Tekst jest traktowany jako integralna całość, można go cytować, ale zgodnie z prawem z podaniem źródła, tzn. autora książki i jej tytułu, osoby udzielające wywiadu, no i tłumacza amatora:). Tłumaczenie jest moje (z pomocą Google Translate), dlatego jest pewnie w nim dużo błędów:), pro publico bono, całkowicie bez wynagrodzenia.
I don’t like apologizing
with dr. Piotr Gontarczyk
In an interview for "Rzeczpospolita", Dr. Alina Cała recognized that because of pre-war anti-Semitism - which didn’t prepare Poles morally for what was to happen during the Holocaust - and which carriers were groups forming the national camp and the Catholic Church. Poles are to some extent co-responsible for the Holocaust.54 In response to these words, you wrote in Rzeczpospolita: "The picture of Poland and Poles presented by Dr. Aline Cała (...) may seem shocking. Here it turns out that Poland in the 1930s was a country of wild pogroms and racist anti-Semitism, one of the most important carriers of which was the Catholic Church. The Poles themselves wanted to murder Jews, only they were forewarned by German occupiers in their criminal plans. During the WW2, the fate of Jewish neighbors in Poland probably didn’t concern anyone, and certainly not the anti-Semitic authorities of the Polish Underground State. Similar assertions are the foundation of general thesis of Dr. Cała that Poles are co-responsible for the murder of 3 million Jews" 55. Is the statement of Dr. Całą, what met your riposte published in Rzeczpospolita, correspond with the mission of the Jewish Historical Institute and its mission is convergent with Polish historical policy?
I don’t follow the mission of the Jewish Historical Institute and I don’t know what mission it performs under its director, prof. Paweł Śpiewak. He is an outstanding scientist, but devoted his entire scientific life to other topics. Generally, I believe that the JHI isn’t about pursuing historical politics, but its task is to document the history of Polish Jews in the areas not only of today's Poland, but also of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Eastern Borderlands. As for my response in "Rzeczpospolita", I think I could show that Ms. Cała knowledge and her intellectual discipline are quite low. 56 This is a bit of a phenomenon outside of science. If, however, someone has such large problems with the interpretation of facts, his general historiosophical theorems have little credibility.
54 A. Cała, “Poles as a nation didn’t pass the exam”, the interview was made by P. Zychowicz,: "Rzeczpospolita", 25/05/2009, available on the Internet: http://www.rp.pl/artykul/310528-Polacy-jako-narod-nie-zdali-egzaminu-.html.
55 P. Gontarczyk, Nonsense, simplifications, confabulations, in: "Rzeczpospolita", on May 27, 2009, available on the Internet: archiwum.rp.pl/artykul/867897-Nonsensy-uproszczenia-konfabulacje.html
Dr. Alina Cała, however, isn’t the only person dealing with Polish-Jewish relations, who emphasizes that the carrier of anti-Semitism in the Second Polish Republic was, among others, precisely the Catholic Church. How much truth is there?
The problem, of course, was. However, one should bear in mind the scales, proportions and significance of this in history, as well as whether it was related to the Holocaust. There is no doubt that some of the Catholic publications in the 1930s were evidently anti-Semitic. The natural conflict between civilizations and religions is very visible in them. Expressions of reluctance towards Judaism and the Jewish community in these publications aren’t questioned. The next inquiries are questions about the attitude of the Catholic Church, including the higher church hierarchy and individual priests towards the Holocaust, as well as the fundamental question whether the Catholic Church can be held responsible for the fact that the Germans took Poland and came up with the idea of factory extermination of Jews. For the fact that the Germans created the death machine and the atmosphere of not only acquiescence, but also often the necessity, under the penalty of death, to participate in these activities. After all, the Germans not only punished death for helping the Jews, but also used peasants to raid in the forests. The fundamental question is: "Who is responsible for that?" The peasants, the Poles, the Catholic Church? No, it would be absurd. To burden the Church with complicity or complicity in the Holocaust is strained for obvious ideological reasons. What presents Mrs. Cała and people similar to her is margin and extremism. This is a projection of anti-Christian prejudices that don’t fit into scientific canons.
This, as you say, margin and extremism is, however, exceptionally loud and influential. This may be evidenced by at least an invitation from the Yad Vashem Institute of Jan T. Gross to the chapter of the International Literary Award Yad Vashem, which in 2014 awarded prof. Jan Grabowski for the book on the hunt for Jews. I have read this publication quite well and although I’m not a historian, I have found a lot of abuse in it. One of them is the difference in the sound of its Polish and English titles. The Polish version of the title is: “JUDENJAGD. Hunting for Jews 1942-1945. A study of the history of a particular county”. The English version of the title is: “Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland”. Although the English version of the book is an enlarged version, it isn’t enough to justify the removal by Jan Grabowski the reference to one particular county. In addition, in this book, which is actually a study of Dąbrowa Tarnowska county, Jan Grabowski often cites many examples of Poles' bestiality towards Jews from outside the world they studied, without explicitly mentioning this fact in the text. Some of the towns mentioned by him are distant from Dąbrowa Tarnowska even by almost several hundred kilometers. For people who don’t know exactly the geography of Poland, and I think that this concerns a large group of English-language readers of the book, the village served by Jan Grabowski will seem to be located in the Dąbrowa Tarnowska county. Thus, the scale of cruelty and savagery of Poles seems to be enormous. Most importantly, prof. Grabowski hardly ever gives any examples in his book from other parts of Poland that would indicate the heroic attitudes of Poles. Perhaps it was precisely because of this one-sided narrative and the generalizations unfair to Poles that one could read in the newspaper "Die Welt" that the book by Prof. Jan Grabowski "exacerbates Gross's thesis" 57.
Regarding the translation of Mr. Jan Grabowski, in the Western literature there appeared a phrase such as "paid helpers". It is about paid Jewish helpers who took money from them for care and help. Of course, here the range of attitudes is very wide and people who hid Jews from the business and people who spent their money on food for Jews they hid. Jan Grabowski translated "paid helpers" as "recipients", which isn’t what terminology says: not "people who take" but “people who help”. It is such a science and treatment of sources. Like people who (for a fee) helped Jews to change to those who first of all took money from them. The unfairness of this scientist and completely conscious distorted by the fact he already spoke prof. Bogdan Musiał, on the example of Dąbrowa Tarnowska 58, and also recently on the occasion of the attack on the Museum of Poles Saving Jews during the WW2 Ulma families in Markowa, dr Mateusz Szpytma 59. They convinced me.
