Poland and the Holocaust

So you think the Germans are preferable to the Poles, I’m asked, and I answer, yes. Absolutely.

Our account with the Germans will never be closed, but I prefer Germany, a country that went through a genuine process of soul searching, to Poland. For over 70 years, the Poles have been deluding the world and themselves, and now the delusion has become law, with infringement punishable by three years behind bars.

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On July 4, 1946, more than a year after World War II ended, there were no Germans left in Poland. Nevertheless, 42 Jews were slaughtered that day in Kielce. The Poles have no one to hide behind, no one to blame for the massacre. They did it all by themselves. Prof. Goldman, a close family friend for many years, was a child in Poland during the war.

His father, grandfather and uncles were murdered by Poles when they went out in search of food for their family, hiding in a pit in the forest.

They were just a few of the hundreds of thousands of Jews killed by Poles.

The 1,600 Jews in Jadovno who died on July 10, 1941, didn’t commit suicide.

The “lucky” ones were shot, others were beaten to death, and most of them were locked in a barn and burned alive. Only seven Jews survived the massacre perpetrated by their Polish neighbors.

There were other Poles too, the righteous among the nations, to whom we owe an eternal debt of gratitude. But they were a small minority. The bulk of the population was not overly saddened, not to say actually delighted, by what happened to the Jews. The decision to build the death camps in Poland was not random. The Germans didn’t want to do the dirty work in their own country, and the “antisemitic climate” in neighboring Poland fit their needs very nicely.

Over 90% of the Jewish community of Poland was exterminated. That figure is extremely telling. Poland is the largest Jewish graveyard in the world.

Here’s a simple question: how is it that Zbszek and Masha, who considered themselves civilized people, were capable of this? And why? The answer is antisemitism. And it is still so ingrained in the Poles that even today they don’t have to know a Jew personally, or even set eyes on one, in order to hate him. After all, there are very few Jews left in their country.

Here’s a personal story: a few months ago, a group of Polish students arrived at my children’s school. They were here for a week, staying at the homes of Israeli students, and a few weeks later a group from Israel went to Poland where they were hosted by the Polish families in return. The motto was “Poland isn’t only the Holocaust.”

In Poland, one of the Israeli boys, a member of my immediate family, noticed that small plastic figures of Jews, taken straight from the caricatures in the Nazi paper Der Stürmer, were being sold everywhere. For the youngsters among us, imagine Gargamel with a kippa, beard and sidelocks.

Each figure had a greedy look in its eyes and a zloty in its hand.

“What are those?” the boy asked the Polish teacher. “You Jews love money,” the teacher answered matter- of-factly. She didn’t mean to be offensive. After all, she had been in Israel, she was a nice lady, and she considered herself a liberal person.

That teacher is not unusual. The Poles suffer from a malignant, maybe incurable disease. It’s called antisemitism. Do you want to get better? The first thing you have to do is sit in front of a mirror and say to yourselves, “We’re sick and we want to be healthy.” After you admit it to yourselves, stand up in front of the world and repeat the same words loud and clear. Everyone will clap and say they love you, and then you can start a program of intense therapy.

That’s the only way to treat an addiction.

Translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai, skitai.co.il.