Jedwabne

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ekstrakt.htm
Jedwabne - extract of all articles of the site
full polish version
 
 Comments on John Tomas Gross's Ghastly Decade 1939-1948 by Prof. C.I. Pogonowski  

The ethnic Poles considered German and Soviet invaders as equally dangerous, while many Jews searched for security on Soviet side. The Poles were naturally preoccupied with saving their nation, which was exposed to massive executions starting two years before the Holocaust ... Widespread Jewish complicity in the Soviet terror apparatus installed in Poland speaks volumes about their lack of concern for the existence of a sovereign Polish nation. ... Today Jewish hatred of the Poles manifests itself in the use of generalisations when dealing with accusations. Jewish students are often taught that the Holocaust would not have taken place if the Poles did not want it. ... Unfortunately, Gross, despite his scientific credentials, is practicing propaganda in the spirit of the statements made by the Secretary General of the Jewish World Congress quoted at the beginning of this text. Gross' propaganda helps those who make demands for ransom to be paid by the Polish Government to compensate for crimes perpetrated in Poland by the Nazis, the Soviets, and by common criminals ...

 THE IGNORED COLLABORATION - Prof. Dr. Tomasz Strzembosz  

We also know about a characteristic incident which took place in the Jewish town of Trzcianne, situated opposite Jedwabne but across the Biebrza river. ... In Trzcianne the Jews were preparing a welcome for the Red Army. Jewish militia patrols ventured out as far as Okragle... in the direction of Monki; they noticed a cloud of dust and, thinking it to be the Soviets, they went all the way back to the triumphal arch raised at the entrance to the village ...

 JEDWABNE - AUSCHWITZ - SACHSENHAUSEN - Doctor Adam Cyra  

the author of "Neighbors" writes in detail about the trial of more than 20 inhabitants of Jedwabne in the Stalinist period, not stopping even for a moment to analyze its legality or the trustworthiness of the defendants' depositions recorded by the Lomza agents of the Security Office [UB]. One of the main defendants in the short trial in 1949, who was sentenced then to 15 years in prison, was a young man who was found guilty not of the participation in the murder of Jewish citizens, but of collaboration with the Nazi occupiers. After spending almost 8 years behind bars, this prisoner received an early release shortly after the "thaw" in October 1956 ... Mr. Jerzy Laudanski, an ex-member of ZWZ/AK [Home Army] and a former political prisoner of KL Auschwitz (he was brought there from the Pawiak prison in Warsaw on 15 September 1942 and received the serial number 63805; very few prisoners from his transport survived.) Later, he was also imprisoned in KL Gross-Rosen and KL Sachsenhausen ...

 Gross versus the facts - Piotr Gontarczyk  

The author of "Neigbors" has used an extremely poor and tendentiously chosen selection of sources, nor did he undertake a critical analysis; he constantly introduces into his books ill-founded statements and facts; he omits or mangles whatever doesn't fit his preconceived theses; he constructs a historical narrative on the basis of stereotypes, prejudices and common gossip; in his reasonings he doesn't observe the rules of logic and/or scholarly objectivity; finally, he pronounces arbitrary metaphysical-ideological opinions which have no scholarly basis whatsoever ... Jan Tomasz Gross's book cannot form the foundation of any serious discussion about Polish history in general, and the crime in Jedwabne in particular ...

 jedwabne_chodakiewicz.pdf 



 The President of IPN has already passed his judgment - KWM, PAP  

Professor Kieres stressed, as well, that the plans have been made to replace the existing plaque on the monument in Jedwabne, which indicated Germans as perpetrators of the murder ...

 Quiet Over This Grave - Lech Walesa  

"Lets quiet down over this grave," Lech Walesa told Radio ZET, after being asked what the Poles should do about the murder in Jedwabne. He added that he had apologized to the Jewish nation during his visit to Israel, and now he expected an apology from the other side. ... Asked if President Kwasniewski should apologize for the murder in Jedwabne, Walesa replied: " He should start from an apology for communism, and that he backed it, and other matters should be left to God." ...

 Between the hammer and the nail - Excerpt from the Mark Paul's book "The Story of Two Shtetls"  

One of the earliest and most gruesome episodes was the "pacification" of Naliboki, whose aim was the liquidation of the nascent pro-Home Army underground organization in that townlet. The Polish and Byelorussian villagers had formed a self-defence unit to fend off Soviet and Jewish marauders ... One hundred and twenty-eight (or nine) innocent civilians, including women and children, were butchered in a heinous pogrom that lasted almost two hours. The Jewish factions that did most of the pillaging and murdering of entire families awakened from their sleep were the Bielski ("Jerusalem") and Zorin ("Pobeda") detachments ...

 Murderers who take pride in their crime - by Krzysztof Janiewicz  

the Canadian Polish Congress wrote to Poland's Institute of National Remembrance/Memory (Instytut Pamieci Narodowej-IPN) to initiate an investigation into a mass murder perpetrated in the village of Koniuchy (now Kaniukai, Lithuania) during World War II. According to the count of the perpetrators themselves, some 300 defenceless Poles-mostly women and children-were massacred in that bloody orgy ... The massacre of the population of Koniuchy, including women and children, has been described by Chaim Lazar as an outstanding 'combat operation,' of which he is genuinely proud ...

 Sasiedzi - response to Free Press  

Szmul Wasersztajn alias Calka - collaborated with the Soviets, despised his Polish neighbors, and was personally responsible for many tortures and deportations of Poles to Siberian gulags. He lied when he talked about the German rescue of Jews. The allegedly "easily reached agreement" between Nazi commanders and Poles in Jedwabne is a pure absurdity. Everybody knows that Germans, especially Nazi commanders, never made any agreements with Poles. They issued orders and executed them by force and killing ...

 Jedwabne - Polish massacre of innocent Jews? - by Robert Strybel  

But will Poles ever live to hear "przepraszamy" ("we're sorry") for the pro-Soviet collaborators who betrayed Poland and welcomed the invading Red Army in 1920 and again in 1939? For the Bermans, Rózanskis, Fejgins, Romkowskis, Brytsygierowas, Minces, Borejszas and entire teams of other Jewish Communists who had Polish freedom-fighters jailed, tortured and killed after World War II, while Sovietizing Poland's economy, suppressing its Catholic Church and atheizing its education and culture. ...

 Prof. Strzembosz: Germans forced Poles to participate in Jedwabne murder  

Professor Tomasz Strzembosz believes that the testimonies of witnesses in the 1949 trial in Lomza, on which Jan Gross has based his account in "Neighbors", indicate a direct German participation in the murder of Jews in Jedwabne. ... the Germans - Gestapo agents and gendarmes - appear frequently and in specific roles. They take an active part in the hunt for Jews all over the town, in guarding them at the market square and in escorting them to Bronislaw Sleszynski's barn, where they have been burned alive", states Professor Strzembosz. ...

   

the story of a nation which fought on the Allied side in World War II but emerged from the war a loser, even though the Allies won. In 1945, Poland was reoccupied by its sworn enemy, Soviet Russia. Authentic Polish voices were silenced, and Polish scholarship on World War II was virtually gagged ... Poland had the largest, on a per-capita basis, and the most effective Resistance movement in Europe, and virtually no collaborators of any social stature. Poles are proud of not having produced a Quisling government or a Vichy government ... Before Jews became the primary target, Poles were shipped to Auschwitz by the tens of thousands.150,000 Polish Catholics went to Auschwitz. In Sachsenhausen, 20,000 Poles perished, in Mauthausen, 30,000, in Neuengamme, 17,000 (Lukas 38); 35,000 went to Dachau, 33,000 Polish women went to Ravensbrueck many of them to be experimented upon, with glass and other objects implanted in their uteruses ... Unlike the Jews, Poles were never individually compensated by Germans for forced labor and camp atrocities. Tens of thousands of Poles were executed for helping Jews ...

 The Disabling Mode: Poles in Jewish Discourse  

The suggestion that it was Polish anti-Semitism that led to the creation of Auschwitz is an outrageous lie. For the first two years of its existence, Auschwitz was used primarily for the execution of Polish Catholics by the Germans. Over the years, Poles have suffered scores of such indignities with no attempt from the Jewish side to correct the mendacities of an anonymous provenance ...

 Diffrent versions of crime - MJO  

You wrote that Germans were not present at the scene of pogrom yet there were plenty of Germans forcing Poles with their whips to guard Jews at the main square - said, , on Friday in Ksieznica Podlaska, clearly upset, Irene Chrzanowska, family name Reniewska, who as 16 years old girl witnessed the pogrom of Jewish people in Jedwabne ... The book has much to be desired, the source material is treated selectively, and now it will go into the world, and people will not be studying details, but will claim that Poles are co-responsible for the Holocaust - some of the historians from Bialystok talked about it ...

 Documents found in the archives in Ludwigsburg - PAP, "Donosy"  

Documents found in the archives in Ludwigsburg indicate that in 1968, six former SS officers and police were tried in a German court for participating in the massacre at Jedwabne ...

 Search in the aim to localise the exact place where the Jedwabne tragedy did happen - PAP  

Prof. Strzembosz is of the opinion, that the witness testimonies from the 1949 court case in Lomza, used to the large extend by prof. Gross in his book, indicate that the Germans were directly involved in the murder of the Jews in Jedwabne ...

 "Neighbours", history or literature - Krzysztof Janiewicz  

According to Gross the bishop promised them such protection ... The only problem with this testimony is that bishop Lukomski went into hiding in the distant countryside in October 1939, because of threats from the Soviet NKVD, and emerged from his hiding place in August 1941 ... Now, after the archaeological research done on the site of the massacre, team of the Polish archaeologists lead by prof. Andrzej Kola, arrived to the conclusion that the mass grave is approximately 5 meters long and 2 meters wide ...

 A MURDERER RECEIVED THE VIRTUTI MILITARI?! - Andrzej Kumor  

The chief of the Soviet band, Genrikas Zimanas [in Polish Henryk Zyman], has been decorated by the People's Republic of Poland for his "internationalist achievements" with the Virtuti Militari [the highest Polish decoration for bravery]! ... A crime is a crime, even if it is committed in wartime. In the case of Koniuchy, known are the names of victims, the location of their graves, the identities of murderers, and the circumstances of this event. Reports about that "pacification" still exist in Lithuanian and German archives ...

 LIES AND DISTORTIONS - prof. JERZY ROBERT NOWAK  

A tide of anti-Polish campaign has swept through Polish media over the recent months that fell in line with the attempts to hold all Polish people accountable for the mass murder perpetrated on the Jews of Jedwabne in July 1941. The publication of 'Neighbours', an extremely biased and deceitful book by the Jewish American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross, served as pretext. The Jewish author, disregarding the findings of the prosecutor's office, cramming lots of lies and distortions of truth in his generalisations based on a few twisted and dubious testimonies, sets out to put the blame for the massacre on the local Poles and play down the German involvement ...

 In a shadow of Jedwabne - dr hab. Pawe³ Machcewicz  

However assertion that more widespread help for the Jews would tie down Gestapo and prevent its repression, in the light of the politics of extermination of Poles, seems to belong to the political science fiction ... The duty of the researcher - especially in such a delicate matter - is precision of his formulations and responsibility for each world. And these are often missing in the books by Gross ...

 Secrets in the archives - Wojciech Kamiñski, pap  

The Jews which asked for reparations to German authorities for the suffering caused by Nazis , has not mentioned about participation of Poles in the crime of the Bialystok region - asserts Heins-Ludger Borget of Ludvisburg. In those archives there are documents about murder in Jedwabne ... There was not any suggestion about the participation of Polish civilians in the massacre, say the manager of the regional branch of the German Federal Achieves, Heinz-Ludger Borgert ...

 Why didn't Gross come to Jedwabne? - K.A.I.  

Unfortunately, as one reads his book, one is assailed by doubts whether the version presented in it is trustworthy. Although Gross mentions various sources and refers to numerous historians, yet in his argumentations he is relying on the statements of one man only - Szmul Wasersztajn, a Jew living in the town. This crown witness of Gross in Poland went under the name of Ca³ka and not Wasersztajn, who after the war was an agent of U.B. ...

 New findings in Jedwabne investigation - Radio ZET  

The Central Directorate of State Archives, together with the Council forPreserving the Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom, make public the so farunknown documents related to the crime in Jedwabne.These documents reveal that the crime was part of the German policy toexterminate the Jewish population. Mrs. Daria Nalecz, from the Directorateof Archives, also has stressed the fact that in Jedwabne some Poles werekilled as well ...

 sovocc.pdf 



 INVESTIGATION OF THE NALIBOKI MASSACRE - PAP  

The [Polish] investigation of this crime has been conducted since April 1996 by the District Commission for Prosecuting Crimes against the Polish Nation in Lodz. The Lodz IPN reopened it on March 20, 2001. The crime has been brought again to light recently by the Polish Canadian Congress ... Note: The circumstances of the Naliboki massacre, in which participated the Jewish units "Jerusalem" (commander Bielski) and "Pobeda" (commander Zorin) are described at http://www.kpk.org/KPK/toronto/koniuchy.pdf (pages 24-25 and footnotes) ...

 Professor Finkelstein Upholds His Objections !  

Doctor Brozik, in his article presented at "Die Welt", has endeavored to clear up the misapprehensions related to the "would-be" (in his opinion) findings about still living Jewish victims. Also he has denied the alleged JCC's money embezzlement, transferred as a compensation in 1950 s' ... In spite of the numerous misapprehension clearing-up attempts by the German JCC Section, Norman Finkelstein has uphold upon the whole the presented earlier objections. In his "Berliner Zeitung" interview, he has accused JCC of appropriation of compensations obtained by negotiations in 1950 s'. Also, he has warned that a similar appropriation may take place at the currently being conducted negotiations. At his spacious interview given for the mentioned newspaper he has incriminated JCC for an unfair course of action ... He has maintains that in order to obtain possible highest compensations, the number of still living Jews - the III-rd Reich victims, is deliberately exaggerated ...

 UNKNOWN DOCUMENTS FROM THE LOMZA ARCHIVES  

Dawid M., 31: "In July 1942 Germans ordered all the Jews of Jedwabne to come to the market place ... Hercek C., 32: "In July 1941 Germans murdered all the Jews of Jedwabne by burning them in a barn ... Jankiel B., 46: "On 10 July 1941 I saw how the Germans herded all the Jedwabne Jews into a barn and fired it up. [...] I was then hiding from the Germans at the cemetery, and I saw everything." ...

 IT WAS PART OF A GERMAN-PLANNED ROUND OF EXECUTIONS - Aneta Gryczka  

"These documents must be carefully analyzed. However, they seem to indicate that the German participation was very likely, if not essential," said Professor Nalecz. [...] "If it was part of a German-planned round of executions ...

   

The above testimony of Finkelstein and Wasersztajn it should be remembered occurred in a period when unlimited raw power lay in the hands of people like Jacob Berman and Hilary Minc, and the courts and prosecutors were controlled by the bloody and intimidating Rozanski and Swiatlo (all four of the above were Jewish communists). But, even bypassing this issue for now, it ought to be noted that the statements of Wasersztajn and Finkelstein are confused and frequently conflicting ...

 Ultimate debunking of Gross - prof. Tomasz Strzembosz  

The fact that the depositions of Szmul Wassersztajn (...), Abram Boruszczak and Eljasz Gradowski have been practically disavowed is also worth attention. It happened because of the testimonies of the Jedwabne inhabitants which clearly proved that Boruszczak never lived in Jedwabne and Gradowski, jailed by the Soviets for theft, had been already in 1940 deported into the interior of the Soviet Union. He returned to Poland only in 1945, so he couldn't witness anything ... All three accusers had been treated by the court as people who heard something but who never directly witnessed the events at Jedwabne. (...) It is exactly from such relation of Szmul Wassersztajn that Prof. Gross has taken the most drastic fragments of his book. These shocking facts have not been confirmed by any other sources ...

 Jedwabne - ein anderes Bild der Nachbarn - Professor Tomasz Strzembosz  

Man sollte auch die Aufmerksamkeit darauf lenken, dass der Bericht des vom Gericht nicht vernommenen Szmul Wasersztajn, sowie die Aussagen der Anklagezeugen Abram Boruszczak und Eljasz Gr±dowski faktisch missbilligt wurden. Es stellte sich nämlich aus den Aussagen der Einwohner von Jedwabne heraus, und ganz besonders aus der Aussage des polnischen Staatsbürgers jüdischer Herkunft Jozef Gr±dowski, dass Abram Gr±dowski nie in Jedwabne wohnhaft gewesen war, und Eljasz Gr±dowski wegen Diebstahl von der sowjetischen Macht zur Gefängnisstrafe verurteilt und noch 1940 weit in die UdSSR verschleppt wurde. Er kam erst 1945 nach Polen zurück, sah also nichts. Jozef Gr±dowski sagte auch, dass er dank der Hilfe eines ihm nicht näher bekannten Polen aus deutschen Händen am Tag des Mordes fliehen konnte ...

 Why didn't Gross come to Jedwabne? - K.A.I.  

Unfortunately, as one reads his book, one is assailed by doubts whether the version presented in it is trustworthy. Although Gross mentions various sources and refers to numerous historians, yet in his argumentations he is relying on the statements of one man only - Szmul Wasersztajn, a Jew living in the town. This crown witness of Gross in Poland went under the name of Ca³ka and not Wasersztajn, who after the war was an agent of U.B. ...

 Polish historians question credibility of witnesses cited in 1941 pogrom book - BBC  

Polish historians have questioned the credibility of witnesses cited in a book on the July 1941 pogrom in Jedwabne, northeastern Poland ... Prof Tomasz Strzembosz is seeking is undermining the credibility of the witnesses who are cited by Prof Jan Gross in his book "Neighbours" Sasiedzi on the extermination of the Jews of Jedwabne northeastern Poland, in July 1941 ...

 JEWS MURDERING POLES - prof. JERZY ROBERT NOWAK  

The magnitude of cynicism and chutzpah on the part of this Jewish sociologist from the USA in distorting the truth about the Polish history and Polish-Jewish relations is outrageous. In his most recent publications Gross consistently promulgates a picture of a profound dichotomy between the two Nations, the Jews being like angels, who always fall prey to the 'fanatical and ignorant' Polish rabble surrounding them who, in turn, as a nation are guilty of complicity in the genocide of the Jews ...

 100 Falsehoods of J.T. Gross (1) - dr. Jerzy Robert Nowak  

Couple of times before, I quoted statements of a Jewish friend of Poles - professor Norman Finkelstein from USA, warning us against claims and blackmail of few large Jewish organizations. N. Finkelstein said that those organizations want to extort from a poor Poland about 60 billion US dollars as a compensation for Jewish property. In order to intensify pressure on Poland in the matter, and to blacken her image in the eyes of other nations, vicious anti-Polish propaganda-which attempts to portray Poles as alleged partners of the Nazis in murdering Jews-is constantly being pumped out by such ignoble parties. In such propaganda, a particular role is played by biased, Pole-eating texts of a Jewish sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross ...

 THE SILK ROAD OF LIES - A historian Leszek Zebrowski about Gross's "Neighbors"  

I don't agree with the concepts of collective guilt and collective punishment. These are criteria used by totalitarian states! It is absurd to accuse even all the inhabitants of Jedwabne (because, contrary to Gross's opinion, only individuals took part in those events), not to mention the whole nation, and equally absurd is to apologize in the name of everybody ...

 WHO HINDERS THE DIALOGUE? An interview with the Reverend Professor Waldemar Chrostowski by Pawel Paliwoda  

Our ways parted when I clearly told some people engaged in that dialogue that the Catholic participation in the Council couldn't be limited to repeating and presenting Jewish demands to the Polish Catholics ... Right after the war it was said that the Germans were persecutors, Jews and Poles victims. About 20 years later that paradigm changed: Germans were persecutors, Jews - victims, and Poles - witnesses. In the 1990s this interpretation changed again: the Germans - persecutors, Jews - victims, Poles - persecutors. The Poles have been put into the category labelled by the Jewish historiography as "the Nazis and their allies" ...

 Comment on the article titled "Revisiting a Massacre"  

Gross' principal source for "Neighbors" - Szmul Wasersztajn alias Calka - collaborated with the Soviets, despised his Polish neighbors, and was personally responsible for many tortures and deportations. After the war, he served the Polish communist Soviet regime as an officer in the secret police. Therefore his maliciously anti-Polish testimony is not credible at all and it is surprising Gross sympathizes with his account ...

   

There seems to be a pattern of alleging murders of Jews in areas of Poland, which shifted from Soviet to German control in- June of 1941. The widespread collaboration of some Jews in fingering priests, schoolteachers, Landowners, physicians, sat other professionals (spoken of by Gross in his earlier works) certainly led to retribution against the guilty dining Soviet withdrawals ...

 Letter to Princeton Univ. Press - POLISH-AMERICAN PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE  

The charges by Mr. Gross that Polish citizens, in 1941, took part in a massacre of Jews at Jedwabne have yet to be investigated forensically. To date, Mr. Gross has been discredited by Polish scholars. In spite of the fact that the charges are unsubstantiated, they have been prematurely broadcast worldwide by the media and Jewish establishment. If anything can be termed as "hate speech" this matter certainly can ...

 Search in the aim to localise the exact place where the Jedwabne tragedy did happen - PAP  

Prof. Strzembosz is of the opinion, that the witness testimonies from the 1949 court case in Lomza, used to the large extend by prof. Gross in his book, indicate that the Germans were directly involved in the murder of the Jews in Jedwabne ...

 Letter to the Editor of TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT - prof. Norman Davies  

He then goes on to accuse Jan Nowak, whose standing in these matters is incomparably higher than his own, of writing "Absurdities". Nowak holds that Brumberg makes "inflammatory statements" and "generalizations that lie at the root of all ethnic and racial hatred". And Nowak is absolutely right ...

 Second letter to the Princeton University Press - Dana I. Alvi  

We are providing additional reasons why the publishing of NEIGHBORS must be delayed. The main premise of Mr. Gross' book is that Poles perpetrated the massacre of Jews in the town of Jedwabne. Enclosed, is a German document translated into Polish which negates Mr. Gross' premise. The document was compiled by Jews in the 1970s for the purpose of Holocaust documentation. Jews made the sworn statements in the complete safety of Canada and the United States. The 1970s were a time when the Jews were engaging in a frenzied orgy of Poland bashing, making the most of a strictly inter Jewish Communist party dispute in the 1960s which resulted in immigration from Poland of members of one of the quarreling Jewish factions ...

 Letter to Princeton Univ. Press - Anna R. Dadlez, Ph.D.  

Another worrying point is his almost breakneck pace in trying to make the book ready for print. He himself admits that he did not make a thorough investigation of the case (Jan Tomasz Gross's letter to Gazeta Wyborcza, November 27, 2000.) The question arises why didn't he? What was the need for using such a sloppy methodology on a subject of tremendous historical importance? Was he perhaps influenced by the present negotiations in New York where Jewish American groups are attempting to get war reparations from Poland? ...

 Letter to the newspaper "The Age", Victoria, Australia - Christopher Janiewicz  

The above mentioned article is prejudicial and slanderous towards Poland and the Polish people in general, and the population of the town of Jedwabne in particular ...

 Protest letter to "The Observer" - Chris Janiewicz  

I would like to voice my strong objections regarding the article "Poland's willing executioners" by George Steiner Sunday April 8, 2001 in "The Observer" ... The above mentioned article is prejudicial and slanderous towards Poland and the Polish people in general, and the population of the town of Jedwabne in particular.
I would even call it racist against Polish people ...


 Letter to "The New York Times"  

The multitude of errors and distortions contained in Gross' book makes it a worthless secondary source in Holocaust studies. However, we are afraid, its publication and promotion could further deteriorate Polish-Jewish relationships and provoke mutual animosity. Is it the intent of New York Times to play into such a sinister role? ...

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comments_on_ghastly_decade.htm
Comments on John Tomas Gross's Ghastly Decade 1939-1948 by Prof. C.I. Pogonowski
 

Who is Prof. Ivo Cyprian Pogonowski?

I will only quote from The Sarmatian Review: "Pogonowski is a truly remarkable American of Polish background, a genuine role model who combines Benedictine devotion to work, fidelity to the best ideals of Polish history, and an ability to achieve some success in American public life. A recipient of a recent Polish American Prize, Pogonowski is one of those ‘bright points of light’ which every ethnic community has to have to remain viable and to justify its existence in a broader spectrum of American society.

He is the author of" Poland: A Historical Atlas" [1987] and "Jews in Poland: A Documentary History" [1993]. His forthcoming Polish-English and English-Polish Dictionary enlarges and updates all Polish-English dictionaries in existence. The biggest Unabridged Polish - English Dictionary that he is an author contains200 000 words on 3936 pages. It is called "a monument of the Polish language in America".

During the WWII he was a prisoner in such concentration camps as Auschwitz and Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen. He survived the terrible "death march", when SS open fire to the Polish prisoners.

He wrote critique on the John Tomas Gross’s book "Ghastly Decade 1939-1948" that analyses how and why Mr. Gross writes his books, and what tactics he is using to achieve the outcome that he desires.

Below is excerpt from this work.

Comments on John Tomas Gross's "Ghastly Decade 1939-1948"

Matters related to compensation for Poles and Jews for damages suffered under Nazi and Soviet occupation.

Reuters Agency reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina on Fri, 19 April 1996 (14:50:17 PDT) on The World Jewish Congress.

Israel Singer, General Secretary of the World Jewish Congress stated that "More than three million Jews died in Poland and the Polish people are not going to be the heirs of the Polish Jews. We are never going to allow this. (...) They're gonna hear from us until Poland freezes over again. If Poland does not satisfy Jewish claims it will be "publicly attacked and humiliated" in the international forum.

Today some Jews are estimating the value of Jewish assets lost in Poland and vicinity in the billions of dollars. Descendants of the Holocaust victims obviously could not hope to extract billions of dollars from descendants of the Polish gentile victims of war. Aware of these difficulties, some Jews have promoted a myth about Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Obviously it would be easier to extract money from descendants of the guilty rather than descendants of innocent Co-victims.

Jan Tomasz Gross wrote three essays in the spirit of this kind of myth. They were published in Kraków in 1998 by Universitas under the title of "Upiorna Dekada, 1939-1948. (Ghastly Decade 1939-1948)." On 118 small-size pages the author accuses the Polish Nation of complicity in the genocide of the Jews. This propaganda effort is surprising when coming from a writer of serious works.

A symbolic buzzard eating dead flesh is shown on the cover the Ghastly Decade 1939-1948. It resembles communist propaganda posters, especially the famous "spit-soiled dwarf of reaction of 1945." The decade "1939-1948" does not represent any distinct period in the Polish history. It does, however, include the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany and the exodus of Jews from Eastern and Central Europe, which resulted from pogroms staged by the Soviets in the area of all the satellite states. Stalin exploited the Zionist movement in order to abolish the British Mandate in Palestine. In the process, he created a window of opportunity, to use the words of Paul Johnson, for establishing the State of Israel. The Polish Nation had no complicity in these events.

Gross falsifies quotations in order to make his points. On page 56, he changes the meaning of a sentence in the diary of Dr. Zygmunt Klukowski (Dziennik z lat okupacji Zamojszczyzny - A diary of the years of occupation of Zamojszczyzna). Gross insinuates that in October 1942, Poles murdered some 2300 Jews while the Germans deported for execution 934 other victims. The deception is achieved by the omission of quotation marks; this changed the meaning of a crucial statement in the original diary, in which reference was made to locally stationed German gendarmes.

Self-defence and national identity under the occupation.

The ethnic Poles considered German and Soviet invaders as equally dangerous, while many Jews searched for security on Soviet side. The Poles were naturally preoccupied with saving their nation, which was exposed to massive executions starting two years before the Holocaust. From the beginning of the war, the Germans were committing mass murders on the Polish civilian population, especially throughout western Poland newly annexed by Germany. They brought with them lists of victims prepared long before the invasion of Poland. The Soviet NKVD prepared a list of 21,857 people of the Polish leadership community, all of whom were executed during the Spring of 1940. Mass execution of the Jews in German gas chambers was begun two years later.

Gross does not recognise the fact that helping Jews was a part of the resistance against the Nazis. Illogically he cites the fact that more Poles were engaged in the armed resistance, than in saving of the Jews as a proof of Polish anti-Semitism.

In order to understand the desperate struggle of the Poles in the face of the greatest catastrophe in Polish history and the general disinterest of the ethnic Jews in the fate of the Polish state, one can quote statements by the Nobel Prize laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991) in New York's Forverts of Sept. 17, 1944. Writing under the pen-name Iccok Warszawski, under the title "Jews and Poles Lived Together For 800 Years But Were Not Integrated" he stated: "Rarely did a Jew think it necessary to learn Polish, rarely was a Jew interested in Polish history or politics. (...) Even in the last few years it was still a rare occurrence that a Jew would speak Polish well. Out of three million Jews living in Poland, two and half million were not able to write a simple letter in Polish and they spoke [Polish] very poorly. There were hundreds of thousands of Jews in Poland to whom Polish was as unfamiliar as Turkish." In the same paper, he wrote on March 20. 1964: "My mouth could not get accustomed to the soft consonants of [Polish] language. My forefathers have lived for centuries in Poland but in reality I was a foreigner, with separate language, ideas and religion. I sensed the oddness of this situation and often considered moving to Palestine." (The above quotations are from Chone Shmeruk's Isaac Bashevis Singer and Bruno Schultz published in the Polish Review Vol. XXXVI, 1991, p.161-167.) Bashevis Singer suggests that Jews in Poland were a self-segregated separate ethnic or national group.

Death penalty for helping Jews was unique to Poland.

The essence of the policies of the Nazi government at all times was the implementation of the doctrine of the Lebensraum, or "German" living space. The aim of the Berlin government was to seize Slavic lands and replace the Slavic population with what they considered "racial Germans." Thus, Poland was to be colonised by Germans and the Polish nation eradicated. For this reason, the Nazi-Germans used every opportunity to kill Poles. One of the examples of this policy was the death penalty and immediate execution of entire Polish families and neighbourhoods for helping Jews. At the same time, for example, in Denmark, which the Germans did not intend to colonise, no one was executed for helping any of the few Jews whom lived there.

Gross disregards these facts, and on the page 41, he gives the following illogical title to a chapter: On the fact that the prevailing Polish anti-Semitism also was the reason why the Poles who helped Jews were brutally and totally murdered by the Germans. Then on page 60, Gross writes: "how was it that the people who sheltered Jews during the war, did not like to admit it after the war. (...) It was believed that anyone helping Jews got rich" and therefore could be robbed or repressed for "breaking the local code of behaviour." Gross does not mention the fact that it often was difficult to admit to one's neighbour that by sheltering a Jew one was risking one's neighbour’s life without his knowledge -- it was easier not to tell one's neighbour about the "time bomb" next door and therefore not to celebrate the fact that it did not explode.

One could consider how much more Polish gentiles could have done to avert the tragic fate of the Jews in a situation where Polish gentiles could not prevent the killing of millions of Polish Christians, and when the Polish Nation itself faced genocide. It is difficult to find a Polish gentile family which did not experience the loss of close relatives under the German and Soviet occupation. In central Poland, which the Germans turned into killing fields, called by them the General Protectorate, there were eleven million Polish gentiles and two million Polish Jews. The cultural barrier described by Bashevis Singer separated them. Thus, for each Polish family there was one Jew that desperately needed help. The presence of the prewar German minority and of "racial Germans," recruited locally by the Nazis, further complicated the struggle for survival of both Polish gentiles and the Jews.

Also important was the Soviet policy to nominate Jews to very visible posts in the Communist terror apparatus in order to shift the blame for Soviet crimes to the Jews. This perfidious Soviet policy did not facilitate a postwar admission that one risked one's and others' lives while sheltering the very people whom later became Soviet executioners in Poland. Widespread Jewish complicity in the Soviet terror apparatus installed in Poland speaks volumes about their lack of concern for the existence of a sovereign Polish nation.

Crime during catastrophic events

One can endlessly cite criminal acts and moral failures inside the Ghetto walls and outside of them. The courts of the Polish Home Army (AK) associated with the Polish Government-in-Exile in London condemned to death and executed traitors and criminals. All over the world cataclysms offer an opportunity for people to act on their worst instincts.

In the United States, it is a standard procedure to call on the National Guard to protect the population against widespread looting and crime during catastrophic events. No one in America considers such crimes to be a national disgrace. Anti-Polish propaganda practiced by Gross and others like him demands that the Polish Nation accepts the behaviour of individual criminals to be sins of all Poles.

Reconciliation versus tradition

Traditional Jewish hatred of the Poles developed during the partitions of Poland. It was much more common than Jewish hatred of the Germans. This was mentioned by the Polish writer Zofia Kossak-Szczucka during the Holocaust, when she was appealing to Polish gentiles to sacrifice for the cause of saving Jews within the Zegota program financed by the Polish Government-in-Exile in London.

Today Jewish hatred of the Poles manifests itself in the use of generalisations when dealing with accusations. Jewish students are often taught that the Holocaust would not have taken place if the Poles did not want it. While teaching about the Holocaust, an animal farm rendition of the genocide of the Jews is used ("Maus" by Art Spiegelman) showing Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and Poles as swine. Some of the colleges in America include this animal farm as obligatory reading. If ever this cartoon rendition of the Holocaust is translated into Polish and published in Poland, it will offend many that remember how the Nazis referred to the Poles as swine.

In the conclusion of his Ghastly Decade Gross equates Polish anti-Semitism with Hitlerism in Germany, Stalinism in Russia, and legally- sanctioned slavery and racism in the United States. This is highly unfair. Anti-Semitism never was legally sanctioned in free Poland. When Poland was a Soviet satellite the Warsaw regime carried out Moscow's orders whether in Kielce, or in 1968, or at any other time during the entire history of Peoples' Poland.

Gross writes: "The Poles - because of the Holocaust - must study the history of the persecution of the Jews in Poland. Otherwise they will not be able to live in harmony with their own identity." The insinuations included in this statement are in contrast with what Simon Wiesenthal wrote in "Krystyna, a Tragedy of Polish Resistance": "In Polish history, the relations between Poles and Jews never were simple." On his eightieth birthday Wiesenthal said: "I know what kind of role Jewish communists played in Poland after the war. And just as I, as a Jew, do not want to shoulder responsibility for the Jewish communists, I cannot blame 36 million Poles for those thousands of [wartime] extortionists (szmalcownicy) [who were common criminals]."

Conclusion

The separatist Polish Jews described by Bashevis Singer are no more. Today Jews in Poland are a part of the Polish Nation, and they follow the conciliatory advice of Simon Wiesenthal.

During the Second World War Poland was devastated and plundered by the Germans and the Soviets. Jewish possessions in Warsaw were devastated, together with the possessions of all the inhabitants of the Polish capital. After the war the capital was rebuilt from ruins with great effort and sacrifice of the Polish people. So it was in other Polish towns. The Germans and the Soviets systematically robbed the Polish population. All claims for restitution for damages incurred in the years 1939-1989 should be settled without regard to creed or ethnic origin.

Unfortunately, Gross, despite his scientific credentials, is practicing propaganda in the spirit of the statements made by the Secretary General of the Jewish World Congress quoted at the beginning of this text. Gross' propaganda helps those who make demands for ransom to be paid by the Polish Government to compensate for crimes perpetrated in Poland by the Nazis, the Soviets, and by common criminals.

Excerpt from the critique written by

Prof. Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski

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przemilczana_kolaboracja.htm
THE IGNORED COLLABORATION
by Prof. Dr. Tomasz Strzembosz
full polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

 
I did not want to take part in the discussion caused by the publication of Prof. Jan T. Gross's book "Neighbors" which deals with the murder of Jews committed in July 1941 in the town of Jedwabne in the Podlasie area. Primarily because the said discussion, picking up various motifs, has been so far bypassing the most important fact, i. e., what has happened in Jedwabne after the entry of the German army into that territory, that is, who, when and under what circumstances committed the mass murder on the Jewish inhabitants of Jedwabne.
 
This is the subject most worthy of discussion, all the more because Gross's statements, in the light of specific sources, seem to be not quite true. At the same time, however, the documentation at hand does not allow me yet to take a public stance in this key question...
 
Before I come to the main topic, I must begin with the basic statements. Nothing can justify murders perpetrated on any group of the civilian population. Nothing can justify killing men, women and children only because they represent some social class, some nation or some religion, for any application of justice must have an individual character. Such crimes cannot be motivated either by one's own convictions, or by superior order, or by "historical necessity", or by the good of another nation, class, religion and social group, or by the good of some organization, military or civilian, visible or secret.
 
I would like the reader of this article to keep in mind that such is my basic position. I am also in principle against murdering the members of any military or police force only because they belong to them, especially when they are unarmed or in the process of surrendering. Whoever, then, commits such a murder (the power or reason behind it notwithstanding) is for me simply a murderer.
 
GREAT FEAR
 
Before we try to evaluate the attitudes and behavior of different social and national groups in the territories occupied by the Workers' and Peasants'
Red Army (RKKA), it is necessary to recall the fundamental facts, since without learning about the reality of those times we won't be able to understand the people who lived there or who had been brought there by the perturbances of war.
 
The entry of Germans into the Podlasie area was accompanied by a great fear among the local populace,
who received German armies with undisguised hostility. They gave support to the Polish units being pushed eastward, and many unmoblilized reservists and youths in the pre-conscript age went in large numbers also eastward to find a military body prepared to accept them and give them arms. That's why a number of men from that region (including the unmobilized reservists) took part in the battle of Grodno and the region of Sopockinie - this time already against the Red Army.
 
The population of Podlasie was also giving support -especially after the battle of Andrzejow (in which took part the 18th Infantry Division of the Polish Army) - to the locally organized locally partisan groups which had been active till mid-October [1939] in, among other places, the vicinity of Czerwony Bor and Bagna Biebrzanskie [the Red Forest and the Biebrza Swamps], which protected them from destruction. The anti-German attitude of the inhabitants of Podlasie was monolithic and unwavering.
 
The period after the entry of the Red Army into the eastern territories of the Polish Republic can be divided into three subperiods. The first, called by Prof. Ryszard Szawlowski (and not only by him!) the Polish-Soviet War, lasted for two weeks, until the first days of October 1939, when the organized resistance of the larger combat groups of the Polish Army ceased, although some smaller units continued the fight as guerrillas. The second subperiod was the subjugation of the territory, combined with the implementation of the social "revolution" - political and economic, planned in advance and realized with the help of the army and special services. That's why I call it "revolution on a leash". During that time the first arrests had taken place. This subperiod ended in November 1939 in the official incorporation of the Polish north-east territories into the Byelorussian Socialist Soviet Republic, and the south-east territories into the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic.
 
Actually it was extended by two months, i.e., until the Soviet administrative system (a republic, an "oblast'", a region) was finally introduced in the annexed lands. The third subperiod, from the beginning of 1940 to June 1941, was characterized on one hand by the unification with the economic-social system of the Soviet Union (the forceful introduction of collective farming, strenghtening of the sovkhoz system, finalizing the process of nationalization of industry, commerce, banks, etc.), while on the other hand it brought a rapid escalation of repressions, especially in the first half of 1940, which took the form of mass arrests and deportations; the latter lasted in the so-called Western Byelorussia till the end [of the Soviet rule] and encompassed about 150,000 people. I would like to discuss this phenomenon in more depth, as it was - and very few people realize that - an activity based on the idea of collective responsibility.
 
TIME OF DEPORTATIONS
 
The first deportation, on the 9/10 February 1940, included the military and civilian settlers and foresters with their families. The second, on 13 April 1940, encompassed everybody whose relative(s) had been captured as Polish soldiers, policemen, etc., escaped abroad or went into hiding, or had been arrested as conspirators or "enemies of the people", that is, the socially dangerous element (SOE). The third, on 29 June 1940, which affected especially the cities, included the so-called "bezhentsy" [refugees], among them many Jews, particularly those among them who had registered with the authorities for voluntary return to the German zone of occupation. This fact partly demolishes the myth about the joyful welcome given to the Red Army by Polish Jews exclusively because of their fear of Nazis. The last deportation, started in the Wilno region (which had been snatched by the Soviets at the time of the liquidation of the Lithuanian Republic in June 1940) on 14 June 1941, and on the territory of the Byelorussian Republic on 20 June 1941, was interrupted by the German invasion.
 
All of them, as we can see, were acts of violence undertaken on the basis of collective responsibility.
For the father, who was a soldier, the whole family was held responsible; for a brother, who was a refugee - his close relatives; for a forester - those who lived with him. The strike was aimed at the "nest". On the other hand, for example, in Warsaw the Germans in revenge for an armed action of the underground executed people from the nearest appartment building, prisoners from the Pawiak gaol, or the inhabitants of a village near which a military train had been blown up; in short, people completely unrelated to the perpetrators. This collective responsibility included children, women and old people. It was most often the weakest ones who paid with their lives on the way and in exile - in Siberia or in the "hungry steppes" of Kazakhstan.
 
TREASON IN THE DAYS OF DEFEAT
 
Who was the executor of the [Red] terror? The NKVD and, in the first period, also the Red Army (RKKA) which supervised the "chekhist operational groups", a relationship similar to that between the Einsatzgruppen and the Wehrmacht. And the militia? Very few people know that in the years 1939-1941 there were three different kinds of militia.
 
The first kind was the various "red guards" and "red militias", composed of the locals armed with clubs, cut-down rifles, axes and revolvers, although sporadically they even had automatic weapons, who gave support to the Red Army in its "liberation march" and who performed the acts of "class anger" in the name of social groups oppressed by the "lordly Poland". As a rule, these groups surfaced immediately after 17 September 1939 (or even on that very day, which is telling) and operated, usually in a very bloody fashion, not only behind the lines of the Polish Army, but also after the entry of the Red Army, which gave the local "revolutionary elements" a few "free" days to settle personal accounts and exercise class revenge.
 
Later on those "militias" would be replaced by the Workers' Guard, organized on the occupied territories under the order of the Byelorussian Front Commander of 16 September 1939, as well as by the Citizens' Militia, formed on the basis of a similar order of 21 September 1939. Next, after the incorporation of "Western Byelorussia" into the Byelorussian Socialist Soviet Republic, these two were replaced by the closely connected to the NKVD Workers' and Peasants' Militia (RKM), at first composed solely of newcomers (so-called "vostochniks", "easterners"), later on absorbing also the locals.
 
The Polish population, apart from a small group of city communists and an even smaller one of village communists, received the Soviet aggression and the system brought by it in the same way as they had received the German invasion. This is confirmed by literally thousands of various testimonies. The participation of Polish peasants in the so-called selsoviets (village councils) does not mean anything, because these were purely "decorative" bodies. The real power rested with the executive committees, and especially with their supervisory party and police apparatus.
 
On the other hand, the Jewish population, and especially Jewish youths and the city poor, participated en masse in giving welcome to the invading army and in introducing the new order, also by violent means. This is confirmed as well by thousands of Polish, Jewish and Soviet testimonies; there are official reports of the C-in-C of the Association for Armed Struggle [ZWZ,later the Home Army],General Stefan Grot-Rowecki, there is the [famous] report of the emissary Jan Karski, there are accounts written during and after the war. After all, even the [earlier] works of Jan T. Gross speak about these facts; Gross based his clear and undisputable conclusions on the materials preserved in the Hoover Institution in the States.
 
The Soviet Army was welcomed with enthusiasm not only in the territories occupied formerly by the Wehrmacht, but also in the Eastern Borderlands, where the Germans never arrived. What's more, those "guards" and "militias", growing like mushrooms right after the Soviet aggression, consisted in the main part of Jews. And not only that. Jews undertook acts of rebellion against the Polish state by taking over towns, organizing there revolutionary committees, arresting and executing the representatives of the Polish state authority, and attacking smaller or, sometimes, quite large (like in Grodno) units of the Polish Army.
 
Dr. Marek Wierzbicki (who for the last few years has been researching Polish-Byelorussian relations in the so-called Western Byelorussia in 1939-1941, and therefore also recording facts related to Polish-Jewish relations) in his large, still unpublished, article speaks of a 3-day-long battle between the rebellious Jews of Grodno and the Polish army and police (starting on 18 September 1939, before the arrival of the Red Army), of the two-day struggle for the nearby Skidel, about Jewish revolts in Jeziory, Lunna, Wiercieliszki, Wielka Brzostowica, Ostryna, Dubno, Dereczyn, Zelwa, Motol, Wolpa, Janow Poleski, Wolkowysk, Horodec and Drohiczyn Poleski. In these localities nobody had seen a single German - the attacks were directed against the Polish state.
 
It was [nothing else but] armed collaboration, going over to the enemy, treason in the days of defeat. How numerous was the group of [Jews] who had participated in all this? The specific number will be probably never known. In any case such incidents took place everywhere in the zone of operations of the Red Army's Byelorussian Front.
 
NEW ORDER IN ADMINISTRATION
 
The second question concerns the collaboration with the terror apparatus, especially the NKVD. It was undertaken first by "militias","red guards" and revolutionary committees, later on by the already mentioned workers' guards and citizens' militias. In the cities they were composed mostly of Polish Jews.
Later still, when the situation was taken firmly in hand by the Workers' and Peasants' Militia (RKM), the Jews - according to Soviet documents - were substantially overrepresented in that body as well. Polish Jews in civilian clothes, wearing red armbands and armed with rifles, in large numbers took part in the mass arrests and deportations. This was the most drastic sight, but equally galling for the Polish society was the massive presence of Jews in all the offices and institutions, especially since these had been dominated before the war by the Poles.
 
On 20 September 1940, during a conference in Minsk ..., the chief of the NKVD City Department stated: "We have been following this practice:  Since the Jews have given us their support, one could see them - and only them - everywhere. It became fashionable that every director of an institution or a company boasted about the fact that he didn't employ a single Pole. Many of us were simply afraid of Poles."

At the same time the minutes of communist party meetings in the Bialystok "oblast'" record numerous "complaints" about hearing only Russian and Yiddish in the Soviet institutions [and] about the Poles' feelings of being discriminated against... It was both true and in accordance with the current "party line" because at that time the highest Soviet authorities had introduced a "new policy" in regard to the Poles.
 
Marek Wierzbicki in his article sums up that situation as follows: "The extensively developed structures of Soviet administration gave the masses of unemployed Jews a chance to find a job, which - in borderland towns with no industry and a very limited job market - was to them of great importance. The Jewish population, representing on the whole a much higher level of education than the Byelorussian society, provided numerous clerks, teachers and security police functionaries, which had a definite impact on Polish-Jewish relations because the Jews most often took over the positions of Polish clerks and teachers... Moreover, in September-December 1939, there took place numerous arrests of those representatives of the Polish population who had held before the war higher positions in the administrative and political hierarchy of the Polish state, or who had been involved into social activities. Local Jews - members of the provisional administration or militia - had been at that time actively helping the Soviets in hunting down and arresting such persons."
 
He goes on, referring to none other than Jan T. Gross:
 
"It was also a frequent occurrence that some representatives of the Jewish population jeered at the Poles, pointing out the sudden reversal of fortunes of the two nations. The Poles often heard vicious remarks along the lines of "You wanted Poland without Jews, now you have Jews without Poland", or "It's all over for you.""
 
Thus we can see that the Jewish participation in the Soviet power structures is unequivocally attested to in Polish testimonies (especially those on the basis of which Jan T. Gross has been for the last quarter of the century constructing his books and articles) which have been recorded already during the war, and which are preserved - among other places - in the Hoover Institution in the United States; the same applies to the Soviet state and party archives recently made accessible, as well as to the reports of the Polish underground command [from the period in question]...
 
It seems, then, that the following statement expressed by Prof. Gross in his "Neighbors" does not have much justification [in facts]:
 
"Frankly, the enthusiasm of the Jews at the sight of the entering Red Army was not a common phenomenon, and it is not clear why the collaboration of the Jews with the Soviets in 1939-1941 should be considered exceptional."
 
FALSE EQUATION
 
The second part of the quoted paragraph, which refers to the Poles, goes thus: "On the other hand there can be no possible doubt that the local population (with the exception of the Jews) enthusiastically welcomed the Wehrmacht units in 1941, and collaborated with the Germans, also in the extermination of Jews. The earlier quoted segment of Finkelsztejn's testimony about Radzilow - confirmed also by the quoted reminiscences of peasants from nearby villages - forms a precise negation of the common tales about Jewish behavior in the Eastern Borderlands in 1939 at the sight of the coming Bolsheviks."
 
Before analyzing the contents, I would like to take note of the style of Gross's approach. Hundreds of extant testimonies and numerous reports of the Polish underground authorities (including the report of the pro-Jewish Jan Karski) do not offer sufficient grounds for drawing any conclusions. This may be correct - after all, we should try to investigate the situation in various specific localities without relying too much on widespread but general opinions. But, at the same time, a [single] testimony of Finkelsztejn's plus a few accounts of neighborhood peasants suffice [for Gross] to pronounce a sweeping judgment not about specific individuals but about the entire local population (except the Jews.)
 
The same applies to the thesis that it was the Polish inhabitants of the small town of Jedwabne who murdered their Jewish neighbors - based on the testimonies of a few Jewish escapees who managed to survive, and on the materials of the Security Office originating from the (undoubtedly sadistic) investigations of 1949 and 1953, during the period when Polish bishops had been sentenced for treason against the Polish nation and espionage on behalf of "imperialists".
 
Let's talk now about that Polish collaboration. It has been discussed by Andrzej Zbikowski... It consisted, among other things, in murdering the Jews by Polish "bands" composed mainly of ex-Soviet prisoners (recently liberated by the Germans), and in attacks on "the retreating smaller groups of the Soviet Army" by the same "bands". A simple equation between 1939 and 1941...
 
But, for God's sake, a joyful welcome given to the Germans, who arrived in the middle of a horrible deportation and released hundreds of people from Soviet abattoirs (in Brzesc, Lomza, Bialystok and Jedwabne, among many other places) is different from attacks on the Red Army soldiers (our yesterday's occupiers), and these are different still from the murder of soldiers of the Polish Army. True, Jews didn't have an easy life in Poland, there were undoubtedly "accounts of injustices", to quote a line from the poet Broniewski, but they weren't deported to Siberia, or shot, or sent to concentration camps, or killed by hunger and overwork. Even if they didn't consider Poland their homeland, they did not have to treat her as an alien power and join her mortal enemy in killing Polish soldiers and murdering Polish civilians escaping to the east. They did not have to take part either in selecting their neighbors for deportations, these terrible acts of collective responsibility.
 
THERE WERE NO RED FLAGS ONLY ON THREE HOUSES
 
Let's move now away from general issues to the situation in the town and district of Jedwabne. Jan Gross is correct in stating that there are not too many testimonies related directly to this place, but their number is not minuscule, either, and, in any case, there are many more in existence than the small selection utilized by Gross in his narrative on the events on 10 July 1941. "The new approach to sources", postulated by Gross in relation to the Jewish depositions, could be used also in this case. After all, these are testimonies by persecuted people, who were saved from annihilation only thanks to the Sikorski-Mayski agreement of July 1941. The survivors speak here as witnesses to a crime, and they touch upon the "Jewish problem" without any prompting, spontaneously, "from the fullness of their hearts."
 
Did the Jews of Jedwabne, like so many others, offer a warm welcome to the Red Army? Various depositions taken both during the war and by myself at the beginning of the 1990s, give a positive answer to that question.
 
Let's first have a look at the accounts deposited with the Polish Army of Gen. Anders and archived in the Hoover Institution, which are now also available in the Eastern Archive (Archiwum Wschodnie) in Warsaw.
 
Acount no. 8356, by Jozef Rybicki, a cartwright from the town of Jedwabne: "The Red Army was received by the Jews who put up [triumphal] gates. They changed the old government and introduced a new one from among the local inhabitants (Jews and communists). Policemen and teachers got arrested (...)."
 
Account no. 10708, by Tadeusz Kielczewski, a local government worker in Jedwabne: "Immediately after the entry of the Soviet Army there was spontaneously organized a municipal committee composed of Polish communists (the president, Czeslaw Krytowski, was a Pole, the members were all Jews). The militia was also composed of Jewish communists. At first there were no repressions because they [i.e., the Soviets] did not know the [local] populace, only after a series of denunciations by the local communists the arrests began. House searches had been conducted by the local militia among the people who were thought to possibly possess arms. The main wave of arrests by the Soviets started only after the first elections."
 
Account no. 8455, by Marian Lojewski, a locksmith-mechanic from Jedwabne: "After the entry of the Red Army into our town an order was published to surrender all the weapons in the hands of the local population. For keeping any arms the penalty was death. Later on many house searches were conducted because of denunciations by Jewish merchants who accused the Poles of stealing various items during their absence. Numerous arrests were made among people against whom the local Jews had a grudge for persecuting them by the Polish state."
 
Account no. 2675, by Aleksander Kotowski, a wood sorter from Jedwabne: "During the entry of the Red Army I was absent, [later on] the power was given to Jews and Polish communists, who had been imprisoned before for Communism. They led the NKVD to appartments and houses and denounced Polish citizens-patriots."
 
Finally the account of Lucja Chojnowska, nee Cholowinska, deposited on 9 May 1991. Mrs. Cholowinska, the sister of Jadwiga Laudanska, in the spring of 1940 found herself in the partisan camp at Uroczysko Kobielne situated deep within the Biebrza swamps and - after a battle between the Poles and the Soviet army there on 23 June 1940 - was taken prisoner. Our conversation, conducted in Jedwabne, was concerned with that battle and not with the relations in the town where both ladies used to live. Nevertheless, at some point Lucja Cholowinska-Chojnowska stated: "In Jedwabne, inhabited mostly by the Jews, there were only three houses without a red flag during the entry of the Soviets. One of them was our house. Before the first deportation a Jewish woman, our neighbor, came running to us (we always had excellent relations with the Jews), and warned us that our names were on the deportation list. Then I, with my sister Jadwiga and her 4-year-old daughter, run away to Orlikow, taking with us just a few clothes." Note well: the Jewish neighbor knew who was on the deportation list, and that was the most strictly guarded secret. So much about the beginnings.
 
THE ARRESTS BEGIN
 
Now some more questions. Of whom did the Jedwabne militia consist and what was its attitude toward those of the locals who had been considered too closely attached to the Polish state, the malcontents, the enemies? How (if at all) did the red terror manifest itself there, and had it been implemented only by the transplanted Soviet citizens, the "vostochniks", or also by the "old" Polish citizens, the permanent residents of the town and district of Jedwabne? Let's look for the answers in the same (in historians' parlance) "personal documents", deposited still during the war and later.
 
Account no. 1559, by Kazimierz Sokolowski, a worker from Jedwabne: "The Soviet authorities created a militia, mostly from among Jewish communists, and the arrests began of farmers and workers who had been denounced by the militiamen. The populace had to pay high taxes, churches were also taxed, the priest was arrested. Mass house searches had been conducted among the people unfriendly toward the regime, the "enemies of the people"... The majority of the local populace tried to avoid taking part in the elections (on 22 October 1939, T.S.). All day long the militia was dragging them at gunpoint to the polling station. The sick were also carried there by force. Shortly after the elections they carried out a night roundup, arrested entire families and deported them to the Soviet Union."
 
Account no. 1394, by Stanislaw Gruba, a worker from Jedwabne: "House searches were conducted in order to find weapons, anti-communist literature, etc. The suspects had been immediately arrested, just like the families of Catholic priests, and put in prison for further investigation."
 
Account no. 2589, by Jozef Karwowski, a farmer from the Jedwabne district: "In October 1939 the NKVD announced pre-election meetings. The NKVD and militia assembled the audiences by force. If someone protested, he was immediately arrested and he afterwards disappeared without trace."
 
Account no. 2545, by Jozef Makowski, a farmer from the Jedwabne district: "They arrested people, threw them into cellars and pigsties, starved them, didn't give them any water to drink, beat them bestially and in this way they tried to make them confess to their membership in Polish organizations. I myself was beaten unconscious during NKVD interrogations in Jedwabne, Lomza and Minsk."
 
Account no. 8356, by Jozef Rybicki of Jedwabne, already know to us: "House searches were conducted among the wealthier farmers, they took away furniture, clothing and precious objects, and after a few days they came at night and arrested them. They dragged people by force to various meetings - whoever tried to oppose them, he was denounced as a "vreditel" (saboteur) and then arrested. The village elder was preparing lists, going from house to house and writing down the names and dates of birth. The electoral commission was composed of professional soldiers and Jews and local communists. The candidates had been chosen in advance, mostly Jews and communists from the Soviet Union."
 
THEY PUT ON RED ARMBANDS
 
Let's move now to the postwar accounts collected by myself in the context of my inquiries about the battle at Uroczysko Kobielne.
 
Jerzy Tarnacki, a partisan from Kobielne, wrote in a letter of 24 October 1991: "A patrol consisting of Kurpiewski, a Pole, and Czapnik, a Jew, came to arrest me and my brother Antek. We managed to escape from our own backyard. I went into hiding in the village of Kajetanowo, at the house of my friend Waclaw Mierzejewski. I learned from him that there was a Polish partisan unit behind the river Biebrza. I stayed in hiding until mid-April 1940."
 
Stefan Boczkowski from Jedwabne observes in a letter of 14 January 1995: "The local Jews in Jedwabne put on red armbands and were helping the militia in arresting "the enemies of the people", "spies", etc."
 
Kazimierz Odyniec, M.D., the son of Sergeant Antoni Odyniec (killed in the battle of Kobielno on 23 June 1940), wrote in his letter of 20 June 1991: "By the end of April 1940 a local Jew in the uniform of the Soviet militia came to our appartment and ordered Father to report to the NKVD office... Father bid us goodbye, first sending out Mother to follow that militiaman to see where else would he go, because the list [he had noticed] contained a score of names. Later on it turned out that Father didn't go to the NKVD. The next day the NKVD arrested Mother, trying to force her to reveal Father's hiding place."
 
Dr. Odyniec, in a letter sent to me after the publication of Jan Gross's book, stated: "Gross stresses the cruelty of the Polish side without mentioning the behavior of a large group of Jews who had openly collaborated with the Soviets and who denounced the Poles deserving arrest or deportation. I'll give you an example of my own family (here comes a repetition of the description quoted above, T.S.). I also remember that the bodies of partisans killed at Kobielno were carried away by a Jew named Calko, a neighbor of my uncle Wladyslaw Lojewski" (letter of 25 October 2000).
 
Roman Sadowski, an officer of the Home Army, the husband of Halina (sister of Kazimierz Odyniec, deported on 20 June 1941 to the Soviet Union), wrote to me on 10 November 2000: "During the Soviet occupation the Jews were "rulers" of those territories. They totally collaborated with the Soviet authorities. According to the statements of my wife's cousins, it was the Jews together with the NKVD who were preparing deportation lists."
 
As we can see, although I did not undertake a systematic search for this kind of information, a substantial collection  of spontaneous and unsolicited testimonies about the Jewish behavior practically "gathered itself." Therefore, I cannot agree with  Gross's statement that "I have found only one account specifically concerned with the welcome given to the Soviets in the town [of Jedwabne] in September 1939 - as we know, that was the moment which fixed for many Poles the memory of Jewish disloyalty - and even this account is not very reliable, having been written down more than 50 years after the events." And then Gross talks about the bit of information collected by Agnieszka Arnold during her preparations of the documentary film about Jedwabne.
 
Not being an expert in this specific field, I have quoted above five testimonies, for the most part written down before 1945, which talk about the attitudes of the Jews from Jedwabne toward the new Soviet authorities, and nine relations about the activities of the militia (composed predominantly of the Jedwabne Jews, although its commandant was a Pole, Czeslaw Kurpiewski, a known prewar communist.)
 
Let's also add a very characteristic information, repeated in two independent sources: Apart from the Jewish militiamen in uniform, Jews in civilian clothes also participated in the arrests, just with red armbands on their sleeves and armed with rifles.
 
A CHARACTERISTIC INCIDENT: TRZCIANNE
 
The very same documents from the Hoover Institution, supposedly so well known to Jan Gross, mention a whole list of cities and towns where the Jews enthusiastically welcomed the Red Army, and later on filled the ranks of militias: Zambrow, Lomza, Stawiski, Wizna, Szumowo (with the Jewish militia commandant by the name of Jablonka), Rakowo-Boginie, Bredki, Zabiele, Wadolki Stare, Drozdowo.
 
We also know about a characteristic incident which took place in the Jewish town of Trzcianne, situated opposite Jedwabne but across the Biebrza river. According to the account of Czeslaw Borowski (dated 16 August 1987), who lives in the nearby village of Zubole, it happened as follows: "Near the end of September, and maybe at the beginning of October 1939, the Germans retreated from that area, the Soviets didn't yet arrive, so it was a sort of a neutral zone.
In the Red Forest [Czerwony Bor] the fighting still continued. In Trzcianne the Jews were preparing a welcome for the Red Army. Jewish militia patrols ventured out as far as Okragle... in the direction of Monki; they noticed a cloud of dust and, thinking it to be the Soviets, they went all the way back to the triumphal arch raised at the entrance to the village.
It wasn't the Soviets but a group of 10-15 Polish cavalrymen who were crossing that neutral zone. They came upon the triumphal arch, the rabbi with bread and salt on a platter... The uhlans charged into the crowd, destroyed the arch, laid about with the flats of their swords, trashed a few Jewish stores, they even wanted to burn the town but it didn't come to pass. The rabbi's daughter died of a heart attack. The cavalry went away. The Jews in Trzcianne were armed..."
 
This account, recorded by myself almost 50 years after the event, has been confirmed by Soviet sources. They state that, by the end of September 1939, a "band of Polish soldiers", under the command of two local landowners, Henryk Klimaszewski and Jozef Nieczecki, attacked the town and conducted a "robbery and a pogrom among the Jewish population." During this action Henryk Klimaszewski supposedly kept calling for a showdown with Bolsheviks and Jews by saying, "Get the Jews for Grodno and Skidel, it is time to settle the score with them, away with the Communists, we will kill all the Jews."
 
GERMANS SAVED HUNDREDS OF INHABITANTS
 
Apart from the Hoover Institution collection, known to Prof. Gross, and the accounts in my possession, there are other testimonies about the behavior of the Jedwabne Jews in the years 1939-1941.  Danuta and Aleksander Wroniszewski in an article "Aby zyc" ("Just to survive"), published in the "Kontakty" magazine on 19 July 1988, reproduced an account of an inhabitant of Jedwabne: "I remember when they were deporting Poles to Siberia, on each and every wagon there sat a Jew with a rifle. Mothers, wives, children knelt in front of them, begging for mercy. The last time it happened on 20 June 1941."
 
Did the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne and neighboring villages welcome the Germans with enthusiasm and as their saviors? Yes! They did! If someone drags me out of a burning house, where I could die any second, I will embrace him and give him my gratitude. Even if tomorrow I have to consider him my next mortal enemy. In those days the Germans saved hundreds of the locals (maybe also from Jedwabne?), who had been hiding for several days in the cornfields and among the bushes on the banks of the Biebrza river. They saved them from a deportation to death, somewhere in the deserts of Kazakhstan or the Siberian taiga. And it was already commonly known what such a deportation meant: Letters and other messages had been arriving from the "special settlements". Parallel to the deportations there were taking place mass arrests of the suspects, which often led to prolonged and deadly terms in the gulag or prison.
 