57 J. Caus, So halfen polnische Bauern beim Judenmord, 9/06/2015, https: // www. welt.de/geschichte/zweiter-weltkrieg/article142180592/So-halfen-polni sche-Bauern-beim-Judenmord.html.
58 B. Musiał, D. Matusiak, Fate of Jews in the Dąbrowa Tarnowska county, in: "Rzeczpospolita", 5.03.2009, available on the Internet: http://www.rp.pl/arty kul/621695-Los-Zydow-w-powiecie-Dabrowa Tarnowska.html.
59 M. Szpytma, ONLY WITH US. IPN corresponds to GW after the attack on the Museum of Ulma: "History is much more complicated than it seems to the authors of the text hundred", 10/12/2016, http://wpolityce.pl/historia/318823-tylko-u-nas-ipn-od powiada-gw-po-ataku-na-muzeum-ulmow-historia-jest-o-wiele-bardziej -skomplikowana-niz-wydaje-sie-autorom-tekstu.
Professor Grabowski began his scientific activity from dealing with the history of Canada and the history of the Indians. Also Jan T. Gross started his career with something completely different. I have talked to many people who were flattering about Jan T. Gross's earlier scientific publications. In their opinion, they were written in a balanced, honest way and were primarily substantive. In the books on Jedwabne and the Kielce pogrom, however, he began to describe reality in a one-sided way, after passing many important facts, and distorting others. Recently, he told the German newspaper "Die Welt" that the Poles killed more Jews than Germans during the WW2. There is little in the scientific community of people who would wake up strong emotions among Poles, as Jan Tomasz Gross. What do you about his activity?
In fact, Jan Gross once wrote normal books. However, how he functions today is a wider problem and concerns researching and talking about the Holocaust. It was written and said about the Holocaust so much that writing or saying something new and shocking, which would pay attention to the person is very difficult. But he wants to constantly shock. This is how Jan Tomasz Gross works. If he wrote normally and honestly about what had happened in Jedwabne, it wouldn’t arouse such interest. Another sad, complicated historical event. But this is an intellectual scammer, a scandalist. He works on the principle of stimulating and irritating sensibility through the stimulation of further quarrels. This is such an obscene pop culture, not science. His irresponsible statements and books, which contain lies, misrepresentations and manipulations, are one big "grossiada." He cultivates an intellectual trickster. To shock the media, make money and be popular. This is all Tomasz Gross. So that he said such words just in the German newspaper shouldn’t surprise anyone. Such a style.
Doesn’t Jan T. Gross at times attempt to escalate tension and antagonize Poles with Jews? His words provoke in the end to describe Polish-Jewish relations in a similar language as he. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from the Polish side said or wrote that in the 1930s and 1940s, the Jews killed more Poles than Germans, or that Jews during WW2 contributed to the death of more of their countrymen than killed the Germans. Creation of this type of construction, it probably will not improve Polish-Jewish relations.
I wouldn’t look into the action of Jan Tomasz Gross, a far-reaching plan to quarrel Poles with Jews. He is driven by very mundane, low incentives, which are increasing sales of his books and popularity. Jan Tomasz Gross is a very down-to-earth man.
The subject of Polish-Jewish relations is very sensitive and it's easy to blow yourself up. This is evidenced by the case of prof. Krzysztof Jasiewicz. In an interview for the magazine Focus Extra, published by the Polish branch of the German publishing house Gruner + Jahr Polska, he stated that the Holocaust: "wouldn’t be possible without the active participation of Jews in murdering their nation". He was also to say that " entire generations of Jews worked through the century of the Holocaust, not the Catholic Church". Professor Jasiewicz later explained that the title of the interview sounding "Jews were themselves guilty" was given by the magazine Focus Historia or by a journalist interviewing him - Jerzy Diatłowicki. The editor-in-chief of the magazine admitted that their campaign had the features of provocation. After the publication of the interview, the prosecutor's office initiated an investigation into the incitement of hatred by, among others, ethnic and national differences. Although it didn’t appear in the statements of prof. Jasiewicz any sign of a prohibited act, because in her opinion they were within the limits of freedom of speech, but he was accused of anti-Semitism and dismissed from the post of the head of the Department of Eastern Problems Analysis at the IPA PAS. In your opinion, was it an adequate response to the words of prof. Jasiewicz?
I’m reluctant to speak about the very different works of prof. Jasiewicz, but in general I’m opposing the scientist's postponement for this kind of silly statement. I think that every scientist can sometimes say something or write too soon. It is totally unacceptable to get out of work and use restrictions for this reason. Of course, these are things that shouldn’t happen, but everyone can make a mistake. What has happened to Professor Jasiewicz is difficult to accept.
Regarding the concern raised by prof. Jasiewicz on the subject of Jewish participation in the Holocaust, it is certainly a sensitive topic and difficult to discuss because of the success of the Jewish community in the United States. Because of this, extermination has become a very important subject whose parareligious dimension transcends various historical speculations and cuts away all scientific discussions.
The baton of anti-Semitism is very often used in Polish-Jewish relations and has already hit many people. Part completely undeserved. There is, therefore, self-censorship and some caution in addressing these topics for fear of accusations of anti-Semitism, for which some environments too often reach. The consequences of careless and unwise or even ill-conceived statements can be dramatic. They can end up losing their job and even accusations and public stigmatization of such a person.
After the words that the Poles killed more Jews during the war than the Germans, Jan Tomasz Gross didn’t meet with such stigma as prof. Jasiewicz. Admittedly, he took the IPN and the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this matter and received a notification of the suspicion of committing a crime to the prosecutor's office. Professor Aleksander Smolar found his words to be disgusting, and Monika Olejnik said that Jan Tomasz Gross was slackened. However, widespread outrage didn’t translate into a response from Jewish organizations adequate to the seriousness of his words. As noted by prof. Jerzy Robert Nowak, Gross's words didn’t protest neither the Federation of Jewish Societies in Poland, nor the Association of Jewish Combatants and Victims of World War II, nor the Children of the Holocaust. The Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews also didn’t recognize that his statement offends the memory of the victims of extermination, diminishes the guilt of the perpetrators and transfers it to the victims, as it was recognized by Scientific Council of the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in the case of prof. Jasiewicz. Jan Tomasz Gross didn’t meet with such ostracism of the scientific community as prof. Jasiewicz. You can see double standards here.
