The Malevolent Pole: Admitted Fugitive Jews’ Imagination. Jews Themselves Affirm Zydokomuna. Canned Fear-of-Nazis Zydokomuna Exculpation Fails
The title, unfortunately, has Orwellian Polonophobic connotations. There was no such thing as Nazi Poland. It was Poland conquered and brutally occupied by Nazi Germany.
The protagonists of this account lived in SE Poland (as defined by her post-WWII boundaries), especially in the town of Kanczuga. They were well to do, and the father dealt with leather. Oddly enough, for some reason, the authors of this book persist in using the German name Lemberg for the Polish city of Lwow. (p. 17). Does this imply a veiled contempt for Poland?
ZYDOKOMUNA FEAR OF NAZIS EXCULPATION FAILS. JEWS THEMSELVES AFFIRM THE REALITY AND RELEVANCE OF THE ZYDOKOMUNA!
Now consider the fact that the 1939 Zydokomuna is often reflexively excused as a fear of the Nazis, and the mortal fear of falling in their hands. This is backwards-running thinking. The systematic Nazi mass murders of Jews were not to begin for nearly another two years.
The attitudes and actions of the Kanczuga Jews add to the refutation of this canned exculpatory argument. After the 1939 German-Soviet conquest of Poland, the line of demarcation between German-occupied and USSR-occupied Poland passed close to Kanczuga. Far from having a deadly fear of the Nazis, and believing that anything is self-evidently better than being under the Nazis, the local Jews actually debated on which side of the new border they would be safer! The conversations went as follows: “The Russians have never been our friends.” “YES, BUT THE LEADERS OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION WERE JEWISH.” “They’ve arrested people.” “True, but what will the Nazis do to us?” “Our mayor will keep us safe.” (p. 58; Emphasis added). [Note also the irony of these Jews affirming the fact and relevance of the Zydokomuna, while today’s Jews usually do their best to deny it.]
THE MALEVOLENT POLE: COMMON POLONOPHOBIC ARCHETYPES FROM JEWISH SURVIVORS’ IMAGINATIONS
The years of fear and hiding took their toll. Fay comments: “But then I started hearing whispers in the village about me. Or maybe they were the rattlings in my own head…” (p. 193). Now consider the fact that a common archetype of Holocaust memoirs is that of fugitive Jews overhearing Poles plotting to betray or kill them. How many of these are based on the imaginations of hunted human beings?
THE GERMAN-IMPOSED DEATH PENALTY WAS DECISIVE
After the Holocaust began, the Germans rounded up and shot most of the family. The brother and sister, Leo and Fay, kept hiding with Poles. Fay reflects on her experiences: “Many wonderful people in the Polish villages helped my brother, myself, and others like us live through the years in hiding.” (p. 226). Poles would often share the risk successively, housing Jews for a time and then making arrangements from them to stay with a succession of other benefactors. (e. g., p. 161).
ANTISEMITISM IS NO NECESSARY HINDRANCE TO AIDING JEWS
Sweeping accusations against Poles are often made in Holocaust materials, accusing them of anti-Semitism and overall disinclination to help Jews. In actuality, the ranks of Poles who helped Jews included those having various degrees of antipathy towards Jews. Such was also Fay’s experience who, thinking that she was on the verge of being murdered, thought: “No more farmers who told me that they hated Jews but that, as good Christians, they were honor-bound to help me.” (p. 177).
ANGER AGAINST JEWS IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH MURDER OF JEWS
Poles in general are cited as blaming Jews for their poverty. (p. 218). However, the authors do not tell the reader that the pre-WWII Polish peasants were trapped on the bottom of the socioeconomic scale in large part because the next higher niche on the ladder (the shopkeepers, tailors, shoemakers, etc.) was largely pre-occupied by Jews. Not surprisingly, ordinary buyer-seller conflicts took on nationality overtones. While attempting to hide in a barn from the Nazis, Fay ran across a Pole who had a grudge against her father. He told her: “It’s you! You will never get out of her alive, you dirty Jew. Your father took everything we had because we couldn’t afford to pay him for his stinking Jew leather. We’ll fix you! We’re calling the police!” (p. 176). However, he did not harm her, call the police, or even lock the barn door. (p. 180). [The reader should know that pre-WWII Jews often engaged in onerous usury, and had almost a monopoly on Poland’s leather industry.]
POLISH BETRAYERS OF FUGITIVE JEWS WERE RARE
In time, various fugitive Jews became widely known in specific villages (p. 176), and, despite fears that it could happen, no one betrayed them. So much for the myth, propounded by the likes of Jan Grabowski vel Abrahamer and his JUDENJAGD, that fugitive Jews, once widely known to local Poles, were almost certain to be denounced to the Germans.
- Source: GoodReads.com , November 7, 2018
Published with the author’s permission.
Title image: „Hidden: A Sister and Brother in Nazi Poland” by Fay Walker, Caren Schnur Neile, Leo Rosen – part of the cover / selected by wg.pco