Jew Against Jew Pogroms in 1939. Zydokomuna. Poles NOT Condemned For Refusing To Risk Their Lives to Save Jews

  • To Speak for the Silenced by A. Tracy  –  Published October 1st 2007 by Devora Publishing


Jew Against Jew Pogroms in 1939. Zydokomuna. Poles NOT Condemned For Refusing To Risk Their Lives to Save Jews


The author lived in a shtetl at Skala, on the Zbrucz River. He describes: The Soviet and Nazi occupations, the latter’s destruction of the local Jewish communities, his deportation to the Janowska concentration camp (in Lwow, which he always calls by its German name, Lemberg), his escape, his multiple hide-and-be-uncovered adventures, and his survival in the environs of Skala and in the ruins of its shtetl.


Unlike the common emphasis on pogroms in Jewish writings, Tracy describes Jew-on-Jew violence that took place in the wake of the 1939 Nazi-allied Soviet invasion of eastern Poland: „The Jews had attacked Moshe Mozner’s bakery and were taking away the bread. The scene was dreadful…Every shop we passed was being looted in the same manner. Every store, be it food or merchandise, was being torn apart. The Jews who were not looting were rejoicing [at the Soviet arrival].” (pp. 14-15).


Fear of the Nazis cannot alone explain the Jewish pro-Soviet orientation. By Tracy’s own admission (p. 215), most Jews never imagined what the Nazis later had in store for them, and had supposed that they could avert any Nazi actions through bribes. Furthermore, so unafraid were some Jews of the Nazis that they applied for a transfer to German-occupied Poland. (p. 24). It was an NKVD trap, and these Jews were sent to the Gulags. [This confirms historian Jerzy Robert Nowak.]


Tracy provides insights into the Zydokomuna that blossomed under Soviet rule: „Some members of the Jewish community were pro-Communist and immediately cooperated with the Ukrainians. These Jews were rewarded with good positions and a new militia began to take shape, comprised of both Jews and Ukrainians. These privileged citizens carried weapons on their shoulders and wore red bands on their arms.” (p. 16). [The informed reader can readily understand how the militia became the enemy of Poles, especially the actively pro-independence ones.]

Ordinary Jews, too, suffered from the Zydokomuna. Tracy comments: „Before long, many Jewish enterprises had been nationalized. With these new policies, our Jewish youth rose to higher positions and displayed a brutal use of power against their former employers.” (p. 21).

Tracy notes that: „Almost 99 percent of the youth knew nothing about their religion, other than the fact that they were Jewish.” (p. 25). [Since secularism correlates closely with involvement in radical leftist politics, this partly explains the gravitation of many Jews to Communism.]


When Nazi Germany invaded its erstwhile Soviet ally in 1941, many Soviets and Jews fled. Tracy comments: „Many families took advantage of the opportunity to leave, including Hersh Shvartzbach’s family, Moshe Levenkron’s, Motek Kremitzer’s, Jaci Schlisser’s, and Mendel Helkis’. Most of these were families which had been heavily involved with the Russians.” (p. 39). Obviously, the Zydokomuna had been far from a marginal phenomenon, as sometimes claimed.


The Nazi-collaborationist Ukrainian police played a major role in the persecution and murder of Jews. (p. 88, 94,101,114,117,138,140,147,175,190). It acted alongside the Germans, and on its own.


While on the run, Tracy enjoyed the help of both Polish (pp. 170-171) and Ukrainian (p. 199) benefactors. Unlike the likes of Jan T. Gross, Tracy repudiated any condemnation of those gentiles who, fearful of the German-imposed death penalty, discontinued their help. (p. 197).


Jan Peczkis

Published with the author’s permission.


– More reviews by Jan Peczkis on PCO  ….. .

  • Title image: „To Speak for the Silenced” by Abraham Tracy. Devora Publishing, 2007. Part of the cover. / selected by wg.pco

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