We shouldn't be surprised, then, by those signs of joy or by those (in Zbikowski's words) "bands" attacking the reatreating groups of Soviet soldiers. Attacking their yesterday's tormentors, representatives of one of the most cruel political systems ever suffered by humanity.
 
THE MOST TERRIBLE DAY FOR THE POLES
 
Recently there has been published a new, specific and trustworthy, source, namely, "The Chronicle of the Abbey of the Congregation of the Benedictine Sisters in Lomza (1939-1954)", edited by Sister Alojza Piesiewiczowna (Lomza 1995). Let's quote the fragment describing the events of 22 June 1941:
 
"June 20. The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The most terrible day for the Poles under the Soviet occupation. Mass deportations to Russia. From the early morning wagons carrying Polish families drove across the town toward the railroad station. Deported were the wealthier Polish families, families of nationalists, Polish patriots, the intelligentsia, families of prisoners in Soviet gaols; it was even difficult to understand exactly what categories had been deported. Wailing, moaning and terrible despair ruled in Polish souls. On the other hand, the Jews and the Soviets are jubilant. It is impossible to describe what the Poles are going through. A completely hopeless situation. And the Jews and Soviets loudly rejoice and threaten that soon they will deport all the Poles. This may as well turn out to be true because for the whole day of 20 June and the next day, June 21, they dragged people to the train station without interruption...
 
June 22. Very early in the morning there was heard the rumbling of plane engines, and from time to time the explosions of bombs over the town... A few German bombs fell on more important Soviet posts. A terrible panic overtook the Soviets. They started running away in complete chaos. The Poles were very happy. Every bomb explosion filled our souls with indescribable joy. After several hours there was not a single Soviet in town, the Jews hid in cellars and basements. Just before noon the prisoners broke out of their cells. People were embracing each other in the streets and cried for joy. The Soviets were retreating without weapons, they did not return a single shot.
 
In the evening of that day no Soviets remained in Lomza. The situation was yet far from clear - the Soviets run away, the Germans still didn't arrive. On the next day, June 23, the town was still unoccupied. The civilian population started breaking into, and pillaging, all the Soviet magazines, warehouses and shops. In the evening of 23 June a few Germans entered - the people were relieved."
 
No other reaction could possibly take place in those days. A few weeks later, the Union of Armed Struggle (ZWZ) was hastily restoring the Soviet-damaged conspiratorial structures and collecting masses of weapons abandoned by the Red Army; this "interregnum" was used to prepare for the struggle with the next occupier. There are as many testimonies in support of this, as there are for the incidents of robbery, revenge and pogroms. As always, the reality turns out to be more complicated than we can ever imagine.
 
 
Tomasz Strzembosz (born in 1930), a historian, is a professor at the Catholic University of Lublin and in the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Author of numerous books, he recently published "Rzeczpospolita podziemna".

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jedwabne_oswiecim_sachsenhausen.htm
The unknown life of Jerzy Laudanski.
According to J.T. Gross he was one of the ringleaders in the Jedwabne massacre.

full polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

JEDWABNE - AUSCHWITZ - SACHSENHAUSEN
 
The unknown life of Jerzy Laudanski.
According to J.T. Gross he was one
of the ringleaders in the Jedwabne
massacre.
 
By Adam Cyra, Rzeczpospolita, 02 Feb. 01
 
In the Rzeczpospolita issue of 27-28 January 2001 I read an article by Prof. Dr. Tomasz Strzembosz under the title of "The Ignored Collaboration". Its author rightly stresses the fact that, in the light of specific sources, the statements in Jan T. Gross's book don't seem to be completely true.
 
For example, the author of "Neighbors" writes in detail about the trial of more than 20 inhabitants of Jedwabne in the Stalinist period, not stopping even for a moment to analyze its legality or the trustworthiness of the defendants' depositions recorded by the Lomza agents of the Security Office [UB]. One of the main defendants in the short trial in 1949, who was sentenced then to 15 years in prison, was a young man who was found guilty not of the participation in the murder of Jewish citizens, but of collaboration with the Nazi occupiers. After spending almost 8 years behind bars, this prisoner received an early release shortly after the "thaw" in October 1956.
 
CRETINOUS BANDIT AND GENDARME
 
...Jan T. Gross writes about him:
 
"...one of the younger, because he was only 19 at that time, but also [one of] the most brutal participants in these events", "a cretinous bandit", who "...together with Wisniewski and Kalinowski stoned in turn Lewin and Zdrojewicz"; and even that "...two of them - Jerzy Laudanski and Karol Bardon - became later the Schutzmanner in the German gendarmerie".[page references to the Polish edition of "Neighbors" not given]
 
Jerzy Laudanski, born in 1922, comes from one of the most respected Polish families in Jedwabne. He is still alive, just like his two elder brothers, Kazimierz and Zygmunt.
 
In December last I have recorded an extensive testimony of Mr. Jerzy Laudanski, an ex-member of ZWZ/AK [Home Army] and a former political prisoner of KL Auschwitz (he was brought there from the Pawiak prison in Warsaw on 15 September 1942 and received the serial number 63805; very few prisoners from his transport survived.) Later, he was also imprisoned in KL Gross-Rosen and KL Sachsenhausen.
 
His eldest brother Kazimierz has written to me in Jerzy's defense:
 
"I, born in Moscow before the revolution, raised in Jedwabne until reaching maturity, am the eldest sibling in the Laudanski family. On the third day after the tragedy I returned from the Ostrow Mazowiecka district to my own in Jedwabne. A thick, fetid trail of smoke flew across our yard from the direction of Sleszynski's barn. One had to see then the frightened stares of the inhabitants and [hear]
their muted voices. After grasping the weight of that occurrence, I decided to investigate its course, the behavior of the locals and the role of Germans. In various articles written on this subject the latter is not mentioned at all, there is also no discussion of the activities of the communist organization which, apart from the crime itself, influenced shamefully also the very lives of the inhabitants of Jedwabne. The patriotic motive is also totally ignored.
 
The turn of events was as follows: On that day the Germans arrived in Jedwabne in a group, and immediately started realizing their criminal plan. They ordered the mayor to call a town meeting in the market square, around the statue of Lenin, including both Poles and Jews. People came because they had to. A large crowd gathered. In the meantime other Germans grabbed a Polish teenager from the street, took him to a warehouse, and issued him a container filled with gasoline. Yet other Germans were looking for a suitable barn outside the town. They found such a barn on the Lomza side but its owner, one Jozef Chrzanowski, who could speak German, begged them [to leave it alone] and then they found another barn, the property of Bronislaw Sleszynski, near the kirkut [Jewish cemetery]. The epilogue wasn't known to anybody until the end. The crowd went without resistance. One could expect anything from the Germans, but the burning alive of so many people was a terrible surprise.
 
EXCESSES OF THE COMMUNIST MILITIA
 
A communist organization [in Jedwabne] had been in existence for a long time before the outbreak of the war. When, after 17 September 1939 [the beginning of the Soviet invasion of Poland - MW], this cell organized, as if during a revolution, a ruling voluntary militia, it was joined by a few Poles; the majority of its members were communist Jewish youth.

The older strata of the Jewish society were against the excesses of this group. And here it is necessary to differentiate between the communists and the Jewish community. Toward the latter the Poles did not feel enmity because there were no reasons for it. But insofar as the Poles felt sorry for the Jews as a whole, they were also convinced that the Jewish communists had gotten their just desserts.
 
Already in the autumn of 1939 the communists began arresting people, for example, they threw our father in prison for his cooperation with the local Catholic priests - he was a member of the church construction committee, and during open meetings he read aloud various political appeals. They arrested the school principal, Bronislaw Skarzynski, for giving the youth a patriotic education. Together with the NKVD, they compiled lists of families condemned to deportation to Siberia. My mother with two of my brothers managed to run away into the woods at the very last moment. Similar things were happening to many other Poles.
 
And now patriotism... The very existence of the [Polish anti-Soviet] guerrilla movement, the death of our aunt in a fight with the Soviets, as well as the deaths of other local Poles speak for themselves. Just like in Warsaw the Poles assassinated Kutschera [a high Gestapo official. MW], in Jedwabne they killed a similar executioner, Shevelov, the vice-commander of the NKVD.
 
My brother Jerzy, so violently condemned (by Jan T. Gross - AC), right after the crime ran away to my home in the Ostrow Mazowiecka district, where later on, on the night of 28 May 1942, he was arrested by the Germans and, as a political prisoner, he survived the Pawiak prison, Oswiecim [Auschwitz], Gross-Rosen and Sachsenhausen. He wasn't petted there, but he did not denounce anybody. To me - and not only to me - he will always remain a hero. Our uncle Franciszek, the commander of the local "Strzelec" organization [veterans of Pilsudski's Polish Legions - MW], also was hiding at my place and also ended up in Auschwitz. In turn, another uncle, Aleksander Tyszkiewicz, chief of the Treasury Department in Bialystok, was shot along with his wife and a child by the Germans. Just like the entire Polish nation, we suffered under the Germans, under the Soviets and under the Polish People's Republic.
 
THE TRIAL - 1949
 
The trial of the people accused of participating in the Jedwabne crime, which took place in Lomza in 1949, can be also called a crime. The very same communists from Jedwabne - Poles, driven by personal vendettas - became witnesses and accused everybody who ever had crossed them; for example, Stanislaw Kozlowski, a commonly respected Pole, whose daughter was the wife of a Lomza judge and whose son was inspector-general of schools in Torun, found himself among the defendants. My father also was accused of participating in that crime, although at that time he was just brought back from the [Soviet] prison in Lomza, and he was bedridden with numerous body swells and boils.
 
We don't have to be ashamed of our family name. My brother Zygmunt was a reserve junior lieutenant. Marshal Pilsudski used to surround himself with officers from our family. Ignacy Moscicki, President of Poland, personally asked the Lomza subprefect to employ me in the local administration. Today, among the younger generation and among our children and grandchildren, there are many teachers, engineers and doctors, in Poland and abroad, and two of our relatives hold the highest academic degrees. We always have been ready to serve our country - "pro publico bono" ["for the public good"]."
 
I would also like to add that in the Archives of the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim there is preserved an official camp photograph of Mr.Jerzy Laudanski, and that he himself has enriched our archival collection by donating this year seven preserved camp letters sent by him to his relatives from Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen and Sachsenhausen.
 
Doctor Adam Cyra is an employee of the State Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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gross_kontra_fakty.htm
Gross versus the facts
("Zycie", 1 February 2001) - selected fragments
full polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski
The first installment of translations.
 
Piotr Gontarczyk
 
"Gross versus the facts"
("Zycie", 1 February 2001) - selected fragments
 
"One of the most important sources for Gross's findings has been the materials from the investigation conducted by the Security Office (UB) in 1949.
It is important to know that some of the people who were subject to this investigation later on in the courtroom gave completely different testimonies, stating that the previous ones had been forced out of them them by beatings... In the context of the realities of the 1940s in Poland, such recanting was an act of courage. Futile, alas; having the choice between the testimonies coerced during the investigation and the ones from the courtroom, Gross chose those that better fitted his conclusions, i.e., the former.
 
The second source of knowledge of the author of "Neighbors" is reminiscences of Holocaust survivors.
It has been already stated many times that these testimonies were gathered after the war by various historical committees which sometimes cared less for the truth than for some political and propagandistic agendas. People familiar with these sources know that they often contain a huge emotional baggage and hasty opinions resulting from dramatic experiences. Yet other accounts, especially the ones deposited after the war in the United States, seem to be not descriptions of the past but just pretexts to present their authors' dislike or simply hostility toward Poland and the Poles, commonly known as antipolonism.
 
This extremely complicated and varied problem Gross has summed up in two sentences: "Of course, every witness can be wrong, and every testimony, if possible, should be compared with the knowledge obtained from other sources. But we have no reason to suspect the Jews of any ill-will toward their Polish neighbors [sic]" (page 18 of the Polish edition). Such statements simply avoid the issue at hand. What's also interesting, Gross not only didn't keep the necessary objective distance to the testimonies used by himself, but also - contrary to his own postulate - didn't attempt to compare them with other sources. The results are clearly visible in numerous fragments of "Neighbors".
 
On page 49 [of the Polish edition], in one of the quoted testimonies, there appears the bishop of Lomza who, in exchange for material benefits, had promised the Jews that he would prevent the pogrom. The context of this event is unpleasant because the prelate accepted the tribute (silver candlesticks) but did not keep his promise. The author of "Neighbors" did not even give the name of the said bishop, not to mention any attempt on his part to investigate that occurrence.
 
It is very unlikely that the then-bishop of Lomza, Stanislaw Lukomski, could take any bribe from the Jews. Not only for ethical, but first of all for technical, reasons. During the entire Soviet occupation he remained in hiding, returning to his palace... in August 1941. Hence the visit of the Jewish delegation to the bishop, which - according to the testimonies quoted by Gross - has taken place "some time" before the Jedwabne tragedy (in the first half of July 1941), is very unlikely to have happened, just like many other events described in "Neighbors".
 
...Gross's book is based on a poor and biased selection of sources. This applies mainly to the problem of Polish-Jewish relations in Jedwabne and the environs during the Soviet occupation. The author of "Neighbors" stated that he had found only one (!) testimony related to this subject, so he drew the conclusion that nothing significant had happened during that period between the local Jews and the rest of the population.
 
It is pointless to list here literally hundreds of documents which univocally contradict such a conclusion. The article by Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, recently published in "Rzeczpospolita", is an excellent refutation of Gross's theories. More interesting, in the context of the structural analysis of "Neighbors", there seem to be observations about the specific methodology used by Gross in his employment of sources. On page 32... the author... referred to Michal Gnatowski's work "W radzieckich okowach...". Gross did not mention, however, that this book contains interesting information about the feelings among the Polish population in the Jedwabne region, derived from Soviet documents. We find there, for example, the words of one Jan Gosek who on October 20, 1940, stated: "Now we have here a Jewish empire. They are being elected [to official positions] everywhere, and the Pole is like a horse, only he is pulling the cart and only he gets the whip" (page 159 of Gnatowski's book).
 
On page 21 of "Neighbors" there is a brief note about the results of Gross's research in the archives of... the Hoover Institution. Gross writes that he has found there "...three general remarks about the Jews in Jedwabne suggesting their overeagerness toward the new regime" (page 31). He also added in a footnote: "Mention of Jews in Jedwabne, in which, by the way, no specific persons are named, can be found on pages 14, 45 and 99 of the typescript about the Lomza district".
 
Well, we have to state that nothing is correct here. The documents contain not general remarks but specific descriptions, they are much more numerous and appear on many other pages as well, and they give specific information about specific persons. [an example follows.] There are more such examples. They prompt us to ask a question: How come in books and documents known to Gross there obviously are sources which his book says don't exist?
 
The absence of a discussion of Polish-Jewish relations under the Soviet occupation constitutes one of the greatest shortcomings of Gross's book. And these relations were very tense. The picture presented in the preserved Polish (and also some Jewish!) testimonies is rather dramatic: the humiliating treatment of Poles, denunciations to the NKVD, participation in the Soviet repressions of the "red militia" consisting of Jews from Jedwabne. There are also descriptions of the instances when Jews ripped off the clothes of their Polish - nomen-omen - neighbors who were being deported to Siberia. The problem seems to be truly important, and it cannot be limited merely to the distorted perception of the Poles. According to the latest findings of the Byelorussian historiography - based on the extant documents from the 1939-41 period - the Soviet administration, especially in the economic sector, contained a high percentage of Jews, sometimes exceeding 70%. It is worth remembering that often the Jews took over the positions of the arrested or deported Poles. Evgenii Rozenblat, a historian from Minsk, stated that the participation of the Jewish population in the establishment of the Soviet rule had been so substantial and visible that the definite increase of anti-Jewish sentiments among the Poles was only a consequence of their rejection of communism.
 
It seems that in the Lomza district - due to the highly developed national consciousness among the local Poles and the absence of other minorities - the Soviets relied heavily precisely on the Jewish population. In other parts of the Eastern Borderlands the situation was more complex (because of the interplay of three nations: Poles, Jews and Byelorussians/Ukrainians); here the subjective perception of reality was more distinct: we, the Poles, the conquered population; they, the communists, the persecutors and their helpers, Poland's traitors, the Jews. We know from numerous testimonies that, after the experiences of the years 1939-41, a substantial portion of Polish society simply seethed with hatred toward the Jews. It would be worthwhile to analyze what role such emotions have played in the minds of not only Poles, but also Ukrainians, Latvians and Lithuanians after the arrival of the Germans.
 
I fully share the opinion that even the Jewish participation in Soviet repressions cannot be used as an excuse for the [Jedwabne] crime. But the point is not to "excuse" anybody. The duty of a historian is to investigate the circumstances which had taken place - chronologically and logically - before the described event. Otherwise any conclusions about the genesis of the events at Jedwabne will be left dangling in the air, without any serious scholarly foundations...
 
Many facts described by Gross can be considered dubious. In other cases, in which a cautious approach would be most advisable, ... the author of "Neighbors" uses presumptuously the words "probably" and "must have". Some of his statements seem to be just an outflow of ignorance or prejudice mixed up with a swarm of shallow stereotypes.
 
Such, for example, is the fragment on page 29, where (on the basis of another testimony of dubious value) the author states that in the prewar Jedwabne the parish priest accepted material benefits for stopping an impending - according to rumors - pogrom. The taking of tributes/bribes by Catholic priests (see the case of bishop Lukomski) became in Gross's book a sort of norm. However, it is worthwhile to quote the description of the method by which the author of "Neighbors" has verified this information:
 
"This episode fits perfectly into the norm of the Jewish fate ... the endangered community ... accepted as absolutely natural the fact that in such a situation the secular or religious powers had to be given protection money" (page 29).
 
Such proofs, i.e., the verification of facts through one's own imaginings, I consider incompatible with a sound historical methodology...
 
Other bits of information given by Gross are more serious. For example, on page 53 he holds that the town council of Jedwabne had... signed an agreement with the Germans re the murder of Jews. The source of this story is a relation of a person who had heard about it "from some people". This is not the first time that Gross presents sheer gossip instead of facts. What's interesting, he supports this practice with a thesis that the lack of better information about the whole thing shouldn't trouble us too much:
"Our ignorance about the precise content of the agreement doesn't make a big difference. Some kind of agreement between the Germans and the immediate organizers of the Jedwabne murder, that is, the town council, must have been concluded" (page 53).
 
A statement that something must have happened even though we know nothing about it does not fit even in the widest definition of scholarly methodology. Just like so many other yarns by Gross.
 
It is a platitude to say that Poles and Jews - as any two nations - differ from one another, if only by culture and religion. In Gross's historiography, however, these differences are much deeper: Different are the criteria of judgment, different are civic duties and different are responsibilities. This inequality holds even in the discussion about the common past... Ethnic criteria also apply to Gross's methodology: "...Our initial approach to every testimony coming from a near Holocaust victim should change from sceptical to affirmative. Simply because if we accept the fact that the contents of such a testimony have really happened, and that we are ready to acknowledge the error of such evaluation only after finding convincing proofs to the contrary, we will save ourselves from many more mistakes than the ones we have committed by taking the opposite stance." ("Neighbors", page 94.)
 
In short, a testimony from a Holocaust survivor has to be automatically trustworthy... Other testimonies - not so.
 
Gross's postulates run contrary to the most basic rules of the historian's craft. The latter insist on an objective analysis of each and every source, the ethnic origin of its author notwithstanding...
 
The inequality of the two nations in Gross's historical narrative is very obvious: Whatever bad has been done to Jews by some group of Poles, he turns this event into a universal paradigm, surrounded with quasi-religious theories and mystical judgments. In "Neighbors" we thus read about "the participation of the ethnically Polish population in the annihilation of Polish Jews" (page 95), and about "the responsibility of the Polish society for the magnitude of the crime of the Holocaust" (page 19)...
 
A completely different style of narrative applies to the other side. There are no simplistic generalizations or hasty moral verdicts there. There is no mention of collective responsibility, either. Every single motif which could become uncomfortable or not fit into the "oppressor-victim" dichotomy is either minimalized or completely skipped. Just like, for example, the question of Polish-Jewish relations in the Soviet-occupied Eastern Borderlands. And this is the rule in Gross's writing.
 
Already in "Upiorna dekada" he mentioned the issue of Jewish participation in the communist terror apparatus. This is a delicate question because, according to the available statistics, persons of Jewish origin constituted over 30 percent of the functionaries in the central office of the Ministry of Public Security. If Gross applied here the same tools which he applies to the Poles, this could turn into a horror (the responsibility of the Jewish society for the crimes of communism, etc.).
 
In this instance the author's approach is much more balanced: "The statement that a disproportionate number of Jewish Communists worked in the political police does not yield itself to a clear interpretation"("Upiorna dekada", page 93). Instead of trying to figure out the meaning of this, let's quote the final sentence of this argument: "In the light of this knowledge [i.e., the contemporary knowledge about communism, PG], therefore, to the question why Jewish Communists were present in the security apparatus, the only sensible answer may be: and why not?" ("Upiorna dekada", page 94). The very strange style of the narrative, combined with the evident lack of accountability for his words, makes numerous fragments of Gross's books ambiguous, unintelligible or totally devoid of any scholarly characteristics...
 
The picture painted in "Neighbors" is truly unsettling. It seems that the Poles are Nazi collaborators who sign an agreement with the Germans regarding the murder of Jews. The Germans want to save a few Jews but the Poles disagree and in a bestial way murder almost all their Jewish neighbors. And, generally speaking, the only place to provide shelter for the Jews against the bloodthirsty Polish mob was the Nazi gendarmerie post. In fact, there should be no question about the criminal nature of Poles, since their spiritual guidance was in the hands of Catholic priests. Gross mentions only two of them, and they are both common criminals...
 
The author of "Neigbors" has used an extremely poor and tendentiously chosen selection of sources, nor did he undertake a critical analysis; he constantly introduces into his books ill-founded statements and facts; he omits or mangles whatever doesn't fit his preconceived theses; he constructs a historical narrative on the basis of stereotypes, prejudices and common gossip; in his reasonings he doesn't observe the rules of logic and/or scholarly objectivity; finally, he pronounces arbitrary metaphysical-ideological opinions which have no scholarly basis whatsoever.
 
Because of all these shortcomings, Jan Tomasz Gross's book cannot form the foundation of any serious discussion about Polish history in general, and the crime in Jedwabne in particular.
 
Piotr Gontarczyk

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obiecana_ekspiacja.htm
Foreseen expiation
The President of IPN has already passed his judgment.

polish version
 
translated by: Emilia Wisniewska

Jewish leaders in the USA expect solemn observation of 60-th anniversary of the pogrom in Jedwabne. Lets hope for a presence of the highest government officials of Poland at the ceremony - said the President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Professor Leon Kieres, while on the visit to the USA.

The President of IPN will meet with activists of the Americal Jewish Commitee on Monday evening in New York.

During the meeting, the President has declared his intention to promptly explain the matter of pogrom and end the investigation 'already in April or May'.

Professor Kieres stressed, as well, that the plans have been made to replace the existing plaque on the monument in Jedwabne, which indicated Germans as perpetrators of the murder with a new table informing that Poles committed the murder.

KWM, PAP

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ciszej_nad_ta_trumna.htm
Walesa on Jedwabne: Quiet Over This Grave !
polish version
 
translated by:

"Lets quiet down over this grave," Lech Walesa told Radio ZET, after being asked what the Poles should do about the murder in Jedwabne. He added that he had apologized to the Jewish nation during his visit to Israel, and now he expected an apology from the other side.

When asked "Who should apologize for the murder of Jews committed by the Poles in Jedwabne ?" the former Polish President replied that "it would be best if the dead did it - just as evildoers will do on Judgement Day."

Walesa reminded that he had apologized at the Kneset in 1991. " I apologized to them as President of Poland, we've done it repeatedly, but not one Jew has ever apologized to the Poles, in spite of the fact that many interesting things went on [in the past], including Jewish perpetrators of crimes [against the Poles]."

According to him, " there are Jewish also-runs [ an evident allusion to J.T. Gross, the author of "Neighbours," whose books haven't sold too well both in Poland and America] and others who live only from writing books, and who reopen the old wounds, traumatizing the two nations who suffered most. This is disgusting, and we should have ended it long ago. The two nations who suffered so much should be tolerant of and patient with one another, understanding that villains were on both sides" added the former President.

As far as he is concerned, "it [the murder in Jedwabne] happened during the war; Poland was under the German and Russian administration, so one should hold accountable those who caused the war, and even those who got information from Mr. Karski"[ an allusion to the British and Americans during WWII, who got to know about the Holocaust from Jan Karski, a courier of the Polish-government-in-exile].

" Nations such as the US, France, and Great Britain have not apologized to us for not keeping agreements and pacts " Walesa said.

" One can never say enough 'I am sorry,' but there's no need to make a blame-game out of it only because somebody has written a book and made a few bucks. The Polish and Jewish nations suffered so much that they should never again be in conflict with one another. Those who should be beaten up are those who used to beat us, and we shouldn't keep on bickering" he added.

Asked if President Kwasniewski should apologize for the murder in Jedwabne, Walesa replied: " He should start from an apology for communism, and that he backed it, and other matters should be left to God."

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between_the_hammer_and_the_nail.htm
Between the hammer and the nail
Excerpt from the Mark Paul's book "The Story of Two Shtetls"
 

Not only the Germans "pacified" villages

Excerpt from the book "The Story of Two Shtetls", published by The Polish Educational Foundation in North America. It is an important book, which deals with Polish-Jewish relations in the eastern part of Poland during World War II. The book contains contributions by scholars and publicists, both Poles and Jews, from various countries.

The Story of Two Shtetls Bransk and Ejszyszki: An Overview of Polish-Jewish Relations in Northeastern Poland During World War II (Part Two) - revised and expanded

(Toronto and Chicago: The Polish Educational Foundation in North America, 1998)

Pages 99, 114-16:

Anti-Semitic Pogrom in Ejszyszki?

An Overview of Polish-Jewish Relations in Wartime Northeastern Poland

by Mark Paul

OTHER CIVILIAN MASSACRES:

One of the earliest and most gruesome episodes was the "pacification" of Naliboki, whose aim was the liquidation of the nascent pro-Home Army underground organization in that townlet. The Polish and Byelorussian villagers had formed a self-defence unit to fend off Soviet and Jewish marauders.

In Soviet eyes, their chief "crime" was that they had rebuffed overtures from the Soviet partisan command to fall into line.[1] The joint Soviet-Jewish assault on Naliboki occurred on May 8, 1943.

One hundred and twenty-eight (or nine) innocent civilians, including women and children, were butchered in a heinous pogrom that lasted almost two hours. The Jewish factions that did most of the pillaging and murdering of entire families awakened from their sleep were the Bielski ("Jerusalem") and Zorin ("Pobeda") detachments.

Everyone is in tears. The plunderers did not omit a single homestead. Something was taken from everyone. Because he resisted, they killed the father of my schoolmate and cousin, Marysia Grygorcewiczówna. The "soldiers of Pobeda" and "Jerusalemites" took with them the pigs and chickens which they shot, flour, as well as other provisions. They wanted to live! But they took the lives of others. They did not come to fight. …

In the space of almost two hours, 128 innocent people died, the majority of them, as eyewitnesses later testified, at the hands of the Bielski and "Pobeda" assassins.[2]

The Soviet report prepared by General Platon on May 10, 1943 gave the following-grossly embellished (e.g., there was no German police garrison in Naliboki!)-Version of this reputed "military operation":

On the night of May 8, 1943, the partisan detachments "Dzerzhinsky" … "Bolshevik" … "Suvorov" … under the command of the leader of the "Stalin" Brigade … by surprise destroyed the German garrison of the "self-defence" of the townlet of Naliboki. As a result of two-and-a-half hours of fighting 250 members of the self-defence [referred to by its Byelorussian name of "samokhova"-M.P.] group were killed. We took 4 heavy machine-guns, 15 light machine guns, 4 mortars, 10 automatic pistols, 13 rifles, and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition (for rifles), and a lot of mines and grenades. We burned down the electrical station, the sawmill, the barracks, and county office. We took 100 cows and 78 horses. …

I order the leaders of the brigade and partisan detachments to present those distinguished in this battle for state awards.

In this battle, our units lost six dead and six wounded. Praise to our brave partisans-patriots of the Fatherland.[3]

Other villages, such as Szczepki and Prowzaly, and the townlet of Kamien Nowogródzki met a similar fate in the early months of 1944.[4] These exploits are strangely missing from memoirs of the Bielski partisans and from sanitized Holocaust histories.[5]

Ironically, in August 1943, a few months after the massacre in Naliboki, as part of a massive anti-partisan operation known as "Operation Hermann," some 60,000 German troops descended and, with the assistance of Lithuanian auxiliary forces (attached to the SS) and Byelorussian police, rounded up the civilian population of dozens of villages in the area of Naliboki forest suspected of supporting the partisans (some 20,000 villagers were deported to the Reich for slave labour) and burned down their homesteads.[6] Among those murdered for the crime of aiding partisans and Jews were a number of priests: Rev. Józef Bajko and Rev. Józef Baradyn from Naliboki, Rev. Pawel Dolzyk from Derewna, and Rev. Leopold Aulich and Rev. Kazimierz Rybaltowski from Kamien.[7]

Tuvia Bielski and many other Jewish partisans vividly recalled this German operation.

"One night I sent Akiba and a number of people with him to the village of Kletishtze [Kleciszcze]. Perhaps it would be possible to get some food.

When our people came to the village, they saw numerous German forces. The village was illuminated with the powerful lights of military vehicles.

Akiba returned with empty hands, but the information he had was important. Some time later the farmers told us that the number of Germans that were in the village that night was in the thousands. … After a while we found out that the Germans had gathered all the farmers of the village of Kletishtze and had taken them away from their village in trucks. They burned the village. The farmers were taken to Germany and only about a score managed to escape. Cattle, which they could not take with them, the Germans shot if the fire did not succeed in consuming them.

In the same way, the Germans burned at that time seventeen villages and hundreds of farmers' homesteads. Also, the village of Nalibuki [Naliboki] was consumed by fire.

The intention of the Germans was, as our agents informed us later, to destroy the villages which were close to the forest in order that the Partisans would not be helped by them with supplies and places to hide.[8]

NOTES:

[1] According to Krajewski, the foremost authority on these events, a self-defence group was created in Naliboki in August 1942, at the urging of the Germans, as a condition of not carrying out a "pacification" of this small town in the wake of a nearby assault by Soviet partisans on German troops. The townspeople were given a small quantity of rifles (22) and basically guarded the town against marauding bands. The self-defence group did not engage in military confrontations with the regular Soviet partisans and in March 1943, under the leadership of the local Home Army commander, Eugeniusz Klimowicz, reached a non-aggression agreement with Major Rafail Vasilevich, the local leader of the Soviet partisans. In April, when the self-defence group was summoned to the village of Niescierowicze to fend off a violent assault by marauders, two of its members were killed. The local Soviet command did not question the validity of such interventions. A surprise attack on Naliboki was launched on May 8, 1943 by the Stalin Brigade, with the participation of the Bielski detachment (which reported to it at that time), under the command of Major Vasilevich. A large part of the town was burned to the ground and 129 people were killed. See Krajewski, Na Ziemi Nowogródzkiej, 387-88. See also Komisja Historyczna Polskiego Sztabu Glównego w Londynie, Polskie Sily Zbrojne w Drugiej wojnie swiatowej 3: Armia Krajowa, 529; Antoni Boguslawski's afterword in Tadeusz Lopalewski, Miedzy Niemnem a Dzwina: Ziemia Wilenska i Nowogródzka (London: Wydawnictwo Polskie and Tern (Rybitwa) Book, 1955), 245; Adolf Pilch, Partyzanci trzech puszcz (Warszawa: Editions Spotkania, 1992), 135; Waclaw Nowicki, "W imie prawdy o zolnierzach AK: List otwarty do prof. A. Hackiewicza," Slowo- Dziennik katolicki, no. 141, August 11, 1993; Zygmunt Boradyn, "Rozbrojenie," Karta, no 16 (1995): 127; Tadeusz Piotrowski, Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1998), 102; Tadeusz Gasztold, "Sowietyzacja i rusyfikacja Wilenszczyzny i Nowogródczyzny w dzialalnosci partyzantki sowieckiej w latach 1941-1944," in Adam Sudol, ed., Sowietyzacja Kresów Wschodnich II Rzeczypospolitej po 17 wrzesnia 1939 (Bydgoszcz: Wyzsza Szkola Pedagogiczna w Bydgoszczy, 1998), 277-78, 281-82; Zygmunt Boradyn, Niemen rzeka niezgody: Polsko-sowiecka wojna partyzancka na Nowogródczyznie 1943-1944 (Warsaw: Rytm, 1999), 100-101; Marek J. Chodakiewicz, Piotr Gontarczyk and Leszek Zebrowski, eds., Tajne oblicze GL-AL i PPR: Dokumenty (Warsaw: Burchard Edition, 1999), vol. 3, 251, 253.

[2] Waclaw Nowicki, Zywe echa (Warsaw: Antyk, 1993), 98, 100.

[3] This order is reproduced, in Polish translation, in Gasztold, "Sowietyzacja i rusyfikacja Wilenszczyzny i Nowogródczyzny w dzialalnosci partyzantki sowieckiej w latach 1941-1944," in Sudol, ed., Sowietyzacja Kresów Wschodnich II Rzeczypospolitej po 17 wrzesnia 1939, 281-82.

Eugeniusz Klimowicz, the Home Army commander, was charged with various crimes in Stalinist Poland, among them for activities directed against Soviet partisans! The death sentence imposed on him by a military tribunal in Warsaw was commuted to life imprisonment. Klimowicz described the events leading up to the pacification of Naliboki in a petition he sent to the head of the Supreme Military Tribunal, dated May 30, 1956 (Sygn. Akt Sr 749/51; pismo: Do Ob. Prezesa Najwyzszego Sadu Wojskowego w Warszawie).

[4] Kazimierz Krajewski, "Nowogródzki Okreg Armii Krajowej," in Jaroslaw Wolkonowski, ed., Sympozjum historyczne "Rok 1944 na Wilenszczyznie": Wilno 30 czerwca-1 lipca 1994r., (Warsaw: Biblioteka "Kuriera Wilenskiego," 1996), 54; Krajewski, Na Ziemi Nowogródzkiej, 388; Gasztold, "Sowietyzacja i rusyfikacja Wilenszczyzny i Nowogródczyzny w dzialalnosci partyzantki sowieckiej w latach 1941-1944," in Sudol, ed., Sowietyzacja Kresów Wschodnich II Rzeczypospolitej po 17 wrzesnia 1939, 277. According to Krajewski, 14 villagers were killed in Prowzaly in retaliation for an attempt to organize a local self-defence group. Seven families were wiped out in Szczepki.

[5] The only Jewish account the author has come across that appears to refer to the massacre in Naliboki is one related by one of the Jewish partisans involved in the assault to Sulia Wolozhinski Rubin, his mistress (at the time), and recorded by her almost twenty years later. It is replete with lapses, obvious concoctions and a remarkable lack of detail (place name, date, chronology, etc.), which is surprising given that her husband is said to hail from Naliboki and would have taken part in the massacre of his former neighbours.

The reason given for the assault is also highly dubious, since there was no compelling reason for anyone to have to pass through the isolated townlet of Naliboki (which was not in proximity to Dworzec) other than to forage. Moreover, the decision to launch the assault was entirely in the hands of the local Soviet partisan command.

Sulia Rubin's hearsay account is as follows: "There was a village not far from the [Dworzec] ghetto which escaping Jews would have to pass on the way to the forest, or partisans would pass on the way from the woods. These villagers would signal with bells and beat copper pots to alert other villages around. Peasants would run out with axes, sickles-anything that could kill-and would slaughter everybody and then divide among themselves whatever the unfortunate had had. Boris' [Rubizhewski] group decided to stop this once and for all. They sent a few people into the village and lay in ambush on all the roads. Soon enough signaling began and the peasants ran out with their weapons to kill the 'lousy Jews'. Well, the barrage started and they were mown down on all sides. Caskets were made for three days and more than 130 bodies buried. Never again were Jews or partisans killed on those roads." See Sulia Wolozhinski Rubin, Against the Tide: The Story of an Unknown Partisan (Jerusalem: Posner & Sons, 1980), 126-27.

As for the hostility of the local population, in another part of her memoir, Rubin recalls that when she fell sick, she was sheltered by villagers in nearby "Kletishtche" [Kleciszcze] for three weeks until she recovered her strength. "Kletishtche was a planlessly scattered, muddy village laid between two deep forests. The houses were wooden and primitive, but as clean as possible and the local peasants were good people." Ibid., 134-35.

However, in an interview conducted in 1993 for the documentary film "The Bielsky Brothers: The Unknown Partisans" (Soma Productions-written and produced by David Herman; reissued in 1996 by Films for the Humanities & Sciences), Sulia Rubin, who is interviewed together with her husband Boris Rubin at her side, provides a different version, now claiming that the assault on Naliboki was carried out by her husband when he learned that his father had been nailed to a tree by some villagers: "His father Shlomko … was crucified on a tree … Boris found out. That village doesn't exist anymore. … 130 people they buried that day."

It is difficult to understand how a pivotal event like that, had it occurred, could have been omitted from her detailed memoir. Moreover, the claim that the decision to attack Naliboki was Boris Rubin's is quite simply a concoction. This documentary, however, does inadvertently underscore the true source of the conflict with the local population. As one of the interviewed partisans put it, "The biggest problem was … feeding so many people. Groups of 10 to 12 partisans used to go out for a march of 80 to 90 kilometres, rob the villages, and bring food to the partisans [i.e. partisan base and family camp]."

[6] Zygmunt Boradyn, "Stosunki Armii Krajowej z partyzantka sowiecka na Nowogródczyznie," in Zygmunt Boradyn, Andrzej Chmielarz, and Henryk Piskunowicz, eds., Armia Krajowa na Nowogródczyznie i Wilenszczyznie (1941-1945) (Warsaw: Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN, 1997), 112. Other "pacifications" carried out by the Germans on a massive scale in this part of Poland are described in Maria Wardzynska, "Radziecki ruch partyzancki i jego zwalczanie w Generalnym Komisariacie Bialorusi," Pamiec i sprawiedliwosc: Biuletyn Glównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu-Instytutu Pamieci Narodowej 39 (1996): 46-50. The author points out that the armed Soviet partisans would flee the area leaving the defenceless local population to fend for itself.

[7] Mieczyslaw Suwala, "'Boze, cos Polske' w Puszczy Nalibockiej," in Udzial kapelanów wojskowych w Drugiej wojnie swiatowej (Warsaw: Akademia Teologii Katolickiej, 1984), 386.

[8] Albert Nirenstein, A Tower from the Enemy: Contributions to a History of Jewish Resistance in Poland (New York: The Orion Press, 1959), 371-72.

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murderers_who_take_pride_in_their_crime.htm
Murderers who take pride in their crime
by Krzysztof Janiewicz
 

Partisans or bandits?

On February 12, 2001, the Canadian Polish Congress wrote to Poland's Institute of National Remembrance/Memory (Instytut Pamieci Narodowej-IPN) to initiate an investigation into a mass murder perpetrated in the village of Koniuchy (now Kaniukai, Lithuania) during World War II. According to the count of the perpetrators themselves, some 300 defenceless Poles-mostly women and children-were massacred in that bloody orgy.

Professor Witold Kulesza, the director of the IPN's Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, announced on February 22, that there would be a formal investigation into this matter, thus bringing to fruition an undertaking commenced by the Congress' Information Services in 1996.

One of the most tragic aspects of any war is the murder of the civilian population which, most often innocently, gets caught up in sweeping events that unfold around them and over which they have little or no control. As extensive documentary evidence shows, Jews hiding in the forests were most often killed during German raids, by Soviet partisans, and by marauding bands of various descriptions. A much smaller number of Jews—partisans and forest people—were killed by Polish partisans for taking part in incessant raids for provisions against the Polish population. There are abundant descriptions authored by Jewish partisans attesting to how cruel and violent these robberies could be.

The Jewish partisans in Rudniki forest, who had subordinated themselves to the Soviet partisan command, consisted of four divisions: "Death to Fascism," led by Jacob (Yaakov) Prenner; "Struggle," led by Avrasha Rasel; "To Victory," led by Shmuel Kaplinsky; and "Avenger," led by Abba Kovner.

There were fifty partisans in each division, and the four divisions together formed the so-called Jewish Brigade, of which Abba Kovner was the commander. See Rich Cohen, The Avengers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), 110.

Subsequently, the Jewish Brigade was disbanded and the Jewish partisans were merged into the Lithuanian Brigade which, despite its name, contained few ethnic Lithuanians; its make-up was said to be 20 percent Jewish. Ibid., 112, 121.

We also learn that after the city of Wilno was taken and the Red Army advanced into East Prussia, because of the intervention of a Jew who worked for the Soviet high command Jewish partisans were excused from engaging in battle; they remained in Wilno were they were presented with Medals of Valour, the highest honour in the Red Army. Ibid., 154.

According to Isaac Kowalski, the partisans of the almost exclusively Jewish "Nekamah" unit were appointed to various important economic posts in the city. Isaac Kowalski, A Secret Press in Nazi Europe: The Story of a Jewish United Partisan Organization (New York: Central Guide Publishers, 1969), 386.

In northeastern Poland, the peasants were close to starvation after they "met" both the German and Soviet "requisitions." In some cases, they defended their property and resisted these raids, only to see their homes and villages "pacified." Soviet-Jewish partisans obliterated the village of Koniuchy in the Rudniki forest, near Wilno, in April 1944. According to Jewish participants who took part in this bloodbath, some three hundred inhabitants—mostly women and children—were slaughtered. Peasants attempting to escape from the inferno were shot. Even an infant found by two Jewish women partisans near the body of his murdered mother was picked up and hurled into a blazing hut. The following account is by a Jewish participant of that inferno:

"The Brigade Headquarters decided to raze Koniuchy to the ground to set an example to others. One evening a hundred and twenty of the best partisans from all the camps, armed with the best weapons they had, set out in the direction of the village. There were about 50 Jews among them, headed by Yaakov Prenner. At midnight they came to the vicinity of the village and assumed their proper positions. The order was not to leave any one alive. Even livestock was to be killed and all property was to be destroyed. …

The signal was given just before dawn. Within minutes, the village was surrounded on three sides. On the fourth side was the river and the only bridge over it was in the hands of the partisans. With torches prepared in advance, the partisans burned down the houses, stables, and granaries, while opening heavy fire on the houses. … Half-naked peasants jumped out of windows and sought escape. But everywhere fatal bullets awaited them. Many jumped into the river and swam towards the other side, but they too, met the same end. The mission was completed within a short while. Sixty households, numbering about 300 people, were destroyed, with no survivors."

See Chaim Lazar, Destruction and Resistance (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1985), 174-75

"Konyuchi [sic] was a village of dusty streets and squat, unpainted houses. … The partisans - Russians, Lithuanians and Jews - attacked Konyuchi from the fields, the sun at their backs. The partisans-Russians, Lithuanians and Jews-attacked Konyuchi [sic] from the fields, the sun at their backs. There was gunfire from the guard towers. Partisans returned the fire.

The peasants ducked into houses. Partisans threw grenades onto roofs and the houses exploded into flame. Other houses were torched. Peasants ran from their front doors and raced down the streets. The partisans chased them, shooting men, women and children. Many peasants ran in the direction of the German garrison, which took them through a cemetery on the edge of town.

The partisan commander, anticipating this move, had stationed several men behind the gravestones. When these partisans opened fire, the peasants turned back, only to be met by the soldiers coming up from behind. Caught in a cross fire, hundreds of peasants were killed."

See Rich Cohen, The Avengers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000), 145.

"The entire village [of Koniuchy] was laid in ashes and its inhabitants were killed," according to Zalman Wylozny who served in the "Death to Fascists" detachment.

See Golota, "Losy Zydów ostroleckich w czasie II wojny swiatowej," Biuletyn Zydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, no. 187 (1998): 32.

Kowalski, A Secret Press in Nazi Europe, 333-34; also reproduced in Isaac Kowalski, comp. and ed., Anthology on Armed Jewish Resistance, 1939-1945, volume 4 (Brooklyn, New York: Jewish Combatants Publishers House, 1991), 390-91.

According to Kowalski, Koniuchy was located about ten kilometres from the periphery of the partisan base, but there is no mention by him that the residents were going out of their way to hunt down Jewish or Soviet partisans. (Indeed, such conduct would have been suicidal.) Rather, whenever the partisans "crossed" or "passed" the village on their way to "important and dangerous missions" of an unspecified nature, they "were met by sniper fire." Since there was no compelling reason for the partisans having to pass repeatedly through a village ten kilometres from their base, it is apparent that these confrontations occurred during "economic" actions, i.e., raids on this village.

Polish historian, Kazimierz Krajewski, disputes the Jewish versions. The village was not the "fortress" it is made out to be and its entire "arsenal" consisted of several rusted rifles. The sole cause of the villagers' misfortune was that they attempted to fend off relentless and increasingly violent partisan raids. Krajewski also mentions that, on April 27, 1944, shortly before the assault on Koniuchy, Soviet partisans attacked the hamlet of Niewoniance, which also supported the Home Army. Two families of Home Army members consisting of eight people-were murdered and their farmsteads burned to the ground.

See Krajewski, Na Ziemi Nowogródzkiej, 511-12. We now know, as well, that the nearest German garrisons or police post was six kilometres away in Rakliszki. See Malewski, "Masakra w Koniuchach," Nasza Gazeta, March 8,

According to the Polish historian Kazimierz Krajewski's "Na Ziemi Nowogrodzkiej: "Now"-Nowogródzki Okreg Armii Krajowej", published in Warsaw in 1997:

"The only 'crime' committed by the inhabitants of Koniuchy was the fact that they had had enough of the daily - or, rather, nightly - robberies and assaults, and they wanted to organize self-defence. The Bolsheviks from the Rudniki Forest decided to annihilate the village in order to terrorize into submission the inhabitants of other settlements. ...

The massacre of the population of Koniuchy, including women and children, has been described by Chaim Lazar as an outstanding 'combat operation,' of which he is genuinely proud.

The description [by Lazar] of the village's 'fortifications' is a complete nonsense. It was an average village, in which a group of men has organized a self-defence unit. Their equipment consisted of a few rusty rifles."

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response_to_free_press.htm
Sasiedzi - response to Free Press
 
translated by:

HERALDS OF TRUTH
588 Essex Dr., Rochester Hills, MI 48307, Tel. & Fax: (248) 650-8553
E-mail: [email protected]

Editor-in-Chief, DETROIT FREE PRESS
321 Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48226
March 14, 2001

Dear Sir,

We would like to add more information to the article titled "Village horror rattles Poland" by Beata Pasek (Detroit Free Press, Monday, March 12, 2001).

Critics, historians and numerous eyewitnesses are already suspicious, that Jan Tomasz Gross' book "Neighbors" is in reality a fictional account not a documentary. The reasons for this are as follows:

1. The author bases his conclusion almost exclusively upon information from one witness disregarding evidence given by others. His principal source for "Neighbors" - Szmul Wasersztajn alias Calka - collaborated with the Soviets, despised his Polish neighbors, and was personally responsible for many tortures and deportations of Poles to Siberian gulags. He lied when he talked about the German rescue of Jews. The allegedly "easily reached agreement" between Nazi commanders and Poles in Jedwabne is a pure absurdity. Everybody knows that Germans, especially Nazi commanders, never made any agreements with Poles. They issued orders and executed them by force and killing.

2. Jan T. Gross fails to mention, interestingly, that on the day of the massacre nearly 300-armed German soldiers (members of so called "Einsatzgruppen", special troops for Jewish extermination) arrived at Jedwabne to terrorize Poles and murder Jews.

3. In his book, J. T. Gross omitted other important information: Appointed by the Germans as mayor of Jedwabne, Marian Karolak, had a German background, and on the arrival of Hitler's army became a Reichsdeutch (German citizen). With the help of a few local bandits and thieves, he cooperated with the Germans in the destruction of Jews. Gross simply, for unknown reasons, chooses to charge all the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne for this tragedy.

4. The massacre of Jews in Jedwabne was brought before a court in 1949 and 12 villagers (one of them was just a by-stander) were convicted for collaboration with Germans. Among judges and attorneys in this case were many communist Jews. Prosecutor Waldemar Monkiewicz, head of a Commission on German War Crimes, wrote in1989, that some of the convicted persons were innocent and sentenced only because, in the postwar Stalinist era, historical facts were arbitrarily changed and adjusted to favor communist ideology and its adherents.

5. Why did J. T. Gross decide to write this book especially since he is neither trained as a historian nor as a criminal attorney – after a lapse of 60 years? Perhaps he seeks to participate in the so-called Holocaust industry as so very well described in Norman G. Finkelstein' book "The Holocaust Industry" published by Verso in 2000. It shows that some people make money and advance their careers out of promoting the Holocaust while the needy Holocaust victims receive very little.

6. Without doubt the multitude of errors, oversights, and distortions written by Gross make the book a worthless secondary source in Holocaust studies. Moreover, we are afraid its publication and promotion could further deteriorate Polish-Jewish relationships and provoke mutual animosity.

We hope you will print all the above information in the spirit of free speech and full disclosure so as to keep your readers better informed.

  Karol Gutowski Andrzej Zawadzki
  President Secretary

P.S. Jedwabne is located Northeast of Warsaw and not Southwest as your map indicates. This is a very crucial fact because the East was where the first Soviet campaign of terror, brutality and death took place, during September 1939 to June 1941.

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robert_strybel.htm
Jedwabne - Polish massacre of innocent Jews?
by Robert Strybel
 
Mr. Strybel is a journalist whose articles appear in Dziennik Zwiazkowy and Polish News [see bio below]; he is a long-time member of the Siec. Contribution is courtesy of the author.

Jedwabne -- Polish massacre of innocent Jews?

By Robert Strybel, Our Warsaw Correspondent [sorry - I don't know where was published the original article - WK.]

WARSAW--A year ago hardly anybody in Poland or anywhere else had heard of Jedwabne. Now it is fast becoming one of the most loudly publicized Polish-Jewish controversies. Some say it is another case of rich, influential Jewry accusing poor Poles of eternal anti-Semitism and shifting the blame for the Holocaust from the Germans to them to bolster their property-restitution claims against the Polish government. For others it is a case of asking forgiveness for the worst Polish pogrom against Jews and seeking true reconciliation between the two nations, although some wonder if the Jews ever intend to reciprocate. Still others insist that all the facts must be brought into the open so any historical inaccuracies can be righted.

The issue can also be viewed as a challenge to the political maturity of Poles who should choose an approach that will do the least harm to Poland's international image and strategic interests. Jedwabne is all that and probably much more. But let us start at the beginning.

The basic facts are that on June 10, 1941 an estimated 1,600 Jews in the little northeastern town of Jedwabne were beaten, stabbed, stoned or bludgeoned, then herded into a barn and burnt alive. The inscription on a memorial erected in the town in the 1950s blamed the killings on "the Gestapo and Nazi Gendarmerie", but a book by Polish émigré Jew Jan T. Gross contends that the killings were the work of local Poles. The book "S_siedzi", whose English-language version is due to appear in America shortly, has naturally stirred up a hornets nest of angry controversy. While historians of every persuasion agree that some Poles did take part in the pogrom, the extent of their participation, the role of the Germans and even the number of victims have remained in dispute.

Gross states that 92 Poles took part in the massacre, but the post-war communist regime put only 23 men on trial, of which only 12 were found guilty and sent to prison. The number of Germans in Jedwabne on that day is also contested. Gross claims there were only a couple, but a cook testified she was ordered to prepare supper for 60 German gendarmes that day, and some historians suggest that a 230-strong German force had been sent into the area to exterminate the Jews. The number of victims also remains unclear.

Tomasz Szarota, a Polish historian of Jewish descent, doubts whether 1,600 people could possible have fit in a small barn. The victims? bodies were all buried in a nearby ditch so the mass grave could be exhumed to determine the exact number. Jews, however, oppose such a move, insisting their religion does not allow the bones of the dead to be disturbed.

The issue has divided Poles and Polish Americans, religious leaders, historians, politicians, journalists and even the townspeople of Jedwabne who are sick of being badgered by the reporters and TV crews that have descended on their town. Edward Moskal, leader of the Polish-American Congress, who has frequently defended the Polish image against Jewish attacks, wrote in the Chicago Polish daily "Dziennik Zwi_zkowy": "Gross's cry of outrage is hardly the proper methodological tool for an historian. And in the case of Jedwabne it certainly does not confirm his thesis alleging the spontaneous and mass participation of the Polish community" in the Holocaust. (...) Those were truly sad events, but before a proper evaluation can be made, the world must become acquainted with Poland's entire history. That is becoming impossible in view of the pseudo-history being pursued by so many prejudiced historians in their untruthful and distorted presentation of Poland (...) The truth, if it is now to be revealed, is that not all Jews were angels, nor were all Poles. But the Jews have not given up pointing fingers at others, while refusing to admit their own sins."

Rather than mulling over any balance of blame, Jan Nowak-Jeziora_ski, underground Poland's World War II "courier from Warsaw" and former Radio Free Europe director, has expressed a largely pragmatic approach: "Films and photos of the massacre were made by German crews and deposited in Ludwigsburg (Germany), and there exists a strong probability they will soon be shown on TV screens world-wide. What can be done to limit the harm caused by such a spectacle" There exists an urgent need for some symbolic act that would express regret and atonement for the crime committed by our countrymen (...) It is important for it to take place before Gross's book appears (in English--RS) and before the film is found and disseminated, and for Polish and foreign media to publicize it. Only then will we be able to effectively and credibly defend Poland's good name from the slander alleging that Poles were Hitler"s partners in the crime of extermination. If we justify or diminish the crime, shift the responsibility to the victims or seek out extenuating circumstances, then in the eyes of the world, the whole nation may become an accomplice in the crime."

Poland's ex-communist President Aleksander Kwa_niewski, who has a record of bowing to Jewish pressure, said he would personally travel to Jedwabne for the 60th-anniversary commemoration and "apologize to the Jewish nation on behalf of Poles". Solidarity-rooted Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek said: "It it was our duty to pay due homage to the victims and uncover the whole truth (...) and the inevitable truth is that Poles were involved in the crime in Jedwabne; no serious-minded historian denies that". But he added: "The Murder in Jedwabne was not carried out in the name of the Polish nation or state. At that time Poland was an occupied country (...) We are ready to face even the darkest facts of our history in the spirit of truth. Nevertheless, we cannot allow the Jedwabne case to spread false notions about Poland's co-responsibility for the Holocaust or the Poles" inborn anti-Semitism."

Many historians and others taking part in the debate point out that the pogrom occurred nearly two years after the area was invaded by the Soviets who were welcomed and aided by many local Jews. Throughout Poland"s Soviet occupation zone, pro-Soviet Jewish militiamen and informers fingered their patriotic Polish neighbors who were arrested by Stalin's NKVD and sent to Siberia, often never to be heard from again. Jews took over the jobs of ethnic Poles and threatened and blackmailed their Polish neighbors in various ways. It is understandable -- although not in any way morally excusable or justifiable -- that some Poles, who had seen their loved ones exiled or killed or had themselves been persecuted by Jewish collaborators were seething with revenge against them. Others -- various thugs, thieves and assorted low-lives -- saw the pogrom as an opportunity to get their hands on the homes and possessions of the murdered Jews. It is a known fact that such scum exists in every society and seems to crawl out of the woodwork especially during wars, revolutions and other violent upheavals.

But many Jews regard any such clarifications as an attempt to explain away the pogrom and diminish Polish guilt. When I noted that all wars deprave people and that both Jews and Poles not only betrayed one another to save their own skin but also turned in their fellow countrymen, the chief rabbi of Warsaw, American Michael Schudrich, replied: "This is only about Jedwabne, about Poles killing Jews. Period. Let's not try to relativize everything. Since the partitions, Poles have perceived themselves as victims, and that has largely been the case. But in this particular instance it wasn't, and Poles must come to terms with that specific situation. Let them not worry about what others did to them but rather own up and set an example for others to follow. Let Jews learn from Poles."

It would indeed be good if Jedwabne became a springboard for mutual reconciliation in the spirit of the Polish bishops' 1965 appeal to their German counterparts: "We forgive and ask for forgiveness." Both Poles and Jews can produce a long list of grievances against each other, and it's too bad a "hooray for our side mentality" continues to dominate in the way those problems are addressed. We (here meaning Poles and Jews) continue seeing a blade in the other side's eye and not the beam in our own. Too bad some Polish historian wasn"t the one to first expose the Jedwabne pogrom. To correct that Polish oversight, perhaps some Jewish scholar will finally decide to research and publicize the April 1944 massacre in Koniuchy where 300 Polish men, women and children, the entire population of this tiny village near Zamosc, were killed by a largely Jewish Soviet partisan unit for daring to defend their property against repeated communist plunder.

Over the years, Pope John Paul II and other Polish churchmen, Presidents Lech Wa__sa and Aleksander Kwa_niewski, plus other high-ranking Polish government officials and leading intellectuals have all beat their breasts and apologized to Jews for whatever harm they may have suffered at the hands of Poles. There is no doubt that an official apology for Jedwabne will also be forthcoming shortly. But will Poles ever live to hear "przepraszamy" ("we're sorry") for the pro-Soviet collaborators who betrayed Poland and welcomed the invading Red Army in 1920 and again in 1939? For the Bermans, Rózanskis, Fejgins, Romkowskis, Brytsygierowas, Minces, Borejszas and entire teams of other Jewish Communists who had Polish freedom-fighters jailed, tortured and killed after World War II, while Sovietizing Poland's economy, suppressing its Catholic Church and atheizing its education and culture. Will anyone ever express official regret over the fact that two top Soviet leaders of Jewish nationality -- Molotov and Kaganovich -- signed Stalin's Katyn death warrant which led to the execution of 22,000 of Poland's best military officers, judges and community leaders"

ROBERT STRYBEL, a native of Detroit, Michigan, received his Master's Degree in Polish Language and Literature from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught Polish-related subjects at the secondary, college and adult-education levels and has spent many years working as the American Polonia's correspondent in Warsaw. His articles currently appear in a dozen Polish-American publications. He and his Polish-born wife have one son (born 1972).

___________________________________
THE TIMES (London)
March 9, 2001

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,7-96210,00.html

FRIDAY MARCH 09 2001

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uwagi_prof_strzembosza.htm
STRZEMBOSZ: GERMANS FORCED POLES TO PARTICIPATE IN JEDWABNE MURDER
polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

Rzeczpospolita, 15 March 2001

Professor Tomasz Strzembosz believes that the testimonies of witnesses in the 1949 trial in Lomza, on which Jan Gross has based his account in "Neighbors", indicate a direct German participation in the murder of Jews in Jedwabne.

"In these documents the Germans - Gestapo agents and gendarmes - appear frequently and in specific roles. They take an active part in the hunt for Jews all over the town, in guarding them at the market square and in escorting them to Bronislaw Sleszynski's barn, where they have been burned alive", states Professor Strzembosz.

He refers to the testimonies deposited both in the course of investigation and later on before the state prosecutor, as well as to the transcripts of the actual trial, conducted in Lomza on 16-17 May 1949.

In Strzembosz's opinion, the said testimonies (coming from the witnesses as well as from the defendants) clearly point out to the fact that the Germans have forced the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne to participate in that operation, especially in watching over the Jews gathered in the marketplace.

"The documents note instances in which Poles have been coerced - either by threats of violence, or simply by the presence of German police - to participate in these happenings. Once the Germans moved away, some of those Poles run and hid. The testimonies speak, for example, about a man who got hit on the head with a rifle butt for refusing to guard the Jews. There are witnesses who have seen him afterwards, covered in blood, in the street," said Strzembosz. In his opinion it is obvious that the German presence and their direct coercion have been vitally important for the actual turn of events.

Strzembosz described as surprising and disgusting the fact that "Professor Gross, who relied on the very same documents, did not mention the participation of Germans in this event, but rather presented the murder of Jedwabne Jews as an independent and voluntary act of the Polish community."

Strzembosz also holds that the records in question are not sufficient to determine who on the Polish side has participated in the killings. He stresses, however, that "they allow to determine the approximate size of the group [of those involved] as containing less than 50 people."

Original in Polish: http://www.rzeczpospolita.pl/gazeta/wydanie_010315/publicystyka/publicystyka_a_6.html#1

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forgotten_holocaust.htm
Reflections on Richard Lukas'
The Forgotten Holocaust
Ewa M. Thompson

 

No book is an island. Books are read and interpreted in the midst of other books, and their position in the stream of scholarship often determines what we say about them. In other words, history is written by winners. Losers have a hard time getting their story told.

The Forgotten Holocaust tells the story of a nation which fought on the Allied side in World War II but emerged from the war a loser, even though the Allies won. In 1945, Poland was reoccupied by its sworn enemy, Soviet Russia. Authentic Polish voices were silenced, and Polish scholarship on World War II was virtually gagged. While the Jewish Holocaust lasted four years, terror in Poland lasted for fifty years, from 1939 to 1989.

It is in this context that one should read Lukas' book. It tells the story of a country and a people that were the prime target of Nazi hate and of Soviet hate. No other nation in Europe was thus exposed to the hate of two totalitarian regimes, and no country in Europe resisted longer, or more nobly. This is what The Forgotten Holocaust faintly outlines, but it will take many more books like this one to make a dent in the consciousness of the American public.

To understand The Forgotten Holocaust, one has to realize that the context of World War II for Poland was different than that for the United States. To understand the Polish story, it is crucial to remember that in September 1939, Poland was attacked by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. It is crucial to remember that the Soviets were sworn friends of the Nazis in 1939, in 1940, and in 1941. The year 1945 began a new reign of terror in Poland. Until 1954 in particular, the Soviet-controlled secret police murdered and terrorized people by the tens of thousands, starting with the hero of Polish resistance, General Emil Fieldorf, murdered in 1950 under Stalin's deputy in Poland, Jakub Berman, and falsely accused in a show trial by prosecutor Benjamin Wajsblech (Antoni Zambrowski, "Morderczyni sadowa na lawie oskarzonych," Tygodnik Solidarnosc, 1 January 1998).

In Poland, three names strike terror into people's hearts: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Jakub Berman, Stalin's right hand in Poland from 1944 to 1953. Adolf Hitler's crimes are well known, Stalin's crimes are beginning to be known, but Jakub Berman's crimes are totally unknown in the West.

Lukas points out that in World War II, Poland had the largest, on a per-capita basis, and the most effective Resistance movement in Europe, and virtually no collaborators of any social stature. Poles are proud of not having produced a Quisling government or a Vichy government.

Poland lost one-quarter of its population in the war. Portions of Poland were polluted by Nazi invaders who built their largest extermination camp on Polish soil. Virtually every Polish family tasted the bitter taste of displacement, death, pauperization and, after the war, total powerlessness. This part of the Polish story deserves Jewish sympathy and recognition, and Poles are eagerly awaiting for tokens of these attitudes.

