Polish article translation
The peasants murdered Jews because of greed
Peter Zychowicz 12-01-2011, last updated: 12-01-2011 18:00
I have to agree with Gross. Polish society is in some ways co-responsible for what happened on this earth. It is not we decided to exterminate the Jews, but to many murders have contributed to – he says historian Peter Zychowiczowi
Author: Jerzy Dudek
Jan Tomasz Gross, “Golden harvest” wrote that the Poles could have murdered as many as 200 thousand Jews. Przeholował?
Skibińska Alina: Actually, at this stage of research would be difficult to defend such a number. Only a few years ago with colleagues from the Center for Holocaust Research we analyzed records of the so-called sierpniówek, a process brought to court after the war, among other crimes committed against the Jews. This material, however, is so huge that it requires a few more years of research before we can give a concrete figure.
So those 200,000 Gross himself invented?
No. It is based on a calculation. Indeed it is estimated that about 10 percent of Polish Jews held under the German occupation had fled before the German deportations. Or fled from the ghettos during the pacification of, or already transports to the camps themselves. So that gives you at least 250 thousand people. Of these, 250,000 after the war in the Central Committee of Jews in Poland, have registered more than 60,000.
What happened to the 190 thousand?
But whether they really were murdered by the Poles?
No. Many were wyłapanych in the first days or even hours after the escape of the German raid. These people were totally unprepared to escape, they had no hiding places, stores, often just wandering around the area. Concentrated in larger groups were an easy target for the Germans. Survived longer, only those who in the early days they managed to escape somewhere far from the site, or the pacification hid in their Polish neighbors. It was they who could later be killed at the hands of Poles or Polish as a result of denunciations.
How according to you could be such cases?
Tens of thousands. And rather more than less – certainly not 20,000. Moreover, even if in a few years will finish the examination of documents, and so did not we determine the exact number of Jews killed by Poles. It will only limit the minimum. Cause I do not after all the killings remained a trace archive. The killings may in fact occur in remote locations. The perpetrator or perpetrators buried the body and took the secret to the grave. In such cases, historians are helpless.
In what took place during the murders?
It began in 1942 when the Germans began to implement the “Final Solution of the Jewish question.”In the forests and villages came to Jewish refugees. This lasted until 1945. Apogee murders took place in 1943, that when the Jews already several months hiding in the Poles. In many cases, people who initially chose to help the Jews, after some time departed from this assistance. In general, threw the Jews from their hiding places and, in drastic cases, even kill them.
Between being righteous and the executioner was a fine line?
The human psyche is the carrying capacity. People took to the Jews themselves, thinking that all this will not last long, but with the prolonged war – and thus, the stress of the possibility of denunciation and fear of German reprisals – began to regret it. Besides the Jews ended funds, they became more and more weight. The most effective was to help with humanitarian motives. These incentives are in fact generally not exhausted. These people helped Jews unconditionally. Those who hoped that by adopting a Jewish home, earn, resigned after some time.
Examined the records of your processes from the area of post-war Kielce. How many were there such things?
In the three courts were held in Kielce, more than 450 cases of murder and denunciation of the Jews. The vast majority, 70 percent, concerned events in the country. It was even a few thousand were murdered, often because once killed a whole group of people. Though the matter of the crime committed by the brothers from the community Siudaków Tuczępy. One of them took to the basement cells of the Jewish family of four …
I immediately knew that their murder?
Probably yes, because the crime occurred a few days. Talked to the complicity of her brother, who was with the partisans and was armed. One of them started to shoot through the door of the cell.Jews could not kill in this way, but were heavily wounded. Then the second brother went inside and finished the work of an ax. Zarąbał all four, including two children. Bodies have been robbed, and the brothers filled the underground cell. Then lived with these corpses under one roof, and neighbors saw the family in clothes far Siudaków killed. Their children wore clothes of Jewish children.
Who were the perpetrators of murders? Degenerates, thieves, alcoholics?
Parish priests behaved towards Jews, killing and passively tracking
Unfortunately not. There were also people from the margins, but generally these were so-called ordinary, decent citizens. I shared Polish perpetrators – this applies to crimes committed in the provinces – the four categories. The first is called.functionaries: village administrators, mayors, gajowi, firefighters, forest ranger. The second is the ordinary peasants. The third category: granatowi policemen. Finally, the fourth partisans of all formations, the Peasant Battalions, the National Armed Forces, Army, and even members of the Communist guerrillas.
Let’s start with the first category …
It happened that the mayor, for example – at the direction of the German police or on its own initiative – organized the hunt for fugitives in the woods. First was to gather in the village, which had come to the task assigned to the peasants. If they disagreed, which was frequent, the elder blackmailed them that they denounce the Nazis. Then, armed with sticks and pitchforks men hunted Jews. Trapped escorted to the nearest German police station. There are also cases that the peasants were caught at night detained in custody municipal and – at times, that under the influence of alcohol – they killed themselves. This, however, in contrast to the transfer of Jews to Germany, there had already been done publicly, in the face of the whole village. It was a murder with criminal.
