- Private War: Memoirs of a Doctor Soldier 1933-1944 by Eugene Slawomir Lazowski – 136 pages, Published 1991. Edition Language: English.
The Gross Overabundance of Jews at Polish Universities Provoked the Ghetto Benches. The Polokaust By Starvation Nazi German Plan Was Largely Thwarted By Courageous Polish Black Market Activity
The author, a medical doctor, starts with life in late 1930’s Poland, and then focuses on the horrors of the Nazi German occupation of Poland.
THE GHETTO BENCHES: MILITANT POLISH STUDENT ACTIVISM AT UNIVERSITIES IS DONE TO CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR POLES IN JEWISH-DOMINATED FIELDS
Lazowski writes, “The main issue was the disproportionate number of Jews and Poles in the white collar professions. 10% of the Polish population was of Jewish descent, but 40% of lawyers and over 50% of doctors were Jewish. The right wing students demanded that the number of Jews in the professions should reflect their number in the general population. Their demands became emphatic. The harassment of Jewish students began by trying to force them to sit on the left in the classroom, separating them from the rest of the class. Anyone who came to their defense was harassed. Deliberately most of the students ignored these demands. Students in uniform began to sit scattered on both sides of the classrooms. Fist fights became quite common.” (p. 22).
This kind of militant student conduct must be kept in perspective, and not pigeonholed into a Poles-against-Jews thing. Rightists have copied leftists, who have always engaged in aggressive activism, even in recent times. In the USA, in the 1960s and again in the 21st century, SDS and Antifa types have tried to force their will on the universities: They tried to get students and professors removed from their positions, speakers disinvited, students blocked from attending classes, etc. Failing that, they have tried to shout down speakers.
So, from that perspective, the ghetto benches were neither unusual nor onerous.
Fast forward to WWII, and the brutal German occupation of Poland:
THE POLOKAUST BY HUNGER: THE NAZI GERMAN SCHEME
The author writes, “According to German plans, Polish soil in the General Government (GG) area was to feed Germans. All the farms regardless of their size had such a huge levy that WHAT REMAINED WAS INSUFFICIENT TO FEED THE POLISH AND JEWISH POPULATION. THE IDEA WAS TO STARVE OUT AND FINISH THESE ‘HALF-PEOPLE.’ The larger farms which could not meet the production standards required by the Germans were confiscated and put under the direction of the German Government (Liegenschaft). This was an excuse for any German to appropriate an estate he fancied. The Zaleszany, Baranow and Jozefow estates were already under Liegenschaft. It was Charzewice’s turn.” (pp. 70-71; Emphasis added).
Eugene Slawomir Lazowski continues, “The German Army occupied Smolensk and was moving toward Leningrad (July 1941). The army had to be fed and Poland was its granary. Because most healthy young Polish men had been shipped to labor camps there was a lack of agricultural workers. The Germans did not care. They established extremely high production quotas for Polish farmers. When the farm could not produce and deliver the required quota of goods, the Germans imposed a severe punishment which included the possible confiscation of their farms. The Germans had begun to register all live stock. In order to slaughter a pig or even a chicken one had to obtain the appropriate permit. The illegal killing of animals carried the death penalty. The Germans also installed ration cards which provided a meager food allowance for Poles and starvation rations for Jews and Gypsies.” (p. 84).
THE POLOKAUST BY STARVATION: POLES CREATIVELY FIGHT BACK
The author goes on, “In self-defense the Polish underground gave specific instructions: deliver to the Germans the worst quality grain and deliver just what was required and not one kernel more. Farmers were encouraged to hide as much food as possible for illegal trade and for smuggling to the starving cities. In the sabotaging of the German war effort, the burning of grain was forbidden and granaries were to be burned only when they were empty. Between German rules and the Polish underground instructions, very creative and sophisticated methods of cheating the Germans were developed. Poles became expert in stealing food from German granaries, forging papers and delivering the same grain over and over to meet quotas in different locations. Polish farmers became experts in forging deliveries of everything from grain to milk and meat. The cheating and stealing was so wide spread that the Germans could not cope with it and resorted to terrorist tactics. For each granary fire they burned villages together with their inhabitants. In retaliation the underground army destroyed police stations. The battle went on: eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.” (pp. 84-85).