In 1939, Hitler said: "The destruction of Poland is our primary task. The aim is not the arrival at a certain line but the annihilation of living forces...." (Lukas 4) Before Jews became the primary target, Poles were shipped to Auschwitz by the tens of thousands.150,000 Polish Catholics went to Auschwitz. In Sachsenhausen, 20,000 Poles perished, in Mauthausen, 30,000, in Neuengamme, 17,000 (Lukas 38); 35,000 went to Dachau, 33,000 Polish women went to Ravensbrueck many of them to be experimented upon, with glass and other objects implanted in their uteruses. In view of that, to hear from uninformed members of the Jewish community that Poles participated in the annihilation of Jews makes you ask, "has the world really gone mad?"

Unlike those Jews who survived the Holocaust and moved to the West, Poles remained captives of the Soviets for 45 years. Unlike the Jews, Poles were never individually compensated by Germans for forced labor and camp atrocities. Tens of thousands of Poles were executed for helping Jews. In the Belzec concentration camp alone, 1,000 Poles died solely and exclusively for having been caught helping the Jews (Lukas 150). In 1944, after the fall of the Warsaw Uprising, the Germans ordered the entire population of Warsaw man, woman, child to leave the city, somewhat like the Khmer Rouge leaders who did the same to the capital of Cambodia Phnom Penh in the 1970s. Two hundred thousand Catholic civilians died in that uprising, of those who survived, 50,000 were shipped to concentration camps.

The Germans closed all scientific, artistic and literary institutions in Poland. Some 2250 periodicals ceased publication. Polish university professors were shot or sent to concentration camps. Calorie allotment for those Poles who were not shipped to concentration camps was 669 calories per day.

While this was going on, on the other side, in the Soviet-occupied part of Poland, Polish intelligentsia perished in Katyn and in the Gulag. Twenty-one thousand were murdered at Katyn, Bologoe, Dergachi. A million and a half went to the Siberian gulag. Show me another nation in Europe that suffered the fury of two of the most murderous regimes in modern history.

Yet even in these circumstances, at least one million people were involved in sheltering Jews (Lukas 150). In these circumstances, everyone of them was a saint, a hero, deserving no fewer accolades than Raul Wallenberg who was sheltered from Nazi retribution by his nationality, wealth and social status. In contrast, Poles who helped Jews were protected by nothing.

Lukas makes it clear, for those who wish to learn, that in Poland during the war and afterwards, terror was total. Psychologists tell us that in conditions of terror, for most people the norms of human behavior dissolve and the instinct of self-preservation takes over. Encyclopedia Judaica says: "standards of normal society did not obtain in ghettos and concentration camps." (Lukas 222) Nor did they obtain in the terrorized Polish lands. That there were so many instances of heroism, generosity, and love of one's neighbor in occupied Poland is an amazing fact that still awaits the explanation of researchers. The fact that hundreds of thousands of ordinary human beings showed superhuman courage not for a day, not just in battle, but month after month, should amaze and humble us, the urbanized beneficiaries of America's good fortune.

Lukas readily admits that the Jewish tragedy in World War II had no parallels. But he helps us comprehend that the Polish tragedy had no parallels either, although in a different way. The grief of the Holocaust has obscured the tragedy of Poles whose land was polluted by the Holocaust executives: those who conceived of the crematoria and then proceeded to build them. The land on which Poles live, and which they love, was thus polluted, and this pollution is a source of suffering for every Pole. The Jewish remnants departed. The Poles stayed. It is their land. They could not afford the luxury of departure. That pain should be acknowledged by those Jews who are concerned with the ramifications of the Holocaust. Surely the people who had to pick up the pieces, so to speak, after the Germans left, deserve some attention and consideration? Surely they too deserve a measure of sympathy, just as Antigone deserved sympathy for mourning the desecration of her brother's body.

That sympathy, that understanding, have so far been denied to Poles. Poles expect from the Western world, from Americans and, yes, from America's Jews, a measure of understanding in this matter. Lukas' book strives to generate that ounce of understanding.

There is one more aspect of Lukas' book which needs to be mentioned.

To Polish Christians it has become increasingly clear that events of World War II need to be viewed not only in moral terms but also in terms of interests. It has to be said, bluntly, that while the interests of Jews and Catholics were the same concerning the Nazis, namely, the Nazis were a sworn enemy, in regard to the Soviets these interests did not coincide. For the Jews, the Soviet Union was a possible refuge from the horrors of Nazi occupation. For all too many Jews, the Soviet Union was a land of promise. A significant part of the secular Jewish community in Poland greeted the Soviets as friends and collaborated with them in every way until the mid-1950s, thus contributing mightily to the destruction of Polish economy, culture, and population. Similar things could be said about the Polish-Soviet war in 1919, when mendacious gossip of "pogroms in Poland" was spread by Marxist and non-Marxist Jews in the West, to prevent the creation of a non-Marxist independent Polish state (Norman Davies, God's Playground, vol. 2, Columbia 1984, 262-3). In contrast, for Polish Christians the Soviet Union was, from the beginning, the country of the Gulag, a sworn enemy bent on destroying the Polish identity.

This aspect of World War II is virtually unknown in the United States.

Here we touch upon an issue which is extremely sensitive and has to be approached not in the spirit of accusation but in the spirit of understanding. In Revolution from Abroad: the Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia (Princeton, 1988), Professor Jan Gross says: "For the record, it must be stated unambiguously" that when the Red Army attacked Poland, it was welcomed by smaller or larger but, in any case, visible, friendly crowds in hamlets, villages, and towns. These crowds were largely Jewish ( Gross 29).

As I said in my article on the Katyn murders and the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (World War 2 and the Soviet People, edited by John & Carol Garrard, St. Martin's Press, 1993, 213-233), for Jews, the choice between Nazis and Soviets was clear. Throughout the war, a highly visible percentage of Jews in eastern Poland sided with the Soviets and not with the Poles. For Polish Christians, this was an act of treason. For the Jews themselves, it was a means of survival and an ideological choice. The interests of the two groups were dramatically different and I propose to look at it this way. When Polish resistance against the Nazis and against the Soviets got organized, the pro-Soviet groups, including Jewish groups and their sympathizers, were treated like any other segment of enemy forces. In underground struggle, where there is no time for due process and decisions have to be made quickly, it was kill or be killed for the Jews who sided with the Soviets; and for the Poles who sided with the cause of Poland. Lukas cites examples of the pro-Soviet partisans and sympathizers, in the Bialystok and Wilno (Vilnius) area, who were killed by the Polish underground forces. Such was also the case with the family of Ms. Yaffa Eliach who shielded the Soviet NKVD officers, and who now lives in the United States, is rabidly anti-Polish for both psychological and ideological reasons, it seems, and whose hatred, vented in The New York Times, added to that mountain of prejudice against Poles that has ruined many a Polish career in this country. From the standpoint of Polish interests, people like Ms. Eliach's family were traitors who collaborated with the enemy. From the standpoint of Jewish interests, these were Jews who sided with those who offered the best odds for survival. The disparity of interests was tragic for Jews and Poles alike. We have to recognize it, acknowledge it, and come to terms with it. But to recycle these enemies of Polish independence as victims of anti-Semitism is deeply unjust to Poles. Yet this has been done countless times, in countless books, statements, articles, policies, decisions.

After 1945 came the Soviet occupation, the aforementioned Jakub Berman, the most dreaded man in Poland, on whose conscience lie the deaths of 30,000 Home Army soldiers murdered in prisons and torture chambers in Soviet-occupied Poland (Teresa Toranska, Them, Harper & Row, 1987, 201-354).

Now I realize that these must be painful facts to learn or to recall for those who are overwhelmed by the uniqueness of the Holocaust. But nevertheless, they are significant facts which, for instance, Ms. Eva Hoffman chose to ignore in her book, while resorting to the customary repertoire of anecdotal evidence and insinuation to reinforce the all too pervasive image of Poles as gratuitous anti-Semites and as primitives whose indifference was largely responsible for Jewish losses in World War II. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

While Poles in Soviet-occupied Poland after World War II were forced to maintain a frustrated silence, there developed quite a repertoire of invectives that created their own universe of discourse, a universe which no single review can hope to deconstruct. I can only signal its existence. The fact remains that even such relatively mild writers as Ms. Hoffman could not abstain from invoking that repertoire. Yet these accusations, of the alleged deeply-seated and gratuitous anti-Semitism in Poland, are sadly reminiscent of the Nazi strategy of presenting Jews as forever diseased, mentally and physically, and forever a pernicious influence.

To cast these impoverished Polish peasants, who never experienced the luxury of a hot shower or of an elegant meal, as near-criminals, to condemn these mute people grilled by American cameramen until they say what the producer wanted them to say, reminds me of the Nazis expressing disgust at some impoverished Jew in the ghetto because he smelled bad and could not afford the luxury of self-defense.

No book is an island, and Lukas' book nearly drowns in the sea of scholarship on East Central Europe written by those who have engaged in the generation-old business of demonizing Poles as a nation and as a political entity. Former Nazi collaborators, the Soviets, recycled themselves as allies of the West, and repositioned themselves as legitimate suppliers of evidence and scholarship about Eastern and Central European history. We are still the dubious beneficiaries of this process. The authority of Lukas' book is pitted against the authority of books of that earlier provenance.

No book is an island. Yet I am trying to make Lukas' book resonate with you in a way that defies the odds. Lukas' book has nearly drowned in the sea of books that do not want to know what Lukas knows. Perhaps I am engaged in a hopeless task. But I believe that those present here came in order to partake of the truth to hear the full story, to understand and to learn.

In spite of tremendous odds, I am confident that the Polish story will have a chance to be heard. I do hope that for the small segment of the Jewish community present here, the book and my presentation of it will make a difference.

This paper was read at the Polish—Jewish dialogue, Houston Holocaust Museum, March 1, 1998.


From: The Sarmatian Review, April 1998 Issue
[email protected]

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disabling_mode.htm
The Disabling Mode: Poles in Jewish Discourse
Ewa M.Thompson

 

Let me say at the outset that as I understand it, we are engaging here in a secular and not a theological conversation. We are meeting here as two ethnic groups, Jews and Poles - both Americans. It is the secular aspect of our identities that is the focus of our encounter.

From our American Polish standpoint, there are three segments of Jewish-Polish relations which need correction and further discussion. The first has to do with independent Poland between the two world wars. The Soviet-inspired interpretation of interwar Poland as a country fast descending into fascism is common at American universities today, but it is poignantly false. Until the outbreak of World War II, the party in power in Poland was that of Józef Pilsudski, beloved by the Polish Catholics and a friend of the Jews, as Dr. Abraham Peck pointed out in his presentation on March 1. While tensions between the majority population and the country's minorities increased in the 1930s, no anti-Semitic party ever gained power in free Poland, and Catholic anti-Semitism, although deplorable, was substantially different from what was going on in neighboring Germany, a fact which the March 1998 Vatican document, "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah" also stresses. Until World War II broke out and Poland was overrun by Nazis and Soviets, Polish universities employed Jewish professors, Poland had a flourishing Jewish press, Jewish members of parliament, Jewish heroes such as Wilhelm Feldman.

As the Jewish American historian Joseph Rothschild wrote, "interwar Poland's faults and weaknesses were many...but .... Though badgered, the opposition parties operated legally...though harrassed, the... press remained independent and active; outspoken enemies of the regime continued to teach at the universities and to publish their criticisms; the autonomy of the judiciary from the administration was preserved." (East Central Europe between the Two World Wars, 72) Thus to say that pre-war Poland was ripening for the Holocaust is untenable. And yet, such false views have become entrenched in American discourse. On the eve of this discussion, i.e., on 28 March 1998, the Houston Chronicle printed the following in the note advertising our meeting: "The panel will cover the history of the Jewish community in Poland and the rise of anti-Semitism that lead to the Nazi Auschwitz concentration camp." The suggestion that it was Polish anti-Semitism that led to the creation of Auschwitz is an outrageous lie. For the first two years of its existence, Auschwitz was used primarily for the execution of Polish Catholics by the Germans. Over the years, Poles have suffered scores of such indignities with no attempt from the Jewish side to correct the mendacities of an anonymous provenance.


Polish Jews were not only victims of history, but also actors in history.


The second segment of the Polish story that has disappeared from Jewish memory is World War II itself. Few people wish to remember that Poland was attacked by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and that the first two years of war brought unspeakable destruction to the Polish population and culture. The deportations of one and a half million Poles - mostly Catholics - to the Soviet Gulag traumatized the entire Polish nationand that happened before the Shoah. Polish Catholics were on the death lists of the Soviets just because they were Polish Catholics. Polish children were starved and gassed, Polish parents were taken to Germany and worked to death as forced laborers. The nation was brutalized to the point which I am afraid would have been incomprehensible to secure middle class Americans even if they learned about it from textbooks which they have not, for this section of history has been excised from American memory as well. Have we ever heard from Jewish organizations any words of sympathy for the unspeakable tragedy, suffering and losses that befell the Jews' Polish brethren in World War II?

It was in these conditions that the Shoah took place. True, the Shoah overshadows Polish suffering. But it does not wipe it out. Between three and four million Polish Christians were killed during World War II by two sides, Nazis and Soviets. In a book titled Maus, a Jewish American cartoonist, Art Spiegelman, presented the Polish people in World War II as secure pigs, who looked indifferently at Jewish suffering. That such a racist and mendacious book is taught in American schools and universities today is a great injustice to Poles. And this is happening today, even as we speak, and not in some remote point in the past; and it is perpetrated by educated and supposedly responsible people, teachers and university professors. This book is also prominently displayed in the Houston Holocaust Museum's bookstore.

In spite of the terror imposed on Poland in World War II, there was no systematic collaboration with the Nazis. None. Zero. There were no SS units composed of Poles. There was in Poland no Vichy government. You cannot find any document written by any member of the exiled Polish Government or the underground resistance that condones or encourages turning in Jews to the Nazis. This was rather exceptional in Nazi-occupied Europe, but it has been elbowed out of American Jewish memory.

The third segment of Polish history which needs correction in American Jewish memory has to do with the Polish-Jewish relations under the Soviet occupation in 1939-41 and then again, in the decade following World War II. A book published by Princeton University Press and titled Revolution from Abroad: the Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, says that when the Soviet army attacked in September 1939, it was met, consistently and repeatedly, by friendly Jewish crowds. After these greetings there took place arrests, executions and deportations to the Gulag of persons who were predominantly Polish and Catholic. Poles expect the responsible members of the Jewish community to recognize that there took place, in the first two years of World War II and after the war, a massive collaboration of Jewish Poles with the Soviet occupiers, a collaboration which contributed to numerous Polish Christian deaths and family tragedies. Joseph Stalin appointed Jakub Berman as the virtual dictator of Poland between 1945-1953. How many Polish Christian lives did Jakub Berman waste, only God knows. Sources speak of 30,000 Polish patriots who were arrested and killed under his supervision. Have we ever heard any Jewish organization condemn Jakub Berman and express sympathy to Poles who suffered under his terror for nine long years?

Polish Americans urge the responsible members of the Jewish community to recognize that Jews were not just victims of history, but also actors in history. They made choices, acted, and sometimes committed crimes. The crimes committed against the Polish nation by people like Jakub Berman in the years of Stalinism, between 1945-1953, are a blank page to most Americans, Jewish and Christian alike. They are now being slowly uncovered by the courts of independent Poland. It is too late to punish the perpetrators: many of them are dead, some have emigrated.* But those who committed such crimes cannot be recycled as victims of anti-Semitism. Being in denial of these issues is not going to build bridges between the two communities. I urge my Jewish colleagues to understand that I am mentioning these facts not in the spirit of accusation, but in the spirit of understanding. The responsible members of the Polish community understand Jewish fears, they understand that fear of the Right of which Professor Michael Wyschogrod spoke in his lecture on March 1, 1998. This fear of the Catholic Right undoubtedly contributed to the choice many prominent Jews made, of siding with the Soviets rather than with Poles. I think one area of Polish—Jewish cooperation might be the nurturing of the kind of the Polish Right that is not inhospitable to Jews, the kind of the Polish Right represented by Pope John Paul II. But in turn, the Jewish community has to understand Polish fears, Polish bitterness at that deafening silence surrounding the crimes of people such as Jakub Berman on the one hand, and on the other, the defamation of Poles in the American media by such individuals as Art Spiegelman, Alan Dershovitz and countless others.

That so many Jews lived in Poland for centuries was not due to the fact that Poles were anti-Semitic. It was due to the fact that the Jews found in Poland, by comparison to other countries, more willingness to tolerate the Other than in other European lands. As Iwo Pogonowski said in his book, Jews in Poland, it was in Poland that Jewry found its modern voice, it was in Poland that it built itself into a modern nation, it was in Poland that it experienced a historically unprecedented demographic growth (between 1340 and 1772, the Jewish population of Poland grew 75-fold, while the Christian population grew only five-fold). While the Holocaust decimated Polish Jewry, the offshoots of this tremendous growth and of this modern nation had already moved to other countries, to flourish and develop there. The role of Poland in preserving and strengthening the modern Jewish identity is something most Poles are proud to remember.

Many Poles have noted that there prevails in this country a nearly total impenetrability to Polish discourse among many Jewish intellectuals. The authority of hundreds and thousands of books, articles, movies, speeches and artifacts has weighed heavily on Polish ability to enter the discursive mode. The unwisdom of constructing a world view from which Poland and Poles have been excised need not be elaborated here. A monologue in a dialogic form is just another utopian scheme that will not work.

I would like to conclude with a quote from the Foreign Minister of Poland, Dr. Bronislaw Geremek, who said during a recent NewsHour interview: "When you see a man who is a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto becoming Foreign Minister of Poland, how does one dare to speak of Polish anti-Semitism?" Indeed. I hope that these discussions will enable us to look forward in a way that will be productive for both communities. On behalf of the Polish Catholic community in Houston, I would like to express my thanks to Bishop Joseph Fiorenza and to Dr. Abraham Peck for making these discussions possible.

 

*Chief Military Prosecutor Helena Wolinska who in 1950 ordered the arrest of the hero of Polish Resistance, Home Army General 'Nil' Fieldorf (subsequently executed); who also ordered the arrest of former Polish Foreign Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski's father, left Poland with her husband in 1968 alleging that the reason was anti-Semitism. Efforts are under way to extradite her to Poland for questioning about the crimes of which she is accused. Rzeczpospolita OnLine, 15 October 1998, http://www.rzeczpospolita.pl ; BBC, 27 November 1998.

 

This paper was read at a Polish-Jewish dialogue held in the Holocaust Museum Houston, 29 March 1998.


From: The Sarmatian Review, January 1999
[email protected]

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rozne_wersje_zbrodni.htm
Diffrent versions of crime
polish version
 
translated by: Emilia Wisniewska

Heated discussion in Ksieznica Podlaska marked the end of the visit to Bialystok by the Professor Jan Gross, author of the book 'Neighbors'

You wrote that Germans were not present at the scene of pogrom yet there were plenty of Germans forcing Poles with their whips to guard Jews at the main square - said, , on Friday in Ksieznica Podlaska, clearly upset, Irene Chrzanowska, family name Reniewska, who as 16 years old girl witnessed the pogrom of Jewish people in Jedwabne.

- I have accounts from witnesses who claim otherwise - reposted Professor Jan Thomas Gross, author of the book' Neighbors', which was written about this murder.

At Ksieznica Podlaska, there amassed a big crowd and in it historians, officers of the Institute of National Rrmembrance, who are leading an open investigation in the matter of the murder of Jews in Jedwabne on 10 of July 1941. Residents of Jedwabane were there as well.

Jan Thomas Gross explained at the beginning what was his inspiration to write this book - A few years ago I read the narration by Shmul Wesersztajna, who described the murder in Jedwabne, and this text is coming back to me - said Professor Gross. He emphasized that what frightened him the most was the fact that the crime was committed on Jewish neighbors by the very Poles. Inspirators of the murder were supposed to have been the city council with its mayor.

How many Germans were there?

According to the witnesses, there were no Germans in town on that day except for 10 people at gendarme station. At the same time, Gross added, if not for Nazism and the Hitler's politics oriented towards extermination Jewish nations, there would not be this murder.  

On the contrary, Irena Chrzanowska, family name Reniewska, recalled, that through the holes in the huge gate, she saw Germans urging Poles with long whips to go to the main square. In her view, there was at least 300 of Germans. Wieslaw Biedrzycki, the grandson of the owner of the barn, in which Jews burned, is questioning credibility Wersersztejn's report. - Was he perhaps Calko,living on Przytulska Street? He has been hiding in Janczewo then. He is writing only what was told him by others. How siting in the bush at the pond, 1.5 km (about 2.5 miles) away from the main square, would he be able to see through the buildings, what was going on there? - asked – I am not denying that Poles participated in this crime, but do you know what were deeds of the Jews during Russian occupation? They were walking with the Russian secret police (NKVD), and they were turning the people in.

- Does this excuse murder of women and children? - responded Professor Gross.  

Testimony, trial, rapport.

Prof. Gross responding to his critics, that claimed incomplete source materials, mostly in the context of explaining if Germans were or were not in Jedwabne during the pogrom, answered, that based on the trial materials of 1949 and the story told by Wasersztajn, and German reports about the operation of the special SS squads at that territory, he can be certain that the only perpetrators of the murder were Poles themselves.

- Do you know, by what means, was the Security Office ( UB) making people to sign up for anything, what interrogators wanted then for? - said one of Jedwabne's residents.

- I know that they were biting people during the interrogations. UB officers in 1949, however, did not have a cause to falsify the testimonies about the murder of the Jews in 1941 - explained Professor Gross. Those testimonies give the impression of being sloppy - as if workers of the Security Office had a job to go through interrogating people, and suddenly decided to cut it short.

- The book has much to be desired, the source material is treated selectively, and now it will go into the world, and people will not be studying details, but will claim that Poles are co-responsible for the Holocaust - some of the historians from Bialystok talked about it. Why they did not discuss anything during the meeting?

- I am an employee of the University of Bialystock, he is a professor in New York City, who will believe me? - Stated one of them.  

At the end of the meeting, I asked Professor Gross, would he be writing more about Jedwabne. - This is not my interest any longer, now it is a matter for historians - he rebuffed.

MJO

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pap_dokumenty_w_ludwigsburgu.htm
Documents found in the archives in Ludwigsburg
polish version
 
Documents found in the archives in Ludwigsburg indicate that in 1968, six former SS officers and police were tried in a German court for participating in the massacre at Jedwabne. A Berlin TV correspondent located the documents. Contradictory statements from witnesses place the number of victims from 500 to 1000; some blame the Germans, some the Poles.

"Donosy" a daily Internet news digest from Poland, today posted this item:

In the archives in Ludwigsburg were found documents concerning the crime in Jedwabne. These documents indicate that in Feb. 1968, 6 former members of the SS and the police were indicted for this crime before a German court. There are also depositions of witnesses from Jedwabne, who were interrogated by the Commission for Prosecuting Nazi Crimes in Poland. The archives were discovered by the Berlin correspondent of the Polsat news network.

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in_the_search_for_the_grave.htm
Search in the aim to localise the exact place where the Jedwabne tragedy did happen
polish version
 
translated by: Krzysztof Janiewicz

From PAP 18.03.2001

The work has begun in Jedwabne to localise place where the Jewish victims of the massacre are buried, in the aim to establish a small cemetery.

Last Thursday the monument with the sign omitting Polish participation in the crime has been removed.

Research of grounds is done by the means of the surface methods such as resonance and earth probe, and to the large extend are based on the military aerial photographs that were taken in the 1950 and 1953. Photographs are showing contours of the burned barn and disturbed soil. Since 1960’s, the area was used for agriculture. The results of the research should be known sometimes next week.

On Saturday prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, who is doing a research on the circumstances surrounding massacre, and is critical towards prof. Gross’s publication "Neighbours" based on the thesis that crime was committed by the Polish neighbours, arrived to Jedwabne. Prof. Strzembosz will meet with the people who witnessed events from 60 years ago.

Prof. Strzembosz is of the opinion, that the witness testimonies from the 1949 court case in Lomza, used to the large extend by prof. Gross in his book, indicate that the Germans were directly involved in the murder of the Jews in Jedwabne.

Prof. Strzembosz also disputes truthfulness of the Shmul Waserstein’s testimony. Shmul Waserstein is a main witness of prof. Gross in regard to the Jedwabne massacre.

Prof. Strzembosz is stressing a point that Shmul Waserstein, according to his knowledge, was in hiding during the events in Jedwabne, so he can’t be regarded as an eyewitness, and whole of his testimony is only hearsay.

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neighbors_historical_truth_or_not.htm
"Neighbours", history or literature
Krzysztof Janiewicz
 

The J. T. Gross book "Neighbors: The Story of the Annihilation of the Jewish Town", is a case study of Jedwabne in the county of Lomza, the Province of Podlasie. J. T. Gross based his study on a few Jewish recollections and selected depositions of Polish witnesses, who had testified under torture by the Communist secret police (UB). After only such shallow research, Gross arrived at a conclusion about the alleged mass participation of the "Polish society" of Jedwabne in the Holocaust. He argues that it wasn't the German Nazis, or some Poles led by the Germans, but that "the Polish society" of Jedwabne spontaneously attacked and murdered its Jewish neighbours.

According to Gross, on the 10.07.1941, without any German participation or encouragement, the local Poles an masse, all together in a orchestrated attack, abused, beat and murdered in a very gruesome way some of the Jews. They finally, herded the remainder of them, somewhere between 900 - 3300 people, (according to the various Jewish witnesses’ testimonies) into the ordinary barn and burned them alive.

Physical evidence.

Well, I have to admit that Gross settled for the number of 1600.

This is probably how he arrived at that number. In his book, on the page 42, Gross mentions the testimony of Menachem Finkelsztajn (Finkelstein?) who states that 3300 Jews were murdered in Jedwabne. On page 43, Gross says that numbers provided by Finkelsztajn should be divided in half. So, Gross arrives to the nice and tidy number of 1600.

The barn in question belonged to Bronislaw Sleszynski, who was a cabinetmaker supplementing his income by farming. He owned two hectares of land and was too poor to afford a huge barn or to have any use for it.

Now, from my experience the barns in Poland are not big or very solid structures. Most of them are big enough to accommodate a horse drawn cart (remember, we are talking 1941) with the horse standing outside the barn. In the best case scenario, such a structure could accommodate maybe 100 people, with a lot of pressure applied to the outside walls. Most of the barns would have an area of 50-70 square meters. How Mr. Gross and his "eye witnesses" managed to fit into such a structure 1600 people is beyond common sense.

But there is more.

On page 78 of his book, (Polish version), Gross is quoting the testimony of Leon Dziedzic, who was forced by the Germans to burry the bodies of the victims. And Leon Dziedzic says that the barn wasn't full. He says: "The left part of the barn was nearly empty, only single corpses were found there. There were more corpses in the middle part. And only on the right, there was a pile of bodies".

So, it’s not just enough that the barn was too small to accommodate so many people, there was still some room left.

The Soviet census conducted in 1940 counted only 1400 Jews in the Jedwabne region, which also included the outlying town of Radzilow and the village of Wizna. If we also take into account the number of Jews that fled approaching German armies, this would put into serious question the number of victims in Jedwabne, where according to Mr. Gross and his witnesses 1600 perished. In Radzilow, only three days earlier, an alleged 1500 Jews were also burned in a barn. But Mr. Gross doesn't bother himself with such "minor" details as the size of the barn and an accurate number of victims. It would have to be the biggest barn in Europe in 1941.

There are some most important steps to be taken to corroborate (or contradict) witnesses testimonies with the physical evidence.

First, the dimension of the barn in question would have to be defined.

Second, as accurately as possible the number of victims would have to be established. Exhumation and forensic examination could do this. There should be enough evidence to make it easy enough to find the location of the barn in question. According to this book (page 62), a monument was erected there. Victims should be buried in the close vicinity.

Polish witnesses.

In the matter of the Polish witnesses, Gross is extensively using testimonies of people who were interrogated by the U.B. (Communist State Security) in 1949. That organisation was well known for extracting statements from the suspects by using such methods as torture, sleep depravation, beatings and the threat of deportation to Siberia, not only for the suspects, but also for their families. Testimonies and confessions obtained by such methods wouldn’t be admissible in any court of law in any democratic country.

Most of the accused recalled their "confessions" in front of the court. This was not only an act of self-defence. It was also a sign of bravery. After all, the accused were immediately returned to the "tender, loving care" of secret police officers, who had tortured the confessions out of them in the first place. The confessions were in accordance with a preordained scenario, unofficially promoted by the Communist leadership who deeply believed and promoted the idea that Polish society was "fascist" and "reactionary" and therefore it spontaneously murdered Jews.

Let’s not forget who ruled Poland in 1949. Remember names like Jacob Berman, Hilary Minc, Roman Romkowski, Rozanski and others. With Berman and Minc occupying the second and third most powerful positions in the ruling communist party apparatus.

Throughout his book, Gross is extensively using the testimonies of Karol Bardon, originally sentenced to the death penalty. Such a man would tell anything to survive. What sort of pressure was exerted on him by the interrogating officers?

Gross himself writes extensively on this subject on pages 23, 24, 25, 26. (Polish original). But of course, it has no meaning to him. The same as many other important facts.

According to the testimony of Aleksander Wyrzykowski, who saved Szmul Wasersztajn, the Nazis carried out the murder with some Polish participation. A Polish cook, Julia Sokolowska, testified in court that she prepared a meal that day for a large number of Nazi policemen, who were the chief perpetrators of the crime. Another eyewitness, Leokadia Blajszczak, recalls the presence of the German police as well, and blames a local Volksdeutsches for leading the pogrom. The same Jan Sokolowski also provides a very similar version of events.

Now from the Polish historian, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz who is Instructor in History at Pierce College in California and an ABD in History at Columbia University:

"Professor Gross quotes the testimony of Aleksander Wyrzykowski to underscore the persistence of ugly anti-Semitism in the Jedwabne region even after the war. Alas, Gross failed to include in his lengthy quote Wyrzykowski's assertion that Germans murdered the Jews of Jedwabne with some Polish assistance. Further, Professor Gross analysed, but rejected the testimony of Sokolowska, who claimed that she had cooked a meal for "60 Gestapomen" on the tragic day. Both accounts thus flatly contradict the central thesis of "Neighbours"; Aleksander Wyrzykowski, AZIH, file 301/5825. By the way, Wyrzykowski's testimony is also suspicious. Only

"Copy III" is available. Where is the original?

Further, Gross uses Wyrzykowski as an isolated case of a Righteous Gentile who was persecuted after the war for having assisted Jews and was even forced to flee the area. However, according to Jewish and Polish witnesses, the Wyrzykowskis were indeed persecuted, and Aleksander's wife even savagely beaten, by bandits who wanted to extort from them the "Jewish gold" that they falsely assumed the couple had received for helping Jews. Were the bandits anti-Semites? Perhaps so. Clearly, however, they were not motivated by a desire to punish the Wyrzykowskis for their rescue of Jews, but by avarice. (See Jozef Gradowski, "Zaswiadczenie," 26 April 1967, AZIH, file 301/5825; Jan Sokolowski to Andrzej Kaczynski, editor of "Rzeczpospolita" 12 may 2000.)

If we take into the account what prof. C.I. Pogonowski had to say in his critique of the "Ghastly decade 1939-1948" about Gross’s methodology:

"On page 56, he changes the meaning of a sentence in the diary of Dr. Zygmunt Klukowski (Dziennik z lat okupacji Zamojszczyzny - A diary of the years of occupation of Zamojszczyzna). Gross insinuates that in October 1942, Poles murdered some 2300 Jews while the Germans deported for execution 934 other victims. The deception is achieved by the omission of quotation marks; this changed the meaning of a crucial statement in the original diary, in which reference was made to locally stationed German gendarmes."

We can see that Mr. Gross is not a stranger to manipulation of his sources.

Professor Tomasz Strzembosz, in the interview conducted by Elzbieta Isakiewicz for "Gazeta Polska", cites an eyewitness who maintains that only about 20 or 30 Polish thugs (and not the entire "society" of Jedwabne) abused the Jews. It was the Germans who herded about 800 (and not 1600) of them into the barn and burned them alive.

Here I would like to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the number of " about 20 or 30 Polish thugs" would correspond approximately with the names that the Jewish witnesses named as perpetrators.

http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/jedwabne/Yedwabne.html

The Jewish witnesses.

It is very curious that the Jewish witnesses could record the events in such detail, when in fact the Jewish witnesses usually ran away very early on and hid in places from which it was rather difficult to observe the unfolding tragedy. I say it only as an example of normal human behaviour. Fight or flight behaviour. If you can't fight, you run as fast as you can. I know I would under the circumstances that they are describing.

So these witnesses are in hiding, in the cellars of their Polish rescuers' homes, in the barns under the hay, in the stables, woods, shrubs and so on. And from such places, they are able to see everything?

Here I would use as an example part of the article written by Willma and printed in "Gazeta Pomorska" under a title "Beard of my son" (Broda mojego syna).

"...Couple of days after burning of the Jews, Leon Dziedzic went to the stable to get some hay for a horse. From under the hay looked at him Szmul's face. From his hiding Wasersztajn saw everything what happened in Jedwabne..."

So Wasersztajn is hiding in Dziedzic's stable and sees everything? From under the hay, through the walls, three kilometres away, he sees everything? Very gifted man, indeed.

But at least one Polish source claims that the key witness, Szmul Wasersztajn, learned only after the war about the alleged scenario of the events in Jedwabne from a Jewish woman, Zejer, who was connected to the NKVD. (Teodor Eugeniusz Lusinski to the Institute of the Jewish History (ZIH), 20. 03.1995)

Wasersztajn is not a very credible witness. There are two testimonies from 1945 by Wasersztajn. And Gross himself in his book complains: "In ZIH are two testimonies by Wasersztajn written up separately - numbers don’t correspond and some other details don’t." (Prof. Jerzy Robert Nowak, article "Kto falszuje historie")

The contradicting testimonies of the witnesses, Shmul Waserstein (Wasersztajn) and Mrs. Rivka Fogel, regarding the same event, are as follows.

Mrs. Rivka Fogel,

"The sisters, the wife of Avraham Kubzanski and the wife of Saul Binshtein, whose husbands left with the Russians after enduring horrible punishment at the hands of the Germans, decided to end their own lives and that of their children. They exchanged the children between themselves and together they jumped into deep water. Gentiles standing nearby pulled them out, but they managed to jump in again and were drowned."

Mr. Shmul Wasersztajn about the same incident, as translated from JT Gross book "Neighbours":

"That same day I saw a horrible scene. Chaja ("Chaya") Kubrzanska, 28 years old, and Basia Binsztajn, 26, both with babies in their arms jumped into the pond and drowned, rather than falling into the hands of those hoodlums. First they tossed the babies into the water and then they followed them themselves." Baska Binsztajn sank immediately to the bottom while Chaja Kubrzanska suffered for hours.

Bystanders (hoodlums) made a spectacle out of it enjoying the view and were advising her to lie face down in the water, so she can drown quicker..."

Let's compare these two sentences: "Gentiles standing nearby pulled them out..." and "Bystanders (hooligans) made a spectacle out of it..."

Then there is a problem with the Bishop of Lomza, Stanislaw Lukomski, who according to Gross (page 52, 53, Polish original), accepted a tribute of money and silver artefacts from the Jewish delegation in exchange for protection. Gross even mentions Nielawicki's uncle, who went to Lomza in this delegation. According to Gross the bishop promised them such protection.

The only problem with this testimony is that bishop Lukomski went into hiding in the distant countryside in October 1939, because of threats from the Soviet NKVD, and emerged from his hiding place in August 1941. Unless the location of his hideaway was common knowledge among the Jewish population, how did the Jewish delegation manage to find him and speak to him, so he could promise them the protection about which Gross speaks?

The Germans

Now, if you’ll remember from the earlier quote of Mr. Chodakiewicz, where he says: "...Both accounts thus flatly contradict the central thesis of "Neighbours"..."

But there is a third account that, if accepted by Gross, (so Gross also flatly rejects it), would also contradict this central thesis of "Neighbours".

Gross did not explain the question of the German presence in Jedwabne and their role in organising and conducting the pogrom.

Gross assumes that there were practically no Germans in Jedwabne, apart from a small group of 11 gendarmes in the local precinct and maybe a few Gestapo men.

But prosecutor Monkiewicz, in his article published in 1989 in the Bialystok University periodical "Studia Podlaskie" states, that among other events concerning the Jedwabne pogrom, there was active a so-called Kommando Bialystok led by Hauptsturmfuehrer Wolfgang Birkner from the Warsaw Gestapo office. Here is a translation of the relevant part:

"In the beginning of July 1941 from the German police battalions No. 309 and 316 were selected 200 men assembling a special troop called Kommando Bialystok under the command of the Wolfgang Birkner from the Warsaw Gestapo branch. That troop arrived to Jedwabne by trucks on the 10.07.41. For this action against the Jews, the Germans also used the Gendarmes and some of the "supporting police". This last formation was only used to bring victims to the main plaza and escort them outside the town. There the Hitlerites locked app. 900 persons in the barn and set it on fire..."

Somehow, I don’t think that prosecutor Monkiewicz just "dreamed up" or made up those 232 Germans, trucks and the figure of Birkner.

According to prof. Szarota, such an officer existed in the Warsaw Gestapo, held the rank of SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer, and was probably killed in Poznan.

By following his tracks, one could try to find documents related to the German presence in Jedwabne and their role in the pogrom. Any responsible historian would do that before publishing his findings. By the end of the day, an investigation carried out by prosecutor Monkiewicz belongs to the bibliography of the issue, and Gross should follow the lead, and then, after thoroughly checking his information accept or disregard Monkiewicz’s investigation, but not to dismiss it off hand.

And Monkiewicz’s findings are supported to a certain extend by the Polish historian Marek Chodakiewicz:

"The claims by Gross that on July 10 the SS-Einsatzgruppen were near Minsk, in Belorussia, notwithstanding, the presence of at least of a part of those units in the Bialystok area as late as the beginning of August 1941 is confirmed by the Gestapo functionary Waldemar Macholla, by the war diary of the 322 police battalion, by a study of the annihilation of the Jewish population in Choroszcz, a town not far from Jedwabne, and by the investigation of the Nazi crimes in the Bialystok area conducted in the 1960s in the then West Germany. (Szymon Datner, "German occupation security forces in Bialystok Region (1941-1944 in the German documentary material (Waldemar Macholla)", "Biuletyn Glownej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce [afterward BGKBZHwP], no. 15 (1965): 11; Kazimierz Leszczynski, "War diary of the Police Battalion 322" BGKBZHwP, no. 17 (1967): 216,218,222)

For a proper understanding of the entire case of Jedwabne it is not insignificant whether the murder has been committed spontaneously by the town's inhabitants with the permission of local gendarmes, or if it was done by a bunch of scumbags who were stirred up by Germans who had sent to Jedwabne a police battalion in order to "cleanse" the town of Jews.

Gross chose the first, without properly exploring the second.

So, prosecutor Monkiewicz clearly states that in the massacre were involved specially assembled troops from police battalions 309, 316, and that they were called Kommando Bialystok.

Yet, Gross is clinging to the notion that Einsatzgruppe B was at the time of the massacre somewhere near Minsk.

We know that Einsatzgruppe B was assembled from Einsatzkommando 8 (aka Sonderkommando 8), Einsatzkommando 9, Sonderkommando 7a, Sonderkommando 7b and Sonderkommando 7c (aka Vorkommando Moskau). Could it be just possible that one of the Sonderkommandos or Einsatzkommandos was present in Jedwabne? Just one of the possibilities.

But isn’t it possible that the Kommando Bialystok wasn’t part of Einsatzgruppe B at all, but was a separate battalion operating at the rear of Einsatzgruppe, and independently of it, as some kind of "mop up squad"? Simply finishing off people that Einsatzgruppe missed?

The Bialystok General District constituted an independent administrative district within the German regime in occupied Poland, so wouldn’t it be advisable to search for any documentation of the German activities there, not only the Einsatzgruppe B reports?

It seems that in Gross’s opinion, the only German military or paramilitary unit operating in the area was Einsatzgruppe B. But according to historical sources the Einsatzgruppe numbered only between 600 - 1000 men, and all four units numbered approximately only 3000 men. Einsatzgruppen were dispatched with the advancing army groups. So, what’s left behind? Nothing? No troops at all? Maybe this massacre was committed by some other unit, not necessary the Einsatzgruppe B.

There are far more questions that should be answered and untied ends in "Neighbours". Gross’s methodology leaves much to be desired.

In his book "Neighbours", Gross proposes a new methodology: "As far as the craft of the historian who deals with era of the gas ovens is concerned, I think we must radically alter our attitude toward the sources. Our initial attitude toward each testimony of near victims of the Holocaust should change from the inquisitive to the affirmative."

New scholarly standards? It truly shows in his latest book. Are the Holocaust "near victims" different than any other "near victims"? Thank God, Courts of Law don’t operate according to this principle.

Hopefully current investigation by IPN, headed by prosecutor Radoslaw Ignatiew, will shed a little more light on the events in Jedwabne. I think Gross would be showing a much wiser and more prudent attitude if he were to wait with publishing his book until this current investigation finishes.

To end this work, and to show that the same accusations were already aimed at the Poles and Poland, I will quote Adam Dobronski, a history professor at the University of Bialystok:

"...I’m not very familiar with the Jedwabne case, but I know very well what happened in Tykocin, that till now was considered in the Bialystok region to be the most drastic case of Polish participation in the extermination of the Jews.

From the testimonies of the Jewish witnesses, it was assumed that it was the Poles who organised pogrom: armed with sticks (such as pieces of wood, canes) they dragged the Jews from their hiding places and chased them to Lopuchowo.

But after further research of the sources, the extent of the Polish involvement had been largely minimised, and now it is said that yes, some number of Poles participated in this, but only because the Germans rounded them up (lapanka). Some were summoned by their names; some were picked up off the streets and in that way forced to obey the orders. In any case, it wasn’t their initiative, or they weren’t the first culprits of the crime. (Main culprits of the crime). Under duress, they committed those shameful acts."

Maybe the same situation that was in the Tykocin case can be seen in regard to the Jedwabne case?

A translation by Joanna Zimmerman of this part of the interview with Prof. Dobronski from Rzeczpospolita is available from the

http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/jedwabne/yed999.html

Let’s compare the most important parts of it:

First: "...In Jedwabne I encountered a common fear. A fear of how the world would react once word comes out that the Poles helped the Germans murder Jews. Unfortunately, I am... "

The way these two sentences are presented on the Yizkor Book Project page would imply that this is a statement made by Prof. Dobronski, when in fact it is a question-statement made to Mr. Dobronski by the interviewer Kaczynski.

Manipulation done in the aim of making an impression on the reader, to persuade them to believe that this is a statement made by the learned professor, when in fact it is a statement made by some reporter. The professor’s answer in the Polish original starts from the words "Unfortunately, I am..." See the Polish original in "Rzeczpospolita" 05.05.00 Nr 104 Publicystyka.

I would classify the interviewer Kaczynski as hostile and manipulative, but Prof. Dobronski is not allowing him to do that. But, the Polish speaking readers can judge this for themselves. And the translator from "Yedwabne: History and Memorial Book" is doing her best to use Kaczynski’s attitude to the maximum.

 

Second: "Armed Poles pulled Jews...". Armed with what? Machine-guns, rifles, some other firearms? No. In the original, it is clearly said that the Poles were armed with the sticks. (In Polish kije) Suggestive manipulation again.

Third: The very important sentence "From the testimonies of the Jewish witnesses, it was assumed that it was the Poles who organised pogrom..." is also missing from Ms. Zimmerman translation. In Polish: "Z relacji zydowskich wynikalo, ze to wlasciwie Polacy zorganizowali pogrom..." Probably because it would be a bit inconvenient in the Jedwabne scenario, where witnesses are also accusing the Poles.

Fourth: After the sentence "Armed Poles pulled Jews out of their hiding places and caused them to lop uchowa." is the half of a very important sentence in the Polish original, which is missing from the translation. In Polish this sentence is: "Ale po szerszej penetracji zródel, rozmiar polskiego udzialu zostal wyraznie pomniejszony..." This should be translated as: "But after further research of the sources, the extent of the Polish involvement had been largely minimised..." but Ms. Zimmerman translates it only as: "But later on, the extent of the Polish involvement had been minimized...". It is important to show that the Polish involvement was minimised because of the research that had been done, and "largely" minimised. She is clearly attempting to make a false impression on the reader.

The third and fourth omissions were attempts to hide the fact that "the testimonies of the Jewish witnesses..." were negated by the "further research of the sources".

Now, after the archaeological research done on the site of the massacre, team of the Polish archaeologists lead by prof. Andrzej Kola, arrived to the conclusion that the mass grave is approximately 5 meters long and 2 meters wide, and in the prof. Kola's opinion can contain only maximum of 300 bodies.

Also, here is what prof. Kola had to say on the subject:

"It is very regrettable that the Jewish side doesn't agree to the exhumation. In one-week time, we would be able to verify what the people are saying and what the author of "Neighbours" has written.

This could serve as a good lesson for the future. Many times I've found that the verbal testimonies of the witnesses have to be treated as not very reliable historical sources". (As reported by "Nowosci - Gazeta Pomorza i Kujaw" 19.03.2001)

Now, to conclude this article.

From "Different versions of crime" MJO " Kurier Poranny" 18.02.2001:

"At the end of the meeting, I asked Professor Gross, would he be writing more about Jedwabne. - This is not my interest any longer, now it is a matter for historians - he rebuffed."

So, the learned professor of sociology, portrayed and also portraying himself as historian, Mr. Gross fulfilled his role as propagandist, and after writing his book of half-truths, manipulations and lies, he is not interested in uncovering the whole truth.

He left the mess to be cleaned up by us, the Poles. Just another "chutzpah".

Collated and based on the various sources.

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morderca_z_virtuti_militari.htm
A MURDERER RECEIVED THE VIRTUTI MILITARI?!
polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski The following appeared in the Polish-language Gazeta of Toronto (March 22, 2001):

http://members.home.net/kumor/ostatnie.htm

Here are the highlights:

After a few brief mentions in the press, the crime in Koniuchy has been surrounded by the sticky mist of silence. [Unlike Jedwabne] It is not discussed in large Polish dailies (not to mention similar foreign publications), historians don't debate it on the radio, the Primate of Poland doesn't have anything to say. Despite the inquiry opened by the Institute of National Remembrance, nobody knows what is being done, or what will be done, in this case.

[...]

One doesn't have to look for the perpetrators in Argentine or Paraguay; living for decades in total impunity, they have even been boasting about the "combat action" at Koniuchy, describing its exact course in their memoirs. The chief of the Soviet band, Genrikas Zimanas [in Polish Henryk Zyman], has been decorated by the People's Republic of Poland for his "internationalist achievements" with the Virtuti Militari [the highest Polish decoration for bravery]!

The victims of Koniuchy don't have a monument, and somehow we don't hear from Minister Przewozniak about his plans for erecting one. Their graves are situated in a neglected cemetery, and seldom someone lights there a candle - because nobody was left from entire families.

[...]

A crime is a crime, even if it is committed in wartime. In the case of Koniuchy, known are the names of victims, the location of their graves, the identities of murderers, and the circumstances of this event. Reports about that "pacification" still exist in Lithuanian and German archives.

It seems, therefore, that the Sherlock Holmeses from the Institute should have an easy job. How can we then explain their tardiness? Is the approach to the tragedies of our nation marked again by political opportunism? Are victims of genocide again divided into "better" and "worse", "politically correct" and "inconvenient"? [...] we hear whispers about Koniuchy: "Not yet...", "Maybe later..." So, if not yet, then when? When the last witnesses of those days all die out?

Andrzej Kumor

Note: In July 1944 a unit of Soviet guerrillas, which included about 50 Jews, massacred the Polish village of Koniuchy in retaliation for its self-defense efforts to stop the ongoing robbery and rapine. Several Jewish participants have bragged about this shameful and criminal act in their memoirs published mostly in North America.

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jedwabne_a_zbrodnie_na_kresach_1.htm
LIES AND DISTORTIONS
prof. JERZY ROBERT NOWAK

polish version
 
translated by: Les³aw Kawalec

Jedwabne and the atrocities in former eastern Poland ( subsequently referred to as East Poland ) in 1939 - 1941

DISTORTIONS AND ILL-FOUNDED STATEMENTS

A tide of anti-Polish campaign has swept through Polish media over the recent months that fell in line with the attempts to hold all Polish people accountable for the mass murder perpetrated on the Jews of Jedwabne in July 1941. The publication of 'Neighbours', an extremely biased and deceitful book by the Jewish American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross, served as pretext. The Jewish author, disregarding the findings of the prosecutor's office, cramming lots of lies and distortions of truth in his generalisations based on a few twisted and dubious testimonies, sets out to put the blame for the massacre on the local Poles and play down the German involvement.

This is, not surprisingly, used to create defamatory generalisations that place Poles as accomplices of Germans in the Holocaust, which can help Jews extort huge sums of compensation Poland would be supposed to pay for the former Jewish assets. Let us bear in mind that Jews have already received billions of dollars worth of restitution for damages whereas Poles have neither been paid any by Germany nor obtained anything from Russia. Interestingly enough, Gross' tendentious and slanderous texts, which arouse justified criticism, have been hailed by the very influential philo-Semitic lobby in the Polish media as revelatory and demonstrative of Poles needing to repent as a nation in sackcloth and ashes once and for all. Maciej £êtowski wrote in his article Przedsiêbiorstwo Pokuta / Atonement Inc./ ( Tygodnik Solidarno¶æ of 9 Feb. 2001 ): '' I am repulsed by the behaviour of 'national flagellants' who use every opportunity to whip their backs in the limelight so effusively that I am getting unsettled about their sanity (...).May it not prove that some of my fellow countrymen are setting up Atonement Incorporated.''

Also, what is a particularly sombre grotesque is that the most exclamatory demands for Polish contrition to make up for the alleged sins towards the Jews of Jedwabne are being voiced by the most needy of remedial education in the Polish history if not to say sheer ignoramuses in the subject ( like the polonophobe David Warszawski, the well-known tendentious Semitophile Rev. Micha³ Czajkowski, the philologist Maria Janion, the sociologist Jacek Kurczewski, the Wprost 'pen-hoodlum' publicist Jerzy Stanis³aw Mac or the sci-fi writer Stanis³aw Lem ). I will elaborate on their extravagances in a further issue of G³os in a text titled Parada k³amców i dyletantów / Parade of liars and dilettanti . Still, it is worth analysing in detail Gross' polonophobic mendacity on Jedwabne and East Poland 1939 through 1941 to show the extent to and presumptuousness with which the historical truth in Poland 2000 / 2001 AD is being distorted in an anti-Polish fashion.

How Gross twists facts

The historian Piotr Gontarczyk writes in ¯ycie of 31 Jan. 2001 about Neighbors by Jan Tomasz Gross: '' Poles are depicted as the accomplices of Nazis in the Holocaust. They are worse than Germans, and murder Jews - their neighbors - in a gruesome manner. The only place that warrants a degree of protection from the Polish mob turns out to be a German gendarmerie post.'' In putting forward these most serious accusations Gross relies on a Jedwabne massacre Jewish survivor Szmul Wasersztajn's single testimony that is notorious for having been published in two versions differing about the facts reported. Wasersztajn's claims also contradicted the factual data gathered by the prosecution and reported by prosecutor Waldemar Monkiewicz in charge of this case. Monkiewicz said the Jedwabne massacre had been perpetrated by more than 200 ( to be precise 232 ) German gendarmes. Wasersztajn reported only 8 Germans partaking of the murder ( an immense difference ) and contended that they were just on-lookers of the massacre allegedly committed by the local Poles. The Monkiewicz files attribute a decisive role in it to those 232 ( not 8 ) German gendarmes whereas the group of auxiliary policemen of Polish descent participated only in secondary operations such as bringing the Jewish victims out to the market square and escorting them. The whole case ought to be reinvestigated - and it is under scrutiny of IPN ( the Institute for National Remembrance ). Any hasty generalisations based on a single dubious unsigned testimony ( by Wasersztajn ) and, at that, so divergent from the prosecution's settlements should be discarded offhand.

As early as on 13-14 May last year when interviewed by Nasz Dziennik I pointed to Gross' scholarly inadequacy since in insisting on a version of events levelled against the Poles he had failed to mention any relevant Polish findings. I was particularly outraged at his complete omission of the accounts published by prosecutor Monkiewicz, former director of a Okrêgowa Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich / County Commission for Nazi Crimes Investigation, who had researched the whole case thoroughly. Gross did not mention the above apparently because otherwise Prof. Monkiewicz's accounts would have shattered the edifice of lies that the author had laboriously constructed on the basis of the Wasersztajn's touched-up testimony.

Almost six months after this interview Gazeta Wyborcza of 18-19 Nov. 2000 published an interview by Jacek ¯akowski with a reputable researcher of WWII Prof. Tomasz Szarota. He too voiced his reservations connected with the complete omission of the Monkiewicz settlements. '' Gross has skipped all Monkiewicz accounts,'' says Prof. Szarota, '' and I have doubts if Monkiewicz could have just made up those 232 Germans, the trucks and the person of Birkner himself ( i.e. the German Hauptsturmfuehrer SS said to have been in charge of the Jedwabne massacre - J.R.N.).'' Responding to Gross in Gazeta Wyborcza of 2-3 Dec. 2000 Szarota writes ''The name that often appears in his ( Gross' ) polemic is one of Waldemar Monkiewicz. This man has published several texts ( I know five of them ) on the Jedwabne atrocity. Gross says '' I had not come across Monkiewicz accounts before I wrote Neighbors and I don't wish I had.'' Whether Gross likes it or not the texts by Monkiewicz belong to the references of the subject and a researcher is obliged to acquaint himself with them before he passes any judgement including their rejection.''

Let us add that the scholarly approach of Gross as a sociologist is astounding. Apparently, he has no idea whatsoever how to investigate historical truth when he says he does not regret failing to familiarise himself with the writings of a prosecutor who had researched a case to which Gross dedicated his book. This is a pure bungle !

Gross' extremely tendentious generalisations have also been criticised by Dr Stanis³aw Radoñ, historian, director of Archiwa Pañstwowe w Krakowie ( the State Archives in Krakow ), and since 4 October the chairman of Kolegium IPN ( board of the Institute for National Remembrance ). A Polish Press Agency PAP dispatch of 21 Dec. 2000, held back by the majority of the most powerful media, quotes him as saying at a press conference about Neighbors by J.T. Gross: '' in terms of investigating the truth it is dishonest.'' In an interview with Roman Graczyk titled Pochopne s±dy Grossa / Gross' jumping to conclusions / in Gazeta Wyborcza of 20-21 Jan. 2001 Radoñ gives a detailed account of his critique of the methods Gross has used, and charges him with scholarly unreliability. Radoñ is critical of the fact that: '' Gross mostly relies on the 1949 and 1953 investigations testimonies. You need to bear in mind how administration of justice worked in those years, how witnesses and the accused were terrorised, how easily one was pronounced guilty. In all probability Gross had neglected to verify all kinds of facts in German archives, e.g. the role of W. Birkner, the commander of Einsatz Kommando Bialystok. Radoñ, critical of Gross' bias, goes on to say: ''I protest against placing the Polish people alongside Germans as perpetrators of the Holocaust.'' and warns that ''The book is due for publication in the USA and Germany and there is justified concern that once more the public opinion in the West will be shaped by a simplistic image that is really unfair to Poles.''

Gross tendentiousness was strongly criticised by another Polish historian, currently resident in America, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz ( K³opoty z kuracj± szokow± / Problems with shock therapy/ in Rzeczpospolita of 5 Jan. 2001 ), who blames Gross for ''virtually restricting himself to examining Jewish memories and some Polish testimonies including those obtained from people who had been subjected to tortures by the security apparatus ( UB ) (...).'' Referring to a 1988 study by a Jewish author Icchak ( Henryk ) Rubin, Chodakiewicz quotes: '' the functionaries of Jewish Committees appointed by the communist party who took these testimonies indicated who the guilty were and what they deserved. Thus nearly all of the documents show identical judgement and are stereotypical in content and the way they were written. They give an impression of having been dictated. Their authors sought to ingratiate themselves with the organisers of testimony collection and quite often they were simply afraid of writing anything else than had been suggested.''

Two texts by Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, the most notable Polish expert in the Polish war-time history, have turned the tide in the controversy surrounding Neighbors: the interview in Gazeta Polska of 17 Jan. 2001 and the article in Rzeczpospolita of 27-28 Jan. 2001. In the former, titled Szubienica i hu¶tawka / The gallows and the swing he called 'unacceptable' the methods Gross had used in drawing accusations against the Polish community of Jedwabne for the murder committed on the Jews. Prof. Strzembosz charged Gross with ''drawing too far-reaching conclusions (...) on the basis on scarce accounts.'' Particularly that these are of the kind that ''one can have doubts regarding their full credibility.'' Like M.J. Chodakiewicz, Strzembosz too criticised Gross for ''relying on communist security materials.'' According to Strzembosz there is evidence that the massacre in Jedwabne was perpetrated by Germans and not Poles, as maintained by Gross. Prof. Strzembosz also targeted his criticism at those ( individuals, as I previously stated, whose historical learning is close to zero ) who mindlessly accepted Gross' version of events ascribing the atrocity to the Polish community of Jedwabne. Strzembosz suggested much more in-depth studies of the factual records of those times including taking up issues rarely spoken of which had had a profound impact on the deterioration of Polish-Jewish relations. He pointed to the military collaboration with the Soviets of bolshevik Jews in East Poland in 1939. In this context he spoke of an anti-Polish ''Jewish military rising in Grodno and the surrounding lands in Sep. 1939.''

The 27-28 Jan. issue of Rzeczpospolita featured a lengthy and thoroughly supported article by Prof. Strzembosz titled Przemilczana kolaboracja / Held-back quislingism ( on pro-Soviet activities of red Jewish communities in East Poland in the aftermath of the 17 September 1939, including their armed sabotage and murdering Polish soldiers and civilians who were fleeing east [ it had been extensively presented in G³os in a commentary by Antoni Macierewicz ] )

Prof. Strzembosz's text, very firm in tone, greatly facilitated clearing the paths leading to this difficult and shameful taboo that was withholding the emergence of truth about Polish-Jewish relations in 1939 - 1941. Just a few days later ( 30 Jan. ) ¯ycie came out with an excellent text by a young historian Piotr Gontarczyk, author of a recently released brilliant myth-busting book about an alleged pogrom in Przytyk. Polemic towards Gross' conspicuous attempts to sanitise the behaviour of Jews under Soviet occupation Gontarczyk writes that the relations between the Poles and the Jews were very strained there, and apparently the pro-Soviet Jews were at fault. According to Gontarczyk: '' The picture presented in the preserved Polish (and also some Jewish!) testimonies is rather dramatic: the humiliating treatment of Poles, denunciations to the NKVD, participation of the "red militia" consisting of Jews from Jedwabne in Soviet terror. There are also descriptions of Jews stripping their Polish ( sic ! ) neighbours of their clothes on their way to gulag. (...) According to the Belorussian historians latest findings based on the extant documents from the years 1939-41 the Soviet administration, especially the units dealing with economic issues, contained a high percentage of Jews, sometimes exceeding 70%. It is worth remembering that the Jews quite often took over the positions of the arrested or deported Poles.''

Gontarczyk also attacks Gross for using poor and tendentiously selected ''sources, not having carried out due critique, repeated introduction of ill-founded statements and facts, omissions and distortions of whatever does not fit his preconceived theses, construction of historical narration built on stereotypes, prejudice and hearsay, failing to abide by logic and academic objectivity in scholarly argumentation, and finally passing groundless and unscientific metaphysical-ideological judgements. Due to the above failings the book by J.T. Gross cannot serve as basis for a serious discussion of our history and of the Jedwabne mass murder in particular.''

The 2 February issue of ¯ycie contained a remarkable interview with Bogdan Musia³, one of the most distinguished young German historians. Musia³ appraised Gross' book with strong criticism pointing to the many omissions and absurd theses, and criticised the tendentious generalisations that held the whole Polish society accountable for the Jedwabne massacre. He also reproached him for the pervasive whitewashing of the Jews ''responsible for the communist felonies, '' whose role has received due attention from much more impartial Jewish researchers, such as Ben-Cion Pinchuk.

I am glad that it was in G³os ( of 3 Feb. ) that the so far most interesting reaction to Prof. Strzembosz's text has been published - a lengthy article by Antoni Macierewicz with full support for the theses of the Polish historian who had protested against obscuring the picture of the Polish-Jewish relations. I have referred to Macierewicz's statements in Niedziela. I think that one of his main conclusions is of particular significance: ''The facts leave no doubt - Jews in Jedwabne like elsewhere under Soviet occupation constituted the core of the machine of terror, yielded until the very last moment Polish patriots to the NKVD and were preparing consecutive deportations to Siberia.''

I consider it extremely significant that Macierewicz condemned the so called ''Polish school of historiography'' some circles of which readily lay foundations for anti-Polish historiosophy while the others keep cowardly silent. I fully share his views, which are critical of 'a methology' of such historians as Andrzej Paczkowski, Krystyna Kersten or Jerzy Holzer, all profound whitewashers of communism. On my part I can add Andrzej Garlicki ( whom I have already condemned in G³os ) a true expert in obscuring and distorting the picture of Polish-Jewish relations, Jerzy Tomaszewski, and many more. While I agree with the point that Macierewicz makes, and which is the disgraceful general silence on the part of Polish historians, which obviously deserves condemnation, I do want to show a few exceptions to that rule ( other than Strzembosz, of course ). To name but a few: Prof. Ryszard Szaw³owski with repeated publications of Wojna Polsko-Sowiecka 1939 / The Polish-Soviet War of 1939, Prof. Rulka from Bydgoszcz, or several younger generation researchers e.g. the mentioned Jan Marek Chodakiewicz and Piotr Gontarczyk, but also Marek Wierzbicki and Leszek ¯ebrowski with their valuable contributions. Let me remind the readers of my own publication of a year and a half ago titled The Forgotten Atrocities about the felonies perpetrated by bolshevik Jewish communites in the years 1939 - 1941. Besides, in two press texts - an interview in Nasz Dziennik, and an article in Nasza Polska and another book Spory o Historiê i Wspó³czesno¶æ / Disputes on the Past and the Present I reacted to Gross' and his applauders' calumnies. That still does not make much of a difference though, and means no major reversal in the overall commonplace falsity and defamation since the names just mentioned are only a fraction of the total in the field. The stronger then the indignation which one must feel towards those pseudoscientists who, in Macierewicz's words ''bring dishonour on the profession'' since '' instead of settling facts [they] take part in a witch-hunt that victimises the Polish nation and attempt to blame Poland for the extermination of Jews under German occupation, 'forgetting' that its true perpetrators were Germans. ''

Gross - a relapsing liar

In the next issue I will have a closer look at the Jedwabne massacre and the prior felonies committed in East Poland 1939 through 1941. Now I will focus on his biography and his gradual evolution to polonophobic libellous practices as illustrated in examples. Born in 1947, when in high school Gross was amongst the founders of Adam Michnik's Contradiction Searchers' Club. Since 1965 he studied physics and then sociology at the Warsaw University and in 1968 he was arrested for his involvement in the so called 'March events' and subsequently expelled from university. Having emigrated from Poland with family in March 1969 he received a PhD in sociology in the USA where he went on to become Professor of Sociology, and later of Political Sciences. His first book published in 1983 titled W Czterdziestym Nas Matko na Sybir Zes³ali/ 1940 They Exiled Us to Siberia Mother did by no means foreshadow the Gross of today - a fanatical mud-slinger. This collection of accounts by deportees to Siberia, co-authored by Irena Grudziñska-Gross, was a valuable source of historical reference. At that time Gross cared about impartiality in his writings and did not negate the problem of quislingism of large sections of Jewish communities collaborating with the Soviets in 1939 - 1941. This very book describes many instances of Jews denouncing Poles, victimising them, fanatical Komsomol ( communist youth ) Jews devastating wayside shrines, and casts light on the role the red Jews played in Soviet administration. All that later evaporated from his publications, which in turn took on an increasingly polonophobic and slanderous character.

