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Author Topic: "Polish death camps"
Szymon
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I suppose you aren't too excited about this problem, but one thing infuriated me today, so I'd like to comment on that. This concerns Barack Obama and his statement about "Polish Death Camps" and also a hateful article by Debbie Schlussel.

As you probably know the Germans during the Second World War weren't actually Germans, they were "nazis". The Nazis existed for a very brief period of time: since the early 20's till May 1945. The whole nation evaporated on 8th of May that year. This nation committed unspeakable crimes against humankind during that period, which nobody denies, even the Germans, a nation that came to life on May 9th, 1945. They created Death Camps, many of which were built on occupied lands- Polish, Czech, Soviet and so on. The biggest one was Auschwitz- Birkenau, near a lovely town of Oswiecim, south of Cracow, Poland.
Polish people during that period (1940-1945) were victims to mass murders, along with the Jews (who were Polish citizens), Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians, the Black, the disabled, the mentally ill- anyone who wasn't tall, high and blond like Adolf Hitler. I am pretty certain that there were a lot of Poles who killed Jews during that period, many of them helped Germa... nazis in the process. I am also certain, that they were a minority.
Poland was the only state occupied by G.. nazis, where protecting the Jews, hiding them, not informing about their whereabouts was punishable by death. It was not a possible sentence- it was the only one. Many did betray Jews, some because of hate, some because of fear for their lives and lives of their children. And yet there were hundreds of thousands that did try to protect them, many of which died as a result.
Now, I do not claim that Poles are saint and believe me, I have plenty of German friends and do not think they are responsible (how could they?!) for the crimes. But I am willing to take the risk of saying that Germans were the sole reason the horrid holocaust took place- they started it, they conducted it, Soviet, Polish and Allied forces thankfully finished it.
Jews after the II WW managed to inform the world public opinion about the atrocities that they were subjected to. Germans managed to convinced the world that they were possible only because of Nazi government, which managed to kill many millions of Jews despite heroic deeds of simple Germans who tried to prevent them. Thus, there were no Germans crimes, they were Nazi crimes. I can live with that, although I don't think it is completely fair.
Poles however, where never very good at conveying their thoughts this well. We are struggling now to repair that. So when president of the United States of America says- "Polish Death Camps", Polish media are in the uproar, Polish President writes a letter to Obama, and so on and so forth. Obviously Obama didn't want to offend Poland - given the circumstances in which he spoke the words (giving a medal to a Pole for trying to inform the World about Holocaust) - but some actions had to be taken.
The small simple truth we want to tell the world is that they weren't Polish Death Camps - they were barely on Polish soil. Obviously there were some Poles - prisoners - who helped the Germans. I imagine that in Ukraine they were Ukrainians etc. Bear in mind that the Jews weren't the sole prisoners, there were just as many Poles, Russians and other Slavic nations there.
Obama apologized, that's great. He won't make that mistake again.
And than I read an article by this journalist
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/50114/poles-were-complicit-in-holocaust-outrage-over-obama-gaffe-is-fraudulent-ignorant/
quote:
Poland’s willing executioners took their significant place among Hitler’s willing executioners

quote:
Are you kidding? Someone needs to remind Mr. Tusk that his people were the ones doing the hurting and the turning over to the Nazis and the mass murder of at least half of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, some of them from my family. You are “hurt” by calling Nazi death camps, “Polish”???? Um, where were they? Who helped operate them and round up and turn in the camps’ Jewish occupants, soon to be turned into ash and fumes?
Um, where were they?
They were in the Third Reich, in the annexed territories of General Government, Czech and Moravia protectorate, or simply in Germany (Sachsenhausen and many, many, many, too many places more).
Polish Underground Army was the largest force of this kind in the history. It had almost 1 million members who fought the Germans and died at their hands. Those who survived were persecuted after the war by the Communists, thousands of them killed and imprisoned in the vastness of Siberia.
They died alongside Jews in the death camps, or simply died there because they WERE JEWS. This journalist writes that "nazi" and "Polish" were not necessarily mutually exclusive. Well, being Polish and Jewish isn't necessarily exclusive either. In the first case, except for extremely small number of people, it was exclusive. Millions of Poles died during that war. On the other hand 10% or so of Polish population was Jewish, that's more than 3 million people.
Poland since 16th century the most tolerant nation in the world, it never persecuted it's citizens for their religious beliefs, making it a perfect home for Protestants and Jews during the dark times of religious wars in Europe.
It remained a multicultural nation until 1945. Ever since there are almost Poles here. Because of Nazi Death Camps.