It is true. The example of Tomasz Gross and his statements about Poles testify to the fact that everything can be said about Poles. You can see a glaring asymmetry in favor of the Jewish narrative. As I said, favoring Jewish memory in the public space is associated, among other things, with the huge success of the Jewish community in the United States. This, in turn, directly translates into a global perception of the history of the WW2. This is why mass culture is dominated by a strongly ethnocentric and often devoid of a broader context, the vision of war outlined by the Jewish community and people representing this vision can count in various situations on a reduced fare.
The Jewish vision of the history of the WW2, including the perception of cooperation between Jewish partisans and the Soviets, could be seen in the film Edward Zwicka “Resistance”, in which the film James Bond, Daniel Craig, played the role of Tuvia Bielski.
As for the film “Resistance” and perception of Soviet and Jewish guerrillas in these areas, the current version of history changes from time to time in Yad Vashem. When I was there for over 10 years ago for the first time, there was a huge hall for Soviet guerrillas with medals, Soviet red stars and not very real combat achievements that were related to the past of many local historians who occupied high Yad Vashem position. But perhaps there is a change of generations. A few years ago, all this has already been minimized to one small room. Red stars were scattered from uniforms. The sound narration speaks of the unification of guerrilla movements, but in no language I heard who united them. There is no mention of Stalinist services and Moscow. On the board are the faces of partisans who talk less about the battles with the Germans, and more about how bad was the local population who collaborated with the Nazis and murdered the Jews. With time, something had to do with her. It is difficult to perceive it differently than the current attitude towards the recent appearances of robberies, pacifications and murders of representatives of the local population. So there is no permanent description of history here. It was to be commemorated, and, as you can see, there is a current polemic with uncomfortable historical facts and a different vision of history,
Examples of such uncomfortable facts are crimes committed on the Polish civilian population in Koniuchy and Naliboki. In connection with this, there are even voices to start opposeing Koniuchy and Naliboki to the pogrom of Kielce and Jedwabne. Should these events be combined with each other?
These are two different historical events. The crimes committed in Koniuchy and Naliboki are known in Poland, although around Jedwabne topic that a media campaign such as never before was done in Poland. However, these are different events and there is no symmetry here. However, Jews died in Jedwabne only because they were Jews. That was the idea of the Nazis. This was the so-called cleansing action, which attempted to involve the local population in all ways. In Koniuchy and Naliboki there was a different situation, because we are dealing with guerrilla units subordinate to the Bolsheviks. Looking at Jedwabne and Kielce, as well as at Naliboki and Koniuchy, these events should be considered separately. All of them, however, need to be carefully researched and described.
As far as Jedwabne is concerned, facts are generally known, although they haven’t penetrated common knowledge and Polish awareness. Jan Tomasz Gross, through his fraud book strongly falsified reality. Unfortunately, the theses made public by him are still dominating, although the facts indicate that everything was different than what Gross describes and the key role wasn’t played by Poles but Germans. However, there are many elements that should be taken (but aren’t) from the historical side to clarify the matter to the end, such as exhumation. Nobody also began to seriously examine the documents of German units that operated in these areas. Meanwhile, these documents are even in the Central Archives of Modern Records in Warsaw. I therefore believe that from the historical point the case of Jedwabne hasn’t been duly explained and described.
As for the pogrom in Kielce, we already know a lot more and this matter doesn’t raise any doubts. For now, there is no strong evidence that would indicate a provocation. As always, however, in such cases, it is hard to say definitely. In any case, I wouldn’t expect any sensational discoveries here.
More and more voices are heard that Poles should finally stop apologizing to others for their alleged crimes. At the same time, many Poles would like to hear an apology from Jews for the crimes that communists of Jewish origin made on Poles, or at least to admit that Jews weren’t always innocent victims, but sometimes also acted as perpetrators. It seems that Ryszard Praszkier, who wrote in 2013 in Rzeczpospolita, felt exactly what it was expected: "I would like to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the Jews who, together with other Poles, helped to strengthen the Soviet occupation in Poland. Nothing connects me to them except ethnic roots, but finally someone has to ask for forgiveness!”.60 What do you think about apologizing to one nation by another?
I don’t like this. I don’t like apologizing, recantation, etc. in the case of Poles or in the case of Jews. Individuals are responsible for specific crimes, not their children, siblings or representatives of their nation. It was specific people who took part in the mob in Jedwabne organized by the Germans and specific people among Jewish communists took part in the repression and crimes of the communist regime. Let them apologize! It is absurd for me that I must feel sorry for Jedwabne or that anyone would expect any apologies for Jedwabne. The same goes the other way. I see no reason why Mr Praszkier should apologize for other people. I apologize for something that is on my conscience. So I don’t recognize such apologies and consider them to be unwise and even harmful. In this field, however, there is a complete asymmetry in Polish-Jewish relations, because on the one hand, when we talk about the crimes of communists of Jewish origin, it is immediately said that they weren’t Jews but were communists. On the other hand, there are some strange expectations for me and all Poles that we should feel responsible for Jedwabne. This is a kind of schizophrenia. Let us describe it all reliably and let us learn something from these stories, and that's it.
60 Jew - Polish patriot, 11.05.2013r. http://www.rp.pl/artykul/1007958-Zyd --polski-patriota.html.
Could the apologies of the Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski for Jedwabne and March 1968 be aimed at transferring responsibility for the faults of communists, from their moral and ideological heirs, what are the post-communist formations for all Poles?
It is clear that it is very easy for a representative of the post-communist left and a man who comes from communism to transfer responsibility from the totalitarian systems he himself represents to the ethnic line, that is Poles - Jews. In this way he tries to whitewash the criminal system he comes from. Therefore, the communists from which he descends shouldn’t be responsible for crimes, only the Poles,. I think, however, that it has an even wider dimension and that more things are done for it. Starting from the fact that the world is now dominated by American culture, of which the Holocaust has become an important element. This vision represented by the world of science and the Jewish community in the United States has become the worldwide narrative of our history. This story arose at a time when there was a communist system in our part of the world, so there was no freedom of scientific activity, access to archives. Therefore, it was based mainly on oral relations, without verification of the facts. This tale, containing a lot of abuse, emotions, prejudices or the most ordinary absurdities, flooded the world. This is a sad cultural, civilization phenomenon, and not a conscious decision.
However, one doesn’t necessarily exclude the other. Post-communists could, after all, feel the general tendency and use it to achieve their own goals.
Yes, of course. Post-Communists had a clear political interest in whitewashing their formation. They fit into the line of expectations and thanks to that they were absolved. This absolution meant that they ousted communist crimes from collective memory in favor of the crimes committed by Poles. Not their system is guilty, but Poles. However, the system of Aleksander Kwasniewski is co-responsible for Jedwabne. Besides, both Nazism and communism are responsible for this crime. If there were no communism there during the Soviet occupation, then this crime wouldn’t have happened.
