 4th of July, is the 75th anniversary of Sikorski’s death. The question of British culpability raises its head every now and again. But why would the Brits want to eliminate him, since he was the most pragmatic of Polish statesmen, prepared, as he was, to enter into an agreement with the Soviets for the sake of the anti-Hitler Alliance?

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