[ June 06, 2012, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: Szymon ]

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JanitorBlade
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If he had said "death camps in Poland" would that have assuaged everybody's anger?
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Szymon
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Yes.
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Szymon
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Although it would be best if he'd say "Nazi" or even better "German".
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Samprimary
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Here's pretty much all you need to know about Debbie Schlussel guys

quote:
In 2007, Schlussel opined that WNBA player Anna DeForge is a bad role model because she is a lesbian.[18] She was criticized for this statement by player Kayte Christensen in an Arizona Republic column.[18]

When the Virginia Tech Massacre occurred on April 16, 2007, the police told the press that the shooter was an “Asian male” Schlussel was quick to tie it to Muslims, saying in a racist tirade that "Pakis are considered ‘Asian,’” and that it could be “part of a co-ordinated terrorist plot by Pakistanis.”[19]

In 2011, Schlussel provoked controversy by her comments after CBS reporter Lara Logan's sexual assault suffered while covering the Egyptian protests. Schlussel stated, "Lara Logan was among the chief cheerleaders of this 'revolution' by animals. Now she knows what Islamic revolution is really all about. So sad, too bad, Lara.[20]

After the killing of Osama bin Laden, Schlussel wrote on her blog "1 down, 1.8 billion more to go".[21] Schlussel wrote about the 2011 Norway attacks that while she doesn't "condone violent massacres on innocent civilians" and condemned their killer, she thought that "I’m not sad for either side... Now these kids’ families know what it feels like to be victims of the Islamic terrorists whose Judenrein boycotts and terrorist flotillas against Israel they support." She also stated, "I don’t get too upset when they face the karma that is their fate."

But remember, she's totally not an islamophobe/homophobe/whatever and definitely not a horrid excuse for a human being, nossir
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kmbboots
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Clearly "Polish death camps" was clumsy shorthand for "death camps in Poland". It was unfortunate but, surely, no reasonable person* actually thinks that the the death camps were instituted by anyone other than the Nazis or that the President meant any such thing.

People use the term "Jewish concentration camp" meaning (perfectly clearly) a camp where Jews were killed not one owned and operated by Jews.

It was unfortunate, but this outrage is overblown.

*Clearly Debbie Schlussel is not reasonable.

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Szymon
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Yeah, I am aware of that, and so are you. But many people, like Ms Schlussel think that the fact that they were placed in Poland means they were Polish. "Um, where were they?" she says...
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Szymon
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Samprimary, thanks. Makes me feel better knowing that she is simply ignorant and foolish. Although I would fire her for such comments- for example this Brevik stuff you mentioned. Jesus.
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Stephan
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I have two grandfathers born in Germany. One Catholic, one Jewish. I hate myself.
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rivka
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I would be more impressed by your outrage if Poland didn't have such a clear record of anti-semitic acts and attitudes long before and long after the Nazis were in power.

To claim that many Poles were not complicit in the death camps is historical revisionism. And to claim that only in Poland was failing to turn in Jews to the Nazis punishable by death is complete falsehood.

While there were certainly individual Poles who saved Jewish lives -- risking their own to do so -- your country, as a whole, has little to be proud of in the way it treated Jews during the entire 18th and 19th centuries. Or most of the 20th.

I have no idea who Schlussel is (don't especially care, either), and I certainly don't agree with everything in her article. But the degree of willing Polish complicity with the Nazis is well-documented.

