Rewriting the Holocaust

star-BBCIs the BBC rewriting the Holocaust now to excuse the Poles?

Poland fury at Holocaust comment by FBI’s James Comey The Poles are furious but the Jews who experienced Poland are nodding their heads.

The Polish foreign ministry said Mr Comey had suggested in a Washington Post article that some Poles were accomplices.

Dear BBC, Comey was correct. There was a reason the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau (Oświęcim, near Kraków); Belzec (near the current Ukrainian border north-west of L’viv); Chełmno (Chełmno nad Nerem, between Warsaw and Poznań); Majdanek (near Lublin); Sobibor (south of Brest-Litovsk) and Treblinka (north-east of Warsaw) camps were situated in Poland. The Nazis could be sure of local cooperation or at the very least lack of resistance, at least when it came to the Jews.

Museum of Polish JewsPresident Bronislaw Komorowski told Polish television the comments were an “insult to thousands of Poles who helped Jews”. So many, Mr. President? Perhaps. 6,394 Poles have been recognised as saving Jews, out of an estimated population of almost 35 million. However the existence of a small minority of brave Poles doesn’t mean that the majority didn’t do anything and some actively collaborated.

When the Warsaw Ghetto revolted, instead of assisting, the Polish underground, one of the largest underground movements in Europe, were happy to sit and watch the Germans dispose of the Jews.

The Polish-American historian Jan T. Gross’ 2001 book Neighbors documented a brutal 1940 pogrom of Jews in the town of Jedwabne. According to Gross, 1,600 of Jedwabne’s Jews were clubbed, drowned, gutted, and burned not by faceless Nazis, but by people whose features and names they knew well: their former schoolmates and those who sold them food, bought their milk, and chatted with them in the street.

Towards the end of the war and in the year following there was a series of violent incidents in Poland against the Jews. The incidents ranged from individual attacks to pogroms. Most famous was probably the Kielce Pogrom.

The primary responsibility for the genocide against the Jews belonged to the Germans. Of that there is no doubt. But while it is clear why Poland would want to present itself as pure victims why would the BBC?

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About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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