• Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold? Studies on the Wartime Fate of Poles and Jews” by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński (Editor), Pawel Styrna (Editor) –  Published March 1st 2012 by Sis/Waller (first published March 23rd 2011). Edition Language: English.


Totally Upends the One-Sided Media Narrative on Poles and Jews During WWII. Clarifies: Wartime Looting, Property Restitution, Organized Polish Rescue, Cultural Marxism, neo-Stalinism

This work is head and shoulders above the media-touted writings of Jan T. Gross, Jan Grabowski vel Abrahamer, Anna Bikont, and others like them.


In the Introduction, the editors trace historical developments. Communist propaganda smeared Poland as anti-Semitic, and the West welcomed this as a palliative for Yalta pangs of conscience. The rise of identity politics in American academia meant that the moral right always belongs to the minority, and criticism of Jews was dismissed as anti-Semitism. (pp. 13-14). [Of course, minority is a relative term. Next to the vastly more populous and powerful Germans and Russians, Poles are very much a minority!]


Historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz shows how Jan T. Gross smears the Poles by selective anecdotes and systematic ignoring of contrary evidence (p. 21, 25, 31, 33), and how Gross makes utterly silly comparisons of Poles with Hutus. (p. 28). Chodakiewicz concludes that: „In this sense, Gross, GOLDEN HARVEST reads as another prejudicial assault on Polishness, patriotism, Christianity, tradition, and the sense of national identity.” (pp. 62-63).

Gross’ frauds begin with the book-cover photograph „of Polish Treblinka grave-diggers”. In actuality, the photo is of unclear origin, and even the leftist (and George Soros funded) GAZETA WYBORCZA has disavowed it. (p. 24). The major exploitation of Treblinka remains was actually conducted by the Red Army–and on an industrial scale. (p. 27). Unlike Gross, Chodakiewicz puts Polish looting of Jews in proper wartime German-occupation context. As exemplified by the Krasnik area, „…the Polish countryside experienced an almost complete breakdown of law and order from mid-1942 onward…Informing was a plague…Theft and robbery were common…” (pp. 41-43). Fugitive Jews perished as both victims and perpetrators of widespread banditry. (p. 55). Gross repeats base Nazi propaganda about Poles profiting from Jews. (p. 57). Nazis actually took the lion’s share of Jewish belongings, and, „The claim that the Polish peasants enriched themselves at Jewish expense is spuriously false. The peasant looting of the leftover Jewish possessions, so-called `abandoned’ property, often junk, did take place.” (p. 61).

Historian Peter Stachura points out that Gross craves attention and publicity, and concludes that, „Through the presentation of selective, unrepresentative, and invariably trivial or localized incidents and data, much of which derives from the work of Jewish and minor leftist Polish-based scholars, Gross aims to paint an unedifying and damning picture of Poles during the German occupation of Poland (1939-1944).” (p. 65).

Piotr Gontarczyk discusses the book-cover photo (pp. 71-73), and notes that Gross has little regard for the facts (p. 73), even repeating things that he knows are untrue, such as the Ringelblum accusation (p. 80) and Rzeszow Pogrom. (p. 89). Gross repeats hearsay as fact, and quotes renegades or Volksdeutsche as if they were normative Poles. (p. 82). Otherwise, Gross backed off his „100,000–200,000 Jews killed by Poles during the Holocaust” down to „tens of thousands” (p. 75)–the figures based on vague support. Both the Polish-Underground AK and NSZ punished Polish Treblinka grave-diggers. (pp. 76-77). Pointedly, looting of the dead is as old as human civilization, and wartime looting is universal, as exemplified by the Poles looting of the body in a downed aircraft. (p. 92).


Double standards are blatant: If a Pole overcharged a Pole, it was an unfortunate wartime incident of no importance, but if a Pole overcharged a Jew, it was a Polish participation in the Holocaust. (p. 85). The same held for a Jew buying something a Pole had to sell to survive versus the reverse. (pp. 84-85). Denials notwithstanding, Gross is promoting Polish collective guilt–transferring the blame from Polish individuals to the Polish people and Catholic Church as a whole. (p. 89). Engelking-Boni cited drunken Polish peasants turning-in fugitive Jews to the Nazis on a Sunday „after the High Mass, one may surmise”, even though there is no evidence that the drunkards even attended church. (p. 90). Engelking-Boni’s cheap shot at the Church is obvious.


Teresa Preker(owa) found many Jewish accounts of Poles killing Treblinka-escaped Jews farfetched. (p. 100, 105). In a detailed analysis of the accounts of Treblinka escapees, Mark Paul concludes the Jewish escapees overwhelmingly received some form of assistance from Poles (though rarely permanent housing), and that there is no compelling evidence of Poles killing such Jews. (p. 119). Interestingly, Treblinka escapees, actually or presumably laden with valuables, faced financial exploitation not only by Poles, but also by fellow Jews. (p. 123). Pawel Styrna deconstructs the Gross-mentioned events at Wolka-Okraglik and Gniewczyna. The Poles of Wolka-Okraglik were exceptionally traumatized by the events at nearby Treblinka–in no sense representatives of Poles in general. (pp. 141-146). The Gniewczyna-related allegations of anti-Jewish crimes, never credible to begin with as they came from a single person–a Communist-era officer (p. 152), have been refuted. It is now realized that the Jew-murderers were Ukrainian policemen, and that the Gniewczyna Poles actually ASSISTED Jews. (p. 152).


Richard Tyndorf presents a fascinating collection of over a hundred different examples, mostly from Jewish sources, of large groups of Poles sharing the burden of hiding Jews (p. 156, 159-195). This includes numerous examples of even entire villages entering in, and persisting in, a conspiracy of silence about their hidden Jews. (In many instances, the „hidden” Jews in Polish villages lived openly without fear.) As an example, some 2,000 Poles at a village near Tarnobrzeg resisted German questioning and monetary enticement, sticking to their story that a Jew among them was not one. (p. 169).

Tyndorf’s findings debunk the idea that Polish rescuers of Jews were just a handful of altruistic individuals, acting alone, in a sea of indifferent if not hostile Poles, and that Polish benefactors of Jews habitually lived in constant fear of disapproval of their neighbors. It also contradicts the notion of Poles as romantic individualists lacking organizational skills. Finally, were Polish denouncers of Jews common, and denunciation of Jews was some kind of Polish and Catholic disease, it would be next to impossible to identify a single chain of Polish families, let alone entire villages, that lack a Polish denouncer. Instead, we have over 100 such examples!


Bethany M. Paluk surveys universal wartime looting. There are numerous instances of Jews looting Poles in Soviet-occupied eastern Poland. (p. 209). Many factors facilitate looting. Even sports championships in peacetime are sometimes sufficient to cause an apparent weakness in social infrastructure conducive to looting. (p. 205).

Judge Barbara Gorczycka-Muszynska (translated by Pawel Styrna) shows how the early post-WWII Soviet-imposed Communist authorities expropriated Poles’ properties. (p. 223). Jews were privileged in being allowed to reclaim their prewar properties, as enforced by Emil Sommerstein, a Jew in the Communist government. (p. 229). Contrary to Gross’ myth of Poles frequently offering murderous resistance to Jews returning to reclaim their properties, the AMERICAN JEWISH YEAR BOOK (1947-1948) noted that such restitution „proceeds more or less smoothly.” (p. 230). In addition, contrary to the myth of Polish citizens enriching themselves at the expense of Jews, Nazi-seized properties, unclaimed by 1948, were expropriated (nationalized) by the Communists. (p. 231).


John Radzilowski unmasks Jan T. Gross as a neo-Stalinist. Other neo-Stalinists include Joanna Michlic, Piotr Wrobel, and Jan Grabowski. (p. 251). Unlike their namesake, neo-Stalinists do not follow Stalin, and some may not even, strictly speaking, be Marxists. (p. 244). Like their namesake, however, they ignore or belittle Polish heroism and suffering, and attempt to destroy Polish Catholicism, patriotism, and nationalism by slanderously equating it with anti-Semitism and Nazi collaboration [also–not mentioned–with fascism, reaction, anti-pluralism, xenophobia, etc.] (pp. 243-244). Following Antonio Gramsci, they seek to de-Christianize Poland as a path to „progress” (p. 246), and to force a European identity upon Poles in place of the Polish identity. (p. 246).

Like other neo-Marxists of the Frankfurt school, the neo-Stalinists, a form of cultural Marxism, seek power not through politics or proletarian consciousness (p. 244), but by becoming a self-appointed elite (p. 253) that controls cultural institutions, especially the universities and news media. (p. 246). Dissenting thinkers are silenced not by being sent to the Gulags, but by censorship, character assassination, and the destruction of careers. As an example, consider the smear campaign directed at Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, followed by efforts to get him removed from university appointments. (p. 251).


Mark Paul provides a very detailed, eye-opening account of Jewish Soviet collaboration in 1939 [sometimes called the Zydokomuna.] Though often excused by such things as the opined bad Jewish experience in pre-WWII Poland, and Jewish fear of the Nazis, it is obvious that this collaboration was primarily a manifestation of active enmity against Poland. At numerous documented locations in the Kresy, Jews shot at retreating Polish troops. (p. 271, 274). At a minimum of 21 known listed locations, Jewish bands took up arms against the Polish authorities well before the anticipated arrival of the Red Army. (p. 272). Before Jedwabne, there was Brzostowica Mala. There, before the arrival of the Red Army, a Jewish-Byelorussian band, led by the Jew Zusko Ajzik, massacred about 50 unarmed Polish civilians using sadistic techniques. (pp. 290-291). (Some Polish retaliatory actions against Jews did take place in 1939, but [as usual], these „pogroms” were greatly exaggerated.)

Later, Jews betrayed hiding Polish soldiers and militiamen (p. 274, 276), and identified educated Poles as „class enemies”, which the Soviets murdered. (p. 275). Still later, virtually all of the witnesses at Soviet show trials, against Poles, were Jews. (p. 277). On the other hand, Poles document hundreds of instances of Jews protecting Poles from the Communists. This refutes Gross’ claim that Poles only noticed bad things about Jews. (p. 292).


Wojciech Jerzy Muszynski analyzes Polish nationalist movements before and during WWII. In no sense were the Endeks (SN) or ONR fascist, Nazi, or pro-German. (pp. 298-299). Endek anti-Jewishness was based on economic and political conflicts with Jews, and had nothing to do with Nazi racial and exterminationist anti-Semitism. (pp. 300-303). During the Holocaust, Endek publications condemned the Nazi slaughter of Jews, and were among the first, if not the first, to identify the Nazi use of poison gas against Jews. (pp. 308-309). The linkage of Polish Catholicism with nationalism prevented Polish nationalism from degenerating into the kind of national egoism seen, for example, in the genocidal Ukrainian nationalism (OUN-UPA). (p. 323).

Sebastian Bojemski (translated by Pawel Styrna) examines the NSZ, which for decades had been accused of killing Jews. This did happen indirectly when NSZ combatted bandit and Communist bands. Interestingly, the anti-Jewish crimes blamed on the NSZ were committed by the Communist GL-AL. (p. 328).

It is not true that the NSZ kept lists of Poles that helped Jews. (p. 329). Far from being anti-Semitic, the NSZ had Jewish and Jewish-descent members, and there are many examples of NSZ guerrillas and officers rendering aid to Jews. (pp. 330-342, 348). During the postwar Communist occupation, many Jews who had earlier benefitted from the NSZ’s aid came forward to defend accused NSZ members. (pp. 342-344).



Jan Peczkis

Published with the author’s permission.


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  • Title image: Art of Piotr Pawelczyk – European Painting Gallery. Source: TouchofArt.eu / selected by wg.pco

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