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Szymon
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I didn't claim there was no antisemitism. There were killings even. Outrageous murders, I say maybe even a thousand Jews. Not tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands, though.
Polish prisoners helping in death camps were called Capos and there were many of them. Instead of receiving 200 calories a day they got 500, so they did help.

I admit that I am not sure if not turning Jews in was punishable by death. Helping them and hiding them certainly was and it was the only country.

There are acts of intolerance in every multicultural country, Poland was no exception. But it was not worse then any other country of this kind.

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Kwea
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Actually it was, in many cases, even before the Nazis.

But that "reporter" is a moron.

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King of Men
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In English "Polish death camps" can mean either "Death camps organised by the Polish government" or "Death camps within Poland's borders". The degree of Polish cooperation with the Nazis is quite irrelevant; the question is whether Obama is allowed to use the English language (rather than some other language that doesn't have this ambiguity) to accurately describe history.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
I didn't claim there was no antisemitism. There were killings even. Outrageous murders, I say maybe even a thousand Jews. Not tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands, though.

I see. It's just a question of scale?

Really?

quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
Polish prisoners helping in death camps were called Capos and there were many of them. Instead of receiving 200 calories a day they got 500, so they did help.

I am well aware of the Capos. In many cases, they were more vicious and enthusiastically anti-Semitic than the Nazis running the camps.

quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
Helping them and hiding them certainly was and it was the only country.

No, it wasn't. Hiding Jews in Germany, Austria, and other Eastern European countries under the Nazi regime got you killed too. Just as in Poland, the few who did so anyway in those countries were the exception, and their names are blessed.

quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
There are acts of intolerance in every multicultural country, Poland was no exception. But it was not worse then any other country of this kind.

Again, that's neither consistent with the documentation I have seen, nor relevant. Your initial claim is that the Poles were better than the Nazis. Now you're saying they were no worse? I'd probably agree with that. They were bad in different ways, certainly, since the Poles were not in power.

But claiming that those camps were not Polish death camps, or that they could have existed without the willing -- and in many cases, enthusiastic -- cooperation of the vast majority of Poles is historical whitewashing of the worst kind.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
The degree of Polish cooperation with the Nazis is quite irrelevant; the question is whether Obama is allowed to use the English language (rather than some other language that doesn't have this ambiguity) to accurately describe history.

Maybe he should just stick with Kenyan, that might calm Debbie down.
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aspectre
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Oh good grief. This continued political cover-up of the active participation of the Polish people, and especially the Polish RomanCatholic bishops and priests, in the Holocaust is absolutely ridiculous.
Heck, the main reason the twins got elected to President and Prime-Minister -- after Poland's separation from the former SovietBloc -- is cuz they were good Nazis who loved railing against "the Jews plotting against Poland".

[ June 06, 2012, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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dkw
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He does have a point about the tendency to refer to German Nazis as Nazis rather than Germans, though.
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rivka
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Possibly because there were a goodly percentage who were Austrian.
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Szymon
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:

Again, that's neither consistent with the documentation I have seen, nor relevant. Your initial claim is that the Poles were better than the Nazis. Now you're saying they were no worse? I'd probably agree with that. They were bad in different ways, certainly, since the Poles were not in power.

Well I can give you five books that say so. We need to agree to disagree.
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:

Possibly because there were a goodly percentage who were Austrian.

No, that's not the reason. And you know it.

Again, I do not claim that some poles didn't help the Nazis. You cannot say that vast majority, or even a majority helped them, though. My point is- if the camps were built in France, there would be just as many French Capos. I am not trying to to cover up Polish collaboration. It was a fact.

