Poland’s dark hunt - Macleans.ca

Poland’s dark hunt

New research reveals some Poles were encouraged by the Nazis to actively persecute the Jewish population


Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe

There were approximately 3.3 million Jews in Poland before the Germans invaded in September 1939. At the end of the war, that number had plummeted to about 30,000. Now, in path-breaking research, Jan Grabowski, a history professor at the University of Ottawa, reveals what happened to those Jews who tried to hide in rural Poland after the Nazis violently emptied the ghettos. “The locals had everything to say about who could survive and who could not,” he says. In his new book, Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland, he explains how, all too often, Poles turned on and killed Jewish neighbours they’d known for decades. And, in particular, he destroys the myth that the Polish “blue” police had nothing to do with killing Jews.

When an earlier Polish version of his book was released in 2011, Grabowski’s findings deeply polarized public opinion in that country. In media interviews and debates, his was the face for a hot-button topic: a re-evaluation of Polish actions during the Holocaust. Poles have long, and rightly, perceived themselves as victims in the Second World War, at the expense of exploring their involvement in the Holocaust. Now, Grabowski says, “You show that, sometimes, victims were victimizing even more desperate people.”

Though his Ph.D. is on New France, an interest in the Holocaust had “always been sleeping in me,” he says, “but woke up in a vengeance” a decade ago while he was visiting his parents in Warsaw. He went to the archives and stumbled upon German court files from the war that hadn’t been opened by historians. Grabowski, whose Jewish father and paternal grandparents survived by “passing” as Poles in Warsaw during the war, began his work.

He focused on one rural county in southeastern Poland, Dabrowa Tarnowska—chosen simply because there is a lot of preserved, archived documentation of what happened there. While the central events of the Holocaust are infamous, little was known about events “at the margins, far away from the factories of death, and far away from historical scrutiny.” What he uncovered was an “in-your-face” Holocaust. “Everything that happened to them was extremely public.”

Before the war, there were 66,678 people in the poor, agrarian county, including 4,807 Jews. While nearly 2,000 were farmers, most lived in town, also called Dabrowa Tarnowska. Unlike urban Jews, who were quickly isolated in ghettos, their rural brethren lived and worked amid the non-Jewish population until just before mid-1942, when they were rounded up in a series of “liquidation actions.”

After the mass deportations to the Belzec extermination camp, only 337 Jews were left. In a meticulously detailed microhistory, Grabowski pieced together their stories by combing survivors’ accounts, as well as records that had never before been examined. Sometimes he found the same event described by Jews, Poles and Germans. Through those historical documents, he discovered that 286 later perished. (While Grabowski’s numbers are precise, he cautions that they are what can be found in historical records. Countless others perished in anonymity.) Only one per cent (51) of the county’s pre-war Jewish population would survive in Dabrowa Tarnowska. That’s because the Nazis’ relentless campaign to slaughter every Jew didn’t stop after the ghettos were emptied. It continued in the form of organized Judenjagd (hunt for the Jews).

While Grabowski expected to find “a degree of treachery, of complacency, of violence,” he found an astounding level of betrayal. Germans needed local help to ferret out the Jews from the scores of small villages. Token rewards were offered to participants—sometimes sugar, often clothes stripped off dead Jews. And to ensure co-operation from even the reluctant, the Germans would demand “hostages” from the villages who would chivvy their neighbours to join. “If the local population did not participate in sufficient numbers in the Jew hunt, then these 10 would be in for a very rough ride,” Grabowski says in an interview.

For the historian, one explanation for widespread involvement in the hunts is a change in attitude: “At a certain point, you see that torture and extermination becomes normal and is getting condoned by the authorities. The Jews were perceived by many—not by all—as no longer entirely human. Once you dehumanize someone, everything becomes much more easy.”

And that meant some Poles began to organize their own hunts. In Hunt for the Jews, the author reveals the untold story of the involvement of the Polish “blue” police. Made up partly of pre-war police, it was the only uniformed, armed Polish police force working under the Nazis, and used its knowledge of the area and networks of informants to track down Jews. Polish doctor Zygmunt Klukowski recorded how, with the SS gone after the liquidations, “today it is the turn of ‘our’ gendarmes and our ‘blue’ policemen, who were told to kill every Jew on the spot. They follow these orders with great joy. Throughout the day, they pulled the Jews from various hideouts” and, after robbing them, “finished them off in plain sight of everyone.”

For peasants who no longer wanted to hide Jews, an option was to hand them over to the blues, who would rob and shoot them before notifying the Germans. In all, while seven Jews were discovered and murdered by Germans alone, Grabowski found 220 who were denounced and/or killed by locals or Polish “blue” police.

