Jerzy Robert Nowak
One should remember that the disgusting lies of ‘Golden Harvest’ by Jan Tomasz Gross and his wife Irena Grudzinska-Gross are nothing exceptional. The book is another excess of the anti-Polish campaign, which has increased in the world during the last decades, and the size of which cannot be seen yet. Similarly, we cannot see the power of threats towards Poland, resulting from the increasingly obvious ally of various foreign kinds of anti-Polonism. For example, it is a serious mistake to see only the anti-Polonism of some influential Jewish environments in the USA and Israel and not to see the increasingly powerful expressions of anti-Polonism in Germany, Russia or Ukraine. Here I will focus on the German attempts to falsify the history of World War II by accusing us of alleged co-responsibility for the extermination of Jews, which is to weaken the remembrance of the German crimes. The whole affair is an important political interest for the Germans, based on a long-term planning. The exposition of the role of Poles as the alleged executioners of Jews during the war, co-responsible for the Holocaust, goes hand in hand with the maximal publication of the alleged suffering of the Germans as ‘being displaced on a large scale’ and many a time murdered by Poles. Some German politicians intend to use this action as a political basis for future peaceful moving of Germany’s borders to the East at the cost of Poland. Having that in mind the fact that Gross’s books have been much publicised in Germany is non-accidental. His books have received several hundred enthusiastic reviews, like a mantra repeating the thesis that Gross abolished the myth of Poles as victims, showing them as ‘executioners.’ It is not by accident that one of the most active promoters of Gross’s books in Germany is the journalist Helga Hirsch (a collaborator of Erika Steinbach), who hates Poles very much and who wrote a lampoon showing that Poles persecuted the displaced Germans fiercely.
Germany places Poland in the dock
We appreciate very little the fact that various German circles began systematically smearing Poles as a nation that was allegedly co-guilty for the Jewish Holocaust a long time ago, i.e. in the early 1960s. Jozef Lichten, the Jewish friend of Poles and promoter of the Jewish dialogue with the Catholic Church, was the first to turn our attention to this fact. Stefan Wilkanowicz, a Catholic activist and the former editor-in-chief of ‘Znak’ in the years 1978-94, wrote, ‘In the early 1960s I met Jozef Lichten in New York […]. He told me, ‘Mr Wilkanowicz, one must do something because an anti-Polish propaganda financed by Germany is being launched in America. They try to convince all people that the camps were located in Poland because the Polish society was as anti-Semitic as the German society.’ I remember Lichten asking me the question, ‘why is this Bartoszewski doing nothing?’ (quoted from the discussion ‘Sharing the pain of others’ in the editorial board of ‘Znak’, issue 6, June 2000). But Lichten’s pressure on Bartoszewski was successful. The known writer of Jewish background Adolf Rudnicki noticed in his book ‘Obraz z kotem i psem’ [A picture with a Cat and a Dog] (Warszawa 1960, pp. 63, 65), ‘Recently in «Krzywe Kolo» Bartoszewski spoke about the activities of «Zegota» [Polish Council to Aid Jews] during the occupation, recollecting the «new» idea promoted by the Germans that Poles were co-guilty for what happened.’ Unfortunately, in the later decades the same Bartoszewski, whom the Germans paid well for lectures and gave medals, remained completely silent about the size of the wave of this type of German slanders against Poles although they had become very popular. ‘Renewed’ Bartoszewski preferred to lull Poles than to make them alert. The excellent sociologist-specialist in German affairs and lecturer at the University of Bremen, Prof. Zdzislaw Krasnodebski, wrote in ‘Rzeczpospolita’ (3-4 June 2000), ‘I have many a time observed the situations in the Polish-German-Jewish talks where the Germans were playing the role of a judge, someone who has already paid for his guilt and become a new man and now inclines others to confess their guilt whereas suddenly the Polish participants found themselves hardened defendants who despite obvious facts keep pleading not guilty or enumerate extenuating circumstances, meanly extricating themselves from responsibility. One can say that the more forgiven the German guilt is the more guilty the Poles become. […] From the present perspective it would be easier to understand it if the perpetrators had been those from the East, uncivilised, poor, anti-Semitic, Catholic and nationalistic Poles than the Western, rich, civilised, liberal, secularised, pro-European Germans.’ Moreover, in 2000 in the Krakow ‘Arcana’ (issue 48) two professors of philosophy, Zbigniew Musial and Boguslaw Wolniewicz, condemned firmly the tendencies to smear Poland and Poles in order to whiten the role of the Germans during World War II. In the text entitled ‘Alarming facts around Poland’ both professors showed the tendency to use such terms as ‘crimes of Nazism’ instead of ‘German crimes’ or ‘German concentration camps’ and the increasingly often used slanderous terms ‘Polish extermination camps’ (even used by The Simon Wiesenthal Center). They wrote, ‘Irresistibly comes the thought that the terms constitute a part of a wider and long-term propaganda that has one aim: to unburden the Germans from their causative connection with the extermination of the European Jews and instead of that burden Poles for these crimes. Using propaganda one tries to replace in this context ‘Poland’ with ‘Germany’ in the public opinion worldwide. Let us call this operation ‘substituting Poland’ […] the thing is that people will stop associating the Holocaust with the Germans as a nation and begin associating it with Poland and Poles. And only with them!’