Now, I really would like you to understand. I'm just saying that Poland has a really bad PR. It is so obvious that the Germans ran the camps, that it is almost forgotten. This:

quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
But claiming that those camps were not Polish death camps, or that they could have existed without the willing -- and in many cases, enthusiastic -- cooperation of the vast majority of Poles is historical whitewashing of the worst kind.

is completely untrue. This is a lie, and a vicious one. I don't know where you found that particular piece of information, but they existed without the willing of Poles. Man, those were mostly Polish people, how do you imagine they helped building them? Except for some scumbags? My grand uncle died there, you trying to tell me he went there willingly and died just to take some Jews down with him? You think Germans asked our permission? You think anyone in their right mind imagined that the camps were built to burn people? And once they found out, what would you have them do? Run at the wire and shout: hang in there?
In Warsaw, they first set up the Ghetto. Then they were sending them away. For months people didn't know where to, for crying out loud. How would that be possible if Poles helped building it? Unless by help you mean pointing a gun at them and telling them to work. If that is the case, then yes, they were willingly building the camps. And then dying there, burned to ashes together with anyone else.
By the way- hardly anyone heard about the Warsaw Uprising, whilst many more know about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, which was a brave, completely unprepared attempt to get killed quicker. Not that Warsaw Uprising was a good idea, but at least it had a shadow of a chance of success (had the Soviets helped the insurgents).
Rivka, please tell me what documentation have you seen?

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Aros
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Everyone's trying to separate gray into black and white. It can't be done, I tell you.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Szymon:
No, that's not the reason. And you know it.

*blink* You know better than I do what I know, now?

If we're going to compare number of relatives who died in the camps, I'll win. Even though my direct ancestors were in the US by then, many cousins were not so lucky.

I have read hundreds of first-hand accounts of camp survivors, and spoken to dozens of survivors in person. Pardon me if I give them a bit more credence than someone who is clearly desperate to re-write their country's history.

And if you think anyone has forgotten that Nazism started in Germany, came to power through the German political system, and has its roots in German culture and prejudices . . . you are simply wrong. Surprisingly so.

[edited to fix one word that made no sense]

[ June 06, 2012, 09:47 PM: Message edited by: rivka ]

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
In English "Polish death camps" can mean either "Death camps organised by the Polish government" or "Death camps within Poland's borders".

A third possibility is death camps which held the Polish. Like what is meant by "Japanese internment camps" with regard to the US in WWII.
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by Vadon:
quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
In English "Polish death camps" can mean either "Death camps organised by the Polish government" or "Death camps within Poland's borders".

A third possibility is death camps which held the Polish. Like what is meant by "Japanese internment camps" with regard to the US in WWII.
A fourth possibility is comically incompetent death camps.

*ducks*

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Rakeesh
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I'm basically with Rivka on this one. Certainly Nazism was a much more powerful, evil force in the world than anything cooking in Poland at the time. That goes without saying that reiterating it frankly smacks of an effort to avoid discussing other matters.

Poland was a victim of Germany and the USSR, it's true, and more than many as a people and a country they were mutilated by the events before during and after WWII.

But...

As a nation and a people, Poland wasn't just minding its own business helping little old ladies mow their yards or something, when a Nazi came goose stepping east down Main St. while from the east a tromping Soviet came marching west on Main, to come really ruin Poland's day.

They had an awful lot of help, both in terms of willingness to use the vileness of both for short-term political gains, foolish misunderstanding of long-term threats, incompetence, so on and so forth. As for its treatment of Jews, well, any serious examination on that issue is going to turn up some things it really seems like you don't want to hear. Not even a page in, and you've got rivka telling 'vicious lies'.

Now as for knowing what was in store for Jews where Nazis had power, well yes of course, very few knew 'they will be worked to death or murdered outright in industrialized killing factories.'

As for 'hey, where'd that Jewish family go?' or 'what are the working conditions like in that factory all those Jews got sent to?' well, that's a different matter.

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Rakeesh
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I'm basically with Rivka on this one. Certainly Nazism was a much more powerful, evil force in the world than anything cooking in Poland at the time. That goes without saying that reiterating it frankly smacks of an effort to avoid discussing other matters.

Poland was a victim of Germany and the USSR, it's true, and more than many as a people and a country they were mutilated by the events before during and after WWII.

But...

As a nation and a people, Poland wasn't just minding its own business helping little old ladies mow their yards or something, when a Nazi came goose stepping east down Main St. while from the east a tromping Soviet came marching west on Main, to come really ruin Poland's day.