It’s the latest chapter in an emotional re-examination of Polish-Jewish relations that exploded into the national consciousness in 2001, when Jan Gross published Neighbors, an account of how Poles in Jedwabne slaughtered their neighbours on July 10, 1941. Gross, a professor at Princeton University, believes public opinion is slowly becoming more open to acknowledging the dark aspects of the war, partly because of the work of Grabowski and others at the Polish Center for Holocaust Studies, established in 2003. “Each time a book came out that dealt with these issues,” says Gross, about his own works, “the debate was shorter and less acrimonious.” Though well received in academia, the Polish version of Grabowski’s book triggered a wave of hate among the nationalist right. The author was even “disinvited for security reasons” from debates.

And interestingly, when a TV crew spent a day in Dabrowa Tarnowska to investigate Grabowski’s findings, they were told of several killings that he’d never heard of, now included in the new English version of his book. Currently, the historian is investigating counties in northeastern Poland. The initial results are “even more depressing,” he reports.

Today, the synagogue of Dabrowa Tarnowska, which was in ruins when Grabowski researched his book, has been restored to its former glory, thanks to European Union money. But it’s too late. There are no longer any Jews in the county.


Poland’s dark hunt

  1. What a pathetic academic. I am disgusted my his attempt to label a Polish Gentiles as conspirators to Nazi crimes. Polish suffering during the war and after is equivalent to the suffering of the Jews, the travesty is that it is not taught in the West. Our suffering has gone unseen and now is spit on by these pigs.

    • Wrong. It is understandable to feel empathy for the Poles but to compare their plight to that of Polish Jews, as Jan Karski once said “is simply spiritless.” This article is further proof that Jews were outsiders (a Jew was never referred to as a “Pole”) and subject to the whims of Polish gentiles when the Nazis ran the show.

  2. this article pisses me off my grandparents in Poland hid a jewish family in their house risked there lives but the writer would only write about a few people not the other thousands that saved lives.

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      • Mistake in the article: from over 3 000 000 Polish Jews survived IIWW about 300 000 not 30 000! Autor lost one “0”

        • Correct, but as you know, not all Jews were saved by Poles so I’m not sure why you noted this mistake — I believe the author meant the Jewish survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto which is generally accepted to be “about” 30,000 — actually 28,000 according to Paulsson) — as a reply to my comment?

          • I know that not all Jews were saved by Poles (it estimates betwenn 30 000 to 100 000). Some of 300 000 Jews survived in Soviet Union. In article is mistake because author does not write only about Warsaw Jews but all Polish Jews!

          • Yes, but why not post generally rather than as a reply to my comment which does not incorporate that error in any way.

      • 6 394 Poles who risked their live to save Jews were awarded by Yad Vashem. It is a tiny % of all unless you think Yad Vashem has full knowledge about life of every Jew during Holocaust. To save 1 Jew often required an effort of many people and only 1 was enough to kill. And surprise food to feed hidden Jews was expensive.

        • Hey Jack Katz:

          Wasn’t it the very Jewish Itzhak Stern who said: “whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”? Why diminish the role of Poles who saved Jewish lives during the war? Vendetta? Revenge? Your type is played out. Get over yourselves.

          Funny you mention that Jews were outsiders in pre-war Poland. Guess what? THEY wanted it that way. THEY didn’t consider themselves Poles. Do some research. It’s all there. Stop trying to rewrite history.

        • I stand by my figure of about 3000 because most of those righteous were ethnic Ukrainians rendered their status by Yad Vashem: a) before the creation in 1991 of an independent Ukraine, and b) were classified as Poles based on the Polish political status of the area at the time of the war (i.e. those. east of Pzszmysl).
          And yes it was expensive and hard to hide a Jew, but they mostly were well compensated for their efforts… except certain rare exceptions

      • I am disgusted by your luck of knowledge of history ; to suggest that polish people risked their life’s and their families to save one or two for money … I am speechless . What Maclean and people like you promote is hatred . Unfortunately 60 years after the war ended people are still twisting the history and blaming the wrong people …. and citizens who witnessed horror of wars are dying . My grandmother survived ravensbruck concentration camp – she was there for helping her jewish friend ; my grandfather – a doctor had to live in hiding with his wife and small children for helping jewish families . Poles were not allowed to own business or houses during the war or have any valuables … and for 40 years after – during the Russian communist occupation we were not allowed to own anything . our passports were kept at the police stations . Poland was a very tolerant country – that’s why we had such a large Jewish population . unlike countries like Canada who still didn’t allow Jewish nationals in private country clubs in the 50’s !

