Kielce Pogrom: Soviet Staging Indicators. Jews as Well as Poles Engaged in Collectivist Reprisals in Which Innocent People Were Killed
The imposition of a Soviet puppet government was a painful chapter in Poland’s history. In response to the usual anti-Polish bias of Holocaust materials, arguments fly back and forth, including that: 1) Jews supporting the Communists were few and far between, 2) Jews acting against the anti-German anti-Communist Polish independentist forces (the AK, NSZ, and the ZOLNIERZE WYKLECI) were simply taking revenge for earlier injustices and/or protecting themselves against Polish hostility, 3) Retaliatory attacks by Polish independentists against Jews were narrowly tailored against those Jews who supported Poland’s enemies, 4) The Polish independentist forces formed and implemented a plan to „finish Hitler’s job” by killing off all remaining Jews so that Poland would be Judenrein (free of Jews). 5) The explanation for Poles killing Jews, notably during property disputes, begins and ends with Polish anti-Semitism. As Chodakiewicz shows throughout this eye-opening book, all five premises are FALSE.
THE KIELCE POGROM: SUGGESTIVE EVIDENCE OF SOVIET STAGING
Many authors had already alluded to the means, motive, and opportunity for the Soviet Union to stage the Kielce Pogrom. Let us go further.
Historian Marek Chodakiewicz cites an intriguing Soviet source that attributes the Kielce event to staging by the Soviet secret police, for propaganda purposes. (p. 184). A Jewish eyewitness reports the suspicious behavior of a Soviet commander stationed in Kielce at the time of the pogrom (p. 172). As for those local Poles who joined the anti-Jewish riots once in progress, one wonders where Polish anti-Semitism left off and where mob psychology began. Unfortunately, the relevant archives of the Polish Communist secret police were destroyed in 1989, raising obvious questions about these pogroms.
UPDATE: Chodakiewicz (personal communication August 2018) states that there is still no smoking gun evidence for either side of the Kielce Pogrom Controversy.
But what does not matter? Even if conclusive proof emerged that the USSR staged the so-called Kielce Pogrom from (A) to (Z), it would not change anything. The Jews who attack Poland would just find something else to blame on the Poles.
WHY POLISH ANTI-SEMITISM: TELLING THE TRUTH
Anti-Semitic animosities were triggered much less by old folklores and traditional church teachings than by the large-scale Jewish support for Poland’s enemies, most recently during the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland in 1939 and again in 1942-1947. Chodakiewicz cites a number of documents (pp. 42-43) that prove the fact that Jews, at 1% of Poland’s postwar population, represented upwards of 50% of leadership positions in the dreaded Communist secret police, a force responsible for torturing and murdering tens of thousands of Poles. Jews were also strongly over represented in its lower levels, though not to as extreme an extent. While there was no grand Jewish-Communist conspiracy as such, it is difficult to imagine how the existing situation could have failed to inflame Polish-Jewish relations.
STALIN’S WILLING EXECUTIONERS: WHY THE JEWS
The cited testimony of Jan Dawid Landau (p. 77) is instructive in understanding the Zydokomuna—specifically how Stalin recruited Polish Jews to do the dirty work for him (also facilitating the tarring of independentists with the label of anti-Semitism once they fought back). Landau was told by a UB (Bezpieka: The Communist secret police) officer that he now had the opportunity to take revenge for everything he had suffered from the Polish people. This illustrates the typical left-wing technique of stirring up resentments (grievance politics) of one group against another. Landau did not join, and instead fled to the west. Chodakiewicz notes instances where Jews were perfectly justified in involving the Communist authorities. Others clearly were not. Perhaps the most odious episodes involved Jews turning against their erstwhile Polish benefactors and rescuers. Finally, those Jews who chose to join, or otherwise collaborate with, the Communist police itself must have known, based on the information in quotes cited by Chodakiewicz (p. 73, 78, etc.), that their actions would send multitudes of Poles innocent of anti-Jewish actions into the torture-and-death mills of the Soviets, and thus provoke an anti-Semitic backlash. Chodakiewicz provides a very minimal estimate, based on only the few local sources that he had access to, of 3,128 to 6,625 Polish victims of Jewish perpetrators (p. 223).
For more on the extensive scale of Jewish-Soviet collaboration during and soon after WWII, and its role in provoking „pogroms”, please click on, and read my detailed English-language review, of Pogrom Czy Odwet?
COLLECTIVIST REPRISALS WENT BOTH WAYS
Polish freedom fighters targeted both Communist Poles and Communist Jews, often killing family members in reprisal for the actions of a Communist relative. Yaffa Eliach’s experiences, if accurately reported by her, can be understood in this light. In addition, totally innocent Jews in the area were sometimes targeted. Whether or not this actually happened depended partly on the decisions of low-ranking commanders as well as the extent and visibility of Jewish-Communist collaboration in a given area. Chodakiewicz says that „Alas, collectivistic thinking produced collectivistic reprisals.”
Earlier, Jewish Communists were persecuting ALL Poles, and not only those Poles who had wronged the Jews. No doubt the Communist Jewish enmity directed collectively against Poles provoked a similar counter-response.
NO „HOLOCAUST AFTER THE HOLOCAUST”
The insinuation, periodically appearing in Holocaust materials, that the AK and NSZ were out to kill all remaining Polish Jews is totally baseless. In fact, Chodakiewicz provides instances where independentist forces did not kill known Jews (pp. 144-145) when they easily could have done so. Earlier, some AK and NSZ units had rescued and hid Jews (pp. 59-60, 189). Finally, Chodadiewicz cites numerous instances of Polish-Jewish cooperation and goodwill in the difficult postwar years. These provide a resounding rebuttal to the widespread mischaracterization of Polish society as being so anti-Semitic that Jews had no choice but to be the enemy of Poles.
JEWS RETURNING TO RECLAIM THEIR PROPERTY
Concerning those hundreds (NOT thousands) of Jews killed in property disputes with Poles, Chodakiewicz shows that most of these incidents stem from the widespread lawlessness that prevailed in the wake of the imposition of Communism over Poland (p.7, 13). Chodakiewicz could have made his case stronger by putting these Jewish deaths in numerical perspective. Considering the fact that there were over 300,000 surviving Jews, it follows that reclaimed Jewish properties must have numbered in the tens of thousands, meaning that less than 1% of property reacquisitions led to the killing of the Jewish claimants, in addition to the fact that most of the killers were motivated by common banditry, not anti-Semitism.
Yet—surprise–media accounts and Holocaust materials (notably MAUS) tacitly portray the killing of Jews by Poles as a normal and anti-Jewish occurrence, and it is high time that these inaccurate and inflammatory materials be withdrawn (Fat chance). Other Holocaust materials, which never tire of bringing up Polish anti-Semitism and the greatly exaggerated role of Christian teachings behind it, should be more forthright in mentioning and elaborating the large scale of Jewish collaboration with Poland’s enemies that was the main driving force behind this anti-Semitism. Fat chance.
This book was originally written fifteen years ago (2003). Nothing has changed.
- Source: GoodReads.com , August 17, 2018
Published with the author’s permission.
Title image: Kielce, July 1946. The coffins of the victims are set down in a joint grave. Photo: jewishgen.org / selected by wg.pco