And We Are Not Saved by David Wdowinski. 1963.
Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis. My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Zydokomuna Not Marginal. Jewish-Nazi Collaboration Squarely Faced. German Guilt Diffusion (Already in 1962!) Forcefully Confronted
David Wdowinski and Chaim Lazar cite several sources that describe the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. This book emphasizes the ZZW (rather than the ZOB) and, to a lesser but still notable extent, the role of Poles in support of the Uprising. (see esp. pp. 188-191). However, this book is much more than the much-neglected role of the ZZW in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. It also features insights into Jewish attitudes on many subjects.
ZYDOKOMUNA: COMMUNISM WAS NOT SOMETHING MARGINAL TO JEWISH THINKING!
In tracing the development of a Jewish philosophy of militant resistance, Wdowinski is candid about the fact that the Jewish pro-Communist political orientation went far beyond the small membership of the CP and its fellow travelers: „The second, the confused political orientation, was largely due to the fact that many Jewish leaders were reared in the spirit of the Russian Revolution, and they thought they could translate the ideas of the class struggle into Zionist terms.” (p. 5).
JEWISH COLLABORATION WITH THE NAZIS NOT EXCUSED BY THE „ALL JEWS WERE VICTIMS OF THE NAZIS” OR „CHOICELESS CHOICE” MEMES
When describing the Warsaw Ghetto, Wdowinski had scathing words for the Jewish Ghetto police: „A veritable army of Jewish men from all walks of life, university graduates, business people, and, of course, characters from the underworld–all of them men who looked for personal safety, a little more comfort, a little more food, and others who were degenerates and psychopaths–took advantage of the situation and joined the force which handed over to the Germans hundreds of thousands of their brothers to be sent to labor camps, to Treblinka for extermination, to prisons for torture. I am convinced that aside from total annihilation of the Ghetto by the Germans, the Jewish police was the single institution in the Ghetto that was responsible for the needless murder of thousands of Jews who would not have been found by the Germans without their help. This was one of the darkest chapters in the life of the Ghetto, and one of which the Jewish people were most ashamed.” (pp. 32-33).
JEWISH COLLABORATION WITH THE NAZIS WAS DRIVEN BY SELFISH OPPORTUNISM AND NOT BY DESPERATION
As for Jewish Gestapo agents, Wdowinski comments: „Amongst the Jewish population there were some deluded individuals who, for the sake of personal immunity from arrest, a better labor card, or a bigger ration would gladly turn informers.” (p. 42).
GERMAN GUILT DIFFUSION: THE DE-GERMANIZATION OF THE NAZIS FACED SQUARELY, AND SOUNDLY CONDEMNED
Testifying at the Eichmann trial, Wdowinski repudiated the casualness with which the German-ness of the Holocaust had already by then (1962!) been glossed over. He commented: „I am prepared myself with data and references to scientific treatises on the mystique of the German people, pointing to the fact that such a phenomenon could happen only in Germany; that for hundreds of years the German people had been psychologically prepared for Hitler and Nazism; that this was the only country in the world that had brought in a totalitarian regime through a popular election…” (p. 102). „It is curious that Jewish leaders and Jewish intellectuals should be at the forefront of the legion that is defending Germany with such ardor…They refuse to heed the voice of those who have made studies of it, that Nazism was NOT an accident in Germany; that it was the historical culmination of a process engendered by the elite of German culture for hundreds of years; that such conditioning is not eradicated by wishful thinking; and that it can rear its ugly head again in a totally unfamiliar, but equally destructive form again and again.” (p. 109)(emphasis is original).
LIKE THEN LIKE NOW
Wdowinski wrote the forgoing over 50 years ago. What would he think of today’s Holocaust films and educational materials, which almost invariably de-Germanize the Nazis? Or of the modern tendency to treat the Holocaust as something „incomprehensible”? And what would he think of the European Union and the possibilities of German hegemony over Europe because of it?
Published with the author’s permission.
The title image: Krakow, Poland, 1941, A Jewish police parade in the ghetto. Source: photos.yadvashem.org / selected by wg.pco