They took part in all of women?
In the murder does not. It was a guy thing. However, in donosicielstwie, denunciations – the most.
You mentioned the guerrillas. I understand that killing Jews was a grassroots initiative of degenerate men with guns, and not filling orders commanders.
The documents in this process could be inferred. In the courtroom, however, these people are often accused by their superiors to issue such orders. Commanders always denied this and claimed that it was the initiative of the soldiers. The scenario was similar to those murders. Jews – mostly tailors and shoemakers – begged the guerrillas, to accept them into the branch. They were ready to perform auxiliary functions: to sew, cook. But partisans murdered and robbed them.
But in such cases should be careful not to act post-war process? Why frame him for these people communists, tried to prove that the underground soldiers were “fascists”?
This fundamental question that we set ourselves when we analyze each case, each trial records.This is easily verified by a careful reading. In most cases of wrabianiu no way. If indeed it was a crackdown on the independence of the underworld, the effect would be severe. And these people were sentenced to the low penalty. Mountain a few years, many of acquittal. The judges did not want to become them hurt. Moreover, many processes were accompanied by the exhumation.Place of burial of the bodies indicated the defendants themselves.
So do not miss the degeneration of war, even underground.
Unfortunately. Interestingly, there were often arguments that Jews were murdered as a “German informers” or ordinary bandits.
As for the so-called survival of the forest group, which attacked the Polish villages?
But these groups have to somehow provide! The peasants were their only chance. Some nights they spent in the woods, and days worked for the Poles. Engaged in craft occupations in return for food. Some begged, or traded. Others, I do not deny, indeed, acquire the power supply. They were, however, people backs to the wall. In a hopeless situation. Condemned to death, outside the law.Members of the Polish underground should take this fact into account.
A navy-blue police?
Among the officers of that service also, unfortunately, there were torturers. And it’s not necessarily acting on the instructions of the Germans. Soltys, or mayor, when received a denunciation that hides within it a Jew, he could summon the German navy officer, or policeman. Often chose the former. Then, solving the problem among themselves. This policeman came to the same place and, somewhere off the beaten track, included a execution. After the death of the victim undressed.Clothes and shoes were given as payment to those who zakopywały body. Such matters are not informed of Germans and Poles who hid Jews, nothing happened.
But that’s not proof that Jews were hiding safe. Assuming a Jew, a Pole, he could not predict whether the mayor will call police or gendarme.
Agreed, but people who hid Jews really not so much afraid of the Germans as their neighbors. The military police arrived to the village, only a denunciation received. Germany came from a distant village for half an hour, an hour. Pulled out of hiding Jews, have made a short interview, then executed and returned to the station. It would not be that, if not denunciation Pole.
But this would not be denounced, if not for the German plan to murder Jews and introduced by the occupying Germans rules!
Of course, the Poles suddenly began to rob the Jews, because they reflected something. Before the war, this is not done, nay, did not do it even before the year 1942. This is a German occupation policy led to this situation. Destruction of the work is, after all the eyes of Polish peasants. They saw the pacification, killings, raids, often ordered them to supply the wagons, which were necessary for deportation. Received a clear message: the Jews can be murdered with impunity.
But why is it doing?
There are two main themes. First of all, fear – from the Germans and the secondary, resulting from orders of the occupation – from neighbors. Secondly, and probably the key to understanding this terrible phenomenon – the murderers led greed. Killing a Jew or denouncement was simply a way to get rich quick, improved financial situation. Participation in obławach, catching the Jews by the Germans were rewarded. Small amounts of money, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes. Hoped, however, primarily on the assumption that what the Jews had with him. Cash and jewelry. Even the clothes and shoes accounted for the valuable booty.
After the crisis of the 30s poverty in the countryside until it screamed.
Yes, they were poor, uneducated people. Please do not forget that a certain percentage of Jews living in the countryside. Then in Polish hands passed all of their homes with everything that was inside. The answer to the question why is this a sinister twist. German approval for the murder of a certain category of people, plus simple human greed. It was a temptation to which many people been able to resist.
So if the Indians, Negroes, Indians or anyone else hiding in the woods, part of the Polish peasants would retain the same?
If they have put those people outside the law – I have no doubt that it is. In certain extreme situations, people ruled by a primitive, primitive feelings. In the countryside, where education level was significantly lower, and people on a daily interacted with cruelty (even to animals), the occurrence of such phenomena is particularly likely.
So it’s no ecclesiastical anti-Judaism and the influence of the National Democratic Party, according to some historians, were the cause of these killings?
These arguments need to be considered. Currently available sources, that the parish priests behaved towards Jews, killing and passively tracking. But it is difficult to draw any conclusions until the church will not open their archives. However, I think the primary reason for killings that took place in the Polish countryside, was just the rudeness and greed murderers. They were often illiterate. The people who killed Jews at Treblinka, or digging around in search of gold teeth – as Gross writes – probably not read the books or pamphlets endeckich. They were not ideologically motivated, just wanted to get rich.
