- In the Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen by Nechama Tec – Published December 1st 1990 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 1990). Edition Language: English.
Rejecting the Myth That the ARMIA KRAJOWA (AK) and the NARODOWE SILY ZBROJNE (NSZ) Killed Fugitive and Postwar Jews Without Reason
POLISH ANTI-SEMITISM WAS SOMETHING SPORADIC IN SPACE AND TIME, NOT SOMETHING CONSTANT
While growing up, Oswald Rufeisen did not have close friendships with Christian children. However, Tec notes that: “In school Oswald does not remember feeling discriminated against or being abused.” (p. 10). Obviously, persecution was far from a universal experience for prewar Polish Jews.
BELARUSSIAN NAZI COLLABORATION
The collaborationist Byelorussian police played a major role in assisting the Germans in their destruction of the local Jews. (e. g., p. 102). It had only a “sprinkling of Poles.” (p. 62). German genocidal policies targeted Poles as well as Jews. Rufeisen observed the Germans hunting for members of the Polish intelligentsia for destruction. (pp. 98-99).
REPUDIATING THE MYTH OF THE POLISH UNDERGROUND AK AND NSZ WANTONLY KILLING JEWS
One shortcoming of the approach used by author Nechama Tec is her uncritical reliance on certain published sources. For instance, she cites some unmentioned-Communist sources (p. 262) when repeating the (false) characterization of the Polish-Underground NSZ (N.S.Z.) being fascist. (p. 182).
However, Tec re-examines the assertion that the NSZ and the Polish Home Army (ARMIA KRAJOWA) systematically killed fugitive Jews. She writes: “About these Polish fighters Oswald tells a different story. He denies that they had murdered Jews. He points out that after the Poles were overpowered by the Russian partisans they were scattered in small numbers to different Soviet-dominated groups and that eventually most were murdered.” (p. 183).
JEWISH PREJUDICES AGAINST JEWISH CHRISTIANS
Oswald Rufeisen’s eventual conversion to Christianity, while retaining his Jewish identity, raised questions as to what is a Jew. The Israeli authorities rejected the premise that one can be a Jew and Christian at the same time. This could be further developed in the book. For instance, can one be a Jew and Buddhist at the same time? Likewise, an atheist Jew is considered a Jew whereas a Christian Jew is not. This begs the question as to why Christianity is still considered something foreign to Judaism while atheism is now considered neutral to Judaism.
- Source: GoodReads.com , January 18, 2019.
Published with the author’s permission.
Title image: German advance guards and scouts are shown in a Polish town that has been under fire during the Nazi invasion of Poland, September 1939. Source: rarehistoricalphotos.com / selected by wg.pco