Some Jewish authors support pro-German lies
The amazing fact is how often the important American, German, French and other media have consciously popularised the slanderous terms ‘Polish concentration camps’, ‘Polish extermination camps.’ The only way to stop this action would be Poland suing concrete press or television media that are guilty of using these vile terms slandering Poland. The first person to suggest such an action was the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs (of Jewish background) Adam Daniel Rotfeld (who was saved in a Polish monastery during the war). But his recommendation has never been fulfilled! The meaningful fact is that even various Jewish representatives have used many a time this slanderous term ‘Polish extermination camps’ and thus they went as far as to whiten the German crimes. The above-mentioned case of the usage of the term in The Simon Wiesenthal Center was not the only one! An exceptionally scandalous example of public use of this slanderous term against Poles was the speech of one of the most known researchers of Holocaust Yehuda Bauer, an internationally renowned scientist. Bauer used the words ‘gassing Jews in the Polish extermination camp of Chelmno’ (‘Vergassung von Juden in polnischen Vernichtungslager Chelmno’) in his interview for ‘Der Spiegel’ (issue 10, 2000). The lack of any reaction of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to such a scandalous example of whitening Germany at the cost of Poland by the leading Jewish Holocaust researcher who knew perfectly well about the exclusive criminal role of the Germans in this matter was outrageous. I want to remind you that on the pages of ‘Niedziela’ on 21 May 2000 I asked the question whether this shocking silence of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs resulted from the personal friendship between Prof. Geremek (who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs then) and Prof. Bauer.’ It is worth mentioning another meaningful example of cynically whitening the Germans at the cost of Poles by the very well known Jewish representative. On 29 March 1993, in ‘Profil’ (issue 13), one of the most renowned Austrian periodicals, there was an interview taken by Henryk M. Broder with the president of the Jewish Community in Germany Ignatz Bubis. In the first part of the interview it was written slanderously that during the war Bubis had been in ‘the Polish labour camp’ (Polnischen Arbeitslager). This type of interview must have been authorised by Bubis who knew well that there were only ‘German labour camps’ and not Polish ones! I was not astonished at all by Bubis allowing such a slander to be published. This president of the Jewish Community in Germany many a time expressed his extreme dislike towards Poland and Poles at the same time whitening the Germans. He did it despite the fact that it was the Poles that had rescued him during the war. When such important figures as Y. Bauer or I. Bubis dared to express their slanderous anti-Polish words whitening the Germans we should not be surprised by the slanders expressed by some less popular but still known Jewish authors. I want to quote the vile anti-Polish lie published in over three million (!) copies of the book ‘Chutzpah’ by Alan M. Dershowitz in Boston in 1991. Dershowitz, the lawyer of the famous Rabbi A. Weiss (who made a provocation in the Carmelite convent in Oswiecim) wrote in ‘Chutzpah’ that the Jews ‘were gassed in the giant Polish extermination camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec, Chelmno and Sobibor’ (p. 140). It is worth adding that in the same book on pp. 142-143, 146, 150, 152 he attacked as alleged anti-Semites the Primates of Poland: August Hlond, Stefan Wyszynski and Jozef Glemp as well as the great martyr Fr Maksymilian Kolbe. For such slanderers as Dershowitz, Gross, who pretends to be a historian referring to selectively matched sources in his generalisations, constitutes a very important support.