"It's difficult to admit the obvious"
political world


jan peczkis|Monday, February 20, 2017

Owing to the vintage of this book, much of its information has been expanded upon, and will generally not be repeated here. See, for instance, The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941: Before, During, After (read also the Peczkis review).

The Introduction is provided by Abraham Wageman, now living in Tel Aviv, Israel. Born in 1924, part of his family was saved by Poles during the Holocaust. Wageman categorically rejects the apology for Jedwabne of President Kwasniewski. Wageman makes it clear that the Germans were the ones solely responsible for the Holocaust. Furthermore, Wageman sees the current Jedwabne affair as propaganda reminiscent of the worst times (WWII), and one that only sows hatred between Poles and Jews. If there is any financial restitution extracted from Poles, he does not want a penny of it. (p. 3).

Although the Jedwabne massacre is portrayed as something long repressed and conveniently forgotten, it is not. Back in 1966, Jewish researcher Szymon Datner had analyzed the massacre, and concluded that the Germans had forced local Polish policemen, and socially marginal characters, to conduct the massacre. (p. 11, 48-49).

Much of the accusation against Poles regarding Jedwabne derives from the trials of 1949-1953. Niekrasz points out that the convictions lack credibility, as they had occurred in the Stalinist atmosphere of witness- and defendant-intimidation, in which framing of guilt was easy. As an example, several Poles had been sentenced to death for involvement in the Kielce Pogrom that were clearly innocent. (p. 38).

Jan T. Gross and his fans try to discount the role of the Einsatzgruppen by the contention that these units had already moved far beyond Jedwabne at the time of the massacre. In actually, there WERE leftover German units in the Jedwabne area at the time of the massacre. (pp. 48-49).

The "Germans filmed Poles killing Jedwabne's Jews" account is based entirely on a very tenuous chain of hearsay. Jan T. Gross heard it from a Jedwabne resident 59 years after the massacre, and the quoted resident purportedly heard it from someone living in the general area back in 1944. (p. 41).

Niekrasz also brings up the other side of the equation of Jedwabne. Jews massacred Poles in such places as the village of Koniuchy, and the author (p. 64) quotes Jewish participant Lazar Destruction and Resistance : A History of the Partisan Movement of Vilna (see also the Peczkis review, and embedded links in the review).

This book touches on other aspects of Polish conduct during the Holocaust. Against the "only a tiny handful of Poles assisted Jews" argument of Jan T. Gross, Niekrasz cites Marek Edelman of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Edelman estimates that 12,000 fugitive Warsaw Jews were still alive at the time of the Poles' 1944 Warsaw Uprising, which means that around 100,000 Poles must have aided them. Since Warsaw's Polish population at the time was 700,000, this means that 1/7th of Warsaw's Poles assisted Jews--hardly a "tiny handful". (p. 46).

The author also points out that the Jewish-Soviet collaboration of 1939-1941 had in fact been massive in scale, and had consisted of a series of direct acts against Poles. (p. 74-on). This was a repeat of the Jewish-Russian collaboration against Poles in 1919. (p. 80). In the USA, many manifestations of egregious and venomous Jewish Polonophobia can be mentioned. (pp. 88-89).

Niekrasz quotes Polish interviews of Norman Finkelstein regarding the Holocaust Industry and its implications for Poland. (The interviews were originally conducted by Krzysztof Darewicz, and published in the April 26, 2000 issue of RZECZOPOSPOLITA, as well as by Jan M. Fijor, and published in NASZA POLSKA in the December 19, 2000 issue). Finkelstein recognizes the right of individual Jews to property restitution, but points out that there is no justification for the tiny number of Jews remaining in Poland being entitled to the communal properties (infrastructure) that once served over 3 million Jews. (p. 94). For example, if there were 6,000 communal institutions (synagogues, hospitals, and schools) in Poland, and now there are 6,000 Jews, it would mean that every Polish Jew is entitled to his own communal institution. (p. 98).

According to Finkelstein, the World Jewish Congress has a net worth of 3-4 billion dollars. (p. 98). If helping Holocaust victims is its actual motive as stated, it could easily aid all the remaining Holocaust survivors out of its own pocket.

Finkelstein's own ancestors lived in Poland, but he feels no justification for any form of restitution. This owes to the fact that these properties were destroyed in the war and, although partly rebuilt, neither he nor any of his relatives played any role in the rebuilding, the payment of taxes on the property over the decades, or upkeep of the property. (p. 95).

The properties of Jews had been appropriated by the Communist authorities not because the owners were Jews, but because they were capitalists. Many gentiles likewise had their properties confiscated. (p. 97).

Forcing Poland into systematic restitution would bankrupt the nation, and deprive Polish children of preschools, schools, parks, etc. Finkelstein wants no part of that. (p. 95). Pointedly, no Jewish organization, such as the World Jewish Congress, has any right to speak in the name of the Jewish dead in demanding financial restitution. This, according to Finkelstein, is chutzpah. (pp. 95-96).

Finkelstein also repeats his premise that the promotion of the Holocaust, as well as treatment of the subject in education, is largely used for ulterior motives, and borders on propaganda. "Enough statues and museums already", he quips. (p. 97).
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