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At Auschwitz, remembering the Holocaust after the passage of a contentious Polish law

Participants in the annual International March of the Living walk through the "Arbeit Macht Frei" (work sets you free) entrance gate in the former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Oswiecim, Poland, on April 24, 2017. Jews from Israel and around the world marched the 3km route from Auschwitz to Birkenau in memory of Holocaust victims. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

JERUSALEM (RNS) — For the International March of the Living this week, more than 12,000 Jews and non-Jews from nearly 50 countries will travel to Auschwitz to commemorate the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

But swirling around the annual march this year are questions about Poles’ willingness to grapple with some of their forebears’ participation in the Holocaust: The Polish Senate passed a law in February that makes it a crime to accuse the state or its citizens of complicity with the Nazis.

Despite qualms from Jewish leaders that Poland has made it illegal to discuss the darkest chapter of its history with the Jews, the march Thursday (April 12) goes on.

The marchers — mostly teens and young adults but also diplomats, heads of state and synagogue groups — will mark Israeli Holocaust Remembrance Day by walking from the Auschwitz death camp to Birkenau, a camp within Auschwitz.

After a week in Poland, where they have been visiting sites such as the Warsaw Ghetto, viewing once-vibrant synagogues and speaking with Holocaust survivors, most will fly to Israel in time to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the country’s founding, which begins at sundown on April 18.

Given the new law, some Jewish leaders are asking whether Jews should be visiting Poland and supporting its economy if the government is eager to erase the fact that many Poles did in fact support the Nazis. Jews and other victims of the Holocaust note that thousands of individual Poles carried out wartime atrocities against Jews, Roma, gay people and others.

Participants walk with Israeli flags in the International March of the Living in 2017. Marchers silently walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest German Nazi death and concentration camp complex built during World War II. Photo courtesy of Finn Partners

The Polish Senate passed the law to underscore that Poland was under a brutal German occupation during World War II and that it was the Nazis and not the Poles who built concentration camps such as Auschwitz.

The day after the law’s passage, Rabbi Moshe Azman, chief rabbi of Ukraine, urged Israel’s education minister to send thousands of Israeli high school students on Holocaust trips to Ukraine rather than Poland.

Doing so, Azman said, would constitute “a fine” on Poland, where Holocaust-related visits and Jewish-roots tourism are big business.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and head of global social action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the center “is closely monitoring” the situation in Poland.

“If the situation deteriorates significantly — if there is an increase in hate crimes against Jews, or if respected historians are indicted under the new law, we will call on world Jewry to restrict their travel” to commemorative visits and refrain from other visits.

“It’s not up to us to tell someone not to visit the graves of their relatives. And the only people who can decide whether to switch the March of the Living from Poland to other places are the people who organize March of the Living. That’s their call.”

Cooper acknowledged that the Polish people “suffered terribly under the Nazis,” but he said that before, during and after the Holocaust “there were Poles who not only discriminated against Jews but attacked and killed them. That’s the part of Polish history the current government doesn’t want people to know about.”

Women carry an Israeli flag while participating in the International March of the Living in 2017. Photo courtesy of Finn Partners

David Silberklang, senior historian in Yad Vashem’s International Institute for Holocaust Research, warned that the law, which is being reviewed by the Polish constitutional court, “will intimidate” scholars, educators and others “from having an open discussion of the roles of Polish people in the Holocaust.”

If people are harassed and sense that their careers are threatened, or say or write things of which the government does not approve, “then they may ultimately avoid the topic,” Silberklang said.

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said he will be leading a delegation of U.N. ambassadors on the March of the Living and then to Israel.

Once the ambassadors see the crematoria at Auschwitz and speak to Holocaust survivors, “they will realize that you cannot make comparisons” between Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and the Holocaust, Danon said, referring to remarks by some governments hostile to Israel. 

Shmuel Rosenman, co-founder of March of the Living, said the daylong ceremony at Auschwitz is just one component of the trip.

“We do these trips in order to transmit the memories and lessons from the Holocaust to the next generations. There were 1,000 years of Jewish life and 3 million Jews here” before the Holocaust.

With so few Holocaust survivors left who can make the journey to Poland, Rosenman said, every minute with them is precious. “If we don’t go, we will miss one of the strongest experiences that can touch a person,” he said.

While the vast majority of the march’s 300,000 participants over the past 30 years were Jewish, roughly one-third of this year’s marchers are non-Jews.

“They come from all over Europe, and their experience being around Jewish kids is important on an interpersonal level, but it also gives a strong message at a time when anti-Semitism in Europe is rising,” Rosenman said.

“These young adults carry their experience back to their communities, their cities and their countries. They become ambassadors.”

About the author

Michele Chabin

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  • And when my survivor relatives went home, they were massacred in the railway station in Kielce. Thanks Poles.

  • I read years ago that for years before the Holocaust, Christian Poles carried passports identifying them as “Poles”, whereas Jewish Poles’ passports identified them as “Jews”.

    Everyone knows the Poles were viciously anti-Semitic–aided, naturally, by the Catholic church.

  • The idiots who passed this law revealed a lot about themselves, about Polish history, and about their understanding of human behavior.

    Contrast what the Poles did with the situation in Germany. The Germans have admitted–over and over and over again–what they did, what happened in their country, and their intention to never allow it to happen again.

    This law says, in effect, “we know damn well what happened here, and we’re gonna hope that this law will help people forget what happened here, what our ancestors did–over and over again.

  • And how many Jews and Poles did sister Michele Chabin obtain input from for this article?

    On the Jews’ side there were (1) “Moshe Azman”; (2) “Abraham Cooper”; (3) “David Silberklang”; (4) “Danny Danon”; and (5) “Shmuel Rosenman”.

    And on the side of my brothers & sisters in the good sovereign nation of Poland? Wait for it … tada! … A HUGE ZERO. Their side to the story doesn’t count.