Aleksander Kwaśniewski told me that you studied his past and you can confirm that his father wasn’t called Stolzman. Is it true?
His father was assigned the name Stolzman and was made into a men from SB. I verified this on the occasion of studying the life story of Kwasniewski. It turned out that his father was a doctor and he was listed in 1946 as a person who has PSL views. No other name scrolls in any documents. However, I didn’t deal with the issue of the alleged origin of Aleksander Kwaśniewski, because this is a secondary matter. His activity is important. I wrote about him only an article in which I describe his connections with SB. 61
61 P. Gontarczyk, Aleksander Kwaśniewski in the documents of the Security Service. Facts and Interpretations, in: Apparatus of repression in People's Poland of 1944-1989, Rzeszów 1 VII 2009, Institute of National Remembrance. Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, pp. 149-224.
A thick line blocked the settlement of communists. Communism, moreover, didn’t have its Nuremberg at all and it will not have it anymore.
Out of these two criminal systems of Nazism and communism, one has won and the winners never judge. That is why the communists didn’t have their Nuremberg. Every time we talk about the need to settle these people, the accusations of "witch-hunt", fascism and even anti-Semitism are raised. These criminals very often resort to any argument that can save their lives. The case of Helena Wolińska and several still people who have been prosecuted for evident crimes are an example of how easily defending these people reached out for a stick of anti-Semitism and they were depicted as Jews and not as communists. This argument was presented exceptionally often.
Bronisław Wildstein said during the debate entitled “Polish-Jewish communists: remember or forget?”, which took place at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, that Gross isn’t interested, whether the KBW (The Internal Security Corps was a special-purpose military formation in Poland under Stalinist government, established by the communist Council of Ministers on May 24, 1945 info from Wiki) or UB employee died in the fight against the underground, because he counts it anyway as an anti-Semitic murder. If we would use this measure in the other direction, we would have furiously anti-Semitic text. The UB would be Jews in this dimension, who killed Poles mainly as Jews and not as UB -men". Following this lead, it can be said that if someone acknowledges that Poles are responsible for the anti-Semitic campaign in 1968, then it should be also recognize that Jews as a nation stand behind the murder of Polish patriots in the Stalinist period. Each stick has two ends.
Wildstein very aptly caught this logic and falsification of reality. So there is the problem of talking about Jews killed after the war, without giving reasons, and the reasons for these murders were very different. The most important motif was the robbery motif. This was due to the general savagery and universal access to weapons. If we know that after the war, so many Jews died at the hands of Poles, then this generally distorts the perception. This applies equally to Jewish security personnel and Jews who collaborated with this security agency, as well as ordinary murders on a robbery background, because it was thought that Jews had valuables, and that Jews were murdered only because they were Jews. An indication of only one motive, namely that they were killed only because they were Jews falsifying reality. There were many reasons for these killings.
Also today, Jewish origin serves as a shield for some people. " Gazeta Poland" demonstrated recently that father of Poland's ambassador in Washington Ryszard Schnepf, Maksymilian Sznepf, after the war fought against the Polish independence underground and participated in the so-called Augustow chase. Although there was nothing anti-Semitic in the article about the ambassador's family, Ryszard Schnepf reacted very emotionally to this text. He wrote that it is a struggle against him and his family, which resembles reaching for "the Nazi tradition of denigrating the family, rummaging in the roots, speculating, suggesting a conspiracy". The text was, according to him, also refer to March 1968. The reaction of Ambassador Schnepf, which could have damaged the image of Poland, was even referred to by the advisor to President Andrzej Duda, prof. Andrew Zybertowicz, who said that the ambassador Schnepf "behaves as if spoken obedience to the Polish state". Will we ever be able to freely discuss public figures and the history of their families - when they are of Jewish origin - without being accused of anti-Semitism or referring to Nazi traditions and patterns from March 1968?
I think that every topic should be talked about, although sometimes you have to be careful, because everyone is responsible for themselves. Certainly, however, the fact that some, sometimes multigenerational clans and families not too closely related to what we mean by Poland, were and are present in various areas of Polish public life, testifies to the fact that this isn’t a conspiracy theory but a real, historical and sociological phenomenon. That is why I believe that the so-called Judeo-Communism should be thoroughly researched and thoroughly analyzed. An interesting attempt to describe this issue, although not without some flaws, was taken not long ago by prof. Paweł Śpiewak, which would be difficult to accuse of anti-Semitism.
The overrepresentation of people of Jewish descent in the leadership of the communist movement or the security forces are historical facts. If after the war in Poland there is about 1 percent Jews, and in managerial positions in the communist services, there are several dozen times more, that is, the subject should be carefully examined. You need to study all of this to be able to say what it looked like and why it was so that the Jews engaged so much in communism and what their role was in introducing it to Poland after the war. You need to talk about this topic, as about everyone else.
However, it isn’t so easy and simple. Mentioned by you prof. Paweł Spiewak said during the debate that I have already discussed with the participation of Bronisław Wildstein, as follows:: "I’m not afraid of Polish nationalists, but of the environments that are terribly afraid of raising this subject - to put it bluntly, I’m talking about "Gazeta Wyborcza ", which doesn’t allow this type of conversation. This is justified by the fact that the conversation about the so-called Judeo-Communism and Jewish communists is the awakening of anti-Semitism in Poland. This type of taboo imposed causes that what can be unloaded, narrated and analyzed, the more skeletal and glaciated. If this topic draws me, he accidentally becomes an important element in the discussion about the limits of discourse. (...) It starts to look a bit like that, if anyone starts to talk about it, it is very easily placed in the corner as an anti-Semite. I have been called an anti-Semite many times because I took up the subject of the so-called Judeo-Communism. This is an attempt to close the topic - the worse it is that the environment closes it, because among some of my friends in this newspaper there are people who come from the communist movement "62. If such observations flow from the mouth so significant and influential - in the environment of Polish Jews - people like prof. Śpiewak. I think we really have a huge problem in Poland with the freedom to discuss the stereotype and phenomenon of the so-called Judeo-Communism.
Certainly. Under what prof. Paweł Śpiewak can sign with both hands. He is an outstanding intellectual and his words are bulleye.
62 http://wpolityce.pl/spoleczenstwo/234962-bez-tematow-tabu-prof-spiewak-chloszcze-wyborcza-za-blokowanie-dyskusji-o-zydokomunie-a-wildstein-opowiada-o-wplywie-jej-potomkow-na-iii-rp-o-ciekawej-debacie-w -mpw-relacja.
