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“Jews in Poland and Russia” Book Review

Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski|Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, Anthony Polonsky is the author of a monumental three volume work entitled “Jews in Poland and Russia”. It is reviewed by Timothy Snyder in The Wall Street Journal of May 19-20, 2012. In Snyder’s review there is the following sentence: “The Polish-Lithuanian State weakened in the 18th century, as a result of the pervasion of the parliament by the wealthy aristocrats and by the incursions of the neighboring Russian, Habsburg and Prussian empires. This left Jewish communities facing two transitions at the same time into foreign rule and into modernity.”

” The partitions of Poland (1772-1795) occurred when Germany was fragmented into over 350 independent states and principalities and there was no such a thing as a “Prussian Empire” with the capital in Berlin which was a capital of the province of Branbenburg only. In fact by 1770 in one afternoon in Warsaw streets there was bigger carriage traffic than in an entire month on the street of Berlin, according to visitors in both capitals. In fact the fate of Berlin started to change as a result of the outbreak of the Bohdan Khmielnitsky rebellion in the Ukraine in 1648 at the end of the “Golden decade” of exploitation of Ukrainian peasants by Jewish holders of the Arenda type of pre-paid leases. According to professor Izrael Shahak mass murders of Jews in the Ukraine caused panic among Jewish bankers in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and a massive transfer of capital from Poland to Berlin, where half a century later in, 1701 in the provincial capital of Brandenburg the “Kingdom of Prussia” was founded. About 70 years later Berlin was able to initiate the international crime of partitions of Poland. One hundred years later, in 1870, Prussia successfully provoked a war against France and in process united all of Germany for the first time in history with a capital in Berlin. The robbery of France gave Berlin government a chance to modernize and expand German industry and shipyards in order to compete against the British Empire for the domination of the world. German commercial success caused the British in 1903 to plan a military intervention in order to destroy the growing power of Germany. In order to acquire a colonial empire, Germany in 1914 declared war on Russia by issuing an ultimatum stating that, if Russia does not demobilize in 12 hours it will be in a state of war with Germany. Aware of Berlin’s ambitions, twenty years later, Marshal Józef Piłsudski told Polish government “to veer between Germany and Russia as long as possible and never to join either Hitler or Stalin.” After several years of negotiations, on January 26, 1939, Polish minister Józef Beck rejected in Warsaw the German sponsored an anti Russian pact called the Anti-Komintern Pact. Minister Józef Beck gave personally the formal rejection to German foreign minister J. von Ribbentrop over two years later after the same anti Russian pact was signed by Germany with Japan in November 1936, which led to Japanese-Russian hostilities in Manchuria starting in 1937. On March 10, 1939 Moscow radio transmitted to the world Stalin’s speech to the 18th convention of the Soviet Communist Party. Stalin accused Gr. Britain and France of trying to foment German and Japanese attacks on the Soviet Union in order to exhaust the belligerents. Stalin suggested a possibility of cooperation between National Socialist Germany and the Soviet Union, obviously at the expense of Poland and with a hope to bring about the German betrayal of the pact signed by Germany with Japan in November 1936. See Iwo C. Pogonowski “Jews In Poland,” Hippocrene Books Inc. New York, page 95. In Manchuria in August of 1939 Red Army’s victory on the Khalkha River not only “shaped World War II” according to Stuart D. Goldman’s new book “Nomonhan 1939,” published by the Naval Institute Press in April 2012. The book describes how, in the middle of a military disaster, the Japanese learned that they were betrayed by the Germans, who few days earlier signed in Moscow the Ribbentrop-Mołotow Pact. The Russian conflict against Japan ended on September 16, 1939 and the Red Army entered Poland on September 17, 1939, seventeen days after Germany started the World War II with the invasion of Poland and with high hopes to build for the next 1000 years a racially pure Germany from the North Sea to include the fertile lands of the Ukraine and a German colonial empire reaching all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Hitler used to call Russia “German Africa” and Russians “German Negros” as noted by professor Kamil Dziewanowski in his book “War at Any Price.” The previous German Empire lasted for less than half a century from 1870 to 1918 German capitulation in WWI. Hitler’s notion of the next German Empire never materialized. By 1941 the historic area of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where most of European Jews lived, was occupied by the Germans who conducted there the largest genocide of in the history of the Jews. Professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, Anthony Polonsky described the Jewish tragedy in his a monumental three volume work entitled “Jews in Poland and Russia.” Jewish tragedy represented about 20% of civilians killed during the Second World War, during which the Berlin government for the second time embarked on a futile campaign to establish German domination of the world.
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