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JV Editorial

Auschwitz-Birkenau & Its Polish Roots

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According to Jan Gross' book, "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland," about half of the city's Catholic community participated in torturing 1,600 Jews, then corralling them into a barn, which was then set ablaze. (Photo Credit: Amazon)

There is a controversy still brewing regarding the WWII Auschwitz concentration camp which was located in Poland. Over 1 million Jews were killed there. As such, it will remain forever a name to be loathed in Jewish minds for generations to come. Now, nearly 75 years after its liberation by Soviet forces, Polish authorities are attempting to claim the camp was a German one merely located on Polish soil and to prove its point, its Parliament passed legislation that rejects the phrase, “Polish death camps” to describe Auschwitz and would make it illegal to describe Nazi death camps as “Polish.” They went so far as to legalizing fines and a maximum prison sentence of up to three years for anyone who refers to deaths camps built and functioning on Polish soil as being Polish. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will have none of that in his statement, “The law is baseless. I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied.” We agree.

Poland’s current government is trying re-educate the world regarding the German-Polish cooperation in exterminating Jews. Its official stance is that all Poles were heroes during the war. This is a sore point among Poles who also suffered grievously under the Nazi occupation. Their society has seriously avoided discussing the killing of Jews by civilians or of their nationally recognized history of anti-Semitism. What Jewish refugee from that land did not carry with him or her stories of pogroms carried out by Polish civilians against their Jewish neighbors? Or their complicity in outing Jews to the Nazis? In 1941, Polish civilians in the city of Jedwabne, with the permission of their German occupiers, attacked and slaughtered local Jews.

According to Jan Gross’ book, “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland,” about half of the city’s Catholic community participated in torturing 1,600 Jews, then corralling them into a barn, which was then set ablaze. Even after the war this disease still permeated the land and made it unsafe sadly, for those few Jews who survived the Holocaust. Kielce, a Polish city of over 50,000 was the scene of the murder of 70 Jews by civilians and police in 1946, one year after the end of the war. How can these evil deeds be erased? And why should they be? History is history. We see how vehemently our own nation’s Blacks strive to keep the memory of slavery alive by refusing to compromise with those who wish to deny and forget. Why should we Jews be any different and permit the crimes of the Holocaust to be reduced and shoved aside to cleanse the soul of the Polish nation? Let’s go on living side by side with one another but just as well, let’s face the facts, both good and bad about history.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Agnieszka.Korowajczyk

    02/06/2019 at 8:14 pm

    I don`t understand. Should Poland allow to use the expression “Polish death camps” even thought, the camps were built and runned by Germans, there were NO POLISH GUARDS IN THE CAMPS, there was no Polish ss-squadron, the first prisoners of German concentration camp in Auchwitz in German Occupied Poland were the Poles and Poland was the only country in German Occupied Poland which didn`t have the collaborating government? Not mentionning Żegota, The Council of Aid for Jews, unique in German Occupied Poland. Is it so difficult to undersannd that words matter? I`m not to denying the case of Jedwabne but accusing Poland as country of any collaboration is a mistake, rather it proves the total ignorance of the facts of the author. It`s so pitty when one writes about someting that he knows barely.

  2. Jacek

    02/07/2019 at 9:21 pm

    Had been Poles better armed to defend the land against German Nazis aggression 1939 the Holocaust would have never happen. The term “Polish Death Camps” is rather a kind of jargon reflecting horrible emotions connected with the traumatizing memory of Nazis death camps made specially for Jews (most of the camps in Nazi-occupied Poland). The more constructive was Polish Secret State definition as “Jewish Death Camps” to underline that German occupants made them specially for killing the Jews.

  3. Joe Lockwell

    02/08/2019 at 12:24 am

    Here we go again with more Jewish anti-Polish hate propaganda. The Polish government NEVER said “all Poles were heroes” in WW2. The Polish governments for the past several decades have in fact have said there were bad/anti-Jewish Poles. IF anything, it’s these anti-Polish Jews who REFUSE to talk about any bad Jews among themselves during WW2. And there were plenty of them, as Jewish historian Hannah Arendt pointed out.

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