Whitewashing Evil: Poland’s New Law about the Holocaust: Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Aish, Jan. 29, 2018 — The irony of its timing is inescapable.
The Rapid Increase of Holocaust Abuse: Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 1, 2018 — Over the past decades, the abuse of the Holocaust has gradually increased.
'Orgy of Murder': The Poles Who 'Hunted' Jews and Turned Them Over to the Nazis: Ofer Aderet, Ha’aretz, Feb. 11, 2017— (Last year), the Polish-born historian Jan Grabowski won a lawsuit he filed against a Polish website.
The Predictable Liberal Response to Pence: Isi Leibler, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 31, 2018 — Listening to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset was a euphoric experience.
Poland’s Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism Run Far Deeper Than Just Its Latest Controversial Law: Benjamin Gladstone, Tablet, Jan. 30, 2018
‘Germany Was Always Antisemitic, That Hasn’t Changed Much:’ Holocaust Survivor Stuns German TV Viewers With Candid Answer: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Jan. 30, 2018
When a French Ambassador Described Israel as a 'Sh—y Little Country' – and Polite Society Defended Him: Tom Gross, Telegraph, Jan. 16, 2018
Google Partners with Anti-Semitic Islamists: Steven Emerson, IPT News, Jan. 30, 2018
Rabbi Benjamin Blech
Aish, Jan. 29, 2018
The irony of its timing is inescapable. This past Friday marked the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz–Birkenau, the horrific site in Poland where more than one million Jews perished in barbaric murders beyond our imagination. Friday was also the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day meant to serve as an everlasting reminder to the world of the sin of silence in the face of evil and the crime of complicity associated with those who made German genocide possible.
And this past Friday the Polish government passed a law which would place fines or up to three years in jail for claiming that Poland bears any responsibility for crimes against humanity committed by Germany on Polish soil. True, the bill still needs final approval from the Polish Senate as well as the signature of the president. But its intent is clear. Poland, in the words of Beata Mazurek, spokeswoman for Poland’s ruling Law & Justice party and deputy speaker of the lower chamber of parliament, proclaims with righteous indignation that “We have had enough of accusing Poland and Poles of German atrocities.”
In short, Poland, a land where three million Jews lived before the war and only about 380,000 survived, a country selected by the Nazis for six extermination camps – Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek – and more than 700 ghettos, dare not any longer be challenged for the role it played during the Holocaust! Historians, beware. Authors, journalists, even diarists and survivors of Polish anti-Semitism – be prepared for dire and severe consequences for failure to adhere to the new narrative of Polish victimization by Germany comparable to the fate of the Jews.
In all fairness, about 6,700 Poles were commemorated by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial for rescuing Jews, the largest number in any country. Yad Vashem has also, for many years, acknowledged the possible misinterpretation of the phrase “Polish death camps” as referring not to location but to its creators – an unfortunate wording which does indeed need to be corrected to “Nazi death camps”.
Yet at the same time Yad Vashem continues to make clear that it was Poles who made the Nazi Holocaust in Poland possible. Without the cooperation of the local citizenry, sometimes passive and many times enthusiastically supportive, a program of mass murder would simply have been impossible. “[With that in mind] restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people’s direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion,” Yad Vashem said.
Similarly, the United States Holocaust Museum concluded: “To carry out the Final Solution across an entire continent, the Germans required the collaboration and complicity of many individuals in every country, from leaders, public officials, police, and soldiers to ordinary citizens. In every country locals participated in a variety of ways—as clerks, cooks, and confiscators of property; as managers or participants in roundups and deportations; as informants; sometimes as perpetrators of violence against Jews on their own initiative; and sometimes as hands-on murderers in killing operations.” That is what is so upsetting about Poland’s attempt for legal whitewashing.
Yair Lapid, a member of the Israeli Parliament and son of a Holocaust survivor, made the case strongly: “I utterly condemn the new Polish law which tries to deny Polish complicity in the Holocaust. It was conceived in Germany but hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered without ever meeting a German soldier. There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that.”
Polish anti-Semitism has a long and well documented history. The eminent Polish historian Jan Grabowski, also the son of a Holocaust survivor and currently a history professor at University of Ottawa, made it his life’s mission to expose the truth of Polish participation in the killings of their Jewish neighbors, even though for decades Polish society denied that anti-Semitism motivated the slayings. Winner of the 2014 Yad Vashem’s International Book Prize, his book Judenjagd tells the heart-breaking story of Jews who, having survived ghetto liquidations and deportations to death camps in Poland in 1942, attempted to hide "on the Aryan side" where the majority perished as a consequence of betrayal by their Polish neighbors.