        “A 1948 article on anti-Semitism in Canada written for MacLean’s magazine by Pierre Berton illustrates this racism: Berton hired two young women to apply for the same jobs, one under the name Greenberg, and the other under the name Grimes. While Grimes received interviews for nearly every application, positions available for Grimes were “already filled” when Greenberg applied, or Greenberg’s applications were ignored. When Berton contacted several of these companies, he was told, “Jews did not have the right temperament,” that “they don’t know their place” or that “we don’t employ Jews.”[4]

        Universities and professional schools set quotas on Jewish enrollment or refused Jewish applicants. For example, the Toronto General Hospital accepted only one Jewish intern per year.

        Clubs and resorts in Canada also denied Jews access using “exclusive” policies. The St. Andrews Golf Club in Toronto displayed a sign that read, “This course is restricted to Gentiles only. Please do not question this policy.” A Montreal resort boasted a sign that read “Christians Only” and someone “walked along the beach with a megaphone, politely inquiring whether there was a Jew present despite the warning, and asking him to leave as quickly as possible.”

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          • are you Jewish Jack ? what happened to you ? are you a representative of the Jewish population ? if yes you are representing it very poorly . I don’t know what were you trying to accomplish with your comments but again not one person supports you …..I will continue to love my Jewish , Muslim , catholic friends and will try to surround myself with good , intelligent people – I hope to never meet people like you …. you are small minded , love to stereotype and are a bit angry ….
            all the best to you

          • Hitler tried to get the Poles to ally themselves with him against the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not act so honorably and allied itself in secret with Hitler and ENABLED the Germans to reach peak power.
            What Anna is attacking is your claims that Poles treated Jews before the war so horribly that they must have killed them during the war, and that Poles were more despicable than anyone around before the war. Again, Poles accepted 500,000 Russian Jews in 1918 and gave them refuge from the Russians. Some of those Jews then turned on Poles when the Soviets attacked Poland, AS AN ALLY OF NAZI GERMANY, and some of those Jews participated in killings and deportations of hundreds of thousands of Poles. So your comment on the 15th Century is outdated.

  3. If by “encourage” he means, tells us where the Jews are or your village will be burned down and all the man hanged and woman shipped to German to work in labor camps. I guess it called be “encouraged”. Several more generations and they will spin history how poor German people were attack by Pols. I wonder who is paying for this “research” .

    • It’s halfway there. Poland is already blamed for WW2 by American & Israeli Jews.

  4. Many atrocities happened during the Germany occupation, in and out of Germany. It was a time when Evil travelled all over the world, but especially in Europe, and if people happened to be on its path they would do what they could to survive. It is human nature!

  5. Gee, there’s a lot of antisemitic vitriol out there.

    Just like in France, where the French rounded up tens of thousands of Jews for transport to the death camps, the French all claim they were innocent victims of National Socialism.

    It is quite possible to be victim and perpetrator at the same time.

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      • Oh, come off it. Jews, and particularly Israelis, are berated continually for slaughtering people, whether they’re actually doing it or not.

        • What they’re doing to the Palestinian people is war crimes. That’s a documented fact and you know it. Where are the 67 borders? Why are Israeli Jews settling Palestinian lands? That’s a war crime. |Like using White Phosphorus in Gaza city was a war crime. As to Israelis being berated, how far would the Allies have gotten if they limited themselves to simply berating the Nazis? And the same people who berated the world for not responding to a holocaust in WW 2 berate the world for responding to one today. Such actions are wrong no matter who does them.

          • The time to opt for the so-called 1967 borders was in 1966, but they chose conflict instead.

            Several times Palestinian leadership has rejected the offer to create a Palestine for them, presumably in the expectation of getting a better deal down the road. But each time the deal available has, if anything, gotten worse.

            It’s well past time for them to come to a peace agreement, establish the best borders they can manage, and stop the steady loss of potential territory.

    • You’re right . Unfortunately, there were Jews who aided both the Soviets and the Germans, but that does not take away from the humanity and suffering of the Jewish people as a whole. The same should be for the Poles. Yet This article, and this book, is slanderous to Poles in general, who were the first to defy the Germans, and fought them to the gates of Berlin. (Yes, there were Polish soldiers that fought the Germans in Berlin, and in Africa, and in France, Belgium, Italy,Norway, etc.) This book and this article are trying to take away the suffering and humanity and heroism from the Poles, with flimsy facts and glaring omissions.

  6. They were treated much like Israelis treats Palestinians today and have for sixty years. Remind me again which group I’m supposed to be sorry for. I know that officially I’m only allowed to feel sorry for Jewish victims and not victims of Jews if I don’t want my comment disappeared like a Palestinian’s rights.

    • Palestinians treated like Jews in Poland?

      Were that the case there’d be no Palestinian refugees left; they’d have all been rendered.

      • There’s 500 destroyed Arab villages in Israel that beg to differ with you.

        • And well over a million people who claim to be Palestinian refugees, a number that, unlike the number of Jews in Europe from 1930-1945, keeps increasing.

