GERMAN-IMPOSED DEATH PENALTY FOR AIDING JEWS, AND THAT FOR OTHER VIOLATIONS FAlse equivalencejan peczkis|Saturday, April 8, 2017
German Punishments for Illegal Slaughter, Black Market Activity, Possession of VERBOTEN Objects, etc., Were Inconsistent, and Slackened Markedly After the German Defeat at Stalingrad:
One commonly-repeated argument, by the likes of Jan T. Gross, is that the Poles shouldn't invoke the German-imposed death penalty, as an "excuse" for not helping more fugitive Jews, because Poles habitually incurred the death penalty in so many other activities. Here is a "bulletin", complete with links, that refutes this canard: .
FALSE EQUIVALENCE: GERMAN-IMPOSED DEATH PENALTY FOR AIDING JEWS, AND THAT FOR OTHER VIOLATIONS
(I). German Punishments for Illegal Slaughter, Black Market Activity, Possession of VERBOTEN Objects, etc., Were Inconsistent, and Slackened Markedly After the German Defeat at Stalingrad:
"Non-Germans" under the Third Reich: The Nazi Judicial and Administrative System in Germany and Occupied Eastern Europe, with Special Regard to ... (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)5 starsExhaustive Detail on German Policies in German-Occupied Poland. Wannsee Irony This scholarly work (1033 pages long) presents an immense amount of information, largely based on archival sources. I can only touch on a few issues.
Author Majer touches on the anti-Christian character of Nazism. He realized that long-term plans of the NSDAP leadership called for the abolition of Christianity. (p. 620).
The German contempt for Poles was long-standing. Interestingly, however, Heinrich Himmler thought that, "`Historically, the Poles were the toughest of nations.'" (p. 625).
German policies against Poles and Jews overlapped considerably. For instance, both peoples' properties were legitimate targets of unilateral expropriation. (p. 165, 22). Even before WWII, in the Altreich (1937-era Nazi Germany), Jews, Gypsies, and Poles had been singled out for discrimination as members of these identified groups. (p. 174).
The Nazi policies of cultural genocide against Poles are well known. They included the confiscation of libraries, abolition of higher education, etc. Even elementary education, to the extent that it was allowed, was deliberately made inadequate. In the General Government, the Polish VOLKSSCHULEN existed only where there were at least 40 students, and elementary schools throughout German-occupied Poland commonly had classes of 70-80 children. (p. 788).
Biological genocide of the Poles overall, as practiced by the Nazis given the limitations imposed by the duration of the war, was largely passive. The Germans acted to limit the Polish birth rate through such policies as a high age of marriage (in both the Reich-annexed regions and the General Government), penalties for illegitimate children, withdrawal of social benefits, etc. (pp. 247-248, 310). The Germans also imposed near-starvation conditions upon the Poles. (e. g, p. 776). [This helps explain the reluctance of many Poles to share their meager possessions with fugitive Jews, and their occasional murderous reaction to Jewish thefts of Polish feedstuffs.]
Differences in the Nazi treatment of Jews and Poles commonly followed from practical considerations. For instance, the Nazis expelled Jews from all levels in the professions, but Poles only down to middle-level positions. This owed from a lack of sufficient German staff to replace all Poles. (p. 301). On another issue, neither Jews nor Poles had significant liberties in terms of either public or private transport. However, Poles were allowed somewhat greater freedom of movement than Jews were because more severe restrictions would have limited their work output. (p. 316; see also pp. 252-253).
Finally, the Nazis in no sense esteemed Poles above Jews. Majer comments, (quote) However, it was a self-evident principle that the treatment of the Poles was not based on any humanitarian grounds but exclusively determined by considerations of expediency...(unquote)(p. 272). For instance, Hans Frank thought of Poles being allowed to live only insofar as they can serve as forced laborers for the Reich. (p. 756).