And would you sign with both hands under his book titled “Judeo-Communism”?
This book has many pluses, but it is unfinished. There were serious historical failures in it. However, many of the observations made in her are excellent. I think that if she had one fifth of her volume, it would be a good essay.
Daughter of General August Emil Fieldorf, pseudonym Nil, Maria Fieldorf Czarska proposed that the Poles, together with the Jewish Historical Institute, should organize “a campaign to commemorate the Jews who risked their lives to rescue Poles from NKVD-UB and KGB-SB" What do you think about this idea?
Generally, it is always good to describe and commemorate noble attitudes. This applies to both the Polish Righteous, who saved Jews as well as Jews or people of Jewish origin, who in various situations helped Poles and saved them. These aren’t isolated cases. Professor Kieżun, who survived the Soviet occupation and dealt with the Soviets, told me many stories of how Jews helped him and his family in various circumstances. Historia magistra vitae est. Therefore, we must describe this history so that good and nobility will not escape us. This is a tutorial pattern for younger generations. I understand why the Yad Vashem Institute has established the institution of the Righteous Among the Nations. It's clear. But should we follow Yad Vashem and honor Jews who saved Poles from communists? I have some doubts about this idea.
Every year, about 30,000 young Israelis come to Poland as part of educational trips. According to data from the Israeli Ministry of Education, 49 percent youth from secular schools and 4 percent Students from religious schools have meetings with Polish youth in the program of trips to Poland. These are, of course, data from a few years ago and could have changed a lot in this matter. Still, both in Poland and in Israel, the program of these trips raises a lot of controversy. Journalist David Sonnenschein, for example, states that "apart from the glorification of the victims and the increase in recruitment to the army", they don’t have real values. Professor Norman Finkelstein, claims that the program of these trips is aimed at evoking hatred of Poles among young Jews, and Poland should not tolerate them any longer. Portal Erec Israel, on the other hand, states something completely different, namely: "Trips to Poland are like visiting relatives in a cemetery. (...) The purpose of these trips isn’t to indicate Poles as perpetrators - they are to disseminate knowledge about the Shoah and allow them to pay homage to the murdered where their ashes lie. From our point of view, turning them into sightseeing and educational trips is meaningless". What do you think about it?
This earlier criticism, which the Lord cited, has something of truth in it, but it is still exaggerated. One must not forget in what circumstances and why Israel was created and one can’t forget that the Holocaust really happened. This nation has undergone a real tragedy. There is a lot of aversion to the world around Jews in this story of the Shoah, but saying that learning to hate Poles is an abuse. The Poles aren’t particularly distinguished here. Israeli youth generally presents a picture in which the outside world is hostile for Jews and other nations don’t like Jews, therefore it is good that they have Israel. This is only an element of the entire Israeli policy, it knows whether to build the identity and loyalty of its citizens around the idea of the state. It must be remembered that in Israel you can meet hundreds of trips of young Jews from the United States. They are educated there that Israel is a state that is still on the first front. This is done to create loyalty and pro-Israel attitudes among this influential Jewish diaspora in the United States. Generally, therefore, Israel is pursuing this policy in various fields.
I understand that Israeli young people come to Poland not to meet Polish youth here, but to visit the Jewish graves at the largest Jewish cemetery in the world, what Poland has become after the concentration camps were made by Germans. So it is also very natural for me that after such trips, the vision of Poland that young Jews have is contorted. Therefore, one should try to influence the program of these trips so that Israeli youth have the opportunity to conduct a dialogue with Polish youth in Poland. The more such meetings, the more prejudices and stereotypes disappear, and others are perceived not by the historical perspective, often irritable and unpleasant, but by the perspective of being human. The more such contacts the better. And among Poles there will be less anti-Semitism and anti-Polishism among Jews.
63 http://cms.education.gov.il/NR/rdonlyres/EDFB2F83-BA42-4706-A7D 7-95638E02BB76/139929/polin_2009_f.pdf.
Auschwitz is a symbol of their unimaginable suffering for Jews, therefore they surround this place with great respect and even some kind of reverence. This is fully understandable. However, Poles and people of a different nationality also died in Auschwitz, which Jews often don’t seem to notice. In 2003, the later general and the Israeli air force commander, Amir Eszel, ignored the Polish authorities and flew over his F-15 just above the Auschwitz camp. Eszel was supposed to tell other Israeli pilots that Jews had to listen to the Poles for 800 years and now they don’t have to do it anymore. The directorate of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum considered this trip to be "an inappropriate demonstration of strength." A well-known American journalist of Jewish origin, Jeffrey Goldberg commented on this feat, saying: "Eszel made a symbolic vengeance over Auschwitz against Poles who humiliated the Jews during the centuries that led to the Holocaust". It isn’t the first time that the German concentration camp in Auschwitz has become an arena of symbolic struggle or rivalry between Jews and Poles. Finally, the Jews led to the removal of the Carmelite nuns from Oświęcim and demanded the removal of the Papal Cross. It is clear that Auschwitz is a symbol of suffering for Jews and they want this place to be respected. But don’t the Jews, through such offensive activities as those I have introduced to you, sometimes try to appropriate for themselves this place, in which both Poles and people of a different nationality died?
First of all, the Polish and Jewish positions differ in the historical perception of this place. In Poland, it is common knowledge that there were a lot of Poles, people from polish underground and Polish intelligentsia in this camp. After all, the first prisoners of Auschwitz were Poles. Of course, we also know that there were mass murdered Jews there. For Poles, knowledge about Auschwitz and the Holocaust is more complete. The Jews, in turn, look at Auschwitz from their historical perspective and for an overwhelming part of them, Auschwitz was just a camp only for Jews. The fact that Poles and Roma have been killed there goes down. There is a focus on the sufferings of his own nation and the types of things that you mentioned, this is perfectly demonstrated. All this results from the different historical perception of Auschwitz, and also from the fact that Jews often don’t know that Poles died there.
Is it necessary to expose to Jews and the world the scale of the tragedy that Poles encountered during the WW2 should we display our wrongs and sufferings in the same way that Jews do?
