Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jews and Polish Underground Press

Source: Jan Gross, "A Tangled Web" in The Politics of Retribution in Europe ed Deak, Gross and Judt.  pp 81-82

An excerpt from an article published in the milieu of the Socio-Political Committee Pobudka (The Wake-Up Call).  It was carried by the periodical Words of Truth, published on 30 October 1943:

Who are the jews [small letter in original], whom they were for us, and whom they still may become - all should know this.  Jews spread among us like pestilence, and Poland was a jewish breeding ground.  One fourth of the 14 million jews of the whole world lived and fattened themselvs on our Polish misery.  Did they feel any gratitutde because of this?  No!  In every war jews were on the side of our enemies, or in the best case - on the side of the stronger.  The Polish nation suffered loss after loss, while the jews took advantage of every war and every national uprising to enrich themselves and enlarge their influence ...  Germans did not kill all the jews ... about 2,275,000 jews were murdered, there are about 550,000 in the ghettos, in camps, and in hiding, and about 525,000 emigrated mostly to the Soviet land.  This million of mostly young jews will come out of hiding, from ghettos, fromt he forests, and will return with the Soviet army when it approaches our borders.  Jews will emerge in the critical moment, wrecking vengence on us and trying deprive us of the fruit of victory thanks to their influence in the West and possibilities in the East.  But we grew wiser in the last quarter-century and we know that a jew is our enemy ....If jews would remain neutral we're ready to forgive them a lot and to support their emigration to depopulated territories of southern Russia, or anywhere else.  During the peace conference we must insist on recognising jews as citizens of a nonexistent state, so that they cease to be Polish citizens.  The jewish problem in Poland must come to an end.
Page 82-83
[Karski] didn't have such horrible news to report on his first trip but what he had to say was enough for the Polish government in exile to falsify his report, so that allied governments or publich opinion in the West would not be informed about the extent of anti-Jewish sentiments in Polish society.  "One can feel all over that the [Jews] hoped Poles would recognise that both nations are injustly exploited by the same enemy, and that Poles' attitude toward them would reflect this awareness.  But such an understanding is lacking among the borader masses of the Polish society.  Their attitude toward Jews is ruthless, often without pity.  A large part avails itself of the prerogatives [vis-a-vis the Jews] that they have in the new situation.  They use these prerogatives repeatedly, often even abuse them.  To some extent this brings the Poles closer to the Germans ... The anti-Semitism of a broad strata of a the Polish society did not diminish at all."  The Nazis, noted Karski in conclusion, were able to make of the Jewish question "something akin to a narrow bridge upon which the Germans and a large portion of Polish society are finding agreement."

[Footnote 18, page 119.  The manuscript of Karski's report can be found in the Hoover Institution archives (Stanislaw Mikolajczyk Collection, box 12) with handwritten lines scribbled across the cover page:  "Attention!!  Pages 6+9+10+11 have double pages."  Indeed, doubled pages paginated as 6a, 9a, 10a and 11a are very carefully prepared.  They begin and end exactly in the same place (once including a hyphenated word), for easy substitution.  Karski was instructed, as he told me when I queried him about the document, to draft a sanitized version, omitting his descriptions of the anti-Semitisim prevailing in the Polish society, by a close confidant of then Prime Minister General Wladyslaw Sikorski, Professor Stanislaw Kot.  Polish raison d'etat vis-a-vis the Allies required that the matter be covered up, he was told.  For both versions of the document in their entirety, seeMowia Wieki, November 1992, 2-9]

page 83
The government delegate, the head of the civilian underground structure in occupied Poland, was more specific in an autumn 1941 report dispatched to London: "German policiees toward the Jewish minority stimulate two kinds of responses.  The inhuman terror to which the Jews are subjected is universally condemned and evokes a lot of pity.  But the social and particularly the economic isolation are generally approved.  A certain faer, especially in merchant circles, goes with it - namely that the Jews might eventually return to their dominant position in the economy."......On 25 Setember 1941 - three months after the beginning of the Soviet-Nazi war and after the first wave of mass killings of Jews - the commander of the Home Army, Grot-Rowecki, sent the following telegram to London:
I report that all statements and policies of the government and the National Council concerning the Jews in Poland create the worst possible impression in the country and facilitate propaganda directed against the government.  This was the reaction to the "day of the Jewry" (Dzien Zydowstwa), to Szwarcbard's speech, to the nomination of Lieberman, as well as to greetings conveyed on the occasion of the Jewish New Year.  Please accept it as a fact that the overwhelming majority of the country is anti-Semitic.  Even socialists are not an exception in this respect.  The only difference concern how to deal with the Jews.  Almost nobody advocates the adoption of German methods.  Even secret organizations remaining under the influence of the prewar activists in the Democratic Club or the Socialist Party adopt the postulate of emigration as a solution of the Jewish problem.  This becamea s much of a truism as, for instance, the necessity to eliminate Germans....Anti-Semitism is widespread now.
Nor would these attitudes change under the impact of the Holocaust.  If we move three years forward, to the even of the Warsaw uprising, when the overwhelming majority of the Polish Jews had been killed, we find the political emissary Celt coming back from his mission to Poland with the following message: "The government delegate asked me to inform you that according to him 'the government exaggerates in its love for Jews.'  The delegate understands that such moves may be necessary for the sake of foreign policy, but he advises prudence and restraint.  Both under General Sikorski and now the government is too forthcoming in its philo-Semitism, because the country does not like Jews."

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