The by now famous story pictured in Claude Lanzmann's myth-shattering documentary film Shoah demonstrated that many Polish peasants were keenly aware of the Nazis' mass murder of Jews on Polish soil; “Neighbors,” by Polish-American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross, which explored the murder of Jews by their Polish neighbors in the village of Jedwabne, documents how nearly all of the Jews of Jedwabne, Poland, were murdered on one day, most of them burned alive by their non-Jewish neighbors. Following the script of the “new narrative”, in a mid-July interview on Polish public broadcaster TVN, Education Minister Anna Zalewska insinuated that the Jedwabne massacre, when Poles burned alive more than 300 Jews in a barn, was a matter of “opinion.”
What might be called a post-Holocaust sequel is the tragic story of the 200 Jewish survivors who returned to their homes in Kielce following the war. They began to slowly rebuild their lives. They established a synagogue, a kibbutz, and an orphanage. On July 4, 1946, a blood libel spread through the town, falsely accusing the Jews of kidnapping a Christian child. Kielce’s residents descended on the Jewish area. Repeating a scene so familiar to these Jews, the police and soldiers stood by and watched as the mob attacked them, murdering 42 Holocaust survivors and injuring scores more. No one could blame the remaining Jews who saw no other option but to flee the place they wrongly believed they could find a measure of peace and freedom. This was the beginning of a mass emigration of Jewish survivors from Poland…
[To Read the Full Article With Footnotes Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Jerusalem Post, Feb. 1, 2018
Over the past decades, the abuse of the Holocaust has gradually increased. Rather unnoticed in the last year or two, however, the number of these distortions has grown at a far more rapid rate. Holocaust abuse has also permeated several additional areas of mainstream society. Manipulation of the truth may well become a substantial part of the Holocaust discourse. This is increasingly likely to occur as surviving Holocaust victims are aging. In an increasingly chaotic world it is difficult to see how this trend can be halted.
As the abuse of the Holocaust is not systematically monitored, hardly anyone realizes that the number of incidents has greatly increased. When I wrote The Abuse of Holocaust Memory: Distortions and Responses in 2009, it was still possible to categorize almost all distortions within eight distinct categories. Before that time, the focus in the media and the public domain had been on Holocaust denial. This is not the most extreme category of Holocaust abuse. Holocaust inversion is a more devious category. A major slogan used in this category is that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews.
Since 2009, not only the borders between categories of Holocaust abuse have diffused. There are also new variations. A particular devious one has been pointed out by Israeli genocide scholar Israel Charny. He has illustrated how Holocaust research departments at various universities, including Israeli ones, contain “a good number of scholars who indulge in Holocaust denials or minimization and are entirely bona fide according to all the rules and conventions of academia.”
Charny called the University of Sussex in the UK a “center of Holocaust distortion.” One scholar there published an article claiming that Hitler did not specifically target the Jews but “it was part of a larger program that disposed those who stood in the way of expanding German living space.” The distortion at universities also shows itself in far more primitive ways: “Zionists should be sent to the gas chamber” was painted on a sidewalk at the University of California campus at Berkeley.
At the European Union in 2015, an official from Malta was accused of antisemitic hate speech and assault of an EU employee. He praised Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in a rant and attempted to strangle the woman whom he mistakenly assumed was Jewish. He said, “Dirty Jew… Hitler should have exterminated all the Jews, just as they today are exterminating the Palestinians.”
Chief Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs, the head of the Dutch Orthodox Rabbinate, says that when something happens in Israel, people shout at him, “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.” He also says that Dutch youngsters shouted “Heil Hitler” during one of his speeches at the memorial meeting for Dutch Holocaust victims. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party for the past two years, has frequently appeared publicly with Holocaust-denier Paul Eisen. The latter wrote that Corbyn has “attended every single one of his charity’s annual events and has even donated money to the group.”
A major Holocaust-distortion issue concerns Polish Holocaust revisionism. Since the beginning of this century, there have been major disclosures about massive crimes committed by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust. The two main scholars who have pointed this out are Jan Gross and Jan Grabowski. Grabowski states that his research shows that 200,000 Jews were killed during the Holocaust by Poles. The Polish government is trying to deny these facts. Nor should one look away from the abuse of the Holocaust by Jews, which also seems to be on the increase. One of the most severe insults for a Jew is to accuse another Jew of being a Nazi. The Sephardic chief rabbi of Jerusalem and former chief rabbi of Israel, Shlomo Amar, said that Reform Jews are worse than Holocaust deniers…
[To Read the Full Article With Footnotes Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Ha’aretz, Feb. 11, 2017
(Last year), the Polish-born historian Jan Grabowski won a lawsuit he filed against a Polish website. About 18 months earlier, the site had launched a savage attack on him under the headline, Sieg Heil, Mr. Grabowski, accompanied by a photograph of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. That followed the publication of a favorable report in a German newspaper about Grabowskis book Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland. The book describes the Polish populations involvement in turning in and murdering Jews who asked for their help during the Holocaust.