  • This article does an injustice on the nation and people of Poland. The author and commenters quoted in the piece brush over the fact that Poles suffered greatly under Hitler and as most do, fail to mention that there was not one but two genocidal enemies determined to destroy the Polish nation and people, the other of course Stalin who invaded from the east 3 weeks after Hitler invaded from the west. In the east, one and half million Poles were murdered by Stalin’s forces, often with the collaboration of nationalists hostile to Poland whose numbers included Jews. In the west, one should ask exactly how the ethnic identity of these alleged Nazi collaborators was established.

    Poland was a multi-ethnic nation and that had many ethnic Germans living there prior to WW2. Has anyone determined the ethnic background of those most directly involved in the killing and betrayal of Jews in Poland? Doing so might defeat the favored narrative.

    Poles fought bravely against both the Nazis and Soviets. They as a nation and a people were not responsible for the Holocaust. This law does nothing but affirm that undeniable fact; a fact that was taken for granted by the Nuremberg tribunal which characterized the holocaust correctly as a German-Nazi atrocity.

  • No, the injustice here is the attempt to whitewash history by color of law.

    “Has anyone determined the ethnic background of those most directly involved in the killing and betrayal of Jews in Poland?”

    Yep, since many of the rank and file collaborators and death squad members walked away without consequences. Many admitted to their role in the mass murders years later.

    https://www.ushmm.org/information/press/press-releases/collaboration-and-complicity-during-the-holocaust

    “As German forces implemented the killing, they drew upon some Polish agencies, such as Polish police forces and railroad personnel, in the guarding of ghettos and the deportation of Jews to the killing centers. Individual Poles often helped in the identification, denunciation, and hunting down of Jews in hiding, often profiting from the associated blackmail, and actively participated in the plunder of Jewish property.”

    “There were incidents, particularly in the small towns of eastern Poland, where local Polish residents—acutely aware of the Germans’ presence and their antisemitic policies—carried out or participated in pogroms and murdered their Jewish neighbors. The pogrom in the town of Jedwabne in 1941 is one of the best-documented cases. ”

    Poles also committed pogroms against Jews returning to Poland after being deported and interned by Nazis after the war.

    All occupied nations had blood on their hands when it came to the mass murders except for Denmark. Whose resistance forces managed to evacuate most of their Jewish population to safety.

  • I don’t support whitewashing of history and I don’t doubt that individual Poles committed horrible atrocities. To ascribe such to the Polish nation and people as a whole is a grave injustice. Poles were mortal enemies of the Nazis. They has no incentive to cooperate with them in the destruction of their nation and culture, rare exceptions aside. If the exception proves the rule one would have to likewise accuse those Jews who functioned as ghetto captains and enforcers in the concentration camps as well.

    Further, as one who refuses to whitewash history, you should know that many Jews in Poland were active collaborators with Stalinist forces both during and after the war. They were also of little help during the war for Polish independence in 1920. Many Jews were activists in far-left pro-bolshevik groups, parties and labor unions after WW1. Fact, not speculation.

    If accuracay is your aim keep those facts in mind. None of which would justify violence against Jews or anyone else for that matter. But there are cause and effect factors that don’t justify but do explain much of the ill feeling between Poles and Jews. in a dispassionate study of history need to be kept in mind.

    By the way, thanks for editing your initial post. Holocaust denial is a serious charge and when unfounded and unsupported constitutes a violation of the 8th commandment.

  • Actually it was more than just individuals. In one of my links I referenced a wholesale pogrom of a town by its residents. Antisemitism was so endemic to Poland that Jews had to form their own separate resistance group.

    “They has no incentive to cooperate with them in the destruction of their nation and culture, rare exceptions aside.”

    Of course the did. As all collaborators to mass murder did. They didn’t particularly like the Jews to begin with and benefited from the wholesale theft and exclusion of them.

    “that many Jews in Poland were active collaborators with Stalinist forces …Many Jews were activists in far-left pro-bolshevik groups, parties and labor unions after WW1.”

    So you are trying to make an excuse for the Holocaust? Give me a break here!

    So the efforts of communists justified mass mechanized genocide according to you. You are giving me the kind of crap people pick up on Neo-nazi sites and pawn off as “facts”. Whataboutism nonsense at its full form.

    “By the way, thanks for editing your initial post. Holocaust denial is a
    serious charge and when unfounded and unsupported constitutes a
    violation of the 8th commandment”

    I take it back. You are a Holocaust revisionist/denier. If it wasn’t clear from your first post, you made it clear now.

  • Whitewashing history is pretending that the polish nation, which suffered horribly under the Nazis, also never visited horrible suffering on Jews and anyone else.

    Your comments about Jews, however, might lead someone like me to think that you and Roy Hobbs have a great deal in common.

  • “So you are trying to make an excuse for the Holocaust? Give me a break here!”

    You caught that little gem as well.

  • It’s probably worth looking at the Jewish Army Resistance Organization. When I was a child, the polish parents of a friend of mine named their son after it, because that is how they spent their time during the war

  • You are a liar plain and simple. I no more deny that Hitler slaughtered Jews by the millions than you or anyone else does. You are filled with hate and bigotry against a people as a whole, who welcomed the Jews from across Europe in the 12th century when they had nowhere else to turn. Jews thrived there for centuries. Based on your delusional way of thinking one might suppose that the Polish people as a whole, for absolutely no rational reason, decided to hate a people who shared their love of Polish culture and nationhood and who respected their deeply held Catholic faith.That’s simply sick. It is also inconsistent with human nature. Like any one else, the Poles are a proud people who have no interest in wishing ill upon anyone who lives in peace with them and accords them basic respect. Yours is a paranoid mindset.

    And yes, regrettably it is an unfortunate fact. Jews were well numbered among anti-Poland, pro-Stalin collaborators and with anti-Polish leftism after Poland won its hard fought independence from the USSR in 1920. Deny it all you like. It’s fact. They weren’t alone of course. Many others within Poland of diverse background could easily be accused of the same thing. They didn’t fare any better than any other anti-Polish collaborator.

