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Jews-Officers In The Polish Armed Forces, 1939-1945

jan peczkis|Monday, September 5, 2011

This work is an impressive collection of information about how Poland's Jews had supported Poland in the past, especially in the armed forces. Most of the book consists of alphabetically ordered lists of thousands of names of Polish officers in the WWII Polish military forces.


The book includes some general comments. This includes the Berek Joselewicz regiment in Kosciuszko's Insurrection of 1794, Rabbi Ber Meizels preaching in support of the January Insurrection (1863), Jews fighting for the Polish cause in 1918 and 1920, etc. (p. 15).

Other information of the book is specific. Some 30,000 Jewish soldiers perished in the 1939 war. (p. 19). Afterwards, about 5% of the Polish officers incarcerated in the German Oflags were of Jewish origin. Significantly, "Some 200 Jewish officers, who were prisoners of war, survived the war." (p. 20). [This contradicts Holocaust-uniqueness advocates, who posit that ALL known Jews in Nazi hands were slated for death.]

About 1,000 Jews served in the Polish Army in the U. K. in 1940. (p. 27). Of the officers murdered at Katyn, over 430 were Jewish. (p. 20). Thousands of Jews were released from the Soviet Gulags. Some 1,300 Jewish soldiers participated in the Battle of Monte Cassino, of whom 123 were officers. Twenty-eight Jews perished in that battle. (p. 27). Some 115 Jews died in the Lenino battle on the Russian front. In fact, 2,077 Jewish soldiers, including officers, were killed while fighting in the ranks of the (so-called) Polish People's Army. (p. 30). Quite a few Jews were decorated for their military service, and many of these are identified.

Some information in this book needs elaboration. For instance, in the 1939 war, Jews, who were 10% of Poland's population, had a comparable presence in the Polish armed forces. However, in 1937, Jews were only 6.6% of the Polish Army. (p. 18). How much of this owed to discriminatory policies against Jews, as Meirtchak says, and how much of it owed to Jews avoiding military service?

Although this book is supposed to be positive, the author, unfortunately, is not above throwing in a number of alienating and irrelevant items that detract from the book. For instance, he freely levels sweeping accusations of anti-Semitism, even directed against General Wladyslaw Anders. (p. 24; based partly on Soviet propaganda: p. 25). He calls postwar Communist Poland "a Polish Democratic State" (p. 29) and repeats (p. 32, 37) Communist Reuben Ainsztein's false accusation of A. K. (Armia Krajowa, the mainstream Polish Underground guerrilla army) leader Tadeusz Bor Komorowski giving an order that was a veiled command to kill fugitive Jews. [For analysis, see the Peczkis review of Tajne oblicze GL-AL i PPR: Dokumenty (Polish Edition)].

Some readers of this book may find it unobjective in that if exclusively focuses on Jewish loyalty to Poland, while ignoring the many aspects of Jewish disloyalty to, or indifference to, Poland. Nevertheless, it presents a significant body of concrete information on Jewish military service to the Polish nation.
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