  7. Why he doesn`t write that Polish Underground Government was the only one who had finaced the help for Jewish people, that blackmailing a Jew was punished by death penalty and hiding a Jew was a death punishement made by the nazis. Probably it`s a kind of politics which aims to hide the fact the Jewish diaspora in USA didn`t react first on Karski`s report. On the other hand there was a huge collaboration of Jewish police who was bertaying other Jews and was giving them to the nazi. Also, some Jews, when the Soviet entered on Polish territory, were betraying Poles, making lists of Poles to sent in Siberia or trabling Polish flag. On the other, hand only 7% of Polish Jews were Communists before the War. What Grabowski shows, are peasants who were betraying as well Jews as soldiers of Polish Home Army. But the aim still be the same: to spread anti- Polish propaganda because despite of the fact that Polish Armed Forces on the West counted thousantds of soldiers, Polish Home Army counted 340 000 of people, that Polish aviators was the second group after the British during the Battle of England, the West betrayed Poland and gave us to stalin. When the Communists came, the killed 5000 soldiers of Polish Home Army and Polish Armed Forces in the West, sented thousands in Siberia and others stayed at stalinian prison for years. The Allies behaved as cowards and now they probably try to excuse oneselves of this betrayal. So, the only facts which can be presented to the world are the anti-Semitic behaviours.

    • “blackmailing a Jew was punished by death penalty” by the Polish resistance, but historians did not find many occurences of such executions,

      Also, “hiding a Jew was a death punishement made by the nazis” and there were many such executions, but so was belonging to the Home Army, and yet, “Polish Home Army counted 340 000 of people”.

      The many positives you mention do not change the negative facts, little Agniko.

  8. Mr. Grabowsky and the Polish Center for Holocaust Studies resemble the self loathing Polish Communist intellectual elite that once spread lies in the Communist Government controlled media, knowing full well that no one could possibly counter their theories in public (because they would be arrested and lose their jobs). Their role was to slander in the eyes of the world the Polish population that utterly rejected them, and Communism, time and time again. They did so by falsely and cynically associating them with the German Nazis. Meanwhile it was the Soviet Communists who were allies of Nazi Germany, and murdered en masse Poles, Jews, and others, and were never brought to justice and are pretending to have undeserved moral authority to point fingers at others. Naturally, after the fall of Communism, these people did not disappear into thin air …….. Not surprisingly, the new school of Holocaust studies is being dubbed “NeoStalinist”. The problem with Mr. Grabowski’s book is apparent in the review by Mr. Peczkis on Amazon.com
    Mr. Grabowski can only get away with this in Canada, the US and western Europe, as there most people have no clue as to the conditions that Poles had to endure under the brutal German AND Soviet occupations of Poland that was like no other in most of the other occupied countries. What is overlooked is the starvation and terrorization of the Polish population and the despicable techniques used by the Germans to force compliance with their policies. Notice how the hostage taking is dismissed and the fact hidden that the hostages would be murdered if there was no compliance in the “jew Hunts” organized by the Germans. Mr. Grabowski states the hostages “would be in for a rough ride” which ABSOLUTELY HIDES and downplays the dreadful fate the hostages really faced. Know that the hostages were family members, often children and women, from the villages that were forced to comply with the ruthless German authorities that no Polish village or city could possibly resist without being totally annihilated by the German occupying military forces present in Poland. Mr. Grabowski apparently uses a combination of tainted sources, half truths, omission of facts, anecdotes, myths, hearsay, etc. to accuse Poland of crimes that lie primarily on the doorstep of Germany and Soviet Russia. Unfortunately, there are those only too willing to believe this garbage. There are those who are often completely ignorant of the daily dangers that Poles faced, basic facts of Polish WW II history, and thereby unsuspectingly accept the propaganda spewed, which some believe have no other purpose but to divide Poles and Jews from one another. By the way, I am not a nationalist. I just can’t digest the distortion of Polish history that has been prevalent in Western media for decades, promoted by amateurish journalists and editors.