Even though the Germans lost the war, and hence were unable to realize their ultimate genocidal plans for the Slavs, the reader can appreciate the gravity of those actions that they did have time to complete. Although Majer does not put it in those terms, he realizes that the Nazi industrial genocide of the Jews and Nazi acts against Slavs cannot be dichotomized. He comments, (quote) ...at least in respect to their consequences, numerous plans and actions of the Nazi leadership aimed at DISCRIMINATING against "non-Germans" closely approximated their PHYSICAL ANNIHILATION as well, since they were based on the totalitarian idea of the worthlessness and the fundamental lack of legal rights of the individual. Forcing "non-German" persons or groups to live at or below subsistence level, inhumane expulsion and resettlement, the planned or intentional death by starvation (as long as enough other laborers were available) of countless persons and groups was JUST AS MUCH a fundamental component of the National Socialist idea as the plans and schemes for the methodical annihilation of particular groups (e. g, of the Jews or the leadership circles of the conquered nations of Eastern Europe) that have occupied most of the previously published literature. (unquote)(emphasis in original)(p. 535).
Let us now focus on the Holocaust. Majer implicitly supports a functionalist view of Holocaust origins. According to some unspecified documents found recently in Moscow, the Nazis did not decide to exterminate the Jews prior to the autumn of 1941. (p. 555).
Ironic to the common mendacity about "Polish death camps", or at least the Nazis' siting of the camps in Poland owing to a purportedly congenial atmosphere of Polish anti-Semitism, the Wannsee Protocol (translated in its entirety into English: pp. 555-563) provides the ACTUAL reasons for this choice. The Final Solution was recommended to begin in the General Government, where transport problems were minimal, where the drag on the economy caused by Jewish black marketeering was severe, and where most of the Jews were unfit for work. (p. 563). Poles had nothing to do with it.
The author provides a selection of German documents that allege a mixed Polish reaction to the Nazi policies enacted against Jews. (p. 778). Interestingly, the quoted positive Polish opinions all go back to 1940--long before the start (or even conception) of Nazi exterminatory actions against the Jews.
Jan T. Gross and other neo-Stalinists have alleged that Poles incurred the German-imposed death penalty all the time, as in the unauthorized slaughter of animals, and so it was not a valid deterrent for the hiding of Jews. The risks of killing an animal, and that of hiding a human being, are not remotely comparable. In addition, the Germans only imposed the death penalty when the selling of such meat was involved. Unauthorized slaughter of livestock for personal use, throughout the Eastern Territories, was generally punished by imprisonment, not death. (p. 892).
The Diary of Dawid RubinowiczA Teenaged Jewish Diarist in a Village in German-Occupied Poland
Dawid Rubinowicz (born in 1927) lived in Krajno, a rural village near Bodzentyn, in the Kielce district. His diary runs from March 1940 to June 1942. He and his family almost certainly perished at Treblinka.
The content of the diary is rather mundane. For instance, Dawid writes of getting a severe spanking from his father for a sloppily-done job.
In modern Holocaust materials, such things as denunciation and thievery are often pictured as things that Poles did to Jews. In actuality, they were all-around phenomena. In his entry for June 12, 1940 (p. 13), Rubinowicz describes a wealthy peasant who had been denounced by an unknown person. In another entry (April 12, 1942; p. 56), Rubinowicz describes a Jew who stole cows from either or both Poles and Jews.
In the introduction, translator Bowman comments on how the German occupation had brought out the worst in both Poles and Jews: "In a deliberately created atmosphere of terror, of growing famine and fear or reprisals, of despotic punishment and senseless killing everywhere, is it any wonder that Jew as well as Gentile might behave badly? Dawid writes with shame of the way one Jew robs another Jew; he describes a woman betraying menfolk to the [German] militia; he notes how some peasants--old neighbors of his--will not put themselves out when he returns to Krajno on 28th April 1942 to try to get a little milk." (p. xi)
In recent years, Jan T. Gross and his fans have argued that Poles were willing to incur the German-imposed death penalty for the unauthorized slaughter of animals, but much less so for hiding fugitive Jews. The argument is patently disingenuous: It is much easier to conceal a slaughtered animal than a fugitive Jew! In addition, Rubinowicz describes an incident where peasants were caught illegally slaughtering animals (October 7, 1941; pp. 22-23). The Germans confiscated the meat, and told the offenders to report to a local police station. Pointedly, the Germans didn't shoot the offenders on the spot. It is obvious that the Germans were much less eager to impose the death penalty for the illegal slaughter of animals than for hiding Jews, and no doubt the Poles knew it and acted accordingly.
Gone To Pitchipoi: A Boy's Desperate Fight For Survival In Wartime (Jews of Poland)Gone to Pitchipoi is one of those rare books that I could just not put down. It begins with an enriched account of a loving Jewish, Polish family before the war until the invasion of Poland in 1939 by the Germans.
