Polish Collaboration Very Rare: Less Than 0.1% of the Ethnic Polish Population. Jew Killing WWII By Poles Induced By German Terror. Brechtken
Political and Transitional Justice in Germany, Poland and the Soviet Union from the 1930s to the 1950s, by Magnus Brechtken, Władysław Bułhak and Jürgen Zarusky (eds.) 2019
No “Polish Complicity in the Holocaust” in Any Rational Sense of the Term
My review of this anthology is limited to the works of Ingo Loose and Andrzej Paczkowski. Both are historians.
POLISH COLLABORATION: SOME FACTS AND FIGURES
Paczkowski reviews several works on the postwar trials of Poles that had collaborated with the Nazis. He writes, “It is easiest to calculate convictions, but here, whereas Elżbieta Kobierska-Motas assumes that in 1944-1988 there were approximately 20,000 convictions, Andrew Kornbluth estimates that in 1944-1960 various courts convicted 21,000 persons, and according to Kubicki, approximately 18,000 people were sentenced in those years. Thus, we may estimate that 13,500-16,500 of the sentenced individuals were ‘active collaborators’ (the rest were Germans or non-Polish citizens). Attention may be drawn to the relatively high percentage of acquittals: according to Pasek, 30-40 % of the trials ended in acquittals, and according to Kornbluth it was even 45%. If we assume that about 40% of the total number of defendants were acquitted, and if we use this estimate as a basis for generalized assumptions, we could be talking about approximately 19,000-25,000 ‘active collaborators’ who were put on trial. However, Kornbluth estimates that until 1960 at least 32,000 persons were tried in court (perhaps even 35,000 or so), which means that this figure would have included some 28,000-30,000 ‘active collaborators’.” (p. 162).
ASSESSING POLISH COLLABORATION WITH THE NAZIS
Let us keep these numbers in much-needed perspective. Out of some 28 million total ethnic Poles, 28,000 (an upper limit) comes out to 0.1% of the ethnic Polish population. This is a negligible percentage. Besides, it does not stand out as noticeably different from all the other collaborators that existed in every war since time immemorial. Moreover, the majority (probably overwhelming majority) of these Polish collaborators did not act against Jews. (pp. 164-165).
COLLABORATION WAS DRIVEN BY SELFISH OPPORTUNISM, NOT AGREEMENT WITH NAZI IDEOLOGY
Andrzej Paczkowski assesses the postwar trials as follows, “It is difficult to clearly specify whether sentencing some ten thousand ‘active collaborators’ or more, and judging probably approximately 30,000, is a success or a failure in terms of the number of defendants and convictions. The significant percentage of acquittals and many cases of prosecutors refusing to press charges and putting defendants on trial could suggest that even collaboration of an ‘active’ nature was to a great extent recognized to be situational and ‘acting for the benefit of the occupier’ was often a one-off act motivated by the prospect of immediate profit rather than from a sense of political or ideological commitment to the enemy cause.” (p. 167).
CONCLUSION ON POLISH COMPLICITY IN THE HOLOCAUST
The accusation of “Polish complicity in the Holocaust” is an undefined one–and therefore clearly an accusation of an emotional and political nature. It is false according to every sensible definition of the term, and it is high time that Jews stop repeating this calumny.
POLES KILL JEWS OUT OF FEAR OF BEING FOUND OUT BY THE GERMANS–AND THEN ARE PUNISHED ANYWAY
Ingo Loose mentions the death penalty imposed on Poles for aiding Jews, and then describes a 1944 incident in German-occupied Lodz. He comments, “The defendants had hidden three Jews for seven months, but then began to fear that they would be found out. So they murdered the three Jews, which was coincidentally discovered by the police, and which resulted in extensive investigations. In short, the defendants had no chance of survival, given that hiding Jews was reason enough to earn the death penalty. Still, this was probably the only case that came before a special court in which the defendants were sentenced for murdering Jews.” (p. 96).
Evidently, the Germans thought of themselves as having the sole right to kill Jews.
THE GERMAN HERRENVOLK AND THE POLISH UNTERMENSCHEN: LATENT GENOCIDE
In describing the situation in those areas of conquered Poland that had been directly annexed to the Third Reich, Ingo Loose writes,
“Unofficial contact between Germans on the one side and Poles and Jews on the other was fundamentally understood as a political crime. The measures and regulations that were meant to curtail contact between these groups as much as possible were relatively numerous: they included a degrading mandatory greeting that had to be made to Germans, a ban on the use of the Polish language, practically non-existent insurance protection, a special Polish excise tax on already low wages, a ban on marriage before a certain age, which was imposed to artificially depress the birth rate, a ban on so-called mixed marriages (Mischehen) between Poles and Germans, a practical ban on practicing one’s religion in a number of places, segregated streetcars for Poles and Germans, separate cemeteries, and even a ban initiated in November 1941 that forbade the sale of cake to Poles.” (p. 95).
Note that German Nazi policies were not directed solely against the Polish nation or Polish culture. They were also directed at Poles in a biological sense: The forcibly depressed birth rate was itself a genocidal act.
The title image source: haaretz.com .
Published with the author’s permission.
Source: Jews & Poles DATEBASE.