They had an awful lot of help, both in terms of willingness to use the vileness of both for short-term political gains, foolish misunderstanding of long-term threats, incompetence, so on and so forth. As for its treatment of Jews, well, any serious examination on that issue is going to turn up some things it really seems like you don't want to hear. Not even a page in, and you've got rivka telling 'vicious lies'.

Now as for knowing what was in store for Jews where Nazis had power, well yes of course, very few knew 'they will be worked to death or murdered outright in industrialized killing factories.'

As for 'hey, where'd that Jewish family go?' or 'what are the working conditions like in that factory all those Jews got sent to?' well, that's a different matter.

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Kwea
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Which 5 books?
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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
But claiming that those camps were not Polish death camps, or that they could have existed without the willing -- and in many cases, enthusiastic -- cooperation of the vast majority of Poles is historical whitewashing of the worst kind.

You are claiming here that the "vast majority" of Poles were willingly, or even enthusiastically co-operating in the creation of death camps. That means at least 51% of Poles of the time, or more likely 60-80% of them, since you opted for the "vast" majority.

In other words, if the Poles were given a *free choice* to either put Jews in death camps, or not, they would choose the former. If they lacked the free choice due to external pressure from the nazis (like the threat of death, or the threat of being put to a death camp), then it would be inaccurate to say that they were "willing" co-operators.

Since this claim is the root of the disagreement at hand, can you give some links to support your claim?

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Tuukka:
In other words, if the Poles were given a *free choice* to either put Jews in death camps, or not, they would choose the former. If they lacked the free choice due to external pressure from the nazis (like the threat of death, or the threat of being put to a death camp), then it would be inaccurate to say that they were "willing" co-operators.

By your definition, no one ever has any free choices in life. There are ALWAYS external pressures.
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Kama
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Polish people like to think they aren't racist or intolerant even when faced with evidence to the contrary.
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Szymon
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Books:
Snyder T,Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books, 2010)
Davies N, (any concerning these times, God's playground, 44 uprising etc)
Korboński S, Polacy, Żydzi i Holocaust (Poles, Jews and Holocaust)
(the rest that I can tell from the top of my mind is also in Polish, and probably is not acceptable. The only history acceptable to you is written by Jews, I suppose, that's because they are impartial. They were the victims, the cannot be wrong. Poles, who died in millions are not the victims, they are bloody nazi helpers who welcomed Germans with open arms, cheering and dying with "Deutschland Uber Alles" on their lips. The other half, to the east, were singing "Sojuz nieruszymyj riespublik swobodnych" and dying in Katyń or freezing to death in Sibiria. Motherf...ckers. They could help the Jews!)
Plenty of people were killed for helping Jews outside of Poland, but it wasn't a must. In Norway it happened, but only to men. In Netherlands it was the father of the helping family. In Poland it was the whole family, including children, and my point is there was no other punishment. It would be foolish to say that only in Poland people were killed for such help, but only in Poland there was no other option. I mean, it is easier to take the risk to help someone if you "might" get killed. Sacrificing your own family is more difficult. This special law was enforced because the numbers of Jews were the biggest in Poland and I suppose special precautions had to be taken.

Unlike many places else, Poland never surrendered to Germany. There was never any official collaboration between any Poles and Germans. Polish government in exile continued to function in London until 1989, when presidential insignia returned to Poland.

I am aware that it is not possible for me to win this argument for a number of reasons- first, I really have problems in articulating my thoughts properly, cause its not my mother tongue and my English sucks. Second of all, I am writing a hell lot of things that I correct later, make mistakes and inaccuracies that you think are made to "whiten history of Poland".

You said a funny thing about losing more family members? Man, really? I lost everyone except for my grandparents who were simply too young and lived in villages in the middle of nowhere.

What I think the world sees as "pro nazi" behavior is the indifference to Jewish tragedy. I mean, Poles were killed or caught in "lapanka" on daily basis. They were tortured in very sophisticated ways, especially the ones from Armia Krajowa. Maybe they had to worry about themselves too much, and had no compassion left in them.