    And you’ve probably paid far more attention to Neo-Nazi sites than I have. Folks who regularly frequent such sites hate Jews.Or they take a perverse pleasure in basking in victimhood. I don’t hate anyone. My faith forbids it. I’ve gotten my education from authoritative Polish historical sources who have full access to Polish archives, not from anecdotal stories.

    I’ve noted, many Jews were no doubt mistreated. By individuals acting in an individual capacity. Attributing hate as you do to an entire nation and people is calumnious. One could more easily make a case of bigotry against Israel in its treatment of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza. I’m not doing that however. My mind works differently than yours.

  • I have absolutely no idea who Roy Hobbs is. The Nazis were responsible for the holocaust. That was the finding of the Nuremberg war crimes tribunals. That’s what’s at issue.

    Were we to expand the issue as to who inflicted horrible suffering upon whom, we could have a very long pointless argument that would settle nothing and only deepen grievances and resentment. I have no interest in going there. Any historical starting point of such a discussion is likely to be artificial. That’s why it serves everyone, in the interest of peace, to let the past be.

    I don’t intend to waste my time settling age old scores, nor do I have much patience for others who do.

  • As is obvious from the preceding posts, the question of Poland and the Jews remains a raw one. For a detailed account of what happened in Poland during WW2 from the perspective of a member of the Polish Underground which is reasonably well balanced and thoughtfully composed, I recommend Jan Karski’s, “Story of a Secret State.

  • The US Holocaust Museum just notes “The Danish Resistance” on their list of those who saved people from the Holocaust rather than individuals, as in other countries.

    It is one of the all time incredible stories of the war.

    Leon Uris referenced the account in the novel Exodus. The story was also turned into a TV movie with Jane Seymour
    “The Only Way”.

  • By all means take offense. But I am not the one who deliberately omitted or made excuses for historical events. But calling me s liar doesn’t make it wo. You are a denier. Plain and simple. You are lying about the culpability of the Polish people in the Holocaust. You even tried to justify the mass murder like every neo Nazi scum bucket who comes into discussions online. I even provided sources which refuted your propaganda. You provide the far right wing Polish party line with a smattering of neo nazi talking points.

    You are also denying the centuries old regular habit of pogroms in Poland at the behest of the Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church during periods of Russian domination. One of the chief drivers of the mass migration of Polish Jews to the US, Canada and South America. Worse than a holocaust denier as these actions were far more common over a longer period of history.

    “Jews were well numbered among anti-Poland, pro-Stalin collaborators and with anti-Polish leftism after Poland won its hard fought independence from the USSR in 1920”

    Which you brought up to excuse mass murder of the Polish Jews as a people. Parroting crap neo nazis bring up for their antisemitic screeds. Ironically it also undercut your own argument by giving the standard excuse used to justify collaboration with the holocaust.

    “Folks who regularly frequent such sites hate Jews.”

    Given you lifted whole statements and arguments from them, your admission here is refreshing.

    “By individuals acting in an individual capacity.”

    As noted before there was plenty of organized group collaboration there. Your excuses are unsupported by the evidence of polish assisted mass murder. Even the Nazis openly documented the assistance they received from the Polish people in such efforts. The Germans aren’t trying to cover it up. They came to grips with their efforts and who helped them in it.

    “I’ve gotten my education from authoritative Polish historical sources who have full access to Polish archives, not from anecdotal stories”

    As you cited none, that claim is dubious at best, an outright lie is more probable.

    “Or they take a perverse pleasure in basking in victimhood.”

    A common argument made by neo nazis (and bigots in general) to minimize or ignore claims by opponents. Pretend exaggeration rather than address facts as given.

    “One could more easily make a case of bigotry against Israel in its treatment of Palestinian”

    Except you just did.

  • Yet that is exactly what you are doing. Trying to handwave the mountain of evidence concerning organized collaboration with mass murder of a group long despised and attacked in their culture.

    “one would have to likewise accuse those Jews who functioned as ghetto captains and enforcers in the concentration camps as well.”

    Whataboutism is not a refutation. It is merely deflecting. It is a bad analogy as those Jewish collaborators were also ultimately murdered by the Nazis. Polish collaborators were far more fortunate and operating under less fear.

    Those Jewish collaborators ARE treated harshly by history and were despised even their contemporaries.(btw Jews were never allowed to be kapos in concentration camps. Those were usually political prisoners or common criminals) So by your own argument it is perfectly OK to acknowledge the organized mass collaboration of the polish people. The Warsaw ghetto uprising was a reaction against the collaboration of Jewish leadership with Nazis. There is no attempt to whitewash the efforts among them as you have done.

    “many Jews in Poland were active collaborators with Stalinist forces both during and after the war. They were also of little help during the war for Polish independence in 1920. Many Jews were activists in far-left pro-bolshevik groups, parties and labor unions after WW1.”

    Which you bring up to justify the collaboration in mass murder. What tipped us all to the fact you are a far right wing liar cribbing from neo nazi sources. We have seem such assertions coming right out of the postings of people more honest about their neo-nazi beliefs.

  • You don’t bother to read and respond what I write but to the caricature swimming inside your own head. You’re stuck in an eternal grudge, filled with venom and hatred. Come out while you can.

  • @”By all means take offense. “-

    Thanks for the offer but I’ll turn the other cheek. You and others of like mind have taught me much about the cost of taking offense. You’re trapped into an everlasting spiral of hatred and grudge-holding. If you wanted to have a dialogue I’d grant you one. Since you’re responding not to me, but to caricatures and stereotypes dancing around in your head it’s a waste of time. There’s a way out of your cycle of perpetual grievance and victimhood. May you find it.

  • I read it and saw you just repeating garbage from your first post. You are showing you are annoyed at whatnot said, but not actually refuting it.

    When you made the obvious neo nazi whataboutism statements that somehow justified collaboration (and refuted your own premise) you made it clear what kind of person you are and your dishonest nature.

    You can pretend it is simply venom or you can be honest about your statements, where they come from and what purpose they served. You tried to excuse mass murder, attack those who keep it’s history from fading away and whitewash history to cover up culpability in it. To call that out is not hate. It is doing what is right.