It tells how 8 year old Rubin Katz managed to survive the war against all odds separated at times from his family. I think of my 8 year old grandchildren who are not allowed on the streets unaccompanied, yet Rubin not only had to hide from Nazis and hostile Poles he also had to fend off starvation. He relates what life was like, in hiding with a false identity, whilst under the constant fear of being betrayed and annihilated.
The book ends with Rubin's initial difficulties in integrating into life in the UK.
Gone to Pitchipoi at times reads like an adventure story but above all it is a story of family and friendship, courage, loss and a determination to survive. Rubin's story at times is humorous, poignant and haunting.
I really recommend it, you won't be disappointed.
Czarny ptasior (Polish Edition)
Lania: An American Woman in Nazi-Occupied Poland, 1939-1945A Highly-Detailed American Eyewitness to the German and Early-Soviet Occupations of Poland The author and her husband were visiting Poland in the summer of 1939, but the outbreak of WWII trapped them in Poland for the duration of the war and early-postwar Soviet rule. They spent much of the time at Milanowek, located about 30 km southwest of Warsaw. Lania initially did not have a positive view of Poles (p. 5, 73), and, for this reason, the reader should not expect her memoir to have a significant pro-Polish bias.
In common with many other eyewitnesses, the author saw Luftwaffe planes strafing defenseless civilians. (e. g., p. 21, 36). Lania also saw the aftereffects of the German bombing of a hospital with wounded patients. (pp. 38-39).
Following the 1939 German-Soviet conquest of Poland, the Germans drove the Poles out of their homes, on a large scale, to make room for Germans. (p. 52). In addition, "Leading citizens and priests were shoved into trucks and boxcars and sent to concentration camps. Executions were a common sight in Warsaw..." (p. 53). The Germans murdered members of the Polish intelligentsia under any pretext. (e. g., p. 103, 202). Stefan, Lania's relative, survived a mass execution of Poles by Germans. (p. 122).
Then came the dreaded wapanki (lapanki, literally dragnets). The Germans grabbed Poles, off the street, on a large scale, for forced labor in Germany. (e. g., pp. 133-134). Poles sent to German farms often worked eighteen hours with very little food. (p. 134). The Germans also kidnapped attractive Polish women to serve as sex slaves, as happened to Lania until her American citizenship became evident. (pp. 136-138).
Also, "The Nazis came as conquerors and their occupation of Poland turned out to be one big looting expedition. The plunder of private homes by German officers, Gestapo agents, and soldiers was carried out on a large scale...In Milanowek...soldiers stripped houses of practically everything, including pots and pans." (p. 54). "Trucks piled high with Polish merchandise left for Germany." (p. 55). Throughout the German occupation, the wanton looting continued. (e. g., p. 145, 161).
Cultural genocide took on staggering proportions: "Since one of the aims of the German occupation was to destroy Polish culture and eliminate the intelligentsia, libraries, universities, museums and art galleries were looted. Rare books were ruthlessly burned." (p. 54). "All theaters and concert halls were closed." (p. 71). "Even the secondary schools were closed..." (p. 72). "It was with heavy hearts that the Poles watched the desecration and destruction of their monuments, museums, art galleries, universities, and other precious symbols of their long civilization. Although not a native Pole, I, too, grieved with them, for I could imagine the sacking of Washington, D. C., with the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the White House, and the halls of Congress." (p. 56).
The biological genocide of Poles as a whole, at that stage of the German occupation, was primarily of a passive nature, designed to lower the birth rate and increase the "natural" death rate. The Germans systematically confiscated feedstuffs. "Food became a major issue...The Polish population suffered greatly from the food shortage. In Milanowek, we were short on food and had to stand in long lines...Meat became a luxury..." (p. 55). "Bread was difficult to get because the Germans confiscated most of the wheat and flour." (p. 64). Germans and Volksdeutsche were well fed. Not so the Poles: "The rationing system was a farce...But for Poles it meant great privation and possibly starvation." (p. 82). During the Germans' Pole-removing Zamosc-area operation, Lania came across a train filled with sick and starving deported Zamosc-area children. (pp. 177-179).