What pains me is that it is a common belief that Poles were not the victims. We were victims of unprovoked aggression form the Third Reich, The Soviet Union and Slovakia. We were betrayed by our allies (France, especially) in 1939 then in Yalta and Potsdam. 6 up to 10 million of Poles lost their lives, according to different works. In those times of contempt for human lives remembering only about Jews is um... whitening? Nah, bleaching, I'd say. Why do we remember about Jews and not Poles and Gypsies?

According to Generalplan Ost :

Several million "worthy" Slavs (these are the people who look like Germans) were supposed to be germanized, 14 million were supposed to be enslaved, 51 million killed or sent to Sibiria (85 percent 80% Poles, 50% Czechs, 75% Belarussians, 65% Ukrainians, and also Russians and Tatars.)

Hitler, Generalplan Ost (quote)
:
"That is why I send my Totenkopfstandarte with orders to kill mercilessly all men, women and children of Polish race and language"

Why don't you feel sorry for Poles, Rivka? Because you are Jewish? Why can I feel compassion for your loss and you can't for mine?

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Szymon
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Kama, e tu Brute contra me? [Smile] I never once claimed there is no racism in Poland. I never once claimed there was no antisemitism in Poland.
I claim there would be no Holcaust if it was Poland that invaded Germany and won.

(edited not to triple)

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Kama
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eh, I'm just annoyed at all the outrage first about Obama's misstatement, and then about that BBC thing about racist football fans [Wink]
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Szymon
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Yeah, well, not only fans. I heard the players are no better...
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
In English "Polish death camps" can mean either "Death camps organised by the Polish government" or "Death camps within Poland's borders". The degree of Polish cooperation with the Nazis is quite irrelevant; the question is whether Obama is allowed to use the English language (rather than some other language that doesn't have this ambiguity) to accurately describe history.

The issue is partly translation, and partly cultural. I have a few polish friends here, and students, and they were peeved about the statement, but accepted the premise that it was not meant as a direct affront. The issue is that it is difficult to explain to a Polish speaker that the ambiguity is important to an English speaker. They are also suspicious of Germans and pro-German sentiment in Europe countenancing a shift from calling them anything but German camps. Considering the horrifying circumstances of Poland at the time, and the proceeding half century of oppression, I can't but agree with that sentiment.

The explanation is filtering out however: a Polish friend told me that the Polish media had done a pivot on the issue within a few days, and was explaining the statement as an issue of translation rather than revisionism.

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Szymon
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Yes, as I have said, Obama's speech made no impression on me whatsoever. It was this Debbie journalist who made me angry. Now that I think of it I don't know what would be the best way to put it, Death camps on German-occupied-former-Polish -territory [Smile] ?
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Rakeesh
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Huh. Now Rivka only believes Jews, because they're Jews and therefore impartial, and she feels no compassion for Poles, and doesn't even recognize that they too were victims.

I'm not sure how much of this to attribute to language differences, and how much this reflects your actual thoughts on the matter, Szymon.

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Orincoro
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Rare is the European who can see the grey morality of those times. I think because in order to fully appreciate the horror, you'd have to be willing to admit that it could and probably would happen the same way again, given a similar set of circumstances. People don't like believing something like that- its very disturbing.
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Szymon
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Ok. Probably the first thing. Maybe I don't understand what Rivka has to say. Maybe we have no differences after all. Let me rephrase my thoughts:

1. Polish role in the Holocaust was marginal or nonexistent. But I am aware of the fact that there was a pogrom in Jedwabno, but I have to stress that this was not a part of Holocaust. There are 3 thousand documented facts of Polish help to the Germans, most of which were not actual killings. I call this marginal- Poland had a population of around 30 million at that time.

