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February 17, 2016 2:30 pm

Warsaw Bill to Criminalize Implication of Polish Collusion With Nazis Paints ‘One-Sided Picture,’ Says Antisemitism Scholar

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German soldiers breaking a  Polish barrier during Nazi invasion in 1939. Photo: Wikipedia.

German soldiers breaking a Polish barrier during Nazi invasion in 1939. Photo: Wikipedia.

“The attitude of Poles toward the Jews before, during and after World War II is a complex issue,” a renowned antisemitism scholar told The Algemeiner on Wednesday, amid reports that Poland is set to criminalize any implication of its cooperation with the Nazis.

Responding to the drafting of a new bill by Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro — which would make it an offense punishable by five years in prison to say Poland “took part, organized or was co-responsible for the crimes of the Third Reich” – Manfred Gerstenfeld said, “Poles are right to say that camps such as Auschwitz, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were German and not Polish, just as they are right to say that it was a German decision to place these camps in Poland, and that Poles were victims of the [1939-1945] Nazi occupation of their country.”

However, said Gerstenfeld, who was born in Austria, raised in Holland and moved to Israel in 1968, “This paints a very one-sided picture of the Polish reality.”

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According to Gerstenfeld, the Germans’ choice of Poland for concentration camps was no accident. “There was massive antisemitism in Poland before WWII,” he said. “And though during the war, part of the Polish underground helped the Jews in a number of villages… Poles murdered hundreds of their Jewish neighbors. And some underground organizations betrayed Jews by turning them in to the Nazis.”

Not only that, said Gerstenfeld, “Even some leading underground fighters wanted the rescued Jews to leave Poland after the War. There are even a number of reports of Jews who returned to Poland after the war, only to be murdered by Poles. The best known case of this is the Kielce pogrom in 1946.”

Relating to the situation today, Gerstenfeld, author of The War of a Million Cuts: The Struggle against the Deligitimization of Israel and the Jews, and the Growth of New Anti-Semitism,  added, “An opinion poll in 2011 revealed that out of seven countries surveyed, Poland was the only [country] where a majority of [the] population – 63 percent — agreed with the Nazifying statement that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians.”

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  • Harry

    While everyday the most persecuted people in European history are called Nazis, as they were always called the worst thing imaginable. (By the worst, who are called the best by most.)

    You are witnessing one small example here how Catholic, British and Jesuit history books function, and this is their most honest period ever. They reduced their tricks to ten trillion, from near infinite. Islam needed a father to learn evil from, thank you for that Catholics.

  • Charles Silverman

    I am astounded that none of the foregoing comments questions the fact that the Polish government wants to *criminalize* a viewpoint on history–to make it an “offense punishable by five years in prison to say Poland ‘took part, organized or was co-responsible for the crimes of the Third Reich’.” Think about it: some poor bloke who writes something to that effect could be sent to the can for 5 years! This is totalitarianism at work, just as it is hard at work in the USA and everywhere else in the “liberal” Western world (cf. “Islamophobia” and “homophobia” as grounds for punishment). Such an attitude toward speech and expression is the antithesis of democratic freedom and, at the present time, is a far more important issue than whether or not the Poles were complicit in the extermination of the Jews. When a new political party comes to power in Poland we’ll probably hear about the criminalization of the notion that the Poles were innocent babes. Speech is under attack today, and making speech a crime is the weapon of choice of statist totalitarians whose ultimate aim is thought control.

    • Harry

      Not that, the whole fascism thing was a standard Catholic project. Hitler was a proud Catholic altar boy. Even Stalin’s daughter converted to Catholicism. All true Communist countries today are majority Catholic, too.

      Look up how many fascist leaders were religious Catholics and connected to the Church. That Poland loves most. This is an evil law, but it is also a standard Catholic law.

      Thievery is their way, and then doing it better (seemingly) than who they stole from.

      Many of the Fascist governments even called themselves the Catholics of the Vatican party or similar, for example Franco’s Spain, whose fascist heirs are Spain’s Communists today not its right.

      Today Catholicism is fascist feminist left, communist, because there is no truth in evil.

  • ALICK MAZIN

    My family were from Cleck, pronounced Kletzk and my knowledge of the Polish history regarding their Jews is, if ever the Nazis needed a teacher to show them how to kill Jews, they did not ask for a more skilled one than the Pole. Shame on them for covering up their terrible past.

    • HFS

      So why did your ancestors come to Poland in the first place and stayed, if the Poles were always so bad, as you and everyone commenting here claim? Somehow the practical aspects of this predicament don’t quite match the popular opinion…

      • Harry

        This law exemplifies how Catholic and Jesuit history books have always functioned. especially as it relates to the Jews. This is besides you trillions of forgeries.

  • jr

    The Jews hated the Poles for being Christian, and always looked down on them. That’s the way it all started. Not very smart to act in a condescending way towards a people in whose country you were seeking refuge in the first place.

  • those years were frustrating years FOR THE PLANET.
    every thing was like a black sheep means no body was there to fool anybody around with it(history)
    SOMETIMES HISTORIANS ARE RATHER ANSWERING THOSE QUESTIONS NEVER ASKED

    • Mickey Oberman

      “SOMETIMES HISTORIANS ARE RATHER ANSWERING THOSE QUESTIONS NEVER ASKED”

      That is a very important task for honest historians.

  • Myron Slater

    My ancestors were from Bialaystok Poland, I am third generation American Jewish and proud of it! The Jewish cemetery in that town was destroyed by the Nazis and after the war, it was rebuilt. The fine Polish people in town, then destroyed it again! I hold the Polish people responsible for the destruction of my ancestors and the lost future of my family.

  • Fred

    In the current renewed European anti Semitic climate the Poles feel right & timely to be in denial.

