the Polish village of Jedwabne — a two-hour drive from Warsaw. In the centre of the Church, near the square named after Pope John Paul II. Well maintained farm house, gardens. The population of Jedwabne — less than two thousand people. Mostly poles. Think long-entrenched way of life. In fact, even 80 years ago most here were Jews, and the settlement was a classic Jewish town.
All this is suddenly knocked into oblivion one of the bloodiest in the history of Polish pogroms. 10 July 1941 were killed here, more than a thousand Jews.
At the place where the tragedy occurred, a monument. On it — the charred boards as a terrible reminder of the barn, where hundreds of people were burned alive. For a long time, for decades it was believed that the massacre was perpetrated by the German executioners, but now it is known: the mass murder of Jews in the Polish village of Jedwabne at the hands of the poles themselves.
Princeton Professor Jan Tomasz gross conducted an investigation and wrote a book called “Neighbors”, where he restored the course of events of the cooperation of poles with the Germans.
“on the Morning of July 10, 1941 the Gestapo came 8 people to meet with representatives of the local authorities. When the Gestapo asked them what are they going to do with the Jews, they replied unanimously, that all Jews should be killed. When the Germans proposed to leave one Jewish family from each profession, who was present at the meeting, local carpenter Bronislaw Slesinski said, we have enough of their masters, we have to destroy all the Jews, none should stay alive. Mayor Karolak and all of them agreed with his words. For this purpose Slesinski gave his barn, which stood nearby. After this meeting started a bloodbath”, — is spoken in the publication.
according to gross, in Jedwabne poles, Jews squeezed out the eyes and tongues cut out, had their heads cut off with axes, were sacrificed to death with sticks with nails. Spared neither one hundredricks, no children, so mothers drowned their babies in the pond, so they do not fall into the hands of fanatics. For the events President Kwasniewski officially apologized, although much support in Polish society, then, is not found.
In Jedwabne there is none now.
“It was the orders of the Germans, the poles were forced to implement it. It is true that the inhabitants of Jedwabne themselves did. We did that partly to blame. I once because of this, even the problems were at the Swedish border. The border guard took my passport, saw that I was from Jedwabne, and said, how many Jews have you killed? I told him rudely replied wait, let me count. And he said: what do you want to be sent home? That’s the trouble was,” said one of the locals.
In the 30 years of the twentieth century in Poland after she slaughtered the Treaty of Versailles territories lived millions of Jews, from which Warsaw tried to get rid of. Hatched the idea to send Jews back where they’ve already definitely not return. For example, in Africa. Poland has found understanding in the Third Reich. But because in 1938, the Polish Ambassador in Berlin, Jozef Lipski, promised the Fuhrer to give him “a beautiful monument”.
“We understand that Hitler did not immediately come to the idea of a final solution of the Jewish question. But like the Polish Ambassador in Germany Lipsky, I think that he was not alone, and it is certain sentiments, which were in Poland and in most Polish communities, they are gradually pushed Hitler to the idea of a final solution of the Jewish question. When Hitler’s thinking how to get rid of the Jews in Europe, the European countries say: we admire your approach to the Jews, it certainly pushes the criminal to the crime,” — said Alexander Boroda, President of the Federation of Jewish communities of Russia.
With the outbreak of war the Nazis built in Poland the death camps: Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor. Millions of dead and brutally tortured Jews, Gypsies, Russians and poles themselves, hthat did not prevent many from the local Polish population to collaborate with the executioners.
“the Poles themselves took the children in these concentration camps, what I was told by a very old Jew in new York, Henry Huberman. I remember very well. He was rescued by Russian soldiers, and the poles took by the hand, rejoicing that the Jews will end it by proxy in Poland,” said Natalia Narochnitskaya, doctor of historical Sciences, President of the Foundation for historical perspective.
this was the heroic poles who saved Jews. The members of “Zegota” — the code name for the underground Council for aid to Jews — hid them in safe houses, supplied with forged documents, they placed the children in foster care. But the number saved, of course, far less than those who are given to certain death. In Poland enough, and those who literally profited from the inhumane suffering of people.
“Hunt for the Jews has been absolutely massive, and there was even such a term — it is characteristic for Poland – “szmalcownicy”. That is to collect the Schmalz – fat — with these fugitives from the doomed men. They robbed, killed, provide shelter, then given to the Germans, taking away their property. The results of the Jews was determined remuneration which the Germans paid with hunting and announced it to all and Sundry,” said the historian Aron Schneier.
the Topic is so uncomfortable for the Polish authorities, that last year was a special law. He threatened jail to anyone who accused the poles of involvement in the crimes of Nazi Germany. Up to three years of imprisonment. After a wave of protests, primarily from Israel, criminal term were replaced by the administrative liability. But the law works and so.
“Researchers can now be ridden through the courts, and God knows how much they have to spend on your protection simply because they seek the truth. Not every Jew in Poland was murdered by the Nazis, was killed by the poles. It is a fact, it’s Nevit is possible to deny it. There were many cases where the poles handed over Jews to the Gestapo: from 130 000 to 200 000 or were killed by the Germans or handed over to the Germans for the murders,” said Efraim Zuroff, head of the Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In July 1944 the Red Army liberated the death camp Majdanek. In January 1945 Soviet soldiers liberated Warsaw and Auschwitz. May 1945 — Victory. But after the defeat of fascism, the threat to Jews in Poland did not disappear.
“the Only place in the world where were pogroms after the war is in Poland, when the Jews returned to their homes, surviving by a miracle, and there they waited the poles who killed them. These are facts that have taken place. The poles with the light, actively participated in the mass killings of Jews,” said Alexander Beard.
In August 1945, a pogrom in Krakow. It sparked rumours that the Jews kidnapped the children of Catholics for ritual murder. In July 1946 a pogrom in another Polish city — Kielce. Because of these same beliefs. There were other reasons.
“About 1,500 Jews were killed in Poland after the Second world war. And it had to do with their property. People were settled in their home and was not happy to see Jews who survived the Holocaust. They had to hear: what a pity that Hitler did not kill you,” said Efraim Zuroff.
And in the 60s in Poland have been a mass expulsion. Once Europe’s largest Jewish community in Poland has not recovered. And no prerequisites. Instead of three million — 30 thousand people.
Text: “News of the week”