  • I guess it’s easier to call someone a hater than own up to your lack of honesty here. You weren’t looking for a dialogue. You wanted a diatribe. One based on dishonest assertions, omissions and nationalist assumptions. Well tough luck.

    “There’s a way out of your cycle of perpetual grievance and victimhood”

    A typical assertion of bigots who get annoyed for being called out on their views if you were being honest, there would have been no grievance.

  • You’ve made no point but thrown out bigoted and hateful accusations, smearing a good and proud nation, people, and culture. One steeped in its Catholic faith and one that has bravely endured occupation over the centuries and which had to fight for its survival. That means nothing to you, intent as you are of nurturing a historical grudge born out of ignorance and disdain for that good and brave nation. I’d requote from my post wherein I specifically did not justify any violence or brutality directed against anyone by any individuals acting as individuals.

    And your ignorance is proven by your equating my views with Neo-Nazism. Such folks hate Catholics and Christians generally. Those obsessed with matters of racial politics and identity as you appear to be have far more in common with them that I do.

  • My initial comments reflect an opinion which anyone was free to engage in dialogue over. You decided to resort to ethnic/racial grievance mongering in very short order. I value truth above all. Not half-truths and misleading accounts of history which perpetuate the denigration of nations, peoples, and faiths, of those whom others hate. I’d never think of generalizing about Jews or anyone else for that matter. It’s rank bigotry to do so. You haven’t assimilated that basic lesson of human decency.

  • You evidently don’t want a dialogue at all. At the first bit of disagreement over your nationalistic assumptions and misstatements of fact, you start calling people haters, liars and make stupid “victimhood” arguments.

    Once you went with the “Jews supported Communists and Soviets after WWI” you made it clear you were both acknowledging widespread antisemitism and collaboration to mass murder. But you were making excuses for it. At that point it was obvious you are using the same ultra-right wing, neo-nazi arguments that support this law. You revealed your true intentions there.

    “I’d never think of generalizing about Jews or anyone else for that matter.”

    Yet you did so in a very obvious fashion, several times. Even to the point of claiming Holocaust memorial and confronting its history is somehow “victimhood culture”.

    Unlike yourself who merely gave a party line and a ton of assumptions, I am choosing to support my statements with outside sources and facts.

    New Case Study Explores Role of Polish Peasants in Holocaust Atrocitieshttps://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-holocaust-historian-paints-damning-portrait-of-poles-1.5230029
    “For one, I had always thought to myself that the main instigators,
    actors and perpetrators were the Germans,” he explained. “Second, I
    knew there were horrific things going on, but I thought it was all part
    of a popular, disorganized activity – killing people who no longer
    enjoyed protection of the state and were in a free-for-all situation.
    What I did not know — and there was not even one single article in the
    entire published historiography about this – was the extent to which
    these efforts were organized. And this was all going on practically
    without any German involvement – in most cases, the Germans were sitting
    in cities 15-20 miles away.”

    [Iowa State University Press]
    Bystanders, blackmailers, and perpetrators: Polish complicity during the Holocaust
    https://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2938&context=etd

    The reason for the Polish Law is to give antisemitic tropes power of law.
    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/polish-prime-minister-faces-backlash-after-suggesting-jews-shared-blame-for-holocaust_us_5a8ade67e4b004fc3194d023

  • You are annoyed by the accusations and do nothing to show why they are somehow untrue.

    Your own accusations are based on wild generalization, nationalistic sloganeering and outright fabrication. I have demonstrated on numerous occasions why your accusations are untrue. I have done my part to show why I am not lying or making false representations here. You have not. I have shown repeatedly through various sources that your assumption is entirely unsupported by facts. Your reaction is to hurl insults

    https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-holocaust-historian-paints-damning-portrait-of-poles-1.5230029
    “For one, I had always thought to myself that the main instigators,
    actors and perpetrators were the Germans,” he explained. “Second, I
    knew there were horrific things going on, but I thought it was all part
    of a popular, disorganized activity – killing people who no longer
    enjoyed protection of the state and were in a free-for-all situation.
    What I did not know — and there was not even one single article in the
    entire published historiography about this – was the extent to which
    these efforts were organized. And this was all going on practically
    without any German involvement – in most cases, the Germans were sitting
    in cities 15-20 miles away.”

  • Those “Jewish collaborators” i.e. ghetto captains and camp enforcers have not been treated harshly and were treated far less harshly than their fellow Jews. Many did survive the camps. Surprised you didn’t know that.
    @-“Polish collaborators were far more fortunate and operating under less fear.”
    Did you know that Poland was unique in being the only Nazi occupied region in which the death penalty was imposed for turning in Jews? Notwithstanding there was minimal cooperation with the Nazis and widespread acts of extreme bravery on the part of many who helped Jews.
    Do you also know or care, that Hitler was determined to kill and exile massive numbers of Polish clergy? Do you know or care that St John Paul II risked his life by attending an underground seminary during WW2 and if he had been discovered would have faced execution? Do you know and do you care, that some 1.5-2 million non-military Catholic Poles were killed by the Nazis?

    Do you know or care, that Catholic Poles fought bravely in the Polish Home Army both within Poland and from elsewhere in Europe? If Poland as a nation, and the Polish Catholic people generally was marked by collaboration with Hitler, why did so many die at his hand, and why did so many fight against his occupying forces? Why didn’t they in massive numbers aid Hitler in fighting Stalin rather than doing the Soviets dirty work for them?

    Do you know and do you care, that the Warsaw uprising of 1944( not to be confused with the Ghetto uprising of a year earlier) would likely have succeeded had not Stalin withheld his forces which were in near proximity, in the hopes that the Polish Armed resistance would be depleted and unable to resist him when he occupied Poland after WW2? How many Jewish lives, and Catholic Polish for that matter, might have been saved had he moved in 1944 and aided in the uprising?