As early as in 1981 Stefan Korboñski, one time deputy Prime Minister of the war-time Underground Polish State and Government in Exile's Envoy to Poland, exposed anti-Polish lies of Gross in a large text for the Parisian Zeszyty Historyczne / The HistoryFascicles / journal ( vol. 58, pp 176 - 184 ). This little known text was about a book Gross had published in 1979 and which was chiefly meant for the English speaking readership pretty ignorant about Poland. It was titled Polish Society under German Occupation and contained lots of nonsense which he would not have dared to repeat in a book targeted at the Polish readers. It was then that his manner of overemphasising the martyrology of Jews and the simultaneous downplaying of Polish heroism and suffering found its conspicuous expression. To this end he set out to convince his public that the war-time Polish conspiracy was not particularly hazardous; on the contrary - it took place in very liberal conditions ( sic ! ). Korboñski ridiculed a nonsensical claim that truly compromises Gross and which holds that ( p. 240 ) '' Yes, paradoxically, Poles enjoyed more freedom in 1939-1944 than throughout the century.... I think that you can safely assume that the multitude of underground organisations and conspiracies ought to be attributed in a large measure to the General Protectorate's war-time policies of political freedom. One may doubt whether underground organisations could have been set up and thrived had it been otherwise.''

In other words - Gross deems the greatness of the Underground Polish State and conspiracy to be no particular Polish achievement. We were so free under German occupation, weren't we ?! True, Poles did owe Germans an unheard-of extent of freedom in one respect - in ways of dying: of a bullet, noose, chopper, with plastered mouth etc...

Stefan Korboñski discusses much more nonsense of Gross' generalisations about the Underground Polish State and concludes that in wondering about the motives that pushed individuals into conspiracy Gross brings the whole issue down to the benefits it entailed. He contends that passivity was no protection from the occupant terror whereas underground membership made people more cautious, secured better identity documents, and in case one was exposed they were assisted in finding a new shelter and given fresh identity documents. Put differently, those people were driven by cool calculation. Finally , professor Gross having ventured into contemplating the underground budget informs the reader that the Home Army ( AK ) paid its soldiers a salary ( pay ? ), the highest amounting to 800 zlotys i.e. approx. US$ 18.

This reasoning betrays Gross' ignorance about the reality of the Underground. Keeping out of it indeed did not protect you from, say, forced labour for the occupant in the General Protectorate or Reich nor did it prevent you being caught in the street or arrested in retaliation. However, a Pole deprived of freedom as a result of these operations was one of a mass and did not feel the very personal burden connected with their relationship with the underground. A mere suspicion of underground membership brought on you long-lasting investigation, tortures, prison and sometimes death, or a concentration camp at best. These were the ' benefits of belonging to the underground'

As regards the 'salaries' paid by the AK they were paid to those who had to devote all their time to conspiracy and were unable to provide for themselves or their families. The pay was very modest and enough to satisfy the most basic needs. It was not equivalent to $ 18 but $ 6 - 18.

As can be seen from the above Prof. Gross is in favour of the 'materialist', though not Marxist, interpretation of the drives that determine human behaviour and puts the way people act down to a hope for benefits and money. His inquisitive mind of a sociologist did not notice such self-imposing simple motivation as patriotism, spontaneous desire to fight German invaders, courage, devotion or love of homeland.

Korboñski was fiercely polemic with the charges, pervasive throughout Gross' book, that hold the whole Polish society guilty of anti-Semitism and indifference to the Holocaust. As a summary of his critical remarks Korboñski wrote: ''Gross joined the circle of those American writers who feel under solemn obligation to accuse the Polish Nation of what it has never committed.''

Make Poles odious to make money

In his text published in Tygodnik Powszechny of 11 Feb. 2001 titled Mrs Marx's pillow J.T. Gross argues with the statement I used when interviewed by Nasz Dziennik that his texts contribute to the creation of a favourable context in which the Jewish claims for restitution for the realty and assets they lost in Poland would have a historical rationale. In an ironic tone he writes: ''I wasn't taken aback by this argument since in the ideological milieu close to Nasz Dziennik compounding Jews and money is quite common.'' Firstly, I am not a publicist of Nasz Dziennik but of Niedziela and Nasza Polska. Second, opinions that numerous attempts, including ones that use blackmail, are under way to justify incredible tribute squeeze to be imposed on Poland are being overtly voiced by some honest Jews too ( as opposed to the distortionist Gross ), e.g. Prof. Norman G. Finkelstein from the USA, ex-leader of the Jewish religious community of Gdansk Jakub Szadaj and others. Third, the first publicist to expose the true Gross' motivation in the Polish press was Prof. Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski writing for the Krakow-based journal Arcana ( vol. 5 / 1998 ). Reviewing Gross' Upiorna Dekada / Ghastly Decade 1939-1948 / Prof. Pogonowski suggests what could be his true objective: '' promoting a myth about Polish complicity in the Holocaust. Obviously it would be easier to extract money from descendants of the guilty rather than descendants of innocent co-victims.( ... ) On 118 small-size pages the author accuses the Polish Nation of complicity in the genocide of the Jews. A symbolic buzzard eating dead flesh is shown on the cover the Ghastly Decade 1939-1948. It resembles communist propaganda posters, especially the famous "spit-soiled dwarf of reaction'' of 1945. ( ... ) Gross, despite his scientific credentials, is practising propaganda in the spirit of the statements made by the Secretary General of the Jewish World Congress [Israel Singer]. (... ) Gross' propaganda helps those who make demands for ransom to be paid by the Polish Government to compensate for crimes perpetrated in Poland by the Nazis, the Soviets, and by common criminals."( original text in English found at this web site, L.K. )

Prof. Pogonowski proved that Gross had inter alia consciously falsified quotations. He writes that Gross has deliberately manipulated a piece of text by Dr Klukowski taken from his Dziennik z lat okupacji Zamojszczyzny / A diary of the occupation years of the province of Zamojszczyzna. Klukowski wrote about mass murders perpetrated by German gendarmes - 'ours' i.e. resident in Szczebrzeszyn and others who'd arrived from other cities to kill ). Gross, quoting the word 'ours' left out inverted commas '...' so that it would seem it was our Polish gendarmes who had murdered the Jews. Prof. Pogonowski writes: ''There were no Polish gendarmes during the war ! ( ... ) By ridding a word of quotation marks Gross distorts the text and suggests it was the Poles who perpetrated the genocide. It is a telling comment on the credibility of his book.''

Despite Gross' repeated denial the hidden agenda of his tendentious 'writings' is all too conspicuous. Even a leftist politician such as Ryszard Bugaj in his Prawda historyczna a interes materialny / Historical truth and material interest ( Gazeta Wyborcza of 6-7 Jan. 2001 ) writes that '' Another thing that will contribute to creating a black picture of Poland in the West will be the book by Gross ( ... ) Upholding claims about anti-Semitic Poland is also useful to justify demands that Poland pay restitution for damages (... ) The conviction that the poor Poland must under pressure from Jewish circles shoulder the huge financial burden ( and unjust reputation that hurts) can seriously harm Polish-Jewish relations.'' The issue was also raised by Maciej £êtowski in the previously reported quotation from Tygodnik Solidarno¶æ of 9 February 2001. His warnings included the deplorable consequences that its [Neighbors] publication in the USA will entail because it will strike a blow to Poland's 'image of victim' of the war-time genocide. In £êtowski's words '' in order to lay hands on the Polish cash the American attorneys must attack this image. Gross' book was a godsend (...) The Polish crimes will make it to the news. This news will inevitably have its moral impact on the New York judges investigating the complaint versus the Polish government.''

( PS as of next week Niedziela will be publishing a series of articles subjecting more then 60 Gross' lies published in his various texts to a detailed analysis )

JERZY ROBERT NOWAK

translated by Les³aw Kawalec

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machcewicz_w_cieniu_jedwabnego.htm
In a shadow of Jedwabne
dr hab. Pawe³ Machcewicz

polish version
 
translated by: Emilia Wisniewska

RYS. PAWE£ GA£KA

PAWE£ MACHCEWICZ

There is a doubt that the book by Jan T. Gross and the emerged discussion about it are the most important events of the last few years in Polish disputes about the future. "Neighbors" and also the earlier by two years (and almost unnoticed) Ghostly Decade, touch upon the most significant for Poles matters, such as: creating the picture of us in such a key subject as German and Soviet occupation, attitudes of Polish society towards Germans and Jews, and relation of Poles to the holocaust.

It is no wander that these matters, regardless of decades passing by, move our strong emotions. Exemplification of it was the last meeting at the History Institute of PAN dedicated to Gross's book, with over hundred participants. The even was unusual mainly due to the atmosphere of the dispute, whose participants at the end either shouted at each other or cried.

It there a chance to talk about books by Gross in peace, accounting for other arguments that just ourown?

Facts and questions.

Lets try to reconstruct both, the most important facts, as well as questions that thus far do not have answers.

On tenth of July 1941, in a small town with only about three thousands of residents, several miles from Lomza, the murder of the entire Jewish community has been committed (the numbers of atrocities oscillate between 900 to 1500-1600 people: Gross assumes the highest number). Neighbors, Poles, were involved in the killing of Jews. Of course, not all of them did it. Author, basing it of the record of the prosecutorial investigation and trial in 1949, selects the group of more than a dozen of the most active murderers.

Almost no one questions these facts. However, there are doubts related to the role of Germans. The events certainly were not spontaneous. They were registered by the German camera crew, which showed up in the morning in Jedwabne. During the investigation, the information was retrieved that the talks between Germans and the administration of town had been held for several days. To understand the context of the events in Jedwabne one must remember that more than 10 days before, the officers of Germans police battalions murdered two thousands Jews in Bialystock by burning many of them in a synagogue.

Striking is, at least, a similarity of the method, as in Jedwabne at least several hundred of Jews were burned in the barn. Gross does not deliver much attention to these leads (as well as he ignored other versions of the events, according to which there was between several tents and over more 200 Germans officers, coming into the town), prejudging that, this does not present a key significance, in the whole picture, of what has happened on 10 of July.

What were the motives

Historians pay attention to the other circumstances as well, which Gross did not take into consideration at all or in the insufficient degree. The key question applies to the motives, for which Polish neighbors murdered the whole populations of the Jews in town. One of them could be anti-Semitism (those areas were the only ones in Poland, where ONR has influence in the rural areas) or the plain greed ' the intention of taking over the assets of the murdered. However, this is not all.

According to the written records about the events of July 10th, the other circumstance was the motive of retaliation for (alleged or real ' now we can not determine that yet) collaborations of Jews with the Soviet aggressor between September 1939 and July of 1941. Gross asserts, that there was no premises to think, that Jews of Jedwabne collaborated with NKWD to the larger extend than Poles did, and that they play any role in turning in and liquidating the guerrilla formations in the area. We know already, that the young Jews before their death had been forced to carry the large Lenin monument built in the town by Soviet occupants, and singing before their death, "The war is because of us".

Professor Szarota called attention to the fact, that one of the main murderers, brother Laundanski, has lost their sister, who was arrested and murdered by NKVD. Other lead consists of the information (lacking in "Neighbors") that a few days before pogrom, the group of prisoners, who were the former participants of anti-Soviet conspiracy, released by the German occupants, arrived to Jedwabne.

The referenced leads do not give a ready answer, however they indicate the role of the believes about co-responsibility of the Jews for the soviet crimes, that they could have played in the matter, even if they were far from reality.

This does not the change the moral judgment of what has occurred in Jedwabne, and do not excuse the murders. Regardless of German inspiration for the crimes and the retaliatory motive for the alleged cooperation with the soviet occupant, there is no doubt, that their Polish neighbors had killed Jews. The same occurred in Kielce on July 4th 1946: even if that pogrom has been a product of the provocation by the Public Security Office (there are bases for such a statement), there must have been Poles who with knives and bars moved to the house on 7 Platy Street to murder the Jews. Historian can not, however, stop at the moral assessment, but has a duty to explore the secondary conditions, which could allow understanding a sense of the events as they unfolded. It is worth listening to the critics of Gross, who allege that he is minimizing facts and interpretations that does not support his assumptions in "Neighbors". These critics do not come from the need to minimize the responsibility for the crime (this opinion could be heard in the History Institute), but approaching the truth as close as it possible, as well as modesty in approaching historical body of knowledge, which seems to be more complicated and less explained, than Gross concluded it.

One evens but generalized conclusion

Discussion, about the reliability of Jan T. Gross in the reconstruction of the background and the sequence of the events in Jedwabne, is overshadowing what is most significant and controversial in "Neighbors" (and also in "Ghastly Decade"). Based on the study of one town, author is concluding statements about the Polish-Jewish relationships, Polish co-responsibility for the Holocaust and the collaboration with Germans.

His main thesis sounds:" Jedwabne, however, it is perhaps the biggest one time murder, committed by Poles on the Jews ' was not the isolated incident", and "in the collective memory of the Jews, the Polish neighbors in many villages murdered them out of their own unforced will". In a "Ghastly Decade" author asserts, that "Poles, in most cases, had not showed help or even sympathy for the murdered co-citizens and often participated in the process of annihilation of Jews". He also argues that it was possible to rescue a greater number of Jews, as "…none of the police is able to reinforce constantly broken rules. When one Pole in five or ten, but not one in a hundred or two hundred were to try to help Jews, Gestapo would be helpless. The brutal oppression is easiest installed against the small group of people, that is isolated in own society".

India and the General Government

This expression here is unusually strong, and one needs to question to what degree they are justified. Let's begin by agreeing with Gross regarding the numerous reports and memoirs that confirm indifference of Poles towards the destiny of the Jews, even worse - some incidents (however it is impossible to try to estimate how spread was it) money extortion or - in rural areas- seeking out hiding Jews by peasants. However assertion that more widespread help for the Jews would tie down Gestapo and prevent its repression, in the light of the politics of extermination of Poles, seems to belong to the political science fiction. Such supposition better fits to the struggle of Gandhi for political independence from British in India rather than to the General Government. Beyond other consequences, hiding Jews threaten the life of the entire Polish family, while we can reasonably expect from common people their decency but not the heroism.

The most important however is that currently we know much about one case - in Jedwabne- of murdering Jewish population by Poles; there is enough to suppose that the similar events took place in Radziwolow. Perhaps other case will see the light, which is currently unknown, however the categorical assertion by Gross has no foundation. The duty of the researcher - especially in such a delicate matter - is precision of his formulations and responsibility for each world. And these are often missing in the books by Gross.

Lets call upon one more matter regarding collaboration with invader by Poles and Jews. While Gross reject theses about the cooperation of Jews with invading in 1939 by Russians, he is assessing attitudes of the Polish civilians towards Germans after the Soviet -German war was started. "Telling straight"- he writes in "Neighbors" - enthusiasm of the Jews in the view of incoming Red Army was not wide spread, and it is not known, what was the exceptional character of the collaboration of Jews with Soviets during 1939-1941. However there is no doubt that the local population (with exception of Jews) enthusiastically welcomed incoming Wermacht army in 1941 and collaborated with Germans, including also the extermination of Jews".

How top call these opinions other then substituting one stereotype for the other - stereotype Judeo - communism by other stereotype relating in this instance to the war attitudes of Poles towards their German occupant .

The need for research

The book by Gross is needed. It moves our conscience, shaking the heroic picture the German occupation in which there usually was no place for these who extorted money, peasants catching the Jews escaping from the ghettos and Polish participant of anti-Jewish pogroms. Lets hope that this will start the discussion about most painful matters of our past. Most of all, we need the true research, which would allow to verify the assumptions contained in the "Ghastly decade" and "Neighbors".

Such a research (addressing amongst others the clandestine press, persecutions and trials against the money exhorts and collaborates) is undertaken by the Institute of National Remembrance. However, it happens eleven years too late. Neglect in taking up the research that could and should have been undertaken after 1989, will have consequences difficult to repair. The book by Jan T. Gross will be published in several months in the USA and Germany, and it will - not a scientific broad base source materials, which were still not written- will be molding the public opinion of the big part of the world about polish-Jewish relations during WWII. I honor J. Gross for the courage of taking up such a difficult subject and at the same time I have doubts if his multiple simplifications and very risky generalizations do not make it difficult instead of easing the Polish - Jewish dialog and the readiness of Poles to admitting own guilt.

The author is a PhD, a historian, and an author of the books on the subject of history of Poland; recently he has been nominated for the position of the Public Educational Director at the Institute of National Remembrance.

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tajemnice_archiwow.htm
Secrets in the archives
polish version
 
translated by: Emilia Wisniewska

The special operational groups of Gestapo could have operated in Jedwabne, suppose the German historians.

The Jews which asked for reparations to German authorities for the suffering caused by Nazis , has not mentioned about participation of Poles in the crime of the Bialystok region - asserts Heins-Ludger Borget of Ludvisburg. In those archives there are documents about murder in Jedwabne.

The authorities of GBR had conducted at least three investigations by the end of fifties, assuming that the crimes in the Bialystok district of summer 1941 were committed by Nazis, and amongst them, was the massacre in Jedwabne. However, each investigation ended with dismissal as a result of lack of proves.

The first investigation was re-opened in 1958. Its bases were the indications found in the petitions by the citizens of Israel who petitioned German authorities in 50-ties for reparations for their suffering in the hands if nazis.

There was not any suggestion about the participation of Polish civilians in the massacre, say the manager of the regional branch of the German Federal Achieves, Heinz-Ludger Borgert.

The research undertaken by the agency in Ludvisburg proved, that in the Bialystok and Lomza regions, independently of the intervening units (Einsatzgruppen) there perhaps operated the special unit designated for the "special assignments", in which included was the Gestapo unit of the Eastern Prussia region.

One other of such groups could have operated in the Lomza region, and have something to do with the massacre in Jedwabne - thinks Borger. The German authorities asked Israel or the legal help. However search for witnesses in Jedwabne had proven unsuccessful at that time. The investigation against the person suspected of commanding the unit was dropped about 1965.

In 1968 similarly, the second investigation against the commanders of SS and police, environmental police and the gandarmerie units, suspected of committing the crime in 9locations in the Bialystok region, including Jedwabne.

The Prosecutor took up the third investigation in this matter of Bielefeld in 1974. At that time, the German side petitioned to take the testimonies of 10 witnesses in Poland that the Main Commission for Investigation of the Nazi Crimes sent to Ludvisburg on October 7th, 1974.

In these testimonies there is talk about German responsibility for the crime in Jedwabne - asserts Borget.

As a part of this investigation German prosecutor deposed also residing abroad Jewish witnesses. One of them, Cwi Baranowicz, mentions the attempt by Poles to burn Jewish population in the synagogue in Piatnica. According to witnesses, the burning did not occurred only thanks to the German intervention. The witness suggested that the Poles participated in the Jedwabne massacre. However, Baranowicz himself had not ever resided in Jedwabne.

Borget admitted that in the German sources one could find the information that Germans considered the possibility of using anti- Semitic sentiments in the local community on the territory that has been taken by German army in June 1941, to ignite pogroms. - The word of caution was issued to make German initiative invisible - explains.

Borgert excluded the possibility of existing the German film in Koblencja and in Berlin - Such materials do not exists in Ludvisburg or in the archives of Koblencja and Berlin - he assured. However, he did not deny that the Polish historian searching documents on behalf of IPN can find a trace that can bring him to the leads to the other documents in the other archives. Published on Wednesday in ZYCIE excerpt of the testimony does not belong to Cwi Baranowicza but to Waclawa Kupieckiego.

-It does not apply to Poles- said Professor Witold Kulesza .

The witnesses deposed in the trials of the Jedwabne crime conducted in Germany, do not even mention participation of Poles in he crime. Why?

The prosecution in Germany was related to the alleged German perpetrators of crimes but not Polish. The German Prosecutors did not have a jurisdiction to persecute Polish perpetrators.

Part of the documents in Ludvisburg was sent to the by the Main Commission for Investigating Nazis Crimes. And even there is no mention about Poles. When Main Commission to Investigate Nazi Crimes were to address the German authorities to take up the investigation it would indicate the German preceptors. And that is why it did not rely to the German side for example the testimonies of the witnesses of the trial conducted in Poland in 1949. Indeed at that time there were 12 Polish residents of Jedwabne sentenced for the crime. Even if we were to sent to Germany the testimonies indicating the Polish perpetrators of the crime, that the German Prosecutor would have sent them back.  

Why than to come back to the matters already known for a long time?  

We are coming back to these documents to find out what was established, thus far. However, we must admit that they do not bring a breakthrough in the investigation.  

Wojciech Kamiñski, pap

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klamstwa_dotyczace_duchowienstwa.htm
Why didn't Gross come to Jedwabne?
polish version
 
translated by: Stefan Poniecki, Calgary 2001

J E D W A B N E

On the 10th of July 1941, in the small town of Jedwabne in the vicinity of £om¿a, took place a murder of Jews. Jan Tomasz Gross gave it publicity in his now famous book "Neighbours" published in Polish last year. The English edition is to appear simulatneously in different countries in April amidst vigorous advertising campaign. The author puts forward a thesis that over 1,600 Jews living in Jedwabne were murdered by their Polish neighbours. Gross is also accusing the local bishop and the Catholic clergy of indifference, if not outright refusal of succour to the Jews.

- A judgment has been pronounced without a trial. We have been slandered and spat upon - say the indignant inhabitants of Jedwabne on the 7th of February 2001 at an agitated meeting with the public prosecutor Rados³aw Ignatiev of the Institute of National Memory in Bia³ystok who is conducting the investigation of the murder. He invited people from the town with the idea of inducing them to make statements. From the moment of publication of the book, Jedwabians feel that they are hounded by part of the media (in Poland and even in North America), which declared them anti-semites and murderers.

- Why didn't Gross come to Jedwabne? Why didn't he talk with us instead of assuming a priority that it is we and not the Germans who are responsible for these deaths? - they ask. They do not want to talk with journalists because they are convinced that their statements will be distorted or censored. (The names of Jedwabians and their statements are known to the Catholic Information Agency. The majority of them made statements before prosecutor Ignatiev, but those cannot be revealed until the completion of the investigation). - I request of you to relate everything that you know, everything that you have seen, what you have heard from people near to you. Only in this way will we get to the truth, this is your only chance to repulse the accusations which you consider untrue - Mr. Ignatiev appealed to the inhabitans.

CIA established that Szmul Wasersztajn, the crown witness, whose statement is the basis of reconstruction of events by Gross, after the war worked for the Office of Public Safety (U.B.)

BACKGROUND

The question of Jedwabne forces us to go back to the up to now not completely explored and unsettled period of our history of the last 60 years, a period which saw a tragic entanglement of fates of Poles, Jews, Germans, Russians, and to a lesser degree, other inhabitants living in the eastern neibouring territories of the Polish Republic. Even a superficial attempt to recreate the history of this region during World War II brings up questions which to this day have no satisfactory answers. Up to the beginning of the war in 1939 Poles and Jews lived in the eastern territories of Poland in relative amity. Of course there were individual conflicts, but those happen everywhere people live. The population of little towns on this territory very often consisted of 50% Poles and 50% Jews. This was also the case of Jedwabne before the war. It had 2,500 - 3,000 inhabitants which can be verified in existing voters list for municipal elections. Jewish and Polish children attended the same school. A participant of the meeting with Mr. Ignatiev who was 7 years old in 1941, vividly moved, remembers that he sat on the same bench with a Jew, was able to name some of his Jewish friends with whom he was not only studying, but played and was friendly with.

Problems surfaced with the outbreak of the war. Two totalitarian systems: fascism and communism released evil in people and brought upon us misfortune - says Rev. Edward Or³owski, now parish priest of Jedwabne, formerly for three years vicar to Rev. Józef Kembliñski, administrator (deputy parish priest ) of the Jedwabne parish in the years 1940 - 1945.

First came the Germans. However when on the 17th of September Soviet troops invaded Poland, Germans retreated and the town came into Russian possession. In October 1939 in the neighbouring woods on the western shore of Biebrza and in Jedwabne appeared a Polish unit of resistence consisting of soldiers from central Poland and local Poles. The main organizers were the parish priest of Jedwabne Rev. Marian Szumowski and Rev. Stanis³aw Cutnik of Burzyn. In spite of frequent changes of billeting, the unit was dispered after a bloody engagement with the Soviet troops on the 23rd of June 1940. After its liquidation followed mass arrests by the Russians of some 250 people, including Revs. Szumowski and Rev. Cutnik.

The martyrdom of the Jews commenced with the outbreak of the German-Russian war on the 22nd of June 1941. The Germans occupied in a few days the eastern parts of Poland and at once proceeded with the liquidation of the Jews. Some were murdered on location, others e.g. from Brañsk, were taken to concentration camps or to ghettos constructed in bigger conglomerations such as Bia³ystok. In Jedwabne they arrived probably on the 25th of June and the annihilation of the Jews took place three weeks after the start of the German-Soviet war, on the 10th of July 1941.

It is an incontestable fact that Jews who found themselves in Jedwabne were driven on to the main square, herded into a barn and burned alive. What is contested is the number of Jews killed, the sequence of events and the participation in the crime of Germans and Poles.

Credibility of Gross' version

Perusing the first few pages of Jan Tomasz Gross' book "Neighbours" one's hopes rise that here we will learn the truth about the crime of Jedwabne. The author is being introduced as a noted historian (by education he is a sociologist), professor of political sciences of the University of New York, author of essays on the subject of Polish-German-Jewish relationships in the years 1939-1948.

Gross names various sources that he relied on. Unfortunately, as one reads his book, one is assailed by doubts whether the version presented in it is trustworthy. Although Gross mentions various sources and refers to numerous historians, yet in his argumentations he is relying on the statements of one man only - Szmul Wasersztajn, a Jew living in the town. This crown witness of Gross in Poland went under the name of Ca³ka and not Wasersztajn, who after the war was an agent of U.B.

This fact was established by Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, who has been researching this period of Polish history for many years, on the basis of depositions of two reliable witnesses who were interrogated by Wasersztajn at the UB after the war. Strzembosz draws attention to the credibility of sources and witnesses on which Gross relies. He underlines for example that Wasersztajn's story is too spacious and "all knowing" for someone who in that moment of time himself was obliged to hide and fight for survival.

Gross does not quote, for example, the reports of members of Anders' army deposited in the Hoover Institute, now also available in the Eastern Archives in Warsaw, which differ considerably from the author of "Neighbours" on the subject of "pogrom" in Jedwabne and the matter of Jewish collaboration with the Soviet authorities.

The author of "Neighbours" relies also on the files of the trial of 22 Poles dealing with the pogrom in Jedwabne conducted by the Office of Public Security (UB) in £om¿a in 1949 and in Bia³ystok in 1953. The UB proceedings were a mockery of legality. The trial lasted only two days, on the 16th and 17th of May 1949. People meeting with Mr. Ignatiev were stressing that their fathers were forced to confess by beatings and that some of the witnesses were bribed with vodka.

The lack of scientific honesty has been commented on by numerous historians, among others by Dr. S³awomir Radoñ, chairman of the College of IPN (Institute of National Memory) conducting the present investigation. They accuse him of drawing premature conclusions without a solid research in Polish and German archives and following up all possible leads.

It is significant that Gross did not visit Jedwabne, did not bother to contact witnesses or participants in the crime and talk with them. Gross merely quotes current depositions of Poles based on notes made by journalists, e.g. Agnieszka Arnold, on the occasion of her making the film "Neighbours" in 1998.

The role of the Church

In view of doubts as to the honesty of Gross' exposition, KAI decided to investigate the probity of some of the contentions concerning men of the Church contained in the book. In Gross' book priests are not in the forefront, they are kept rather in the background, accused obliquely as the "ideologists of the crime."

Gross suggests that if priests act as brakes on pogroms, they do it not for moral and religious reasons, but rather as a means of obtaining tributes.

In the quoted testimony in "Neighbours" of Menachem Finkelsztajn describing the murder of Jews in the neighbouring Radzi³ów we read:

"We were sure, that the Jews were murdered. Who murdered them? Polish murderers, dirty hands of people from the underworld, people blinded and driven by animal instinct after blood and loot, taught and nurtured over decades by the black clergy which was building its existence on racial hatred."

The author of "Neighbours" mentions two priests and the bishop of the diocese of £om¿a. Describing the relationship of the Catholic priests and the two religious communities in Jedwabne, Gross stresses that almost to the outbreak of the war the relationships between the local priest and the rabbi were good, and that Jews "fared no worse than anywhere else in Poland." However it was no idyll: "Apart from regularly occurring tense moments such as the time around Easter, when priests were evoking in their sermons the picture of the Jew as God's assassin, there was always the potential of some evil happening through a simple coincidence of circumstances."

Such a coincidence was the murder of a Jewess and shortly thereafter the death of a Polish peasant in 1934. The populace of the town interpreted the death of the Pole as a revenge for the murder of the Jewess, and a pogrom was hanging in the air. So the generally respected Rabbi Avigdor Bia³ostocki in company with Jony Rothschild paid a visit to the local parish priest (which is mentioned in the Souvenir Book of Jedwabne). Gross asserts that "This episode fits exactly within the norms of Jewish existence which accepted that the threatened community almost always knew in advance of the approaching scourge (just as they knew of the approaching extermination "actions" during the occupation) and took it as natural, that in such situations the civil and religious authorities were due a tribute for taking care of them and averting the anticipated calamity." This time the calamity was averted and the relationship between the leaders of the two communities continued as before.

Up to the time - writes Gross - when, just before the war, arrived a new parish priest of nationalistic sympathies. Here Gross writes an untruth. If he had checked this information in the history of the £om¿e diocese, he would have found that Rev. Szumowski was the parish priest of Jedwabne from 1931 to July of 1940 when he was arrested by the NKWD for organizing the movement of resistance. Just before the war there was no change of parish priest. From Gross' account it appears that either the alleged pogrom of 1934 was averted by the priest in spite of his nationalistic leanings, or by the predecessor of Rev. Szumowski - Rev. Andrzej Gawêdzki, the builder of the church in Jedwabne 1921-1931, later a prisoner in Buchenwald and Dachau. Therefore the date of the event is wrong. After his arrest Rev. Szumowski was shipped to Miñsk, where on the 27th of January 1941 War College of the Supreme Court of the ZSRR sentenced him to death. Documents confirming these facts, together with information of the General Consulate of the Republic of Belarus of 1997 in Bia³ystok about the circumstances of the arrest and murder of Rev. Szumowski, are now in the parish office of the church of St. Jacob in Jedwabne.

Rev. Józef Kembinski - vicar of Jedwabne at the beginning of the war and administrator of the parish after the arrest of the parish priest, remembered years later that a local Jew collaborating with the NKWD also took part in the arrest of Rev. Szumowski.

Another clergyman mentioned in the book of Gross is Bishop of £om¿e Stanis³aw £ukomski, whom Gross accuses of accepting from the Jewish delegation a silver candelabra, yet failing to save the Jews of Jedwabne from the pogrom. Ross writes:

"The leaders of the Jewish community sent to the Bishop of Jedwabne a delegation which took with them beautiful sliver candelabra, with the request that the bishop assure them of his protection and intervene with the Germans that a pogrom do not take place in Jedwabne. One of the uncles of the witness from whom this report stems, went with the delegation to £om¿a.

And indeed, the Bishop of £om¿a kept his word for a time. However the Jews were placing too much faith in his assurances and would not listen to warnings from sympathising Polish neighbours."

However, as research by KAI shows, while the Jewish delegation, according to Gross, was supposed to be meeting with the Bishop of £om¿a, he was not there because he was hiding from the Soviet occupants - predominantly in Tykocin and Kulesze Ko¶cielne. This information confirm numerous documents in the diocesan archives of £om¿a, and most of all recordings of the bishop himself.

The southern part of the diocese during the war was in the care of the auxiliary bishop domiciled in Ostrów Mazowiecki, while the northern part remained in the care of Bishop £ukomski, when he was there. After the start of hostilities in 1939, the bishop's residence was sequestered by the military and devastated by two conquering armies. When the German-Soviet conflict erupted on June 22 1941 and the Russians left the area, Bishop £ukomski decided to return to £om¿a. In part VII of his memoirs he describes his steps as follows:

"Wanting to return to £om¿a as soon as possible, but knowing that the bishop's palace and the curia were occupied by the Germans, I wrote to the German military authorities in £om¿a requesting that the dwelling be cleared of soldiers. Upon receiving from the Commandant the reply that there is no hindrance to my return and that suitable accommodation will be assigned to me, I left for £om¿a on the 9th of July."

The question arises, how did the delegation, which was to hand the bishop the candelabra, know that he would be in £om¿a? The murder of the Jews took place on the 10th of July, Bishop £ukomski was negotiating by mail with the Commandant before he returned to the capital of the diocese. Were these negotiations so open that everybody in the area knew that the Bishop of £om¿a was returning from banishment? This puts the veracity of this report under a question mark. Bishop £ukomski mentions that he did not move into the assigned quarters until August and only then started officiating.

"Having taken over the quarters in August of 1941, many repairs were

required. The household was made functional from offas found on location."

This information confirm chronicles of Benedictine Sisters of the Holy Trinity Abbey in £om¿a 1939-1945 written by S. Alojza Piesiewiczówna. Under the date of July 8 1941 she wrote: "Bishop Stanis³aw Kostka Lukomski returned to £om¿a". The bishop himself gives the date of July 9th, but even if some delegation took off to see him with silver candelabra, how to explain that "the Bishop of £om¿a kept his word for a time"? The pogrom in Jedwabne took place next day, at the latest two days after the return of Bishop £ukomski to £om¿a, if the notation of the Benedictine Sisters is correct.

In his memoirs Bishop Lukomski writes also about the annihilation of the Jews. His notations are not those of an indifferent man, but of a person looking with horror at the bestiality of Hitlerites. As to the attitude of Bishop Lukomski vis a vis the extermination of Jews, can bear witness the reports of priests who lived at that time in the diocese, e.g. Rev. Kazimierz Lupinski who recalls a verbally transmitted instruction of Bishop Lukomski not to grant absolution to Poles who took part in murdering Jews by the Germans.

The years 1939-41

The perusal of Gross's book raises further doubts. Gross attempts to trifle with the co-responsibility of Jews for the persecution of Poles in the period 1939-41 under Soviet occupation. For example, the betrayal of the Polish unit stationed in the region of Jedwabne, he ascribes to some Pole. According to the inhabitants, and also according to the report of Rev. Kemblinski passed on to Rev. Orlowski (the present parish priest who had been Rev. Kemblinski's vicar) it is explicitely the Jewish inhabitants of the town collaborating with the NKWD who betrayed the Polish Partisans.

- It's the Jews who were the first to spoil the good relationship with the Poles, and from that time on something cracked - related Rev. Kemblinski.

The problem of collaboration of the Jews with the Russians discusses at length and proves its existence Prof. Tomasz Strembosh, inter alia in article "The Silent Collaboration" in Rzeczpospolita from 27-28 January 2001.

N.B. Prof. Strembosz in his proof of Jewish collaboration with Russians, quotes earlier works of Jan Tomasz Gross, now in the archives of the Hoover Institute, containing reports of this collaboration. Alas, in "Neighbours" we do not find them.

At the unusually heated meeting of the inhabitants of Jedwabe with prosecutor Ignatiev of IPN, which took place in Jedwabne on the 7 February 2001, the older men were maintaining categorically that the time of Soviet occupation was the worst of the whole war and were stressing that during that period, less than two years, more Poles were killed and deported to Siberia than during four years of German occupation. It is estimated that from Jedwabne itself 300 persons were deported or killed. For these crimes Poles blame Jews collaborating with the NKWD.

An elderly, modestly attired woman related how on the 20th of June 1941, i.e. two days before the outbreak of the German-Soviet war and the invasion of German troops, the Russians deported her family of six people to Siberia. What is significant, the Soviets who arrived to make the arrests had a detailed list of whom to take in Jedwabne and what their addresses were. The mother of the woman in question asked the NKWD-man where he was from. He answered that he was from Moscow. If you are from Moscow, where did you get such such exact details? His answer: your Jews have betrayed you. "I can still hear his words" - affirms the woman. And indeed a Jew was accompanying them on the cart which took them to the train. After 5 years they returned from Siberia, just four of them because they buried there a brother and grandmother dressed in rags.

Another inhabitant of Jedwabne, whose father was tortured by Jewish functionaries of the U.B., was asking Prosecutor Ignatiev whether he could sue the Jewish hangman who delivered Poles to the Russians and tortured them, but now is living in the USA. Mr. Ignatiev assured him that he could, but he would have to have solid proof on which a charge could be drawn up.

CRIME

The number of Jews murdered and the participation of Poles in the crime evoke strong emotions. Gross maintains that 1,600 Jews were burned and that it was the Poles who did it and who for several days prior maltreated and tortured them. However, the census from 1940 gives the number of Jews living in the whole district as 1,400, of whom a considerable part escaped with the NKWD before the Germans to Bialystok, where they perished.

- Why are we being accused of killing 1,600 people and an exhumation is not being allowed? Their burial site is known; no barn in those times was big enough to hold 1,600 people - voiced a participant at the meeting with Prosecutor Ignatiev while clutching in his hands the weekly "Wprost" carrying the interview with Gross. The Jews oppose an exhumation for religious grounds. According to Rev. Kemblinski in July 1941 there were not even 800 Jews. Prof. Strembosz established a similar number of victims (less than 800) in his research.

According to the Jedwabians and Rev. Kemblinski the events of July 10 took a different turn. As early as July 8th Jedwabne was surrounded by German police and nobody could leave the town. For three days the Germans were herding the Jewish population on to the main square and ordered them "to weed the lawns". On the third day they ordered them to dismantle Lenin's monument and then herded the assembled crowd into Bronislaw Sleszynski's barn and burned them.

The inhabitants of Jedwabne admit that Poles also took part in the pogrom, because, as they were stressing in the meeting with the prosecutor of IPN, you will always find scoundrels and bandits. They also draw attention to the fact that some Poles, against their will, were coerced by the Germans to drive the Jews. The Germans were dragging young men out of their homes, arming them with clubs and forcing them to form a cordon around the Jews.

Commenting on the depositions extracted out of them during the trials of 1949 and 1953, the Jedwabians remember with fear that those were the times of UB when methods were being applied of such a kind that anybody would admit anything. A man whose father was being tortured during the investigation suggested to the prosecutor that he check who was the judge and prosecutor in the trial, and he would find that both were Jews.

From reminiscenses of Rev. Kamblinski we would find that when the German police arrived, he tried to intervene on behalf of the Jews (he spoke German well), and prevent an extermination in Jedwabne. They however merely shrugged their shoulders, saying that that's their order which they have to obey. They surrounded Jedwabne, had dogs with them and coerced the Poles to participate in the murdering (under escort). Whoever was standing by was given a club and was forced to use it on the Jews. According to Kemblinski, if it happened that some Pole abused a Jew, then it was largely because he considered the Jews above all as Soviet confidants and was taking revenge for the sufferings of people dear to him. For a pogrom sufficed a few policemen and a group of coerced Poles, the remaining Germans were surrounding the town preventing any escapes. The Jews were not trying to defend themselves nor escape, were just passively obeying.

How many Poles were murdering the Jews of their own volition, out of revenge, out of greed, or as Gross would have it, out of anti-semitism? According to Gross, all grown-up inhabitants of the town. According to the Jedwabians, those were isolated instances.

What is the truth?

Gross' book is a voice on behalf of this terrible crime, a subjective voice, often emotional, journalistic, drawing unjustified conclusions. It is not a historical study, because even a superficial analysis shows serious failures in methodology.

The book cannot also be considered as objective if only on account of the approach to sources quoted by the author, about which he writes himself. Gross maintains that one must affirm everything what the victims of Holocaust say:

"Our stance in relation to the statements of the would be victims of the Holocaust should change from doubtful to affirmative, simply because accepting what they give in their account, has indeed happened; we would be prepared to admit the fallacy of such an assessment only when confronted

with convincing proofs to the contrary.

Into the trap of such an assumption falls the author himself who bases the whole book and passes judgment on the account of Szmul Wasersztajn, a funcionary of the Security Office.

The book "Neighbours" is to appear in English in the USA, Canada and other anglophone countries, and exactly it - and not a scientific work - will be shaping the world public opinion in the matter of Polish-Jewish relationships during WW II. Prof. Pawel Machcewicz, director of Public Education IPN, draws attention to this problem, stressing his serious doubts that the numerous simplifications and dangerous generalization will thwart - rather than facilitate - the Polish-Jewsish dialogue and the readiness of Poles to confess their own trespasses.

Gross's conclusions, built on questionable factual ground, have already begun its independent life in the social consciousness. Certain circles consider Gross's book as unimpeachable and constructs on it a series of conceptions, such as atonement of Poles for the pogrom. Stanislaw Krajewski, co-chairman of Polish Council of Christians and Jews (Jewish delegate on this ouncil) demands a spectacular expiation with the participation of representatives of State and the Polish church.

Gross demands the erection of a new monument in Jedwabne with an inscription that 1,600 Jews were murdered by their Polish neighbours; he adds that the monument could be financed from money taken from one collection tray in the Jedwabne church.

There is no doubt that in Jedwabne took place a terrible masacre of the Jewish population, that Poles took part in it and they owe Jews a plea for forgiveness. Yet it is necessary to present all the surrounding circumstances objectively so that the act of apology takes place in the spirit of truth.

We do not hide that we tie with the investigation of the IPN the hope of getting to the objective truth. Prosecutor Ignatiev during his meeting with the inhabitants of Jedwabne declared that he must get as many relations of the events of eye witnesses as possible, and also of those who heard them from the mouths of their near ones. He stressed that in an investigation the nationality of the perpetrators is not important, important is the establishment of truth, facts, independent of whether it should come to light that the murderers were Poles or Germans. "If I find that a Pole was the murderer, I shall accuse the Pole."

Since the publication of Gross' book, the present parish priest Rev. Orlowski had visits from journalists, among others from the socio-cultural Jewish publication Midrasz (appearing in Warsaw), who posed the question whether he celebrates expiatory masses for the crime committed by the Poles. Rev. Orlowski answered that he prays every week at Sunday Mass for all the living and dead of Jedwabne: Poles, Jews, Russians, Germans. There is no hatred amongst them and death has reconciled them; we shall think about other prayers when we know the whole truth.

John Paul II spoke many times about the necessity of Christians atoning for the sins committed in the past. He himself was asking forgiveness for evil inflicted on the Jews at the hands of Christians. At the same time He stresses that at the basis of admitting guilt must lie honest truth. The Vatican document of the International Theological Commission "Memory and Reconciliation - the Church and Sins of the Past" underlines that establishing the sins of the past to be atoned demands above all a correct historical verdict which will be the basis of a theological assessment. In his book "Neighbours" Gross postulates that Poles have revised their history and admit their guilt. For this to happen, they have to see themselves in the mirror of truth. A book lacking scientific honesty is certainly not going to bring it about.

It is to be hoped that the investigation will bring forth a correct historical assessment. The president of IPN foresees that the investigation will wind up in April or May 2001, the time ripe for a "theological assessment."

The words of Rev. Orlowski about the living and dead inhabitants of Jedwabne: Poles, Jews, Russians and Germans - draw attention to a different perspective of the problem, namely what shape should present relationships between nations take, what measures should be taken in order that Jedwabne does not foster hate and aggression, that it unites instead of dividing people. Should not in the eventual expiation for the crime, "the catharsis of memory" of which John Paul II speaks, take part representatives of all the nations concerned?

Katolicka Agencja Informacyjna.

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radio_zet_nowe_dokumenty.htm
MURDER IN JEDWABNE: NEW DOCUMENTS FOUND!
polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

The following news report has appeared at the Radio ZET website (for the original in Polish see http://www.radiozet.com.pl/Info19924.html ):Radio ZET, March 26, 2001

MURDER IN JEDWABNE: NEW DOCUMENTS FOUND!

The Central Directorate of State Archives, together with the Council forPreserving the Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom, make public the so farunknown documents related to the crime in Jedwabne.These documents reveal that the crime was part of the German policy toexterminate the Jewish population. Mrs. Daria Nalecz, from the Directorateof Archives, also has stressed the fact that in Jedwabne some Poles werekilled as well; this puts a completely different perspective on the Polishparticipation in this murder.The documents in question, as well as the testimonies of witnesses to theseevents, have been presented at a press conference [...]

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pap_naliboki.htm
INVESTIGATION OF THE NALIBOKI MASSACRE
polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

The investigative unit of the National Remembrance Institute (IPN) will ask the Byelorussian prosecution authorities to open an investigation into the [war] crime committed at Naliboki in the Nowogrodek district.

The [Polish] investigation of this crime has been conducted since April 1996 by the District Commission for Prosecuting Crimes against the Polish Nation in Lodz. The Lodz IPN reopened it on March 20, 2001. The crime has been brought again to light recently by the Polish Canadian Congress.

According to the current results of the investigation, in Naliboki, during the night of 8/9 May 1943, Soviet partisans massacred the Polish population.

128 men and 3 women were killed. These people were led out of their homes at night, and shot. Their property was stolen, and their homes burnt.

Apart from the massacre in Naliboki, the IPN wants to investingate also the shooting of 10 people in the village of Derevno (December 1943), and the execution of 19 soldiers of the Home Army (AK) in Kamien (May 1943).

Note: The circumstances of the Naliboki massacre, in which participated the Jewish units "Jerusalem" (commander Bielski) and "Pobeda" (commander Zorin) are described at http://www.kpk.org/KPK/toronto/koniuchy.pdf (pages 24-25 and footnotes)

Mariusz Wesolowski

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prof_finkelstein_podtrzymuje_swoje_zarzuty.htm
Professor Finkelstein Upholds His Objections !
polish version
 
translated by: Jan Kulach

Jewish organization responds to Finkelstein objections.

Doctor Karl Brozik, director German Section of Jewish Claims Conference, has attempted to repulse the objections submitted by American historian of Jewish origin professor Norman Finkelstein. Doctor Brozik, in his article presented at "Die Welt", has endeavored to clear up the misapprehensions related to the "would-be" (in his opinion) findings about still living Jewish victims. Also he has denied the alleged JCC's money embezzlement, transferred as a compensation in 1950 s'.

In spite of the numerous misapprehension clearing-up attempts by the German JCC Section, Norman Finkelstein has uphold upon the whole the presented earlier objections. In his "Berliner Zeitung" interview, he has accused JCC of appropriation of compensations obtained by negotiations in 1950 s'. Also, he has warned that a similar appropriation may take place at the currently being conducted negotiations. At his spacious interview given for the mentioned newspaper he has incriminated JCC for an unfair course of action. He has said again that actually not less than 135 thousands Jews, former III-rd Reich labour and concentration camps prisoners are still alive.

Norman Finkelstein, New York's UB, Faculty of History graduate, is the author of many historical and political science publications. This historian criticizes also the proposed by Jewish organizations funds distribution system. He has maintains that in order to obtain possible highest compensations, the number of still living Jews - the III-rd Reich victims, is deliberately exaggerated. He maintains also that it is an injustice that the coerced to work in III-rd Reich non-Jewish labuorers, of which a dozen or so times more are still alive, would receive the same compensation as about 25 thousands Jews. Moreover, the Easter- European victims has never had any chance for any compensation while JCC has received from German Government in 1953 80 million USD designated for compensations.

The current value of those money equals approximately one billion USD ($1 000 000 000 US). The fund has never been used according to the actual destination. The whole amount has been transferred to Jewish organizations in Arabic countries. Moreover professor Finkelstein maintains that the fund had been used to establish the pensions for prominent Jewish activists ( some of them are sill being paid until now).

According to professor Finkelstein, JCC itself has supplied the evidence. He emphasizes that the 1953, bearing JCC seals, documents testify the reception of 80 million dollars from German Government. He adds also that the respected Jewish historians, Ronald Zweig and Nana Sagi have described all those circumstances in their book titled "German Reparacions and the Jewish World - a History of the Claims Conference".

Professor Norman Finkelstein, as historian, warns also of the data forgery by Jewish organizations.

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bez_udzialu_polakow.htm
UNKNOWN DOCUMENTS FROM THE LOMZA ARCHIVES.
polish version
 

Excerpts (quotes from the depositions found in Lomza):

Mojzesz K., 39: "In 1942 the Germans herded all the Jews from the town of Jedwabne into a barn and set it on fire, so that nobody survived. I was not present there but one Motek Kilingros managed to run away from Jedwabne and thus escaped from being herded into the barn; later on, he was with me in the Lomza ghetto, and he told me (...)"

Dawid M., 31: "In July 1942 Germans ordered all the Jews of Jedwabne to come to the market place; at that time I belonged to a partisan unit, I was in Jedwabne and I saw Lejba Pendziuch [the person to be declared dead by the court] among other Jews there. They led all the Jews by fours to the barn, and they set it on fire. [...] About 700 Jews were burned in that barn."

Hercek C., 32: "In July 1941 Germans murdered all the Jews of Jedwabne by burning them in a barn. I saw how they herded them into the barn [...] and how then they set it on fire. At that time I was hiding from the Germans in Jedwabne. I was in hiding and I survived. They burned the Jews in daytime."

Jankiel B., 46: "On 10 July 1941 I saw how the Germans herded all the Jedwabne Jews into a barn and fired it up. [...] I was then hiding from the Germans at the cemetery, and I saw everything."

Chaim S., 30: "The Germans burned the Piekarewiczs in August, I don't remember the year..."

Eljasz G., 23: "[...] the Gradowskis [Grondowski] were burned by the Germans in 1941 [...]"

Rywka F., 38: "[...] the Piekarskis were deported by the Germans when they were liquidating Jews and they still haven't come back [...]"

Piotr M., 65: "[...] Mr. Piekarski with his wife Golda were burned by the Germans [...]"

Jozefa M., 60: "[...] the Germans burned the Piekarskis [...]"

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niemiecki_plan.htm
IT WAS PART OF A GERMAN-PLANNED ROUND OF EXECUTIONS
polish version
 

Excerpts:

"These documents must be carefully analyzed. However, they seem to indicate that the German participation was very likely, if not essential," said Professor Nalecz. [...] "If it was part of a German-planned round of executions, we need to adopt a different perspective toward the Polish collaboration. Taking this crime out of its historical context may lead to completely wrong interpretations," stated Prof. Nalecz. "There could be different reasons for the possible cooperation of Poles - animosity, material gains. The possibility of German coercion cannot be also excluded."

Other documents contain indications that some Poles might have been among the Jedwabne victims. A list of Poles murdered in the 1944-1950 period contains three names with annotations: "1941, Jedwabne".

[...]

Aneta Gryczka

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sasiedzi_w_jedwabnem_zawadzka.htm
Another "Rush to Judgment" ?
Miroslawa Zawadzka

polish version
 

In this past year, Pogranicze Publishers, Sejny in Poland published a controversial monograph by John Thomas Gross titled "Neighbors". It attempts in some 115 pages, to describe and "adjudicate" a set of incidents that took place nearly sixty years ago - the gruesome killing of Jews in Poland's Lomza County (in the region of Radzilow and Jedwabne) during the German occupation in July, 1941, and so almost immediately upon the retreat of the previous occupiers - the Soviet army. The English language translation of this book is scheduled to appear in April of this year in the United States. We can also expect to see the release of a film under the same title by Agnes Arnold. Unfortunately, a critical appraisal of "Neighbors" leaves many disturbing questions regarding Gross' handling and interpretation of the evidence on which his contentions are based. These cannot be left to stand alone without commentary. But first, a brief summary of his work.

The introductory part informs us that at the start of World War II in 1939 about 1,600 Jews lived in Jedwabne, constituting around 60% of the town's population. In the almost two years of Soviet occupation (just before the war) mutual relations between Poles and Jews were good, but abrupt changes occurred soon enough, according to Gross in the latter part of June, 1941, when the Germans entered the territory of Bialystok; he ascertains that at that point in time, the subjugated Poles joyfully received the conquering Germans. In Radzilow (p. 41, Polish text) he says, "they built in honor of the German army a triumphal arch, decorated with a swastika, Hitler's portrait, and a slogan reading 'May the German Army Live - Which Frees Us From the Chains of the Judeo-commune' ". Gross then follows with "the first question these 'hooligans' asked was 'can we kill the Jews?' ". On apparently receiving a favorable reply, the Poles, Gross claims, started a brutal massacre - as an example he presents the story of the beheading of a young Jewess whose torso was then thrown into the water. He further asserts that the Jews were kicked, robbed, and viciously beaten. His description of these various acts runs for several pages. On page 46 (Polish version), he discovers increasingly worse things about the Poles; they "were the masters during the massacre for not a single German was present". But in the end, the Germans determined that the "Poles allowed themselves too much". Gross now goes on to relate that eighteen Jewish lives were saved as they later came out of hiding (seemingly "protected" by the German police?). "Together with the Jews also eradicated was everything that was Jewish in the town - schools, the synagogue, and the cemetery" he notes. On page 51, the action passes to the nearby town of Jedwabne. In the interlude since the German entry, a new town administration is installed with mayor Marian Karolak (appointed by the Germans, Gross fails to note that Karolak was a Silesian and ethnically German (a Reichsdeutsch)). This "Polish" administration of the town "planned and arrived at an agreement with the Germans to "murder the Jedwabne Jews" (p.51, Polish text).

"Certainly, many people had access to this information since the local men began to congregate in the town and massively gathered already in the early morning, though it was not market day the coordinator of the Jewish murders at Jedwabne was the town's new mayor, Marian Karolak ... though the entire town administration … took part in the murders". It is difficult to determine who exactly initiated the pogrom (on p. 52, for example, his star witness, Szmul Wasersztajn is quoted thus "this command was given by the Germans"), but according to Gross his observation is really not pivotal since everyone (apparently that is the conquerors and the conquered) had come to a mutual understanding" and here Gross makes for the connection "a taxi came with four or five Gestapo functionaries and they started talking with the town administration" (headed by Reichsdeutsch Karolak Yet, it is uncertain on which day this Gestapo visit took place, whether on the day of the massacre or earlier… nor what this understanding was exactly is also unclear and Gross does not seek to elucidate it. But he does venture into a personal guess, "Most probably the Germans gave the Poles a free hand for eight hours to do to the Jews whatever they wished (p. 43, Polish text). Gross moves on from here to his next guess, another hypothetical reconstruction. "The authorities of course, in Jedwabne, were the Germans and only they could take up the decision to kill the Jews". But he holds that "they did not do so; they even suggested keeping alive a certain number of Jewish skilled workers though they did that without conviction since finally all (the Jews) were burned" (p. 56, Polish text).

The German police station, Gross writes, was a haven that day and a few Jews were saved only because they found themselves there. On pages 65-73 (Polish text) a description is given of
a horrible killing of Jews. Gross here speculates that "supplied by the German police and the town administration with sticks, whips, and rods (clearly the poor Polish farmers did not have their own sticks Gross seems to say), the "Poles' (Szmul Wasersztajn's 'hooligan' has now been rehabilitated by Gross) rounded up the Jews, beating, killing, stoning, and maiming them. Those fleeing were captured by pursuit with horse and wagons. Amidst the jeers and laughter, they were murdered, mothers with babes in their arms were drowned, beaten with iron hooks, stabbed in the stomach with knives, tongues were cut out and other tortures perpetrated". He now adds "they soon realized that these methods were inadequate to totally eliminate one and half thousand people by dusk so it was decided to burn all of them together in a barn" (p. 76, Polish text). And this was carried out, he finally relates. "Those few escaping were caught and killed off. But after July 10th it was forbidden for "Poles on their own initiative to kill Jews" Gross announces and emphasizes that a few survivors returned to the now ordered town; but not for long for "they were finally in the end pushed out to the Lomza ghetto". On page 57 (Polish text) his prosecutorial rhetoric reaches a crescendo. Lest no one make a misinterpretation, he reiterates three time on that page that the "Poles were responsible for the crime". He delivers this statement, "the perpetrators were the Poles". Then shortly he claims that "the Germans stood by and took pictures as the Poles cruelly beat the Jews" (though see earlier where the remark
is made that the Germans were not present). Finally, a third time Gross makes a summary, blanket accusation "The Jews were killed by people of Polish nationality".

Conflicts within the Documentary Sources

From where does Gross obtain his information to provide these detailed accounts. Does he evaluate and reconcile his sources and are his inferences defensible? The primary sources consist

of Polish court records as well as the testimony of witnesses before Jewish organizations in Warsaw in the middle nineteen-forties. The main trial over the killings of Jedwabne Jews was held at the Circuit Court in Lomza, Poland where following an investigation, proceedings took place on May 16th and 17th, 1949, and so during the bleakest days of Stalinist terror. We all know how investigations were conducted then (torture, shakedowns, intimidation) and how justice was made to serve the policy and propaganda interests of that totalitarian state. John Gross himself, hesitatingly agrees with this, writing on p. 21 of the Polish text that "equally the courts and the prosecutors enjoyed a deservedly bad reputation (presumably he means among the populace). He writes regarding the proceedings that "each after the other remonstrated that they were beaten during the investigation and in this way were forced to testify which in view of the methods then in use by the Security Bureau is very likely". But regardless of this crucial admission, the greater part of the sources Gross utilizes for the book "Neighbors" come precisely from such tainted documents and witnesses. Does Gross at least attempt to critically evaluate these questionable hearings and testimonies. Most pertinent here are accounts of two "foundational" witnesses to the events described by Gross, Szmul Wasersztajn and Menachem Finkelstein. They both testified in 1945 before the Jewish Historical Institute as well as later before the Jewish Historical Commission in Warsaw in 1946. The records are a "loose translation" from the Yiddish into Polish as Gross confirms. These witness's formal statements differ between themselves regarding details (perhaps due to the "loose translation"). The above testimony of Finkelstein and Wasersztajn it should be remembered occurred in a period when unlimited raw power lay in the hands of people like Jacob Berman and Hilary Minc, and the courts and prosecutors were controlled by the bloody and intimidating Rozanski and Swiatlo (all four of the above were Jewish communists). But, even bypassing this issue for now, it ought to be noted that the statements of Wasersztajn and Finkelstein are confused and frequently conflicting. For instance, on page 40 (Polish text), we read "those civilians who were beaten I did not recognize since they were surrounded by a large circle of Germans" a few lines down the following appears "the authors of the massacre with the approval of the Germans were local "hooligans". In comparing the original documents with Gross, there is manifest such strained attempt to obtain elusive connections and hastily fit fact into preconceived end results.

On page 12 (Polish text), we find Gross providing this description of the shocking death of two Jewish women as it was related by Wasersztajn. "That same day I observed a terrible scene; Chaja Kubrzanska, 28 years old, and Basia Binsztajn, 26 years old, both with newborns in their arms seeing what was happening went to the pond, preferring to drown themselves with their children rather than fall into the hands of the bandits. So they threw their children into the water and drowned them with their own hands. Then Basia Binsztajn jumped in and went immediately straight down. Chaja Kubrzanska suffered for a few hours. The gathered hooligans made a spectacle of this; they chided her to turn herself about face, down into the water so she would drown more quickly... she seeing that the children had drowned already threw herself more energetically into the water and there found her death". But this same terrible story in the book of
Remembrance of the Jedwabne Jews (with which Gross is familiar) in a wholly different manner relates that event. Written by the Jewess Ryvka Fogel, a witness to the drownings writes that "the sisters, wives of Abraham Kubrzanski and Saul Binsztajn whose husbands had deserted them and left with the retreating Soviet armies, after undergoing awful punishment by German hands, decided to end their own lives and their children's. They exchanged their children and together jumped into the deep water. Non-Jews standing nearby rescued them, but they once again jumped in and drowned". An obvious question is which of the two stories supports the thesis of Polish guilt that Gross has set himself to establish? The answer is just as obvious as the question... Wasersztajn's since his testimony can be molded to produce the desired culpability. From the
account of Fogel it seems indeed that the Poles undertook the rescue of the Jewish women. But this display of heroism by the Poles would greatly weaken Gross's intent… to achieve theatre, revulsion, and to work the fields of castigation.

But we can go even further into the background of the story of these suicidal drownings. An immediate question arises... why did the Germans pick Kubrzanska and Binsztajn for such severe maltreatment. Perhaps on account of their husbands collaborating with the Soviet occupiers, since during the communist occupation of 1939-1941 both their husbands served actively in important positions with the NKVD (the dreaded Soviet secret police) in Jedwabne.

If the testimony of Ryvka Fogel contradicts Wasersztajn's in many respects, how should his testimony of Ryvka Fogel contradicts Wasersztajn's in many respects, how should his testimony then be understood (this part as likewise the remainder)? Most Poles in Jedwabne in those times knew that Wasersztajn was an informer against his country. According to these respondents, during the Soviet occupation of September, 1939 to June, 1941, Szmul Wasersztajn denounced Polish families to the NKVD and assisted in their removal and exile to Siberian gulags. And yet it is to this class of witness that Gross pays the greatest homage. Another instance of Gross' carelessness in drawing inferences from available sources is the following invented account
given on page 40 (Polish text) where he states, "The leaders of the Jewish community (in Jedwabne) sent a delegation to the Bishop of Lomza which brought with it beautiful silver
candlesticks and a plea that the Bishop extend his protection to the Jews and intervene with the Germans and not permit a pogrom in Jedwabne… the Bishop for some time kept his word". Indeed is this what happened? Gross allows himself much latitude with different accusations without verifying their truthfulness. The falsehood behind this account of the Bishop of Lomza

is blatant, for we know that the Bishop escaped and hid during the entire period of Soviet occupation at the location far distant from Lomza. He returned to his diocese only in August, 1941 ard even then his whereabouts were kept secret ard only known to few trusted Catholics. The attempt to make out that the Polish Catholic bishops enjoyed privileges in Hitler's occupied Poland is ludicrous. Both the Polish intelligentsia and the Polish priesthood were being bestially exterminated by the Germans at that time.