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      • For those who are open minded you may want to see the youtube movie Zegota on how difficult it was for Poles to save Jews, being that Poles were also targets of annihilation. Mr. Katz – your facts are easily debunked by the number of Polish Righteous acknowledged at Yad Vashem which is by NO MEANS the number who helped save Jews, but the number acknowledged for helping Jews. The statement that help was provided only for money shows ignorance of the conditions Poles endured. Poles were starving due to food rations set for Poles by the Germans that could not sustain life. There was no employment other than slave labor for the Germans. Most Poles could not feed themselves or their families, and they weren’t able to feed strangers either. Additional food was available on the black market for extravagant prices, and selling such could be punished by the Germans with death. Most Poles would not have been able to take on any commitment to help and feed others without money. The Polish underground provided money to others who helped Jews, but this was far from easy under the brutal German occupation where search warrants were not needed to barge into people’s homes, or court decisions needed for a rank and file soldier to kill a Pole on the spot. Unfortunately, Jews collaborating with the Soviets in the Soviet occupied territories during round ups of Poles to Siberia during which hundreds of thousands met their deaths was not conducive to Poles willing to risk THEIR families to help strangers who often did not speak Polish, especially when the penalty decreed by the Germans for doing so was death to those who helped and those who knew of the help, translated into death for the families of those that helped. In other countries the penalty was a fine or imprisonment. In Poland it was DEATH. I suppose you think Poles are worthless and should have sacrificed their own lives and the lives of their families for those you think were superior? Would YOU have done the same for Poles? I don’t think so. 3 million Poles, and 3 million Polish Jews perished at the hands of the Germans, in addition to 3 million other European Jews. In essence Poles and Polish Jews were killed at the same rate, and I suppose more Poles should have tried to save the 3 million Poles that did get killed by the Germans, as well? Your statements are simply offensive!

        • No, it is Your comments that are mostly incorrect AND more importantly offensive — bordering on Holocaust denial. Although I could debate you point by point, I will just cut to the most offensive and historically incorrect. That being your attempted comparison of Polish casualties of war, which you slyly try to label as an “annihiation,” to the Holocaust of the Jews.
          In the words of Polish underground courrier Jan Karski, a hero of the war, a hero of the Holocaust, and a Pole… (paraphrasing) while it is emotionally understandable to compare the tragic losses of all civillian casualties of Hitler’s campaign against Europe to the plight of the Jews, it is simply “spiritless.” All victims were not Jews BUT all Jews, by virtue of having merely been born as Jews were victims.
          It is this fact, along with the understanding that every war carries with it the tragedy of inocents as casualties, that cannot be disputed. Did not tens of millions perish in WW1, including tens of thousands of Jews, ethnic Poles, and others? But would anyone argue that those that died did so BECAUSE they were Jews or Poles? Of course not. They were merely casualties of war, as were the loss of Polish lives in WW2. Was not your country at war with Germany? A war that in fact patriotic Poles thought they might win… that is until September 1, 1939. Now, go learn history especially about Polish/Jewish relations before, during & after the Holocaust.

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          • The following FAMOUS statements do not portend just war, they, for most reasonable and open minded people, portend annihilation.
            Hitler: … kill without pity or mercy, ALL men, women, and children of Polish descent or language”.
            Himmler: … “ALL Poles will disappear from this world. It is imperative that the great German nation considers the elimination of ALL Polish people as its chief task”.

            Were you ignorant of these statements, or just ignoring them?
            Hitler ran out of time as he killed at the same rate ethnic Poles and Polish Jews. More Poles than Jews survived as there were simply more Poles. I’m sorry, but no matter how you look at it, 3 million Poles killed out of 36 million is a large number and none of the mothers whose children were killed will not be consoled by the fact that they were only part of 3 million Poles and not 3 million Polish Jews, or the additional 3 million other European Jews? The percentage and numbers game you’re playing is heartless and chauvinistic. You are so hateful of Poles that you choose to deny their suffering, and you get mad at the suggestion that Poles also suffered in the Holocaust, at the hands of the same people, in the same methods, in the same places. Human lives can’t be measured in percentages! There is one life per person!
            Please define and/or re-examine your definition of Holocaust denial as It is impossible for you to be applying a proper definition. I come no where near Holocaust denial and you’re saying so doesn’t make it so.
            Poles DID win the war against the Germans, and they did not give up on September 1, 1939. Poland never capitulated and Poles fought on all fronts until the end of the war. Poles did lose the war against the Soviets and world wide Communism, temporarily, and THAT is why your false impressions were allowed to spread unchallenged. Most Polish patriots ended up arrested, dead, intimidated, censored, pauperized and maligned by a Communist regime and cynical intellectual elite which was repeatedly rejected by a population that saw through their lies. The Western intellectual leftist elite, on the other hand, delivered the atomic bomb secrets to their good old “Uncle Joe” Stalin …… and repeated all aspects of his soothing propaganda, which made the Poles criminals, and him and his cohorts smelling like a rose.

  9. why the autor doesn`t say the Grabowski`s research is based on documents taken from nazi German courts in in occupied Warsaw in the `40 ties of XX Century?

  10. Being a good Catholic, you say?

  11. What a load of malarkey.

    Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where saving a Jew was punishable by death, not just for the person doing the saving, but their entire family. Can you imagine this? Can Mr. Grabowski? Would any of you risk your life and your wife/husband’s, your childrens’ lives, to save another human being? And yet, thousands and thousands of Poles did. There were organizations devoted to this, like Zegota, which smuggled 2500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and hid them (all of them survived the war!).