2. Polish PR is weak and due to this fact people all around the globe tend to believe that Poles took active part in Holocaust. This was the primary reason why I started the thread, to express my anger at the fact how easily Debbie Schlussel accuses Poles. Obama's statement did not have an impact on me at all. It merely started a discourse in which Ms Schlussel took part later on.

3. (Rakeesh)I came to a conclusion that Rivka and I have different sources, that seem to claim two exclusive views on the matter at hand. I believe that my sources are more accurate, because I live here, I know people who lived then and there are thousands of historians, even a large institute, whose sole purpose is to study this subject. So I also presumed that Rivka would attack my sources for being Polish. I admit, that was a preemptive strike, but not entirely:
quote:
Originally posted by Rivka:
I have read hundreds of first-hand accounts of camp survivors, and spoken to dozens of survivors in person. Pardon me if I give them a bit more credence than someone who is clearly desperate to re-write their country's history.

So have I, so have I, so have I. Pardon me if I give mine a bit more credence than someone whose interest in the subject is purely academical. Never have I met a Jew who would tell me that it would be impossible to build concentration camps without Polish consent. Until now.

4. The whole thing about Poland being a victim: being attacked, oppressed, imprisoned and subjected to mass murder made Poles afraid for their own lives, giving them little chance and means to help others, like Jews. Just like Jews, Poles where supposed to be exterminated. If so, why weren't Jews helping Poles? Just as many died, or more. I agree that Poles didn't help much, for various reasons, and there were signs of indifference.

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Szymon
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Orincoro, I really am not trying to whiten Poles. I am just saying that Holocaust was entirely a German invention. The scales and outcome of Polish antisemitism is virtually nonexistent comparing to German crimes.
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Szymon
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And I agree with you, history goes in circles, unfortunately.
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Szymon
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Um, sorry about that academical thing, this is not true and I didn't mean that.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Orincoro, I really am not trying to whiten Poles. I am just saying that Holocaust was entirely a German invention. The scales and outcome of Polish antisemitism is virtually nonexistent comparing to German crimes.
There's certainly a case to be made for some of this, but the Holocaust would not have been possible as it happened were it not for this 'indifference' (a charitable term), the sort of outlook which says, "Eh, a few less moneygrubbing Jews is a good thing. So long as they make them leave here."

Also, you're very clearly trying to whiten Poland's history here, presenting them as complete and utter victims. I think there are probably some Czechs who would disagree, for example-Poland participated along with Germany in her violation.

I'm sorry, Szymon, but like almost everyone throughout Europe in the 30s, it wasn't exactly a secret what sort of leader Hitler was and where he wanted Germany to go. It was a rough situation to say the least, but again like so many Poland was willing and even eager to use German aggression to serve its own ends, sometimes.

Now as for the Holocaust, Poland's record before and since on relations with Jews isn't one where they're in a position to react with outrage to strong questions either. We can talk about this, but before we do, it would be helpful to know which sources you would deem credible, and which are to be dismissed out of hand as biased (such as Jews).

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Rare is the European who can see the grey morality of those times. I think because in order to fully appreciate the horror, you'd have to be willing to admit that it could and probably would happen the same way again, given a similar set of circumstances.

Well, here I have to stand up for my nation. I don't see how it could happen again in Norway, for the good and simple reason that there are really not many Jews left after the first go-around.

That... didn't come out as patriotic as I intended it to be.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Tuukka:
In other words, if the Poles were given a *free choice* to either put Jews in death camps, or not, they would choose the former. If they lacked the free choice due to external pressure from the nazis (like the threat of death, or the threat of being put to a death camp), then it would be inaccurate to say that they were "willing" co-operators.

By your definition, no one ever has any free choices in life. There are ALWAYS external pressures.
I specifically mentioned that these external pressures were things "like the threat of death, or the threat of being put to a death camp". We could add the threat of torture, imprisonment and slavery among other things. And these things were not a threat to only to the person being pressured, but also a threat to all his loved ones. A person might be willing to sacrifice his own life for greater good, if he has nobody to care for. But if you know that your children are going to be sacrificed along with you, it's suddenly much harder to make that sacrifice.