    Do you know or care, that the Poles had to simultaneously fight two mortal enemies, the second of course being Stalin and that the nation was literally fighting for its very existence? Why the accusations of collaboration with Hitler among the Polish people, but none regarding Stalin, with the exceptions I’ve already partially enumerated which including organized Jewish units but also, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, and Byleorussians? What do you think of those who collaborated with Stalin during the war in the east from 1939-41? Well regarded as collaborators and enemies of the Polish people? Or do you for some reason excuse them. None of which would justify violence directed indiscriminately against any minority ethnic group in Poland undertaken by individual Poles, not that you’d notice that distinction in any event.

    You appear to be a perpetual grievance monger who lives on partial truths but very incomplete truth but not the full measure of truth. Indeed the full truth gets in the way of those who are eager for the security that victimhood offers them. In so saying I don’t doubt in the least the great suffering of the Jews during WW2. At the hands of Hitler.

    The Polish nation and people are not responsible in any appreciable way as a nation, culture, people, for the grave suffering of the Jews in Europe, Poland in particular in WW2. To say otherwise is calumny.

  • Indeed large numbers of Jews were collaborators with Stalin and the Soviets after WW1. It’s undeniable. It doesn’t excuse violence directed at individual Jews by individual Poles. I’ve said so before. Your eyes must glaze over when I do leaving you either unable to read or comprehend. Many and probably most of the Jews that were radicalized were non-religious and likely gave little thought to their Jewish identify, having abandoned it for the “god” of communism. But it was an undeniable phenomenon.

    You might find the following article, written by a Jewish Rabbi, and published in a Jewish magazine in Israel elucidating. It hardly excuses anti-jewish hatred yet it attempts to come to terms with involvement by many Jews with communism. Or is that “out of bounds”? If identifying Jews with communism is a gross overgeneralization and an act of bigotry, I submit, likewise is the condemnation of any nation, people, faith, and culture because of isolated actions an act of bigotry.
    http://www.covenant.idc.ac.il/en/vol1/issue3/Jews-Communists-and-Jewish-Communists.html

    And again with distortions and untruths. Please quote any statement of mine in which I indicated disrespect for the Holocaust memorial. As long as its true to history, blaming Hitler and Nazi Germany for the camps and wholesale murder of Jews, I have no issue with it.

  • Your assertions fail to take into account Polish sources who have accessed information from Polish records. That’s why I pay them little heed as to the topic at hand which is the wholesale defamation of the Polish people, and national character.

    Anecdotal accounts of violent acts by individuals prove nothing apropos to the issue at hand, which is the defamation directed en masse, against the nation, people, and culture of Poland. Your quote from the Haaretz article fits the bill. What would they make of accounts, and they are plentiful, of armed Jewish groups, rounding up and murdering and/or arresting for Soviet forces, Poles in various towns in Eastern Poland in 1939-41? If you’re reaction is any indication, they’d scream and holler that someone was providing “justification for the holocaust!” when all they were doing is what you’re doing, with the help of the Haaretz piece; providing anecdotal accounts. Those accounts in Haaretz may indeed be true. What does that prove regarding wholesale responsibility of a people and nation?

    You decry truthful accounts of Jewish ghetto and camp captains and enforcers, or of killers of Poles in eastern Poland as a pretense for bigotry and justification of the holocaust, yet you willingly imply such tactics to place broad responsibility on Poles generally even to the point of alleging complicity in the genocidal holocaust as well. You and those of like mind are unjust.

  • If you aren’t going to cite them, especially in response to citations to the contrary to your assertions, then your objection is of little value here. I am showing my hand here. You have failed to do the same. So I couldn’t care less what you claim are the sources of your facts. It doesn’t help you at all that two of my citations were to people LOOKING AT POLISH SOURCES.

    Facts are not defamation. As I stated before, NO country occupied by the Nazis has clean hands concerning the Holocaust (with only one unambiguous exception). Your desire to defend the Polish reputation and claim defamation comes at the cost of the actual history. It is hardly defamation to confront a shameful past. Germany had been doing it for quite some time.

    Your goal here is nothing short of revisionism and whitewashing to accomplish three goals. 1) To ignore or erase history of past collaboration 2) to minimize the effect of the Holocaust on its primarily Jewish victims and 3) to ignore and erase the long history of Polish antisemitism.

    “What does that prove regarding wholesale responsibility of a people and nation?”

    That they were like everyone else occupied by the Nazis and have a shameful past along with them. That the Poles were not special exceptions. That the Polish Government’s willingness to enshrine fictional assertions as such are reprehensible.

  • “Indeed large numbers of Jews were collaborators with Stalin and the Soviets after WW1. It’s undeniable.”

    And entirely irrelevant to the events of WWII unless you are trying to excuse the Holocaust or collaboration with it. Which was entirely your point for bringing it up.

    “It doesn’t excuse violence directed at individual Jews by individual Poles.”

    Yet you brought it up as an excuse for collective violence.

    “You might find the following article, written by a Jewish Rabbi, and published in a Jewish magazine in Israel elucidating.”

    Not at all. Since your entire purpose for bringing it up was deflection for events and attitudes present decades after the fact.

    How did any of that relate to the mass murder of Jews and others during the Holocaust?

    It never did.

    ” Please quote any statement of mine in which I indicated disrespect for the Holocaust memorial.”

    Every statement you have made about “victim ideology” was one.

    “As long as its true to history, blaming Hitler and Nazi Germany for the
    camps and wholesale murder of Jews, I have no issue with it.”

    Yet you feel the need to lie and deflect about the obvious facts of collaboration with the Nazis. Something even the Nazis never bothered to do.

  • “Surprised you didn’t know that.”

    Can you be less honest? I already stated that such people have already been confronted by history and treated harshly by it. You tried to bring them up as a deflection. Pretending that their alleged light treatment by history justifies the same for Polish collaborators. You were wrong on both counts.

    Assertions of fact are more credible when you cite sources directly rather than engage in nonsense overgeneralizations.