As a historian, I wouldn’t use the language of wounds, sufferings, etc. I would prefer to present internationally the real history of the WW2. Above all, the Holocaust must be suspended in the appropriate historical space. Polish-Jewish relations must be based on knowledge of these various complicated conditions and facts, not the unilateral perception of Jewish communities. As for the facts of the WW2, Poland should be more strongly present in the world public space, with the Internet at the forefront. We must remind us who Pilecki was, what was the Polish Underground State and where problems in Polish-Jewish relations come from. I believe that a scenario about Witold Pilecki should be written and that someone from Hollywood should be involved. The most important impact can be achieved through mass culture. We live in a mass society, so you have to appeal to the masses. We must also emphasize on which side Poland was during the WW2, because for many people from the United States this isn’t so obvious. I was in contact with educated people from the Jewish community in the United States who didn’t know whether Poland fought on the side of the Allies or on the side of the Third Reich.
Creating and promoting movies like “Ida” or “Aftermath” in the world will not help us.
Of course not. When the head of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was Radoslaw Sikorski, we published for Polish money, translated into English - treating as Polish position - publications that contained theses from the Gross's environment. Strange thing. What historical policy can we talk about, if we hurt ourselves so much?! Under Radosław Sikorski, we were dealing with complete irresponsibility in Polish diplomacy.
And are we not currently focusing more on extinguishing fires than on preventing them?
This would be a very optimistic variant if we assumed that we were extinguishing fires. Generally, we don’t have an efficient fire service at the moment. It simply doesn’t exist. Often, Polish intellectuals and historians present themselves so poorly in intellectual terms and yield to different fashions, that they become clappers of people who fuel fires by adding more gasoline bottles to them. The history of Jedwabne and other intellectual exploits of Mr. Gross and his intellectual children is an obvious example. There is an ongoing attempt to deconstruct and write the history of the Holocaust from scratch. We are flooded by a wave of scientific trash and falsification of history, as is the case, for example, in the translation of "paid helpers" into "recipients". On the other hand, we have many good historians. Every now and then somebody describes and explains the problems of the drama and sometimes it turns out that they didn’t take place at all. The first book I wrote in my life was about the Polish-Jewish conflict in Przytyk, which, not only in Poland but throughout the world, was described with a lot of errors and tendentiously. I have recently seen American Internet portals where facts have already been given and it is increasingly seen that the situation in Przytyk was much more complicated than it was initially presented. With small steps we are moving forward.
Our biggest problem, however, is that we don’t have a community with us when it comes to defending the good name of Poland and Poles. Politicians and representatives of Jewish organizations gather together and set up a defense strategy and even a historical offensive. Among us you will always find people who want to gain popularity and appear in the media, will make it to Poland. As a society, we aren’t the best in many aspects.
Can we do something about it?
First of all, we must realize that historical memory becomes the same field of rivalry and political interest as well as the method of dealing with various political and economic issues that tanks and planes used to be. I believe that history shouldn’t be outside the sphere of the interests of the state. The Ministry of culture, the Institute of National Remembrance and the world of science should follow as much as possible educational work in the country and abroad. These institutions and environments should adequately respond to unwise statements by politicians and the unwise actions of historians. The same applies to the editing of textbooks that talk about the Holocaust, and contain special distortions that falsify reality. You can make a dialogue with the authors of such textbooks or institutions that publish them. I’m an opponent of solving such things by means of a judicial path.
So one shouldn’t penalize the use of such phrases as "Polish concentration camps" or "Polish extermination camps"?
It shouldn’t be penalized. First of all, this is the problem of foreign space and local media. The prosecution of German or American journalists isn’t a good idea, unless someone uses these phrases in a persistent, malicious and unreformable manner in order to deliberately falsifying history. Then I’m in favor of letting such a person make a lawsuit. However, I consider it a last resort. For when it comes to world space, the use of the term "Polish extermination camps" results first of all from incompetence. Many intellectually weak journalists talk about topics of which he has no idea. For Germany, I have more doubts about it, because It is obvious that the Germans are carrying out operations on the historical consciousness of their society, which involves pushing all responsibility for the WW2 and the Holocaust on the Nazis. What is happening in Germany fills me with anxiety.
In a recently produced by the German public television station "ZDFneo" an anti-racist clip, Beata Szydło was criticized for inclusion in the context of the Crystal Night, and thus a pogrom committed on Jews by the Germans.
I saw such things in various left-wing media. These are the extremists who all right-wing will be in touch with the Nazis. So what happens in the German public space is also transferred to the Poles. This is highly disturbing and unacceptable. Let the Germans take care of their grandmothers and grandparents. When it comes to the use of such comparisons in relation to Poland and Poles, in the case of the Germans, this is exceptionally out of place.
On the website of the German Gerda Henkel Foundation, based in Düsseldorf, founded by Gerda Henkel's daughter, Lise Maskell, among people who received - as part of various research projects - support from this foundation, there are names of Polish scientists dealing with the subject of the Holocaust and Polish anti-Semitism. Did the Gerda Henkel Foundation, whose patron was the wife of Hugo Henkel, a member of the NSDAP, one of the 42 industrialists included on the list of war criminals of the Special Committee of the US Senate (Kilgora Committee), who owned the chemical concern Henkel, in which factories forced laborers, including Poles, worked in factories during the WW2, can influence the creation and popularization of German historical policy in Poland by giving Polish historians grants for research projects concerning widely understood Polish-Jewish relations? And should Polish scientists dealing with this subject at all seek German financial support?
The subject is ethically sensitive and this attitude of Polish scientists leaves much to be desired. In Germany, there is a general tendency to share responsibility for their crimes during the WW2 with the nations that were occupied by them at the time. There is such a strong current. Such movements and publications can be seen. I remember how the case of Jedwabne was commented on in Germany by German journalists and politicians. It was possible to feel such a "schadenfreude". Clearly derived from what was happening, joy. And then it was eponymous in the media that it is a Polish crime, and evidently it was a German crime. Management, initiative and conduct of the whole action is evidently a German crime. If, therefore, German crimes can be shared with the Poles, then of course, this is a source of satisfaction in Germany. The attitude of Polish scientists dealing with anti-Semitism in Poland and the Holocaust who take money from German organizations is something bad.
While German historical policy isn’t conducive to us, and is even focused on the confrontation with Polish historical policy, it seems that when it comes to the Jews themselves, the matter is no longer so unambiguous and the film “Resistance” and politics of Yad Vashem are only one side of the coin. It happens that some Jewish environments are going to help us. After the accusation of the Poles by FBI chief James Comey for co-responsibility for the Holocaust, executive director of the American Jews Committee David Harris called Comey to rectify and apologize, which, unfortunately, blocked the White House at the time. After the Russian ambassador in Warsaw stated that Poland was partly responsible for the outbreak of WW2, David Harris decided that the ambassador's words are a reversal of historical truth. He also reminded that Poland was the first target of Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union was Hitler's ally and in 1940 the NKVD committed a mass of massacre on Polish officers in Katyn. With this in mind, is there, in your opinion, a chance for Poland to establish permanent cooperation with Jews in the field of defense of historical truth?
