Harassment of Poland by Fox News Channel journalist and Georgetown scholar Bradley Blakeman
FOX NEWS channel published May 17, 2019: Bradley Blakeman: Poland abuses its relationship with President Trump in mistreatment of Holocaust survivors
Letter of protest sent to:
RE: Letter of protest / Harassment of Poland by Fox News Channel journalist and Georgetown scholar Bradley Blakeman
Ms. Suzanne Scott
Chief Executive Officer
Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York City, NY
Cc: Professor John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University, 37th and O Streets, N.W., Washington D.C. 20057
Dear Ms. Scott,
As a son of Polish World War Two survivors I protest against falsification of history and harassment of the Polish community by Mr. Bradley Blakeman, a freelancer of Fox News and a scholar of Georgetown University. In the article „Poland abuses its relationship with President Trump in mistreatment of Holocaust survivors,” published on Fox News on May 17, 2019, Blakeman whitewashes Nazi Germany, and makes Polish people co-responsible for the tragedy of Jews (1). It is a disappointment that Fox News, which purports to be „fair and balanced,” would publish an article devoid of facts. Even an „opinion” piece should be predicated on truth and factual history.
The Polish people themselves were victims of World War Two. 6 million Polish citizens perished during the war. Our country suffered the greatest losses and destruction. During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 Germans mercilessly killed almost 200,000 innocent Polish civilians and razed Warsaw to the ground (2). Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Poles were killed in the German concentration and death camps. During the Intelligenzaktion Germans wiped out thousands of Polish professors, lawyers, doctors, teachers, public servants and priests. Between 1939 and 1945, 3 million ethnic Poles were exploited as slave labor, among them my grandfather. 300,000 Polish children were kidnapped and germanized. Mass executions of hostages took place in what the Germans called “collective retribution”. The German objective was to terrorize the population, to remove leadership for any resistance and to destroy Polish culture.
In September 1939, Poland was also invaded by the Soviet Union which was then a partner of Nazi Germany under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. The Soviet NKVD also targeted Polish leaders. In the Spring of 1940, nearly 22,000 Polish Army and Police officers were massacred at Katyń. The Soviet NKVD also deported in an „ethnic cleansing” approximately 1.5 million Polish citizens using railway cattle trucks to slave labour camps (gulags) in Siberia and Kazakhstan. Hundreds of thousands of Poles perished in the brutal conditions.
None of this is addressed by Blakeman, and readers who are not well informed about the severe wartime conditions in occupied Poland might infer that the Holocaust occurred in a vacuum.
Instead, he ignores Polish victims and insinuates that „Poland is not being fair to thousands of American Holocaust survivors” and „very few Holocaust survivors have been able to recover or receive compensation for it since.” He praises unconstitutional, xenophobic public law 115-171 (Act S. 447) excluding all other victims of Hitler’s tyranny but Jews. He offensively states that „Poland has ignored and rebuffed his (President Trump’s) administration repeatedly on the issue in a manner unbecoming of an ally.” He ignores the fact that public law 115-171, known also under its misleading name as JUST Act, is in direct violation of the indemnity agreement between the United States of America and Poland regarding claims of nationals of the United States dated July 16, 1960 (3). Poland also signed such agreements with 12 European countries and with Canada. The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the Department of Justice completed the administration of the Polish Claims Program on March 31, 1966, confirming that Poland fulfilled all its duties (4).
Blakeman also omits the fact that Germany compensated material losses of the Jewish community on the basis of the Luxembourg Agreement of September 10, 1952. Rather than compensating Holocaust survivors, Israel used billions of German Marks to build the state of Israel. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, an umbrella organization of dozens of mainly US and British Jewish groups, was also one of the beneficiaries of the Luxembourg Agreement: it received payments from Germany amounting to 450 million German Marks. However, at least 15% of this sum was defrauded by high functionaries of the Claims Conference, some of whom were jailed for the fraud (5). It is a stunning omission that none of these salient points is mentioned by Blakeman.
It is unacceptable that today, the former beneficiaries of the Luxembourg Agreement and fraudulent journalists & scholars like Blakeman call for another round of compensations for the same losses, this time from Poland, the main victim of World War Two.
As a professor of international affairs, Blakeman should be aware that according to international legal standards, „heirless property” of the Polish Jews who perished during the war escheated to the state. It would be a perversion of justice if it escheated to self-appointed US organizations having nothing to do with Polish Jews. However, this important information vanished in a „black hole” of Blakeman’s World War Two history.
The Polish act of February 20, 1997 (which established the Regulatory Commission for the restitution of Jewish communal property) facilitated the return of over 2,500 communal properties including synagogues, cemeteries and other cultural centers to various Jewish groups. These groups were frequently managed by people who converted from Christianity to Judaism and who had little in common with Holocaust victims. The returned communal properties, sometimes totally destroyed during the war, in most cases had been returned after renovation. The procedure was described among others by Israeli and Polish journalists in a Forbes story (6).
The Holocaust is a sensitive issue and journalists reporting on World War Two should not forget that Nazi Germany and Soviet Union murdered millions of innocent ethnic Poles. Journalists writing for mainstream media like Fox News should be particularly mindful that words matter. Expressions that may be regarded as „patriotic” in Israel may be considered highly offensive on the Polish side. It was the German chancellor Adolf Hitler and not a Polish prime minister who stated on 22 August 1939 in a speech in Obersalzberg: „Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formations in readiness—for the present only in the East—with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need.” Conflating Polish victims with German perpetrators is certainly not a hallmark of responsible and honest journalism. It is also the antithesis of the spirit of the US Declaration of Independence, a document praising tolerance, openness and fair treatment of American citizens.
I respectfully request that you abide by the rules of honest reporting and not allow Orwellian freelancers, even if they are scholars of Georgetown, to mislead public opinion and to harass Polish victims of World War Two.
Marek Blazejak, MD, MBA
Source: Piotr Bein’s blog , June 2, 2019.
Read more on this topic:
The title image source: By Antony Stanley from Gloucester, UK (Auschwitz Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons