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"Greedy Poles Looted Jews" Propaganda: many books on the subject

jan peczkis|Sunday, April 2, 2017





"Greedy Poles Looted Jews" Propaganda
  ​Jan T. Gross, and the media following him, accuse Poles of "getting rich" off Jewish belongings.   Here is a corrective "bulletin", complete with links, and suitable for posting, that I have composed:   ​ PROPERTY-ACQUISITION: STANDARD WAR-RELATED EVENTS, AND NOT A POLE-AGAINST-JEW THING!

(Click on the following links, and read my detailed reviews):

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Poles "inherit" the property of murdered Jews---Just as Jews "inherit" the property of earlier-murdered Jews:

Gone To Pitchipoi: A Boy's Desperate Fight For Survival In Wartime (Jews of Poland).
Inbox x Peczkis, Jan 1:30 PM (2 hours ago)     to me "Greedy Poles Looted Jews" Propaganda   ​Jan T. Gross, and the media following him, accuse Poles of "getting rich" off Jewish belongings.   Here is a corrective "bulletin", complete with links, and suitable for posting, that I have composed:   ​ PROPERTY-ACQUISITION: STANDARD WAR-RELATED EVENTS, AND NOT A POLE-AGAINST-JEW THING!

(Click on the following links, and read my detailed reviews):

************************************************************************

Poles "inherit" the property of murdered Jews---Just as Jews "inherit" the property of earlier-murdered Jews:

Gone To Pitchipoi: A Boy's Desperate Fight For Survival In Wartime (Jews of Poland).

[Katz's] story is compelling, drawing you in with each twist of fate and ingenuity as he defies detection and death time and time again. Beautifully and insightfully told, his story takes us behind the scenes. We see the normality of life for those who were not under threat and simultaneously the hostility and treachery that threatened those who were marked for death."--Dr. Stephen D. Smith, OBE Executive Director, USC Shoah Foundation Institute

"Although completed more than sixty years after the events it describes, the memoir is remarkable for the ability of its author to recall so many events in detail and for the way he is able to be fair to all those caught up in the tragic dilemmas of those years. It is a major contribution to our understanding of the fate of Jews in smaller Polish towns during the Second World War and the conditions which made it possible for some of them, like Rubin...to survive..." --Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies
Jewish blackmailers, like Polish blackmailers, were not limited to marginal members of society:

Witness to Annihilation: Surviving the Holocaust a Memoir.

Jewish grave-robbers robbed the Jewish dead: This book touches on the author’s experiences in pre-WWII Poland, the 1939 Communist-Nazi conquest of Poland, the Soviet occupation (1939-1941), the Nazi occupation and the Holocaust (1941-1944), the renewed Soviet occupation (1944-on), the author’s move to the West, and his new life in the USA. Author Samuel Drix survived the Holocaust by fleeing from a Nazi work camp and hiding among Poles.

In common with countless Holocaust survivors, Drix testifies that Jews were prepared for Nazi persecution, but no Jews had expected the Germans to commit genocide. (p. 14).

POLISH ANTI-SEMITISM IN PERSPECTIVE. COMMUNISM NOT BETTER

In discussing the locals’ attitudes towards Jews during the 1918 Polish-Ukrainian war, Drix comments, (quote) Anti-Semitism among the Poles, however, was not nearly as widespread and virulent as among the Ukrainians. (unquote). (p. 27).

In 1930, Drix was one of only 11 Jews admitted (by quota), out of 600 Jewish applicants, to the prestigious Lwow medical school (at Jan Kazimierz University). (p. 10). [How does this compare to the highly-competitive admission rates to medical schools in general?] In addition, the reader is not told of the overabundance of Jewish physicians in Poland, which necessitated this NUMERUS CLAUSUS.

Some Jewish authors have tried to excuse the WWII and post-WWII Jewish-Soviet collaboration (sometimes called the Zydokomuna) by the claim that Jews had it better under the Soviets than under the Poles. Drix parts ways with this thinking, (quote) However, it must be said that even at its worst, Polish anti-Semitism never compared to what the Jews later experienced at the hands of the Germans and Ukrainians. By that comparison, life in prewar Poland seemed a paradise. What’s more, it was still better to be a Jew in democratic Poland than to live under the Soviets in equal fear with everyone else. (unquote). (p. 11).

BLACKMAILING JEWS

This kind of behavior was an all-around problem, and not limited to any one nationality. Drix comments, (quote) Later on, a new manner of tormenting and blackmailing Jews developed. Ukrainians and Poles working in KRIPO (that is, the criminal police) paid Jewish informers to tell them which Jews in the ghetto were wealthy. (unquote). (p. 38). According to this extortion “game”, these wealthy Jews were arrested, and, upon paying a bribe, were released.

UNPREDICTABLE CHARACTER OF EXTORTIONISTS

Certain authors, notably neo-Stalinist ones such as Jan T. Gross and Jan Grabowski, have tried to make much of the fact that Polish blackmailers of Jews were not only marginal members of society, but also some upright ones. However, exactly the same was true of Jewish blackmailers. Drix writes, (quote) I would like to add that in the almost eleven months of my stay at Janowska camp and OT camp, I observed how people behaved at such a time of distress and struggle for life, often in a manner quite hard to predict from their education and social status. They showed themselves as they really were, beneath this veneer. There were some from good homes and privileged backgrounds who behaved like animals, not just stealing to survive but blackmailing and profiting through others’ miseries so they could have a more comfortable life. Fortunately, such people were few, but they were influential. On the other hand, there were people from very simple backgrounds, poor and uneducated, who did all they could to help others at great personal sacrifice and risk. (unquote). (p. 169).

THE JEWISH GHETTO POLICE NOT EXONERATED

Nowadays, the Nazi-collaborating conduct of the JUDENRAETE and the Jewish ghetto police is often understood solely in terms of the desperation of people doing anything to try to save their own lives. However, these collaborators went far beyond the minimum to save their own lives, and their fellow Jews did not find their conduct excusable. Drix describes what happened when four Jewish policemen tried to hide among the other Jews of the work camp, (quote) News about it spread like lightening and soon a crowd gathered, hostile to those four. Jewish policemen from the ghetto, in the period 1942 to 1943, had a very bad reputation. They had actively helped the Gestapo in all the actions, and were very eager, even too eager and brutal. They had filled their pockets with money and valuable objects from their victims or from those whom they had blackmailed. It was therefore understandable that this crowd of inmates granted no mercy to them and offered them no refuge…These traitors and Judases had earned their punishment at the hands of their own brothers, and their masters’ prize for their faithful service. (unquote). (pp. 171-172).

RESCUING FUGITIVE JEWS: NO SIMPLE TASK

Unlike those (e. g, Jan T. Gross) who belittle the German-imposed death penalty for the slightest Polish assistance to Jews, Drix, who actually went through the Holocaust, does not. He is quite explicit about the magnitude of the terror faced by Polish rescuers of Jews. (p. 69, 204, 207).

The author realizes that the Zawers, the Polish family that had earlier hid them, became very much afraid that, were he to be caught, the Germans would force him to divulge who had helped him. (p. 204). [This helps explain why Polish rescuers sometimes killed the Jews they had been housing.]
In the Warsaw Ghetto 1940 - 1943 an Account of a Witness the Memoirs of Stanislaw Adler.

Polish grave-robbers robbed the Polish dead. Hilary Minc, a very high-ranking Jew in the Soviet-imposed Communist puppet government of post-WWII Poland, was the architect of the mass expropriation of both Jewish and Polish property:

Warsaw Ghetto Policies. Grave-Robbery Implications. Non-Death Motives  If you are interested in the workings of the Jewish Ghetto Police in great depth, this work is for you. Adler, a member of this Police, describes such things as its relationship with the Policja Granatowa (Polish Blue Police), and devotes considerable attention to Szerynski, the Jewish-Police commander.

Adler (p. 242) verbalizes the rather silly premise that the Roman Catholic teaching on the indissolubility of marriage has caused vast numbers of unhappy marriages and what he calls eternal quarreling and "legions of hysterical old maids." He portrays Jews solely as scapegoats, never acknowledging the privileges most Jews enjoyed over most Polish gentiles, and never hinting at Jewish conduct that tended to alienate Jews from Poles, or foreign-rule policies that put Poles and Jews into an adversarial relationship.

One exception to the foregoing is his acknowledgement of the Litwak (Litvak) problem: "In the lands which became part of the Polish Republic, but which had been before part of the Russian Empire, the Tsarist government, using the timeless invaders' technique: DIVIDE ET EMPERA, fomented anti-Semitism, while the introduction of the so-called `Pale of Settlement' for Jews in Russia became a very important, although not the only means of intensifying hostility toward Jews in the Polish population. Hundreds of thousands of Jews, the so-called `Litwaks', were forced to settle in Poland. Far surpassing the local Jews in abilities and intelligence, they became the object of resentment on the part of the latter as well." (p. 243).

Unlike modern hard-core Polonophobes, Adler recognizes the essential difference between the German Nazis and the anti-Semitic Poles: "The Nazis did not create the anti-Semitic movement in Poland, therefore. They merely facilitated its full expression, while their terrible methods (they did not balk at any cruelty) went far beyond the most fantastic ideas of the most fanatical Polish Jew baiters." (p. 242).

Photos are sometimes shown of the pit-ridden places of Jews' mass death, such as Treblinka. Grave looters, presumably Poles, had been searching for the Jews' valuables, and this presumed mindset of Poles had been further embellished by the likes of Jan T. Gross and his FEAR. In actually, grave-looting, along with all forms of looting, is a common consequence of war and its dehumanizing tendencies. It is not limited to any nationality. For instance, the Jews themselves engaged in the grave looting of their dead in the Warsaw Ghetto. Adler writes: "The populace became familiar with death; the sight of a corpse became less appalling than before the war. The notion of the majesty of death left human consciousness. It was not surprising, therefore, that the cemetery attendants were `practicing dentistry' i. e., digging up graves and extracting gold crowns and fillings of corpses...They did not see anything reprehensible in their actions. Profanation of corpses? A ridiculous superstition!" (p. 258).

The Nazis, in order to lure Jews out of hiding, proclaimed an amnesty for fugitive Warsaw Jews for the month of November (1942). Adler comments: "The amnesty and temporary suspension of the death sentence for Jews who were on the Aryan side had the effect of encouraging informers and blackmailers. Since the amnesty diminished their inhibitions, these contemptible individuals could now increase their activities: Their consciences were clear because their victims would not be shot when denounced." (p. 292). This provides further proof that most Polish szmalcowniki were only interested in extorting money, not in causing Jewish deaths.

In time, even the highly-skilled Jewish remnant lost its standing in the eyes of the Nazis, as explained by Adler: "The dilemma of the Jews was this: How much longer could the economic advantage restrain the monster? The previously high productivity of the remaining Jewish slave laborers gradually diminished. The Jewish workers who remained alive were emaciated from chronic undernourishment and suffered permanently from anxiety...Thus, the productivity of the workshops gradually became insignificant." (p. 290). For more on the Holocaust itself as an economically-driven progressive destruction of "superfluous" Jews, see the Peczkis review of Architects of Annihilation: Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction. In Search Of A Lost People: The Old And New Poland.

Jewish looters commonly looted Jewish property:

Jewish-American Communist Sings the Praises of the New Soviet Puppet State & Inadvertently Refutes Jan T. Gross' GOLDEN HARVEST The focus of this book [review based on original 1948 edition] is the recently-concluded Holocaust and its implications for Poland's remaining Jews. In contrast to the modern tendency to dichotomize Germans and Nazis, Tenenbaum does not. He quips, (comment) But there has been in Germany a tradition erected over centuries, doctrines inculcated into its population generation after generation, to the effect that war, murder and rapine perpetrated on other peoples constitute the highest code of honor, and a passport to the Valhalla of fame. In Germany, the glorification of the sword has been preached and practiced from the dawn of German history, from Goths to Goering, from Frederick the Great to the clubfooted Goebbels. Accordingly, there has been crystallized a national philosophy of might which is clear in Fichte's idealization of German megalomania, or in Clausewitz's apotheosis of the holiness of war, or in the ungodly Hegelian philosophy of the State transcending Deity. (unquote)(p. 17).

Interestingly, Tenenbaum mentions that the Soviets found enough Zyklon gas, at Maidanek (Majdanek), to kill 4 million people. (p. 284). If true, it is yet another line of evidence pointing to eventual Nazi intentions for Poles. Owing to the fact that Maidanek was subordinate to Auschwitz as an extermination center, Maidanek's eventual role may have centered on the nearby genocidal "Operation Zamosc" against Poles.

Tenenbaum is very critical of Polish conduct towards Jews during and after WWII. In addition, he is harsh on Jews who collaborated with the Nazis, and does not adhere to the modern tendency of seeing them merely as desperate individuals trying to save their own lives. He calls Jewish policemen traitors (p. 7), and assesses their conduct as follows, (quote) There were deplorable acts of the Jewish police, whom the Gestapo bribed with promises, inciting them to feed and fatten on their own people's misfortune. (unquote)(p. 30).

A CHEERLEADER FOR SOVIET COMMUNISM

Tenenbaum engages in the predictable demonization of Poland's pre-WWII government, and of General Wladyslaw Anders, and presents a hagiographic portrayal of the new, Soviet-imposed Communist one. He parrots the Soviet line on Katyn (p. 198) and the Trial of the Sixteen (pp. 20-207). He repeats stock Communist propaganda about the N.S.Z. being fascist, collaborationist with the Nazis, and out to kill Poland's remaining Jews. (pp. 206-on).

Interestingly, however, Tenenbaum sees a connection between the expropriation of private property by Hilary Minc, and that conducted earlier by the Germans. He comments, (quote) The truth is that economic nationalization had been effected before Minc, by the Nazis, who destroyed, robbed, pillaged and wrecked the factories, machinery and materials. (unquote)(p. 217). The foregoing should be remembered in the light of recent questions regarding property restitution and the Holocaust Industry.

EQUAL-OPPORTUNITY POLISH GRAVE ROBBERS

The most attention-getting part of this book is Tenenbaum's visit to the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau sometime in 1946 or slightly later. He was appalled to hear about, and then see, Poles digging through Jewish remains in search of valuables. (pp. 141-142).

This revolting experience prompted Tenenbaum to ask, (quote) Why had not somebody done something about this ghoulish business of robbing the dead? But then, I remembered my interview with Minister Tadeusz Olszewski, of the Foreign Office in Warsaw. He had said to me, "You do not realize the degree of savagery that the Nazis have left around here. There are gangs of grave robbers specializing in digging up cemeteries, robbing the dead, getting gold fillings out of their teeth, tearing off the burial vestments, the shrouds, everything removable. They do not take the time to cover up the graves. They leave the bones uncovered. Recently even the crypts of bishops have been opened and robbed..." (unquote)(p. 142).

Now consider the recent publication, GOLDEN HARVEST, by neo-Stalinist Jan T. Gross. This time, the site of the grave looting was Treblinka. Gross portrayed Poles as greedy, anti-Semitic savages who wantonly exploit the Jewish dead. This was not so. From Olszewski's statement, it is evident that grave-looting behavior resulted from the demoralization caused by the Nazi occupation, and not from greed. Nor was it an anti-Semitic act. Polish grave robbers had no more respect for the Polish dead than they had for the Jewish dead. In fact, they did not even spare the graves of Polish bishops! To Speak for the Silenced.
Surviving the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia (Eastern-Poland/Western-Ukraine): Insights into Jewish-Soviet Entanglement The author lived in a shtetl at Skala, on the Zbrucz River. He describes: The Soviet and Nazi occupations, the latter's destruction of the local Jewish communities, his deportation to the Janowska concentration camp (in Lwow, which he always calls by its German name, Lemberg), his escape, his multiple hide-and-be-uncovered adventures, and his survival in the environs of Skala and in the ruins of its shtetl.

Unlike the common emphasis on pogroms in Jewish writings, Tracy describes Jew-on-Jew violence that took place in the wake of the 1939 Nazi-allied Soviet invasion of eastern Poland: "The Jews had attacked Moshe Mozner's bakery and were taking away the bread. The scene was dreadful...Every shop we passed was being looted in the same manner. Every store, be it food or merchandise, was being torn apart. The Jews who were not looting were rejoicing [at the Soviet arrival]." (pp. 14-15).

Fear of the Nazis cannot alone explain the Jewish pro-Soviet orientation. By Tracy's own admission (p. 215), most Jews never imagined what the Nazis later had in store for them, and had supposed that they could avert any Nazi actions through bribes. Furthermore, so unafraid were some Jews of the Nazis that they applied for a transfer to German-occupied Poland. (p. 24). It was an NKVD trap, and these Jews were sent to the Gulags. [This confirms historian Jerzy Robert Nowak.]

Tracy provides insights into the Zydokomuna (Bolshevized Judaism) that blossomed under Soviet rule: "Some members of the Jewish community were pro-Communist and immediately cooperated with the Ukrainians. These Jews were rewarded with good positions and a new militia began to take shape, comprised of both Jews and Ukrainians. These privileged citizens carried weapons on their shoulders and wore red bands on their arms." (p. 16). [The informed reader can readily understand how the militia became the enemy of Poles, especially the actively pro-independence ones.]

Ordinary Jews, too, suffered from the Zydokomuna. Tracy comments: "Before long, many Jewish enterprises had been nationalized. With these new policies, our Jewish youth rose to higher positions and displayed a brutal use of power against their former employers." (p. 21).

Tracy notes that: "Almost 99 percent of the youth knew nothing about their religion, other than the fact that they were Jewish." (p. 25). [Since secularism correlates closely with involvement in radical leftist politics, this partly explains the gravitation of many Jews to Communism.]

When Nazi Germany invaded its erstwhile Soviet ally in 1941, many Soviets and Jews fled. Tracy comments: "Many families took advantage of the opportunity to leave, including Hersh Shvartzbach's family, Moshe Levenkron's, Motek Kremitzer's, Jaci Schlisser's, and Mendel Helkis'. Most of these were families which had been heavily involved with the Russians." (p. 39). Obviously, the Zydokomuna had been far from a marginal phenomenon, as sometimes claimed.

The Nazi-collaborationist Ukrainian police played a major role in the persecution and murder of Jews. (p. 88, 94,101,114,117,138,140,147,175,190). It acted alongside the Germans, and on its own.

Although the Judenrat enjoyed various privileges, such as exemption from hard labor (e. g., p. 80), Tracy, unlike many Jewish authors, doesn't criticize them. He writes: "And who could blame them for putting their family and friends first?" (p. 143). [Perhaps the same consideration could be afforded those Poles who put their own interests ahead of those of the Jews.]

While on the run, Tracy enjoyed the help of both Polish (pp. 170-171) and Ukrainian (p. 199) benefactors. Unlike the likes of Jan T. Gross, Tracy repudiated any condemnation of those gentiles who, fearful of the German-imposed death penalty, discontinued their help. (p. 197). At one time in hiding, Tracy was obviously denounced by a 14 year-old Jewish boy who, years later, refused to explain his conduct. (p. 195, 197).

After the second occupation of the Soviets (1944), Tracy was invited by them to shoot several captured SS men.(p. 209-on, 218). He refused. He also took part in the "Strebki" (Soviet-sponsored battalions that combated the Jew-killing and Pole-killing OUN-UPA: p. 210).
The Jews of Bialystok During World War II and the Holocaust.
 
Israeli historian Sara Bender traces the life of Bialystok's Jews from the 19th century, through the early 20th century, the Polish Second Republic (1918-1939), the Soviet occupation (1939-1941), and the Nazi occupation and Holocaust (1941-1944).

Some Polish historians have described organized anti-Semitism, and pogroms, as imports from tsarist Russia, and Bender's analysis supports this position. In describing the 1906 Pogrom, she comments: "The truth, however, soon emerged when Jews who had survived the pogrom testified that not only had the Poles refused to participate in the riots, but they had actually sheltered Jews. The Russian authorities, it transpired, were blaming the Poles to divert suspicion from themselves and to stir up hatred between the Poles and the Jews." (p. 16).

Unlike the situation at Warsaw, Jewish support for the Poles' January (1863) Insurrection had been negligible. (p. 4). Jewish economic dominance in Bialystok was considerable (for facts and figures, see p. 11). Although not described by Bender as such, various Jewish actions by the time of WWI clearly partook of seeking special rights (using modern parlance). For instance, Bialystok's Jews continued to adhere to Yiddish, and resisted using Polish even in public life. They also sought exemption from the infant Polish Army. (pp. 43-45).

There are a number of flaws in Bender's work, of which I mention only two. She glosses over the magnitude of Jewish-Soviet collaboration against Poland during the 1920 Polish-Soviet War (p. 46)--a fact corroborated by British and American observers (see the Peczkis review of The Jews in Poland; Official Reports of the American and British Investigating Missions). She engages in the customary misrepresentation of the WWII-era Polish-Underground NSZ (N.S.Z.) as a pro-fascist organization that indiscriminately killed Jews, to which she adds the twist that they also indiscriminately killed Poles! (p. 236). Against this nonsense, see the Peczkis review of Narodowe Sily Zbrojne: Dokumenty, struktury, personalia (Polish Edition).

Bender employs an absurdly-elastic definition of the word pogrom. In recounting the 1920 war, she speaks of a "massive pogrom" by Poles in which ONE Jew was killed. (p. 46).

Fast-forward to WWII. Some Nazi German officials had opposed the liquidation of the Bialystok ghetto because of the value of its workers for German war production. (p. 186, 221, 243, 283). Otherwise, this ghetto is described as unique in that the local Jewish ghetto police refused to obey German orders to round up the Jews for the trains to Auschwitz and Treblinka. (p. 203). The roundups were done by the Germans along with the Ukrainian and Byelorussian collaborationist police. (p. 198, 250, 261, 274). Certain Jews, promised their lives, pointed out to the Germans the hiding places of Jews. (p. 202, 211). All along, the Germans had been served by various Jewish Gestapo agents (p. 161, 292), including those who had acted against Poles as well as Jews. (p. 212).

In his FEAR, Jan T. Gross has attempted to make a profound issue of Poles acquiring post-Jewish properties. Actually, looting is common in wartime, and is not particular to any one nationality. In fact, some ghetto Jews looted the properties of the earlier-deported Jews. (e. g., p. 202, 211).

While describing the situation facing escaped Jews, Bender wrote: "It should not be forgotten that at that time [late 1943], the Germans were combing the forests in search of Jewish fugitives." (p. 295). (This reminds us that the Germans were perfectly capable of finding Jews on their own, and that fugitive Jews who perished were not necessarily the victims of locals' denunciations.)
Polish looters commonly looted Polish property:

Red Shadow: A Physician's Memoir of the Soviet Occupation of Eastern Poland, 1944-1956.
starsInsights into the Early Communist Terror (1944-on), Common Banditry, the Demoralization of the Polish Underground, etc.The author's son, George Klukowski, and his grandson, Andrew G. Klukowski, found his diaries in Lublin, Poland, in 1991. : Diary from the Years of Occupation 1939-44.

Both the retreating Germans and the arriving Soviets looted the Poles. (p. 7). This was followed by numerous arrests and executions of Poles by the Soviets (p. 34), including people who had never been involved in Underground or political movements. (p. 32). Villages experienced pacification terror at the hands of the Communists just as they had earlier under the Nazis. (p 71). Finally, there were Communist units (sometimes called pozorny) that pretended to be Polish guerrillas. (p. 122).

Locals who had collaborated with the Germans, especially the Volksdeutsche, were brought to justice. (e. g., p. 40, 97). So was a Polish policeman who had victimized both Poles and Jews on behalf of the Germans. (p. 79). Women who had consorted with the Germans had their heads shaved. (p. 9).

Members of the A. K. (Armia Krajowa), though never ordered to fight against the Communists, sometimes killed Communists on their own. (e. g., p. 22). A Jewish Communist, Sawicki, was among those assassinated. (p. 25). Later, after the A.K. was disbanded in January 1945, successor independentist organizations, such as W.I.N., were formed.

Rampant banditry among Poles is frequently mentioned in this diary. (e. g., p. 9, 26, 47-48, 72). The perpetrators were commonly members of the A. K. (Armia Krajowa). (e. g., p. 9, 10, 33-34; including its officers: p. 39, 40). They had fought against the Germans for Poland's freedom, but Poland got no freedom. The author comments: "Most of the officers and soldiers of the Home Army are extremely depressed because of the uncertainty. The organization is falling apart." (p. 10). Also: "During the last several days there have been many cases of robbery in our region. There seems to be a direct connection between the demoralization evident in the circles of former underground soldiers and the robberies. Some of them cannot sit still without any action, and without ongoing military discipline they look to robbery for both excitement and fulfillment of their daily needs." (p. 13).

In addition, as had been the case under the German occupation, there were many "forest people", consisting this time of the likes of deserters from the Berling Army (p. 25, 64), and formerly upstanding citizens who had become bandits. Klukowski remarks: "Today I have encountered en example of how the forest, alas, sometimes causes a breakdown of morality and produces bandits." (p. 72). People were afraid to go out at night. (p. 72). A wealthy Jew, Luft, was liquidated by the forest bands for unstated reasons. (p. 83).

Klukowski writes: "The fight against banditry is very difficult. Today's authorities are helpless. The underground tolerates the situation and is not involved in any actions to eliminate the guilty parties." (p. 48). The author fails to mention the fact that the Soviet-imposed Communist authorities were so pre-occupied with repressing political dissent that they seldom could bother with banditry. The Underground was struggling for its very existence. How could it deal with banditry?

In his FEAR, Jan T. Gross drew exaggerated attention to the postwar killings of Jews by Poles (some 600 out of 300,000 Holocaust-surviving Jews; less than 1%). Most of the killings, though routinely blamed on anti-Semitism and a supposed guilt complex for having acquired post-Jewish properties, actually occurred under unclear circumstances and motives. Although Klukowski mentions the killings of Jews only twice (cited above), the circumstances he describes makes it easy to comprehend the perpetrators as pozornys, demoralized A.K. men acting as bandits, "forest people", and anti-Communists.

Poles have been portrayed as having an acquisitive complex when it came to Jewish properties, even to the point of desecrating Jewish graves. It turns out that this was an all-round phenomenon. A formerly upstanding citizen, "Podkowa", known to Klukowski, robbed a church, tearing up the floor to locate a hidden valuable. (p. 39).

Although only about 1% of Poland's post-Holocaust population consisted of Jews, they represented a significant fraction of the leadership of the hated Communist security forces (the UB, U.B., or Bezpieka). While under arrest, Klukowski repeatedly encountered Jewish U.B. agents and functionaries. (p. 117, 122).
In the 1948 War, Jewish military and civilians systematically looted Palestinian Arabs:

1949: The First Israelis.

The looting of property, by both Poles and Jews, is an unremarkable outcome of the brutalities of six years of Nazi German occupation:

Segev is a well-known Israeli journalist with a degree in history from Boston University. This book, a translation from the original Hebrew, recounts the events during the first year of Israeli independence. The book is divided into four parts: "Between Jews and Arabs"; "Between Veterans and Newcomers"; "Between the Orthodox and the Secular"; "Between the Vision and Reality." Based on unpublished official and personal records, it is an unsentimental and balanced view of life in Israel. It contains many new and often shocking revelations that will no doubt be upsetting to some. At the same time it is a highly interesting book of value to the general public and historians alike. Jehuda Reinharz, Near Eastern & Judaic Studies Dept., Brandeis Univ., Waltham, Mass.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. I Saw The New Poland.

For details on looting and property acquisition, in wartime and post-war Poland, see:

Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? Studies on the Wartime Fate of Poles and Jews. I             Jewish blackmailers, like Polish blackmailers, were not limited to marginal members of society:

Witness to Annihilation: Surviving the Holocaust a Memoir.

Jewish grave-robbers robbed the Jewish dead:

In the Warsaw Ghetto 1940 - 1943 an Account of a Witness the Memoirs of Stanislaw Adler.

Polish grave-robbers robbed the Polish dead. Hilary Minc, a very high-ranking Jew in the Soviet-imposed Communist puppet government of post-WWII Poland, was the architect of the mass expropriation of both Jewish and Polish property:

In Search Of A Lost People: The Old And New Poland.

Jewish looters commonly looted Jewish property:
The only redeeming value of this post-WWII book [Review based on original 1946 edition] is its description of the aftereffects of the genocidal Nazi German terror against the Ukraine and Poland. She comments: "We went a long way around, by Kiev. A thousand miles of devastated fields, charred villages, gaunt skeleton towns, wrecked bridges, burned railway stations. There is nothing resembling this in Western Europe, where the Germans to some extent observed the so-called laws of war. In all Slav lands they pursued a policy of national extermination, driving off cattle, deporting inhabitants, and burning what was left behind." (pp. 14-15).

The author drove near Praga, Warsaw's eastern part. She observed that: "The Germans had also blown up most of Wedel, the world-known candy concern which formerly sold confections in Paris and exhibited at the World's Fair in New York." (p. 130).

Many children were illiterate because of the Nazis having closed the schools. (e. g., p. 70, 115). The Germans had murdered the Polish priests, except for those few who taught according to Nazi precepts, or who hid in time. (p. 115).

The Nazis had confiscated all but six known microscopes in all of Lublin. (pp. 73). Requests, from the American Red Cross for university equipment, took precedence over that for much-needed food, clothing, etc. for this reason: "`Can't they realize'--it was the only time Dr. Rabe spoke with passion--`that the mental and spiritual life of Poland is at stake? The Nazis have murdered our physicians and scientists. Unless we can at once make use of those we have left and multiply their brains in the next generation, the Nazi aim of destroying Polish culture will succeed.'" (p. 73).

There were countless challenges. Lacking books and other essentials, "'Our professors must teach many things from memory...Especially when your memory is broken by five years during which Polish intellectuals lived the lives of hunted beasts.'" (p. 74).

On another subject, the author describes the Mazurs (Masurian people). They are depicted as a Slavic people who had colonized East Prussia centuries before the Teutonic Knights, and now comprised one-third of the population of East Prussia. According to Strong, the Mazurs claimed to have been original Polish-speakers who had been forcibly Germanized in recent generations, and, despite this, were not treated as genuine Germans by the Nazis. Now did not want to be Germans any more. (p. 43). [How much of this was opportunistic--to avoid expulsion?]

Strong serves the reader a much sanitized version of Communism in Poland. She is deafeningly silent about the Communist terror going on at the time. While she does not extol Communism per se, she performs the role of the Communist propagandist by demonizing everything and everyone who is anti-Communist. There is the usual rhetoric about wealthy Polish feudal landowners, even accusing them of "instigating aggression" against the USSR in 1920. She trashes the pre-WWII Polish government, and falsely labels General Beck a fascist. (p. 258). Predictably, she repeats the same smear against the anti-Communist NSZ, also parroting the accusation that they killed Jews. (p. 77, 125). She whitewashes the Red betrayal of the Warsaw Uprising by invoking the laughable charge that Bor Komorowski was at fault for not attempting to communicate with the Soviet armed forces.

The author unwittingly corrected some of the distortions of in-war and postwar events by the likes of Jan T. Gross in his FEAR and GOLDEN HARVESTS, as shown in the remaining paragraphs of my review:

To begin with, Strong undermines the contention of the NSZ [also the AK] being the ones responsible for killing fugitive Jews. She quotes Colonel Victor Grosz, who says: "`There is no unified Home Army. Widespread, disciplined unity is hard to maintain in underground groups. There were all kinds of underground groups in occupied Poland. Some were just men who took to the woods for safety and lived by loot; other groups had political convictions.'" (p. 124).

The author quotes a "political officer" who elaborates on the brutalizing effects of the German occupation and inadvertently explains why there were Polish SZMALCOWNIKI (blackmailers of fugitive Jews): "`Drunkenness, cheating, graft, thieving, speculation grew rife under the occupation. Suppressed people try to forget or to beat the game illegally. Besides, when rulers insist for five years that you are `inferior,' it breaks normal self-respect.'" (p. 115).

She quotes Marian Potopczyk, the new president of the Rada, who also focuses on the German occupation, and inadvertently accounts for Polish "greed" relative to Jewish property. He comments: "`But the breaking of the buildings is nothing to the breaking they [Germans] did to the people...We were people who hid in cellars. We are people who were slaves for five years. How do slaves live? Some by bribing or cheating their masters, some by selling the loot from murdered Jews, by selling their neighbors..." (p. 225).

Finally, ironic to Jan T. Gross' selective preoccupation about Poles acquiring post-Jewish properties, this was an all-around occurrence. For instance, the Red Army requisitioned a large set of post-Jewish shops in Lublin for itself. (p. 216). To Speak for the Silenced.

The Jews of Bialystok During World War II and the Holocaust.

Polish looters commonly looted Polish property:

Red Shadow: A Physician's Memoir of the Soviet Occupation of Eastern Poland, 1944-1956.

In the 1948 War, Jewish military and civilians systematically looted Palestinian Arabs:

1949: The First Israelis.

The looting of property, by both Poles and Jews, is an unremarkable outcome of the brutalities of six years of Nazi German occupation:

I Saw The New Poland.

For details on looting and property acquisition, in wartime and post-war Poland, see:

Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? Studies on the Wartime Fate of Poles and Jews.Even the well-informed reader will learn much from this work. The comprehensiveness and depth of this tome is head, shoulders, and chest above that of Jan T. Gross and his Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust. (See also the Peczkis review therein).

In the Introduction, the editors trace historical developments. Communist propaganda smeared Poland as anti-Semitic, and the West welcomed this as a palliative for Yalta pangs of conscience. The rise of identity politics in American academia meant that the moral right always belonged to the minority, and criticism of Jews was dismissed as anti-Semitism. (pp. 13-14). [Of course, minority is a relative term. Next to the vastly more populous and powerful Germans and Russians, Poles are very much a minority!]

Historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz shows how Jan T. Gross demonizes the Poles by selective anecdotes and systematic ignoring of contrary evidence (p. 21, 25, 31, 33), and how Gross makes utterly silly comparisons of Poles with Hutus. (p. 28). Chodakiewicz concludes that: "In this sense, GOLDEN HARVEST reads as another prejudicial assault on Polishness, patriotism, Christianity, tradition, and the sense of national identity." (pp. 62-63).

Gross' frauds begin with the book-cover photograph "of Polish Treblinka grave-diggers". In actuality, the photo is of unclear origin, and even the leftist GAZETA WYBORCZA has disavowed it. (p. 24). The major exploitation of Treblinka remains was actually conducted by the Red Army--and on an industrial scale. (p. 27). Unlike Gross, Chodakiewicz puts Polish looting of Jews in proper wartime German-occupation context. As exemplified by the Krasnik area, "...the Polish countryside experienced an almost complete breakdown of law and order from mid-1942 onward...Informing was a plague...Theft and robbery were common..." (pp. 41-43). Fugitive Jews perished as both victims and perpetrators of widespread banditry. (p. 55). Gross repeats base Nazi propaganda about Poles profiting from Jews. (p. 57). Nazis actually took the lion's share of Jewish belongings, and, "The claim that the Polish peasants enriched themselves at Jewish expense is spuriously false. The peasant looting of the leftover Jewish possessions, so-called `abandoned' property, often junk, did take place." (p. 61).

Peter Stachura points out that Gross craves attention and publicity, and concludes that, "Through the presentation of selective, unrepresentative, and invariably trivial or localized incidents and data, much of which derives from the work of Jewish and minor leftist Polish-based scholars, Gross aims to paint an unedifying and damning picture of Poles during the German occupation of Poland (1939-1944)." (p. 65).

Piotr Gontarczyk discusses the book-cover photo (pp. 71-73), and notes that Gross has little regard for the facts (p. 73), even repeating things that he knows are untrue, such as the Ringelblum accusation (p. 80) and Rzeszow Pogrom. (p. 89). Gross repeats hearsay as fact, and quotes renegades or Volksdeutsche as if they were normative Poles. (p. 82). Otherwise, Gross backed off his "100,000--200,000 Jews killed by Poles during the Holocaust" down to "tens of thousands" (p. 75)--the figures based on vague support. Both the Polish-Underground AK and NSZ punished Polish Treblinka grave-diggers. (pp. 76-77). Pointedly, looting of the dead is as old as human civilization, and wartime looting is universal, as exemplified by the Poles looting of the body in a downed aircraft. (p. 92). [For more on all this, see Peczkis Listmania: LOOTING...]

Double standards are blatant: If a Pole overcharged a Pole, it was an unfortunate wartime incident of no importance, but if a Pole overcharged a Jew, it was a Polish participation in the Holocaust. (p. 85). The same held for a Jew buying something a Pole had to sell to survive versus the reverse. (pp. 84-85). Denials notwithstanding, Gross is promoting Polish collective guilt--transferring the blame from Polish individuals to the Polish people and Catholic Church as a whole. (p. 89). Engelking-Boni cited drunken Polish peasants turning-in fugitive Jews to the Nazis on a Sunday "after the High Mass, one may surmise", even though there is no evidence that the drunkards even attended church. (p. 90). Engelking-Boni's cheap shot at the Church is obvious.

Teresa Preker(owa) found many Jewish accounts of Poles killing Treblinka-escaped Jews farfetched. (p. 100, 105). In a detailed analysis of the accounts of Treblinka escapees, Mark Paul concludes the Jewish escapees overwhelmingly received some form of assistance from Poles (though rarely permanent housing), and that there is no compelling evidence of Poles killing such Jews. (p. 119). Interestingly, Treblinka escapees, actually or presumably laden with valuables, faced financial exploitation not only by Poles, but also by fellow Jews. (p. 123). Pawel Styrna deconstructs the Gross-mentioned events at Wolka-Okraglik and Gniewczyna. The Poles of Wolka-Okraglik were exceptionally traumatized by the events at nearby Treblinka--in no sense representatives of Poles in general. (pp. 141-146). The Gniewczyna-related allegations of anti-Jewish crimes, never credible to begin with as they came from a single person--a Communist-era officer (p. 152), have been refuted. It is now realized that the Jew-murderers were Ukrainian policemen, and that the Gniewczyna Poles actually ASSISTED Jews. (p. 152).

Richard Tyndorf presents a fascinating collection of over a hundred different examples, mostly from Jewish sources, of large groups of Poles sharing the burden of hiding Jews (p. 156, 159-195). This includes numerous examples of even entire villages entering in, and persisting in, a conspiracy of silence about their hidden Jews. (In many instances, the "hidden" Jews in Polish villages lived openly without fear.) As an example, some 2,000 Poles at a village near Tarnobrzeg resisted German questioning and monetary enticement, sticking to their story that a Jew among them was not one. (p. 169).

Tyndorf's findings debunk the idea that Polish rescuers of Jews were just a handful of altruistic individuals, acting alone, in a sea of indifferent if not hostile Poles, and that Polish benefactors of Jews habitually lived in constant fear of disapproval of their neighbors. It also contradicts the notion of Poles as romantic individualists lacking organizational skills. Finally, were Polish denouncers of Jews common, and denunciation of Jews was some kind of Polish and Catholic disease, it would be next to impossible to identify a single chain of Polish families, let alone entire villages, that lack a Polish denouncer. Instead, we have over 100 such examples!

Bethany M. Paluk surveys universal wartime looting. There are numerous instances of Jews looting Poles in Soviet-occupied eastern Poland. (p. 209). Many factors facilitate looting. Even sports championships in peacetime are sometimes sufficient to cause an apparent weakness in social infrastructure conducive to looting. (p. 205).

Judge Barbara Gorczycka-Muszynska (translated by Pawel Styrna) shows how the early post-WWII Soviet-imposed Communist authorities expropriated Poles' properties. (p. 223). Jews were privileged in being allowed to reclaim their prewar properties, as enforced by Emil Sommerstein, a Jew in the Communist government. (p. 229). Contrary to Gross' myth of Poles frequently offering murderous resistance to Jews returning to reclaim their properties, the AMERICAN JEWISH YEAR BOOK (1947-1948) noted that such restitution "proceeds more or less smoothly." (p. 230). [Clearly, both sides are not engaging in selectively chosen anecdotes. Jan T. Gross does so, while those of the opposite position describe what USUALLY happened.] In addition, contrary to the myth of Polish citizens enriching themselves at the expense of Jews, Nazi-seized properties, unclaimed by 1948, were expropriated (nationalized) by the Communists. (p. 231).

John Radzilowski unmasks Jan T. Gross as a neo-Stalinist. Other neo-Stalinists include Joanna Michlic, Piotr Wrobel, and Jan Grabowski. (p. 251). Unlike their namesake, neo-Stalinists do not follow Stalin, and some may not even, strictly speaking, be Marxists. (p. 244). Like their namesake, however, they ignore or belittle Polish heroism and suffering, and attempt to destroy Polish Catholicism, patriotism, and nationalism by slanderously equating it with anti-Semitism and Nazi collaboration [also--not mentioned--with fascism, reaction, anti-pluralism, xenophobia, etc.] (pp. 243-244). Following Antonio Gramsci, they seek to de-Christianize Poland as a path to "progress" (p. 246), and to force a European identity upon Poles in place of the Polish identity. (p. 246).

Like other neo-Marxists of the Frankfurt school, the neo-Stalinists, a form of cultural Marxism, seek power not through politics or proletarian consciousness (p. 244), but by becoming a self-appointed elite (p. 253) that controls cultural institutions, especially the universities and news media. (p. 246). Dissenting thinkers are silenced not by being sent to the Gulags, but by censorship, character assassination, and the destruction of careers. As an example, consider the smear campaign directed at Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, followed by efforts to get him removed from university appointments. (p. 251).

Mark Paul provides a very detailed, eye-opening account of Jewish Soviet collaboration in 1939 [sometimes called the Zydokomuna.] Though often excused by such things as the opined bad Jewish experience in pre-WWII Poland, and Jewish fear of the Nazis, it is obvious that this collaboration was primarily a manifestation of active enmity against Poland. At numerous documented locations in the Kresy, Jews shot at retreating Polish troops. (p. 271, 274). At a minimum of 21 known listed locations, Jewish bands took up arms against the Polish authorities well before the anticipated arrival of the Red Army. (p. 272). Before Jedwabne, there was Brzostowica Mala. There, before the arrival of the Red Army, a Jewish-Byelorussian band, led by the Jew Zusko Ajzik, massacred about 50 unarmed Polish civilians using sadistic techniques. (pp. 290-291). (Some Polish retaliatory actions against Jews did take place in 1939, but [as usual], these "pogroms" were greatly exaggerated.)

Later, Jews betrayed hiding Polish soldiers and militiamen (p. 274, 276), and identified educated Poles as "class enemies", which the Soviets murdered. (p. 275). Still later, virtually all of the witnesses at Soviet show trials, against Poles, were Jews. (p. 277). On the other hand, Poles document hundreds of instances of Jews protecting Poles from the Communists. This refutes Gross' claim that Poles only noticed bad things about Jews. (p. 292).

Wojciech Jerzy Muszynski analyzes Polish nationalist movements before and during WWII. In no sense were the Endeks (SN) or ONR fascist, Nazi, or pro-German. (pp. 298-299). Endek anti-Jewishness was based on economic and political conflicts with Jews, and had nothing to do with Nazi racial and exterminationist anti-Semitism. (pp. 300-303). During the Holocaust, Endek publications condemned the Nazi slaughter of Jews, and were among the first, if not the first, to identify the Nazi use of poison gas against Jews. (pp. 308-309). The linkage of Polish Catholicism with nationalism prevented Polish nationalism from degenerating into the kind of national egoism seen, for example, in the genocidal Ukrainian nationalism (OUN-UPA). (p. 323).

Sebastian Bojemski (translated by Pawel Styrna) examines the NSZ, which for decades had been accused of killing Jews. This did happen indirectly when NSZ combatted bandit and Communist bands. Interestingly, the anti-Jewish crimes blamed on the NSZ were committed by the Communist GL-AL. (p. 328). See the Peczkis review of Tajne oblicze GL-AL i PPR: Dokumenty (Polish Edition). Other alleged NSZ crimes against Jews are unfounded. (pp. 344-347).

It is not true that the NSZ kept lists of Poles that helped Jews. (p. 329). Far from being anti-Semitic, the NSZ had Jewish and Jewish-descent members, and there are many examples of NSZ guerrillas and officers rendering aid to Jews. (pp. 330-342, 348). During the postwar Communist occupation, many Jews who had earlier benefitted from the NSZ's aid came forward to defend accused NSZ members. (pp. 342-344).




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