- Human Rights after Hitler: The Lost History of Prosecuting Axis War Crimes by Dan Plesch – Published April 15th 2017 by Georgetown University Press. Edition Language: English.
DEFINITIVE WORK: Polish Warnings About Holocaust Suppressed in Holocaust Scholarship. “Polish Authorities Wouldn’t Specify Jewish Deaths” a Myth. “The Allies Did Not Know of the Holocaust Until Near the End” Also a Myth
The standard Holocaust narrative posits that the Polish Underground authorities were variously reluctant to call attention to Jewish deaths, prone to mix-up Polish and Jewish deaths as one and the same, or lump them together as generic “victims of German barbarity”. Worse yet, Poles were so imbued with their so-called “heroic narrative” of fighting the Germans that they hardly took notice of Jewish deaths at all. This book soundly lays these oft-repeated falsehoods to rest.
TIMELY POLISH WARNINGS. THE ALLIES FULLY REALIZED THE FACT OF THE HOLOCAUST BY THE END OF 1942 AT THE VERY LATEST
Plesch comments, “The book documents not only that the extermination of the Jews was condemned officially and publicly by the Allies but that specific features of the extermination were publicized, including a favorite method—lethal gas—and the central place of execution—Poland. AS EARLY AS THE SUMMER OF 1942, MONTHS BEFORE STALINGRAD AND TWO YEARS BEFORE D-DAY, THE POLISH GOVERNMENT IN LONDON ACCUSED THE NAZIS OF MASS KILLINGS WITH GAS and were supported by the British, who sought publicity for their claims. This early documented condemnation of the extermination of the Jews of Europe opens new questions about the failure of the Allies to help the Jews, who were publicly stated to be at risk of murder…” (p. 6; Emphasis added). More on this later.
Author Plesch also highlights the fact of Polish recognition of the special fate of the Jews as he writes, “Nevertheless, as discussed earlier, the Polish government in London took the lead in raising the issue of Nazi atrocities in Europe and in their country in particular, INCLUDING FOR CRIMES AGAINST JEWS.” (p. 123. Emphasis added).
Those British and American self-appointed moralists, complaining about Poland “not doing enough” to aid the Jews [whatever that is supposed to mean], need to look no further than their own governments!
THE PRIMACY OF POLISH WARNINGS ABOUT THE GERMAN-MADE HOLOCAUST IS NOT ONLY FACTUAL, BUT HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN SUPPRESSED BY TOO MANY HOLOCAUST SCHOLARS!
Although information about the German-made Holocaust started trickling in from various sources to the West, it was the Polish warnings that were the most direct, specific, and actionable. Thus, Plesch writes, On July 9, 1942, British information minister Brendan Bracken hosted a press conference alongside Polish government representatives in London. The subject was the ‘German terror in Poland.’ The Polish government had issued a document detailing Nazi atrocities in communities and in concentration camps across their country. While this action of the Polish government is known in some scholarship, IT REMAINS UNNOTICED BY IMPORTANT AND AUTHORITATIVE WORKS.” (p. 72; Emphasis added).
The author does not explain why this is so. Could it be because it does not fit the standard Polonophobic Holocaust narrative?
AN IRONY TO THE DUBIOUS ACCUSATION THAT ENDEKS OPPOSED POLISH AID TO JEWS: BRITISH AND AMERICANS CERTAINLY DID SO
The accusation against Endeks, even were it true, could also made of quite a few British and American public officials. Thus, Plesch quips, “It is beyond the scope of this book to assess why the public condemnations of the exterminations of the Jews do not prominently appear in the public and scholarly historical narrative of the Holocaust. A few preliminary possibilities come to mind, however. The first relates to THE FACT THAT SIGNIFICANT PARTS OF THE GOVERNMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES AND UNITED KINGDOM WERE DIRECTLY OPPOSED TO DOING ANYTHING TO HELP THE JEWS OR TO SUPPORT WAR CRIMES PROSECUTIONS.” (p. 83; Emphasis added).
It should be added that alleged Endek opposition to the rescue of Jews is somewhere between dubious and false. In fact, quite a few Polish rescuers of Jews were Endeks.
HOLOCAUST SCHOLARS ALSO HAVE TENDED TO SUPPRESS KNOWLEDGE OF POSTWAR TRIALS OF NAZIS BY POLES
Author Dan Plesch elaborates on over 1,000 Nazi defendants tried in Poland immediately after the cessation of hostilities. (pp. 126-127; 231-239). He comments on the minimized significance of this fact, “While Polish anti-Semitism and sometimes collaboration with the Nazis in the persecution of the Jews has been given prominence in Holocaust scholarship, the international indictments of the Nazis by the Polish government for perpetrators of both large-scale and individual actions HAS NOT BEEN GIVEN ITS DUE. IT SHOULD NOW BE.” (p. 127; Emphasis added). No kidding.
Again, the author fails to explain why Holocaust researchers have ignored or minimized the positive Polish actions—all the while constantly highlighting the negative. Is it because there is a pervasive anti-Polish prejudice that dominates the field of Holocaust studies?
THE MYTH OF POLISH AUTHORITIES IGNORING THE JEWISH SPECIFICITY OF WHAT NOWADAYS IS CALLED THE SHOAH
Plesch quotes from the following archived source: Polish Charges against German War Criminals (Reel 14), RN 123/P/G/21,CHN 20, June 3, 1944, 834-43. The quotes below use the pagination in this book.
“‘Aiming at a complete extermination of Polish Jews as well as Jews deported to Poland from other occupied countries the Germans either established in Poland several special camps for biological mass killing of Jews or adapted some of existing concentration camps for this purpose.’” (p. 234).
“‘With true German thoroughness the German[s] were aiming to destroy the Jewish population all over the territory of Poland, the object being the radical clearance of all places of the Jewish element/”Judenfrei machen”/.’” (p. 234).
(WHAT ELSE?): POLISH ANTISEMITISM. THE AUTHOR’S OWN BIAS
It is a bit ironic for author Plesch to call attention to the widespread unfairness to Poles when he engages in some of the same. Again and again, Plesch beats the drum about Polish anti-Semitism. (e. g, p. 71, 122, 127). Yet Polish anti-Semitism, whether mild or extreme, and whether unjustified or justified, has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this book!
So why does Plesch insist on cheapening his otherwise-objective work by doing this? He does not tell the reader. Is it to maintain his good standing in academia by avoiding sounding too positive to the Poles?
THE HOLOCAUST BLAME GAME: NOW GO AND BLAME THE BRITISH AND AMERICANS
Dan Plesch concludes with this pithy statement, “‘We did not know’ is often the excuse—expressed by the Germans and Allies alike—for not doing more to combat the tragedies of the Holocaust. Given the account provided here, which suggests that the Allies were very much aware of the Holocaust, how do we interpret this inaction?” (p. 84). Good question.
- Source: GoodReads.com , December 5, 2018
Published with the author’s permission.
Title image: Adolf Hitler. Source: UlHere / selected by wg.pco