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JEDWABNE WITNESSES;Wha are the Jews?( In polish)

jan peczkis|Wednesday, November 11, 2015

THE SOVIET REALITY 1939-1941 ACCORDING TO THE TESTIMONIES OF POLISH JEWS, is the title of this Polish-language scholarly work. The bulk of the content of this book consists of the testimonies of those of Poland's Jews that had been deported to Russia in 1939-1941, alongside the larger numbers of ethnic Poles. Some of the cited testimonies are of ethnic Poles.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author is better-known as a person than for his books. In this book (p. 113), he called attention to the indiscriminate use of the charge of anti-Semitism to obstruct inquiry that might lead to valid criticism of Jewish conduct. (p. 113).



THE SOVIET REALITY 1939-1941 ACCORDING TO THE TESTIMONIES OF POLISH JEWS, is the title of this Polish-language scholarly work. The bulk of the content of this book consists of the testimonies of those of Poland's Jews that had been deported to Russia in 1939-1941, alongside the larger numbers of ethnic Poles. Some of the cited testimonies are of ethnic Poles.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author is better-known as a person than for his books. In this book (p. 113), he called attention to the indiscriminate use of the charge of anti-Semitism to obstruct inquiry that might lead to valid criticism of Jewish conduct. (p. 113).

This concern proved more than prophetic. Years after writing this book, Krzysztof Jasiewicz was fired from a position that he held at the Polish Academy of Sciences, as a result of Jewish pressure, for saying things that they did not like. Jasiewicz had suggested that Jews had played a major role in their own extermination by the Nazi Germans. What he said was unremarkable. German Jew Hannah Arendt had said essentially the same thing decades earlier. Click on, and read my detailed review, of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (Penguin Classics). (My review was posted September 19, 2007).

[Regardless of what Jasiewicz exactly said, and whether or not I agree with everything he said, I support his right to free speech and academic freedom. Let us also have no double standards. Quite a few Jewish academics had made vile statements about Poles and about Christianity, and yet nobody calls for their dismissal.]

EXPLODING THE “JEWS (THEN) FEARED NAZIS” EXCULPATION

One commonly-repeated excuse, for some Jews siding with the Soviets during the 1939 war, was their gratitude for not having fallen into the hands of the Nazis. As elaborated in the next section of this review, the Jewish-Soviet collaboration went far beyond presumed gratitude, and partook of clear-cut and active enmity towards Poles and Poland. In addition, it turns out, the Jews were not, in 1939, particularly afraid of the Nazis. This is proved by the fact that, according to very numerous Jewish reports, Polish Jews in the USSR wanted to return to German-held Poland! (e. g, p. 135, 137, 144, 249, 285). Nor was this limited to those Jews who had families to return to in German-occupied Poland. (p. 256). Furthermore, according to some reports (e. g., p. 155, 198, 209), the impending Jewish return to Nazi-held territories took on a mass character. Of course, these Jews had no idea that the Nazis would conduct the Holocaust, as this was still in the future. (pp. 358-359).

Although not mentioned, historian Jerzy Robert Nowak had pointed out that Jews who tried to return to German-ruled Poland were often arrested by the Soviet authorities, and dispatched to Siberia. This is confirmed by the Jewish testimonies of Maurycy Karawan (p. 253) and Chaim Piekarczyk. (pp. 317-318).

THE 1939 JEWISH-SOVIET COLLABORATION AGAINST POLES AND POLAND

Jasiewicz cites numerous, archived eyewitness accounts. (pp. 86-on). Far from making generalized and stereotyped anti-Semitic statements about Jews, as misrepresented by neo-Stalinist Jan T. Gross, these eyewitnesses are very specific about the Jewish crimes.

Nor is it true that Jewish supporters of Communism were necessarily limited to the desperately poor or to the scum of Jewish society. At Bialystok, according to eyewitness Marcin Czerniawski, the Jews greeting the Soviets included the well-off and the well-dressed. (p. 87).

Pointedly, Jewish-Soviet collaboration was hardly limited to warm greetings to Poland’s enemies, and verbal denunciations of Poland. Local Jews who collaborated with the Soviet invaders helped them disarm Polish soldiers, as at Grajewo (p. 40) and Wilno [Vilnius]. (p. 99). At the latter, the Jewish collaborators added insult to injury by ripping off the insignia of the disarmed Polish soldiers and stomping on it. At some locations (as at Lapa), the Jewish militia beat Poles with billy clubs just for speaking Polish. (p. 90).

Nor was Jewish-Soviet collaboration some sort of emotional reaction, or one-time act. In many named towns of the Kresy (eastern Poland), local Jewish collaborators formed the nucleus of the ongoing Soviet-serving militia, whose job it was to arrest Poles, confiscate their property, and not rarely to murder them. (e. g., pp. 88-on). In some places, the Jews volunteered for this service, and, at others, they were recruited by the Soviet occupants. (p. 89). At some locations, such as at Lwow, Zolkiew, Bialystok, Lomza, and Lapa, the Soviet-serving militia was mostly Jewish in composition. (pp. 90-92, 99).

