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October 18, 2015 1:57 am

Report: Poland Launches Libel Probe Against Historian Who Said Poles Killed More Jews Than Nazis

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The gates of the Auschwitz death camp. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The gates of the Auschwitz death camp. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Polish prosecutors launched a libel probe against Princeton historian Jan T. Gross over a statement he made saying Poles “in fact” killed more Jews during the Holocaust than the German Nazis who, at the time, occupied their country.

The investigation came after an article the Polish-born historian wrote for German Die Welt, saying according to The Guardian that “The Poles, for example, were indeed rightfully proud of their society’s resistance against the Nazis, but in fact did kill more Jews than Germans during the war.”

Apparently, Gross’ comment sparked outrage and prompted more than 100 complaints to be lodged by individuals and organizations at the Warsaw prosecutor’s office.

A Warsaw historian told the Guardian “he would not be totally surprised if Gross were right,” stressing however the dearth of figures regarding how many of the 3 million Polish Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust died at the hands of Poles rather than Germans.

Gross is notable in Poland for his book, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, exposing the Polish massacre of what historians say could have been up to 1,500 Jews in the town of that name. Some 300 alone were locked inside a densely packed barn and burned alive.

Gross is a professor of history at Princeton and is on leave this academic year. He declined to comment when contacted for the story.

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