    Did some Poles collaborate with Nazis? Yes.
    Did some Jews collaborate with Nazis? Yes.
    Did some Poles save Jews despite the atrocious consequences? Yes.

    And this all happened in the context of war: Poland was occupied! It wasn’t a free country, and Poland didn’t “let” the Nazis act out their terrible war machine. Poland was occupied, persecuted, terrorized. In some counties, you could get shot for speaking Polish on the street. Poles were constantly being rounded up, shot for no reason, herded off to death and concentration camps. That’s what war is.

    I’m sorry to see MacLeans publishing this review. What’s next? A book about how it was really Poland that was responsible for the Holocaust? The Anti-Defamation League has issued statement after statement that it was Nazi Germany that was wholly responsible for the Holocaust, and to even suggest otherwise is defamation. Poland was a victim. Poland’s government never collaborated with Nazi Germany. And in war, terrible things happen. But to keep spouting this type of thesis, placing blame on the victims, is just repeating Nazi propaganda.

    So, congratulations, Mr. Grabowski and MacLeans! You’ve just become a Nazi mouthpiece.

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        • First off, you lost me at your choice of nasty language. Second, you should know that a couple of leaves of kapusta don’t make a cabbage soup. And finally, your choice of Wikepedia to back-up your position is proof of your low level of scholarship. Now do you want to open the discussion about Polish Smowlnicki? Be my guest if you dare to be fair about a small “blue army” of Poles who turned-in thousands of Jews for cash or less.

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          • Jack, your anti-polonism speaks volumes. You wouldn’t even be in these comments if it weren’t for a taste of the reparations you so dearly seek. Why do you seek money from a “dead lifeless nation”? Oh, is it because their economy is one of the best in Europe? Is it because a Catholic country is doing just as well as a Jewish one? Can’t stand it can you? So much anger. So much hatred. Only dollars can solve what burns your soul, eh Jack?

          • Actually, the Polish economy is NOT doing well. it is growing, but growing from a low starting point does not mean the economy is good. Those seeking reparations for who knows what, and those wishing not to make reparations, even though Poland never got reparations, are trying to create the illusion that steady growth from a level where you can only go up, is a good economy.

          • I meant the economy is doing well from a general standpoint, Unemployment is down from previous years. Foreign investment has increased. Home values have increased. Many companies are setting up shop in Poland due to it’s educated workforce. Etc.

          • I prefer to say the economy is improving, not that it is good. I think you see my point.

          • Oh, Mr. Katz. So sad. So racist and bigoted and hating of Poles. So ignorant of facts. Jews lived in Poland for 1,000 years before the German Nazis decimated them. 1,000 years, Mr. Katz… a dead, lifeless nation? There’s a beautiful renaissance of Polish Jewry happening in Poland right now. The Jewish Music Festival in Krakow is one of the highest attended events in Europe. Poland is thriving. Many of us thrilled to see that (I’m sure it makes you crazed with rage, right? Guess what — it’s going to keep better and better and all of your vitriol and internet comments can’t stop that).

            This is all happening with or without you — you can spew all the anti-Polish rants you want. And I’m sure you’ll keep doing so — I’m sure you’ll cook up a reply to this comment because you just cannot let anyone have the last word. (Go ahead — prove my point! So that the whole internet world can continue to see how filled with rage and anger you are, and how that blinds you to anything that suggests that Poles aren’t evil.)

          • Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Since you cast the first stone, even though you’re obviously a sinner, then, here it is – while Poland, as every nation, had criminals who would be able to thrive in the lawlessness created by the German nazis and Soviets, so did the Jewish nation. There were Jews who denounced fellow Jews, and denounced Poles who helped Jews. There were actually Jewish members of the Gestapo who sought out Jews hiding outside the Ghetto walls as there was the Jewish Police who BRUTALLY, according to other Jews, rounded up Jews to their deaths and did the dirty work of the Germans. None of this is controversial and enough documentary evidence by Poles AND especially Jews to support this. The Jewish underground in the Warsaw Ghetto first started targeting Jewish criminals who preyed on other Jews. I unlike you, do not try to hide that there are Polish criminals, as you try to hide that there were Jewish criminals, nor do I point fingers gratuitously as you at others, nor am I as hypocritical as you. I do not suggest that all or most Jews were bad, as you suggest all or most Poles were bad. So in other words, there were Jewish szmalcowniki as well as Polish szmalcowniki, and that is the truth and Communist style censorship can’t stop it from getting out anymore.
            What Blue army of Poles?
            Did you write that the Polish Republic got what it deserved for the way it treated Jewish citizens? Did you know that the Polish Republic accepted 500,000 Russian Jews fleeing the Russian civil war where both sides were committing atrocities against Jews, and this Polish Republic granted them citizenship, when Poland was a country devastated by WW ?!, the depression, 123 years of exploitation by three occupying powers? Meanwhile the US could not accept a boatload of Jews fleeing the Nazis, for economic reasons, of course, with Mein Kampf clearly explaining what Hitler planned to do to the Jews. Otherwise, the US had the same exact discrimination as Poland had at the time, namely quotas in schools, and discrimination in the workplace, etc. There was no Klu Klux Klan in Poland, though. Do you wish on the US what Poland experienced. No, of course not, because you’re just biased against Poles, and wish only the Polish Republic to have been dealt such a horrible fate, regardless of what Poles did or didn’t do, and Poles will always be condemned in the eyes of people such as yourself, no matter what they do, or how much they suffer. All, anything good Poles do, or which depicts them as regular human beings, can be denied, AND IS BEING DENIED, by those like yourself.