Yes of course. I have often seen the statements of Dawid Wildstein at the Forum of Polish Jews, who spoke in defense of the historical truth. Anyone who is on the ground of the truth, that is, Jewish historians or representatives of Jewish communities and organizations, can be our ally. There are many of them. However, we must first cooperate with them.
It seems that first we should set a framework for this cooperation, and also define our attitude to the key issues for this cooperation, such as whether the history of Polish Jews will be treated as something separate from Polish history, or whether we will consider it as its integral part and in this connection we will include the history of Polish Jews in the history curriculum at Polish schools.
You have raised a very important topic, namely, what to teach in schools and how to do it in the case of national minorities, including the Jewish minority. I understand, for example, the creation of a separate Museum of the History of Polish Jews, because this was a separate phenomenon. It couldn’t be constructed differently than it was. It was necessary to dissect the history of Jews from the entire historical context. You can’t make a museum about everything. There, however, I don’t like many things. I mean first of all to emphasize the accents and to show Polish-Jewish relations. In any case, it is impossible to show the history of Jews without the historical context of Poland itself. Ask not how to teach Polish youth about the Jewish minority in Poland? Undoubtedly, it must be emphasized that this is a separate nation with a several thousand-year history, which is an interesting, separate historical phenomenon. So we know that there will be separate books, museums, etc. on his mat. However, we should talk about Polish Jews always in the context of Polish history, so when they came here, how they lived, what their relations with Poles were and what they brought with them. It is necessary to treat the history of Polish Jews as any other story, and avoid controversy and the beginning of uncomfortable issues for both sides. However, entering the history of Polish Jews into the history of Poland is still a kind of problem. When one speaks, for example, about a conglomerate of political parties in the Second Polish Republic, the largest political parties representing national minorities are often overlooked. We need to treat this mosaic of the Second Polish Republic as a whole, otherwise we will have a distorted picture of that world. There is a book by Jerzy Wojciech Borejsza “School of Hatred”, in which the most radical pre-war national movements are described. Unfortunately, there is no Jewish movement there, and yet they were like that. This is a testimony that the history of a large part of Jews in Poland is still silent. This has to be changed by reliable research and popularizing knowledge on this subject.
You did it in a documentary film with the title of Betar, realized together with Robert Kaczmarek. One can learn from him that before the war, even the Zionists had much more power than the Jewish communists. It was finally right-wing Zionist-revisionist Bejtar was the largest national-radical organization of the Second Polish Republic, associating about 50,000 people who wore sand or brown shirts and saluted with the help of saluto romano.
Exactly. We need to talk about the Jews involved in communism and Jews involved in Zionism in order to have a better historical and sociological perspective. In addition to the fact that Jews were always over-represented in the communist world, one must also remember that they were a margin in the Jewish environment, which was very diverse. There were many parties, organizations and worldviews. Most of the Jews before the war were anti-communists. For various reasons. Part was Zionist, part of Orthodox Jews, and some saw their future in Poland. So it wasn’t a communized community. Zionist and religious views prevailed. One of the protagonists of the film mentioned by you, for example, tells how he broke into the headquarters of the leftist Jewish organization and wrote them: "Traitors to Moscow!".
And how did the Jewish community in Poland look in terms of the cross-section of worldviews after the WW2?
It was also very ideologically spread. A large part of them came from deportations and from Soviet labor camps, so the communists were again in the minority. However, it was a community deprived of livelihoods, so it was dependent on state and state aid-controlled institutions. This community was therefore closer to the new government than the Poles. This was, however, due to purely pragmatic and not ideological issues, although communism had many influences on many Jews - who survived the war, as they saw the liberator from the Germans. In any case, a significant number of people who went to cooperate with the communists and held executive and party positions were later identified and thrown on charges of being Zionist or anti-Communist. Many party activists and directors who entered the power apparatus later turned out to favor Zionism and helped, for example, to leave Jews to Israel. It must be remembered, then, that after the war, Jews in their mass clung to power, because they had nothing and sought for welfare and social assistance.
Supposedly, after the war, the victims of communism, and thus of the communists of Jewish origin, also fell to the members of Bejtar and the Jewish Military Union.
Far looking, in this film, the revisionists tell the story of persecution by the communists. They say that they were denounced by leftist Jews to the security apparatus and taken to Siberia, where they often died. In the Jewish community after the war, there were also many conflicts and tensions. Those who won the war, and thus the communists, wiped out the memory of other Jewish movements than those favorable to the communists. In addition, it must be remembered that during the war, the Bejtar memebers in the vast majority died. However, because several members of the leadership of the Jewish Fighting Organization survived, they also told the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, ignoring the fact that the main force on the Jewish side was ZZW. Winners always write a story. Not the first and not the last time. The Jewish Fighting Organization was left, and the Jewish Military Union was to be removed from the pages of history. The participation of Jews in the communist movement was also stressed in this way, removing Bejtar. This is the normal activity of the left who sniffs out his opponents from history. My intention in this film was to restore the memory to Poles of the Jews, who were tried to remove from the pages of history. The film was created in a very simple way. We used to do another film with Robert Kaczmarek in the United States and he asked me what should be filmed and shown for what is still important for the history of Poland. My answer was: Betar. Then Robert Kaczmarek asked me what it is. After a few months, he already knew it.
The film was put out by Telewizja Polska and somehow it moved. In my opinion, not everyone, however, knew what it was all about.
Only then, after the film was finished, controversy arose. Dr. Maciej Wojtyński said, however, that in historical terms the film is impeccable. So it wasn’t strictly political. Despite this, we had signals that the film is politically incorrect and many people would like to stop it and not allow official broadcast. So there was a problem what would happen to this film. There were even interventions on the part of Jewish organizations that asked the Public Television when it would finally be released for distribution. After more than a year of lying on television, the film was finally released.
Of course, you can’t tell everything in the movie. And it was shortened by the things that should be shown, such as anti-Semitism in the Second Polish Republic. However, if you want to show the entire historical context, it would take three-quarters of the movie. If it is fifty minutes, then you have to decide what is shown and sometimes just cut out less interesting things. We have just focused on showing the revisionists. We wanted to show what the members of Bejtar thought and felt and what their choices were.