The Poles developed a large and sophisticated black market and food-smuggling system. Unlike Jan T. Gross and his fans, Lania, who actually went through the German occupation, appreciates the German-imposed death penalty for black market activity (p. 55), and food smuggling. (p. 83). As they began to lose the war, the Germans relaxed the death penalty for these acts. (p. 204).
We hear that, unlike the Jews, the Poles were not confined to ghettos [which, under wartime conditions, would have been somewhere between impractical and impossible.] However, "No Pole was allowed to travel more than seventy kilometers without special permission, which was difficult to obtain." (p. 173).
"The public executions that we witnessed opened a new reign of German terror...But where most Jews--until their last struggle in the Warsaw ghetto--submitted to the Germans without a fight, the Poles kept fighting back." (p. 202). Stefan joined the Polish underground. Sabotage included putting sugar into the gas tanks of German vehicles (p. 171), and forcing a captured German to urinate into the large vat of milk that the Germans had confiscated from the Poles. (pp. 172-173). There were assassinations of especially-vicious German officials, and, in reprisal for public executions, the derailing of a train near Szymanowem (costing the lives of a hundred German soldiers). (p. 203).
Lania's observations contradict accusations of Poles delighting in Jewish suffering: "While Poles did not have to live in the ghettos, they did not like to see them or what was happening to the Jews inside." (p. 155). The author praises Poles for risking, and often giving, their lives to smuggle food to the Jews in the ghettos. (p. 154).
The Polish blackmailers (szmalcowniki) and denouncers of Jews are usually presented, in Holocaust materials, without the proper context of occupation-induced (mostly Pole-on-Pole) criminality. Lania's family was the victim of bandits (pp. 197-199), prompting this comment: "These bandit raids were becoming a common occurrence in our region." (p. 199).
Jan T. Gross, in his ZLOTE ZNIWA (GOLDEN HARVESTS) has created the impression that Poles only looted dead Jews. The author was an eyewitness to an entering Red Army soldier reprimanding a Polish boy for taking the helmet off a dead German soldier. (p. 231).
Communist bands terrorized the countryside, and indiscriminately provoked the Germans to retaliate against Poles. After the Red Army entered Poland, things got worse. Lania mused: "We exchanged the oppressive and cruel German yoke for a similar one of the Russians. Instead of treating the Poles as liberated Allies, the Russians treated us as subjugated people. And when the NKVD (fore-runner of the KGB) moved into our region, the terror began all over again." (p. 233). Stefan was arrested by the NKVD for his earlier underground activities, and sent to Siberia. Most of the family returned to the USA in 1945. Stefan was released in 1947 and fled to the west in 1948. (p. 235, 237).
(II). Not True That Poles Disregarded the Consequences of Nazi-Criminalized Non-Jewish-Related Acts:
Poles Rarely Owned Radios Precisely Because This Was Punishable By Death:
By Devil's Luck: A Tale of Resistance in Wartime Warsaw5 starsInsights into KEDYW, the AK in General, and the Warsaw Uprising Stanislaw Likiernik recounts his experiences in prewar Poland, German-occupied Poland, the AK, the Warsaw Uprising, and postwar Paris.
In recent years, some (e. g. Jan T. Gross) have advanced the disingenuous argument that Poles were willing to incur the German-imposed death penalty for harboring radios and guns, but much less so for harboring Jews. To begin with, everyone knows that getting away with hiding a forbidden object is much more likely than getting away with hiding a human being. As it turns out, Poles weren't particularly risk-taking when it came to radios either: "Radios in private hands were a rarity, their possession punishable by death." (p. 72). As for black marketeering, Poles really had no choice, and they knew furthermore that the death penalty upon being caught wasn't consistently enforced: "To survive, the inhabitants of Warsaw had to use the black market...In my place, a real gendarme would, at his most benevolent, confiscate the goods, and at worst let go with his sub-machine gun. Searches of trains often ended in the shooting of women and men traveling with contraband food supplies." (p. 83)
Likiernik describes his experiences in KEDYW (KIEROWNICTWO DYWERSJI, or Directorate of Sabotage) (pp. 67-70), which included the blowing up of a German train that was taking ammunition to the Russian Front. He played a direct role in the assassinations of German officials, including Commander Schmalz (pp. 96-97) and the Gestapo agents Jung and Hoffman (p. 103). KEDYW was somewhat better armed than other AK units (p. 107), but some 70% of KEDYW members later perished during the Warsaw Uprising (p. 147).