While everyone has external pressures in their life, most of the time these external pressures are not comparable to the external pressures provided by the Nazi regime during WW2 in Poland.

For Polish people during WW2 the aforementioned VERY serious external pressures were a likely result of not co-operating. So it seems dubious to claim that they had the same amount of free will towards co-operating with Nazis as you or I might have right now.

I'm still waiting for you to provide the links, BTW.

[ June 07, 2012, 12:42 PM: Message edited by: Tuukka ]

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Szymon
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Rakeesh,
obviously, Poland was a young nation then and it was aggressive. It took Cieszyn from Czechoslovakia (now, I am realllllly not whitening Poland as I should! I am proud of it, I could say Poland REtook Cieszyn in october 1938 which was taken from us 20 years earlier, but I am not saying it, no! [Smile] ). For the sake of making me sound more impartial- ok, it did participate (but please note how small was that territory, no blood was shed. But this indeed was a shortsighted and wrong move by Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Beck. I agree. This is an example of Polish cooperation with Hitlers establishment, which we certainly cannot be proud of.

This cannot, however be compared to Third Reich's invasion a year later and Soviet's stab in the back two weeks later than that.

Please do not take me wrong. I absolutely do not think that Jewish sources are not credible, some of them obviously are, and I hope it is a sarcasm. How do you want me to tell you which of therm are credible? Those which were hatred-driven obviously aren't. Which were, I don't know. Really.

I will give you a for instance. When writing about Jedwabno I checked it on the IPN website. This is Polish Institute of National Remembrance, and I do not like it, because it is ran by some of the most antisemitic and hateful people in this country, "The Twins" circles, as someone mentioned before. For many years Jedwabno Pogrom was believed to be organised by Germans. This is untrue. Even this hateful Institute had to conclude that it was the Poles that organised it, and killed almost 400 Jews in the process. Certainly it is one of the most shameful moments in my countries history. I am personally ashamed of it. When I learned about it, I started to think that Poles really were antisemitic back then, and there probably where really many of them. This is why I suppose many of them "didn't mind" that Jews were killed by Germans. I certainly am ashamed of that either. I would really love if Poles organised some kind of evacuation, show the Jews that they are not alone.

So I consider this a credible source.


I can understand that this could be called a "good environment" for Death Camps- occupied land of people, who were disarmed and not very enthusiastic about fighting to protect Jews.

But I still claim that none of it would have happened if there was no war and the Nazi sick minds were the only place in the Universe where an Idea of creating human-killing factories was possible to emerge.

[ June 07, 2012, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: Szymon ]

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Szymon
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And to make myself clear (please forgive me all these posts, this is a good practice for me to speak my mind in the way I want to [Smile] :

Rivka, I have to admit that I was wrong. I remembered something from my history classes about punishments for hiding Jews. I found some sources that claimed that only in Poland it was punishable by death- but this is not true. It was the fact that the punishment was much more severe and I am behind Tuukka on this one- it is way more difficult to risk the life of your family than your own.

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rivka
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Having people inform me what what I think, what I feel, and why doesn't really do much to brighten my day.

I've said my piece, and it's clear that nothing more I have to say will be productive.

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Tuukka
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Having people inform me what what I think, what I feel, and why doesn't really do much to brighten my day.

I've said my piece, and it's clear that nothing more I have to say will be productive.

So I guess we won't be seeing those links, then.
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Shigosei
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This got me thinking about the Japanese internment in the United States. I've never heard stories about people hiding Japanese families. Is that because no one did, or because it's just not well-publicized? If there wasn't much hiding going on, is that because people didn't think the US government would do anything really bad to the Japanese? I've wondered how much the average person in Nazi-controlled countries knew or suspected about what was going on.

I could also see the stories about people helping the Japanese just not getting much attention since it turns out that they probably wouldn't have died in the internment camps.

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Szymon
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I don't know about this too much, but while checking it out I found out that the Internment was initialized by FDR's executive order 9066. I wonder if Darth Sedious's order 66 was inspired by this one.
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