Systematic Jewish Disloyalty to Poland …

Systematic Jewish Disloyalty to Poland During the Crucial 1920 Polish-Soviet War. Pogroms Demystified and Contextualized

English-language title: THE WAR OF 1920 IN MAZOVIA AND PODLASIE

Part of the Jewish population was consistently loyal to Poland. (p.104, pp. 230-231). However, massive Jewish support for Communism was very real, and it went far, far beyond CP membership. Among the major Jewish political parties, the Bund and Poale Zion were decidedly pro-Soviet all along. (p. 102, 203, 228). However, Jewish support for Communism was mostly latent. When the Polish Army was at the gates of Kiev, Jewish-Communist manifestations in Poland became noticeably subdued. (p. 50). When the Red Army entered Poland, there was a massive Jewish outpouring of support at many documented towns, as described in detail (pp. 226-231), and touched on in the next paragraph.


Jews were known to house fugitive Soviet POWs. (p. 105). Jewish snipers shot at retreating Polish Army units (p. 277, 339), while other Jews informed the arriving Red Army on the whereabouts of the retreating Polish Army. (p. 227). Jewish shopkeepers, who had closed their shops to the Polish Army, now reopened them for the Red Army. (p. 226). Some Jews spread anti-religious propaganda (p. 212), and denounced socially-prominent Poles to the Soviets (p. 228). Young Jews joined the Red Army (p. 229), while other Jewish locals performed work for the Soviets. (p. 189).

During the 1920 war, young Jews engaged in massive avoidance of conscription into the Polish Army, often paying doctors to declare them unfit. (pp. 104-105). Thousands of Army Jews deserted. (For specific figures, see p. 119). Faced with such disloyalty, Polish Army officials decided to expel many Jewish officers and soldiers from the Polish Army. (p. 131). Jewish conduct towards the Polish Army is often blamed on anti-Semitism, an excuse which would come in handy again relative to Anders’ Army, although anti-Semitism there turned out to be exaggerated, and mostly limited to name-calling. (See: General Anders and the Soldiers of the Second Polish Corps). [Now consider the Japanese-American soldiers during WWII. Though facing humiliations, they didn’t desert. Just the opposite: They went all out and distinguished themselves by the valor, for which they got frequently decorated.] Finally, whoever said that Jews shouldn’t serve in the Red Army because of ITS anti-Semitism?


The „pogroms” against Jews must be put in a broader context. To begin, with, violence, military and non-military, was an all-around occurrence. Besides murder and robbery of common Poles (e. g., pp. 166-167, 345-346) , the invading Bolsheviks murdered priests (p. 219) and POWs (p. 325). Was Jewish sensitivity to pogroms of the nature of selective indignation? The Red Army conducted its share of crimes (robberies, mass arrests, murders, etc.) against Jews. (p. 172, 229, 357). Oddly enough, the western Jewish presses focused almost exclusively on Polish misdeeds, and Soviet anti-Semitic acts did not cool the Jewish ardor for the USSR, which was to be amply manifested again in 1939.

Revenge for Jewish-Soviet collaboration was a motive (p. 226), but not the only motive, for Polish anti-Jewish acts. There was overall indiscipline and demoralization in the retreating Polish Army that led to its members committing crimes not only against Jews, but also against Poles. (p. 129). After the tide had permanently turned, there was an additional wave of popular lawlessness in the wake of the Red Army’s retreat, facilitated by the abundance of Soviet-abandoned weaponry. (p. 350).


Tens of Jews were later shot by the Polish authorities for Bolshevik collaboration. (pp. 352-on). However, justice was blind. Poles faced criminal penalties, including the death penalty, for anti-Jewish acts, just as they faced the same for such acts against fellow Poles. (p. 107, 357).


Poland is accused by Communist apologists of being the aggressor in this war. Actually, Polish intelligence had discovered a Soviet buildup in preparation for an attack on Poland, so Pilsudski preempted it by striking first. (p. 20).


Jan Peczkis



Polish Combat in the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Conquest of Poland. Massive Jewish-Soviet Collaboration

This detailed, two-volume Polish-language scholarly work, THE POLISH-SOVIET WAR OF 1939 („Wojna Polsko Sowiecka 1939 Roku”)  . It has a significant English-language summary. (Volume 2, pp. 265-270). Besides describing the battles in considerable detail, this work, authored by Ryszard Szawlowski („Karol Liszewski” when Poland was under the Communist yoke) includes reprints of archival documents, as well as maps showing the areas of major combat.


The USSR and Nazi Germany were in a pact for the joint conquest and rule of Poland. [Only later, in June 1941, did the Soviet Union become a member of the Allied forces when Nazi Germany invaded its erstwhile Soviet ally.] Unlike the 1939 Nazi German blitzkrieg of western Poland, the near-simultaneous Soviet invasion of eastern Poland is barely known in the West. We even hear such egregious statements as, „Stalin was the greater victor than Hitler, because he hardly fired a shot.” In actuality, Polish military forces, though already weakened by two weeks of fighting against the vastly more powerful German invaders, offered significant resistance to the invading Red Army. Far from being a cakewalk for the Soviets, the invading Red Army suffered as many as 7,000-10,000 casualties, of which 2,500-3,000 were fatalities. (pp. 269-270).