Just before the Uprising, Likiernik had what turned out to be a prophetic experience: "My friend Roman Mularczyk (later known as Roman Bratny, the celebrated writer) came to see me several days before the Rising. `Mark my words,' he said. `The Russians will provoke an insurrection in Warsaw and when we start fighting, they'll stop their advance and let the Germans finish us off.'" (p. 111). And so it happened: A vast sea of death and destruction.
During the Uprising, the most unpleasant German weapon was the Nebelwerfer ("bellowing cow" or "wardrobe"; p. 123). Likiernik was wounded a number of times, and had to be moved from a field hospital because the Germans would murder the wounded (pp. 117-118).
After the war, Likiernik observed the Communist takeover of Poland from a Polish mission in Paris. He also noted: "The demeanor of the new arrivals from Poland, especially of the officers, was getting increasingly strange. Some communists of Jewish origin could hardly even speak Polish." (p. 178).
Polish Smugglers Discarded Food, Out of Train Windows, Whenever Germans Approached:
Legacy of the White Eagle (Book & DVD)
The Experiences and Reflections of a Member of the Armia Krajowa (A. K). Misconceptions Corrected
In this book, author Julian E. Kulski discusses his youthful experiences during the 1939 German-Soviet conquest of Poland and the years of the German occupation. The enclosed CD includes both still and moving footage from the 1939 War and German occupation, photos of Kulski and his relatives, of Underground posters and newspapers, of the elder Kulski returning to former key locations, of the graves of the dead, of Auschwitz, of the Warsaw Uprising, etc. It also includes interviews with former A. K. members.
One of Kulski's first recollections of the German cultural genocide of Poles was the closing of schools. (p. 30). Later, the Germans confiscated and melted down the statues of Poles--supposedly because they needed the metal for the manufacture of munitions. (p. 48). Kulski first became involved with the A. K. at the tender age of twelve. (p. 41). He had wanted to join when he was much younger. [This reminds me of the seven year-old boy who ran away from home because he wanted to join the Polish forces in the January 1863 Insurrection.] The A. K. members each took up a NOM DE GUERRE, commonly creatively based on animals, places, battles, Biblical or historical figures, etc. (p. 43).
One platoon that Kulski was involved in consisted of 15%-20% women. These females served not only in traditional roles as cooks and nurses, but also in signaling, courier work, and the organization of ammunition, weapons, supplies, maintenance, etc. (p. 43).
Kulski describes his adventures while serving in the Armia Krajowa. He took part in the acquisition of weaponry. He fulfilled an order to unmask a suspected traitor by pretending, to him, to want to serve the Germans. (p. 44). Later, thanks to the denunciation of another Nazi collaborator, he faced brutal imprisonment in the Pawiak Prison. Finally, the author fought in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. He found the German-serving Hungarians to be friendly to Poles. (p. 84). After an ordeal in the Warsaw's sewers, Kulski ended up in a German prison camp.
I devote the remainder of my review to items that clarify misconceptions about the Poles and the A. K. Each paragraph below addresses a different item.
The author, Kulski, was partly of Jewish ancestry. (p. 40, 51). His experience adds to those of other Jews in the A. K., whose very existence refutes the contention that the A. K. refused membership to all Jews, or that it had some sort of secret plan to "finish Hitler's job" by killing all known remaining Jews.
The author's firsthand experiences with Polish traitors (p. 44, 56) remind the reader that some Poles could always be found who would serve the Germans at the expense of other Poles. It was not just a matter of some Poles betraying fugitive Jews.
Unlike those Jewish sources that accuse Poles of cheering as the Jews were burning during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Kulski reports that the Poles cheered all right--in a very different way. Eyewitness Kulski remarks, (quote) Hours later, when the streetcar to Bielany was waved through the fighting, a burst of Jewish machine-gun fire toppled three Germans. The crowd watching roared its approval, but the Germans, enraged, turned their guns on the crowd. Some people fell; others scattered. (unquote)(p. 52).
Those who try to put Jewish sufferings above Polish ones have argued that Jews falling into Nazi hands were never spared, while Poles falling in Nazi hands could be spared. Actually, Jews occasionally were spared, as were Poles. Thus, for instance, Kulski's release from Pawiak Prison was noteworthy precisely because it was something "almost unheard of". (p. 61). Normally, the guilty were shot, and the innocent were dispatched to Auschwitz.