    “Do you also know or care, that Hitler was determined to kill and exile massive numbers of Polish clergy? Do you know or care that St John Paul II risked his life by attending an
    underground seminary during WW2 and if he had been discovered would
    have faced execution? Do you know and do you care, that some 1.5-2
    million non-military Catholic Poles were killed by the Nazis?”

    “Do you know or care, that Catholic Poles fought bravely in the Polish Home Army both within Poland and from elsewhere in Europe?”
    ….

    And yet Poles also collaborated to murder most of its Jewish population in organized efforts. Go figure. One does not relate to the other. You are missing a correlation here.

    “You appear to be a perpetual grievance monger who lives on partial truths but very incomplete truth”

    Nope. You are simply trying to fling insult because facts do not support your premise. Since you have not quoted any source to back up your assertions refuting organized collaboration, it doesn’t have to be considered a factual one. Merely an unfounded allegation.

  • Poland was a victim of Hitler’s campaign of genocide. He said so on the eve of WW2. Are you ignorant of that fact as proven by the words of this speech-
    -“Our strength consists in our speed and in our brutality. Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter – with premeditation and a happy heart. History sees in him solely the founder of a state. It’s a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me. I have issued the command – and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad – that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”-

    Catch that? Poland was the target, the genocidal target, of this murderous campaign. The reference to the Armenians? As the survivors and descendants of the first modern genocide know, but which many including the current government of the U.S. and Israel officially refuse to accept, Hitler referenced genocide on the eve of WW2. He did so to justify and encourage a genocidal campaign against the Polish nation and people. He comforted his listeners with the assurance that Poland would be forgotten just as the Armenians were forgotten and still are to this day, by Israel, the U.S. and others determined to bury the truth. Only after many years of pressure did the ADL finally recognize the truth of the Armenian Genocide in 2016,

    Poland and it’s people were a target of not one but two genocidal monsters; Hitler and Stalin. So deep was their hatred of Poland that these two enemies set aside their differences so they could accomplish their mutual goal. The destruction of the Polish nation, and the virtual enslavement of its people. More than three million non-Jewish, non-military Poles were murdered between these two butchers. Poland was a victim of Hitler and Stalin. To refer to it as a collaborator is an intolerable injustice. There were those who acting as individuals did collaborate. The nation of Poland did not. To infer that it did is to perpetuate a lie.

    Historians should be concerned first with cause and effect. They should delve deeply into history looking for explanations when it comes to explaining friction between nations, people, and cultures, and do so dispassionately.

    You and many of like mind, have blinders on. You have a predetermined mindset that you will never give up. You are oblivious to the historical truth that deeply Catholic Poland welcomed desperate Jews fleeing from elsewhere and provide them a home in Europe for seven centuries, doing their best to do so even when their nationhood itself was destroyed primarily by Russian in the east, and to a lesser degree by Germany in the west, in the 1790’s.

    You and others of like mind seek not peace and reconciliation between people, but the perpetuation of conflict. To what end exactly? It’s utterly mindless and irrational. You look not for truthful historical factual explanations, but a convenient narrative based on half-truths and caricatures. I commend the Polish nation for refusing to play along as its hateful enemies spew their vitriolic hatred her way. Poland was an innocent victim of Hitler. Individual wrongdoing aside, to accuse them as a nation and a people, of complicity with the Nazis in any way is a calumny.

  • “Catch that? Poland was the target, the genocidal target, of this murderous campaign. ”

    Not a mutually exclusive proposition which would negate the history of organized collaboration with genocide.

    You are still not citing any source which as you claimed refuted organized polish collaboration with the Nazis.

    What would be the exception to what happened everywhere else (except Denmark) where they occupied a country. From France to the Ukraine, from Greece and North Africa to Norway, the story was pretty much the same (or far far worse in some instances) where the occupied people openly worked with Nazis to assist with mass murder/deportation/placing people into forced labor.

    Yet you think Poland was some different somehow? Because….? You want to support the current right wing Polish government’s effort to whitewash its own past by force of law.

    “Historians should be concerned first with cause and effect. They should
    delve deeply into history looking for explanations when it comes to
    explaining friction between nations, people, and cultures, and do so
    dispassionately.”

    And with your reference to events right after WWI you were trying to pretend collaboration with mass murder was somehow excusable or justified.

    “Catholic Poland welcomed desperate Jews fleeing from elsewhere and
    provide them a home in Europe for seven centuries, doing their best to
    do so even when their nationhood itself was destroyed primarily by
    Russian in the east, and to a lesser degree by Germany in the west, in
    the 1790’s.”

    And for many years after that would commit pogroms against Jewish communities at the urging of the Polish Catholic Church. Easter being the most prevalent time for doing so. Triggering a migration of Polish Jews to the Western Hemisphere.

    You are playing revisionist/liar by omitting such things here.

  • How can one prove that something didn’t happen? Organized collaboration with the Nazis did occur. Not with ethnic Poles, save for exceptional cases, but with other ethnic minorities most notably Germans living within Poland. German infiltration of Poland and contact with German nationals within Poland is known to have occurred prior to the invasion. Any collaboration by Poles with the Nazis would have been regarded as treasonous. Hitler was vehemently anti-Catholic. He hated the Church, he hated Poland its people and culture. Are you oblivious to that? Did you fail to read and assimilate into your mind the quote I provided you of Hitler speaking in late Aug.1939 regarding he genocidal hatred of Poland and its people?Collaboration with a sworn enemy would therefore have been an act of betrayal of Polish values and solidarity. You’re simply lost in a myth that you can’t rid yourself of.

    Again, we’re not talking about isolated individual cases. We’re talking about collaboration of the Polish people and nation as a whole. Understand the distinction? Why was there a Polish Home Army and Polish Home Resistance fighting the Nazis if Poland was a Nazi collaborator? You’re simply making no sense whatsoever.