Nowadays, Polish sufferings in WWII are all but forgotten, and the focus is almost entirely on the Nazi German persecution of Jews. The earlier Jewish-Soviet collaboration against Poles, sometimes called the Zydokomuna, if not omitted, is minimalized, or rationalized. The remainder of my review focuses on this long-neglected matter.


Historian Tomasz Strzembosz had identified a number of places in this work that elaborate on the local Jewish fifth-column activity on behalf of, and with, the invading Soviet Communist forces, and I wish to make this information available to the general reader. Strzembosz had identified various such locations in other scholarly works. For example, please click on, and read, the detailed English-language Peczkis review of: Polacy i bialorusini w zaborze sowieckim: Stosunki polsko-bialoruskie na ziemach polnocno-wschodnich II Rzeczypospolitej pod okupacja sowiecka 1939-1941 (Historia najnowsza) (Polish Edition).

Let us now consider some instances of Jewish-Soviet collaboration documented in this work. These are clearly eyewitness and authoritative, professional reports, and not, as some critics claim, anti-Semitic imaginations or generalizations. Moreover, the consistency of the reports (especially in terms of impossible-to-collude specifics, and coming from different individuals writing independently) points to their veracity. It is also obvious that the Jewish-Soviet collaboration was not, as often rationalized, some kind of reflexive impulse of gratitude to the Soviets for not falling in Nazi hands. It was a premeditated, ongoing, overt act of enmity against Poles and Poland.

Brunon Hlebowicz, a teacher at Grodno and a participant in its defense, mentions the Jewish-Communist rebellion. The rebels fired at the police, at the Polish soldiers, at various individuals, etc. This took place at such locations as Grodno, Ostryna, Jeziory, and Indura, before the Polish Army suppressed the fifth-column activities. (Vol. 2, p. 58).

The written testimony of Brigadier General Waclaw Przezdziecki, who was the leader of the defense of the Wolkowysk region, is instructive. While ordering troop movements around Grodno, General Przezdziecki noted how one of the armed units had a combat encounter with fifth-columnists at Jeziory, cleaning them up, and had similar experiences at Wiszowaty near Skidel, and then at Grodno itself. (Vol. 2, p. 44). Colonel Adamowicz (Vol. 1, p. 129) also mentioned the Communist rebellion at Skidel.

Second Lieutenant Janusz Wielhorski was an eyewitness to the earlier-started destruction, by Polish forces, of the nest of Jewish fifth-columnists at Ostryna. While on a night march with his forces in the Ostryna-Skidel area, he saw the glow of fires and heard the sounds of explosions. Arriving at the site of the events, he heard and saw the cannonade of explosions caused by the earlier torching of the Jewish shops in which ammunition had been stored. (Vol. 1, p. 98).

Now consider the eyewitness testimony of onetime student Slawomir Weraksa, a defender of Grodno. He wrote about the departure of a Polish expedition to deal with the militant Jewish collaborators at Skidel. These diversionists had reportedly killed many Polish refugees fleeing from the encroaching Red Army. (Vol. 2, pp. 52-53).

The testimony of Grazyna Lipinska of Grodno, then a director of several vocational schools, is fascinating. She describes the mobilization order, voiced over a megaphone at Batory Square. Among other matters, it cautions the dispensing of stored weaponry, because certain Jews have donned Communist armbands, and a Polish officer (who later stated that he stupidly had fallen for a trick: Vol. 2, p. 71) had given Jews guns. It also ordered that Jews already in possession of such weaponry return them under penalty of death. The message also states that shootouts between Polish forces and Jews have already taken place during requisition attempts of such weaponry, albeit so far without loss of life or imposition of death sentences. Pointedly, in an obvious allusion to previous Jewish complaints about pogroms, it warns that shootouts will lead to massive Jewish complaints even if as few as two Jews are killed, while nothing will be said about any Poles killed. (Vol. 2, p. 68).

Later, after the Red Army had broken through the Polish defenses at Grodno, Lipinska saw Jews coming out of hiding. They greeted the entering Soviet forces with Communist salutes and firm handshakes. (Vol. 2, p. 74).

Author Szawlowski (Vol. 1, pp. 106-108), elaborates on Jewish-Soviet collaboration at several cited locations. This included not only fifth-column activity, but also the formation of Communist militias and the systematic denunciation and arrests, in the service of the Soviet invaders and conquerors, of numerous Poles. This fact is supported by hundreds, if not thousands, of eyewitness accounts.


Jan Peczkis

Published with the author’s permission.

  • Title image: Jewish grain traders during talks on the market in Słomniki (photo: Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe, reference number 1-P-2387-2, public domain) / selected by wg.pco

Polish-Club-Online-PCO-logo-2, 2018.08.16.