Apparently, Menachem Begin was called by the members of the Irgun - along the lines of Piłsudski - the commandant. Włodzimierz Zabotyński was also to be inspired by Józef Piłsudski, as well as POW and First Cadre Company. Žabotinsky and Menachem Begin are one of the founding fathers of Israel. Did the Poles' experience in the fight for independence really constitute inspiration for the Zionists?
In the movie Betar, we gave the floor to its members, wanting to see what inspired them and influenced their attitudes. In addition to Masada and the Jewish Legion, which was in the central axis of revisionism, they themselves testified that they were heavily influenced by Polish national uprisings, Polish romanticism, and thus Słowacki and Mickiewicz, and Pilsudski's Legions. They drew very much from this tradition. In those houses of the revisionists in which I was, in the majority you can see a set of Polish literature, such as Mickiewicz and Słowacki, which isn’t too much in contemporary Polish homes anymore. They grew up in two cultures and were imbued with both Polish and Jewish tradition. After the war, however, people brought up in such a tradition were very uncomfortable for the communists.
In the 1930s, the Polish Army trained Zionist-Revisionists, preparing them to fight for their own state in Palestine. Nationalists also supported the Zionist aspirations, wishing Jews would leave Poland. Even after Israel gained its independence, in the ONR - ABC program of emigration from 1949, one could read: "On our own experience, we can see that the indispensable factor of the nation's life is its own statehood. We wish the Jewish people maximum success in his struggle for his own homeland, the fight he has led with courage and following from generations". 64 Today, national environments and radical right-wing movements usually support Palestinians and attack Israel, Zionism and Israeli Jews sharply. According to logic, instead of attacking them, they should support them. In the end, if Israel would cease to exist, Israeli Jews would have to seek refuge in other countries, probably also in Poland. The abutment and outpost of Western civilization in the Middle East, which is Israel, would then fall into the hands of Muslims, to whom - to put it mildly - they don’t have much sympathy. Is there any kind of schizophrenia in their approach to Israel?
I don’t see in radical radical right-wing movements of schizophrenia, because they have never been pro-Zionist, but anti-Jew and anti-Semitic. They just didn’t like Jews. That's why they wanted the Jews to leave Poland. The fact that they left, doesn’t mean that they started to like them. They still don’t like them, but they don’t like Jews in Israel. So it is a consistent, unfriendly position for Jews, which doesn’t change significantly. One shouldn’t apply logic to this. It all belongs to the sphere of emotions, and hence reluctance.
The Polish state helped Jews before the war to build their state in Palestine for a number of reasons. This is complicated. It isn’t quite so that the Piłsudski lands supported them because of their reluctance towards Jews. In general, it considered that for many state reasons, it would be good if so many Jewish communities that live in Poland find a place outside its borders. Because of the social structure of Jews in Poland, it was supposed to bring relief to Poles who were competing with them in many fields. Is this anti-Semitism? I don’t think so. If the Poles had similar plans towards the German minority, nobody would accuse the Poles of having sent Germany for Germanophobia, despite the fact that the Polish state tried to substitute the leg for German companies and organizations in Silesia. National interest requires even to care for its own capital. Therefore, the policy of the Second Republic of Poland was something other than cultural and civilizational anti-Semitism.
64 The Budzisze Brothers (Franciszek Kotulecki and Tadeusz Dziedzicki), What kind of desire do we want to have Poland ?, "Ogniwo" [Maillon] No. 4 (special), b.d. , p. 5. Rewritten reprint of the program of the "Szaniec" Group from 1941.
Although in Palestine gen. Anders had banned Polish soldiers telling jokes about Jews, not to irritate the Jewish soldiers, and also banned the military police enforcement Jewish deserters who fled to the Middle East almost 3 thousand (about 70 percent of the total number of soldiers the Mosaic denomination serving in his army), he was exposed to accusations of anti-Semitism. He was accused, among others skipping Jews in promotions. Some people, however, claims that the allegations are bogus and have to justify desertion of soldiers of Jewish origin. Norman Davies says that “The anti-Semitism in the Anders Army say Zionists who have built their ideology incessant Polish anti-Semitism (...) To this day, constantly talking about Polish anti-Semitism. There is no discussion about them on this subject. In their eyes, Anders as a Polish general had to be an anti-Semite". What actually was the relationship gen. Anders Jews?
I'm not a specialist in the Anders Army. I know only an article on this subject by Mrs. prof. Krystyna Kersten. Because for me as a scientist, she isn’t very reliable, so I don’t know if this topic has been developed reliably. In the same collection, in which there is an essay on the Anders Army, there is an essay on Jews in the security service. Without any scientific research and checking of personal files, she counted that there were 3 percent of them. She got a note from prof. Paczkowski, and on this basis she wrote complete nonsense. So I don’t know anybody who would describe this subject. The problem of anti-Semitism, or General Anders' sympathy for Jews, is unknown to me. It is clear, however, that there was a great reluctance towards Jews in the Anders Army. One of the most important motifs that breaks through all historical materials, memories and reports of soldiers who passed through the Anders Army, is the motive for the behavior of a part of the Jewish community under the Soviet occupation in 1939-1941. It isn’t a secret that many Jews were generally disliked and even hated. The officer's staff were also very reluctant to treat Jews. They had personal experiences of the Soviet occupation. This conglomerate of aversion for various historical reasons was already present before the war. Part of the Jewish community didn’t identify with the Polish state. They even believed that during the Second Polish Republic they were oppressed and persecuted. During the Soviet occupation, so they took it back on the Poles. Then the escalation took place. After the Germans entered the Eastern Borderlands, Polish society and independence organizations learned how the Jews treated Poles and how they collaborated with the Soviets. This led to another wave of tension. Both communities remembered their wounds and injuries, which in turn caused a desire to rematch.
However, it was also up to the communists themselves to divide and disagree with each other Poles and Jews. Finally, a branch of the Union of Polish Patriots consisting of Jewish communists began to dissolve among the Zionists the rumors that Polish officers from the Anders Army denounced and gave Jews to the British and supported the Arabs. Communist propaganda and representatives of the Central Committee of Polish Jews blamed General Anders' people for organizing a pogrom in Kielce.
Yes, it was an element of communist propaganda in the 1940s and after the Kielce pogrom. They wanted to discredit Anders and his soldiers not only in the eyes of Poles, but this message was also directed to the West. They wanted to show that this army fighting for independence in the West is an anti-Semitic and made pogrom in Poland. It was an element of the then political struggle of the communists with Anders.
April 12, 2016