Jedwabne Massacre June 25 1941, July 10 1941 (Board book)summary of factsjan peczkis|Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The author's father lived in Jedwabne. (p. 149). This book assembles a great deal of information about this subject. Owing to the fact that much has been already written about it, I focus on new and little-known information instead of repeating previously-discussed well-known information.
The anti-Polish version of the events at Jedwabne has gotten an inordinate amount of attention in the western media. For instance, Baginski shows that there are many more detailed internet references to the Jedwabne massacre than to the much-larger Katyn massacre. (pp. 96-97).
PRECEDENTS TO THE JEDWABNE MASSACRE
Before Jedwabne, there was Brzostowica Mala. In this village, located about fifty kilometers east of Bialystok, a Jewish-led band of pro-Communist Jews and Byelorussians murdered as many as fifty defenseless Polish civilians. This took place on September 20, 1939, which was BEFORE the entry of the Red Army. (p. 71).
Baginski documents the significant collaboration of Jedwabne's Jews, with the Soviet invaders, in 1939-1941 (pp. 68-69; pp. 139-141), which, of course, provoked Polish anger. The Jews even constructed a statue to Lenin.
THE JEDWABNE MASSACRE ITSELF
The Germans suddenly and unexpectedly turned against their erstwhile Soviet allies. According to neo-Stalinist Jan T. Gross, the Poles of Jedwabne, using simple tools, massacred the Jews. One of the main tools was supposed to be the ORCZYK (singletree), which is part of the horse-drawn wagon. Baginski has examined this claim, and found that the ORCZYK is awkward to handle, and would have been an inadequate weapon to use to club someone to death. (pp. 123-124; For a photo of an ORCZYK, see p. 220).
The author reviews the investigative IPN investigative commission, which was heralded in the press for "proving Jan T. Gross right". It did no such thing. The German role was reckoned inconclusive, and the IPN investigation omitted much pertinent information.
In his debunking of Pole-accusing arguments, author Marian Baginski stresses a number of themes. One of these is the common mistake of conflating of the events of June 25, 1941 with the actual Jedwabne massacre of July 10, 1941. Another is the fact that the dig at Jedwabne was an archeological survey, NOT an exhumation, and that it was stopped prematurely. Still another is the role of SS Obersturmfuhrer Hermann Schaper who, according to eyewitnesses and recently-cited documents, was present in the Jedwabne area near and on the date of the massacre. (pp. 107-113).
Baginski cites two important works, by Jewish authors, that establish the fact that the main killers of the Jews of Jedwabne were Germans, not Poles. (pp. 70-71). Please click on The Warriors: My Life As A Jewish Soviet Partisan (Religion, Theology, and the Holocaust), and Deliverance: The Diary of Michael Maik, a True Story.
The author includes an interview with Andrzej Kola of Torun University. Kola was the archeologist in charge of the archeological survey at Jedwabne. He disagrees with those who do not link the bullet remains found at the site with the July 1941 massacre. Kola points to the implausibly large number of shells found at the site, as well as the fact that some of them were stamped "1939". (p. 217; See also p. 226).
JEDWABNE AFTER THE JULY 1941 MASSACRE
For all the attention given to the Jews killed at Jedwabne, one must move beyond the standard Judeocentric narrative and remember the slain Poles. Baginski (p. 150) estimates that the Nazi Germans murdered 220 Christian Poles, of Jedwabne and environs, in 1941-1945.
The Nazi German occupation was then replaced by the Soviet Communist occupation. The suppression of Polish commerce, by centuries of Jewish economic dominance, became especially evident by the Nazi-German made Holocaust. Baginski comments, "By murdering the Jews the Nazis forced a great and rapid expansion of the Polish merchant and artisan strata of the society. The Communists initially accepted the arrangement. It was to the benefit of both the locals and the proxy regime which, in its propaganda at least, supported a swift economic reconstruction." (pp. 166-167).
Baginski discusses the anti-Communist guerrillas, the ZOLNIERZE WYKLECI (Cursed Soldiers). He also elaborates on the atmosphere of terror created by the forced imposition of the Soviet puppet state. It is easy for the reader to see how foolish is the notion that the 1949 Jedwabne trials, upon which Polish "guilt" is largely based, can in any sense pass for fair trials.
DISSENT TO JEDWABNE-ORTHODOXY: NOW A HATE CRIME?
In a trial that began in August 2011, a group of men were accused, by a Bialystok court, of "an incitement to hatred based on national and religious convictions", merely for shouting, "I do not apologize for Jedwabne!" (pp. 223-225). This is especially ironic in view of the fact that, in a March 2011 poll, 60% of respondents disagreed with President Kwasniewski's apology for Jedwabne. (p. 50). Where will it end?
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