THE POLOKAUST BY STARVATION: THE ENTERPRISING POLISH BLACK MARKET PARTLY THWARTS IT
Lazowski comments, “During our stay in Rozwadow we made frequent trips to Warsaw. Sometimes we went together, sometimes alone. When I was gone Stasiak took over my practice and Murka took care of the household. The better engines and cars were being used by the Germans, what remained for our use were few and very old passenger trains. They came infrequently and were always overcrowded. Among the passengers there were always a group of food smugglers. AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, PRIVATE FOOD DELIVERIES TO THE CITIES WERE FORBIDDEN. THE RATIONS ALLOWED BY THE GERMANS WERE INSUFFICIENT AND IF NOT FOR THE SMUGGLERS THE PEOPLE IN THE CITIES WOULD HAVE STARVE TO DEATH. .. Every day there was battle for survival and the heroes of that battle were country women. During my trip I learned to appreciate their efforts. I was sitting in a compartment between two women, both rather hefty with pronounced busts. The air smelled of sweat and sausage. These women were not as large as they looked. Under their dresses were wrapped long slabs of bacon, meat and sausages. Additional items were hidden in their bras. Their strategy was simple. They strived to have as much food as possible on their bodies and the rest in their luggage. In case of a German inspection they knew that the food hidden on their persons had a better chance of making it to the city. The railroad tracks were mainly used for German Army transports; thus regular trains pulled into sidings at stations to shorten the time of the military trains. The Police did not have enough time to inspect luggage during these stops so they did it during the trip. It was not an easy task because of overcrowding. In the corridors people sat on their luggage or stood around. The policemen had to squeeze through the crowd. The women knew the routine and knew which stations the police had to get off at. They created as much commotion as they could by supposedly cooperating. They gave the gendarmes the „clean” luggage for inspection just to slow their progress. The noise of screeching women and yelling policemen was horrendous…The regular smugglers knew the policemen and the routine. Often when the policeman entered he was offered food package and left satisfied…During my trips I gained tremendous respect for these women smugglers. I was sure that every one of them would, without thinking, aid any underground soldier in need and would help anyone who was hunted by the Germans. These same courageous women, with bottles filled with gasoline, attacked German tanks during the 1939 invasion.” (pp. 98-99).
These facts are relevant in more ways than one. Neo-Stalinist Jan T. Gross, and the media uncritically covering him, have claimed that Poles risking their lives to save Jews were no different from those engaging in the black market, which, according to Gross, was no big deal. From the eyewitness statements of Lazowski, quoted above, it is evident that the black market most certainly WAS a big deal.
The Polokaust-by-hunger plan, of the Germans, largely failed for a simple reason: The Germans never had the manpower to completely shut down the transfer of feedstuffs by the courageous and sophisticated Polish black market.
THE FAKE TYPHUS EPIDEMIC KEEPS THE GERMANS AT BAY
The author describes how a certain bacillus, injected into a healthy person, was found to be able to create a false-positive result for typhus without actually giving the person the disease. This stunning discovery came in handy for exempting Poles from forced labor in Germany!
Let Lazowski speak: “He [colleague Stasiek] had discovered that it was possible to induce a positive Weil-Felix reaction in a healthy person. And, no one in the world knew it! On occasion a Polish laborer deported to Germany was granted a 14- day leave to visit his family in GG. If he had not returned to Germany on time, he would be arrested by the police. If he could not be found, his whole family would be arrested and transported to a concentration camp. Only a serious disease, verified by a physician’s certificate, could justify an extension of the leave of absence (Any irregularity in such a document would be extremely dangerous to the patient and physician alike.)” (p. 86).
“Stasiek and I worked out plan for defending the inhabitants of our area. We would have the fake epidemic spread the same as a real epidemic would, that is, through lines of communication. The ‘nucleus’ of the epidemic would be in remote villages and in areas near the forests where the Germans were reluctant to go for fear of guerrillas. The incidence of cases would increase in winter and decrease considerably in summer. We decided to minimize our contacts and phone conversations. We were to work independently, spreading the ‘disease’ in the area of our own practices. Stasiek gave me the first bottle of Proteus suspension which he had bought as a reagent in Warsaw in the same store that had equipped my first laboratory. This reagent was officially produced by the National Institute of Hygiene and was easy to obtain. Both Stasiek and I would start with just a few cases. Of course we were sworn to secrecy. No one knew about our action, not even our wives, nor our patients.” (pp. 86-87).
- Source: GoodReads.com , November 29, 2018
Published with the author’s permission.
Title image: Dr. Eugene Slawomir Lazowski. Source: en.wikipedia.org / selected by wg.pco