On pages 52, 80, and 81, Gross quotes (from the files and dossiers found in investigative and prosecutorial materials of the communist County Security Bureau in Lomza) with the purpose of establishing Polish complicity "one of the younger ones, for merely nineteen years of age, but also (one of the most brutal participants in these events - a moral idiot and criminal juvenile" who with "Wisniewski and Kalinowski stoned Lewin and Zdrojewicz" and further he finds even "two of them, Jerzy Laudanski and Karol Bardon were later policeman (schutzman) in the German police". On the issue of the person of Jerzy Laudanski we can find a retort by

referring to a letter published in the Republic (Rzeczpospolita) of January 27-28, 2001, from Dr Adam Cynar of the National Auschwitz Museum-Birkenau under the title "Jedwabne-Auschwitz-Sachsenhausen". In this letter, we learn of Jerzy Laudanski's still living brothers, Casimer and Sigmund that they come from one of the more notable Polish families in Jedwabne. Jerzy Laudanski during the war was involved in underground, conspiratorial work with the ZWZ and the Home Army (AK); arrested, he was later sent by the Germans to Pawiak prison and then to Auschwitz (# 63805) and then again from there imprisoned in Gross Rosen and Sachsenhausen. One might inquire of Gross... when indeed did Jerzy Laudanski become a policeman in the German police and whose testimony, the Stalinist Security Bureau of 1949 (which ferociously persecuted Home Army partisans) or Dr. Cynar as worthy of trust and belief? Information provided by Gross in the Chapter entitled "The Soviet Occupation, 1939-1944" (Polish edition) carefully skirts a well-known, documented fact of Polish history in that volatile period. (See Tomasz Strzembosz, Republic (Rzeczpospolita), January 27-28, 2000 - The Forgotten

Collaboration). It documents that large segments of the Jewish population (as yet Polish citizens), and particularly Jewish youth and poorer classes openly greeted with joyful welcome the invading Soviet armies (which raises the interesting question of a preventive camouflaging intent behind the tactic of Gross' absurd description of Poles welcoming Germans into Poland).

Armed and ready, many Jews collaborated with the communist Soviets, brazenly denouncing their fellow Poles and taking active part, along with Soviet marauders in terror, robbery, arrests, and deportations. Documentation of such widespread complicity is plentiful in Polish sources and can also be found in Dr. Cynar's letter. He relates the following scenario as described by Casimer Laudanski, a resident of Jedwabne. "When after September 17, 1939, a communist cell, reminiscent of the Bolshevik revolution, organized a government and a paramilitary, the members of this were a few token Poles but the greater number were the communist Jewish youth". It should not be revelatory that in the next period, that of German occupation, the Poles for practical reasons, did not offer risk their lives and their families lives in defense of the leftist Jews... of these erstwhile fellow citizens turned denunciators and oppressors.

The Massacre in Light of the Facts

John Gross for reasons only known to himself has omitted completely in his book a very essential major work published in 1989, and so already in the post-Solidarity period in the Studium Podlaski (published by the University of Warsaw branch at Bialystok). The Studium is a meticulous study of the destruction of Jewish communities in the Bialystok region in 1939 and 1941 to 1944. The author, of that work, prosecutor Waldemar Monkiewicz, was head of the Regional Commission on the Study of German War Crimes. According to his determination, on July 10, 1941 about 200 German functionaries and policeman arrived in military vehicles (from Battalions 309 and 316) acting within the operational framework of Einsatzgruppen B, sobriquet "Kommando Bialystok" (these battalions were composed in the main of German criminal elements). They were commanded by Wolfgang Brükner from the Warsaw Gestapo. These battalions were usually transferred from place to place, carrying out annihilation of Jews. In Jedwabne, he notes the role of a few Poles was limited to "bringing Jews to the town square and then escorting them beyond the town" under German coercion. Then "the Germans herded the Jews together beyond the town where some 900 of them were burned alive". Prosecutor Monkiewicz was acquainted with the court proceedings of 1949 where several Poles were accused of helping Germans locate Jews and then marching them to the killing field. In that instance, verdicts were issued for sentences of a few to several years (but only half of those accused were found guilty). After many years, Monkiewicz spoke reluctantly of this (in his remarks to Danuta and Alexander Wroniszewski in "Contact" (Kontakt) from July, 1986) he said, "these people had to be sentenced without regard to their degree of guilt. For these were the times
of Jacob Berman, Rozanski and their ilk".

Based almost exclusively on the testimony of Szmul Wasersztajn, Gross articulates a fanciful philosophy of historical evidence. "Our basic point of departure in regard to every transmittal coming from the unexpectedly saved victim of the Holocaust" Gross writes on page 64 (Polish edition), "ought to change from skeptical to affirming".

Is this a serious ground for interpreting evidence by one who purports to write history? Principles based on such a foundation permit endless "new dramas" to be written (just as in the period of Stalinism) and in this particular case lead to preposterous and foolhardy hypotheses... obvious sophisms flowing from a specious foundation. Utilized in this manner, proofs arising from such faulty reasoning are a logic of anarchy and inconsistency. In this book by John Gross we discover many such irrationalisms. If a contest was held where judges were guided with such perverse logic and politics, then the book "Neighbors" would be a prime exemplar of deformed and wrongheaded intellect.

Miroslawa Zawadzka

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inny_obraz_sasiadow.htm
Ultimate debunking of Gross
prof. Tomasz Strzembosz

polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz has published in today's "Rzeczpospolita" (31 March 2001 edition) an article called "A different picture of neighbors" (see the Polish original at http://www.rzeczpospolita.pl/gazeta/wydanie_010331/publicystyka/publicystyka_a_2.html

The article proves beyond any doubt that Gross has heavily doctored his sources. The following very brief excerpts in my very hasty translation present the gist of Strzembosz's argument. My "fillers" are in square brackets, round brackets indicate cuts.

Mariusz Wesolowski

"Because some journalists, such as Anna Bikont from "Gazeta Wyborcza", read my texts in the way which suits their needs, I want to clearly state that the following article is not an explanation of what has happened in Jedwabne on 10 July 1941, but an analysis of a specific source, that is, the depositions (...) made in Lomza in 1949, as well as of the way Professor Gross has interpreted them in his book "Neighbors". (...) I agree with Prof. Gross that this source is important, and because of that its interpretation influences the process (...) of discovering the truth."

"In answering the criticism coming from many historians (including myself) that Wassersztajn's relation alone is not enough, Prof. Gross replied many times that "Yes, Wassersztajn's relation is not sufficient but I also utilized other, absolutely fundamental materials. Strzembosz has five relations taken down 60 years after the war, I have at my disposal 36 depositions made already in 1949 (...)".

After such a declaration the other debaters had to fall silent. Why? Because Prof. Gross gained access to the records of the trial of Boleslaw Ramotowski and 21 other people when they were completely inaccessible to [everybody else]. He knew, was familiar with, held in his hands that "secret knowledge"; we had to rely on [scant bits of available information].

Only recently, when state prosecutor Ignatiew did not need these documents any more, (...) they have been made available to historians. What's more, they have been xeroxed and the copies will be made accessible to all the truly interested persons. They will be finally published."

"I have read them all. (...) And I have to say that the longer I was reading, the greater was becoming my astonishment. BECAUSE THESE RECORDS (...) STATE SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM THE ALLEGATIONS OF PROF. GROSS WHO RELIES MOSTLY (...) ON THEM [the stress in the original].

[...]

[In the central part of his article Prof. Strzembosz quotes and analyzes in depth the testimonies of at least 10 defendants in the 1949 trial. His conclusions are manifold, but the central ones are: 1. The German instigation, supervision and conduct of the murder are beyond any doubt; 2. Many Poles tried to avoid being forcefully made into participants, some even hid several Jews, others were beaten for their refusal by the Germans.]

"A picture fundamentally different from the one Prof. Gross has painted in his "Neighbors". Why this difference? Jan T. Gross simply omitted several scores of testimonies which spoke about the central role of the Germans, and selected only those talking about the Polish collaboration. (...) He did not explain anywhere his reasons for so doing. He did not say why he approved of some documents and rejected the others.

The fact that the depositions of Szmul Wassersztajn (...), Abram Boruszczak and Eljasz Gradowski have been practically disavowed is also worth attention. It happened because of the testimonies of the Jedwabne inhabitants which clearly proved that Boruszczak never lived in Jedwabne and Gradowski, jailed by the Soviets for theft, had been already in 1940 deported into the interior of the Soviet Union. He returned to Poland only in 1945, so he couldn't witness anything.(...)

All three accusers had been treated by the court as people who heard something but who never directly witnessed the events at Jedwabne. (...) It is exactly from such relation of Szmul Wassersztajn that Prof. Gross has taken the most drastic fragments of his book. These shocking facts have not been confirmed by any other sources.

I will leave the comment to the reader."


The full translation text was added here at 12.April. Sorry, I don't know the translator.

Tomasz Strzembosz: A different image of Neighbours

1. Statement

Since some journalists, such as Anna Bikont from "Gazeta Wyborcza", read my texts as it suits them, I hereby state that the article below is not an explanation of what happened in Jedwabne on the 10th of July 1941, but refers to the contents of specific source materials -- that is statements made to the investigating officers, prosecutors and the court, in Lomza in 1949 -- as well as to the way these source materials were read by Professor Jan T. Gross and subsequently presented in his book "Neighbours". Professor Gross talks about what seems to appear from these source materials, which - I state this clearly - are not sufficient bases for me to pronounce what happened then: about the course of events and their most significant circumstances. It is possible that we will never learn about these events, or that we will not learn everything. However, I agree with Professor Gross that these materials are an important source; and this is why the way in which they are read is not without influence on the laborious process of approaching the explanation: who, what and when - namely, getting to the truth.

2. History of the problem

One cannot claim that for 50 years nothing has been written about the crime committed in the town of Jedwabne in Podlasie. There have been a number of articles in the press and references made in books on the Holocaust about the incident. Arguments were made by the prosecutor Waldemar Monkiewicz, in, amongst others, an extensive article entitled "Extermination of Jewish settlements in the Bialystok region in the years of 1939-1944". In this article he presents a thesis that the burning of the Jews in the barn was conducted by a German special unit, under the command of a Gestapo member Wolfgang B?rkner, who was infamous for his role in the occupation of Warsaw, assisted by gendarmerie and military police. The latter participated merely in escorting the victims to the square in Jedwabne and in leading the convoy out of town, to the barn, where the Germans, having poured petrol on the walls, burnt around 900 men, women and children. However, those works were only published either in specialist research periodicals, or in other publications, which are not read by the majority of Poles.

This situation continued until 1999, when Professor Jan T. Gross published his article "Summer of 1941 in Jedwabne. A contribution to research on the role of local communities in the extermination of the Jewish nation during the second World War" in a collective work "Nonprovincial Europe", edited by Professor Krzysztof Jasiewicz.

This article contains a type of 'nucleus' and the basis for evaluation of what happened, which is an account by Szmul Wasersztajn; this account is in the Jewish History Institute in Warsaw (in a collection "individual accounts", nr.301). Professor Gross informs us that another account of Szmul Wasersztajn exists, which is shorter, in which a number of details are different than in the statement quoted below; this is not the most significant information, however. One account states that out of 1200 Jews in Jedwabne, only 3 survived the war; according to the other account - 7 out of 1600; one claims that the perpetrators of the murder forced the Jews to carry an enormous statue of Lenin - the other one - his portrait, etc. - but the general sense of both of the accounts is the same.

In his article, Professor Gross concludes: "But even without certainty regarding the details, it is absolutely clear for a historian, that in late June and early July of 1941 in Jedwabne a group of local people inhumanely ill-treated their fellow citizens of Jewish origin". Hence, on the basis of only one cited account, which is short and contains conflicting details in the two available versions (it is not certain which of these came first), a sociologist and a historian made a very grave accusation against a group of people.

One year later, in the spring of 2000, a publishing house Pogranicze in the town of Sejny published a book by Professor Gross with a significant title: "Neighbours. A history of the extermination of a Jewish town. To the memory of Szmul Wasersztajn"(we learn from the book that S. Wasersztajn died on February 9, 2000).

This book very quickly aroused an enormous response as it presents a thesis going much further than the conclusion of "Nonprovincial Europe". It can be formulated as follows: the Jedwabne Jews, who were Polish citizens, were murdered by the Polish community in Jedwabne, aided by the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. They murdered them by themselves, without the participation of the occupant - the Germans - who were merely passive observers or involved in filming the murders carried out solely by Polish hands.

I have not known, in my fairly long life, a historical book that would come to such notice and create such a wave of statements in such a wide range of media. Perhaps it is no wonder. Yet, amongst the hundreds of articles and statements on the radio and television, there is a clear lack of statements about the facts themselves, statements that would take up the issue on the basis of the same or entirely new, significant sources. Nearly all of these reports deal with moral aspects of the murder, its consequences for the historic consciousness of Poles, or political and psychological consequences, or they undertake a critique of the methodology used in the work presented by Gross. However, practically nobody tries to question essentially the factuality of the previously mentioned statement that it was Polish "neighbours" who murdered their Jewish "neighbours", by themselves, burning them in a barn of Bronislaw Sleszynski, with the approval of the occupant authorities, but without participation of the Germans.

Responding to the accusations of more than one historian (including the one writing these words), that the account of Wasersztajn is not sufficient, Professor Gross, on numerous occasions, both during discussions in the editorial offices of "Rzeczpospolita", and during a recent discussion in Bialystok, answered: "yes, the account of Wasersztajn is not enough, but in my work I also used other, completely elementary materials; Strzembosz has 5 accounts taken 60 years after the war, I have 36 accounts made as early as 1949 in a court room in Lomza and before other investigating officers".

After such a statement the participants of the discussion had to fall silent. Why? Because Professor Gross obtained access to the files of the proceedings against Boleslaw Ramotowski and 21 others, at the time when the files of the former Main Commission of Investigating Crimes against the Polish nation (in a state of liquidation) were entirely inaccessible, even to the employees. It was these files to which he referred. He knew, he saw them, held them in his hands, he had access to "secret knowledge", we were left with what had been - in rare cases - revealed earlier, as well as what sometimes came out in a heated discussion which - by the very nature of such discussion - may have been distorted.

Only recently, when the prosecutor Ignatiew no longer needed those files, the investigation records and the 1949 trial documents were made accessible to historians, thanks to the kindness of the IPN (National Memory Institute) authorities. More than that. I know they have been photocopied and a copy will be available to anyone really interested. They will finally be published.

What are those documents? As the charges from March 31, 1949 state, the Jewish History Institute in Poland sent to the Ministry of Justice "evidence materials regarding the criminal activity of murdering individuals of Jewish nationality by the inhabitants of Jedwabne. According to the statement given by a witness Szmul Wasersztajn, who observed the extermination of Jews. The main perpetrators of this crime were (...)". Thus, the files of the trial contain the same account of Wasersztajn that is quoted by Professor Gross (the longer version); this account became the basis for the trial. As a consequence of this investigation, a trial in the Regional Court in Lomza took place on May 16 and 17, 1949 and its verdict was then considered by the Appellate Court and the High Court.

One substantial volume thus contained several types of documents:

- - - testimony of suspects and witnesses made before officials of the local Office of Public Safety in w Lomza, who were investigating officers;

- - - statements of suspects and witnesses given before public prosecutors of the Regional Court in Lomza;

- - - testimony of the accused and witnesses made during the court trial;

- - - charges and the verdict with justification, prepared by the judges of the Regional Court in Lomza;

- - - correspondence of the accused to various national authorities' offices;

- - - files of the Appellate Court and the High Court in Warsaw.

This is the source that is always called upon by Professor Gross.

3. Amazement

I read it all. Even more: I copied by hand all the documents elementary to the case of the murder, maintaining accurately their style and writing, which were, one might add - very characteristic. I have to admit that the more I read the files, the more my amazement increased. These files, when treated in a serious and complex manner, say something entirely different from what Professor Gross claims; Professor Gross based his arguments mainly on these files, although these were not the only documents used. Professor Gross constantly stresses the fact that because he can rely on such a rich and credible source basis, he has the right to formulate authoritative claims that others can oppose with accounts only - and those accounts were given many years later.

It is impossible to convey in a press article all that the study of these documents yielded. It is just as is impossible, on the basis of these accounts and only these, to present a credible version of events, which could in the end turn out to be different from the picture emerging from the statements of the accused and the witnesses; all of these parties were in a specific and very particular situation, so they said what they said - not necessarily the truth and only the full truth. I can however, pass on a few statements, which appear espressis verbis from the documents, considered by Professor Gross as so significant in the course of uncovering the truth.

They will concern:

- - The number of people accused of participation in the murder of Polish citizens of Jewish origin in the town of Jedwabne. This number will only include the inhabitants of the town, as participants in the murder from outside Jedwabne only appear in the documents in a manner that is too general and anonymous to identify them.

- - Participation of Germans in this murder, that is, the uniformed and armed officials of police formations. In this case, I will attempt to quote in the most extensive way possible, the relevant fragments of sources, so that I can not be accused of pronouncing claims that are not based on source materials. May the readers judge for themselves, whether they are sufficiently numerous and sufficiently convincing to talk about participation of Germans in the particular stages of the murder. The murder consisted of 3 stages: dragging the Polish citizens of Jewish origin out of their flats and driving them to the market place in Jedwabne; leading them, first through the town, then through a field to the barn of Bronislaw Sleszynski, and finally burning them in the barn.

I haste to add here, that the first and the third stage are the least known to us: most of the suspects admitted to guarding the Jews in the market place, less to driving them here, but nearly no one admitted to being near the barn when it was being lit. Such an admission might have been an evidence of participation in the worst of crimes. So this is where there is most room for speculation.

I would like to start with the role of the Germans and the role of the Poles in the events which took place in Jedwabne on July 10, 1941. Since the suspects and the witnesses gave testimony in turn: before investigators, public prosecutors and during the court trial - I will attempt to present their statements in exactly this order, in order to demonstrate if and to what extent they changed according to who the interrogators were. I will quote them in extenso, as they sounded, but merely those fragments that concerned the relations between Poles and Germans. Quoting the whole statements would produce a book, not an article.

4. Testimony

I will only consider here statements of the suspects, out of whom in the end 22 were put to trial on May 16 and 17, 1949. The order has been maintained as it was during the trial, which was called a trial of "Boleslaw Ramotowski and 21 others".

1. 1. 1. Boleslaw Ramotowski - born in 1911, without a job, currently a janitor in a primary school, 1 part of primary school completed, wife and four kids (I give only the most significant data that characterise the suspect; the suspects were all Roman Catholics, and lived in Jedwabne).

Before the investigating officer (I do not consider here the issue of who the investigating officers were [sometimes they were non-commissioned officers]; it is a separate and very interesting issue) he testifies (08.01.1949):

"Yes, I took an active part in driving those Jews to the barn, who lit it - I did not see that, I only know, that we Polish drove nearly one and a half thousand Jews (this number occurs in a number of statements, it looks like a number suggested or written in by the investigator) and the men[tioned] Jews were burnt. Who set the fire, this I don't know.

Question: Tell me, who else took an active part together with you, in driving those Jews, who were burnt in Jedwabne.

Answer: They are the following people (...)" (I will write later about the number of suspects occurring in the statements, but I would like to signal that they are the people named by the investigating officer. In the case of Ramotowski it is as many as 41 people).

Before the public prosecutor he states (15.01.1949):

"Yes, I admit I am guilty that in 1941 in the summer in Jedwabne, to accommodate the authority of the German state under the orders of the mayor and the German gendarmerie I took an active part in guarding the Jewish population driven to the market. My task was only to make sure that none of the Jews got away. In guarding, the Jews participated also (...)"

Before the court he states (16.05.1949):

"I was at the market for around 2 hours, because I was forced by Germans to guard the Jews. When the Germans drove the Jews to the barn, I ran away home then. (...)

The Court reads out the testimony of the accused made during the invest.[igation], k.74

The accused states further:

During the interrogation I was forced to tell on other people, because I was beaten very much. (...)"

2. Stanislaw Zejer - born in 1893, 1 part of primary school completed, farmer, 4 ha of land, married.

Before the investigating officer he states (11.01.1949):

"I was detained because I took part, by the order of the town mayor Karolak, to drive Jews to the market place. (...) It was in 1941 in the month of July, the janitor came to me by an order of the town major and he said told me to go to drive Jews to the market and I went to drive them to the market. After we drove them there, the gendarmerie started terrible beatings together with the Poles.(...) To the Jews that were there, the Germans told to take the monument of Lenin and to walk with it into town singing. I wasn't there any more during that time, because I got an order from the town mayor to fetch clover. I was bringing that clover for an hour. When I got back, the barn with the Jews was already burning, and there were about 1000 Jews who had been chased into that barn."

Before the public prosecutor he states (15.01.1949):

"Yes, I admit to being guilty, that in 1941 in Jedwabne, to accommodate the authority of the German state (this is a consistently used formula associated with the fact that charges came from the so-called "August Decree" from August 1944), under the orders of the town mayor Karolak and the Gestapo, I drove to the appointed place in the market 2 people of Jewish nationality; after leading those two Jews to the market I saw a lot of Jews already there. From there I went straight home and I didn't see what happened after that, what the Germans did with the Jews. Whether the other inhabitants of Jedwabne took part in bringing Jews, I didn't see that. (...)"

Before the court he testifies (16.05.1949):

"Stanislaw Zejer does not admit to being guilty and explains: when I was in the Magistrate, the mayor told me to collect Jews but I didn't want to, when I went out in the street one from Gestapo told me to take 2 Jews, but I let them go when the Gestapo one went to the bakers.(...)

The Court reads out the statement of the accused for k. 33 and 75 investigation.

The accused testifies further:

I saw Jerzy Laudanski when he walked with the Jews, when they drove them to the market, the Gestapo were walking behind Laudanski. I did not see any of the other accused. These Jews were lead by the Gestapo and they were beating them. I am illiterate. I didn't go myself, the Germans took me and they forced me".

3. Czeslaw Lipinski - born in 1920, farmer, 5 parts of primary school completed, bachelor, 3 ha of land and farm buildings.

Before the investigating officer he testifies (11.01.1949):

"Question: Did you take part in the murdering of Jews in 1941in the month of July?

Answer: I did not take part in the murdering of Jews, only Kalinowski Eugeniusz, Laudanski Jurek and one German came to me and [I went] with them to the market; I brought one Jew and 2 little Jewesses [sic!] When we drove with the Germans the above mentioned Jews (...) we brought the above mentioned Jews to the market then the Germans put me on the Stary Rynek street [and] told me to look out so that the Jews would not run away from the market. I was sitting with this stick around 15 minutes, but I could not look any more how they were murdering them [,] I went home and on the way I threw this stick away (...)".

Before the public prosecutor he testifies (15.01.1949):

"I do not admit to being guilty, that in July 1941 I took part in the burning of Jews in Jedwabne and I explain, that on the critical day when I stood on my own courtyard a German came up to me, took me with him to the market, to guard the Jews, who had been driven to the market. As soon as the German walked away from me, I immediately ran away from the market. I only stood by the market for a short time, maybe 10-15 minutes and because I was terrified with what was happening, I don't remember anything about who from the civilian population took part in murdering the Jews. After getting home I hid in the hay (if he hid, it was from the Germans not the Poles) and I don't know what happened to the Jews".

Before the court he testifies:

"I didn't bring any Jews to the market".

The court reads the statement of the accused made in the investigation k. 35 and 76:

In the statement I talked about how they made me, because I was beaten very much. I wasn't in the market at all I don't know what went on there". (This statement questions all the previous ones. Which one is true? In any case, neither the investigator nor the public prosecutor seem to consider the statements about the role of Germans in driving Jews and manipulating Poles as something to question, they both accept this as obvious.)

4. Wladyslaw Dabrowski - born in 1890, cobbler, illiterate, married.

Before the investigating officer he testifies (11.01.1949):

"Question: Tell us if you took part in the murdering of Jews during the German occupation in 1941 in the month of July?

Answer: I did not take part in the murdering of Jews, I took part only in the guarding at the market, where there were over fifteen hundred of those who had been driven there by the Polish community. (...) My task was to watch that not one Jew came out beyond a line, which I did, I got such an order from Karolak, Sobota and one German, and during my guarding I didn't see anyone beating Jews (...)".

Before the public prosecutor he testifies: (15.01.1949):

"I do not admit to being guilty and I explain: on the critical day when I was at home, gendarmerie came to my home with the mayor of Jedwabne Karolak and told me to go to the market and guard the Jews. Because I didn't want to go and tried to run away, the German hit me on the head with his gun (this was confirmed by the testimony of a number of witnesses) and he hit me in the face with his hand and knocked a tooth out. Then I stood there for around 2 hours. As soon as the German moved away from me I ran away home. (...)"

Before the court he testifies:

"(...) Does not admit to being guilty and explains: on the critical day I worked near the church and I didn't take any part.

The court reads the testimony of the accused given in the invest.[igation] k. 38 and 78. The accused testifies further:

I talked like that during the interrogation, because i was beaten and I was afraid of further beating. I didn't see any of the accused. I was beaten in a terrible way" (the statements during the interrogation and before the public prosecutor had to contain some truth, as the fact of the beating by the German was confirmed both by the family and by strangers).

5. Feliks Tarnacki - born in 1907, profession - locksmith, job - farmer, 4 parts of primary school completed, widower.

Before the investigating officer he testifies (11.01.1949):

"Question: Did you take part in the round-up on the Jewish population in the month of July 1949 and who else took part in it?

Answer: On the day on which the round-up on the Jewish population took place, mayor Karolak Marian came to me and the secretary of the magistrate Wasilewski, whose first name I don't know, together with a Gestapo man, and they chased me out to the market, where there were a lot of people gathered [from] the town of Jedwabne and from other parts, whom I didn't know: (...) I stayed in the market for around 15 minutes and then having run away from it I took the bicycle from my house and left for the village of Kaimy in the district of Jedwabne, where I stayed with Przestrzelski Feliks for around 10 minutes and after drinking a glass of vodka I went in the direction of Lomza. (...) After that I returned home on foot, i.e. to Jedwabne and there was already smoke in town from the burnt barn. After getting home I hid. I remained in hiding for the whole night".

Before the public prosecutor he testifies (15.01.1949):

"I do not admit to being guilty that in July 1941 I took part in the murdering of Jews in Jedwabne and I explain that on the critical day I was at home. During that time the mayor of Jedwabne Marian Karolak came to my flat with a Gestapo man and they took me to the market, where Jews were being brought. When the Gestapo man walked away from me I ran away home and went by bike to Lomza (...)"

Before the court he testifies:

"(...) I was at the market maybe 10 - 15 minutes by the order of a Gestapo man, but I escaped right away.

The court read out the testimony on k. 40 and 79 invest.[igation]

The accused testifies further:

I didn't see any of the accused. My brother is called Jerzy Tarnacki."

6. Józef Chrzanowski - born in 1889, farmer, home schooling, married, 3 ha of land with farm buildings.

Before the investigating officer he testifies (11.01.1949):

"(...) In 1941 when the occupant army entered Jedwabne the local population commenced with the murdering of the Jews, first they drove them to the market: when I was walking along Przylska street I was met by Wasilewski Józef and Sobota, inhabitants of the town of Jedwabne, and they told me to go to the market so I didn't oppose and went with them. When I got to the market they told me that I should give my barn for the burning of the Jews, so then I started to ask them not to burn my barn, so they agreed then to this and left my barn alone, only they told me to help them drive the Jews to the barn of Sleszynski Bronislaw, the Jews were rounded up in fours (although the testifying is not saying it directly, he means the Germans; similarly when he talks of setting the fire) and we Polish guarded on one side and on another so that the Jews would not run away, when we got to the barn, they told all the Jews to go into the barn and we had to look out that all the Jews went into the barn and they set fire to the barn and the Jews were burnt, then I went home then, I had no orders to drive the Jews from the Germans. (...)"

Before the public prosecutor (15.01.1949) he repeats the statement about defending his own barn, does not admit to driving Jews to the barn of Sleszynski.

Before the court he testifies:

"Does not admit to being guilty, explains: I wasn't present at the driving of Jews, neither was I at the leading of them (leading them - to the barn - T.S.).

The Court read the testimony of the accused on k. 42 and 80 of the invest.[igation]. The accused testifies:

Wasilewski and Sobota turned to me, so that I would give my barn for the burning, but I didn't agree. Then the Gestapo came, they also demanded, that I would give the barn, I didn't want to agree, but being scared of them I ran away in the corn and stayed there until the evening. I didn't see any of the accused." (it is clear that either the court asked about the other accused, or else returned to the testimony given before the investigating officer of the Security Services).

Before the prosecutor (Jan. 15th 1949) he repeats that he did not want his barn to be used for burning the Jews, he pleads he is not guilty of driving the Jews to the Sleszynski's barn.

Before the Court he testifies:

"I do not confess my guilt, he explains: I was not present at collecting the Jews or at driving them (to the barn - T.S.).

The Court read out the defendant's testimonies on chart 42 and 80 of the investigation files. The defendant testifies:

Wasilewski and Sobota wanted me to give my barn for burning, but I refused. Then the Gestapo men came and they also demanded that I give my barn, but I did not want to; as I was afraid of them I ran away and hid in the rye. I stayed there till the evening. I saw none of the accused". (the court probably asked him about the other accused persons or came back to his testimony before the UB investigating officer).

7. Roman Górski - born 1904, a farmer, he owns 3 ha of land, 2 classes of elementary school completed.

Before the investigating officer he testifies (Jan. 10th 1949):

"at 12 a.m. to my house came Karolak Marian, the mayor, and a German gendarme, who kicked me. They took me to the Market of Jedwabne, where they ordered me to guard the Jews together with several 16- 17-year-old boys from the village (...) I was at the Market from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then I went back home, as my wife, who was lying in after childbirth, suddenly fell ill. I did not go out of the house any more that day. (...)"

Before the prosecutor he testifies (Jan 15th 1949):

"Yes, I confess I am guilty that in July 1941, accommodating with the German authorities and under the threat of the mayor and German gendarmes I was made to guard the Jews collected at the Jedwabne Market. The mayor, Karolak, and German gendarmes came to my house and took me to guard the Jews at the Market, so that they could not run away. I also saw that Sobota and Wasilewski selected about a dozen Jews present and ordered them to do funny physical exercises. I do not know what happened next to the Jews, as I went back home".

Before the Court he testifies:

"Gendarmes came to my house and ordered me to go with them. When I opposed, they beat me and forced me to go with them to the market, where I remained only for 15 minutes and escaped and came back home, because my wife, when she saw that the Germans were beating me, fell ill.

The Court read out the defendant's testimony on chart 44 and 81 of the investigation files.

The defendant testifies:

I did not do anything, when I was at the market. I did not see Jerzy Laudanski. I was beaten very heavily during the investigation proceedings and told these things while being in pain."

8. Antoni Niebrzydowski - born 1901, a locksmith, secondary education, married, an owner of a house in Jedwabne.

Before the investigating officer he testifies (Jan. 10th 1949):

"In 1941 to my house came Karolak, a German mayor, and Bardon Karol and they ordered me to go to guard the Jews at the market, whom they were driving to the sugar market. I did not know what was going on and I went at the order of Karolak and Bardon. I was on the side of the Dworna Street and I had nothing in my hands."

He delivered kerosene to be poured on the barn to which "they rushed the Jews". He gave the kerosene at the order of Eugeniusz Kalinowski and Jerzy Niebrzydowski.

Before the prosecutor he testifies (Jan. 15th 1941):

"Yes, I confess I am guilty that in July 1941, accommodating the German authorities and under the threat of the mayor and Bardon (Bardon, who was an assistant gendarme, was the only Jedwabne citizen armed with a gun) I was made to guard the Jews collected at the Jedwabne market. I gave the kerosene from the storehouse to Bardon, Niebrzydowski Jerzy and Kalinowski Eugeniusz; I do not know for what purposes they needed the kerosene. After some time I went back home and I only saw the fire belching out of that barn (...)"

Before the Court he repeats his version of events and adds:

"Then people were saying that the kerosene I had given was used to burn the Szlesinski's barn" (it is an important completion - maybe, giving the kerosene to the town authorities, he did not know for what purposes it was going to be used).

9. Wladyslaw Miciura - born 1902, a carpenter, one class of elementary school completed, married, 6 children aged 6 - 15, ? ha of land.

Before the investigating officer he testifies (Jan 10th 1949):

"Three or four days before the raid I was made to do some carpenter work at the gendarmerie station. In July 1941, I do not remember the exact date, several cabs (at that time the villagers called by this name all the passenger cars) came with Gestapo men and they organised a raid on the Jews and they rushed them to the market square. The gendermes sent me home for breakfast and when I came back after an hour a policeman ordered me to go to the market to guard the Jews and prevent them from running away. I guarded the Jews from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then I went back to the gendarmerie station, but they did not want me to work; they told me to go and drive the Jews to the barn, so I did this and I was there till the moment the barn full of Jews was set on fire. (...)

Before the prosecutor he testifies (Jan. 15th 1949):

"Yes, I confess I am guilty that in July 1941 in Jedwabne, accommodating with the German authorities and under the threat of German gendarmes and the Gestapo men I was made to guard the Jews collected at the Jedwabne market, I did not participate in driving the Jews to the Sleszynski's barn. (...)"

Before the Court:

he does not confess his guilt and explains: "I did not participate in driving the Jews". During the investigation proceedings he gave the names of the accused because he was beaten. He says: "I was not present at the market square at all. All day long I was working as a carpenter at the gendarmerie station" (This testimony is also characteristic for other defendants. Before the investigating officer he acknowledges having done everything; before the prosecutor he denies most of the controversial acts - participation in driving the Jews to the Sleszynski's barn; before the Court he says he has not taken part in the murder at all. Most of all testimonies against the neighbours [not cited here] are false and forced. The fact that before the Court he denies participating in the crime does not mean that he did not see the Gestapo cars and the actions of gendarmes.)

10. Józef Zyluk - born 1910, no profession, illiterate, performs odd jobs as a salesman, married, 5 children

Before the investigating officer he testifies (Jan. 9th 1949):

"I was detained by the militiamen in Jedwabne on 8th January 1948 and accused of delivering the Jews to the Gestapo men in 1941." In the later part of his testimony he says that, drawn away from mowing the hay, together with Karolak the mayor he took one Jew from the mill in Jedwabne, was taking him to the market, but let him go in Lomzynska St.

Before the prosecutor he testifies (Jan 15th 1949):

that "on the critical day, when I was mowing the hay, the mayor of Jedwabne came and told me to go with him to the town. As I did not want to go with him, he told me that if I do not go, I would be shot down. So I went with him." Then he repeats his testimonies from the investigation. (In his application to the Supreme Court dated 28th July 1949 he says that later he saved 8 Jews and that he can present witnesses to confirm this.)

Before the Court he testifies:

"(...) at the Karolak's order I was conducting one Jew, but only for about 15 steps, then I ran away and I know nothing".

The Court read out the defendant's testimonies from chart 49 and 84.

The defendant testifies:

"the name of the Jew I was conducting was ZdroJewicz" (he really survived and testified in the court proceedings).

I think that citing next ten testimonies would be enough to form a fairly reliable view on the role of the Germans in the liquidation of the Polish citizens of Jewish origin in Jedwabne on 10th July 1941.

So - the Germans!

How many of them were there? We do not know. Maybe it was true what Julia Sokolowska, the cook at the gendarmerie station in Jedwabne, said during the trial on 17 May: "On the critical day there were 68 Gestapo men, I was preparing dinner for them; and there were lots of gendarmes, as they came from various gendarmerie stations".

Other Jedwabne citizens also clearly distinguish the Gestapo men from the gendarmes. Some base their opinion on the details of clothing they observed. For example Natalia Gasiorowska, giving her testimony before the prosecutor (in November 1950), said: "I am sure they were the Gestapo men, as they had skulls on their caps", and Marianna Supraska, giving her testimony on the very same day and before the same prosecutor, talking about the participation of Zygmunt Laudanski, said that he had been rushed by the Gestapo men who "had skulls on their sleeves".

In any case the number of the Germans is not the most important matter. However, one of my reporters, Dr Stefan Boczkowski, wrote in the letter of November 2000, that Jedwabne was "green" with their uniforms. The most essential is the fact that all the time the Germans were the forcing element and the representatives of the occupying authorities who had been deciding about everything in the neighbourhood for the last three weeks.

The testimonies show that the Germans forced the local men out of their houses and rushed them to the market square or made them "drive" the Jews.

In other testimonies, not cited here, the witnesses tell about the Gestapo men and gendarmes "driving" the Jews along Cmentarna St. to the Sleszynski's barn. However, nobody tells about their role in setting the barn on fire. As I have already mentioned elsewhere, this moment is carefully omitted in the testimonies. Only one witness mentions an arsonist - a Pole (Józef Kobrzeniecki). It is highly improbable that the Germans who had controlled all the preparations for the murder left the final execution for the Poles.

One question is left open - was Jedwabne on that day surrounded by the guards and who were the men guarding the town? One of the defendants says that he, armed with a stick, was left by the Germans on his farm located at the entrance to the town - he states, however, that he did not fulfil his task and let through the persons who were running away (namely ...). Other testimonies, however, both of the suspected and the witnesses, seem to deny that there was any tight cordon of the guardians around the town. Several suspects escape from the Jedwabne market square, hide themselves in the rye around the town and nobody prevents them from doing so; the other suspect rides out of the town on his bike in the direction of Lomza and only near Lomza meets the gendarmes who take the bike away from him. The full isolation of the town surrounded by gardens and with direct exits to the fields covered at that time with high crops would be possible only with the presence of a great number of military forces placed not only in the exit streets and roads.

5. The number of the Poles taking part in the murder

In order to establish this number on the basis of the presented source materials it is necessary to analyse the following elements:

· · the number of suspected (and then accused) persons testifying before the Provincial Court in Lomza, decreased by those acquitted of a charge on the spot on 17 January 1949 or later during the proceedings before the Appeal Court;

· · persons defined as "hiding themselves", i.e. those who were not arrested and did not take part in the trial;

· · persons who died before the beginning of 1949 and also defined as guilty;

· · persons mentioned in the Szmul Wasersztajn's report, with the reservation that they also have to be "checked" during the testimonies given before the court.

The separate problem is that of town citizens mentioned in testimonies given before the officers of the Security Service (UB). Most of the defendants during the court trial revoked their testimonies regarding this matter, saying that they were forced to give them by torture. It is worth noting that the UB investigating officers were not interested in the Germans - firstly because their presence in Jedwabne on 10 July 1941 was obvious for them (as well as for the prosecutors and the judges), and secondly because the Germans were not available and the Poles, not the Germans, were the subjects of the investigation. Moreover, there is a tendency, a visible tendency, to widen the circle of suspects both by the persons already in the hands of the Security Service (UB) and by the persons who had not yet been arrested. With the help of forced statements, evidence is being collected against the arrested and the non-arrested persons. Janek is to testify against Piotrek, Piotrek is to testify against Jurek, Jurek against Janek, etc., so that the accusation is based not on one but on many depositions. There occur paradoxical situations. Boleslaw Ramotowski mentions in his statements before the UB officers 41 "co-perpetrators", whom he saw at the Jedwabne market square. Later on he even defines who was holding a stick and who had a gun. It was impossible to notice so many persons in the chaos of events that were happening, especially as the witness - according to his own words - took an active part in the events. Thus, it is no wonder that during the court trial he revoked that part of his testimony, stating that he saw only one person at the market. Similarly Julia Sokolowska, the cook at the gendarmerie station located close to the market square, who, however, had to perform a definite task (cook the dinner), during the investigation proceedings stated that she saw at the market more than thirty Poles busy with collecting and guarding the Jews. The question arises: can we treat the persons mentioned during the investigation as persons really engaged in the preparation or realisation of the crime in Jedwabne?

Let us now do the calculations:

1. The formal accusation mentioned 22 persons charged with participating in the crime, of which 10 were acquitted and released. (During the "Main Court Proceedings" of 16th and 17th of May 1949 the following were sentenced: Karol Bardon, to death [pardoned by Bierut, received 15 years in prison], Jerzy Laudanski, to 15 years in prison, Zygmunt Laudanski, Wladyslaw Miciura and Boleslaw Ramotowski, to 12 years in prison, Stanislaw Zejer and Czeslaw Lipinski, to 10 years in prison, Wladyslaw Dabrowski, Feliks Tarnacki, Roman Górski, Antoni Niebrzydowski and Józef Zyluk, to 8 years. The following were acquitted: Józef Chrzanowski, Marian Zyluk, Czeslaw Laudanski, Wincenty Goscicki, Roman Zawadzki, Jan Zawadzki, Aleksander LoJewski, Eugeniusz Sliwecki and Stanislaw Sielawa. Such sentences indicated a considerable level of independence of the court, which deemed some of the depositions for the Security Service (UB) as insufficient in view of the later testimonies by witnesses, especially if the suspects pleaded not guilty already during the inquiry.) Consequently, only 12 persons were declared guilty. However, the Appeal Court in Bialystok, during extramural proceedings in Lomza on 13th of June 1950, acquitted 2 of the persons convicted in May 1949, i.e. Józef Zyluk and Feliks Tarnawski, thus reducing the list to 10 convicted persons.

2. The list of persons in hiding (this qualification does not mean that the persons mentioned in the list really remained in hiding, but that they did not live in Lomza province and were not available at the moment. Indeed, many inhabitants of Lomza province left after the war - for a variety of reasons - for the regained territories, in particular the Mazury region), and therefore not available, includes 8 persons suspected of the crime (these are: Jerzy Tarnacki [to whom Wasersztajn referred as Jurek Tarnoczek], Julian Schmidt, Marian Karolak, Józef Wasilewski, Jerzy Niebrzydowski, Michal Trzaska, Waclaw Borowski and Mieczyslaw Borowski), although 5 of them are also on Szmul Wasersztajn's list. This leaves only 3.

3. The list of persons suspected of the crime, but not alive in 1949 includes 9 persons (the list includes: Józef Sobota , Eugeniusz Kalinowski, Józef Kobrzeniecki, Stanislaw Sokolowski, Boleslaw Rogalski, Wladyslaw Modzelewski, Bronislaw Sleszynski, Jarmutowski and Aleksander Janowski), although three of them (Boleslaw Rogalski, Jarmutowski and Bronislaw Sleszynski) are also on Wasersztajn's list, which leaves 6. The list of six includes Józef Sobota , who was later found in a psychiatric hospital and released due to the state of his health. However, he was undoubtedly one of the most charged perpetrators of the massacre.

4. The list of persons whom Szmul Wasersztajn deemed particularly criminal includes 14 inhabitants of Jedwabne (these are: Bronislaw Sleszynski, Marian Karolak, Mieczyslaw Borowski, Waclaw Borowski, Jarmulowski (mentioned among the deceased as Jarmutowski), Boleslaw Ramotowski, Boleslaw Rogalski, Stanislaw Sielawa, Franciszek Sielawa, Eugeniusz Kozlowski, Trzaska, Jerzy Tarnoczek (Tarnawski), Jerzy Laudanski and Czeslaw Laciecz (sic!).

Looking at this list one can have certain doubts. The list includes acquitted Stanislaw Sielawa, who was noted - as Wasersztajn writes - for cruelty, Bronislaw Sleszynski, who was confined to bed with dysentery, whose fault was that following orders from Karolak, supported by the presence of a gendarme; he handed them the keys to his barn; the list includes the Borowski brothers, who committed allegedly terrible deeds prior to July 10th. Those deeds were not confirmed by anyone. Moreover, it partly matches the other lists. Mentioned here are those listed as deceased: Bronislaw Sleszynski, Boleslaw Rogalski and Jarmulowski (or Jarmutowski), those who remained in hiding: Jerzy Tarnacki, Michal Trzaska, Marian Karolak, Waclaw Borowski and Mieczyslaw Borowski, those who were convicted: Boleslaw Ramotowski and Jerzy Laudanski, and finally, Stanislaw Sielawa, acquitted by the court, so he can not be considered here. This way, the list is reduced to 3 persons who were not listed elsewhere.

If we sum up this information, we arrive at a conclusion that (assuming that all those in hiding and all of the deceased were guilty) 23 persons from the Polish community participated at some stage in the atrocious act of July 10th 1941. This is a rather probable number, since reports by witnesses (among others Stefan Boczkowski) mention similar numbers. We are dealing here not with the "community" of Jedwabne, but with a group of several dozen men, of whom Karol Bardon, perhaps the most guilty, can hardly be considered to represent the Polish element (born in Cieszyn Silesia, German soldier during World War I, trusted - since at the beginning of the occupation he served as a gendarme), and two others were a known brawling drunk and a notorious bandit.

Among the participants of the events of July 10th the undoubted criminals were: Marian Karolak (the authorised mayor) and Karol Bardon, who many times act, together with the Germans as those who exerted force onto others.

Several times the depositions mention some unidentified youths from neighbouring villages and some ordinary onlookers who were present during the events, probably unaware of how they will end. Similarly unaware (I believe) were most other Polish participants, apart from above mentioned Bardon and Karolak, and maybe a few more people from Jedwabne Town Hall.

6. Selection of Material

Let us sum up: the decisive role of the Germans as those who inspired, organised and participated, plus the participation of several dozen Poles, including those who were forced to. Justifying the 1949 verdict, the court clearly emphasised that the accused acted under the influence of German terror. In addition, there was the attitude of others, who ran into cornfields, hid in their homes and finally, like Józef Zyluk, looked after his fellow citizens who survived the massacre. Józef Zyluk, forced to lead two Jews from the mill on the outskirts of Jedwabne onto the market square, let them go, saving their lives. One of them, named Zdrojewicz, survived the war. Similarly, Zofia Górska in her letter of March 2nd, 1949 to the Provincial Court in Lomza, concerning her arrested husband Roman, writes that after the mass murder in Jedwabne the couple were hiding two Jewish neighbours in their home, namely Partyjer Serwetarz and his brother (since I quoted only 10 depositions of the suspects, omitting several dozen other depositions, including testimonies of important witnesses, important information in this matter is missing here).

As we know, of those doomed to extermination, far more survived than the seven hidden by the Polish family of Wyrzykowski in Janczewko. Many survived in Jedwabne itself until autumn 1942 and a few saved their lives and lived on in 1945.

This picture is fundamentally different from that drawn by Professor Jan Gross in his "Neighbours". What is the reason for such difference? Jan Tomasz Gross left out several dozen testimonies of various persons - witnesses, defendants, etc., who talked about the role of Germans as the causative agents; he only quoted the testimonies which mentioned the participation of Poles. He relied, among others, on an initial testimony of cook Julia Sokolowska, which was later withdrawn, and the material written by Karol Bardon, a German gendarme who, being sentenced to death, tried to dilute his responsibility by blaming the inhabitants of the town. Professor Gross has never explained the reasons for such selection. He has never explained why he accepts some documents and rejects other ones.

It is also worth noting that the account of Szmul Wasersztajn, who was not questioned by the court, and the testimonies of the prosecutor's witnesses Abram Boruszczak and Eljasz Gradowski, have actually been repudiated. It turned out in the light of the testimonies of the inhabitants of Jedwabne, and, in particular, the Polish citizen of Jewish descent, Józef Gradowski, that Abram Boruszczak had never lived in Jedwabne, and that Eljasz Gradowski, convicted for theft, had been imprisoned by the Soviet authorities and sent deep into the USSR as early as 1940. He only returned to Poland in 1945, so he had not seen anything. The above-mentioned Józef Gradowski said that he escaped German hands on the day of the murder with the help from a Pole he did not know well.

All three accusers were treated by the court as persons who had heard of things but had not been direct witnesses. In their final cessation appeal to the Supreme Court the defence lawyers indicated that Szmul Wasersztajn had never been interrogated or questioned by either Security Service (UB) officers, or by prosecutors or during court proceedings. Answering this, the Supreme Court stated that this had been a serious infringement but, as the court had not based the proceedings on the Wasersztajn account but on testimonies of direct witnesses, the infringement did not have significant impact. It is Szmul Wasersztajn who provides the most violent passages in Professor Gross's book. These facts which stimulate imagination so much have not been confirmed by any other sources.

I leave any comments to the reader.

Tomasz Strzembosz (born 1930), historian, Professor of the Catholic University of Lublin and the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). Author of publications on armed conspiracy in the Polish capital city: "Military Actions of Underground Warsaw 1939-1945", "Assault Forces of Conspiracy in Warsaw 1939-1945", "Rescuing and Freeing Prisoners in Warsaw 1939-1944". For nearly twenty years has been studying the history of Polish conspiracy on the north-eastern territories of the Polish Republic under Soviet occupation. Currently writing a book based on the research. Also preparing a publication about the Soviet occupation system on Polish territories in 1939-1941. Recently published "The Underground Polish Republic".

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inny_obraz_sasiadow_de.htm
Jedwabne - ein anderes Bild der Nachbarn
Professor Tomasz Strzembosz

polish version
 
[Arbeitsübersetzung aus dem Polnischen - Beata Kubas]

Tageszeitung "Rzeczpospolita" vom 31.März - 1.April 2001

Einführung

Professor Tomasz Strzembosz speziell für "Rzeczpospolita" Jedwabne - ein anderes Bild der Nachbarn

Die entscheidende Rolle bei dem Verbrechen, das gegen die jüdische Bevölkerung in Jedwabne am 10. Juli 1941 begangen wurde, spielten die Deutschen.. Die Zeugen wiesen deutlich auf die Gendarmerie und Gestapo als Anstifter der Verbrennung, Organisatoren und Mittäter hin. Dies behauptet Professor Tomasz Strzembosz, der Dokumente untersuchte, die die Grundlage für das Buch "Nachbarn" von Jan Tomasz Gross waren. Professor Strzembosz ist der Ansicht, dass aus den Ermittlungs- und Prozessdokumenten von 1949 ein grundsätzlich anderes Bild zum Vorschein gebracht wird als das, das von Professor Gross in seinem Buch präsentiert wird.

Ein anderes Bild der Nachbarn Tomasz Strzembosz

Erklärung

Da manche Journalisten, wie Anna Bikont von der "Gazeta Wyborcza", meine Texte so lesen, wie es ihnen bequem ist, erkläre ich, dass dieser Artikel keine Erläuterung der Ereignisse in Jedwabne vom 10. Juli 1941 ist, sondern den Inhalt der spezifischen Quelle -d.h. der Aussagen, die vor Untersuchungsoffizieren, Staatsanwälten und dem Gericht in Lomza 1949 gemacht wurden - betrifft, sowie wie diese Quelle von Prof. Jan T. Gross in seinem Buch "Nachbarn" ("Sasiedzi") interpretiert wurde. Er schreibt darin über etwas, was aus diesen Quellen zu folgen scheint, aus Quellen, die - und das erkläre ich nachdrücklich - für mich keine ausreichende Basis dafür sind, um zu urteilen, was damals passiert war: d.h. wie die Ereignisse abgelaufen waren und unter welchen wichtigsten Umständen. Es kann sein, dass wir es niemals erfahren werden oder dass wir niemals alles darüber erfahren. Ich stimme jedoch mit Prof. Gross überein, dass diese Quelle wichtig ist, und deshalb beeinflusst auch die Art., wie man sie liest, den arbeitsamen Prozess der Annäherung an eine Erklärung: Wer, Wann und Was - also an die Feststellung der Wahrheit.

Geschichte des Problems

Man kann nicht behaupten, dass über das Verbrechen in der Kleinstadt Jedwabne, Region Podlasie, 50 Jahre lang nichts geschrieben wurde. Es gab doch einige Zeitungsartikel und Anmerkungen in Büchern über den Holocaust. Es gab ebenfalls Abhandlungen des Staatsanwaltes Waldemar Monkiewicz, z.B. einen umfangreichen Artikel "Vernichtung jüdischer Siedlungen in der Region Bialystok in den Jahren 1939-1944" ("Zaglada skupisk zydowskich w regionie bialostockim w latach 1939-1944"). In diesem Artikel stellte er die These auf, dass die Juden in der Scheune von einem deutschen Spezialkommando verbrannt wurden, das von dem aus der Okkupation Warschaus bekannten Gestapomann Wolfgang Bürkner angeführt wurde, bei Mithilfe der Gendarmerie und der Ordnungspolizei. Die letzte half lediglich bei der Führung der Opfer zu dem Markt in Jedwabne und bei ihrem Konvoi außerhalb der Stadt, zur Scheune, in der die Deutschen ca. 900 Männer, Frauen und Kinder verbrannten, nachdem sie die Wände mit Benzin begossen hatten. Dabei handelte es sich jedoch um Texte, die entweder in wissenschaftlichen Zeitschriften oder Buchpublikationen erschienen, die von einem größeren Teil der Polen nicht gelesen werden.

So war es bis Prof. Jan. T. Gross 1999 in dem von Dozent Krzysztof Jasiewicz herausgegebenen Sammelband "Europa nicht-provinziell" ("Europa nieprowincjonalna") den Artikel "Sommer 1941 in Jedwabne. Beitrag zu Forschungen über die Beteiligung der lokalen Gesellschaften an der Exterminierung des jüdischen Volkes während des Zweiten Weltkrieges" ( "Lato 1941 w Jedwabnem. Przyczynek do badan nad udzialem spolecznosci lokalnych w eksterminacji narodu zydowskiego w latach II wojny swiatowej") veröffentlichte.

Dieser Artikel beinhaltet als eigenartigen "Kern" und Grundlage für die Bewertung der Ereignisse den Bericht von Szmul Wasersztajn, der sich im Jüdischen Historischen Institut in Warschau befindet (Sammlung "Individuelle Berichte" Nr. 301). Er informiert, dass ein zweiter, kürzerer Bericht noch existiert, in dem manche Details anders beschrieben werden, als in dem weiter zitierten, jedoch nicht das ist das Wichtigste. Laut dem ersten Bericht, überlebten den Krieg von 1200 Juden aus Jedwabne nur drei, laut dem zweiten - von 1600 Juden - sieben; laut dem ersten befahlen die Täter den Juden, ein großes Lenin-Denkmal zu tragen - laut dem zweiten - sein Porträt usw., usf. - jedoch der allgemeine Sinn der beiden Berichte bleibt derselbe.

In seinem Artikel zieht Prof. Gross die Schlussfolgerung: "Auch wenn keine Sicherheit besteht, was die Details betrifft, ist für den Historiker absolut offensichtlich, dass um die Wende Juni/Juli 1941 in Jedwabne eine Gruppe der örtlichen Bevölkerung auf unmenschliche Weise die Mitbürger jüdischer Herkunft quälte". Der Historiker und Soziologe stellt also einer bestimmten Personengruppe einen sehr schweren Vorwurf und basiert dabei auf einem hier zitierten kurzen Bericht, der widersprechende Details in seinen zwei Versionen enthält (wir wissen ja nicht welche früher, und welche später aufgeschrieben wurde!).

Ein Jahr später, im Frühling 2000, veröffentlicht der Verlag Pogranicze in Sejny nicht einen Artikel, sondern bereits ein Buch von Prof. Gross unter dem charakteristischen Titel: "Nachbarn. Geschichte der Vernichtung eines jüdischen Städtchens. In memoriam Szmul Wasersztajns" ("Sasiedzi. Historia zaglady zydowskiego miasteczka. Pamieci Szmula Wasersztajna"). Aus diesem Buch erfahren wir, dass Szmul Wasersztajn am 9. Februar 2000 verstorben ist.

In diesem Buch, das sehr schnell ein starkes Echo fand, wurde eine These aufgestellt, die sehr die Schlußfolgerungen aus "Europa nicht-provinziell" erweitert. Sie könnte folgendermaßen formuliert werden: Juden aus Jedwabne, polnische Staatsbürger, wurden von der polnischen Bevölkerung aus Jedwabne bei Mithilfe der Bewohner der Nachbardörfer ermordet. Sie wurden von ihnen selbst ermordet, ohne Teilnahme des Okkupanten - der Deutschen, die lediglich passive Beobachter waren, bzw. den Mord, der ausschließlich mit polnischen Händen ausgeübt wurde, filmten.

In meinem schon ziemlich langen Leben kenne ich kein historisches Buch, das so ein Echo gefunden und so eine Welle von Aussagen in Medien aller Art hervorgerufen hätte. Vielleicht ist daran nichts Merkwürdiges. Jedoch in diesen hunderten Artikeln und Radio- und Fernsehaussagen fehlen eigentlich Feststellungen über die Tatsache selbst, solche Feststellungen, die diese Sache anhand von denselben oder neuen, wesentlichen Quellen, aufnehmen würden. Fast alle diese Aussagen befassen sich entweder mit den moralischen Aspekten des Mordes, seinen Konsequenzen für das historische Selbstbewusstsein der Polen, den politischen und psychologischen Konsequenzen; oder nehmen eine methodologische Kritik der Arbeit von Gross auf, doch niemand versucht eigentlich die Faktographie grundsätzlich in Frage zu stellen, diese Feststellung, dass eben die polnischen "Nachbarn" ihre jüdischen "Nachbarn" selbst umgebracht hatten, indem sie sie in der Scheune von Bronislaw Sleszynski verbrannten. Mit Billigung der Okkupationsbehörden, aber ohne deutsche Teilnahme.

In Antwort auf die Vorwürfe zahlreicher Historiker (den Autor dieses Textes inbegriffen), dass der Bericht Wasersztajns zu wenig wäre, sagte Prof. Gross vielmals, sowohl während der Diskussion in der Redaktion der Zeitung "Rzeczpospolita", als auch während der unlängst stattfindenden Diskussion in Bialystok: Ja, der Bericht Wasersztajns sei zu wenig, aber er hätte in seiner Arbeit noch andere, wirklich grundlegende Materialien verwendet; Strzembosz hätte 5 Berichte zur Verfügung, die 60 Jahre nach dem Krieg aufgeschrieben wurden, er hätte 36 Aussagen, die bereits 1949 vor dem Gericht in Lomza und den Untersuchungsoffizieren gemacht wurden.

Nach dieser Erklärung sollten die Diskutierenden verstummen. Warum? Eben deshalb, weil Prof. Gross zu einem Zeitpunkt, an dem die Akten der ehem. Hauptkommission zur Untersuchung der NS-Verbrechen am polnischen Volke (in Auflösung) auch für ihre Mitarbeiter völlig unzugänglich waren, Zugang zu den Akten des Prozesses gegen Boleslaw Ramotowski und 21 andere Personen hatte - und sich eben auf diese Akten berief. Er - wusste, kannte, hatte in der Hand - er verfügte über das "Geheimwissen", wir - waren darauf angewiesen, was - in raren Fällen - früher offen gelegt wurde, sowie darauf, was in einer turbulenten Diskussion zum Vorschein kam und von Natur aus irgendwie mit ihr verbunden war, also verzerrt sein konnte.

Erst vor kurzer Zeit, als Staatsanwalt Ignatiew diese Akten nicht mehr brauchte, wurden dank der Höflichkeit des Instituts für Nationales Gedenken (IPN) die Untersuchungs- und Gerichtsdokumente von 1949 den Historikern zur Verfügung gestellt. Noch mehr. Ich weiß, dass sie kopiert wurden, und die Kopie allen wirklich Interessierten zur Verfügung gestellt wird. Sie werden endlich veröffentlicht.

Was sind das für Dokumente? Wie wir in der Anklageschrift vom 31.03.1949 lesen können, übersandt das Jüdische Historische Institut in Polen dem Justizministerium (das die staatsanwaltliche Aufsicht führt) "Beweismaterial über die verbrecherische Tätigkeit bei der Ermordung von Personen jüdischer Nationalität durch die Einwohner von Jedwabne. Nach Aussagen des Zeugen Szmul Wasersztajn, der das Judenpogrom beobachtete, Haupttäter dieses Verbrechens waren (...)". So kam in die Gerichtsakte derselbe Bericht Wasersztajns, der von Prof. Gross zitiert wird (längere Version) und eben dieser Bericht war die Ermittlungsgrundlage. Der Ermittlung folgte ein Prozess vor dem Bezirksgericht in Lomza am 16. und 17. Mai 1949. Das Gerichtsurteil wurde anschließend vom Berufungsgericht und vom Obersten Gericht geprüft.

In einem dicken Band findet man also Dokumente verschiedener Art:

Aussagen der Beschuldigten und Zeugen, die vor den Funktionären des Kreisamtes für öffentliche Sicherheit in Lomza - als Untersuchungsoffizieren gemacht wurden;

die vor den Staatsanwälten des Bezirksgerichtes in Lomza gemachten Aussagen der Beschuldigten und Zeugen;

die während der Gerichtsverhandlung gemachten Aussagen der Angeklagten und Zeugen;

die Anklageschrift und das Gerichtsurteil samt Begründung, angefertigt von den Richtern des Bezirksgerichtes in Lomza,

Schreiben der Angeklagten an verschiedene Instanzen der staatlichen Behörden,

Akten des Berufungsgerichtes und des Obersten Gerichtes in Warschau.

Also handelt es sich hier um die Quelle, auf die J.T. Gross sich ständig beruft.

Überraschung

Ich las das alles. Noch mehr: Mit der Hand habe ich die für die Mordsache grundlegenden Dokumente abgeschrieben, mit strenger Einhaltung ihres Stils und ihrer Rechtschreibung - übrigens waren beide sehr charakteristisch. Ich muss gestehen, je mehr ich in diesen Akten las, desto mehr perplex war ich. Wenn man diese Akten komplex und ernst nimmt, folgt aus ihnen etwas ganz anderes als Prof. Gross behauptet. Zwar stützt er sich nicht nur darauf, aber hauptsächlich doch. Prof. Gross, der immer wieder unterstrich, dass er durch die Tatsache, dass er auf einer so reichen und glaubwürdigen Quelle basiert, sich ermächtigt fühlt, autoritative Feststellungen zu formulieren, denen andere lediglich Berichte entgegenstellen können - und zwar solche, die erst nach Jahren aufgeschrieben wurden.

Es ist unmöglich, in einem Zeitungsartikel all das zu beschreiben, was aus der Lektüre dieser Dokumente folgt. Ebenfalls ist es unmöglich, auf deren Grundlage, und nur auf deren Grundlage, eine maßgebende Version der Ereignisse zu präsentieren. Letztendlich kann sie ja anders sein als das, was aus den Aussagen der Angeklagten und der Zeugen zum Vorschein gebracht wird, schließlich befanden sie sich ja in einer sehr konkreten und sehr besonderen Situation, deshalb sagten sie, was sie sagten - nicht unbedingt die volle Wahrheit und nur die Wahrheit. Ich kann jedoch einige Feststellungen übermitteln, die expressis verbis aus Dokumenten folgen, die Prof. Gross für so wesentlich für den Prozess der Wahrheitssuche hält.

Sie werden betreffen:

Die Anzahl der wegen der Teilnahme am Mord der polnischen Bürger jüdischer Nationalität in der Stadt Jedwabne angeklagten Personen. Es wird hier ausschließlich die Rede sein von den Einwohnern dieser Kleinstadt, da die Täter von außerhalb der Stadt in den Dokumenten zu allgemein und anonym vorkommen, um eine Identifizierung zu erlauben.