Unlike Jan T. Gross' implied insinuation that Poles are somehow just imagining things, Jewish eyewitnesses ALSO testify to the fact of extensive Jewish participation in the Soviet-sponsored militia. (e. g, p. 120, 227, 283). Leopold Spira confirms the fact that, in the large city of Lwow (Lviv), the majority of the militia functionaries were Jews. (p. 338).

An assortment of Jewish collaborators helped the Soviets in various other ways. Many Polish eyewitnesses report visits, from the dreaded NKVD, in which specific local Jews were among the visitors. (pp. 98-on).

Krzysztof Jasiewicz concludes that it does not matter if the Jewish-Soviet collaborators were relatively few in number. Jews did their treasonous acts willingly, and the power and positions of these Jews enabled them to do great harm to Poles. (p. 93).

A PROVOCATION OF THE LATER 1941 JEDWABNE MASSACRE

Eyewitness Tadeusz Nitkiewicz, a pharmacist-assistant from Wizna [Lomza area] described the conduct of the Jews, (quote) Even before the arrival of the Red Army, the local Jews [of Wizna] formed a Revolutionary Committee. Upon the entry of the Red Army, the Jews greeted them, and wreaked horrible cruelties upon our soldiers and upon our civilian population. (unquote). (p. 92).

As for Lomza itself, eyewitness Jan Lipinski, a farmer, writes, (quote) The Jews, even before the arrival of the Red Army, assumed rule over the town, created their own militia, took over all the government positions, and displayed overt enmity towards the Polish population. (unquote). (p. 92).

JEWISH LIFE IN THE USSR

There are a number of themes that appear frequently in the quoted Jewish testimonies. One is the fact that the Russian authorities had abolished specifically Jewish schools, not only the religious ones such as the yeshivas and the Talmud Torahs, but also secular ones, such as the Zionist Tarbut and the Bundist Tsysho. There were a number of "Jewish" schools that did exist, but they were Soviet in content and Jewish only in terms of those who attended them.

In general, Soviet Jews had been pressured to give up their distinctiveness, and to assimilate completely. In fact, the testimonies repeatedly refer to the fact that, especially the younger Soviet Jews had, already by then (early 1940's), virtually no ties to Judaism. [This is ironic in a way. It has seriously been argued that Jewish Communists were not Jews because they did not practice anything specifically Judaic. The reductio ad absurdum of this argument is that, if true, it would also mean that the Soviet Jews, as a whole, were not Jews either!] As a further irony to the rather silly “Jewish Communists were not really Jews” exculpation, some Soviet Jews testified that they, and many other Soviet Jews, did in fact practice Jewish rites—but in secret, while functioning as Communists in their public lives. (pp. 63-65).

Now consider Communist egalitarianism. Perhaps the sagest comment, about life in the USSR, was made by the Polish Jew, Jozef Blumenstrauch. (p. 150). He noted the irony of Communist claims that everyone is equal in the Soviet Union, and that Jews are equal to everyone else. Everyone is equal all right—in exile, in prisons, in work camps, and in the state of hunger and servitude toward the ruling Red elite, which consists of thieves.

FEW JEWISH VICTIMS OF THE KATYN MASSACRE

Author Jasiewicz cites the 1995 work, KATYN. DOKUMENTY ZBRODNI…JENCY NIE WYPOWIEDZIANEJ WOJNY (p. 446, pp. 451-452), for the following information:

There were 14,466 Polish POWs incarcerated at Kozielsk, Ostaszkow, and Starobielsk. Of these, 160 were Jews. (pp. 109-110). This comes out to 1.1%.

The foregoing figure is much smaller than that of some other authors, who had placed the Jewish share of those murdered at Katyn at as much as 15%!

MISCELLANEOUS INTERESTING INFORMATION

Polish Jew Dawid Cynberg (pp. 156-157) describes Stalinist anti-Polish propaganda, in which Poles were accused of torturing and killing Jews, and of Polish officers throwing Jews off trains and shooting at Jews in the streets. [Evidently, this propaganda has nowadays become recycled by the aptly-named neo-Stalinists, notably Jan T. Gross.]

Some Polonophobes have tried to relativize the prewar Polish internment camp at Bereza Kartuska with the Nazi and Soviet concentration camps. Against such nonsense, Dawid Halpern mentions a fellow Jew who had once been incarcerated at Bereza Kartuska, and now declared how good he had it then compared with his experiences in the Soviet camps. (p. 229).

The mortality at Soviet camps was high. At Sucho-Bezwodnoje [Suchobiezwodnoje], 30% of the prisoners died within a matter of a few months (August-November 1940). (p. 233). At another, unidentified camp, the temperature dropped to 70 degrees below zero Centigrade in winter, and half the prisoners died from exhaustion and various illnesses. (p. 324). Finally, the forest (lumber?) camps were in a class by themselves. No one assigned to a forest work camp emerged alive. (p. 364).

Accusations have sometimes been leveled against the freed deported Poles not wanting the Jews to leave with them. This is untrue. In fact, it was the Soviets that hindered the Jews joining General Anders' Army, and leaving the USSR after the 1941 “amnesty”. (p. 357, 369-370).
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