Do more Poles helped the Jews, whether they murdered?
I’m afraid that this balance is not positive for us.
It is easier to be a pig than a hero?
Probably yes. For hiding Jews was punishable by death, and their penalty killing was not any. Not only that, the murderer could expect rewards. Poles who chose to save the Jews, so they had to reckon with the fact that it will share their fate. Moreover, in small villages, there was social approval and denouncing the killing of Jews, and the rescue of such consent was not. After the arrival of the Red Army, the Poles asked Jews to leave their homes quietly, so that the neighbors have not figured out that I hid from them. Many people for many years afraid to admit that he helped.
And yet, among these simple people were Polish peasants, who in the name of Christian love of neighbor risked rescue.
And as a result of the relationship, some people engage in this assistance in a manner almost incredible. They did it with great determination and dedication, completely selfless, saving more and more people. I know of examples of people who helped during the occupation of dozens of Jews!Maria Szczecin with Staszow, a widow living with children, in the basement of his home for over two years kept the 14 people! The only money they przyjmowała were intended for food for them …
Such cases against the background of all these horrors permit unless the belief in man.
Oh, yes. This is proof that you have a moral backbone, which nothing can shatter. Another case: a Polish old man from Checiny, Charles Kicinski, he was completely deprived of his livelihood. And yet, he rescued two people … i going to beg. Also wandered through the fields, digging potatoes and beets. The situation was so dramatic that when the policemen shot and killed a dog one day this man, this dog was by him and hiding him Jews eaten. Once he even came to him, “the boys out of the woods” and tried to force the Jews to give a beating. But he is not bowed.
I guess that’s what I have the greatest claim to Gross, in his book that presented the relations between Poles and Jews in the countryside completely unilaterally. Only through the prism of murder. His book shows the Poles as antisemites wild tribe, which is jointly responsible for the Holocaust …
I’m afraid that I agree with Gross. Polish society really is because in some ways co-responsible for what happened on this earth. Of course, not for decision-making phase. Without the Germans and their plans, with no occupation and rights introduced by them this whole nightmare could not exist.It’s not about this we decided to exterminate the Jews, but unfortunately many have contributed to murder. We can not today, for patriotic reasons, close to the eye.
Such an approach is completely at odds with the current vision of the years of occupation …
I must say that I was very surprised by all this. The materials relating to crimes against Jews, the Poles made the province came into contact for the first time in 2002. Earlier papers on this subject were in the archives of the Central Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against the Polish Nation and were not available. Only when the IPN was, I got the briefcase in hand. When I read the file first case, I thought I was dealing with something completely unique. That I came to the event, that nobody knows that it’s a big sensation. Then, however, opened the briefcase and another one … I must admit that I was and am horrified by the contents. Human swamp … These securities have fundamentally changed my previous view on the German occupation.
But murderers were and are in every nation. Even now in Poland comes to robbery killings.
Agreed, but please remember that the crimes of which we speak, they had a mass character. Was not involved in a lot of people. So my fear is that we give up our well-being and verifiable assessment of their own nation and his attitude during the war. We must acknowledge that the Poles were subject to exactly the same processes of social psychology, like other nations. That war demoralize many of them missed. Human reactions in certain situations are exactly the same, regardless of what language is spoken. Among the Poles were the heroes, but they were also the bandits. The Polish people, unfortunately, nothing special, what would that distinguished us from other nations.
Is that what you say is true also of the Jewish people?
I suppose that if they switched roles, probably behave the same way as the Poles. But I want to be Stanley Milgram pointed out that what happened in the years 1933 – 1945, can be fully understood only as an expression of a unique historical process which will never be repeated with accuracy.
Jan Tomasz Gross Why can not talk about these things as you? Do not you think that doing a serious disservice to historians? It uses your research to draw exaggerated conclusions, which leads to the Poles only defense mechanism.
No, quite the contrary. We appreciate Gross. But thanks to him for the painful problems of society are discussed, they write about their high-volume newspaper, on television programs are made. It is due to Gross books on Polish-Jewish relations are not printed in 500 copies and are not subject to discussion only a narrow group of specialists. Gross impetus is much greater than the force ślęczących breakthrough year in the archives and writing a balanced work of historians.
I do not claim to Gross, that he ever said. I mean, he says. His radical thesis and generalizations rather not provoke the Poles for reflection. Only cause resentment.
This is a method to which he is fully entitled. Unfortunately, today only if it is controversial, but if it produces the emotions, can provoke a broad discussion. But if everything is niuansuje, raises question marks everywhere, it is doomed to be niche.
And it says the professional historian? But the most important thing should be true!
But what does Gross, is an entirely different type of writing. Gross himself has called his book an essay, not a scientific work. I wrote this essay in a way that all of us – regardless of the views – is moving. That he probably will not refuse you.
Alina Skibińska is a historian Center for Holocaust Research Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, also works as a Polish representative of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Specializes in Polish-Jewish relations during World War II. Together with James Petelewicz investigated crimes committed against Jews by Poles in the region Swietokrzyskie Republic