Die Beteiligung der Deutschen am Mord, d.h. der uniformierten und bewaffneten Mitglieder der Polizeiformationen. In diesem Fall werde ich möglichst breit entsprechende Quellenfragmente zitieren, um Vorwürfen zu entgehen, dass ich beurteile, ohne mich auf Quellen zu stützen. Die Leser selbst sollen bewerten, ob diese ausreichend zahlreich und ausreichend überzeugend sind, um über die Beteiligung der Deutschen an den einzelnen Mordphasen zu sprechen. Der Mord bestand nämlich aus drei Etappen: zuerst wurden polnische Bürger jüdischer Herkunft aus ihren Wohnungen gezerrt und auf dem Marktplatz in Jedwabne versammelt; später wurden sie durch die Stadt und dann durch Felder in die Scheune von Bronislaw Sleszynski getrieben und schließlich in dieser Scheune verbrannt.

Ich kann hier gleich hinzufügen, dass wir über die erste und dritte Phase am wenigsten wissen. Die meisten der Beschuldigten gestanden, sie hätten die Juden auf dem Marktplatz beaufsichtigt, weniger Beschuldigte gestanden, sie hätten sie dorthin gebracht, fast niemand dagegen gestand, dass er neben der Scheune zum Zeitpunkt der Anzündung gewesen sei - dieses Geständnis könnte nämlich von einer Teilnahme an dem schlimmsten der Verbrechen zeugen. Hier also besteht der größte Spielraum für Vermutungen.

Ich werde mit der Rolle der Deutschen und Polen an den Ereignissen beginnen, die am 10. Juli 1941 in Jedwabne stattgefunden hatten. Die Zeugen machten ihre Aussagen der Reihe nach: vor den Untersuchungsoffizieren, Staatsanwälten und während der Gerichtsverhandlung, ich werde versuchen, ihre Aussagen ebenfalls in dieser Reihenfolge darzustellen und damit zeigen, ob und inwieweit sich die Aussagen je nach Person des Vernehmenden änderten. Ich werde sie in extenso zitieren, so wie sie gemacht wurden, jedoch nur die Fragmente, die die Relation zwischen Polen und Deutschen betreffen. Sollte ich die Gesamtheit der Aussagen zitieren, würde im Endeffekt daraus ein Buch und kein Presseartikel entstehen.

Aussagen

Ich werde hier nur die Aussagen der Beschuldigten/Angeklagten berücksichtigen, von denen letztendlich 22 Personen am 16. und 17. Mai 1949 vor Gericht gestanden hatten. Ich behalte dabei die Reihenfolge aus dem Prozess, der genannt wurde "Prozess gegen Boleslaw Ramotowski und 21 andere".

Boleslaw Ramotowski - geb. 1911, ohne Beruf, aktuell Pförtner in der Volksschule, Bildung: eine Volksschulklasse, verheiratet, vier Kinder (ich werde nur das Wichtigste angeben, was die Beschuldigten charakterisiert, alle waren römische Katholiken und wohnten in Jedwabne).

Aussage vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier vom 8.01.1949 (ich werde mich nicht mit dem Thema beschäftigen, wer Untersuchungsoffizier [manchmal Unteroffizier] gewesen war, denn das ist ein gesonderte und sehr interessante Frage):

"Ja, ich nahm aktiv an dem Treiben dieser Juden in die Scheune teil, wer sie in Brand setzte habe ich nicht gesehen, ich weiß nur, dass wir Polen ungefähr 1500 Juden (in vielen Aussagen finden wir diese Zahl, sie scheint entweder vom Untersuchungsoffizier suggeriert oder eingetragen zu sein) dort zusammengetrieben haben und die erw.[ähnten] Juden wurden verbrannt. Wer der Brandstifter war, weiß ich nicht.

Frage : Sagen Sie, wer beteiligte sich noch mit Ihnen aktiv an dem Zusammentreiben dieser Juden, die in Jedwabne verbrannt wurden.

Antwort: Das waren folgende Personen (...)" (Über die Anzahl der Beschuldigten, die in den Aussagen vorkommen, werde ich noch später schreiben, hier möchte ich nur signalisieren, dass es sich um Personen handelt, die vom Untersuchungsoffizier genannt wurden. Im Falle Ramotowskis geht es sogar um 41 Personen).

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ja, ich gestehe meine Schuld ein, dass ich 1941 im Sommer in Jedwabne mich den Behörden des deutschen Staates gefällig zeigte und infolge der Anordnung des Bürgermeisters und der deutschen Gendarmerie aktiv an der Bewachung der jüdischen Bevölkerung, die auf den Marktplatz zusammengetrieben wurde, teilnahm. Meine Aufgabe war zu überwachen, dass keiner der Juden entgeht. An der Bewachung der Juden auf dem Markt nahmen ebenfalls teil: (...)"

Vor Gericht gemachte Aussage (16.05.1949):

"Ich war auf dem Marktplatz ungefähr 2 Stunden lang, denn ich wurde von den Deutschen gezwungen, die Juden zu beaufsichtigen. Als die Deutschen die Juden in die Scheune trieben, floh ich nach Hause. (...)

Das Gericht verliest die Aussagen des Angeklagten, die während der Erm.[ittlung], S. 74, gemacht wurden. Der Angeklagte fügt hinzu:

Während der Vernehmung wurde ich gezwungen, auch gegen andere Personen zu sprechen, denn ich wurde sehr geschlagen. (...)"

Stanislaw Zejer - geb. 1893, eine Volksschulklasse, Landwirt, 4 ha Land, verheiratet.

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (11.01.1949):

"Ich wurde festgenommen, weil ich auf Befehl des Bürgermeisters Karolak an dem Zusammentreiben der Juden zum Marktplatz teilnahm. (...) Das war 1941 im Monat Juli, zu mir kam auf Befehl des Bürgermeisters der Pförtner und sagte, dass ich kommen soll, die Juden zum Markt zu treiben und ich kam sie zu vertreiben. Als wir sie vertrieben hatten, fingen die Gendarmen an, sie schrecklich zu schlagen zusammen mit Polen. (...) Den zusammengetriebenen Juden befahlen die Deutschen, das Lenin-Denkmal zu nehmen und mit ihm singend durch die Stadt zu gehen. Ich war dann nicht mehr dabei, denn der Bürgermeister der Stadt schickte mich, Klee zu holen. Ich nahm diesen Klee eine Stunde lang. Als ich zurückkam, war die Scheune mit den Juden bereits verbrannt, in diese Scheune wurden ungefähr 1000 Juden eingetrieben."

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ja, ich gestehe meine Schuld ein, dass ich 1941 im Sommer in Jedwabne mich den Behörden des deutschen Staates gefällig zeigte (Diese Formel wird ständig verwendet, denn in diesem Fall wurde die Anklage gemäß des sog. Augustdekrets vom August 1944 gestellt), und infolge der Anordnung des Bürgermeisters Karolak und der Gestapo zwei Personen jüdischer Nationalität zum Bestimmungsort zu dem Marktplatz führte, nachdem ich diese zwei Juden zum Markt geführt hatte sah ich dort viele bereits zusammengetriebene Juden. Von dort aus ging ich sofort nach Haus und ich weiß nicht, was weiter geschah, was die Deutschen mit den zusammengetriebenen Juden machten. Ob andere Einwohner von Jedwabne Juden dort hingeführt hatten, habe ich nicht gesehen. (...)"

Vor Gericht gemachte Aussage (16.05.1949):

"Stanislaw Zejer gesteht seine Schuld nicht ein und erklärt: Als ich im Magistrat war, befahl mir der Bürgermeister, Juden zu versammeln aber ich wollte es nicht, als ich wieder auf der Straße war, befahl mir ein Gestapomann, zwei Juden zu führen, aber ich habe sie freigelassen, weil der Gestapomann in dieser Zeit zur Bäckerei gegangen ist. (...)

Das Gericht verliest die Aussage des Angeklagten, die während der Erm.[ittlung], S. 33 und 75, gemacht wurde. Der Angeklagte fügt hinzu:

Ich sah Jerzy Laudanski, wie er hinter den Juden ging, als sie zum Marktplatz getrieben wurden, hinter Laudanski ging die Gestapo. Von den Mitangeklagten habe ich niemanden mehr gesehen. Die Juden wurden von der Gestapo geführt und geschlagen. Ich bin Analphabet. Ich bin nicht selbst dorthin gegangen, die Deutschen haben mich gezwungen".

3. Czeslaw Lipinski - geb. 1920, Landwirt, 5 Volksschulklassen, ledig, 3 ha Land mit Gebäuden.

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (11.01.1949):

"Frage: Haben Sie an der Ermordung der Juden 1941 im Monat Juli teilgenommen?

Antwort: Ich habe nicht an der Ermordung der Juden teilgenommen, zu mir kamen nur Kalinowski Eugeniusz, Laudanski Jurek und ein Deutscher und ich [ging] mit ihnen zum Markt und trieb dorthin einen Juden und zwei kleine Jüdinnen [sic!]. Als wir zusammen mit den Deutschen die o.g. Juden trieben (...), führten wir zum Marktplatz die o.g. Juden und dann stellten mich die Deutschen an der Straße Stary Rynek auf [ und] befahlen mir, zu beaufsichtigen, dass die Juden nicht vom Markt fliehen. Ich saß mit diesem Stock ungefähr 15 Minuten, aber ich konnte nicht mehr zusehen wie sie sie ermordeten ich ging nach Haus und auf dem Weg schmiss ich den Stock weg (...)."

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ich gestehe meine Schuld nicht ein, dass ich im Juli 1941 an der Verbrennung der Juden in Jedwabne teilgenommen habe und erkläre, dass ich an dem kritischen Tag in meinem Hof stand als ein Deutscher auf mich zukam und mich zum Markt mitnahm, um Juden zu beaufsichtigen, die dort zusammengetrieben wurden. Als nur der Deutsche von mir weggegangen war, floh ich sofort vom Marktplatz nach Hause. Auf dem Marktplatz stand ich kurz vielleicht 10-15 Minuten, da ich von dem was passierte entsetzt war, erinnere ich mich überhaupt nicht daran, wer von der zivilen Bevölkerung an der Ermordung der Juden teilnahm. Nachdem ich nach Hause gekommen war, versteckte ich mich im Stroh (wenn er sich versteckte, dann vor Deutschen und nicht vor Polen) und ich weiß nicht, was mit den Juden passierte."

Vor Gericht gemachte Aussage:

"Ich habe keine Juden zum Markt geführt. Das Gericht verlas die Aussagen des Angeklagten, die während der Ermittlung, S. 35 und 76, gemacht worden waren. Ich sagte bei der Vernehmung, was von mir verlangt wurde, weil man mich sehr geschlagen hatte. Ich war überhaupt nicht auf dem Marktplatz und ich weiß nicht, was dort passierte". (Diese Aussage stellt die Gesamtheit der vorangehenden Aussagen in Frage. Welche ist nun wahr? Auf jeden Fall werden die Aussagen über die Teilnahme der Deutschen am Zusammentreiben der Juden und über die Manipulation der Polen weder vom Untersuchungsoffizier noch vom Staatsanwalt in Frage gestellt, sie nehmen es als etwas Offensichtliches an.)

Wladyslaw D±browski - geb. 1890, Schuster, Analphabet, verheiratet.

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (11.01.1949):

" Frage: Sagen Sie, haben Sie an der Ermordung der Juden während der deutschen Okkupation 1941 im Monat Juli teilgenommen?

Antwort: Ich habe nicht an der Ermordung der Juden teilgenommen, ich nahm nur an der Beaufsichtigung auf dem Marktplatz teil, wo es über 1500 waren von der polnischen Bevölkerung dorthin getrieben. (...) Meine Aufgabe war zu beaufsichtigen, dass kein einziger Jude die Linie überschreitet was ich auch gemacht habe, diesen Befehl bekam ich von Karolak, Sobota und einen Deutschen, ob während meiner Beaufsichtigung jemand Juden geschlagen hatte, sah ich nicht (...)".

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ich gestehe meine Schuld nicht ein und erkläre: An dem kritischen Tag war ich zu Hause als in meine Wohnung ein Gendarm mit dem Bürgermeister von Jedwabne Karolak kam und mir befahl, zum Markt zu gehen und Juden zu überwachen. Ich wollte nicht gehen und versuchte zu fliehen, der Deutsche schlug also mit seinem Gewehr in meinen Kopf (bestätigt durch Aussagen mehrerer Zeugen), mit der Hand ins Gesicht und schlug mir einen Zahn aus. Dann stand ich ungefähr zwei Stunden. Als der Deutsche von mir nur weggegangen war, floh ich vom Marktplatz nach Hause. (...)"

Vor Gericht gemachte Aussage:

"(...) Er gesteht seine Schuld nicht ein und erklärt: Am kritischen Tag arbeitete ich neben der Kirche und habe an nichts teilgenommen. Das Gericht verlas die Aussagen des Angeklagten, die während der Erm.[ittlung], S. 38 und 78, gemacht worden waren. Der Angeklagte setzte fort: Ich sagte das bei der Vernehmung, weil man mich geschlagen und ich Angst vor weiteren Schlägen hatte. Ich hatte keinen Mitangeklagten mehr gesehen. Ich wurde auf schreckliche Art und Weise geschlagen" (die während der Ermittlung und vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachten Aussagen mussten jedoch teilweise wahr sein, denn die Tatsache, dass er von einem Deutschen geschlagen wurde, wurde sowohl von der Familie als auch von Fremden bestätigt).

Feliks Tarnacki - geb. 1907, ausgebildeter Schlosser, Beruf - Landwirt, 4 Volksschulklassen, Witwer.

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (11.01.1949):

" Frage: Haben Sie an der Razzia auf die jüdische Bevölkerung im Monat Juli 1941 teilgenommen, wer noch hat sich daran beteiligt?

Antwort: An dem Tag, an dem die Razzia auf die jüdische Bevölkerung stattfand, kamen zu mir Bürgermeister Karolak Marian und der Sekretär vom Magistrat Wasilewski, den Vornamen kenne ich nicht zusammen mit einem Gestapomann und trieben mich zum Markt, wo sich bereits viele versammelt befanden, aus der Stadt Jedwabne und anderen Ortschaften, mir bekannt waren: (...) Ich befand mich auf dem Marktplatz ungefähr 15 Minuten und dann, nachdem ich vom Marktplatz geflohen war, nahm ich von zu Hause mein Fahrrad und fuhr ins Dorf Kaimy, Gemeinde Jedwabne, wo ich bei Bürger Przestrzelski Feliks ungefähr 10 Minuten verbrachte, nachdem ich ein Glas Wodka getrunken hatte, fuhr ich Richtung Lomza. (...) Danach kam ich zu Fuß nach Haus, d.h. nach Jedwabne, über der Stadt war schon der Rauch von der verbrannten Scheune. Nachdem ich in meine Wohnung gekommen war, versteckte ich mich. Ich blieb im Versteck die ganze Nacht".

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ich gestehe meine Schuld nicht ein, dass ich im Juli 1941 an der Ermordung der Juden in Jedwabne teilgenommen habe, und erkläre, dass ich am kritischen Tag zu Hause war. An diesem Tag kam zu mir nach Hause der Bürgermeister der Stadt Jedwabne Marian Karolak mit einem Gestapomann und sie nahmen mich zum Marktplatz, wo Juden zusammengetrieben wurden. Nachdem der Gestapomann von mir weggegangen war floh ich nach Hause und fuhr mit dem Fahrrad nach Lomza (...)"

Vor Gericht gemachte Aussage:

"(...) ich war auf dem Markt vielleicht 10 - 15 Minuten auf Befehl des Gestapomannes, aber ich bin gleich geflohen.

Das Gericht verlas die Aussagen von der Erm.[ittlung], S. 40 und 79. Der Angeklagte setzte fort:

ich habe niemanden von den Angeklagten gesehen. Mein Bruder heißt Jerzy Tarnacki."

Józef Chrzanowski - geb. 1889, Landwirt, wurde zu Hause unterrichtet, verheiratet, 3 ha Land mit Gebäuden

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (11.01.1949):

"(...) 1941 als das Heer des deutschen Okkupanten nach Jedwabne kam, begann die örtliche Bevölkerung mit der Ermordung der Juden, zuerst zusammentreiben auf dem Markt, ich gehe die Przytulska-Straße hier trafen mich Wasilewski Jozef und Sobota Einwohner der Stadt Jedwabne und sagten mir, ich soll auf den Marktplatz gehen ich ging also widerstandslos mit. Nachdem ich auf den Marktplatz gekommen war sagten sie mir, du sollst deine Scheune für die Verbrennung der Juden geben, dann fing ich an sie zu bitten, dass sie meine Scheune nicht niederbrennen, sie stimmten dem zu und ließen meine Scheune in Ruhe, sie sagten mir nur, dass ich helfen soll, die Juden in die Scheune von Bronislaw Sleszynski zusammenzutreiben, die Juden wurden in Viererreihen aufgestellt (zwar werden hier von dem Vernommenen die Deutschen nicht direkt genannt, jedoch geht es um sie, ähnlich, wenn er von der Anzündung spricht) und wir Polen standen von einer und anderer Seite damit die Juden nicht fliehen, als wir sie zur Scheune getrieben hatten, befahlen sie allen Juden hineinzugehen, und wir überwachten weiter, dass alle Juden dort hineingehen, sie zündeten die Scheune an und die Juden wurden verbrannt, ich ging dann heim, ich hatte keinen Befehl von den Deutschen, Juden zu treiben. (...)"

Vor dem Staatsanwalt wiederholt er (15.01.1949) die Aussage über die Verteidigung der eigenen Scheune, gesteht nicht ein, dass er Juden in die Scheune von Sleszynski getrieben hatte.

Vor Gericht gemachte Aussage:

"Er gesteht seine Schuld nicht ein, erklärt: Ich war nicht dabei, als die Juden zusammengetrieben wurden und auch nicht bei dem Treiben (in die Scheune - T. S.).

Das Gericht verlas die Aussagen des Angeklagten von der Erm.[ittlung], S. 42 und 80. Der Angeklagte setzte fort:

Wasilewski und Sobota wandten sich an mich, ich solle meine Scheune für die Verbrennung übergeben, ichwar damit nicht einverstanden. Später kamen Gestapomänner, sie verlangten ebenfalls, dass ich die Scheune übergebe, ich wollte dem nicht zustimmen, ich hatte aber Angst vor ihnen und versteckte mich im Roggen, dort saß ich bis in den Abend. Von den Angeklagten habe ich niemanden gesehen." (anscheinend fragte das Gericht nach anderen Angeklagten oder es kam zurück auf die Aussage, die vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier der Sicherheitsbehörde gemacht wurde).

Roman Górski - geb. 1904, Landwirt, Besitzer von 3 ha Land, 2 Volksschulklassen.

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (10.01.1949):

"um 12 Uhr kam zu mir Karolak Marian, der hier Bürgermeister war und ein deutscher Gendarm, der mir einen Fußtritt verpasste, sie nahmen mich auf den Marktplatz der Stadt Jedwabne mit, wo sie mir aufzupassen befahlen, zusammen mit einigen Dorfjungen im Alter von 16 und 17 Jahren (...) Auf dem Marktplatz passte ich auf zwischen 12 und 15 Uhr, von dort aus ging ich dann heim, denn meine Frau lag gerade im Wochenbett und fühlte sich plötzlich schlecht. Ich habe mein Haus ein zweites Mal nicht mehr verlassen. (...)"

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ja, ich gestehe meine Schuld ein, dass ich 1941 im Juli in Jedwabne mich den Behörden des deutschen Staates gefällig zeigte, der Bürgermeister und die deutsche Gendarmerie drohten mir und befohlen, die zusammengetriebenen Juden auf dem Marktplatz von Jedwabne zu beaufsichtigen. Bürgermeister Karolak und die deutsche Gendarmerie kamen selbst in meine Wohnung und nahmen mich mit, damit ich auf dem Markt auf Juden aufpasse, dass sie nicht fliehen. Außerdem sah ich wie Sobuta und Wasilewski sich über zehn Juden aussuchten, die bereits dort waren, und auf zum Lachen bringende Weise mit ihnen Gymnastikübungen veranstalten. Was weiter mit den Juden passierte, weiß ich nicht da ich nach Haus gegangen war".

Vor Gericht gemachte Aussage:

"In mein Haus kamen Gendarmen und befahlen mir mitzukommen. Als ich Widerstand leistete, schlugen sie mich und führten mit Gewalt auf den Marktplatz, wo ich nur 15 Minuten lang war und ich bin gleich nach Hause geflohen, denn meine Frau, als sie sah wie mich die Deutschen schlugen, krank wurde.

Das Gericht verlas die Aussage des Angeklagten von der Erm.[ittlung], S. 44 und 81

Der Angeklagte sagte weiter:

ich habe auf dem Markt nichts getan. Jerzy Laudanski habe ich nicht gesehen. Bei der Vernehmung hat man mich sehr geschlagen und ich sagte das wegen der Schmerzen".

Antoni Niebrzydowski - geb. 1901, Schlosser, Schule der Sekundarstufe, verheiratet, Hausbesitzer in Jedwabne

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (10.01.1949):

"1941 kamen in meine Wohnung Karolak deutscher Bürgermeister und Bardon Karol, sie befahlen mir zum Marktplatz zu gehen und dort Juden zu überwachen, die sie dorthin trieben, ich wusste nicht was los war, so bin ich dem Befehl von Karolak und Bardon gefolgt, ich stand von der Seite der Dworna-Straße, ich hatte nichts in den Händen".

Er gab Petroleum für das Begießen der Scheune, "in die Juden getrieben wurden". Er gab Petroleum auf Befehl von Eugeniusz Kalinowski und Jerzy Niebrzydowski.

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ja, ich gestehe meine Schuld ein, dass ich 1941 im Juli in Jedwabne mich den Behörden des deutschen Staates infolge der Drohung des Bürgermeisters und Bardon (Bardon hatte Hilfsdienst bei der Gendarmerie und war der einzige Einwohner von Jedwabne, der mit einem Gewehr bewaffnet war) gefällig zeigte, mir wurde befohlen, die auf dem Marktplatz von Jedwabne zusammengetriebenen Juden zu überwachen. Außerdem gab ich aus dem Lager Petroleum an Bardon und Niebrzydowski Jerzy, Kalinowski Eugeniusz heraus, ich weiß nicht wofür sie es gebraucht hatten. Nach gewisser Zeit ging ich nach Haus und ich sah nur wie in dieser Scheune Feuer ausbrach (...)"

Vor Gericht wiederholt er seine Version und fügt hinzu:

"Später erzählten die Leute, dass das von mir herausgegebene Petroleum zur Anzündung der Scheune von Szlesinski diente" (dies ist eine wichtige Ergänzung, aus der folgt, dass er, als er das Petroleum aus dem Lager herausgab, vielleicht nicht wusste, wozu es dienen sollte).

Wladyslaw Miciura - geb. 1902, Schreiner, eine Volksschulklasse, verheiratet, 6 Kinder im Alter von 6 bis 15 Jahren, 0,5 ha Land.

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (10.01.1949):

"Drei oder vier Tage vor der Juden-Razzia wurde ich gezwungen, im Gendarmerierevier als Schreiner zu arbeiten. Im Monat Juli 1941, an das genaue Datum kann ich mich nicht mehr erinnern, kamen einige Gestapo-Taxis (die Landbevölkerung nannte damals alle Personenkraftwagen Taxi) und sie machten eine Juden-Razzia, sie wurden auf dem Marktplatz zusammengetrieben. Mich selbst sandten die Gendarmen nach Hause frühstücken, als ich zur Arbeit nach einer Stunde zurückkam, kam ein Gendarm und befahl mir zum Markt zu gehen und Juden zu bewachen, dass sie nicht fliehen. Ich überwachte sie zwischen 12 bis 16 Uhr, nachher ging ich zurück zur Arbeit, aber sie befahlen mir nicht zu arbeiten, sondern Juden in die Scheune zu treiben, das habe ich auch gemacht und ich war dort bis zu dem Zeitpunkt, an dem diese Scheune mit Juden angezündet wurde. (...)

Vor dem Staatsanwalt gemachte Aussage (15.01.1949):

"Ja, ich gestehe meine Schuld ein, dass ich 1941 in Jedwabne mich auf Befehl der deutschen Gendarmerie und Gestapo den Behörden des deutschen Staates gefällig zeigte und gezwungen wurde Juden auf dem Marktplatz zu überwachen, dass sie nicht fliehen, ich habe an dem Treiben der Juden in die Scheune von Sleszynski nicht teilgenommen. (...)"

Vor Gericht:

er bekennt sich nicht schuldig und erklärt: "Ich nahm an dem Zusammentreiben der Juden nicht teil". Während der Vernehmung wies er auf die Angeklagten hin, weil man ihn geschlagen hatte. Er sagte: "Ich war überhaupt nicht auf dem Marktplatz, ich arbeitete nur im Gendarmeriegebäude den ganzen Tag lang." (Diese Aussage ist auch charakteristisch für andere. Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier bekennt er sich zu allem, vor dem Staatsanwalt verleugnet er das Heikelste - die Beteiligung an der Zusammentreibung der Juden in die Scheune von Sleszynski, vor Gericht sagt er, dass er überhaupt nicht am Mord beteiligt war. Vor allem sind die Aussagen gegen die Nachbarn falsch und erzwungen [in diesem Text nicht zitiert]. Die Verleugnung der Teilnahme am Mord bedeutet nicht, dass er keine Gestapoautos und Gendarmerieaktion gesehen hatte.

Józef Zyluk - geb. 1910, ohne Beruf, Analphabet, arbeitet gelegentlich als Händler, verheiratet, 5 Kinder.

Vor dem Untersuchungsoffizier gemachte Aussage (9.01.1949):

"Ich wurde von Funktionären der Bürgermiliz aus Jedwabne am 8.01.49 festgenommen, deswegen, weil ich angeblich Juden in Gestapohände 1941 ausgeliefert hatte." In einer weiteren Aussage sagt er, dass er bei der Heuernte unterbrochen wurde und zusammen mit Bürgermeister Karolak einen Juden aus der Mühle in Jedwabne zum Markt führte, ihn jedoch in der Lomzynska-Straße freiließ.

Vor dem Staatsanwalt (15.01.1949) sagt er aus:

"am kritischen Tag, als ich die Wiese mähte, kam zu mir der Bürgermeister der Stadt Jedwabne und forderte mich auf, mit ihm in die Stadt zu gehen. Weil ich nicht gehen wollte, sagte mir Karolak, dass ich, wenn nicht gehe, eine Kugel durch den Kopf bekomme, deshalb ging ich mit ihm." Weiter erzählte er noch einmal das, was er schon während der Ermittlung ausgesagt hatte. (In seinem Schreiben an das Oberste Gericht vom 28.07.1949 behauptet er, dass er später 8 Juden gerettet und dafür Zeugen hätte.)

Vor Gericht sagt er aus:

"(...) ich führte einen Juden auf Karolaks Befehl, aber nur etwa 15 Schritte dann floh ich nach Hause und ich weiß nichts mehr".

Das Gericht verlas die Aussagen des Angeklagten von S. 49 und 84.

Der Angeklagte setzte fort:

"Dieser Jude, den ich geführt habe, hieß Zdrojowicz" (er überlebte tatsächlich und sagte während des Prozesses aus).

Ich glaube, es reicht die zehn aufeinanderfolgenden Aussagen zu zitieren, um sich eine ziemlich glaubwürdige Meinung über die Rolle der Deutschen bei der Liquidierung polnischer Staatsbürger jüdischer Herkunft in Jedwabne am 10. Juli 1941 zu erstellen.

Also - Deutsche!

Wie viele waren es? Wir wissen das nicht. Vielleicht sagte die Wahrheit die Köchin von dem Gendarmerierevier in Jedwabne Julia Sokolowska, die während der Verhandlung am 17. Mai aussagte: "Am kritischen Tag waren 68 Gestapo, denn für sie bereitete ich das Mittagessen vor, es gab sehr viel Gendarmerie, weil sie aus verschiedenen Revieren gekommen waren".

Auf ähnliche Weise unterscheiden andere Einwohner von Jedwabne die Gestapo von der Gendarmerie, manche begründen das mit den Details ihrer Uniformen. Beispielsweise sagte Natalia G±siorowska (erst im November 1950) vor dem Staatsanwalt: "Ich weiß genau, dass es Gestapomänner waren, denn sie hatten Totenschädel auf ihren Mützen", die an demselben Tag und vor demselben Staatsanwalt aussagende Marianna Supraska, sagte über die Teilnahme von Zygmunt Laudanski, dass sie gesehen habe, wie er von Gestapomännern getrieben wurde, die "auf den Ärmeln Totenschädel hatten".

Es ist aber auch nicht das Wichtigste, wie viele es gewesen waren, obwohl einer von meinen Berichterstattern, Dr. Stefan Boczkowski, im Brief vom November 2000 schrieb, dass alles "grün" in Jedwabne gewesen war. Von Bedeutung ist, dass sie die ganze Zeit ein Element des Zwanges darstellten und die Okkupationsmacht repräsentierten, die hier seit drei Wochen über alles entschied.

In den Aussagen sehen wir, wie sie die hiesigen Männer aus den Wohnungen zerren und sie auf den Markt treiben oder zum Juden "zusammentreiben" verwenden.

In anderen, hier nicht zitierten Aussagen, ist die Rede von Gendarmen und der Gestapo, die die Juden die Cmentarna-Straße entlang zur Scheune von Sleszynski "trieben". Nirgendwo aber wird über ihre Rolle bei der Anzündung der Scheune ausgesagt. Wie ich bereits geschrieben habe, wird dieser Moment sorgfältig in den Aussagen umgangen. Nur ein Zeuge nennt einen konkreten Brandstifter - einen Polen (gemeint wird Jozef Kobrzeniecki). Es ist jedoch wenig wahrscheinlich, dass die Deutschen, die alle Mordvorbereitungen kontrolliert hatten, den Polen letztendlich seine Verübung überließen.

Offen bleibt noch die Frage, ob Jedwabne an jenem Tag von Wachen umringt war und wer diese Wachen waren? In einer Aussage ist die Rede davon, dass die Deutschen den Beschuldigten, mit einem Stock bewaffnet, in seinem eigenen am Rande der Stadt liegenden Hof aufstellten - übrigens behauptet er, dass er die im auferlegte Aufgabe nicht ausgeführt und fliehende Juden durchgelassen hätte. Andere Aussagen jedoch, und zwar sowohl der Beschuldigten als auch der Zeugen, scheinen zu widersprechen, dass ein fester Kordon von Wächtern gebildet wurde. Einige Beschuldigte fliehen vom Markt in Jedwabne und verstecken sich im Getreide außerhalb der Stadt, und niemand stört sie dabei; ein Beschuldigter verlässt die Stadt mit dem Fahrrad und fährt Richtung Lomza, erst neben dieser Stadt trifft er Gendarmen, die sein Fahrrad beschlagnahmen. Im übrigen bräuchte man viele Kräfte und das nicht nur in den Ausfahrtstraßen und Wegen, um das Städtchen mit seinen Gärten, mit direktem Zugang zu den Feldern, die zu jener Zeit mit hohen Getreide bewachsen waren, dicht zu isolieren.

Anzahl der am Verbrechen teilnehmenden Polen

Um die Anzahl der Polen aufgrund des behandelten Quellenmaterials festzustellen, müssen wir folgende Zusammenstellungen analysieren:

Das Verzeichnis der Beschuldigten (und danach Angeklagten), die vor das Bezirksgericht in Lomza gestellt wurden, gemindert um Personen, die entweder sofort am 17.05.1949 oder im späteren Prozess vor dem Berufungsgericht, von den Vorwürfen befreit wurden,

Personen, die als "sich versteckend" bezeichnet werden, also Personen die nicht verhaftet wurden und am Gerichtsverfahren nicht teilgenommen haben,

Vor Anfang 1949 verstorbene und ebenfalls für schuldig befundene Personen,

Personen, die Szmul Wasersztajn in seinem Bericht nennt, aber auch sie müssen durch das "Sieb" der gerichtlichen Aussagen betrachtet werden.

Ein gesondertes Problem stellen die Einwohner des Städtchens dar, die während der Vernehmungen Funktionären der Sicherheitsbehörden genannt werden. Und das deswegen, weil diese Aussagen allgemein im Gerichtssaal widerrufen wurden, weil sie durch Foltern erzwungen wurden. Es lohnt sich an dieser Stelle hinzuzufügen, dass sich die Untersuchungsoffiziere der Sicherheitsbehörden nicht für Deutsche interessierten, erstens deshalb, weil ihre Anwesenheit in Jedwabne am 10. Juli für offensichtlich gehalten wurde (ebenso die Staatsanwälte und Richter), zweitens, weil zu ihnen kein Zugang war und nicht sie, sondern Polen Gegenstand der Ermittlung waren. Sichtbar, sogar sehr sichtbar, ist die Tendenz, den Beschuldigtenkreis zu erweitern, sowohl um Personen, die sich bereits in den Händen der Sicherheitsbehörde befanden, als auch um andere, die noch nicht verhaftet wurden. Durch erzwingen der Aussagen während der Ermittlung, sammelte man Beweismaterial gegen diese Personen, ähnlich wie es im Falle der bereits verhafteten war. Janek soll gegen Piotrek aussagen, Piotrek gegen Jurek, Jurek gegen Janek usw., usf., auf diese Weise stützt sich die Anklageschrift nicht auf einer sondern auf vielen Aussagen. Es kommt dabei zu paradoxen Erscheinungen. Boleslaw Ramotowski nennt in seinen Aussagen vor der Sicherheitsbehörde 41 "Mittäter", die er auf dem Markt in Jedwabne und später gesehen habe, noch mehr: Er sagt aus, wer mit einem Stock und wer mit Gummi bewaffnet war. So viele Personen kann man nicht im Chaos der Ereignisse bemerken, und das wenn man noch selbst - gemäß des Aussagenden - aktiv daran teilnimmt. Es wundert also nicht, dass er während der Gerichtsverhandlung diesen Teil seiner Aussage widerruft, und behauptet, er habe auf dem Markt nur eine Person gesehen. Ebenso Julia Sokolowska, Köchin des Gendarmeriereviers, das direkt am Markt gelegen war, hatte doch eine konkrete Aufgabe (Mittagessen kochen), sie behauptete in der Ermittlung, sie hätte über 30 Polen gesehen, die Juden aktiv versammelten und bewachten. Es stellt sich also die Frage: Können die im Ermittlungsverfahren genannten Personen für tatsächlich engagiert in die Vorbereitung und Realisierung des Verbrechens in Jedwabne erklärt werden?

Kommen wir jetzt zu den Rechnungen:

In der Anklageschrift werden 22 Personen erwähnt, die wegen der Beteiligung am Verbrechen angeklagt werden, 10 davon werden von der Schuld befreit und freigelassen. (In "der Hauptverhandlung" am 16. und 17.05.1949 wurden verurteilt: Karol Bardon zur Todesstrafe [begnadigt durch Bierut, bekam 15 Jahre Freiheitsstrafe], Jerzy Laudanski 15 Jahre Freiheitsstrafe, Zygmunt Laudanski, Wladyslaw Miciura und Boleslaw Ramotowski 12 Jahre Freiheitsstrafe, Stanislaw Zejer und Czeslaw Lipinski 10 Jahre Freiheitsstrafe, Wladyslaw D±browski, Feliks Tarnacki, Roman Górski, Antoni Niebrzydowski und Józef Zyluk 8 Jahre Freiheitsstrafe. Freigesprochen wurden: Józef Chrzanowski, Marian Zyluk, Czeslaw Laudanski, Wincenty Goscicki, Roman Zawadzki, Jan Zawadzki, Aleksander Lojewski, Franciszek Lojewski, Eugeniusz Sliwecki und Stanislaw Sielawa. Dieses Urteil zeugt von einer ziemlich großen Unabhängigkeit des Gerichtes, das manche vor der Sicherheitsbehörde gemachten Aussagen für unzureichend im Hinblick auf die späteren Zeugenaussagen erklärte, besonders, wenn sich die Beschuldigten bereits in dem Ermittlungsverfahren für unschuldig befanden. Es wurden also nur 12 Personen schuldig befunden. Das Berufungsgericht in Bialystok hat zwei Personen, die im Mai 1949 verurteilt wurden, während seiner Sitzung in Lomza am 13.06.1950 freigesprochen, die Liste der Verurteilten beschränkt sich hiermit auf 10 Personen.

Die Liste der sich versteckenden Personen (diese Bezeichnung bedeutet aber nicht, dass die hier genannten Personen sich tatsächlich versteckten, sondern nur, dass sie nicht in der Woiwodschaft Lomza wohnten und zeitweilig unerreichbar waren. Es war auch wirklich so, dass viele Einwohner von Lomza nach dem Krieg - aus verschiedenen Gründen - in die wiedergewonnen Gebiete, vor allem Richtung Masuren gefahren sind), also vorübergehend unerreichbar, zählt 8 des Verbrechens beschuldigte Personen (das sind: Jerzy Tarnacki [bei Wasersztajn kommt er als Jurek Tarnoczek vor], Julian Schmidt, Marian Karolak, Jozef Wasilewski, Jerzy Niebrzydowski, Michal Trzaska, Waclaw Borowski und Mieczyslaw Borowski), darunter werden 5 auch auf der Liste von Szmul Wasersztajn genannt. Insgesamt würde es sich also um lediglich 3 Personen handeln.

Die Liste der Personen, die wegen der Teilnahme am Verbrechen beschuldigt werden und 1949 bereits verstorben waren, zählt 9 Personen (auf der Verstorbenenliste befinden sich: Jozef Sobuta, Eugeniusz Kalinowski, Jozef Kobrzeniecki, Stanislaw Sokolowski, Boleslaw Rogalski, Wladyslaw Modzelewski, Bronislaw Sleszynski, Jarmutowski und Aleksander Janowski), drei davon (Boleslaw Rogalski, Jarmutowski und Bronislaw Sleszynski) kommen auch auf der Wasersztajn-Liste vor, es würden also nur 6 bleiben. Unter diesen 6 Personen befindet sich auch Jozef Sobuta, der später in einer Psychiatrieklinik gefunden und wegen seines gesundheitlichen Zustands entlassen wurde; sicherlich handelte es sich jedoch dabei um einen der am meisten beschuldigten Täter des Massakers.

Die Liste der Personen, die von Szmul Wasersztajn für besonders verbrecherisch gehalten wurden, zählt 14 Einwohner von Jedwabne (Bronislaw Sleszynski, Marian Karolak, Mieczyslaw Borowski, Waclaw Borowski, Jarmulowski (wird unter den Verstorbenen als Jarmutowski erwähnt), Boleslaw Ramotowski, Boleslaw Rogalski, Stanislaw Sielawa, Franciszek Sielawa, Eugeniusz Kozlowski, Trzaska, Jerzy Tarnoczek (Tarnawski), Jerzy Laudanski und Czeslaw Laciecz (sic!).

Wenn man sich diese Liste näher anschaut, können verschiedene Zweifel entstehen. Wir finden unter Personen, die besondere Grausamkeit erwiesen hatten - wie Wasersztajn schreibt - den freigesprochenen Stanislaw Sielawa, den schwer Ruhrkranken Bronislaw Sleszynski, dessen Schuld darauf beruht, dass er auf Befehl Karolaks, der mit einen Gendarmen zu ihm gekommen war, ihnen die Schlüssel zu seiner Scheune gegeben hatte, sowie die Borowski-Brüder, die angeblich schreckliche Taten noch vor dem 10. Juli begangen hatten. Taten, die von niemanden bestätigt wurden. Die Liste überlappt sich teilweise mit den anderen. Auf ihr stehen Personen von der Verstorbenenliste: Bronislaw Sleszynski, Boleslaw Rogalski und Jarmulowski (oder Jarmutowski); sich versteckende Personen: Jerzy Tarnacki, Michal Trzaska, Marian Karolak, Waclaw Borowski und Mieczyslaw Borowski; Personen von der Verurteiltenliste: Boleslaw Ramotowski und Jerzy Laudanski, letztendlich Stanislaw Sielawa, den das Gericht für nicht schuldig befand, also nicht in Betracht gezogen werden kann. Auf diese Weise beschränkt sich die Liste auf 3 Personen, die in anderen Quellen nicht vorkommen.

Wenn wir diese Daten zusammenfassen, folgt daraus, dass (wenn wir annehmen, dass alle sich versteckende und verstorbene Personen schuldig waren) an irgendeiner Phase der verbrecherischen Tat am 10. Juli 1941 23 Personen von der polnischen Bevölkerung beteiligt waren. Diese Zahl ist ziemlich plausibel, denn ähnliche Zahlen werden von Berichterstattern - Augenzeugen (u.a. Stefan Boczkowski) erwähnt. Wir haben es also nicht mit der "Bevölkerung" von Jedwabne zu tun, sondern mit einer Gruppe von Dutzenden Männern. Der Meistschuldige unter ihnen - Karol Bardon - kann nur schwer als Vertreter des Polentums gehalten werden (geboren in Schlesien in der Nähe von Teschen, deutscher Soldat im Ersten Weltkrieg, verlässlich, denn seit Okkupationsanfang in der Gendarmerie), die zwei weiteren sind ein in der Stadt bekannter Säufer und Krawallmacher und ein Bandit.

Unter den Teilnehmern der Ereignisse vom 10. Juli waren unbestrittene Hauptverbrecher: Marian Karolak (kommissarischer Bürgermeister) und Karol Bardon, der vielmals mit Deutschen in den Berichten vorkommt - sie waren diejenigen, die andere gezwungen hatten.

In den Zeugenaussagen kommen wiederholt auch nicht identifizierte Jugendliche aus den Nachbardörfern und einfache Zuschauer vor, die die Ereignisse begleiten und wahrscheinlich dessen nicht bewusst sind, womit sie enden werden. Ähnlich war es (meines Erachtens) auch im Falle der meisten direkten polnischen Teilnehmer, außer dem genannten Bardon und Karolak und vielleicht ein paar Mitarbeitern des Magistrats in Jedwabne.

Selektion des Materials

Fassen wir zusammen: Die entscheidende Rolle spielen die Deutschen - als Anstifter der Tat, Organisatoren und Mittäter - und Dutzende Polen, darunter dazu gezwungene; das Gericht unterstrich sehr deutlich in der Urteilsbegründung von 1949, dass die Angeklagten unter dem deutschen Terror gehandelt hatten. Und gleichzeitig die Haltung der anderen Personen, die sich im Getreide bzw. zu Hause versteckten, oder solche wie Jozef Zyluk, der sich um die vom Massaker verschonten Mitbürger kümmerte. Jozef Zyluk wurde gezwungen, zwei Juden aus der Mühle, die sich am Stadtrand von Jedwabne befand, zum Markt zu führen, er ließ sie jedoch frei und rettete somit ihr Leben. Einer von ihnen mit dem Namen Zdrojewicz überlebte den Krieg. Ähnlich schrieb Zofia Górska in ihrem Schreiben vom 2. März 1949 an das Bezirksgericht in Lomza in Sachen ihres verhafteten Ehemanns Roman, dass bereits nach dem Massenmord in Jedwabne das Ehepaar Górski in seinem Haus zwei Nachbarn jüdischer Herkunft versteckte, Patryjer Serwetarz und seinen Bruder (da ich lediglich 10 Aussagen der Beschuldigten zitierte und dabei Dutzende andere Aussagen, darunter von wichtigen Zeugen, ausgelassen habe, fehlen hier wichtige Informationen).

Wie wir bereits wissen, sind mehr von den zum Tode verurteilten und am Leben geblieben als die 7 Personen, die sich bei der polnischen Familie Wyrzykowski in Janczewek versteckten. Viele überlebten in Jedwabne selbst bis zum Herbst 1942, einige blieben am Leben bis 1945.

Dieses Bild unterscheidet sich grundsätzlich von dem von Prof. Jan Gross in "Nachbarn" beschriebenen Bild. Woher kommt also dieser Unterschied? Jan Tomasz Gross hat Dutzende Aussagen verschiedener Personen - Zeugen, Angeklagten usw. außer acht gelassen, in denen von der Rolle der Deutschen als Anstifter die Rede war, Gross zitierte nur die Aussagen, die die Teilnahme der Polen beschrieben. Er basierte u.a. auf der ersten, später widerrufenen Aussage der Köchin Julia Sokolowska, sowie auf den Schreiben des deutschen Gendarmen Karol Bardon, der zur Todesstrafe verurteilt wurde und versuchte, seine Verantwortung zu vertuschen, indem er die Schuld den Stadteinwohnern zuschrieb. Gross erklärt an keiner Stelle, warum er das Material so selektiert hatte. Er erklärt nicht, warum er einige Dokumente berücksichtigt und andere zurückweist.

Man sollte auch die Aufmerksamkeit darauf lenken, dass der Bericht des vom Gericht nicht vernommenen Szmul Wasersztajn, sowie die Aussagen der Anklagezeugen Abram Boruszczak und Eljasz Gr±dowski faktisch missbilligt wurden. Es stellte sich nämlich aus den Aussagen der Einwohner von Jedwabne heraus, und ganz besonders aus der Aussage des polnischen Staatsbürgers jüdischer Herkunft Jozef Gr±dowski, dass Abram Gr±dowski nie in Jedwabne wohnhaft gewesen war, und Eljasz Gr±dowski wegen Diebstahl von der sowjetischen Macht zur Gefängnisstrafe verurteilt und noch 1940 weit in die UdSSR verschleppt wurde. Er kam erst 1945 nach Polen zurück, sah also nichts. Jozef Gr±dowski sagte auch, dass er dank der Hilfe eines ihm nicht näher bekannten Polen aus deutschen Händen am Tag des Mordes fliehen konnte.

Alle drei Ankläger wurden von dem Gericht wie Personen behandelt, die über etwas gehört hatten, aber keine Augenzeugen waren. Im Kassationsantrag an das Oberste Gericht wiesen die Verteidiger der Verurteilten darauf hin, dass Szmul Wasersztajn weder von den Funktionären der Sicherheitsbehörde, noch von den Staatsanwälten, noch während der Gerichtsverhandlung vernommen wurde. Das Oberste Gerichte erwiderte auf diesen Vorwurf, dass es eine erhebliche Pflichtverletzung gewesen war, jedoch hätte das Gericht bei der Prüfung der Sache nicht auf dem Bericht von Wasersztajn, sondern den Berichten der Augenzeugen basiert, insofern hätte diese Verfehlung keine größere Bedeutung. Und eben von Szmul Wasersztajn stammen die drastischsten Fragmente des Buches von Prof. Gross. Tatsachen, die so sehr die Phantasie beflügeln, finden keine Bestätigung in allen anderen Quellen.

Dem Leser seien alle Kommentare überlassen.

Tomasz Strzembosz (geb. 1930), Historiker, Professor an der Katholischen Universität Lublin und im Institut der Politischen Studien bei der Polnischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (PAN). Autor von Werken über die Militärkonspiration in Warschau: "Akcje zbrojne podziemnej Warszawy 1939 - 1945", "Oddzialy szturmowe konspiracyjnej Warszawy 1939 - 1945", "Odbijanie i uwalnianie wiê¼niów w Warszawie 1939 - 1944". Befasst sich seit fast zwanzig Jahren mit der Geschichte der polnischen Konspiration in den nordöstlichen Gebieten der Republik Polen unter der sowjetischen Okkupation. Er schreibt jetzt ein Buch darüber. Er bereitet ebenfalls eine Arbeit über das sowjetische Okkupationssystem in polnischen Gebieten 1939-1941. Letztens gab er die "Rzeczpospolita podziemna" heraus .


Ad. Ü. - In der deutschen Übersetzung konnte die polnische Rechtschreibung aus verständlichen Gründen nicht beibehalten werden. Im Rahmen des Möglichen wurden aber die Aussagen stilgetreu übersetzt.

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klamstwa_dotyczace_duchowienstwa.htm
Why didn't Gross come to Jedwabne?
polish version
 
translated by: Stefan Poniecki, Calgary 2001

J E D W A B N E

On the 10th of July 1941, in the small town of Jedwabne in the vicinity of £om¿a, took place a murder of Jews. Jan Tomasz Gross gave it publicity in his now famous book "Neighbours" published in Polish last year. The English edition is to appear simulatneously in different countries in April amidst vigorous advertising campaign. The author puts forward a thesis that over 1,600 Jews living in Jedwabne were murdered by their Polish neighbours. Gross is also accusing the local bishop and the Catholic clergy of indifference, if not outright refusal of succour to the Jews.

- A judgment has been pronounced without a trial. We have been slandered and spat upon - say the indignant inhabitants of Jedwabne on the 7th of February 2001 at an agitated meeting with the public prosecutor Rados³aw Ignatiev of the Institute of National Memory in Bia³ystok who is conducting the investigation of the murder. He invited people from the town with the idea of inducing them to make statements. From the moment of publication of the book, Jedwabians feel that they are hounded by part of the media (in Poland and even in North America), which declared them anti-semites and murderers.

- Why didn't Gross come to Jedwabne? Why didn't he talk with us instead of assuming a priority that it is we and not the Germans who are responsible for these deaths? - they ask. They do not want to talk with journalists because they are convinced that their statements will be distorted or censored. (The names of Jedwabians and their statements are known to the Catholic Information Agency. The majority of them made statements before prosecutor Ignatiev, but those cannot be revealed until the completion of the investigation). - I request of you to relate everything that you know, everything that you have seen, what you have heard from people near to you. Only in this way will we get to the truth, this is your only chance to repulse the accusations which you consider untrue - Mr. Ignatiev appealed to the inhabitans.

CIA established that Szmul Wasersztajn, the crown witness, whose statement is the basis of reconstruction of events by Gross, after the war worked for the Office of Public Safety (U.B.)

BACKGROUND

The question of Jedwabne forces us to go back to the up to now not completely explored and unsettled period of our history of the last 60 years, a period which saw a tragic entanglement of fates of Poles, Jews, Germans, Russians, and to a lesser degree, other inhabitants living in the eastern neibouring territories of the Polish Republic. Even a superficial attempt to recreate the history of this region during World War II brings up questions which to this day have no satisfactory answers. Up to the beginning of the war in 1939 Poles and Jews lived in the eastern territories of Poland in relative amity. Of course there were individual conflicts, but those happen everywhere people live. The population of little towns on this territory very often consisted of 50% Poles and 50% Jews. This was also the case of Jedwabne before the war. It had 2,500 - 3,000 inhabitants which can be verified in existing voters list for municipal elections. Jewish and Polish children attended the same school. A participant of the meeting with Mr. Ignatiev who was 7 years old in 1941, vividly moved, remembers that he sat on the same bench with a Jew, was able to name some of his Jewish friends with whom he was not only studying, but played and was friendly with.

Problems surfaced with the outbreak of the war. Two totalitarian systems: fascism and communism released evil in people and brought upon us misfortune - says Rev. Edward Or³owski, now parish priest of Jedwabne, formerly for three years vicar to Rev. Józef Kembliñski, administrator (deputy parish priest ) of the Jedwabne parish in the years 1940 - 1945.

First came the Germans. However when on the 17th of September Soviet troops invaded Poland, Germans retreated and the town came into Russian possession. In October 1939 in the neighbouring woods on the western shore of Biebrza and in Jedwabne appeared a Polish unit of resistence consisting of soldiers from central Poland and local Poles. The main organizers were the parish priest of Jedwabne Rev. Marian Szumowski and Rev. Stanis³aw Cutnik of Burzyn. In spite of frequent changes of billeting, the unit was dispered after a bloody engagement with the Soviet troops on the 23rd of June 1940. After its liquidation followed mass arrests by the Russians of some 250 people, including Revs. Szumowski and Rev. Cutnik.

The martyrdom of the Jews commenced with the outbreak of the German-Russian war on the 22nd of June 1941. The Germans occupied in a few days the eastern parts of Poland and at once proceeded with the liquidation of the Jews. Some were murdered on location, others e.g. from Brañsk, were taken to concentration camps or to ghettos constructed in bigger conglomerations such as Bia³ystok. In Jedwabne they arrived probably on the 25th of June and the annihilation of the Jews took place three weeks after the start of the German-Soviet war, on the 10th of July 1941.

It is an incontestable fact that Jews who found themselves in Jedwabne were driven on to the main square, herded into a barn and burned alive. What is contested is the number of Jews killed, the sequence of events and the participation in the crime of Germans and Poles.

Credibility of Gross' version

Perusing the first few pages of Jan Tomasz Gross' book "Neighbours" one's hopes rise that here we will learn the truth about the crime of Jedwabne. The author is being introduced as a noted historian (by education he is a sociologist), professor of political sciences of the University of New York, author of essays on the subject of Polish-German-Jewish relationships in the years 1939-1948.

Gross names various sources that he relied on. Unfortunately, as one reads his book, one is assailed by doubts whether the version presented in it is trustworthy. Although Gross mentions various sources and refers to numerous historians, yet in his argumentations he is relying on the statements of one man only - Szmul Wasersztajn, a Jew living in the town. This crown witness of Gross in Poland went under the name of Ca³ka and not Wasersztajn, who after the war was an agent of U.B.

This fact was established by Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, who has been researching this period of Polish history for many years, on the basis of depositions of two reliable witnesses who were interrogated by Wasersztajn at the UB after the war. Strzembosz draws attention to the credibility of sources and witnesses on which Gross relies. He underlines for example that Wasersztajn's story is too spacious and "all knowing" for someone who in that moment of time himself was obliged to hide and fight for survival.

Gross does not quote, for example, the reports of members of Anders' army deposited in the Hoover Institute, now also available in the Eastern Archives in Warsaw, which differ considerably from the author of "Neighbours" on the subject of "pogrom" in Jedwabne and the matter of Jewish collaboration with the Soviet authorities.

The author of "Neighbours" relies also on the files of the trial of 22 Poles dealing with the pogrom in Jedwabne conducted by the Office of Public Security (UB) in £om¿a in 1949 and in Bia³ystok in 1953. The UB proceedings were a mockery of legality. The trial lasted only two days, on the 16th and 17th of May 1949. People meeting with Mr. Ignatiev were stressing that their fathers were forced to confess by beatings and that some of the witnesses were bribed with vodka.

The lack of scientific honesty has been commented on by numerous historians, among others by Dr. S³awomir Radoñ, chairman of the College of IPN (Institute of National Memory) conducting the present investigation. They accuse him of drawing premature conclusions without a solid research in Polish and German archives and following up all possible leads.

It is significant that Gross did not visit Jedwabne, did not bother to contact witnesses or participants in the crime and talk with them. Gross merely quotes current depositions of Poles based on notes made by journalists, e.g. Agnieszka Arnold, on the occasion of her making the film "Neighbours" in 1998.

The role of the Church

In view of doubts as to the honesty of Gross' exposition, KAI decided to investigate the probity of some of the contentions concerning men of the Church contained in the book. In Gross' book priests are not in the forefront, they are kept rather in the background, accused obliquely as the "ideologists of the crime."

Gross suggests that if priests act as brakes on pogroms, they do it not for moral and religious reasons, but rather as a means of obtaining tributes.

In the quoted testimony in "Neighbours" of Menachem Finkelsztajn describing the murder of Jews in the neighbouring Radzi³ów we read:

"We were sure, that the Jews were murdered. Who murdered them? Polish murderers, dirty hands of people from the underworld, people blinded and driven by animal instinct after blood and loot, taught and nurtured over decades by the black clergy which was building its existence on racial hatred."

The author of "Neighbours" mentions two priests and the bishop of the diocese of £om¿a. Describing the relationship of the Catholic priests and the two religious communities in Jedwabne, Gross stresses that almost to the outbreak of the war the relationships between the local priest and the rabbi were good, and that Jews "fared no worse than anywhere else in Poland." However it was no idyll: "Apart from regularly occurring tense moments such as the time around Easter, when priests were evoking in their sermons the picture of the Jew as God's assassin, there was always the potential of some evil happening through a simple coincidence of circumstances."

Such a coincidence was the murder of a Jewess and shortly thereafter the death of a Polish peasant in 1934. The populace of the town interpreted the death of the Pole as a revenge for the murder of the Jewess, and a pogrom was hanging in the air. So the generally respected Rabbi Avigdor Bia³ostocki in company with Jony Rothschild paid a visit to the local parish priest (which is mentioned in the Souvenir Book of Jedwabne). Gross asserts that "This episode fits exactly within the norms of Jewish existence which accepted that the threatened community almost always knew in advance of the approaching scourge (just as they knew of the approaching extermination "actions" during the occupation) and took it as natural, that in such situations the civil and religious authorities were due a tribute for taking care of them and averting the anticipated calamity." This time the calamity was averted and the relationship between the leaders of the two communities continued as before.

Up to the time - writes Gross - when, just before the war, arrived a new parish priest of nationalistic sympathies. Here Gross writes an untruth. If he had checked this information in the history of the £om¿e diocese, he would have found that Rev. Szumowski was the parish priest of Jedwabne from 1931 to July of 1940 when he was arrested by the NKWD for organizing the movement of resistance. Just before the war there was no change of parish priest. From Gross' account it appears that either the alleged pogrom of 1934 was averted by the priest in spite of his nationalistic leanings, or by the predecessor of Rev. Szumowski - Rev. Andrzej Gawêdzki, the builder of the church in Jedwabne 1921-1931, later a prisoner in Buchenwald and Dachau. Therefore the date of the event is wrong. After his arrest Rev. Szumowski was shipped to Miñsk, where on the 27th of January 1941 War College of the Supreme Court of the ZSRR sentenced him to death. Documents confirming these facts, together with information of the General Consulate of the Republic of Belarus of 1997 in Bia³ystok about the circumstances of the arrest and murder of Rev. Szumowski, are now in the parish office of the church of St. Jacob in Jedwabne.

Rev. Józef Kembinski - vicar of Jedwabne at the beginning of the war and administrator of the parish after the arrest of the parish priest, remembered years later that a local Jew collaborating with the NKWD also took part in the arrest of Rev. Szumowski.

Another clergyman mentioned in the book of Gross is Bishop of £om¿e Stanis³aw £ukomski, whom Gross accuses of accepting from the Jewish delegation a silver candelabra, yet failing to save the Jews of Jedwabne from the pogrom. Ross writes:

"The leaders of the Jewish community sent to the Bishop of Jedwabne a delegation which took with them beautiful sliver candelabra, with the request that the bishop assure them of his protection and intervene with the Germans that a pogrom do not take place in Jedwabne. One of the uncles of the witness from whom this report stems, went with the delegation to £om¿a.

And indeed, the Bishop of £om¿a kept his word for a time. However the Jews were placing too much faith in his assurances and would not listen to warnings from sympathising Polish neighbours."

However, as research by KAI shows, while the Jewish delegation, according to Gross, was supposed to be meeting with the Bishop of £om¿a, he was not there because he was hiding from the Soviet occupants - predominantly in Tykocin and Kulesze Ko¶cielne. This information confirm numerous documents in the diocesan archives of £om¿a, and most of all recordings of the bishop himself.

The southern part of the diocese during the war was in the care of the auxiliary bishop domiciled in Ostrów Mazowiecki, while the northern part remained in the care of Bishop £ukomski, when he was there. After the start of hostilities in 1939, the bishop's residence was sequestered by the military and devastated by two conquering armies. When the German-Soviet conflict erupted on June 22 1941 and the Russians left the area, Bishop £ukomski decided to return to £om¿a. In part VII of his memoirs he describes his steps as follows:

"Wanting to return to £om¿a as soon as possible, but knowing that the bishop's palace and the curia were occupied by the Germans, I wrote to the German military authorities in £om¿a requesting that the dwelling be cleared of soldiers. Upon receiving from the Commandant the reply that there is no hindrance to my return and that suitable accommodation will be assigned to me, I left for £om¿a on the 9th of July."

The question arises, how did the delegation, which was to hand the bishop the candelabra, know that he would be in £om¿a? The murder of the Jews took place on the 10th of July, Bishop £ukomski was negotiating by mail with the Commandant before he returned to the capital of the diocese. Were these negotiations so open that everybody in the area knew that the Bishop of £om¿a was returning from banishment? This puts the veracity of this report under a question mark. Bishop £ukomski mentions that he did not move into the assigned quarters until August and only then started officiating.

"Having taken over the quarters in August of 1941, many repairs were

required. The household was made functional from offas found on location."

This information confirm chronicles of Benedictine Sisters of the Holy Trinity Abbey in £om¿a 1939-1945 written by S. Alojza Piesiewiczówna. Under the date of July 8 1941 she wrote: "Bishop Stanis³aw Kostka Lukomski returned to £om¿a". The bishop himself gives the date of July 9th, but even if some delegation took off to see him with silver candelabra, how to explain that "the Bishop of £om¿a kept his word for a time"? The pogrom in Jedwabne took place next day, at the latest two days after the return of Bishop £ukomski to £om¿a, if the notation of the Benedictine Sisters is correct.

In his memoirs Bishop Lukomski writes also about the annihilation of the Jews. His notations are not those of an indifferent man, but of a person looking with horror at the bestiality of Hitlerites. As to the attitude of Bishop Lukomski vis a vis the extermination of Jews, can bear witness the reports of priests who lived at that time in the diocese, e.g. Rev. Kazimierz Lupinski who recalls a verbally transmitted instruction of Bishop Lukomski not to grant absolution to Poles who took part in murdering Jews by the Germans.

The years 1939-41

The perusal of Gross's book raises further doubts. Gross attempts to trifle with the co-responsibility of Jews for the persecution of Poles in the period 1939-41 under Soviet occupation. For example, the betrayal of the Polish unit stationed in the region of Jedwabne, he ascribes to some Pole. According to the inhabitants, and also according to the report of Rev. Kemblinski passed on to Rev. Orlowski (the present parish priest who had been Rev. Kemblinski's vicar) it is explicitely the Jewish inhabitants of the town collaborating with the NKWD who betrayed the Polish Partisans.

- It's the Jews who were the first to spoil the good relationship with the Poles, and from that time on something cracked - related Rev. Kemblinski.

The problem of collaboration of the Jews with the Russians discusses at length and proves its existence Prof. Tomasz Strembosh, inter alia in article "The Silent Collaboration" in Rzeczpospolita from 27-28 January 2001.

N.B. Prof. Strembosz in his proof of Jewish collaboration with Russians, quotes earlier works of Jan Tomasz Gross, now in the archives of the Hoover Institute, containing reports of this collaboration. Alas, in "Neighbours" we do not find them.

At the unusually heated meeting of the inhabitants of Jedwabe with prosecutor Ignatiev of IPN, which took place in Jedwabne on the 7 February 2001, the older men were maintaining categorically that the time of Soviet occupation was the worst of the whole war and were stressing that during that period, less than two years, more Poles were killed and deported to Siberia than during four years of German occupation. It is estimated that from Jedwabne itself 300 persons were deported or killed. For these crimes Poles blame Jews collaborating with the NKWD.

An elderly, modestly attired woman related how on the 20th of June 1941, i.e. two days before the outbreak of the German-Soviet war and the invasion of German troops, the Russians deported her family of six people to Siberia. What is significant, the Soviets who arrived to make the arrests had a detailed list of whom to take in Jedwabne and what their addresses were. The mother of the woman in question asked the NKWD-man where he was from. He answered that he was from Moscow. If you are from Moscow, where did you get such such exact details? His answer: your Jews have betrayed you. "I can still hear his words" - affirms the woman. And indeed a Jew was accompanying them on the cart which took them to the train. After 5 years they returned from Siberia, just four of them because they buried there a brother and grandmother dressed in rags.