      • Wow. You have no facts, yet you’ve managed to comment on every single thread on this piece that dares suggest anything other than a vitriolic, anti-Polish agenda.

        Poles did not profit from helping Jews. They did so under great duress and could be shot for doing so. Still, they did it, thousands of times.

        Inconvenient facts, you say? Of course — but it’s you that ignores them, time and again. Pathetic. And I bet you can’t stand the fact that so many learned folks are commenting on this thread, standing up for the Truth and Facts. Bet it really gets to you, huh?

        And the reason people are protesting against the book review? Because it’s based on the same anti-Polish agenda you have — few facts, with many other ignored, and woven together conveniently to prove a false point. Pathetic.

        Just so you know: No one believes you. No one reads your words and is suddenly convinced that decades of scholarship should be thrown out the window. You exhibit such a lack of basic historical knowledge that it’s obvious from the first words you write. You’re just not believable. And I want you know that there will always, always be people like me to stand up to you and your anti-Polish bullying. And there will be more and more of us as Poland continues to blossom, and more and more truth comes out about the terrors of the Nazis, Soviets and communists. What was once repressed is now being aired. So bigots and racists like you will soon be left far, far behind — thank goodness.

  12. For more context info on WW2

    “Jewish Ghetto Police (German: Jüdische Ghetto-Polizei, Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst), also known as the Jewish Police Service and referred to by the Jews as the Jewish Police, were the auxiliary police units organized in the Jewish ghettos of Europe by local Judenrat councils under orders of occupying German Nazis.[1]
    Armband worn by the Jewish Ghetto Police in the Warsaw Ghetto.
    Members of the Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst did not have official uniforms, often wearing just an identifying armband and a badge, and were not allowed to carry firearms. They were used by the Germans primarily for securing the deportation of other Jews to the concentration camps.”


  13. So, Germans don’t want to pay anymore, then Jewish organisations looking for new alleged “Nazis” to be milked, huh? ;-)

    Anyway, instead of constantly looking to keep the Holocaust industry afloat, Jews should at last grow up to start looking at their own responsibility in the extermination of European Jews during WW2.

    That refers in particular to:

    (1) The role of Jewish administration in Ghettos (Judenrat, Jewish Police, Jewish collaborators with Nazis)

    Example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Jewish_Nazi_collaborators

    BTW, as far as Judenraete are concerned, Hannah Arendt, one of the greatest Jewish modern philosophers, wrote in her book that “without the assistance of the Judenräte, the registration of the Jews, their concentration in ghettos and, later, their active assistance in the Jews’ deportation to extermination camps, many fewer Jews would have perished because the Germans would have encountered considerable difficulties in drawing up lists of Jews.”

    (2) Lack of any support from American Jews, despite numerous requests sent by their European compatriots.

    • Your first 2 lines are dead on. You’ve revealed the real reasons for this “new” history. And people like Katz (Katzenberg?) are party to this shakedown. Shame shame.

  14. To start this article is just is just flat out disturbing. First thing…before the war there were 3.3 million Jews in Poland…that alone should tell you that Poland was one of the only couturiers that accepted them with open arms. To go out on a witch hunt to find out that polish people killed Jews is just bizarre and tips the scale in every direction. I can accept that some Pols killed some jews, but a lot of us would if you were in that situation. War/rape/killing by the Germans….lets not forget…Germans invaded Poland!!….and it’s funny that it’s written by a “Polish jew” which you can see has hate for Poland….wow just crazy!! Lets talk about the holocaust that is going on in Israel with the Palestinians people…but wait…no no lets not, lets talk bout this crap.

    • Why is it so difficult for Poles to come to terms that such things happened? That’s for psycho pathologists to describe. Indeed Poland allowed a very large number of to Jews to settle on its territory, but subjected them to (slightly) restrictive laws. For example, they could not own land. On the other hand Jewish aspirations to assimilate were vigorously resisted by Jewish majority (such movement started by Jewish intellectuals approx. since XVII century). It became possible in XIX century, but still the majority wanted to stay different.