  • Peter

    History has no holy cows that cannot be investigated. The truth doesn’t hide from questions.

  • Richard E Sherwin

    this is the ‘nicest’ of my polish poems: perhaps still unprintable:

    To a poet friend
    going to Poland with his
    son to protect him>

    Better you than me,
    Miron. I’ve not got your sense
    of balance, your net
    of uncommon piety fine
    and tough enough to stop me

    falling from mercy’s
    thin high wire into the ring
    of boiling bloody
    memories that justice stirs
    and mists the present with. You’ve

    got the intellect
    to sift amnesias both
    holy and profane
    and find perhaps a future
    not perhaps degrading us

    and Poland alike.
    My instinct says the key’s a
    true repentance but
    how few of us swing that for
    long or ever. No, forgetting

    nor forgiving’s not
    an answer. Perhaps a change
    of question. What good
    can we do together that
    cherem couldn’t do better.

  • Marco Redwolf

    This is a bit one sided as well. Certainly Poland had a long history of Anti-Semitism, but then so did just about every country in Europe ( Lest we forget Spain and England ) . In fact he Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania outdid Poland by a mile in helping the Nazis murder their Jewish neighbors. I’m not so sure about the ” no accident” comment regarding the placement of the camps in Poland because the Poles would assist in some way. The camps were put in Poland because the Germans didn’t want any more of them on German soil. Poland was close and totally subjugated. It was convenient. the Nazis were quite capable of exterminating Jews by themselves, they just accepted help when and where it was offered and there was no shortage of offers from The Baltic to Romania and everything in between.

  • David Peters

    Too many Poles want to shift any responsibility for their actions during World War II (and afterwards) unto any body or thing other than themselves.
    True, helping Jews was a death sentence, if caught, but active collaboration was and is another matter.
    Of course, true Polish logic is revealed by their argument that whatever Poles did to the Jews during the war was justified by Polish suffering under the subsequent Communist regime.

  • I am a Jewish survivor of four concentration camps and a Death March. I found the Polish inmates of such camps to be viciously anti-Semitic towards my tiny group of 20 Jewish children of which the youngest were still in nappies and the oldest 13 years, in contrast with the other non-Jews in those camps. That was seventy years ago.

    In 2015 I participated in a March of the Living tour of Poland. After my experience of Polish hatred in the camps, one of my objects in Poland was the attitude towards us of the Polish working class. They invariably showed antagonism, even revulsion. We wore tags that identified us as Jews. There was a plain clothed policeman on each of our four buses. When on occasion I elected to leave my bus on my own to pursue personal interests, our cop advised me to hide my tag and this was 70 years after the war.

    Apart from that we met with Polish civilians that had played a most positive role during and after the war towards Jews.

  • stevenl

    33% for, 33% against and 33% did not care to care. So 66% antisemitic. 2011 opinion poll is meaningless as long as it was not asked what objective evidence the Poles provided to justify their (ignorant/biased) opinion.

  • SeeGG

    They can criminalize implying complicity, but it won’t change the fact that Poland was among the most antisemitic countries in the world. As was mentioned in the article, neighbors killed Jewish neighbors during and after the war. Documentation proves this over and over. Polish denial won’t absolve them of guilt. Rather, it sets the stage for a recurrence of such crimes.

  • The letter P stands for Poland Pogroms. the two are interchangeable! Poles took delight in killing Jews in pre-war Poland as they did upon the return of the surviving Jews to their homeland. This is fact. The only consolation is that the Poles were viewed as an inferior people to Germans, except for selective inbreeding of blonde Germanic males with fair-skin Poles. To this day, I do not believe the anti-Semitism in Poland has passed.

  • Diane E Johnson

    Thankyou for your articles.
    I am almost finished reading WHY THE JEWS.
    I have learned so much from this book and your articles.
    Di Johnson

  • Julian Clovelley

    I agree the falsification of history is an outrage. Catholicism in Poland had a lot to answer for in terms of the existence of endemic antisemitism

    But are Jewish people themselves setting a good example ?- Is Zionism really promulgating an accurate view of history? I think it is equally distorted, and has a not dissimilar result in the victimisation of the non chosen as “the other”

    We need to unite all our histories, getting away from nationalist concepts. Here in Australia one watches the detrimental results of wrongly conceiving the dynamics of history, in the attempts to create a separate “Aboriginal” history. The result has been the creation of an inaccurate picture, filled out with self identification by people of largely European descent, in which the myth of an “Aboriginal Nation” is the primary component. The result is divisiveness – a major obstruction to modern reconciliation and co-operation. Aborigines went from tribal and clan life – with hundreds of languages and dialects – to universal victim status that was often genocidal in nature – without the benefit of an intervening nationhood. Australians are left with a terrible mess to clear up in order to ensure most Indigenous people are fairly treated and granted equal opportunity in life

    Peace and reconciliation require historical accuracy and sincerity on all sides. Where religion trumps reason and accuracy – and it does both in both Catholic Poland and Jewish Israel – the results are quite likely to be racist and even genocidal – even when theoretically the perpetrator may abhor the results of his dishonesty

  • Sol

    We must remember that Poland in the `1930’s , long before being occupied passed legislation to boycott Jewish business, professions etc. This was government policy. Jewish life flourished in spite of government policy and hostility by the general population.

  • Jonas

    There are only two good Poles,
    the North Pole and the South Pole

  • Harry

    They were even rioting to get rid of the last Jews after the Holocaust.

    Poland is the most underhanded of Catholic thief nations, and therefor its most antisemitic.

    Shouldn’t they instead be sending Jews worldwide reparations for hundreds of years of government level abuse? Jews had to wear the sign of shame in public in Poland for over a hundred years. Instead of just continuing to steal from modern Jews and lie about them?

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