Another inhabitant of Jedwabne, whose father was tortured by Jewish functionaries of the U.B., was asking Prosecutor Ignatiev whether he could sue the Jewish hangman who delivered Poles to the Russians and tortured them, but now is living in the USA. Mr. Ignatiev assured him that he could, but he would have to have solid proof on which a charge could be drawn up.

CRIME

The number of Jews murdered and the participation of Poles in the crime evoke strong emotions. Gross maintains that 1,600 Jews were burned and that it was the Poles who did it and who for several days prior maltreated and tortured them. However, the census from 1940 gives the number of Jews living in the whole district as 1,400, of whom a considerable part escaped with the NKWD before the Germans to Bialystok, where they perished.

- Why are we being accused of killing 1,600 people and an exhumation is not being allowed? Their burial site is known; no barn in those times was big enough to hold 1,600 people - voiced a participant at the meeting with Prosecutor Ignatiev while clutching in his hands the weekly "Wprost" carrying the interview with Gross. The Jews oppose an exhumation for religious grounds. According to Rev. Kemblinski in July 1941 there were not even 800 Jews. Prof. Strembosz established a similar number of victims (less than 800) in his research.

According to the Jedwabians and Rev. Kemblinski the events of July 10 took a different turn. As early as July 8th Jedwabne was surrounded by German police and nobody could leave the town. For three days the Germans were herding the Jewish population on to the main square and ordered them "to weed the lawns". On the third day they ordered them to dismantle Lenin's monument and then herded the assembled crowd into Bronislaw Sleszynski's barn and burned them.

The inhabitants of Jedwabne admit that Poles also took part in the pogrom, because, as they were stressing in the meeting with the prosecutor of IPN, you will always find scoundrels and bandits. They also draw attention to the fact that some Poles, against their will, were coerced by the Germans to drive the Jews. The Germans were dragging young men out of their homes, arming them with clubs and forcing them to form a cordon around the Jews.

Commenting on the depositions extracted out of them during the trials of 1949 and 1953, the Jedwabians remember with fear that those were the times of UB when methods were being applied of such a kind that anybody would admit anything. A man whose father was being tortured during the investigation suggested to the prosecutor that he check who was the judge and prosecutor in the trial, and he would find that both were Jews.

From reminiscenses of Rev. Kamblinski we would find that when the German police arrived, he tried to intervene on behalf of the Jews (he spoke German well), and prevent an extermination in Jedwabne. They however merely shrugged their shoulders, saying that that's their order which they have to obey. They surrounded Jedwabne, had dogs with them and coerced the Poles to participate in the murdering (under escort). Whoever was standing by was given a club and was forced to use it on the Jews. According to Kemblinski, if it happened that some Pole abused a Jew, then it was largely because he considered the Jews above all as Soviet confidants and was taking revenge for the sufferings of people dear to him. For a pogrom sufficed a few policemen and a group of coerced Poles, the remaining Germans were surrounding the town preventing any escapes. The Jews were not trying to defend themselves nor escape, were just passively obeying.

How many Poles were murdering the Jews of their own volition, out of revenge, out of greed, or as Gross would have it, out of anti-semitism? According to Gross, all grown-up inhabitants of the town. According to the Jedwabians, those were isolated instances.

What is the truth?

Gross' book is a voice on behalf of this terrible crime, a subjective voice, often emotional, journalistic, drawing unjustified conclusions. It is not a historical study, because even a superficial analysis shows serious failures in methodology.

The book cannot also be considered as objective if only on account of the approach to sources quoted by the author, about which he writes himself. Gross maintains that one must affirm everything what the victims of Holocaust say:

"Our stance in relation to the statements of the would be victims of the Holocaust should change from doubtful to affirmative, simply because accepting what they give in their account, has indeed happened; we would be prepared to admit the fallacy of such an assessment only when confronted

with convincing proofs to the contrary.

Into the trap of such an assumption falls the author himself who bases the whole book and passes judgment on the account of Szmul Wasersztajn, a funcionary of the Security Office.

The book "Neighbours" is to appear in English in the USA, Canada and other anglophone countries, and exactly it - and not a scientific work - will be shaping the world public opinion in the matter of Polish-Jewish relationships during WW II. Prof. Pawel Machcewicz, director of Public Education IPN, draws attention to this problem, stressing his serious doubts that the numerous simplifications and dangerous generalization will thwart - rather than facilitate - the Polish-Jewsish dialogue and the readiness of Poles to confess their own trespasses.

Gross's conclusions, built on questionable factual ground, have already begun its independent life in the social consciousness. Certain circles consider Gross's book as unimpeachable and constructs on it a series of conceptions, such as atonement of Poles for the pogrom. Stanislaw Krajewski, co-chairman of Polish Council of Christians and Jews (Jewish delegate on this ouncil) demands a spectacular expiation with the participation of representatives of State and the Polish church.

Gross demands the erection of a new monument in Jedwabne with an inscription that 1,600 Jews were murdered by their Polish neighbours; he adds that the monument could be financed from money taken from one collection tray in the Jedwabne church.

There is no doubt that in Jedwabne took place a terrible masacre of the Jewish population, that Poles took part in it and they owe Jews a plea for forgiveness. Yet it is necessary to present all the surrounding circumstances objectively so that the act of apology takes place in the spirit of truth.

We do not hide that we tie with the investigation of the IPN the hope of getting to the objective truth. Prosecutor Ignatiev during his meeting with the inhabitants of Jedwabne declared that he must get as many relations of the events of eye witnesses as possible, and also of those who heard them from the mouths of their near ones. He stressed that in an investigation the nationality of the perpetrators is not important, important is the establishment of truth, facts, independent of whether it should come to light that the murderers were Poles or Germans. "If I find that a Pole was the murderer, I shall accuse the Pole."

Since the publication of Gross' book, the present parish priest Rev. Orlowski had visits from journalists, among others from the socio-cultural Jewish publication Midrasz (appearing in Warsaw), who posed the question whether he celebrates expiatory masses for the crime committed by the Poles. Rev. Orlowski answered that he prays every week at Sunday Mass for all the living and dead of Jedwabne: Poles, Jews, Russians, Germans. There is no hatred amongst them and death has reconciled them; we shall think about other prayers when we know the whole truth.

John Paul II spoke many times about the necessity of Christians atoning for the sins committed in the past. He himself was asking forgiveness for evil inflicted on the Jews at the hands of Christians. At the same time He stresses that at the basis of admitting guilt must lie honest truth. The Vatican document of the International Theological Commission "Memory and Reconciliation - the Church and Sins of the Past" underlines that establishing the sins of the past to be atoned demands above all a correct historical verdict which will be the basis of a theological assessment. In his book "Neighbours" Gross postulates that Poles have revised their history and admit their guilt. For this to happen, they have to see themselves in the mirror of truth. A book lacking scientific honesty is certainly not going to bring it about.

It is to be hoped that the investigation will bring forth a correct historical assessment. The president of IPN foresees that the investigation will wind up in April or May 2001, the time ripe for a "theological assessment."

The words of Rev. Orlowski about the living and dead inhabitants of Jedwabne: Poles, Jews, Russians and Germans - draw attention to a different perspective of the problem, namely what shape should present relationships between nations take, what measures should be taken in order that Jedwabne does not foster hate and aggression, that it unites instead of dividing people. Should not in the eventual expiation for the crime, "the catharsis of memory" of which John Paul II speaks, take part representatives of all the nations concerned?

Katolicka Agencja Informacyjna.

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bbc_polish_historians.htm
Polish historians question credibility of witnesses cited in 1941 pogrom book
BBC Monitoring Europe - Political
 

Copyright 2001 British Broadcasting Corporation
BBC Monitoring Europe - Political
Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring

March 29, 2001, Thursday

LENGTH: 552 words

HEADLINE: Polish historians question credibility of witnesses cited in 1941 pogrom book

SOURCE: PAP news agency, Warsaw, in Polish 1118 gmt 29 Mar 01

BODY:

Two Polish historians have questioned the credibility of witnesses cited in a book on the July 1941 pogrom in Jedwabne, northeastern Poland. One is said to have been in hiding at the time, another lived elsewhere and a third had been deported into the interior of the USSR the previous year, theyclaim. The following is the text of a report by Polish news agency PAP:

Warsaw, 29 March: Prof Tomasz Strzembosz is seeking is undermining the credibility of the witnesses who are cited by Prof Jan Gross in his book "Neighbours" Sasiedzi on the extermination of the Jews of Jedwabne northeastern Poland, in July 1941 .

Gross wrote in his book that "the first and most precise account on this subject is the testimony of Wasersztajn, dating from 1945." Meanwhile, historian Prof Tomasz Strzembosz has told PAP that Szmul Wasersztajn could not have seen the murder of Jews in Jedwabne on 10 July 1941, because on that day he was in hiding at a distance of 500 metres from the place of the atrocity. As Strzembosz stresses, in its justification of the verdict in the Jedwabne case after the war a court stated that "Wasersztajn was not a direct witness" of this event.

Strzembosz cites the same court files upon the basis of which Gross wrote his book. (as the author of "Neighbours" writes, "we find successive descriptions of the events in the files of the Lomza northeastern Poland trials of May 1949 and November 1953..." PAP ellipses ).

According to Prof Gross, other not credible witnesses cited by Gross are Abram Boruszczak and Eljasz Gradowski. Gross writes: "Eljasz Gradowski, describing the participation of particular people in the pogrom, states that they looted Jewish property..." and "Abram Boruszczak states in this context..." PAP ellipses .

Meanwhile, Strzembosz told PAP, Adam Boruszczak did not live in Jedwabne at all and was questioned in this case after the war upon the instruction of the Lomza court. Eljasz Gradowski, on the other hand, was sentenced for theft in 1940 (during the Soviet occupation) and deported into the interior of the USSR. He returned in 1945 and, as Prof Strzembosz adds, "had nothing to do with the Jedwabne case".

Tomasz Strzembosz reported that in the hearing of the case before the Lomza court in 1949 neither Boruszczak nor Gradowski were taken into account as witnesses by the court since "they could, at most, have heard about the crime ".

The Thursday 29 March edition of the Zycie daily, citing the opinion of the historian Piotr Gontarczyk, also writes that "in writing his Neighbours', Gross based himself on testimonies and accounts that were not credible." "He chose those which matched what he wanted," Gontarczyk told Zycie.

An investigation into the case of the mass-murder of the Jews of Jedwabne, who were burnt to death in a barn on 10 July 1941, is being conducted by the National Remembrance Institute IPN . The motive for the crime is said to have been revenge for "the participation of Jews in Stalinist repressions". Jedwabne was a part of those territories of the Polish Second Republic that were occupied by the USSR between 17 September 1939 and the German aggression on the USSR on 22 June 1941. During this period, NKVD terror touched many Polish citizens of various nationalities.

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jedwabne_a_zbrodnie_na_kresach_2.htm
JEWS MURDERING POLES
prof. JERZY ROBERT NOWAK

polish version
 
translated by:

Les³aw Kawalec

Jedwabne and the atrocities in East Poland 1939-1941 (part II)

And the Jews kissed Soviet tanks.....

In the beginning let me apologise to the G³os readers for the inadequate information about the series of articles I am writing to Niedziela . They won't be about just 60 but as many as100 Gross' lies. On closer examination I have found many more than a hundred lies in his works. However, for the reason of space available I will focus on one hundred lies.

The magnitude of cynicism and chutzpah on the part of this Jewish sociologist from the USA in distorting the truth about the Polish history and Polish-Jewish relations is outrageous. In his most recent publications Gross consistently promulgates a picture of a profound dichotomy between the two Nations, the Jews being like angels, who always fall prey to the 'fanatical and ignorant' Polish rabble surrounding them who, in turn, as a nation are guilty of complicity in the genocide of the Jews. Alongside with trying to create a myth about alleged collaboration of Poles with the German occupants, he is making an attempt to whitewash the behaviour of the Jews vis-à-vis the Soviets in East Poland in 1939-1941.

Both in Ghastly Decade, published 1999, and Neighbors of 2000 he turns the picture of Jewish quislingism upside down and has stubborn disregard for facts. In Neighbors ( p. 104 ) he writes that the enthusiastic reception of the Red Army was by no means commonplace, and one can't tell why the Jewish collaboration with the Soviets in 1939-1941 should be seen as exceptional. In Ghastly Decade ( p. 66 ) he contends that even the few genuinely happy individuals must have stood out in the overall air of fear and dejection. His most ridiculous allegation ( Ghastly Decade p. 66 ) is one that the Jews did put up triumphal arches ( which was commonplace - J.R.N.) to honour the Soviet invaders but they usually did so out of fear. Strangely enough, the other nations in East Poland were not overcome with fear with anything near this degree of jubilation. There are virtually thousands of testimonies which prove this, including the many accounts by Jews, apparently much more honest than Gross. Let us recall that the leader of the Underground Polish State himself - general Stefan Rowecki "Grot" - wrote 25 Sep. 1941: ''It became manifest that the Jewish masses all over the place, and in Wo³yñ, Polesie and Podlasie in particular (...) upon the encroachment of the Bolsheviks assaulted with all their fury local Polish offices, massively lynching functionaries of the Polish State, Polish activists (...) ( in A. ¯bikowski, ¯ydzi Polscy Pod Okupacj± Sowieck± / The Polish Jews under the Soviet Occupation 1939-1941 in Studies on the History of Jewry in Poland published by the ¯ydowski Instytut Historyczny / the Jewish Historical Institute /, Warsaw 1995, vol. 2 p. 63 ).

Let this immense pro-Soviet Jewish enthusiasm be illustrated by the fact, which Gross himself admitted ( in Revolution from Abroad , Princeton 1988 ) that it was only the Jews in East Poland who were in a very peculiar habit of kissing the Soviet tanks. No sources give any account of any other nations tarnishing their reputation by such pro-Soviet servility. In Gross' words ( Revolution...., op. cit. p. 29 ) '' even tanks were kissed. The Jews seemed to have a particular predilection for kissing tanks, and there is no mention of the Ukrainians or Belorussians sharing this fondness. A peculiar 'tank perversion'.

Anti-Polish sabotage

Can the alleged fear of the Soviets explain the collective participation of red Jews in East Poland in armed sabotage levelled against the Polish army in 1939. Let us not forget that it was the only army at that time that resisted the German Nazis. In the book published in 1999 titled Przemilczane Zbrodnie. ¯ydzi i Polacy Na Kresach 1939-1941 / The Concealed Genocide. The Jews and the Poles in East Poland 1939-1941 / I elaborated on the extent of this Jewish sabotage ( e.g. in Grodno, Skidel, Ró¿yszcza, Ska³at, Ko³omyja, Izbica, Luboml ). Recently the Jewish armed treason was condemned by prof. Tomasz Strzembosz in Przemilczana Kolaboracja / Held-back Quislingism ( Rzeczpospolita of 27-28 Jan. 2000 ) who stressed that their occupation of towns and villages, setting up revolutionary committees there, arresting and executing Polish state officials, assaults on small and big army units ( as in Grodno ) were acts of rebellion against the Polish state. Prof. Strzembosz referred to the recent findings of another historian Marek Wierzbicki, who includes in his text an account of the armed struggle for Skidel, and of the Jewish rebellion in Jeziory, £unna, Wiercieliszki, Wielka Brzostowica, Ostryn, Dubno, Dereczyn, Zelwa, Motol, Wo³pa, Janów Poleski, Wo³kowysk, Horodel, Drohiczyn Poleski ( here and elsewhere all in Polish transcription - L.K. ). No one saw a single German there, these armed operations were all directed against the Polish state. This was armed quislingism, siding with the enemy, treason in the days of defeat. In my book, about to come out, titled Polacy i ¯ydzi na Kresach / Poles and Jews in East Poland I will report more examples of Jewish armed sabotage against Poland elsewhere. It affected large territories of East Poland and truly stabbed the Polish army. Why does Jan Tomasz Gross holds all that back ? Apparently, the historical truth is meaningless for this whitewasher of Jews. What does matter is polonophobic prejudice and slanderous brainwashing.

Among the most atrocious tokens of this pro-Soviet collaboration on the part of a number of Jews in East Poland were the assassinations of both Polish officers and the rank and file as well as ordinary civilians which they committed. These facts have been mentioned by Prof. Strzembosz and I also reported these in Przemilczane Zbrodnie / Concealed Genocide in a separate chapter a year and a half ago. Thus I will not give account of the murders described there such as the killing of the Polish student leaders at the Lwów University of Technology for their alleged anti-Semitism or slaughtering the Dominican friars of the Czortków monastery, brutally murdered by the Jews of NKVD. Here I will concentrate on some of the recently revealed instances of massacres of Poles committed by red Jews. I have collected these for the publication of Polacy i ¯ydzi na Kresach 1939-1941 / Poles and Jews in East Poland 1939-1941,which is about to come out.

After 17 September: murdered officers

Ryszard Pedowski, brother-in-law of Tadeusz Piotrowski - the author of Poland's Holocaust, a valuable work on Poland during WWII - reported on the assassination of 12 Polish officers by the Jews in Grabowiec ( Hrubieszów county, province of Lublin ). In his account the Polish officers were murdered in the bakery of a well-to-do Grabowiec Jew called Pergamen. Then, another Jew, locally known as 'Kuka' ( water supplier ) transported the corpses to the cemetery and left them there in a ditch. When found, the dead bodies were dressed in nothing but underwear. The locals secured a Christian burial for them. "Kuka' was later poisoned - he knew too much.. According to Pedowski both the officers and the water supplier were murdered by the poor local Jews -

sympathisers of the communists ( based on Piotrowski T., Poland's Holocaust, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1998, p. 55 )

Prof. Piotrowski stressed that the Grabowiec murder of the Polish officers ought to be subjected to investigation. Let us ask then if it has been or when it will be brought to the attention of IPN ( the Institute for National Remembrance ) ?

The Grabowiec case was also a subject of the correspondence I got from Boles³aw Boratyñski of Grabowiec. He emphasised that the reason why 'Kuka' was killed was that he was too talkative about the massacre and complained he had not been paid enough for his service ( Boratyñski's account of 30 Dec. 1999, in my possession ) It was accentuated that these facts are well-known and still remembered by the people of Grabowiec.

There are many scattered pieces of information about the atrocious treatment the Polish rank and file and officers received ( including murder ) from communist Jews. Julian Grzesik wrote in Alija o Martyrologii ¯ydów Europejskich / Alija on the Martyrology of Europe's Jews, published in Lublin in 1989, that instances of Jews apprehending, disarming and sometimes killing Polish soldiers were reported. The author of this text has a first hand account of the murdering, in 1939, of a sergeant who had refused to hand his gun over to a Jew. J.K. Kuncewicz recalled in Tygodnik Kulturalny of 7 May 1989: ''On 23 September we were surrounded by the Soviet tanks and rushed to a mill in Hrubieszów. We were handled by the local Jewish militia, who demonstrated in a very vulgar fashion who was in power ( ... ) Most of those who did not risk escaping are on the Katyn list. Numerous Jews, not only communists, soon filled the vacancies in the Soviet administration assisting the NKVD in seizing Polish officers and administrative officials. A shocking account requiring further documentation was sent to me in 1999 by Rev. Pawe³ Piotrowski from Curitiba, Brasil. He wrote: ''Working for a dozen years in Rio de Janeiro I was the chaplain of the 9th Cavalry Regiment's retired combatants there. Their long-time president was Janusz Pawe³kiewicz. In 1939 he commanded the rear guard of one of the Polish units retreating to the south-east. Unfortunately, I cannot report any more detailed data but I know they are available in the London archive which has throughout the years been composed from the testimonies of the Polish soldiers fighting on the various fronts of WWII.

He recalled his outrage on seeing banners welcoming the saviours from the East, who have not yet encroached on these territories. The unit Pawe³kiewicz headed strayed from the main forces, stayed behind so that a gap was created between him and the main group. Apparently that made the residents of Che³m think there were no Polish troops any more, that all have escaped. On entering the town his unit made for a local school where the soldiers saw an appalling sight: on the floor of a classroom lay 12 dead bodies of Polish officers nailed down through the eyes and heads. The soldiers found a janitor and asked who had done that. He answered ''the Jews''. Questioned about the whereabouts of the murderers he said: ''Only Jews live in this street.''

It should be added that Janusz Pawe³kiewicz spoke about it in public, and more detailed accounts are to be found in the London archive I have mentioned. (... ) ( the text of the account by Rev. Pawe³ Piotrowski has been published in a Nasza Polska's column "Polish Holocaust' of 15 Sep. 1999 )

Ryszard Jasiñski, president of the Towarzystwo przyjació³ Frampola / Friends of Frampol Association /, reported in his story of the Frampol September 1939 some passages from Jerzy Carwieniec Czerwiñski's memoirs that give an account of the tragic events of end 1939: ''29 September two Jews of the 'Red Militia' brought to their station, based in a local school, an officer cadet - platoon commander - heading West across the Vistula on his way back from the East via Frampol . There the militants, with their leader A.R. 'Nuchym', when questioning him demanded that he remove the eagle from his cap and tear off his shoulder straps with platoon commander rank insignia. The cadet refused and when A.R. wanted to do it by force he reportedly hit 'Nuchym' on the face. The infuriated militia men skewered the Pole with bayonets, "Nuchym' himself excelling in sadism. This is how - not from enemy bluets but murdered by a Cain - died Wincenty Panasiuk, born 1912 in Opatów, student of the Warsaw University (...) In the night, afraid of the locals, they dragged the dead body to the so called 'priest field', dug a pit there in its north-eastern part behind what is now a water pump, cast him there, put a horse carcass on top and buried to cover up. The student Wincenty Panasiuk of Opatów was to have been a teacher and ironically he was murdered in a school. When the dead body of the soldier was dug out of the pit where he was to have been hid 'for ever' by the assassins, his uniform betrayed numerous stab wounds ( in Jasiñski R., Frampolski Wrzesieñ 1939 / Frampol September 1939 - continued in a regional monthly Wokó³ Frampola issued by Towarzystwo Przyjació³ Frampola / Friends of Frampol Association, July 1998, vol. 3, pp 20-22 ).

Mr Micha³ £awacz in an account he sent me 29 July 1999 described an appalling incident of murdering, before his very eyes, of a young Polish soldier by a group of Jewish militia men in Che³m. £awacz recalls: '' ...arrival of Soviet tanks in Che³m through flowered arches that the Jews had prepared, cordial welcoming of tankmen and soldiers.... The Jews go wild with jubilation... Suddenly all Jews from teenagers to forty-somethings have red bands on their arms. Instantly they rule the streets as militia, almost all of them armed with guns, clubs, bayonets and knives, craving for blood and murder. Their aim is conspicuous - looking for a victim. It was in the afternoon, about 6 p.m. We saw a band of a dozen or so Jewish teens attack with knives, clubs and bayonets a young soldier in the street we were going along. Each of the Jews wanted to have his share in the murder. They attacked him all when he was all alone. It was about 50 - 100 metres before us. We were walking in the same direction as the soldier. On seeing that and hearing the cries of the butchered soldier and the voices of the Jews I fainted. My father lugged me to a gateway in a house (...) and then onto the staircase where I came to (...) I still have this picture in my memory.''

You could go on and on with similar stories of Poles murdered by communist Jews. Krzysztof Jasiewicz, in his precious Lista Strat Ziemiañstwa Polskiego 1939 - 1956 / Losses of Polish Landed Gentry 1939-1956, mentions Witold Rozwadowski ( 1912 - 1939 ) arrested alongside his father, most probably in September 1939. According to Jasiewicz, Rozwadowski was murdered in the Oszmian prison by his Jewish friend - a militia man in Oszmian ( cf Jasiewicz K., Lista Strat Ziemiañstwa Polskiego 1939 - 1956, Warszawa 1995, p.887 )

Felicja Starosielec, in an account of 21 August 1999 she has sent me, reports that her brother was taken out of his junior secondary school, arrested, accused and shot by the Jewish militia.

22 Aug. 1999 Tadeusz Kalinowski of Skierbieszów, Zamo¶æ county ( powiat ), sent me a testimony signed by Józef Chudzik of Majdan Sitaniecki which sheds light on the circumstances of murdering two young Polish soldiers about 17 Sep. When walking unarmed in uniforms they were killed by a group of armed Jews in Wierzba near Zamo¶æ. Mr Chudzik who witnessed the murder also refers to other witnesses by their names.

Janina D³ugosz-Adamowska in her account of 15 August describing the tragedy of her family from East Poland recalls her cousin Maria (maiden name Zborowski ) deported to Siberia and her husband Rudolf - killed by Jews in his home in Lwów ( a doctor; professional competition to Jewish doctors and an 'oppressor' since he came from an aristocratic family ).

Wac³aw Zañczuk, in the account he sent me 26 August 1999, described an atrocious murder ,which must have been perpetrated for robbery, on a Polish woman and her child by a Ukrainian-Jewish patrol in the vicinity of Wo³ynka in October 1939. Zañczuk, in September a defender of the Brze¶æ fortress, managed to get out of Soviet captivity with his friend W³adys³aw Schlichtyn and was following the railway track leading to W³odawa. He writes: '' Going along the railway track near Wo³ynka we saw a patrol of two people with guns at hand ( before he wrote it was a Ukrainian-Jewish patrol - J.R.N. ) following a path that led to the rail track (..). From the opposite direction came a woman with a little girl holding a loaf of bread in her arms. We estimated the distance at about 120 - 150 metres. We thought the patrol would first meet the woman. Still, we feel a bit worried - we decide to slow down. We see the patrol stop the woman, we hear no voices but in a while there are two shots ( ... ) The woman and her little girl died because she was Polish and had a fur coat. (...) Although it was so long ago I remember everything as if it had happened today - they were no more than 18-20 years old, one was a Jew the other Ukrainian.''

Massacres of prisoners

Among the most gruesome atrocities that communist Jews perpetrated on Poles during the war was their active share in massacring Polish prisoners after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Those were large scale massacres. The authors of a documentary monograph on the subject - Krzysztof Popiñski, Aleksander Kokurin and Aleksander Gurjanow estimate that in the course of the hasty 'evacuation' of prisoners 20-30 000 Polish citizens, mostly Poles and Ukrainians, died. They were murdered both in prisons and during the evacuation itself. According to Stanis³aw Kalbarczyk, during the June 'evacuation' as many as 50-100 000 people died. E.g. only 90 out of 2000 survived the massacre in £uck prison.

On account of the massive character of murdering the Polish prisoners ( and Ukrainians too ) in prisons and during evacuation in June 1941 it is all the more important to investigate what those communist Jews were specifically responsible for in those massacres. And their role was deplorably significant. In the words of Mark Paul referring to the felonies of 1941: ''There are a number of authentic accounts that report on the local Jews in the Soviet service who participated in executions of the prisoners, repeatedly committed on a large scale by Soviet security forces in that period of time ( cf Mark Paul: Jewish-Polish relations in the Soviet-occupied Poland 1939-1941published in The Story of Two Shtetls, Brañsk and Ejszyszki, Toronto-Chicago 1998, part 2, p. 218 ).

In Zbrodnicza Ewakuacja Wiêzieñ i Aresztów NKWD Na Kresach Wschodnich II Rzeczpospolitej w Czerwcu-Lipcu 1941 / Criminal Evacuation of the NKVD Prisons and Arrests in the Easernt Parts of the Second Republic in June-July 1941 you read accounts of bolshevik Jews murdering prisoners in £uck, Oszmian and Wo³¿yn. Names - settled during investigations - have been published of some of the Jews who were on duty in the prisons where the massacres took place. Among others, there were Szloma Szlut, Karp - a Jewish woman, Mohylow - a Jewish driver, and a Krelensztejn, also of Jewish descent. Two Jewish women from £uck excelled in brutality: Blumenkranz, aged 20, daughter of a shoe shop owner in ul. Jagielloñska, and Spigel ( of whom little is known ). They shot prisoners in the prison yard.

Apart from the massacres in £uck, Oszmian and Wo³¿yn, other places where Jews have been reported to have murdered Poles include Czortków, Tarnopol and around Brañsk.

Rev. Wac³aw Szetelnicki has written that 21 June 1941 at the outbreak of the German-Soviet war the retreating Soviets murdered the imprisoned Poles and Ukrainians. In the Tarnopol prison three Jews from Trembowla were identified to have been involved in genocide: Kramer -a horse cabby, Dawid Kuemmel, and Dawid Rozenberg ( cf Rev. Szetelnicki W., Trembowla. Kresowy Bastion Wiary i Polsko¶ci / Trembowla. A Stronghold of Faith and Polish Spirit., Wroc³aw 1992, p. 213 ). The names of the murderers are well-known. One can't help wondering whether the IPN ( the Institute for National Remembrance ) has launched an investigation of this case and, if it has, why does the general public know little about it ?

Some shocking information about a murder that has been perpetrated on 40 Poles is to be found in a last year's text by Zbigniew Romaniuk. He is widely known for his systematic efforts to preserve the Jewish past of Brañsk and for preparing the ground for a true dialogue between Poles and Jews. Deeply concerned about these aims he put too much trust a few years ago in the intentions of Marian Marzyñski who was making the film Shtetl, which a couple of years later turned out to be slanderously polonophobic. All the more trustworthy then are the remarks made by Romaniuk, who when doing research on Brañsk in 1939 said: '' G³ówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu / Chief Commission for the Investigation of the Genocide Committed on the Polish Nation / is now investigating the shocking murder of 40 people of Ciechanowiec, Brañsk, and the surrounding areas. In June 1941 the NKVD accompanied by two Jewish policemen from Brañsk were escorting the group to the Bia³ystok prison. On their way they encountered military operations and had to retreat. Near Folwarki Tylwickie some prisoners were shot while others, for the lack of bullets, were skewered down with bayonets and battered to death with butts'' ( the text of W. Wierzewski's interview with Z. Romaniuk published in The story...op.cit, part I, p. 26 )

In a separate text Romaniuk reported some names of the people murdered then. They were: Helena Zaziemska, a Szlezinger ( maiden name Klukowska ) - both teachers, and a businessman Ignacy P³oñski.

Formerly resident in East Poland Maria Antonowicz wrote to me in the account of 15 Aug. 1999 about the part Jewish militants played in murdering Polish prisoners in Berezwecz: '' almost all men in our group ( including my father ) were transported to the prison in Berezwecz ( in what used to be a monastery ) near G³êbokie and that was where the ( in vain )crying-for-vengeance torture started. We know all that from my mother, now dead like most of my parents' generation, who would have had so much to say but had to keep silent for half of the century and in the end took most of the important facts concerning the 'white spots' to their graves. When Germans took Berezwecz over the local Poles looked for the near and the dear ones. In the prison they found mutilated corpses tied by wire and cast into pits. Some of them had no limbs, ears or tongues. In all probability they were atrociously tortured before death. As reported by witnesses the massacre was perpetrated by the NKVD and the Jewish militants. The ones who had not been murdered for the lack of time ( reportedly 2000 people ) were rushed east. (...) On the road next to the village Niko³ajewo the NKVD murdered the whole column of prisoners (...) I do not know of a single instance of a Pole saved by a Jew, and there were opportunities to do so during the Soviet occupation or the years of the People's Republic. Nobody has even apologised to us for the Polish Holocaust ( except Germans ). Not only did We - East Poles - lose our relatives but also lands, homes, remembrances of our family, all our assets and even graves, now covered by the dust of time so that any trace we left will be completely forgotten. (...) The Polish people know of the Jewish Holocaust, of Action Vistula ( 'akcja Wis³a' ) but know nothing about Action Siberia. Poles are familiar with the Kielce massacre but do not know how many Polish kids died in Siberia of hunger and cold, or the blood bath that the victims of deportations, prisons and gulag went through. And yet the Jews working for and collaborating with the NKVD and the communist security in post-war Polish People's Republic did largely contribute to this death toll and sea of suffering. The information reported by Mrs Antonowicz about the extremely brutal extermination of the Polish prisoners of Berezwecz have been confirmed in other sources, e.g. Prof. Ryszard Szaw³owski's monograph on the Polish-Soviet war of 1939, where he writes about the Soviets perpetrating atrocious tortures on the Polish prisoners before murdering them including mangling them, picking eyes out and severing limbs.

Those examples are the tip of the iceberg of what communist Jews did to Poles in 1939 - 1941. These matters need to be further researched, investigated and verified. There are numerous accounts of felonies committed on Poles that need both verification and exposure of their true perpetrators. Below are some examples of such cases that call for close scrutiny, which I have selected from books, press articles and testimonies sent to me.

A former resident of war-time Lwów Zbigniew Schultz wrote to me in a letter of 28 March 1996 about the anti-Polish activities of the owner of the house where he lived - a young married Jew whose name was Schechter ( it was a tenament house in Lwów at 10 ul. ¦w. Kingi ). According to Schultz, Schechter, co-owner of the house, had a big grocery shop he shared with his mother and brother. Following the arrival of the Soviets in the city he joined the NKVD. His maid, a Jewish girl called Tinka, visited us those days and told us her master would come back home in blood-stained shirts. She argued that he was murdering political prisoners in the Lwów prison.

W³adys³aw Pobóg-Malinowski recalls that several officers and soldiers were assaulted at dawn and tormented to death by communists - Ukrainians and Jews ( cf Pobóg-Malinowski W., Na Rumuñskim Rozdro¿u / At Cross-road in Romania ( some memories ), Warszawa 1990, p.9 ) Pobóg-Malinowski just gives information about the fact of the murder, while it is necessary that we discover the names of both the victims and the perpetrators.

Another case in need of close scrutiny is one reported to me in a letter I got in 1999 from Tadeusz Maciejewski and describing the murder committed by the Jews on 4 Poles in Raduñ. Among the victims was Maciejewski's neighbour Bierecewicz.

A murder in Brzostowica Ma³a

More new facts about communist Jews murdering Poles in East Poland have come to light thanks to the historian Marek Wierzbicki in Polacy i Bia³orusini w Zaborze Sowieckim / Poles and Belorussians under Societ Occuppation / published in 2000 in Warsaw.

Wierzbicki focused on the Belorussian collaboration with the Soviets but he also mentioned instances of some communist Jews murdering Polish officers, administrative officials etc. in the aftermath to 17 September 1939. He writes on p. 116 of his book that Go³dacki, a Jewish shoemaker from Sokó³ka, shot three policemen. The same kind of murder was committed in Bogusze by Abel £abêdych on 24 September.

Particularly appalling were the descriptions of murders of Poles committed by communist Belarussian ana Jewish marauders. On pages 70-72 he gives an account of an atrocious murder in Ma³a Brzostowica perpetrated by a communist band of Jews and Belorussians led by a Jewish trader called Ajzik. The communists of both nationalities murdered count Wo³kowicki with his wife, their son-in-law and the mayor, the secretary of the local council's office, a cashier, a postman and a local teacher. The victims were first made to drink lime whitewash and then thrown into a lime pit and buried while most of them were still alive. After that the communist felons trod on the site to press it smooth since the soil kept cracking. They did so until all the cracks disappeared.

According to Wierzbicki, the murder of the Wo³kowickis must have taken place after the arrival of the Soviets in the district of Indura i.e. on 19-20 September. But in Kraysztof Jasiewicz's version the Wo³kowickis and the others were murdered in the night of 17 to 18 September. The NKVD not only did not punish the felons but rewarded some of them by taking them on to the militia ( ... ) Ajzik himself became the head of the co-operative, which even more strengthened his social position.

Dani³ki, ¦wis³ocz, Tomaszówka

Poles have also been murdered in the villages of Dani³ki, Aminowce, Massalany, Szyd³owicze, Zajkowszczyzna. The murdered included Sadowniczy - the administrator of Dani³ki - his son and brother, Witold Beretti ( an Italian by birth ), the wife and the sister-in-law of Antoni Koz³owski - the lessee of the Golnie estate, then Koz³owski himself, two forest administrators of the Bispinga estate, and the administrator of the Zajkowszczyzna estate Apolinary Ja¼wiñski. As Wierzbicki put it in his book: ''the actions of those dregs are said to have been directed by a revolutionary committee of Wielka Brzostowica.'' Wierzbicki describes the operations of this committee, which was lead, by the way, by a Jew called ¯ak Motyl ( or perhaps was it a nickname ? - J.R.N ) and consisted of Jews, Belorussians and one Pole. ( Wierzbicki M., op.cit., p. 76 )

On pages 86-87 Wierzbicki mentions criminal activities of a 'revolutionary committee' in a small town called Zelwa, organised after the armed rebellion by the local Belorussian and Jewish population which resulted in 12 Poles shot on 21 September 1939. According to Wierzbicki it maight have been then that the aristocrat Jerzy Bo³±d¼, ex-parliamentarian, and Rev. Jan Kryñski - the parish priest of Zelwa - were assassinated.

Ukrainian and Jewish militants are reported to have murdered a teacher, resident near ¦wis³ocz, and the station-master of ¦wis³ocz train station, previously kidnapped.

Wierzbicki ( op. cit., p. 98 ) referred to the account by a Jewish wood merchant Jachiel Szlechter of Tomaszówka, Brzeg county, which describes murders committed by bands of marauders ravaging the counties of Brzeg and Luboml, inflicting terror and violence on the refugees from the territories occupied by Germany. Szlachter writes that those marauders of Jewish, Belorussian and Ukrainian origin exterminated great numbers of the Polish inteligentsia that had managed to get across the border and whose bodies lie buried in the pine forest by the road leading from Tomaszówka to Poleniec and in Szack, 2000 metres away from the cemetery.

Are the murderers of Polish people ever going to be convicted ?

The examples given above indicate that in the years 1939-1941 there were numerous instances of communist Jews murdering Poles. The truth about that ought to be revealed now that there are so many defamatory attempts to show the Polish people as alleged accomplices of Hitler in the genocide of the Jews. One can't help being outraged at the passivity with regard to this issue after 1989 demonstrated first by the G³ówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu / Chief Commission for the Investigation of the Genocide Committed on the Polish Nation and recently by the IPN / Institute for National Remembrance/. Are the requirements of the pro-Jewish political correctness to be an obstacle to exposing and persecuting the Jewish murderers of Polish people ? Why should we avoid revealing the truth about the atrocious murders which communist Jews perpetrated on their Polish neighbours just because we should be particularly cautious about the sensitivity of the Jews - the victims of the Holocaust. We, as a nation, underwent Holocaust too - I lost my father then but nobody, and large sections of Jewish communities in particular, reckons with our sensitivity or remembers about our sufferings. Not only is the truth about our martyrdom being held back from the general public but an increasing number of revolting defamatory charges are being put forward against us. I have always been and I always will be in favour of investigating all instances of infamous behaviour on the part of individual Poles whether towards their fellow countrymen or people of other nations. All extortionists, all accomplices in genocide in the service of either of the atrocious totalitarianisms ought to be condemned. However, the remembrance of the Polish victims calls upon us to adequately demonstrate the genocide of the Poles as perpetrated by people of other nations, without any differentiation into the 'better' or the 'worse' ones, the more or less 'elect'. There can not be two different measures by which to judge. Let us remember and honour the memory of the Jewish officers and the rabbi Baruch Steinberg - the victims of Katyñ. But do not let us fail to expose the responsibility of Jewish prosecutors from Kozielsk or Starobielsk ( all three town names being the most prominent symbols of the Soviet extermination of the Polish elite - L.K. ) zealously denouncing the Polish officers for their 'counterrevolutionary chauvinism'. ( see the reports by H.A. Eljman ).

It is high time we set out to systematically compile statements by the last surviving witnesses of the Polish Holocaust - the most concealed, Soviet genocide carried out by communist Jews.

After more than 60 years following the beginning of the dark series of atrocities inflicted on the Polish Nation it is all the more necessary to launch an appeal for stepping up the process of exposing the felonies committed then, investigating the clues leading to their perpetrators. Each piece of information ought to be examined rather than neglected now that there is still some possibility of reaching the witnesses of those tragic events. Many witnesses of the genocide of the Polish people have died and some are well in years, like Tadeusz Maciejewski now 87, who has sent me the information about the 4 murdered Poles in Raduñ. It is high time we speeded up investigating those felonies.

The Koniuchy massacre - many accounts, no-one guilty ?

It is astonishing that the chairman of the IPN Prof. Leon Kieres, who has enough time for trans-Atlantic travels and issuing hasty and untimely declarations before the investigation is over, has not yet brought up the issues of mass murders of Polish people in any public forum. I mean not only the tens of thousands of Poles massacred by Ukrainian chauvinists but also the mass murder of 1944 staged in the village of Koniuchy where communist Jewish marauders exterminated a whole Polish village. Well, identifying the perpetrators is of no particular difficulty - some of them have bragged about their atrocious 'deeds'.

Chaim Lazar described in his book Destruction and Resistance ( New York, Shengold Publishers, 1985, pp. 174 - 175 ): ''on one occasion 120 guerrillas of all the camps armed with the best weapons made for the village. There were approx. 50 Jews led by Jaakov Prenner. At midnight they arrived at the outskirts of the village and took the right positions. The order demanded that no living soul be spared. All domestic animals were to be put to death and all property destroyed. The go-ahead came shortly before dawn. Within a couple of minutes the village was surrounded form three sides. On the fourth side was a river and a bridge, controlled by the guerrillas. The militants, having prepared torches in advance, set fire to homes, stables and pantries and opened up intensive barrage of homesteads. The half-naked peasants jumped out of the windows trying to run for their lives. All over the place there were only bullets for them, though. Many jumped into the river but the same was to happen to them too. The mission was accomplished in short time. Sixty families numbering about 300 people altogether were mown down; nobody survived.'' ( retranslated from Polish, L.K. )

Let us report another description of the slaughter found in the book by a Jewish writer Izaac Kowalski A Secret Press in Nazi Europe: The Story of a Jewish United Organisation ( New York,Central Guide Publishers, 1969, p.333-334 ) also cited in Anthology of Armed Jewish Resistance, 1939-1945, edited by I. Kowalski et al., ( Brooklyn, NY, Jewish Combatants Publishing House, 1991, vol. IV, pp. 390-391 ): ''The commander of our base ordered all men capable of combat to get ready to carry out the operation within an hour... I saw partisans coming from all directions, from various factions... Our detachment was ordered to destroy all living creatures and burn the village to the ground. At a fixed time the partisans started flooding the village with shotgun and machine gun barrage and also shooting incendiary missiles. This resulted in the thatched roofs catching fire. The villagers and the small German garrison responded with heavy firing but within two hours the village and the fortified bunker were completely destroyed. Our losses amounted to two lightly injured.'' ( retranslated from Polish, L.K. )

Another Jewish writer Rich Cohen gave this account in the book The Avengers ( New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2000, p.145 ): '' The partisans - Russians, Jews and Lithuanians - attacked the village from the fields with the sun behind their backs. The machine guns fired from the guard towers. The partisans replied with firing. The peasants hid in their homes. The partisans threw grenades on rooftops and the houses exploded in flames. Other homes were set aflame by torches. The peasants were escaping through the windows and down the narrow streets. The partisans chased them shooting down men, women and children. Many peasants were making off towards the German garrison by the cemetery, in the outskirts. The commander of the partisans had foreseen this move and had placed some people behind the tombs. When the partisans opened fire the peasants returned, only to encounter the soldiers going from the back. Hundreds of peasants died caught in cross-fire.'' ( retranslated from Polish, L.K. )

The people of the Rudnicka Woods dared to defend themselves.

Some names of the Jewish partisans from the Rudnicka Woods are known from Izaac Kowalski's A Secret Press in Nazi Europe ( op.cit., p. 405-407 ) : Israel Weiss, Schlomo Brand, Chaim Lazar, Jacob Prenner, Izaac Kowalski, Zalman Wolozni.

What caused this gruesome massacre in Koniuchy ? The Polish peasants from the village of Koniuchy near the Rudnicka Woods had organised a self-defence unit whose mission was to protect the village from the constant forage requisitions by the partisan detachments, permanently calling to the town. Therefore, at end-April the village was reported by Jewish sources to have been selected for an act of vengeance. The Jewish author Chaim Lazar ( op. cit., pp. 174-175 ) presents the village as an alleged centre of plotting against the partisans. Kowalski writes that Koniuchy was 10 kilometres away from the partisans' base but nowhere does he mention any instances of its inhabitants spying or chasing any Jewish or Soviet partisans ( In the words of a Polish-Canadian author Mark Paul such activities would have been suicidal for the locals ). Kowalski charges the peasants with shooting at the partisans when on various dangerous, though unspecified, missions. According to Mark Paul there was no compelling reason why the partisans should constantly pass through a village 10 kilometres away from their base other than requisitions of provisions. According to a Polish historian Kazimierz Krajewski ( in Na Ziemi Nowogródzkiej / In the Land of Nowogródek , p. 511-512 ) Koniuchy was no fortress and the whole 'arsenal' of the farmers consisted of a few rusty guns. Krajewski reminds us also that shortly before the assault on Koniuchy the Soviet partisans attacked a small village Niewoniañce, which supported the Home Army ( AK ). Two families - 8 people - of the Polish Resistance soldiers were murdered and their homes were burned to the ground.

 

JERZY ROBERT NOWAK

an excerpt from a larger text

 

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100_klamstw_grossa_1.htm
100 Falsehoods of J.T. Gross (1)
dr. Jerzy Robert Nowak

polish version
 
translated by: Mark Lech Jaworski

Notes of Lech Marek Jaworski who translated
"100 Falsehoods of J.T. Gross"
by dr. Jerzy Robert Nowak from the Polish original
 

Based on the recent book PRZEMILCZANE ZBRODNIE = [Unspoken Crimes] (about Jewish collaborators with a Soviet invaders of Poland in 1939) - published by Wydawnictwo von boroviecki Warsaw in 1999 and a personal conversations of the translator with the Author in Warsaw in January and March of 2001

Dr. Nowak, a Polish historian, University Professor, scientist, writer and essayist is a bright spot on the horizon of renewal of Polish patriotism. His books are sold on the streets of Polish cities, often ignored by big chain booksellers and politically correct but biased mass media in Poland, like GAZETA WYBORCZA = [Election's Gazette] which are written in Polish, but have no Polish soul. Professor J.R. Nowak is at times invited to take part in panel discussions on Polish TV, but hosts or other panelists interrupt his daring statements.

Dr. J.R. Nowak specializes in examining controversial subjects. He has given the world tremendous contributions by breaking a taboo surrounding Jews in Poland. His 47 articles in the Polish Christian daily S£OWO = [Word] under the title "Przemilczane ¦wiadectwa" = [Unspoken Testimonies] were very popular. Essay "What Jews Should Apologize to Poles For" published by the paper NASZA POLSKA = [Our Poland] uncovered the truth hidden by communist tyrants and their Jewish collaborators.

As an all-round historian, dr. Nowak published 24 books and over 700 papers. Subjected to scrupulous reviews by his peers as well as ignorant detractors, was never proven wrong and his integrity has never been shaken. He published book about Hungarian Uprising "Hungary - so close but unknown," history of 20th century Hungarian literature, "Thoughts about Poland and Poles," two volumes on "Threats to Poland and Poles," which became in 1998 a national bestsellers in Poland. Again in 1999 his book "Black Lexicon" was another bestseller unmasking 'elites' of contemporary Poland. "Church and the French Revolution," exposed this dramatic event in a true light.


. A series of essays "100 Falsehoods of J.T. Gross" is being published in a Polish Christian weekly NIEDZIELA [Sunday], (circulation over 300,000) as an answer of the learned man to the vicious attack on Polish nation by a hate monger writer J.T. Gross. Gross is part of the worldwide conspiracy against Poland, to extort billions of dollars for not numerous but rich, self-appointed 'friends of the victims' of the Holocaust. When US or German taxpayers and Swiss bankers refused to continually finance Israeli wars, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, shadowy charitable foundations and defenders of inhuman rights from Manhattan started concerted attack on whatever is left of Poland. After over 100 years of Russian and German occupation in 19-th century, Second World War invasion by Nazis and Soviets and almost 50 years of Soviet colonial exploitation, Poland is struggling for survival. Unreasonable claims against this troubled nation with over 15% unemployment and over 50 billion US dollars of foreign debt could bankrupt the state; but maybe this is what some shadowy figures want, destroy infrastructure, pauperize and buy Poland at the discount, colonize her again.

Dr. Nowak's essay is suitable only for a reader with an open mind, not easily influenced by half-truths and demagoguery. Scientific accuracy applied to a historical research by dr. Nowak, compels the reader to search for truth. It is much more difficult to seek the truth than fantasize to suit the evil hidden agenda. Search for the truth is always swimming upstream; only garbage spills with a flow. By the way; dr. Nowak's weekly column in NIEDZIELA is called just that "POD PR¡D" = [Upstream].

On a personal note, I do this translation on my own time, it has not been ordered by anyone (like a book of Mr. Gross) or financed by some generous benefactors. I thank my wife Barbara for help and encouragement.

Lech Marek Jaworski

Vancouver Canada Monday, March 26, 2001

100 Falsehoods of J.T. Gross

by Jerzy Robert Nowak

[Entries in square brackets are translator's additions, some page numbers relate to the Polish language editions]

Couple of times before, I quoted statements of a Jewish friend of Poles - professor Norman Finkelstein from USA, warning us against claims and blackmail of few large Jewish organizations. N. Finkelstein said that those organizations want to extort from a poor Poland about 60 billion US dollars as a compensation for Jewish property. In order to intensify pressure on Poland in the matter, and to blacken her image in the eyes of other nations, vicious anti-Polish propaganda-which attempts to portray Poles as alleged partners of the Nazis in murdering Jews-is constantly being pumped out by such ignoble parties. In such propaganda, a particular role is played by biased, Pole-eating texts of a Jewish sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross, especially by his last two books: Ghastly Decade and Neighbors. Gross, a former participant of incidents in 1969, (emigrated from Poland in 1969). In spite of his statements in Tygodnik POWSZECHNY February 6TH 2001, accusing me of being the first to criticize him for giving a pretext to make monetary demands from Poland which is simply untrue. In fact such a criticism took place much earlier, by the pen of renowned Polish scientist dr. Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, an American professor, who recognizes perfectly the agenda and manipulations of J.T. Gross and other anti-Polish Jews. It is also very difficult to accuse him of being anti-Jewish, because his well-documented book Jews in Poland published in 1993 and 1998 was fore worded by enthusiastic introduction of famous Jewish Sovietologist from the US, professor Richard Pipes.

Professor Pogonowski precisely exposed intentions of J.T. Gross in an excellent review of A Ghastly Decade 1939 - 1948, published by ARKANA of Krakow (Number 5, 1998). In 1998 already Professor Pogonowski pointed out that the real goal of Gross is "to create myths about participation of the Polish nation in the annihilation of the Jewry. It is easier to collect compensation from the guilty than from the fellow victim. (...) Gross's propaganda helps extreme Jewish groups to exhort a squeeze on the Polish government to pay up for a crimes committed in Poland by Germans, Soviets and common criminals."

In his works Gross spins an extremely libelous generalizations about Poland and Poles. Relying on the not very trustworthy report of Szmul Wasserstein, he accuses Poles of "genocide" of Jews in Jedwabne, omitting completely or belittling role of the Germans in this murder. He says for example that during the murder in Jedwabne there were only 8 German policemen, ignoring the report of an earlier investigating prosecutor W. Minkiewicz that there were 232 German police officers in Jedwabne. Not an unimportant discrepancy! Gross presents extremely falsified and deformed picture of the Jewish history in Poland as an unending chain of suffering at the hands of "anti-Semitic" Poles, from whom the only solution to avoid pogroms, was to bribe them. He does not explain why such an anti-Semitic Poland was called "Jewish Paradise" (Paradise Judeorum) by 18th century Great French Encyclopedia? Why did (according to Norman Davies) the four fifths of the world's Jewry live in this "anti-Semitic" Poland of the 19th century? Gross writes about a "basic theme of participation of ethnic Polish population in annihilation of Polish Jews"(NEIGHBORS page 95), that allegedly "during Hitler's occupation a great majority of the Polish society felt lack of sympathy to Jews" (GHASTLY pages 41-42). Particularly heavy accusations of Polish "anti-Semitism" Gross launches against the Polish clergy, quoting the worst, the dirtiest libels as stated with pleasure by the extremely biased statements of Menachem Finkelsztain: "Polish murderers (...) are driven by animalistic instinct, by blood and theft instilled in them over the centuries by the black clergy, which built its existence on racial hate" (NEIGHBORS page 46, book style by Gross).

Gross unleashed libelous hue and cry against Poland and Poles, undoubtedly knowing the anti-Polish climate in some Jewish circles in America. It is a surprise though, to find intellectuals living in Poland, who with such a fervor would pick up and carry all accusations of Gross against Poles, disregarding the fact that they were not verified by historians, and without even waiting for a result of an investigation conducted by a public prosecutor in the matter. Curiously, among persons of that sort, there are authors who have not the slightest idea about history of Poland during the WW2, like world-renowned science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, philologist Maria Janion, sociolologist Jacek Kuczewski etc. How right was Maciej £êtowski in TYGODNIK SOLIDARNO¦Æ = [Solidarity Weekly] on 9th of February 2001, about those who immediately and uncritically supported Gross, challenging Poles to repent for alleged crimes: "I wakes up in me a feeling of resistance against the behavior of 'national self-flagellators,' who on every occasion, bang their chest so vividly in front of the camera, that I start wondering about their sanity (...) Let's not accuse some of our compatriots of building a... PENANCE ENTERPRISE."

Let criminal investigation expose who committed the crime in Jedwabne and publicly condemn the perpetrators, regardless of their nationality. It is reprehensible, however, that Gross uses extreme generalizations about the whole Polish nation; paired with constant falsifications of true meaning of materials he is quoting. In this series of articles written for the NIEDZIELA = [Sunday], titled "100 Falsehoods of J.T. Gross," I intend to prove by specific examples that masochistic 'national self-flagellators' simply made fools of themselves, uncritically praising Gross -an author, who commits numerous cynical manipulations and intellectual fraud. I will prove that Gross on many occasions shamelessly lied in his texts, falsified pictures of the whole periods of history, twisted and falsified true meaning of the books he quoted. It gives a very bad impression about people who aspire to belong to the intellectual elite, that they did not notice false conclusions from books such as Ten jest z Ojczyzny Mojej = [He is my Brother], by W. Bartoszewski and Z. Lewinowna. Starting from the text presented below, I will enumerate point-by-point falsehoods of J.T. Gross.

The lie #1 about freedom for Poles under Nazi occupation

Few people know that in 1981 some of Gross's lies were unmasked by Stefan Korboñski himself, one of the leaders of Polish Resistance against Nazis, former Delegate to the occupied country, deputy Premier of the underground government. In an article published in Zeszyty Historyczne = [Historical Chronicles of Kultura] in Paris (No. 58, pages 158-184), Korboñski strongly condemned anti-Polish lies of Gross contained in a published 1979 book Polish Society under German Occupation. Gross has written this book for Anglo-Saxon readers, unfamiliar with Polish realities. Without scruples he served them nonsense, which he would not dare to present to the Polish readers. His mannerism of exaggerating martyrology of Jews and belittling Polish martyrology and heroism has shown up already. To this end he was leading the Anglo-Saxon readers to believe that the activities of the Polish Resistance were not particularly risky, to the contrary, they have been undertaken in the amazing freedom of action. Korboñski in his text laughs at the particularly embarrassing to Gross nonsensical statement (page 240 of his book) "Yes, paradoxically Poles enjoyed bigger freedom during the period 1939 to 1944, than during the whole century... I think that one can assume that multiplicity of underground resistance organizations and abundance of conspiratorial initiatives is a proof of the political freedom in Poland under Nazi occupation. It is hard to imagine that all this underground organizations could rise and in such a number if it was other way around."

That means, according to Gross, that the Greatness of the Polish Underground Statehood and the Polish conspiracy was not a merit to Poles, because we were so free during the German occupation! Of course, Poles had, thanks to the Germans, unlimited freedom in one aspect - freedom to die: on the gallows, by the executioner's hatchet, with gypsum in one's mouth, from exhaustion in a concentration camp...

Let's ask, how the man, who writes such hogwash, could be treated as a credible author in Polish matters?

To be continued...

Copyright to the Polish Translation Lech M. Jaworski © 2001, [email protected]

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wywiad_z_leszkiem_zebrowskim_2.htm
THE SILK ROAD OF LIES
A historian Leszek Zebrowski about Gross's "Neighbors"

polish version
 
translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

A historian Leszek Zebrowski about Gross's "Neighbors" and the resulting discussion. The original title of the interview, "Jedwabnym szlakiem klamstw", is a pun on the name of Jedwabne which also means in Polish"made of silk", hence my "Silk Road". The heading of the post paraphrases the title of Brumberg's propaganda piece in the TLS, and has been invented by one of my correspondents.

Mariusz Wesolowski
[email protected]
Sat, 31 Mar 2001 23:27:19 -0800

THE SILK ROAD OF LIES

A conversation with a historian Leszek Zebrowski (excerpts) and Waldemar Moszkowski: The discussion about the events at Jedwabne has been going on for several months. What conclusions can draw from it the average newspapers reader?

Leszek Zebrowski: It is a multilayered discussion which takes place on different levels: historical, political, theological, ethical, even financial. The presence of real historical analysis in it is minimal. The majority of writers simply accepted Prof. Gross's book "Neighbors" as the revealed truth. Anyone who tries to check, compare or criticise it automatically places himself in the lost position. During various public meetings, Prof. Gross ignores everything that doesn't fit into his principal thesis that the Poles (as a national group) have been co-perpetrators of the Holocaust. His followers, such as Jerzy Slawomir Mac from the weekly "Wprost", go even further. Unfortunately, the discussion has been joined by politicians who rely mostly on similar articles in the press. And although the investigation hasn't been concluded yet, the case already seems closed. Foreign publications present an even worse picture (although I have to admit that some of them talk about the ongoing harassment of the inhabitants of Jedwabne, or even quote opinions of Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, thus doing much more than the majority of Polish publicists; but there are also common calumnies, for example, Abraham Brumberg's article in the TLS, which was too much even to Jan Nowak-Jezioranski). [...]
For the last few months, Gross's book has been very aggressively advertised. The prestigious Princeton University Press (followed by various Internet booksellers) has published the following blurb: "One day in the summer of 1941 one half of the inhabitants of the Polish town of Jedwabne murdered the other half. 1,600 men, women and children - all, except seven, Jews in the town." Gross also repeats this statement several times in the English-language introduction to "Neighbors" [...].
This is an obvious untruth! Did one statistical Pole murder there one statistical Jew? It doesn't matter that in Jedwabne lived a little over 2,000 people, of which the Jews constituted about 40 percent (although Gross states, without revealing his source, that "sixty some percent were Jews"). [Zebrowski's point is that the total population of Jedwabne would have to number about 3,200 people for the above statement to be true. MW] We must also remember that some of the Jews run away with the Soviets in June 1941, some were later on killed in the Lomza ghetto, and yet others were murdered by the Germans in various executions in the area. [...] ...in September 1940, in the "Jedwabne oblast'" (it was an administrative region introduced by the Soviets, which consisted of 161 settlements including the towns of Jedwabne, Radzilow and Wizna) there lived about 1,400 Jews. If we add up the figures appearing in various Jewish testimonies (and Gross wants us to accept them "in an affirmative way", that is, at face value), the total number of murdered Jews will be several times bigger than the entire Jewish population of that area before the German-Soviet war. [...]

Waldemar Moszkowski: Could one expect such a slanted "discussion"?

LZ: Of course, because this discussion has been going on for a very long time. It is enough to consult the excellent monograph by Tadeusz Radzik, called "Polish-Jewish Relations in the United States of America in the years 1918-1921" (Lublin 1988) [in Polish]. Its author presents, on the basis of sound and well-researched sources, the full extent of the anti-Polish hysteria at the moment when Poland was regaining her independence. Newspapers published drastic photographs of Jewish pogroms [in Poland], which later on turned out to be taken [many years before] in Tsarist Russia! The Poles were even blamed for the pogrom in Kishyniev which had taken place in 1903. This method has been used again in more recent times. [...] Prof. Krystyna Kersten's article about the Kielce "pogrom", published in "Polityka" (June 8, 1996) and entitled "The Polish hand", was adorned with a picture taken in Kovno in late June of 1941. It is hard to blame it on accident, because the photograph was clearly doctored. From the original (published... in "The Century of Ambivalence. The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union 1881 to the Present" and in "The Pictorial History of the Holocaust") someone had cut out the fragment with a Gestapo agent in the forefront! Even then in the background there were still visible the figures of uniformed Germans. We may also recall the discussion started by "Gazeta Wyborcza" in 1994, just before the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. According to Michal Cichy and his "findings" presented there, the Warsaw insurgents murdered "plenty" of Jews. We also learned about some Jewish historians' belief that the Poles in the uprising had killed "more Jews than Germans". German losses numbered about 10,000 killed and 6,000 missing in action. So did the Poles murder 16,000 Jews? Obviously, in some circles the end justifies the means: falsified quotes, telling omissions, strained arguments. It all came to light, and then "Gazeta Wyborcza" suddenly closed the "discussion". [...]

LZ (cont.): What is happening now in connection with Gross's book can be described by a single word: hysteria. [...] Gross just cannot be criticised! And this book contains numerous errors and even obvious lies. For example, its author quotes sources (with page references, etc.) which do not contain this specific information, or which state something completely different. Also, by omitting important fragments, he manipulates their meaning, etc.

WM: Can you give us some examples?

LZ: Certainly. For example, Gross refers to the unpublished typescript of Tadeusz Fraczek's doctoral thesis about the postwar underground movement in the Bialystok region, and indicates the pages containing descriptions of "executions of Jews, communists and other people". Some of these pages do not contain anything like that at all, while other descriptions are taken from the Security Office reports, so they require an independent confirmation. Gross also quotes a 1962 deposition of Aleksander Wyrzykowski (who, together with his wife, hid some Jews from Jedwabne) [...] but he omits the following most important fragment: "At that time we lived in Janczewko, in the Lomza district. In the nearby town of Jedwabne the Germans, with the help of some Poles, burned alive in 1942 [sic] 1,600 Jews." [...] Gross ignored this because of Wyrzykowski's unequivocal statement regarding the fundamental role of Germans. It is also not true that the Wyrzykowskis were hiding seven Jews, there were nine of them. One man, old and seriously ill, died in hiding [and] a baby was also born. Wyrzykowski wrote: "It was healthy and able to survive. Alas, an infant could betray the hiding place.This group of unfortunates decided to liquidate the child". Another example - Gross quotes a fragment of Dr. Zygmunt Klukowski's diary (referring to the German occupation in the Zamosc region): "The peasants, afraid of repressions, catch the Jews in villages and bring them to the town, or sometimes just kill them on the spot". However, he does not mention the reasons, also described by Klukowski: "...in the area there take place constant roundups, raids, executions, etc. Armed attacks are so frequent that it is impossible to even keep track of them. ...Among the "bandits" are numerous Jews."If we read the sentence quoted by Gross together with this (preceding it) fragment, the whole quote assumes a completely different meaning. The errors and lies of Gross can be listed almost infinitely. Using such "research methods", one can prove literally anything, even that the earth is flat.