The editors of the right-wing site Fronda.pl criticized Grabowski for washing Poland’s dirty World War II laundry in full international view. But what upset the editors most was that the book drew praise in, of all places, Germany, which was responsible for the war. So, the argument went, if the Germans praise Grabowski, then Grabowski is a Nazi, Grabowski, 55, explained in an email interview with Haaretz from Ottawa, where he teaches.
Grabowski, whose father was a Holocaust survivor and whose research focuses on the crimes perpetrated by the Poles in the war, decided not to take it lying down. He won a lawsuit against the websites owner, Tadeusz Grzesik, last September. At the end of January, the owner lost the appeal as well; he was sentenced to do community service work, pay a fine of 3,000 zloty ($750) to Children of the Holocaust – an organization of Polish survivors who were children during the war – and to publish an apology.
As you can see, writing history in Poland, about Poland, is not boring at all, Grabowski said. On a more serious note, he added, as a Polish historian, I think that trying to cover up the less glorious aspects of our own national past – something that’s being done today in Poland with a lot of enthusiasm – is a crime against our profession. It is also unethical and, in the long run, counterproductive and silly.
Grabowskis book was first published in his native land in 2011, and two years later in English, by Indiana University Press. A revised and expanded edition, in Hebrew translation, has now been published by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial authority in Jerusalem. The research underlying the book is the fruit of a three-year archival journey embarked upon by Grabowski in pursuit of a phenomenon called hunting for Jews. The term, which originates in the German word Judenjagd, refers to the murderous search for Jews who succeeded in escaping from the ghettos and sought haven from their compatriots in occupied Poland.
Grabowskis book concentrates on a rural region of southeastern Poland called Dabrowa Tarnowska. Of its population of 60,000 on the eve of the war, 5,000 were Jews, almost all of whom were deported to the death camp Belzec. Of 500 who managed to escape and hide among the Poles, only 38 survived the war. All the others, as Grabowski discovered, were betrayed and murdered in direct or indirect ways by their Polish neighbors. The events described in Hunt for the Jews, notes the historian Timothy Snyder (author of Bloodlands), constitute an inquiry into human behavior in dark times from which all can learn.
Drawing on Polish, Jewish and German records from the war and postwar periods, Grabowski was able to document the local populations involvement in turning over and murdering the Jews who sought their help – but also the heroism of Poles who tried to rescue their Jewish neighbors and sometimes paid for it with their lives. Between these two extremes, Grabowski also found more complex cases: of Poles who helped Jews not for altruistic and moral reasons, but out of greed. In this connection, his study challenges the prevailing opinion, according to which most of those who proffered help were righteous. He describes no few instances in which Poles saved Jews and then extorted money from them, and in some cases murdered them if they didnt get what they wanted.
That was the tragic story of Rywka Gluckmann and her two sons, who in 1942 were given shelter by Michal Kozik in Dabrowa Tarnowska county. Until a short time before the Russians entered the area and freed its citizens from the German occupation, he allowed them to remain in his house, as long as they paid him. But when the money ran out, he butchered all three with an ax. Jews who were hiding across the way heard the cries of people being murdered, and the next day they learned that the Gluckmanns were dead, as a local resident, Izaak Stieglitz, testified after the war.
A better fate befell a Jewish dentist, Jakub Glatsztern, who found shelter in the home of a Polish woman. When his money ran out, Grabowski writes, he turned to his last remaining option: He decided to extract one of his teeth, in the crown of which he had hidden a diamond. He asked the womans husband for pliers. He gave me old, rusty pliers. I had to remove the tooth together with the root, otherwise I risked breaking the diamond. So I removed the tooth with the root – without an injection, without a painkiller. I took it and said to her, Mrs. Karolak, here is the diamond. As long as I stay under your roof, you will feed me. For starters, she gave him a pork sandwich and some vodka.
Sexual exploitation and rape were also forms of payment that were sometimes included in the transaction between a Pole and a Jewish woman whom he saved. Testimony to that effect was given by Szejna Miriam L., a Jewish woman of 20. In June 1943, she was turned over to the Gestapo by the man who promised to save her. In her interrogation she related that the man, named Grabacz, promised to help and that very night he had intercourse with me. She gave him a diamond ring, a gold watch, a wedding ring and clothing, but the next day she was arrested by the Gestapo. Now I know that I am doomed and that Grabacz betrayed me, she told the Nazi interrogators before being sent to Auschwitz.
