Letter to "The New York Times"
(April 11, 2001)
588 Essex Dr., Rochester Hills, MI 48307, Tel. & Fax: (248) 650-8553

E-mail: [email protected]

Joseph Lelyveld, Executive Editor
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

back to the english home page

Hosted by www.Geocities.ws