Poland was once a destination for Jews.
“There are bad people everywhere, so nothing bad counts. At least not where Jews are concerned.”
Fuck that genocide-excusing crap.
But there was no Polish state or government to sanction, enable or facilitate the death camps, only an occupation administration for the part of German-occupied Poland not annexed to Germany itself. The Nazi regime asserted that Poland no longer existed.
The basis for the formation of General Government was a German-Soviet claim of the total collapse of the Polish state, announced by Adolf Hitler on October 8, 1939 through the so-called Annexation Decree on the Administration of the Occupied Polish Territories . This rationale was utilized by the German Supreme Court to reassign the identity of all Polish nationals as stateless subjects, with exception of the ethnic Germans of interwar Poland, named the only rightful citizens of the Third Reich in disregard of international law
Jews made up a good percentage of the population of Poland before the Holocaust.
The white supremicist Polish nationalists might try to sell a “pure Polish nation” myth, but that’s a distortion of history.
Often the least bad place they could get to. That doesn’t mean Polish culture was welcoming or even vaguely decent to them. It’s a big part of mynfamily history.
I’ve seen very interesting writing about the differences in historical education on Nazi-era atrocities between the two sides of the iron curtain in Europe. The differences in education in East & West Germany were striking, with those in the Soviet controlled East being taught that the population was led astray by a small group of Nazis who fooled everyone about their true intent and essentially tricked the country into following them, with those in the West more or less taught that it was a collective shame for which all Germans bore responsibility. Which in part explains why there seem to be more resurgent neo-Nazi movements in the eastern part of the Germany.
I wonder how much of this Polish nonsense is directly attributable to those in power now having been educated under a system which enforced some less than historically honest accounts of the roots of Polish misery in WWII?
Poland was a great Jewish artistic and cultural center, most colloquially notable in that many of the famed rabbinical quotes at Passover time come from then.
Lots of great skyscraper real estate in downtown Warsaw is former Jewish temples and schools, iirc. Restitution unmade.
No matter what they called themselves, many of the people who lived in present-day Poland during the Nazi occupation still ‘fell in line’ and didn’t resist.
…and we’ve all heard stories of Polish (as well as German) Jews returning home from the camps to find the good Polish (or German) families that’d taken over their homes refusing to go.
Some were killed upon their return, but not enough we didn’t learn about it.
The Nazis were no longer holding guns to their non-Jewish heads and forcing them to do this.
You said “Poland”, not Polish people. There was no Poland.
Yeah, the communnist countries also tended to have a larger focus on partisans instead of the destruction of the European Jewish community. The film Come and See is a great example of that. It shows the destruction of a Jewish village by the Einsatzgruppen, but it’s all in the service of hardening the resolve of a young (presumably Christian) boy at the end. It’s a horrific scene (in a long line of horrific scenes), but it’s still more about building up the partisan ranks against the nazis and coming to the rescue of the Jews. Still one of the best world war 2 movies ever, if you ask me, but you can see the messaging quite easily.
I think that Everything is Illuminated also addresses the erasure of Jewish identities in some parts of Europe during and even after the war under the communist regimes. It follows an american (based on Jonathan Safron Foer’s book, sort of autobiographical) coming to the Ukraine to find the woman how save his grandfather during the war, and then it turns out that the tour guide had Jewish relatives who died in the holocaust… his heritage had been erased, in other words.
Let’s not mince words, these were full on pogroms after the war. I think Atina Grossman pretty well established that in her work of the immediate postwar occupation period (prior to the onset of the Cold War):
Or the old standby “you had to be a
Republican Nazi party member to do business”
I hope you’re not implying that was my logic here. In fact I’m saying the exact opposite-- if the editors of Tylko Polska think nobody should discuss Poland’s role in the Holocaust, then logically they shouldnt ever report on any crime in Poland because it makes the country look bad.
If 1/4 of the people who claimed (or whose descendants claimed) to have been active La Résistance or Maquis were actually doing so, the Nazis would have been up to their tits in partisans.
But, to be fair to people who knew hardship I literally can’t imagine, it’s a hell of a lot easier for people like us to be sitting in our comfy chairs with food in our bellies clucking our tongues about how a majority of folks “fell in line” and didn’t resist up to our standards than it was to risk one’s life (and those of your spouse, kids, etc). We all imagine ourselves as the romantic hero printing leaflets of throwing a molotov cocktail, but human nature usually says otherwise. I don’t know what the proper balance is between holding people responsible for the choices they made and having the humility to recognize that there but for the grace of jebus go I.
You’re arguing semantics rather than my actual point… so I’m disengaging now and moving on.
I remember the last time I went to a public march there were a few people leaning on their car horns because they couldn’t stand the idea of being even momentarily inconvenienced by protesters taking a stand against kidnapping and caging children.
Most of us, most of the time, will overlook all manner of evil if it means getting to go on with our daily lives. Not a pleasant thing to contemplate.
Sadly, this seems all too true.
One of my favorite films, as Roger Ebert said of it “one of the most devastating movies ever, about anything.”
Yes. Antisemitism in Europe and America wasn’t some short-lived anomaly, it was widespread, from the first Italian ghettos to Dreyfus to the pogroms and the printing of “The Protocols…”, Hitler was just the logical outcome of unchecked bias, hatred and fear.
That’s … not really true. “Poland” had functionally ceased to exist well before the camps located there got going.
“Sanctioned, enabled and facilitated by (some) Poles”, would be truer, but even that is a bit of a stretch.
“Aided by some Poles who were caught in the middle of a shitty shit sandwich” probably comes a lot closer.
Maybe it’s a semantic difference, but the current Polish govt obviously think it’s one worth drawing attention to.
FWIW, the people of pretty much every country that the Nazi’s overran faced the same dilemma. And in pretty much every country - including in the Polish territories - there were Righteous Among the Nations … and also not-Righteous Among the Nations. Key takeaway here is: fuck the Nazis. Then, and now.