Some ignorant critics have faulted Poland's Catholic priests for not speaking out against the Nazi extermination of Jews. How ridiculous! Consider the fact that priests faced death for speaking out even in favor of Poles! Kulski comments, "It enraged me that the Germans had already made it illegal--punishable by death--to sing patriotic hymns in church or to give sermons of a political nature." (p. 71). Kulski's unit once creatively circumvented the prohibition by forcing, at gunpoint, the organist to play a patriotic song.
Jan T. Gross and his fans have forwarded the argument that the death penalty faced by Poles, for hiding Jews, was really nothing, since Poles regularly incurred the German-imposed death penalty in many other matters (such as engaging in the black market), yet disregarded it. This is nonsense. Poles engaging in black market activity were definitely afraid of German consequences, which did not necessarily involve the death penalty, and took practical steps to protect themselves. For instance, Kulski writes, (quote) The Germans wanted more than metal from us. They took everything they could, especially food. My mother resorted to smuggling food from the country to the city, watching for police patrols at the stations. Whenever she spotted one, she threw the precious food out the windows of the train to avoid arrest and deportation to a concentration camp. "Black markets" (people illegally selling food and other things) flourished in Warsaw. The black-market prices were exorbitant and the risks enormous, but at least we had food. (unquote)(p. 50).
Owing to the fact that the Communist GL-AL bands robbed the people, some have argued, "it's all the same" because "all guerrilla organizations did it". This is not true. The Armia Krajowa (A. K.) was not authorized to steal from Poles. Instead, A. K. representatives would either buy provisions from the peasants, or else reimburse them for requisitioned items. For instance, Kulski (p. 82) reports how his unit had paid a peasant woman for a pig that they had requisitioned and eaten. Read less
Polish Guerrillas Thwarted the German Livestock-Registration System:
ROCH i Bataliony Chlopskie w obwodzie Krasnostawskim 1939-1945 (Polish Edition)Polish Peasant Guerilla Warfare against the German Occupants in WWII Title: ROCH AND THE PEASANT BATTALIONS IN THE KRASNOSTAW (correction: KRASNYSTAW) DISTRICT, 1939-1945.
The peasant-movement ROCH and the Peasant Battalions (BCh) stand as living refutation of the premise that Polish national consciousness had been limited to the well-to-do, the clergy, and the gentry. ROCH supported the Riga border. (pp. 269-270). Despite being hostile to the inequities in prewar Polish society (e. g., the persistence of the remnants of feudalism: p. 25), ROCH remained staunchly anti-Communist, going as far as stating that, whereas a British Communist could still consider himself British, a Polish Communist ceased being a Pole. (p. 261). Accounts of the GL/BCh cooperation at Czysta Debina are fictions. (pp. 137-138). After the Soviet "liberation", ROCH and BCh members often faced greater tortures from the NKVD and UB than they had earlier from the Gestapo. (p. 233).
Arms were procured from hidden 1939 stocks, purchases from disaffected Hungarian collaborators, and disarming of Germans. (pp. 52-53, 244-245). Daring BCh attacks included those against German trains (p. 164), on the Trawniki death camp (p. 183), and the freeing of incarcerated Poles, including 300 (pp. 132-133) and 234 (p. 138) at a time.
"Operation Zamosc" was the start of the long-term German genocidal plan to completely replace the Polish population with German settlers (Liegenschaft). To a lesser extent, this occurred in the Krasnystaw District. BCh counter-actions began with sabotage, such as the systematic torching of the settlers' ricks of wheat (pp. 157-158). Later, the BCh killed German settlers (p. 27), and burned several German-filled settlements. (pp. 241-242). After a number of unsuccessful attempts, a Polish-pretending Ukrainian-collaborationist mayor, who was the scourge of both Poles and Jews, was assassinated by the BCh. (pp. 166-167).
As part of their long-term genocide of Poles, the Germans also closed the schools and destroyed Polish libraries. To reverse the growing problem of illiteracy among Polish youth, the ROCH sponsored secret schools. (pp. 30-31).
To avert reprisals against Polish villagers, the BCh sometimes masqueraded as Soviet partisans (p. 142), and fed the Germans false intelligence reports. (p. 149). Otherwise, the BCh met the Germans in open combat during the latter's pacification campaigns. (e. g., p. 242).
