Falsities and concealments of Gross
Professor Jerzy Robert Nowak published a new book entitled ‘Falsze i przemilczenia Grossa’ [Falsities and Concealments of Gross]. It is another response to ‘Golden Harvest. Reflections on Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust’ by Jan Tomasz Gross (together with Irena Grudzinska-Gross, his former wife) – the book edited by the Publishing House Znak.
Why is the government silent?
Prof. Jerzy Robert Nowak claims that Gross, accusing Poles and the Catholic Church of having committed many crimes against Jews during World War II, in his book ‘Golden Harvest’ counted on personal benefits. The publisher of ‘Golden Harvest’ found many allies in the country, especially among journalists of the influential media, including ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ and ‘Wprost.’ As the professor notices Gross’s book was to serve to wake Poles up so that they could face ‘difficult truth,’ plead guilty, apologise for the crimes they committed and even claim damages. Prof. Nowak stresses that the anti-Polish campaign in the world is provoked by some Jewish environments that have their interests doing so and also by some German environments interested in blaming Poles for the Holocaust. At the same time one can see the scandalous passivity of the Polish government. Even our court did not see anything blameworthy in Gross’s slandering Poland. However, many Poles felt indignant about the book ‘Golden Harvest’ and some bookstores did not want to sell its copies. In the annex to the book ‘Falsze i przemilczenia Grossa’ we find the appeals and opinions of some known people who opposed Gross’s calumnies included in ‘Golden Harvest.’
Gross’s serial of lies
Prof. Nowak reminded us that Gross had thrown calumnies on Poles since 1979. 32 years ago his first book ‘Polish Society under German Occupation’ was published. Gross stated that ‘Poles enjoyed greater freedom in the period 1939-44 than in the whole century’ (quoted by J.R. Nowak). Claiming that Gross wanted to undermine the meaning of the Polish Underground State and to undermine the threat Poles faced when saving Jews. In his opinion the anti-Hitler’s conspiracy was not possible thanks to Poles’ heroism but because of the freedom the occupant left them. This lie was stupid and what’s more, impudent. It is worth noticing that all Gross’s books published in English contained strong false accusations of Polish people. In his Polish editions Gross omitted some of them, e.g., the description of the alleged ritual murder committed by the Polish clergy against the Jewish children (in the American edition of his book ‘Fear’).
Prof. Nowak, who knows several languages, checked this carefully. He reminded us that the first book written by Gross was criticised by many, including Stefan Korbonski. The other critics were Jerzy Giedrojc and Wladyslaw Bartoszewski. The words of Antoni Zambrowski, written for ‘Najwyzszy czas’ and quoted by Prof. Nowak, throw light on the sources of the anti-Polish phobia of Gross, ‘Jan Tomasz Gross was a prisoner of March 1968; he broke down during the questioning and accused his colleagues. I read his testimonies during my own investigation and I remember the abominations he told, out of fear, the officers who questioned him. Today he is trying to cope with his frustration, blaming the Polish nation, as innocent as a lamb, for the communist anti-Semitism of those times’ (quoted after J. R. Nowak).
Calumnies against the Church
In his ‘Golden Harvest’ Gross accuses all Poles of crimes committed against Jews. He calls the Polish peasants ‘game’ and describes the attitudes of the Blue Police, Polish railway workers or firemen using the darkest colours. Gross’s books do not mention the role of the Church in rescuing Jews, the shelter given to them in monasteries, the priests murdered for saving Jews. It is astonishing that his vile calumnies against the Catholic hierarchs, especially Cardinal Adam Sapieha, Metropolitan of Krakow, who was a protector of the Publishing House Znak, won the recognition of the director of this publishing house. And in fact, many Catholic hierarchs, including Cardinal Sapieha or Bishop Teodor Kubina of Czestochowa, helped Jews during the war.
Prof. Nowak also deals with the themes concerning the Polish-Jewish relationships that were silenced in ‘Golden Harvest’ and as he stresses, have been covering up in a conscious and cynical way in the name of political correctness. This part of Prof. Nowak’s book makes readers realise the topics Gross does not want them to focus on, publishing his slanderous books. Jerzy Robert Nowak quotes some Jewish testimonies about what was happening in Poland occupied by the Germans and which can be the counterbalance for Gross’s accusations. Prof. Gross reminded us of the crimes committed by the Jews against the Poles living in the eastern territories in the years 1939-41, including the crimes against the Dominicans in Czortkow, against the Polish prisoners in June 1941, the crime in Tarnopol. He also mentioned the acts of plunder committed by Jews, e.g., the plunder of the properties of the Catholic Church in Poland. He quoted the statements of Jan Karski about the Jewish collaborators, the words of General Stefan Rowecki-Grot about the anti-Polish fury of all Jewry, of General Wladyslaw Anders about Jews who denounced Poles. He reminded us of how the Jews feted the Soviet invaders of Poland, how they rejoiced at the Polish tragedy and finally, how the truth about the Jewish collaboration was covered up. One chapter of Nowak’s book presents the crimes committed by the Judenrat and Jewish police. Another chapter concerns the role of the Jewish communists in the process of Stalinisation of Poland after World War II. The last issue Prof. Nowak deals with is the support of some Jewish authors for the lies about Poles; lies aiming at transferring some part of the German guilt of the war on our nation.