    I affirm the right of any minority within a nation to assert and maintain its ethnic identity. Poland was for centuries the most ethnically diverse region of Europe. Some was because to tolerance expressed to beleaguered groups. That included the Jews. Some because of changing borders and forced resettlement. Ethnic tension often is precipitated by economic rivalries. Such was the case in Poland. What is not true is the notion that for the simple sadistic pleasure of hating someone, Poles as a whole, decided to oppress innocent victims who had done them no harm. There were reasons for tension and division. I’m still awaiting a comprehensive honest historical appraisal of that with regard to Catholic-Jewish relations in Poland. It’s yet to be written I’m sorry to say. Folks like yourself glue yourselves to a favored narrative that you simply won’t let go of. Until you do discourses like this one will be a total waste of time.

    There is much more I wrote but then deleted based on my previous sentence above. Shalom.

  • You are trying to disprove something well documented. You even claimed sources you read backed it up. That is a lie.

    Your claims are fiction. Now you are trying to weasel word with “ethnic Poles” as a qualifier to your whitewashing efforts. It’s still an outright lie. No such limitation or difference was noted.

    “Any collaboration by Poles with the Nazis would have been regarded as treasonous”

    Yet that is what happened. Well documented organized collaboration. Your assertions and assumptions are not facts. They are wishful thinking on your part.

    You have not cited a single source not created any correlation to those you claimed to have quoted to the claim you made

    “Folks like yourself”

    What kind of folks would that be?

    “There is much more I wrote but then deleted based on my previous sentence above. Shalom”

    Dishonest revisionist is being passive aggressively antisemitic here.

    Funny.

  • Please consider the root causes for ANTI JEWISM. For me its the crime of creating insane Christianity.its had a boomerang effect since year one. No Zionist crimes ,no anti Jewism.

  • You haven’t been paying attention to my comments. I referenced “ethnic Poles” as distinguished from Germans. Need I look it up for you? Yes collaboration occurred. Among Poles as distinguished from Germans and other minorities in their midst it was a rarity. If it was so widespread why didn’t the Nazis work through a collaborationist government as they did in France rather than through direct German administration? Answer: such collaboration was not widespread and was a rarity.
    You need to read serious Polish authors. Their works are easy to find. Do you need me to find them for you? You can find them if you wish. Shalom. Or non-Shalom. Whatever you prefer.

  • I did not read Exodus, but I can credit other sources for the story. However, it occurs to me that there is a Dutch family which has in the past received deserved acknowledgement for their efforts on behalf of the Jews in Holland. I refer, of course, to the Ten Booms. Holland’s record is not nearly as sterling as Denmark’s, but there were, as in other countries, those few who felt it incumbent with their humanitarian beliefs, and often their religious faith, to shelter and protect the Jews from Hitler’s madness.

  • I don’t attribute the story to Exodus. I meant they make a reference to it. My mistake if it came out that way. The story was famous even in its day.

    One of the most unusual stories was Raoul Wallenberg. A Swedish national who for reasons known only to him, took it upon himself to try to save the Jews of Budapest from slaughter. Through sheer force of will, fake diplomatic visas and browbeating Nazi officials into obsequiousnes he saved somewhere around 100,000 people.

    When the Soviets entered Hungary he was arrested and detained for years. They could not figure out why he did what he did and thought he was some kind of spy.
    To this day people can only guess what possessed him.

  • You are shifting goalposts and still trying to handwave a mountain of evidence that Poland was no different from every other occupied nation when it came to collaboration with mass murder.

    A fact the Polish government wants to lie about under penalty of law.

    You bring up no supporting facts which refuted or dispute the clear evidence of organized collaboration.

    Making the story far worse is something we haven’t touched upon, but another poster referenced. The organized massacre of surviving Polish Jews after the war of those who returned from internment.

    “Anyway, Shalom. Or non-Shalom. Whatever you prefer.”

    No triple parentheses? 🙂

  • There is no evidence of “organized collaboration” beyond very limited scope and nothing that wouldn’t also indict the Judenrat, which in doing so, and using your non-logic would make it equally plausible to indict “the Jews” in their own genocide! Poland was OCCUPIED. By the NAZIS. They controlled totally local policing agencies which generally cooperated as little as possible. The NAZIS not Poles directed at the point of a gun, were responsible for the slaughter of Jews in eastern Poland after Hitler moved on Stalin in 1941. There was nothing voluntary about it. It was SS policy to attempt to enlist local Poles in such murderous actions, just as it was to utilize the Judenrat to conduct their nefarious business as much as possible. And as it was such coerced cooperation was overwhelmingly unsuccessful in pushing Poles to aid in the death of Jews. Some ethnic German descent and supportive of Germany no doubt did more and with little coercion.

    And Poland WAS different. The Poles were not trusted by the Germans to form a collaborationist government as they did elsewhere. The country was under German governance totally. The Poles resisted mightily their two mortal enemies, Hitler and Stalin. As to Stalin it was with no help from minority groups in eastern Poland.

    As to post-war massacres, who in their right mind would defend the killing of the innocent? No one does. Not having anything to do with the holocaust and Poland’s complicity it seems that that has more to do with the post-war Stalinist era. Another topic for another time perhaps.

    And forgive me I’m not all that savy on such matters. I’ll need to educate myself on the triples parentheses business.

  • OK I’ve done the research and learned about the triple P. Disgusting and a calumny on your part, but I’m not greatly surprised. You do know such accusations don’t support but undermine your point of view don’t you? Folks who are confident in their views don’t resort to ad hominem. Yet you were prepared to do so from your very first post, albeit you did delete it before making in explicit in your next post. That reflects nothing on me, but a great deal on you.

    Shalom. Or not. Your choice.

  • would someone please tell me in simple math where all the remains of ashes and bones gone. Based on the accepted figures of deaths this would be a mountain of remains that could not be hidden. But yet no one has ever made me aware of where to find remains except in a few small photographs of piles of bodies that in no way constitute that many people. Why don’t we just say hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed or maybe even more but the convenient number of 6 million just doesn’t add up

  • You have provided nothing. You have failed to make a coherent point. You rely entirely on propagandistic assumption with a smattering of personal attack. You are a denier and a revisionist.