      It is for some reason difficult for Poles and Jews to talk about it without undue emotion or “intellectual” bias. The documented atrocities were directed at all ethnicities and committed by all ethnicities on those lands. That includes Poles against Jews, but also Jews against Jews, and Jews against Germans. All were perpetrators as well as victims. One can not argue the innocence of one group based on the fact that in relative terms one group or another “scored” less.

      To Mr. Katz: I strongly disagree with a few of your arguments. I am going to address only one of them. if you find a way to give me your address I will show up and ask that you shelter me and feed me for free for a year. Then try to do it in a manner that none of your neighbors and guests suspect anything. Top it with a rule that if authorities find out about me, you, your wife, and your children will be executed. Your neighbors may be killed as well. To help you to approximate the difficulty of such task add the true hardship of war: no jobs, no money, food rations, requisitions of crops, random round-ups, and so on. Alternatively: offer your home to just one homeless and help him to survive in humane conditions.

      Yes, money were needed to successfully hide somebody, regardless of ethnicity. Were there instances of making business out of that situation? Yes! Were there documented instances of hiding even whole families without money? Many !

      • Your example is of course absurd and not relevant to the circumstances of most Jews and Poles during the Holocaust. But you reveal your true ignorance of Poland & its Jews when you call the pre-WW2 Polish laws legislating outright discrimination against Jews “slightly” restrictive.

        • If you seriously think that “Your example is absurd and not relevant to the circumstances of most Jews and Poles during the Holocaust” you just proved that you know nothing of the war realities in Poland. His example of hiding was spot-on.

  15. What a bunch of crock. I’ll be cancelling my macleans subscription now.

    • It’s the same old story.

      Take a look at news stories about Poland sometime. They are either about the “Jewish revival” in Krakow, or something related to Jews and the war. Poland itself is RARELY highlighted. It’s like it doesn’t exist. Media bias? Check it out yourself.

  16. This comment was deleted.

    • “Poland… no Jew will ever look back at the red (for blood) & white (for surrender) flag they left behind. Good riddance!”

      For once we agree, good riddance. Now go away and make life better for your people and leave Poland the hell alone.

    • Dear Jack,

      Please vent your emotional frustration elsewhere and don’t worry about Poland & Poles too much, because we shall do just fine.

      You know, our beautiful heritage of the over 1000-year old Polish state, mighty Winged Hussars and the legacy of our ancestors, who have shown patriotic spirit and great endurance in particular during the last 2 centuries, makes us stronger. Therefore, we will certainly overcome and live beyond also these slanderous accusations being spat onto us by some members of Jewish nation.

      BTW, as civilized humans we should be showing mercy towards the poor and handicapped God’s creatures, so I hereby send you my deepest sympathy. God Bless Jack!

      Best regards,
      Mieszko Leliwa-Judeosceptyk

  17. To summarize, the book by Mr. Grabowski is the same tired depiction of Poles as inhuman, evil people who did nothing good with a few exceptions (mentioned only to maintain a semblance of credibility). It downplays, dismisses, omits, explains away any facts which show the Poles in a human light, with feelings, fears, concerns for their families, their suffering, horrible conditions endured, etc. It then uses tainted evidence and sources to exaggerate acts committed by those who did so out of desperation, terror, torture, nervous breakdown, starvation, criminality in a lawless situation created by other predatory countries.
    What is obvious is that this rhetoric has gone on for decades as Poland was muzzled by the Soviets and could not defend herself, and promoted thanks to the bias or naivete in the western media which shamefully approved the betrayal of Eastern Europe to the Soviets, not only without objection, but active collaboration. This article and book are a continuation of the arrogance and patronizing of ignorant, and poorly educated journalists and researchers, supported by those who hate. In my experience, this anti Polish pattern of conduct stems mostly from people who have been misguided, and then those exposed to leftist, Communist propaganda. Has anyone seen an article with a pro Polish interpretation of history in the media lately? Bad information is self perpetuating. However, just as the Katyn lies were thoroughly discredited, so will these more subtle ones be discredited.

  18. Following the recent unfortunate fashion, the editors did not bother to put in a subtitle to the photo. Almost all readers would take the uniformed man for some kind a German officer. In fact, that was the uniform of the Polish police, known as “granatowa policja” (blue police), the same people as the state police before the WW2.

    Thus the photo is very much to the point, but the fashionable lack of a subtitle is misleading.

  19. Macleans, this is a very disappointing review. Badly researched (3.3 million Jews in Poland before the Germans invaded in September
    1939. At the end of the war, that number had plummeted to about 30,000) and extremely biased (the suggestion of ‘hunting’ for Jews already in the title). And not balanced at all; where is the opposing view? Shame on you, I used to read you a lot.