Jan T. Gross and his fans would have us believe that Poles were heedless of the German-imposed death penalty for the unauthorized slaughter of animals, and only took it seriously when it came to hiding fugitive Jews. This is nonsense. In fact, one of the top priorities of the BCh had been the destruction of the Germans' earmark-identification system for keeping track of Polish livestock. (e. g., p. 112, 118-119, 191).
Including the "livestock wars", the BCh was often successful in a variety of anti-requisition actions. (pp. 111-112). When the Germans had despoiled the land just before their retreat in the face of the Red Army, the BCh ambushed them, causing the many confiscated livestock to stampede to eventual safety. (pp. 153-157).
Approximately 7,000 of all of Poland's BCh members gave their lives (pp. 245-246), mostly from German repressions rather than guerilla combat, the surprise-attack nature of which usually minimized Polish losses. A few thousand of the 7,000 perished in defense of Polish villagers in Volhynia and eastern Galicia against the fascist-separatist OUN-UPA genocide.
Polish Farmers Hid (and Slaughtered) Unauthorized Livestock in Secret Underground Pigsties. Ironically, Poles Also Hid Fugitive Jews in The Same:
The Cap: The Price of a LifeA Detailed and Generally Balanced Holocaust Survivor Testimony I will skip the personal details discussed by other reviewers, and focus on matters of historical significance. With one obvious exception, Frister shows an excellent grasp of factual events. He makes the unbelievable statement that the NSZ "did not kill Germans at all" (p. 263), only killed Jews, and then repeats the Communist-propaganda canard that the Brygada Swietokrzyska (Holy Cross Brigade) had fought on the German side.
Even as late as 1941, Frister's mother didn't believe that the invading Germans intended to harm the Jews (p. 180). This adds to similar testimonies, and undercuts the argument that the massive Jewish-Soviet collaboration had been motivated by a desire to be protected from the Nazis.
Unlike those who, from their safe perches, moralize to Poles about their need to have been more willing to risk their lives on behalf of Jews, Frister does not: "And what right did I have to condemn them? Why should they risk themselves and their families for a Jewish boy they didn't know? Would I have behaved any differently? I knew the answer to that, too. I wouldn't have lifted a finger. Everyone was equally intimidated." (p. 192)
Frister writes: "Jozef Kruczek had prepared a perfect hideout for us. Beneath a bale of hay tossed with deliberate carelessness on the floor of the barn was a hidden trapdoor that descended to a cellar as big as a cottage. Before we came this had served as an abattoir. The screeching of the slaughtered pigs remained within its walls--a big help in avoiding German confiscations and getting the meat to the black market." (p. 97). Ironic to Polonophobes (e. g., Jan T. Gross), who accuse Poles of being willing to incur the German-imposed death penalty by illegally slaughtering animals, but seldom by hiding Jews, we see the same Polish secretiveness in both activities! (Besides, slaughtering an animal was a quick one-time act. Hiding a Jew was a continuous risk.)
Unlike most Holocaust materials, Frister's work presents a balanced view of Polish and Jewish misdeeds. He mentions Poles looting Jews (p. 120) as well as regular Pole-on-Pole thievery (p. 100). The Judenrat, besides collaborating with the Germans in the roundups of Jews to their deaths (e. g., p. 92, 105, 120), also stole from poor Jews (p. 120). Jewish informers played an instrumental role in the uncovering of hidden Jews (e. g., p. 105, 112, 120, 190-191). Twice Frister escaped death despite being denounced to the Germans by Jewish informers (p. 112, 190-191), the latter of whom he found to be very clever and diligent in their undercover work. How many other fugitive Jews were betrayed, not by ethnic Poles as automatically assumed, but by Jewish Gestapo agents and informers?
We were told, in the wake of the Auschwitz Carmelite convent controversy, that Jews find Christian symbols offensive because they remind them of past persecutions by Christians. Frister mentions a Jew, Henryk Leiderman, who had no problem with rosaries when it came to selling them to Polish peasants (p. 36).
Frister spent some years in postwar Poland before emigrating to Israel. He is candid about the fact that he, and other Jews, got privileged positions in the Soviet-imposed Communist regime (p. 34, 169).
Krwawe Upiory (Polish Edition)
Copyright © 2009 www.internationalresearchcenter.org
Strony Internetowe webweave.pl