[The next question refers to the denial - by Gross and Anna Bikont - of the substantial Jewish collaboration with the Soviets in general and the NKVD in particular; WM wants to know if there exist any primary sources indicating the existence of such collaboration in Jedwabne.]

LZ: Of course they exist! What's more, Gross should be familiar with them [...] After all, he is reputed to be an expert on the questionnaires collected [...] still during the war and the regional monographs prepared later on in the Study Centre in London under Prof. Wiktor Sukiennicki. In his book Gross ignores them carefully. [...] Also, such testimonies are very common, they relate not only to Jedwabne but to the entire Borderlands under the Soviet occupation. What's more, there are relations of Jews who describe their collaboration with the Soviets in detail, some are even proud of it.

WM: Is that possible? How can anybody boast about that?

LZ: Of course it is possible. The notorious Yaffa Eliach, describing the situation in Ejszyszki, writes: "In Eishyshok the local communists prepared a list of persons for deportation." She also gives the names of these communists: "Luba Ginunska was the local party chief, and her most active helpers included Chaim Szuster, his girlfriend Maitke Bielicka, Rywka Bojarska di Bulbichke (Potato), who was the Komsomol leader, Welwka Katz and Pessah Cofnas". A similar story emerges from the memoir of Mendel Mielnicki from Wasilkow near Bialystok: "I don't exactly know how my father got in touch with the NKVD.[...] I understood that he served as an advisor to point out the Poles to be deported to Siberia or to be taken care of in some other way. (...) "We have to get rid of fascists," he said to my mother. "They deserve to go to Siberia. They are not good to the Jewish people."Yitzhak Arad, a Jewish historian from the Yad Vashem Institute, described in his memoirs the situation in Swieciany in the Wilno district: "During the night of June 14 the whole town was taken by surprise by the members of the NKVD and militia who had arrested hundreds of people and put them in prison. The majority of prisoners were the former Polish officials, landowners, army officers... On the very same night similar actions had been conducted everywhere in Lithuania; almost 30,000 people, often including entire families, were arrested and deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan. ...Jews played a rather important role in the apparatus of the Communist Party which was behind this operation." Gross states vaguely that in Jedwabne the situation in the 1939-41 period must have been similar to what was happening elsewhere at that time. [...] We must remember, too, that there were only a few NKVD agents there. But they were helped by several scores of local [Jewish] "militiamen" wearing red armbands and carrying carbines. We know the names of some of them.They were visible every day. They took part in herding the locals to various "meetings" and "votings", and also in roundups, arrests, house searches and deportations.

WM: [...] the Poles have several thousand trees in the Yad Vashem, Does this fact reflect the true scale of the Polish help given to Jews?

LZ: [...] These 5,000-some people are only a tip of the iceberg, but one doesn't hear about that in Poland. However, there are historians who, on the basis of solid (unlike Gross's) research, hold that the real extent of the help to Jews in Poland was completely different. It is worthwhile to quote the findings of Gunnar S. Paulsson, which are not being popularized in Poland: "Among the nations who risked their own lives to save the Jews, the Poles have an absolute precedence. (...) The fate of 27,000 Jews hiding in Warsaw depended on 50-60,000 people who gave them shelter, and on 20-30,000 people helping in different ways; on the other hand, the "szmalcowniki", police informers and anti-Semites numbered 2-3,000 people. They claimed two or three [Jewish] victims per month."
The same historian goes on to ask: "How many Poles were involved in saving the Jews? Of those who fit the Yad Vashem criteria, maybe one hundred thousand. Of those who gave the less vital help, two or three times as many. The ones inclined to offer passive help constituted the majority of the population." Let's not forget that Paulsson analysed only the situation in Warsaw and its environs! His conclusions are completely contradictory to those of Gross and the journalists repeating his statements [...]. Paulsson also undertook a very interesting comparison between Warsaw and Holland [...] which is considered by the Holocaust historians as [...] the country most helpful to the Jews: "For comparison purposes we may analyse the case of Holland. 20-25,000 Jews were hiding in that country, especially in Amsterdam, out of whom 10-15,000 survived the war. The general percentage of survivors in Holland was then 40-60 percent, while in Warsaw it was 55-75 percent..." [...] These facts must be compared with the idiocies written by Stanislaw Janecki and Jerzy Slawomir Mac in the post-communist "Wprost" of 25 March 2001: "If the Poles helped the Jews to the same extent as they conspired against the Germans, the associated with it risk would be minimized. Mutual denunciations would stop, and the Gestapo would be helpless. The good example here is Holland, where a Jew was hidden in almost every home." Since the population of Holland at that time numbered about 8 million, how many Jews would have to hide there, and where would they come from? [...]

WM: Recently we hear more and more often about the collective responsibility of the Poles (Gross wrote that the Jews in Jedwabne "were murdered by the society"). Is this point of view valid?

LZ: I don't agree with the concepts of collective guilt and collective punishment. These are criteria used by totalitarian states! It is absurd to accuse even all the inhabitants of Jedwabne (because, contrary to Gross's opinion, only individuals took part in those events), not to mention the whole nation, and equally absurd is to apologize in the name of everybody. Anyway, this kind of thinking is done on a strictly ethnic platform: any time now the Russians will demand from us an apology for Dzerzhynsky, the Germans for von dem Bach-Zelewski. There are even people who want to make a Pole out of Stalin... Should we also apologize to ourselves for Bierut, Radkiewicz and Jaruzelski? Furthermore - the apologies have been already made. President Walesa apologized in the Knesset, the Church apologized for Kielce. Asking for more and more apologies will only lead to the general loss of meaning of such acts. It is worthwhile to quote an opinion of Gerald Reitlinger from his book "The SS: Alibi of a Nation, 1922-1945, about Reinhard Heydrich (the chief architect of the Endloesung) and his helpers: "Since Heydrich, to whom was attributed a Jewish pedigree, had to take this guilt on himself, he decided to turn Jews into their own executioners. Hitler [...] knew about Heydrich's hatred toward his Jewish origin. Heydrich, in his turn, knew other (Jews) who shared with him this pathological self-loathing. He was finding them, thanks to his infallible instinct, those Globocniks, Eichmans, Knochens, Dannekers and Brunners, those pseudo-Aryans connected with the SS and the SD." Thinking in ethnic categories may therefore lead "ad absurdum". In any case, it is interesting that these numerous publicists who have been for so many years fighting againstthe concept of "nation", considering it outdated and unfashionable, here do not show such reservations, freely putting the blame on the entire Polish Nation.[...] [...] Let's remember: the investigation is not finished, the documents of this case (but what documents and when?) are supposed to be published soon, nevertheless, the verdict has been already delivered. Gross published a list of murderers, the President apologizes, other officials are under the pressure to do the same, we have been "collectively found guilty"...

[...] (end)

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kto_utrudnia_dialog.htm
WHO HINDERS THE DIALOGUE?
An interview with the Reverend Professor Waldemar Chrostowski
by Pawel Paliwoda

polish version
 
Excerpts translated by: Mariusz Wesolowski

  ZYCIE (Warsaw)
10 April 2001
http://www.zycie.wp.pl/opinie.html?id=9823

PP: You have postulated many times the reciprocal character of Polish-Jewish relations. Why does this need repeating?

WC: This reciprocity should find its expression in a mutual goodwill acquaintance of the partners, as well as in respect for the identity of the other side. I must say that my first disappointment in this respect took place at the beginning of the 1990s. It was related to the developing conflict over the Carmelite convent in Auschwitz. In my opinion, already at that time Polish-Jewish relations were lacking in reciprocity. That's why I have now serious doubts, looking back at the last 15 years, as to whether true dialogue has ever taken place.

PP: Was it this realization that caused your resignation from the position of co-chairman of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews?

WC: Our ways parted when I clearly told some people engaged in that dialogue that the Catholic participation in the Council couldn't be limited to repeating and presenting Jewish demands to the Polish Catholics. That was the very essence of the problem. Tensions in this respect surfaced in the mid-1990s when, after the relocation of the convent at Auschwitz, the Jewish side advanced new demands, among them one about the removal of the papal cross.

PP: What kinds of opinions or positions caused this asymmetry in the dialogue?

WC: It was mostly the focus of the entire dialogue on Jewish sensibilities and Jewish points of view. In some cases the demands were very specific: for help in the diplomatic recognition of the state of Israel, or for support of the Israeli policy toward the Palestinian and Christian populations. Another aim was to involve the largest possible number of Christians in propogating the Jewish vision of World War Two, which reduces those dramatic events solely to the Holocaust [...]. Mutual contacts also became a forum for various material and financial demands. This aspect now becomes more and more pronounced on the Jewish side.

PP: Is the Jewish community in Poland and the world so homogeneous and united that it can be simply called "the Jewish side"?

WC: All those groups [...] differ somewhat between themselves. However, their fundamental aims and principles render them strongly cohesive. Whoever, on the Jewish side broadly understood, breaks away from the canon is immediately criticized and removed from the contacts with the Christians, and even ostracized. The first element of that canon is the very strong ideologization of the Holocaust. At present, this is the main ingredient of the Jewish identity. The second element is the exclusion of any criticism of the state of Israel. And, finally, the issue of anti-Semitism whereby, as seen clearly in the Polish-Jewish dialogue [...] the main goal for the Jewish side is finding among the Christians allies to fight anti-Semitism. This [...] is coupled with a totally arbitrary definition of anti-Semitism.

PP: How does the Jewish side define anti-Semitism?

WC: It would seem that anti-Semites are those people who don't like Jews, and who employ means and methods reflecting this hatred toward the Jewish society. During the last few years, however, it has become clear that anti-Semites also include those who are not liked by the Jews. This reversal of perspective turns the term "anti-Semite", just like "Jew", into a label, a bad name or an insult. Just as one can become a Jew in name, one can become an anti-Semite in name. Just one such response, one such label, is sufficient to raise a general outcry: "Watch out, [he or she is] an anti-Semite!" Of course, such tactics (on one or the other side) make any kind of dialogue extremely difficult.

PP: Did the concept of anti-S\semitism lose its moral implications?

WC: In my opinion, this term has been so politicized and abused that today it very seldom carries any moral message. It appears most often as an element of political correctness. Just listen to those people in the media who chant in one breath: "intolerance, xenophobia, anti-Semitism" (...) [In this way] they cheapen the real meaning of this term.

[...]

Let's note a specific paradox here: those, who want to fight so radically against anti-Semitism, at the same time are very tolerant of other "isms" and other, equally threatening, forms of evil. This shows once again that anti-Semitism and the fight against it are treated in the categories of a political struggle which is aimed not so much at eliminating anti-Semites per se (who, fortunately, seldom have any political importance) as at combating all of those who are inconvenient to the Jewish side and its sympathizers.

PP: A few years ago one of the most progressive dailies in Poland formulated a thesis that whoever does not loudly distance himself from anti-Semitism is also tainted with anti-Semitism.

WC: Such a diagnosis shows that the people who have thought it up need a diagnostic, maybe even professional, help themselves. Before penning something like that, one needs to stop and think whether one does not help in turning a blind eye toward real anti-Semitism.
It is my conviction that the abuse of the term "anti-Semitism" has already hurt the Jews themselves, and it will hurt them even more in the future. [...] Maybe one day, somewhere in the world, Jews will need again the help of their non-Jewish neighbours; that's why they should try even now to gain their understanding, solidarity and sympathy, not just submission. Otherwise, when real danger strikes, their appeals for help will have no effect.

In the 1990s there took place several more or less showy apologies and they didn't change anything in [Jewish-Polish] relations. On the contrary, they created a specific fashion for apologies, and fashions tend to trivialize the meanings of serious messages. [...] An absolute misunderstanding [is] a recent proposal put forth by "Wprost" magazine. Its authors offer the President, the Prime Minister and the Primate a formula based on the famous letter of the Polish bishops to the German bishops which contained the sentence "we forgive and ask for forgiveness", but in a significantly changed and humiliating form [...]: "we apologize and ask for forgiveness". This is a sick idea; a one-sided and humiliating repentance of Poles does not help in the development of a dialogue. [...] A true reconciliation is difficult because it also requires an honest look at the future and genuine participation on the Jewish side.

PP: What we can propose instead?

WC: Until now Polish-Jewish relations in the context of the Holocaust were perceived within the Poles-Jews-Germans triangle, but the accents on the responsibility of each and every party were gradually shifting. Right after the war it was said that the Germans were persecutors, Jews and Poles victims. About 20 years later that paradigm changed: Germans were persecutors, Jews - victims, and Poles - witnesses. In the 1990s this interpretation changed again: the Germans - persecutors, Jews - victims, Poles - persecutors. The Poles have been put into the category labelled by the Jewish historiography as "the Nazis and their allies". The case of Jedwabne shows that the analysis of Polish-Jewish relations ought to be undertaken within a quadrangle: Poles-Jews-Germans-Soviets. I say purposely "Soviets", not "Russians".
Only this approach, without the current hypocrisy, would reveal the historical complexities in Polish-Jewish relations. But the problem here is, does the Jewish side (just like the Polish side) want to confront this aspect of its contemporary history? Frankly, I doubt it.

PP: Why are you being so pessimistic?

WC: In 1989, as part of a group of Polish clergy engaged in religious dialogue, I visited a synagogue in Chicago. We met there a Jewish community led by a man who seemed to be an over-zealous practitioner of Judaism. I didn't recognize him until I heard his name; then I realized that until 1968 he had been the Communist Party secretary at the University of Warsaw.
  I perceive this episode as symbolic. The Jews living in America don't want to know anything about their engagement with Communism. They speak about this subject with great dislike, and are very sensitive on this point. In this situation it is difficult to expect any candid discussion in the future. To many Jews in America and elsewhere such a discussion would mean the necessity to confront their own biographies and, in a sense, the questioning of their current identities.

PP: Is then Polish-Jewish dialogue doomed?

WC: Reconciliation has a very important meaning, it is a great goal. In order to reach it, a lasting change in the mutual perception on both sides is absolutely necessary. Reconciliation implies reciprocity. Not because the faults of Poles and Jews are identical or even comparable, but simply because they did exist on both sides. On the other hand, empty gestures have no meaning and achieve nothing. There are certainly matters for which we Poles ought to apologize to people with whom we share a common destiny. But there also exist matters about which we Poles should hear words of apology. This also applies to the Jewish side. [...]

(end)

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comment_on_the_article_by_newsweek.htm
Comment on the article titled "Revisiting a Massacre"
(Newsweek, March 5, 2001)
 
HERALDS OF TRUTH
588 Essex Dr., Rochester Hills, MI 48307, Tel. & Fax: (248) 650-8553

E-mail: [email protected]

Editor-in-Chief, NEWSWEEK
251 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
  March 10, 2001
Dear Sir,

We would like to comment on the article titled "Revisiting a Massacre" by Andrew Nagorski (Newsweek, March 5, 2001). In spite of the allegedly "careful research" conducted by prof. Jan T. Gross in preparing the book "Neighbors", he used almost exclusively documents written in Poland in the postwar Stalinist era, when historical facts were arbitrarily changed or distorted and adjusted to communist ideology and its adherents. The scene of the described events, a small town - Jedwabne - was located in the region of eastern Poland, from where the Soviet occupiers with significant support of local Jews, during the period of September 1939 to June 1941, deported to Siberian concentration camps nearly 2 million Polish inhabitants. From Jedwabne itself - about 300 Poles were exiled, several of them in the last few days before the arrival of the German Army. Prof. Gross forgets repeatedly in his book about the massive Jewish cooperation with the Soviet NKVD - the Soviet secret police, much worse in cruelty than the German Gestapo. It is no wonder, that during the next German occupation Poles were none too eager to risk their and their families' lives in saving communist party Jews. In Poland and only in Poland capital punishment was meted out to the entire family, which was executed for the slightest evidence of aid given to Jews.

Gross' principal source for "Neighbors" - Szmul Wasersztajn alias Calka - collaborated with the Soviets, despised his Polish neighbors, and was personally responsible for many tortures and deportations. After the war, he served the Polish communist Soviet regime as an officer in the secret police. Therefore his maliciously anti-Polish testimony is not credible at all and it is surprising Gross sympathizes with his account. According to numerous eyewitnesses of the tragic July 1941 events, about 300-armed German soldiers (members of the so called "Einsatzgruppen", special troops for Jewish extermination) arrived at Jedwabne to terrorize Polish inhabitants and commit genocide on the Jews. That was a policy of the German occupant and Gross' insinuations regarding the Germans, as looking for Polish advice or protecting the Jews, is simply an incredible lie. As a rule, Germans confiscated Jewish property, so the incentive alluded to is falsely attributed. There were probably few Polish hooligans participating in marginal robbery, like the three in Jedwabne who were immediately shot and killed by Germans, since confiscated Jewish property was always considered to be the property of the Third Reich. However every nation has its dregs of society and such were also present among the Jews. The infamous role of numerous Jewish leaders and officials (Jewish Councils so called "Judenrat", Jewish Ghetto Police and so on) is well documented as collaborators with Nazi authorities.

The multitude of errors and distortions contained in Gross' book makes it a worthless secondary source in Holocaust studies. However, we are afraid, its publication and promotion could further deteriorate Polish-Jewish relationships and provoke mutual animosity. Is it the intent of NEWSWEEK to play into such a sinister role?

Mr. Nagorski with his article performed a very poor job in evaluating the book's validity equally as bad as that done by Jan T. Gross!

  Karol Gutowski Andrzej Zawadzki
  President Secretary

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response_to_sarasota_herald_tribune.htm
Response to Sarasota Herald Tribune
Prof. I. C. Pogonowski

 
Neighbors by I. T. Gross
Sarasota Herald Tribune, Assoc. Press, p.9, March 13, 2001.

Some years ago Professor Jan Tomasz Gross wrote a well-documented book entitled Revolution from abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland’s Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia. In this work, published by Princeton University Press, Gross gave substantial evidence of the complicity of some Polish Jews in the murder of thousands of Polish Catholics by the Soviet forces who occupied much of Poland in September of 1939 during the joint Soviet-Nazi invasion of that country. This extensively footnoted book was received with stony silence by the journals, which might have been expected to review it, from the professional quarterly Slavic Review to the New York Times. Indeed, professor Gross was essentially put in a state of hostile isolation by many persons in the literary and professional Slavic community.

Apparently Professor Gross has now worked his passage back into "politically correct society" with his recent Neighbors, also published by Princeton University Press. Relying principally on recollections of a Polish-Jewish Communist official (Szmul Wasersztajn aka "Calka"), Gross has produced a thin argument to the effect that In 1941 Polish civilians from the village of Jedwabne drove 1600 Jews into a barn and burned them to death. The geometrical improbability of the spectacle aside (the farmer who owned the barn owned only four acres), one wonders how such a scantily researched book can receive the instant cachets of the same journals which had simply ignored Revolution from Abroad

There seems to be a pattern of alleging murders of Jews in areas of Poland, which shifted from Soviet to German control in- June of 1941. The widespread collaboration of some Jews in fingering priests, schoolteachers, Landowners, physicians, sat other professionals (spoken of by Gross in his earlier works) certainly led to retribution against the guilty dining Soviet withdrawals. This does not translate into genocidal pogroms, which were staged by the Germans. That the Polish Underground Army did retaliate against collaborators either with the Nazis or the Soviets is not denied. That innocent perished with the guilty in such retaliations is commonplace in wartime conditions, but for anyone to mistake such retaliations as anti-Semitic rage whenever the collaborators were Jews is simply absurd.

Furthermore, nobody denies that there were evil individuals in the Polish population who did murder Jews during the War. But they carried out their crimes understanding that they were explicitly forbidden by the Polish Underground government and carried the death sentence from that government.

In Israel, within a short walk of the Yad Vashem memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, is the site of Deir Yassin, where the Stem Gang/Irgun activists of Yitsak Shaniir and Menachem Begin (later Prime Ministers of Israel) slaughtered all the men, women and children in the unfortunate Arab village on April 9, 1948. This is an example of an organized atrocity against civilians committed by an official national body. Nothing like that was ever carried out by any official organization of Polish Catholics during the horrific years of World War II (in which over three million Polish Catholics died at both Soviet and German-Nazi hands).

We have long passed the time when Poles should feel they have to dedicate time and energy to answering "national guilt" charges like those made in Neighbors. After a fifty-year occupation of Poland by the Soviets, we can simply observe that during this entire wretched period the probability of a crime committed by a Polish Catholic against a Polish Jew was much less than a crime committed by a Polish Jew against a Polish Catholic. There are many evidences that this is so, Including the earlier work by Professor Gross as well as John Sack’s An Eye for an E~ The leadership of the dreaded US (communist secret police) by Jakub Berman (of which Szmul Wasersztajn, the chief source of Neighbors was a member) is a matter of record. The collaboration between the "Jewish committees" and the NKVD in Soviet occupied Poland is also a matter of record. The last memory of Poland by many a Polish Catholic before the door was slammed shut on a boxcar bound for Siberia was that of a Jewish militiaman slamming the door. There was no similar collaboration between Polish Catholics and the Nazis. Nevertheless, Polish Catholics do not seek reparations, moral or financial, from Jews. They hope that mutual respect can replace the rather counterproductive charge and countercharge pattern which Neighbors engenders. Enough is definitely enough.

I. C. Pogonowski

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letter_to_princeton_univ_press.htm
Letter to Princeton Univ. Press

 
POLISH-AMERICAN PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Dana I. Alvi - Chairwoman
P.O. Box 3206
Santa Monica, CA
90408
Tel. & Fax 310-829-1527
E-mail: [email protected] www.papurec.org

March 17, 2001

Publisher,
Princeton University Press
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-0430
tel: 609-258-4900
fax: 609-258-6305
NEIGHBORS by Jan Tomasz Gross

Sir/Madam,

The subject of the book by Jan Tomasz Gross published in Polish under the title SASIEDZI has caused great consternation in Poland. The charges by Mr. Gross that Polish citizens, in 1941, took part in a massacre of Jews at Jedwabne have yet to be investigated forensically. To date, Mr. Gross has been discredited by Polish scholars. In spite of the fact that the charges are unsubstantiated, they have been prematurely broadcast worldwide by the media and Jewish establishment. If anything can be termed as "hate speech" this matter certainly can. The emotions that this book has stirred run high and may possibly lead to violence.

SASIEDZI is due to be published in English under the title NEIGHBORS by the Princeton Univeristy Press. Undoubtedly, the publication will add to an already volatile predicament. Should violence occur and injury result, would the Princeton University Press see itself in some way responsible, - ethically and perhaps legally ? Should forensic findings (including examination of exhumed bodies) prove Mr. Gross' charges wrong, what would then be the responsibility of the Princeton University Press for publishing slander ?

The purpose of this letter is to request Princeton University Press to consider withholding the publication of NEIGHBORS until a meaningful, exhaustive and complete forensic investigation is finalized.

NEIGHBORS is the latest and certainly not the last in a long series of slanders perpetrated by the Jewish establishment against Poland and those of Polish heritage. After World War I, Jews unleashed a similar torrent of invectives against Poland in order to prevent the reconstitution of that country after more than a century of foreign partition and rule. Noteworthy Jews, such as Felix Frankfurter and Louis Brandeis, are on record as having demanded members of the U.S. diplomatic core stationed in Poland to submit reports under their own names that were in fact generated by Frankfurter and Brandeis. These reports contained the, by now, usual litanies of antiSemitic allegations. Diplomats had their careers threatened if they did not comply with the demands of the Jewish establishment.

Jews have long sought to use the geographic territory of the country of Poland as a visible center of their World Wide Empire. As Jews became more vocal on this point, during the era of World War I, leading political minds regarded such ambition as the heights of criminal insanity. The ongoing program of antiPolish agitprop is nothing more than Jewish sour grapes over not having established their official homeland upon the wreckage of partitioned and war-ravaged Poland.

Poland and Poles are still being punished for fending off a Judeo-Imperialist i.e. Communist military assault on Western Europe in 1922. Since then, the Jewish establishment has actively pursued a strategy of both physical and cultural genocide against the Polish nation. Poland’s best and brightest have been hunted down and killed by organized Jewry. The Katyn Massacre is the most known of such activities. Millions of the most capable and talented Poles were carted off by Jews into the Soviet Gulags and never seen again. While the Jews complain that no one ever did enough to help them during the Nazi era, researchers have yet to come up with documentation of a single incident in which any Jew resisted the Communist onslaught by protecting any Pole. The historical record is replete with incidents of Jews aiding and abetting both the Nazi and Soviet forces in their victimization of Poles.

Incidents such as Jedwabne, however fabricated, served as the pretext for the judicial murders of Poland’s most illustrious World War II heroes. A common thread in all of their show trials were false accusations of antiJewish atrocities. These trumped-up charges form the basis of Mr. Gross’ assumptions. In fact, some of those individuals who Mr. Gross portrays as the “butchers” of Jedwabne, were not even there at the time. These unfortunates were tried and sentenced for taking part in the Jedwabne atrocity, even though they happened to be imprisoned at Auschwitz at the time of the incident. Such technicalities never bothered the Jewish judges who sentenced their Polish victims to even further imprisonment and/or death.

It is a shame that the prestige and cache imbuing the Princeton University Press is being used to further legitimize the Jewish establishment’s continuing antiPolish genocide. If Princeton University Press does release Mr. Gross’ publication, it joins Columbia University in sinking to despicable depths of giving credence to all manner of slanderous accusations against Poland. Columbia presided over the Pulitzer Prize given to Art Spiegelman for MAUS. MAUS portrayed Poles as pigs in a scenario in which various ethnic groups were represented by animals. Needless to say this portrayal of Poles was not the least bit sympathetic. Meanwhile, the actual circumstances of Mr. Spiegelman’s father’s wartime experiences which were the, so-called, inspiration for MAUS, could prove remarkably revelatory.

Columbia University also awarded accolades to PBS Frontline for its production of SHTETL. SHTETL served as a platform for the now discredited anti-Polish rant of Yaffa Eliach and Marian Marzynski, who just happened to be saved by Poles who risked their own lives to protect these Jews from the Nazis.

Where is the universal condemnation particularly in academia of the bold-faced lies churned out by the Jewish establishment on a daily basis ? Why are Mr. Gross, Ms. Eliach and Mr. Marzynski still being paid by insitutions of higher learning to poison the minds of innocent students ?

It is no coincidence that Mr. Gross’ attempts and the Jewish establishment’s attempts at artificially imposing both a false perception of Poland on the outside world as well as a collective guilt complex on the Polish citizenry, comes at a time when Jews are shaking down any country they can for tribute, no mater what the pretext. It is no coincidence that this ‘Jews as victims’ hipe is being peddled by the media when the world is taking a critical look at the history of rampant political criminality orchestrated by the Jewish establishment. Israel’s behavior as the world’s worst rogue nation is merely the tip of the Jewish iceberg. Furthermore, it is no coincidence that the entire government of Poland is in the hands of Jews masquerading as Poles. These Jews, such as Aleksander Kwasniewski aka Stolzman and others, had parents and other family members who were actively engaged in the mass murder of Poles. It is no wonder that the present so-called government of Poland is issuing mea culpa statements legitimizing demands made by the Jewish establishment for tens of billions of dollars from Poland in reparations. The bottom line is always the bottom line.

Yours truly,
Dana I. Alvi, Chairwoman
c: interested parties
With this letter, we are enclosing the opinion expressed by an acknowledged Polish historian, Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski. Response to Sarasota Herald Tribune

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in_the_search_for_the_grave.htm
Search in the aim to localise the exact place where the Jedwabne tragedy did happen
polish version
 
translated by: Krzysztof Janiewicz

From PAP 18.03.2001

The work has begun in Jedwabne to localise place where the Jewish victims of the massacre are buried, in the aim to establish a small cemetery.

Last Thursday the monument with the sign omitting Polish participation in the crime has been removed.

Research of grounds is done by the means of the surface methods such as resonance and earth probe, and to the large extend are based on the military aerial photographs that were taken in the 1950 and 1953. Photographs are showing contours of the burned barn and disturbed soil. Since 1960’s, the area was used for agriculture. The results of the research should be known sometimes next week.

On Saturday prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, who is doing a research on the circumstances surrounding massacre, and is critical towards prof. Gross’s publication "Neighbours" based on the thesis that crime was committed by the Polish neighbours, arrived to Jedwabne. Prof. Strzembosz will meet with the people who witnessed events from 60 years ago.

Prof. Strzembosz is of the opinion, that the witness testimonies from the 1949 court case in Lomza, used to the large extend by prof. Gross in his book, indicate that the Germans were directly involved in the murder of the Jews in Jedwabne.

Prof. Strzembosz also disputes truthfulness of the Shmul Waserstein’s testimony. Shmul Waserstein is a main witness of prof. Gross in regard to the Jedwabne massacre.

Prof. Strzembosz is stressing a point that Shmul Waserstein, according to his knowledge, was in hiding during the events in Jedwabne, so he can’t be regarded as an eyewitness, and whole of his testimony is only hearsay.

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letter_to_times_literary_suplement_norman_davies.htm
Letter to the Editor of TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Norman Davis

 

TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

March 30, 2001

Letters to the Editor

The massacre at Jedwabne

Sir, - It was bad enough to see Abraham Brumberg passing judgment on the nations in his review (March 2) of Jan T. Gross's book, Neighbours. But he cannot be allowed without challenge to batter your correspondents, who, despite their disagreements with him, have been extremely polite and conciliatory. Having, by his own admission, confused a respected liberal newspaper with a way-out rag of similar name (Letters, March 23), he expresses surprise that the defamed Editor should even bother to complain. He then goes on to accuse Jan Nowak, whose standing in these matters is incomparably higher than his own, of writing "Absurdities". Nowak holds that Brumberg makes "inflammatory statements" and "generalizations that lie at the root of all ethnic and racial hatred". And Nowak is absolutely right.

Of course, Brumberg is a better bruiser that most; but his tendentious techniques are transparent for anyone who cares to examine them. He gives us one or two fine demonstrations in his letter, let alone in his review. He gains the effect by pointing exclusively to the conduct or misconduct of the group whom he wishes to denigrate, while keeping quiet about all the people or facts which would not support his bias. On the question of wartime collaboration with the Nazis, for example, he brings up the role of the (Polish) Blue Police "in helping round up Jews for extermination". It never strikes him to mention the Ghetto Police, who were not exactly Hindus but who were often entrusted with the key operation of rounding up victims for transport to the death camps. On the question of Polish recruitment for military service, he quotes just one correspondent to one journal, whose talk of the "paltry attractiveness" of Polish recruits would have delighted Heinrich Himmler, while flying in the face of all the evidence from the Battle of Britain, from Monte Cassino and indeed from the Afrika Corps. If one doesn't know what Brumberg is omitting. One can't see what he is peddling. Jewish people have suffered more in the past from the habits of gratuitous selectivity and of collective ethnic slurs than anyone else. Brumberg should have more sense than to carry on the trade.

Yet many issues of more general interest are raised by Gross's book. One of them concerns the context and sequence of events at the Jedwabne massacre, which actually took place before the Nazi Holocaust in a district that had recently been subjected to the murderous rule of the Soviets. Gross himself says this is important and has written about it at length elsewhere. But it isn't given prominence in any detail in the reviews. Another issue concerns the peculiar reactions of the British and American media, which seem to be greatly exercused by this one atrocity, while ignoring many others that would equally illuminate the overall wartime picture.

Most importantly, Jedwabne raises the sensitive moral question of those nations, like the Poles, who have every reason to regard themselves as victims, yet who discover individuals in their midst who can only be described as criminals. If Mr Nowak's letter is a guide, the Poles would appear to be responding to their dilemma with thoughtfulness and humility. Which is more than can be said for some.

Norman Davies

Wolfson College, Oxford

------------------------------------

And for good measure the TLS published a letter from Werner Cohn of Brooklyn, NY:

" ...Poles committed ghastly mass murders of Jews during the Second World War.

...the very large National Party (Endeks), used its underground press to carry on a vicious anti-Semitic campaign, barely distinguishable from that of the Nazis. ..."

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letter_to_princeton_univ_press_2.htm
Second letter to the Princeton University Press.
Dana I. Alvi
 
POLISH-AMERICAN PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE

Dana I. Alvi - Chairwoman
P.O. Box 3206
Santa Monica, CA 90408
Tel. & Fax 310-829-1527
E-mail: [email protected]
www.papurec.org

18 C. POLISH History JEDWABNE / J. T. GROSS

Second letter to the Princeton University Press. First letter dated March 17, 2001 under "18 B. POLISH History JEDWABNE / J. T. GROSS.

First part. Second part under "18 Ca. POLISH History ... "

March 26, 2001

Terry Vaughn,

Editor-in-Chief

Princeton University Press
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-0430
tel: 609-258-2928
fax: 609-258-6305
e-mail: [email protected] re: NEIGHBORS by Jan Tomasz Gross

Mr. Vaughn,

This is further to our letter dated March 17, 2001. In said letter, among other things, we requested Princeton University Press to withhold the publication of NEIGHBORS on therein stated grounds.

We are providing additional reasons why the publishing of NEIGHBORS must be delayed. The main premise of Mr. Gross' book is that Poles perpetrated the massacre of Jews in the town of Jedwabne. Enclosed, is a German document translated into Polish which negates Mr. Gross' premise. The document was compiled by Jews in the 1970s for the purpose of Holocaust documentation. Jews made the sworn statements in the complete safety of Canada and the United States. The 1970s were a time when the Jews were engaging in a frenzied orgy of Poland bashing, making the most of a strictly inter Jewish Communist party dispute in the 1960s which resulted in immigration from Poland of members of one of the quarreling Jewish factions. This exodus was touted by the media as the result of Polish antiSemitism. In this period, when gratuitous demonization of Poles and Poland was all the rage among world wide Jewry, it is very surprising that the Jews giving depositions as to the 1941 Jedwabne massacre make no accusations as to the involvement of Poles in the incident. We are supplying your institution with the Polish text and translating in this communication only the pertinent passages into English. We feel that linguists on your staff would prefer to examine the original text in its original language.

First of all we must clarify the historical context of events taking place during WWII and the present day. Wartime events of 60 years ago are shrouded in inconsistent "eyewitness" testimonies, "survivor" testimonies and the politically expedient considerations of any given era and nation. In recent years, elderly Jews representing themselves as "survivors" were sent by Jewish organizations to schools, church goups and other gatherings to tell and re-tell their horrific and miraculous stories of surviving gas chambers in various "death camps". The survivors carried on with more than appropriately theatrical weeping and wailing, bringing their audiences to tears and causing nightmares in traumatized, impressionable children. Under pressure of unpopular and surpressed scholarship, Jewish historians were forced to announce that there were no gas chambers in "Germany proper", issuing a "correction" that gas chambers existed in German-occupied Poland. This "correction" had, of course, a political purpose as the Jews proceeded to refer to "Polish death camps" and "Polish concentration camps" ad nauseam. Additionally, Jews concocted the canard that Germans built their camps in Poland because of "Polish antiSemitism" at the same time shrieking to the world that most of Europe's Jews before WWII lived in Poland, and that most perished during the War. The evidence and records of the gas chambers were said to be in inaccessable Russian archives or, so completely destroyed by retreating German armies that not a shred of evidence remains. Also, that Communists in Poland would not allow investigation. In fact, the decision-making Communists who, after Germany capitulated in 1945, terrorized Poland were Jews. Significantly, Jewish interests have made the tragedy of Jewish WWII experience the most profitable industry ("industry" per Norman G. Filkenstein, THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY), an extortion racket, and a shakedown of nation after nation for money. To date, this industry has refused to conduct thorough forensic investigations of the alleged gas chambers as well as mass graves and tenaciously guards the magic number of "6,000,000 dead Jews" although that number, too, has been discredited.

The February 26, 2001, issue of CHRISTIAN NEWS informs on page 16 in a letter to the Editor of a German ARD Television news report: "They reported from Israel that during a 24 hour ceremony commemorating the victims of Nazism, all of the names of (six million) Jews who perished were being read aloud. The video clip showed a man eagerly reading from a list he was holding in his hands. SIXTY NINE NAMES A SECOND [caps added]." The date of this letter is given as Nov. 30, 1991 which may or may not be a misprint, it is not relevant. Please note that in April 12-19, 1996, the LOS ANGELES JEWISH TIMES article "3,000,000 Nameless Jews" informs that:

"More than 50 years after the end of WWII, less than half of European Jewry's victims have been identified. According to a report from the International Registry of Names of the Holocaust Victims, more than 3,000,000 murdered Jews are still unidentified. It is critical - while some witnesses and their memories are still alive - that Jewry help produce the missing names."

The data from the Polish bureau of identity records listed for the year 1968, indicates that 2,700,000 Jews then in Poland had changed their names to Polish names. In 1939, as the German armies invaded Poland, approximately 1,500,000 Jews escaped East of the Bug river to an area then invaded by the Soviets. In this particular area already existed the prime concentration of Poland's total Jewish population. When Germany attacked the Soviets in 1941, many Jews from those Eastern areas escaped further East ahead of the German Army to spend the wartime untouched in the relative safety of centrtal Asia. So, by the time Germany attacked the Soviet Union, many of the Jews from Jedwabne and environs had emigrated to safer havens. This group included some of the Jewish NKVD members who terrorized Poles causing widespread death and destruction. In 1945, hordes of those Jews returned to Poland to become the Communist Government of Poland.

In reaction to the term "Polish death camps" and "Polish concentration camps", we must state that such facilities existed, but only after 1945 when these camps in JudeoCommunist occupied Poland were presided over by Jews for the purpose of exterminating the rest of Poland's best and brightest who survived pre-1945 War years. These camps were run by the likes of the murderous butcher Solomon Morel, who is now living in comfortable retirement in Israel teaching Israelis how to torture Palestinians.

On March 4, 2001, Channel 4, NBC TV, aired the first of two parts of 'Biblical Mysteries' special. This part showed the "quest to find the Ark of the Covenant - the biblical chest containing the Ten Commandments". Biblical scholar "Mike Sanders journeys to one of the Middle East's most dangerous territories to find the elusive ancient ark ... Eventually led to a Palestinian-controlled village reputed to be a training ground for terrorists, Sanders gets set to uncover what would be one of the greatest archaeological finds of the age. ... Sanders believes he has found the sacret object buried at the site of a former Egyptian temple in Israel's volatile West Bank." - AMAZING ! In the show, Mike Sanders, with a straight face, informs the audience that special radar will be used to verify the contents under this one particular foundation-stone of the ruins of this ancient temple. :>)) Obviously, Mr. Sanders did not anticipate a very serious question he prompted, i.e. why the Holocaust Industrialists have not, to date, used radar to verify and lay to rest troubling holocaust claims instead of jailing people who seek answers. One of those claims includes the alleged "Kielce pogrom" in 1946.

The "Kielce pogrom" was staged on July 4, 1946, just as an inquiry arose in Nuremburg regarding the massacre of Polish Officers at Katyn. This "Kielce pogrom" and its resultant worldwide publicity shut up that inquiry which would have also revealed the participation of Jews in the murder of the Officers. Until then, the Germans were still blamed, some "confessed" and were executed by the Soviets. The "Kielce pogrom" remains shrouded in more manipulated confusion than events at Jedwabne. 42 Jews were allegedly killed by Poles, but no witnesses were allowed to take photos of the "pogrom" which was sealed off from public view by the Communist military standing shoulder to shoulder. Actually, a certain Mrs. Pirot was commissioned by the Communist authorities to create photographic images using staged "hospital" and "morgue" scenes. In her efforts to create the most ghastly scenes, Mrs. Pirot created photos of both medical and forensic absurdities. Mrs. Pirot's photographs proved to be too ridiculous for even the Communist authorities to use, but provide a wonderful example of the extremes of falsification to which Jews are willing to go. On the day of the "pogrom", American journalists were celebrating 4th of July. Although other international journalist were present, no photos exists. Caskets of the alleged victims, were promptly sealed with metal nails (against Jewish religion) and buried at a lavishly staged ceremony. The funeral ceremony, officiated by the chief rabbi of the "Polish Army", Rabbi David Kahane (surprisingly, he did not object to the metal nails although he was aware of them), was photographed for international antiPolish propaganda. Since then, a wishy-washy investigation was conducted with Jews disallowing the use of ground penetrating radar to determine whether ANY BODIES AT ALL are in the caskets. Lacking any photographs, on June 8, 1996, in commemoration of the 50 anniversary of the alleged massacre, two pseudoPolish papers POLITYKA and KURIER PLUS, published an article by a pseudoPolish professor, Krystyna Kersten, titled "The Kielce pogrom: still more questions than answers - the Hand of a Pole" ("Pogrom Kielecki: nadal wiecej pytan niz odpowiedzi - Reka Polaka"). To further impact their antiPolish creation, these pseudoPoles added to their article a blurred photograph. The photo shows a man in the foreground with a club in his hand, - "the hand of a Pole" - over a body on the ground. More scattered bodies are shown, men standing, more men in the background and soldiers watching. These pseudoPoles contrived a caption: "Ten persons had gun wounds, four puncture wounds ... they were - massacred". ("Dziesiec osob mialo rany postrzalowe, cztery rany klute ... pozostali - zmasakrowani") These publications went out internationally. The undersigned, familiar with many holocaust photographs, recognized this one. A check at the library confirmed the fraud. In JEWISH RESPONSES TO NAZI PERSECUTION (1979) by Isiah Trunk, on page 41, this same photo is captioned "Lithuanians murdering Jews in the streets of Kaunas, June 1941". In THE PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE HOLOCAUST, edited by Yitzhak Arad, on page 177, this same photo is captioned: "Murder of Jews in Kovno, Lithuania, end of June 1941. The perpetrators are Lithuanians, the onlookers - Germans." Both photographs are clearer than the one published in the pseudoPolish papers where the pseudoPolish editors not only blurred the photo to hide German uniforms, but clipped off a German soldier in the forefront on the right edge. The photo is controversial anyway. It appears altered even before the pseudoPoles used it, and some researchers claim that it portrays the Lithuanians settling scores with the Lithuanian NKVD members, some of who undoubtedly were Jews. -- End of first part. Second part under "18 Ca. POLISH History JEDWABNE / J. T. GROSS.

- - - -

Dana I. Alvi

Powrot


letter_to_princeton_univ_press_3.htm
Letter to Princeton Univ. Press
Anna R. Dadlez, Ph.D.

 

Dear Mr. Vaughn;

I am deeply disturbed by your publication of J.T. Gross's latest book entitled Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne (Polish title: Sasiedzi) in which he attributes to Poles the horrendous crime perpetrated on Jews (the number he quotes is being investigated) in Jedwabne, a town which in July 1941 found itself under German control after having been in the Soviet zone from September 1939 - June 1941. There appear to be serious doubts about the veracity of the work.

The particular questions that arise are as follows:

1. Mr. Gross's thesis relies on several witnesses. However, reports describing other witnesses' testimony contradict those provided by Mr. Gross. Assuming that Mr. Gross knows Polish, it is troubling to find that he used incomplete excerpts from the source (documentation connected with the 1949 trial) he claims to have relied on most, i.e., that he rejected the testimonies which invalidated his thesis. (Among other sources: Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, "Inny obraz sasiadow" ("A different Image of the Neighbors" in Rzeczpospolita March 31, 2001, or Waldemar Moszkowski, " Jedwabnym szlakiem klamstw; rozmowa z historykiem Leszkiem Zebrowskim" (" On the trail of Jedwabne lies; conversation with the historian Leszek Zebrowski") Nasz Dziennik, 31 March - 1 April, 2001

2. Another worrying point is his almost breakneck pace in trying to make the book ready for print. He himself admits that he did not make a thorough investigation of the case (Jan Tomasz Gross's letter to Gazeta Wyborcza, November 27, 2000.) The question arises why didn't he? What was the need for using such a sloppy methodology on a subject of tremendous historical importance? Was he perhaps influenced by the present negotiations in New York where Jewish American groups are attempting to get war reparations from Poland?

I have recently read of both German and Polish documents which strongly suggest the innocence of the Polish community in Jedwabne in this horrific crime. The investigation is ongoing. Records of the 1949 trial became unavailable shortly after Gross gained access to them some years ago (see "Jan Gross on Poland's Shame" The New Yorker On Line Only, posted March 5, 2001) They finally became available again in March of this year. Historians are examining them. Many disagree with the conclusions drawn by Gross from these very sources. German documentation is also becoming available. Any historian, myself included, should be willing to suspend judgement in this matter until final conclusions are reached. However, I must deplore the negative publicity the Polish nation has received through your publication of Neighbors, publicity that may very well be totally unwarranted. In a country which prides itself on a free press, a book advancing horrific accusations without substantial evidence should not have seen the light of day.

Sincerely

Anna R. Dadlez, Ph.D.

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letter_to_the_age.htm
Letter to the newspaper "The Age" in Melbourne, Australia
Christopher Janiewicz

 
"The Age", Melbourne, Australia
Online News Editor: Gary Hughes
Email: [email protected]

 

Dear Mr. Hughes:

I would like to voice my strong objections regarding the article "Poles' day of shame exposed" by Paul Heinrichs, published in your newspaper on Sunday 18 March 2001.

The above mentioned article is prejudicial and slanderous towards Poland and the Polish people in general, and the population of the town of Jedwabne in particular.

Mr. Heinrichs is using the interview with the widow of Mr. Bienstein (Neumark) and the book "Neighbours" written by Prof. John T. Gross.

With due respect for Mrs. Bienstein, I will refrain from detailed analysis of her late husband's testimony. I will only say that Mr. Bienstein's testimony is quoted only once in the book by Prof. Gross and even then, not in regard to the day in question, but in regard to the Soviet occupation of Jedwabne. (Page 33, Polish original)

By saying, "...Although some details of the massacre provided by Janek Bienstein in 1980 figure in Sasiedzi..." Mr. Heinrichs would like to create an impression that the book contains or is based on large portions of Mr. Bienstein testimony, when it is clearly not.

Perusing the first few pages of Jan Tomasz Gross' book "Neighbours" one's hopes rise that here we will learn the truth about the crime of Jedwabne. The author is being introduced as a noted historian (by education he is a sociologist), professor of political sciences of the University of New York and author of essays on the subject of Polish-German-Jewish relationships in the years 1939-1948.

Gross names various sources that he relied on. Unfortunately, as one reads his book, one is assailed by doubts whether the version presented in it is trustworthy. Although Gross mentions various sources and refers to numerous historians, yet in his argumentation he is relying on the statements of one man only - Szmul Wasersztejn, a Jew living in the town, but according to some witnesses, not present there during the massacre. (Teodor Eugeniusz Lusinski to the Institute of Jewish History, 20.03.95, according to Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz). This crown witness of Gross, in Poland went under the name of Calka and not Wasersztejn, who after the war was an agent of U.B. (Communist State Security Forces). This fact was established by Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, who has been researching this period of Polish history for many years, based on depositions of two reliable witnesses who were interrogated by Wasersztejn (Calka) at the UB after the war. Strzembosz draws attention to the credibility of sources and witnesses on which Gross relies.

When on the subject of the witness testimonies and methodology that a historian should use in analysing his sources and then disseminating his findings, I would like to mention the statement that Prof. Gross himself made in the book "Neighbours":

"As far as the craft of the historian who deals with the era of the gas ovens is concerned, I think we must radically alter our attitude toward the sources. Our initial attitude toward each testimony of near victims of the Holocaust should change from the inquisitive to the affirmative."

This is a startling statement because it would be practically tantamount to abandoning the scholarly standard.

In each instance, if possible, historians must attempt to verify the sources, testimonies, recollections and memoirs against other documents. A history scholar needs to apply a rigorous litmus test to each testimony by checking it against other witness account and contemporary documents: Jewish, German, Polish, and Soviet. Finally, he has to divide recollections into first- and second-hand observations and classify their reliability accordingly.

Unfortunately, Prof. Gross doesn't adhere to such standards in his book. That's why "Neighbours" should be classified as a literary work and not as historical research, ergo not factual in every aspect.

Further Mr. Heinrichs, following a lead of prof. Gross, mentions trials of 22 Poles sentenced for the crimes allegedly committed in Jedwabne in 1949. Indeed, prof. Gross is extensively using their testimonies in his book, therefore one can say that the whole book is based on their testimonies and the testimonies of Mr. Szmul Wasersztejn and Mr. Finkelstejn.

That would bring us to the next problem with prof. Gross's methodology and integrity.

In the matter of the Polish witnesses, Gross is extensively using the testimonies of people who were interrogated by the U.B. (Communist State Security) in 1949. That organisation was well known for extracting statements from the suspects by using such methods as torture, sleep depravation, beatings and the threat of deportation to Siberia, not only for the suspects, but also for their families.

Most of the accused recalled their "confessions" in front of the court. This was not only an act of self-defence. It was also a sign of bravery. After all, the accused were immediately returned to the "tender, loving care" of secret police officers, who had tortured the confessions out of them in the first place. The confessions were in accordance with a preordained scenario, unofficially promoted by the Communist leadership who promoted the idea that Polish society was "fascist" and "reactionary", what was supposed to create an explanation for the repressive regime and an excuse for the West inaction.

Prof. Gross himself writes extensively on this subject on pages 21, 23, 24, 25, 26. (Polish original). Yet, it would appear that such facts have no meaning to him, because throughout his book he extensively uses the testimonies of Karol Bardon, originally sentenced to the death penalty, which was commuted to a 15 years prison sentence. Any man subjected to such circumstances would tell anything that the interrogating officer wants him to say, simply to survive. What sort of pressure did the interrogating officers exert on him?

Testimonies and confessions obtained by such methods wouldn't be admissible in any court of law in any democratic country.

In regard to the Jewish witnesses' statements, they are very contradictory in some important parts.

For example, Mr. Heinrichs mentions in his article "Some of the Jews committed suicide rather than face their attackers."

Is he aware that there are two eyewitness testimonies regarding such an incident, testimonies that totally contradict each other? To such an extent, that one testimony blames Poles for the active participation in the suicide, with another testimony saying that Poles tried to prevent the intended suicide and attempted to rescue the two women in question.

Then there is a problem with prof. Gross's statement that there was no Germans present in Jedwabne, and that after he had done an extensive research of the German archives, he didn't find any documents mentioning the town of Jedwabne. On such basis prof. Gross arrived to the conclusion that citizens of that town, on their own volition murdered their Jewish neighbours.

But according to the latest research, such documents exist in the German Federal Achieves in Ludvisburg, Bavaria, and the town of Jedwabne is mentioned in these documents a few times.

So, now the question would arise, did prof. Gross really researched those archives, or didn't he?

There are many such questions one can ask after analytically, not emotionally reading prof. Gross's book and comparing his statements with various sources and researches done by Polish recognised historians. Many questions could be raised about the methodology used by prof. Gross.

There is a very important problem with the number of victims, According to historical sources such as the Soviet census conducted in 1940, only 1400 Jews were in the Jedwabne region, which also included the outlying town of Radzilow and the village of Wizna. In Radzilow, only three days earlier, an alleged 1500 Jews were also burned in a barn.

If we also take into account the number of Jews that fled approaching German armies, this would put into serious question the number of victims in Jedwabne. Never mind the size of the barn that couldn't accommodate 1600 people.

Also, according to the most recent news, archaeologists have localised the mass grave of the Jewish population in Jedwabne. In the opinion of prof. Andrzej Kola from the UMK Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, the grave is approximately 5 meters long and 2 meters wide and could contain approximately 300 bodies.

If one wanted to analyse the whole book, such work would take many more pages, so here I have mentioned only a very few examples.

The lack of scientific honesty on the part of prof. Gross, has been commented on by numerous historians, among others by Dr. S³awomir Radon, chairman of the College of IPN (Polish National Remembrance Institute) conducting the present investigation headed by the public prosecutor Radoslaw Ignatiew. They accuse prof. Gross of drawing premature conclusions without a solid research of Polish and German archives and following up all possible leads.

Then Mr. Heinrichs mentions the statements made by the Polish President Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Buzek. Here I would like to draw Mr. Heinrichs's attention to the fact that neither of them is a historian. They didn't conduct any investigation into the Jedwabne matter, the current investigation by the appropriate investigative body hasn't been concluded as yet, and that the various statements made by politicians usually don't have much factual value in such circumstances.

Our own politicians from time to time are prone to make statements that are not corroborated by facts or are not necessarily truthful. Why in Mr. Heinrichs opinion, should Polish politicians be any different or better informed?

So why, as is Mr. Heinrichs's opinion, should statements made by politicians convince the majority of Polish academics, nota benne professional historians with the highest scholarly honours? Or anyone else for that matter? Does he remember some very "truthful" statements made publicly and under oath by the American ex-President Bill Clinton?

Now, in regard to the interview conducted with prof. Gross on the subject of the works by prof. Strzembosz and the collaboration with the Russians by many members of the Jewish population.

Ironically, prof. Strzembosz in his proof of Jewish collaboration with Russians, quotes earlier works of prof. Gross himself, now in the archives of the Hoover Institute, containing reports of this collaboration.

Is prof. Gross blessed with such a short memory that he forgot his own book published in 1983 under the title "In the 1940 they exiled us to Siberia"?

But I don't wish to enter a discussion with Mr. Heinrichs or anybody else regarding who did what sixty years ago. Evil people were on both sides.

The article that prof. Gross speaks about to Mr. Heinrichs, and written by prof. Strzembosz, is far from being "the most significant of the articles". Far more significant would be, for example, the article written by prof. Strzembosz and published on the 15.03.2001 "Germans forced Poles to participate in Jedwabne murder". Also, at this moment of time he is conducting further historical research into the case of Jedwabne, and also new facts, contradicting the very thesis of prof. Gross's book, are coming to the fore nearly every day.

So, maybe, as Mr. Heinrichs says, the "soft pedal" approach and general attitude of sections of Melbourne's Jewish community and Mr. Nadworny is the right approach to have and the antagonising attitude of Mr. Heinrichs is the wrong one?

After the meeting held on 18.02.2001, that marked the end of the visit to Bialystok by prof. Gross, when asked by the reporter if would he be writing more about Jedwabne, he rebuffed: " This is not my interest any longer, now it is a matter for historians".

Shouldn't he take such an approach before writing his book? First historical research and investigation, and then the writing of the book afterwards, based on facts uncovered by such investigation, not the other way around. Now it is too late to leave the matter of Jedwabne to the historians. Prof. Gross has already done a lot, or maybe even irreparable damage, by publishing his book without doing proper historical research, and by stating a lot of sweeping conclusions and inflammatory statements in it.

To conclude, I would like to advise Mr. Heinrichs to do some research of the topic next time, before he writes another offending article. I would advise him to research historical sources and works of the professional historians, not to draw conclusions based on badly researched literary works of sociology professors. Or maybe he should make a career in writing science fiction novels?

Christopher Janiewicz

PS. The article in "The Age": http://www.theage.com.au/news/2001/03/18/FFXCJ5M6EKC.html

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letter_to_the_observer.htm
Protest letter to "The Observer"
Chris Janiewicz

 
"The Observer"
Guardian Unlimited

Email: [email protected]

Protest letter regarding publication of the article "Poland's willing executioners' by George Steiner

Dear Sir or Madam:

I would like to voice my strong objections regarding the article "Poland's willing executioners" by George Steiner Sunday April 8, 2001 in "The Observer".

The above mentioned article is prejudicial and slanderous towards Poland and the Polish people in general, and the population of the town of Jedwabne in particular.
I would even call it racist against Polish people
.

Views that Mr. Steiner expressed in your publication are based on the badly researched book written by J. T. Gross "Neighbours".

There are many questions one can ask after analytically, not emotionally reading prof. Gross’s book and comparing his statements with various sources and researches done by Polish recognised historians. Many questions could be raised about the methodology used by prof. Gross.

Below I enclose my own comment about prof. Gross’s book "Neighbors", that I hope you will be able to publish as an answer to the article written by Mr. Steiner.

Yours truly,
Chris Janiewicz
Email: [email protected]
The internet address of Mr. Steiner's article is http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,470068,00.html

"Neighbors" - literature or history

Perusing the first few pages of Jan T. Gross' book "Neighbors" one's hopes rise that here we will learn the truth about the crime of Jedwabne. The author is being introduced as a noted historian (by education he is a sociologist), professor of political sciences of the University of New York and author of essays on the subject of Polish-German-Jewish relationships in the years 1939-1948.

Gross names various sources that he relied on. Unfortunately, as one reads his book, one is assailed by doubts whether the version presented in it is trustworthy. Although Gross mentions various sources and refers to numerous historians, yet in his argumentation he is relying on the statements of one man only - Shmul Wasersztein, a Jew living in the town, but according to some witnesses, not present there during the massacre. (Teodor Eugeniusz Lusinski to the Institute of Jewish History, 20.03.95, according to Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz). This crown witness of Gross, in Poland went under the name of Calka and not Wasersztein, who after the war had the rank of lieutenant in U.B. (dreaded Communist State Security Forces). This fact was established by Prof. Tomasz Strzembosz, who has been researching this period of Polish history for many years, based on depositions of two reliable witnesses who were interrogated by Wasersztein (Calka) at the UB after the war.

Another witness whose testimony is used by prof. Gross, Abram Boruszczak, never lived in Jedwabne, and another witness, Eljasz Gradowski, was sentenced by the Soviet authorities for stealing of some electrical equipment and deported to Soviet Union in 1940, well before the events in Jedwabne took place. He returned to Jedwabne in 1945

Prof. Strzembosz draws attention to the credibility of sources and witnesses on which Gross relies.

In the matter of the Polish witnesses’ testimonies, Gross is extensively using the testimonies of people who were interrogated by the U.B. (Communist State Security) in 1949. That organisation was well known for extracting statements from the suspects by using such methods as torture, sleep depravation, beatings and the threat of deportation to Siberia, not only for the suspects, but also for their families.

Most of the accused recalled their "confessions" in front of the court. This was not only an act of self-defence. It was also a sign of bravery. After all, the accused were immediately returned to the "tender, loving care" of secret police officers, who had tortured the confessions out of them in the first place. Here I would like to remind, that prof. Gross’s main witness was one of the functionaries in that apparatus. The confessions were in accordance with a preordained scenario, unofficially promoted by the Communist leadership who promoted the idea that Polish society was "fascist" and "reactionary", what was supposed to create an explanation for the repressive regime and an excuse for the West inaction.

Yet, it would appear that such facts have no meaning for Prof. Gross, because throughout his book he extensively uses the testimonies of Karol Bardon, originally sentenced to the death penalty, which was commuted to a 15 years prison sentence. Any man subjected to such circumstances would tell anything that the interrogating officer wants him to say, simply to survive. What sort of pressure did the interrogating officers exert on him?

Testimonies and confessions obtained by such methods wouldn’t be admissible in any court of law in any democratic country.

When on the subject of the witness testimonies and methodology that a historian should use in analysing his sources and then disseminating his findings, I would like to mention the statement that Prof. Gross himself made in the book "Neighbours":

"As far as the craft of the historian who deals with the era of the gas ovens is concerned, I think we must radically alter our attitude toward the sources. Our initial attitude toward each testimony of near victims of the Holocaust should change from the inquisitive to the affirmative."

This is a startling statement because it would be practically tantamount to abandoning the scholarly standard.

In each instance, if possible, historians must attempt to verify the sources, testimonies, recollections and memoirs against other documents. A history scholar needs to apply a rigorous litmus test to each testimony by checking it against other witness account and contemporary documents: Jewish, German, Polish, and Soviet. Finally, he has to divide recollections into first- and second-hand observations and classify their reliability accordingly.

The lack of scientific honesty on the part of prof. Gross, has been commented on by numerous historians, among others by Dr. S³awomir Radon, chairman of the College of IPN (Polish National Remembrance Institute) conducting the present investigation headed by the public prosecutor Radoslaw Ignatiew. They accuse prof. Gross of drawing premature conclusions without a solid research of Polish and German archives and following up all possible leads.

Unfortunately, Prof. Gross doesn’t adhere to such standards in his book. That’s why "Neighbors" should be classified as a literary work and not as historical research, ergo not factual in every aspect.

Yours truly,
Christopher Janiewicz

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letter_to_the_new_york_times.htm
Letter to "The New York Times"
(April 11, 2001)
 
HERALDS OF TRUTH
588 Essex Dr., Rochester Hills, MI 48307, Tel. & Fax: (248) 650-8553

E-mail: [email protected]

Joseph Lelyveld, Executive Editor
THE NEW YORK TIMES
229 West 430 Street
New York, NY 10036

Dear Sir,
  April 09, 2001

We would like to comment on the article published on April 8, 2001 titled "Poland Faces an Ugly Truth, and Doesn't Blink" by Tina Rosenberg. In spite of the allegedly "careful research" conducted by prof. Jan T. Gross in preparing the book "Neighbors", he used almost exclusively documents written in Poland in the postwar Stalinist era, when historical facts were arbitrarily changed or distorted and adjusted to communist ideology and its adherents. The scene of the described events, a small town - Jedwabne - was located in the region of eastern Poland, from where the Soviet occupiers with significant support of local Jews, during the period of September 1939 to June 1941, deported to Siberian concentration camps nearly 2 million Polish inhabitants. From Jedwabne itself - about 300 Poles were exiled, several of them in the last few days before the arrival of the German Army. Prof. Gross forgets repeatedly in his book about the massive Jewish cooperation with the Soviet NKVD - the Soviet secret police, much worse in cruelty than the German Gestapo. It is no wonder, that during the next German occupation Poles were none too eager to risk their and their families' lives in saving communist party Jews. In Poland and only in Poland capital punishment was meted out to the entire family, which was executed for the slightest evidence of aid given to Jews.

Gross' principal source for "Neighbors" - Szmul Wasersztajn alias Calka - collaborated with the Soviets, despised his Polish neighbors, and was personally responsible for many tortures and deportations of Poles. Hiding on that day, in a house about two miles away he could not possibly be an eyewitness of the July massacre as Gross seems to believe. After the war, Wasesztajn served the Polish communist Soviet regime as an officer in the secret police. Therefore his maliciously anti-Polish testimony is hardly credible and it is surprising Gross sympathizes with this reprobate. According to numerous direct eyewitnesses of the tragic July, 1941 events, a select unit of German soldiers (members of the so called "Einsatzgruppen", special troops for Jewish extermination) arrived at Jedwabne to terrorize Polish inhabitants and commit genocide on the Jews. That was a policy of the German occupant and Gross' insinuations regarding an "easily reached agreement", and describing the Germans as looking for Polish advice or protecting the Jews is simply an incredible lie. As a rule, confiscated Jewish property was considered the property of the Third Reich, so the incentive for the Poles alluded to is falsely attributed. However every nation has its dregs of society and such were also present among the Jews. The infamous role of numerous Jewish leaders and officials (Jewish Councils so called "Judenrat"; Jewish Ghetto Police, and so on) is well documented as servile collaborators with Nazi authorities.

The multitude of errors and distortions contained in Gross' book makes it a worthless secondary source in Holocaust studies. However, we are afraid, its publication and promotion could further deteriorate Polish-Jewish relationships and provoke mutual animosity. Is it the intent of New York Times to play into such a sinister role? We hope you will print all the above information in the spirit of free speech and full disclosure so as to keep your readers better informed.

 

  Karol Gutowski Andrzej Zawadzki
  President Secretary

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