    “Shalom. Or not. Your choice.”

    Might as well end it with triple parens. 🙂

  • Other than what has been provided for you from different sources. You are trying to handwave inconvenient facts.

    ” nothing that wouldn’t also indict the Judenrat,”

    Whataboutism is not a denial of facts as you are trying to attempt. In case you didn’t realize, the Judenrat ARE treated badly by history and rightfully so. For being naive or ignorant at best, actively collaborating at worst (with some very notable figures there condemned by history)

    Even the Nazis acknowledged the help they received from the Polish people in committing mass murder. Mass murder of Jews continued even after the war as well.

    “who in their right mind would defend the killing of the innocent?”

    You are going by the fictitious claim that the Nazis were the sole driver in mass murder of the Jews. But it apparently was no different than what was going on before and after the Nazis. Anti-semitism and pogroms were part of the Polish culture. Nazis had no problem finding people willing to help them there.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/02/02/yes-some-poles-were-nazi-collaborators-the-polish-parliament-is-trying-to-legislate-that-away/?utm_term=.80cb523baddf

  • You kind of already said all this….and you aren’t interested in anything but your narrative.

  • You’re saying nothing you haven’t said before. Start reading a variety of sources, including Polish historians. Shalom.

  • My narrative being facts and history. Yours bring propaganda, conjecture and what you want to be true. You are a revisionist and a denier of fairly easy to verify facts. You weaselword and goalpost shift to avoid them.

  • Not being familiar with the proposed law, I’m not surprised you’d say this. Try reading from objective sources. As stated multiple times, the law does nothing but affirm the Nuremberg tribunal findings that the holocaust was a Nazi/German event, not Polish. And the law has broad exemptions. You can go away now. You’re saying nothing new and haven’t for quite some time. You exhibit a closed minded devotion to a comfortable narrative. I’m no longer trying to enlighten you.

  • Haven’t you said this before? You have a closed minded devotion to a narrative that you won’t let go of. Hence dialogue is impossible. And if you truly believe what you just wrote, follow it to its logical conclusion. Dialogue is impossible at this time. Hence, please go away.

  • You still here? What excuse do you have now that Poland was somehow different from every other country occupied by the Nazis?

    You have none. Your narrative is a fiction.

  • I find your assertion quite unlikely. Especially given you are posting on an article concerning the reaction to said law.

  • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. You’re reduced to quoting my own words back at me. Peace. May God bless you.

  • Except the article didn’t link to the law or even a fair summary of the law. It only focused on reactions to the law from those who oppose it. Peace. God Bless.

  • I did not mean to suggest that I inferred from your post that Exodus was a primary source for your study of the subject, my error in sentence composition perhaps. As a side note on your remarks regarding Wallenberg, I have a volume by Elizabeth Ruth Skoglund which describes the efforts of Per Anger, a fellow diplomat of Wallenberg

  • Interesting that the author of the opera was Estonian rather than Swedish, but then admiration for courageous and heroic acts knows no boundaries.

  • In May, a [Jewish] male was assaulted in Fælledparken Park by a gang who shouted “dirty Jew” and “death to Israel”, leaving him with a concussion and black eye. Then, in September, a representative of Magen David Adom, who was wearing a kippah, was attacked outside Central Station by three men. The same month, Copenhagen’s Mayor for Employment and Integration, Anna Mee Allerslev, suggested that Israeli flags should not be displayed at a multicultural event in the city’s park, before rescinding her statement upon realising her insensitivity. Such incidents are indicative of the city’s struggle to fully educate, integrate and assimilate Denmark’s 250,000-strong Muslim population. https://www.thejc.com/news/world/great-caf%C3%A9-life-but-hate-stirs-under-the-surface-in-copenhagen-1.41809.

    Rabbi Baruch Efrati celebrates Europe losing its [Christian] identity, saying that Jews should rejoice at the increasing Islamization of Europe. https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4299673,00.html

    Muslims are Jews’ natural allies in Europe – Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt https://youtu.be/wb_4U2UJucE

  • The below excerpts are from the linked Israeli ynet news website article entitled: “Stalin’s Jews: We mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999,00.html

    In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genrikh_Yagoda
    The Jew Genrikh Yagoda was the People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs (NKVD) from 10 July 1934 – 26 September 1936.

  • “The more I argued with them, the better I came to know their dialectic. First they counted on the stupidity of their adversary, and then, when there was no other way out, they themselves simply played stupid. If all this didn’t help, they pretended not to understand, or, if challenged, they changed the subject in a hurry, quoted platitudes which, if you accepted them, they immediately related to entirely different matters, and then, if again attacked, gave ground and pretended not to know exactly what you were talking about. Whenever you tried to attack one of these apostles, your hand closed on a jelly-like slime which divided up and poured through your fingers, but in the next moment collected again. But if you really struck one of these fellows so telling a blow that, observed by the audience, he couldn’t help but agree, and if you believed that this had taken you at least one step forward, your amazement was great the next day. The Jew had not the slightest recollection of the day before, he rattled off his same old nonsense as though nothing at all had happened, and, if indignantly challenged, affected amazement; he couldn’t remember a thing, except that he had proved the correctness of his assertions the previous day. Sometimes I stood there thunderstruck. I didn’t know what to be more amazed at: the agility of their tongues or their virtuosity at lying. Gradually I began to hate them.” — (Adolf Hitler speaking about his interactions with Jews)

    ♦ Remind you of anyone on this thread?

  • A European commission opinion poll that claims 60% of Europeans see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace has drawn outraged denunciations of anti-semitism. The poll surveyed 7,500 people in 15 EU countries who said Israel was a bigger threat to world peace than Iran, North Korea and the US. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/nov/03/eu.israel

    According to a study published in 2011 by the University of Bielefeld, some 150 million Europeans view Israel as satanic. https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Europes-criminal-view-of-Israel-311731

  • Not interested in who is a member of which “tribe”. I care about their point of view when commenting on my posts.

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