Sasiedzi - response to Free Press
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588 Essex Dr., Rochester Hills, MI 48307, Tel. & Fax: (248) 650-8553
E-mail: [email protected]

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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