As Hunt for the Jews is published in Israel, a debate is raging in Poland about the role of the local population in the Holocaust. At its center is the question of whether the Poles were victims of the Nazis or collaborators with them, and where they are to be placed in terms of rescuers, murderers or bystanders in relation to the fate of their Jewish neighbors. Last month, in a visit to Israel, Polish President Andrzej Duda referred extensively to the dark chapters in the Polish peoples past. A member of the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party, he was elected in part on the basis of his promise to introduce a new strategy in history policy – namely, to rebuff those who falsely accuse the Poles of participating in the Holocaust, as he put it…
[To Read the Full Article With Footnotes Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Jerusalem Post, Jan. 31, 2018
Listening to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s address to the Knesset was a euphoric experience. Pence is a devout evangelical Christian who regards America’s religious commitment as a crucial component of the administration’s policy. He genuinely believes that God will bless those who promote the welfare of Israel and the Jewish people. President Donald Trump’s deputy gave an address affirming the United States’ love of Israel and vindicating the Jewish people’s Zionist vision based on our biblical and historical vision and the spiritual bonds we share.
He stressed that the administration still sought to facilitate a peace settlement but asserted that ultimately, the parties must negotiate directly with each other. He reiterated Trump’s warning that if the Palestinians refused to negotiate with Israel, Abbas would not succeed with such behavior. As Trump pointed out, the days of free lunches are over and the Palestinians will no longer be able to take for granted that the billions of dollars of U.S. aid would continue pouring in to support them. More importantly, the entire UNRWA operation was being reviewed on the supposition that vast funds were being channeled into a bottomless pit which was financing incitement against Israel and no effort had been made to integrate the ever-growing number of refugees and their descendants – but instead they had been exploited as a vehicle with which to destroy Israel.
The policy of the Trump administration as expressed by Pence is a stark contrast to the Barack Obama era, when at best Israel and the Palestinians were portrayed in terms of moral equivalence, even as Abbas openly flaunted his incitement by praising and rewarding killers and their families – an abomination simply ignored by the U.S. Pence declared that “we stand with Israel because we believe your cause is our cause, your values are our values and your fight is our fight. We stand with Israel because we believe in right over wrong, in good over evil, and in liberty over tyranny.”
This was accompanied by pledges of support and renewed commitments by the U.S. to opening a Jerusalem embassy next year. He also guaranteed that the U.S. would never acquiesce to the “disaster” of a nuclear-armed Iran. No American leader has ever spoken to or about Israel in this manner. It signaled the end, at least for the time being, of the daylight Obama created between the U.S. and Israel. It was thus apt of Pence to recite the blessing “shehecheyanu vekiymanu vehigi’anu lazman hazeh,” thanking God for granting us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this occasion.
Setting aside the Joint Arab List MKs who were ejected from the Knesset after trying to provoke an incident with the vice president and Meretz representatives who remained seated, almost the entire Knesset unanimously cheered him and provided repeated standing ovations. Aside from the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was the first real instance of a display of near-total unity in the Knesset toward a foreign statesman since the division of the nation over the Oslo Accords…
[To Read the Full Article With Footnotes Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Poland’s Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism Run Far Deeper Than Just Its Latest Controversial Law: Benjamin Gladstone, Tablet, Jan. 30, 2018—Just before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the lower house of the Polish parliament voted in favor of a bill that condemns anyone who acknowledges Polish complicity in the Holocaust to up to three years in prison.
‘Germany Was Always Antisemitic, That Hasn’t Changed Much:’ Holocaust Survivor Stuns German TV Viewers With Candid Answer: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, Jan. 30, 2018—A 93-year-old survivor of Auschwitz stunned the viewers of one of Germany’s most popular political talk shows on Sunday night when — asked to compare the Nazi era with the situation today — she asserted that the two periods had more in common than many people may care to admit.
When a French Ambassador Described Israel as a 'Sh—y Little Country' – and Polite Society Defended Him: Tom Gross, Telegraph, Jan. 16, 2018—Donald Trump’s reference to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “s—hole countries” has rightly been condemned the world over.
Google Partners with Anti-Semitic Islamists: Steven Emerson, IPT News, Jan. 30, 2018—Why are Google and YouTube sponsoring a day-long symposium featuring a roster of speakers including known Islamist anti-Semites, as well as known militant Islamists who are long time Israel bashers and Hamas supporters? And why are Google and YouTube providing a forum for Islamists who approve of Sharia-imposed "death by stoning?"