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A Pre-Holocaust Jewish View of German-Nazi Occupied Poland

Jan Paczkis|Friday, September 4, 2009

Because this fact-filled book was written just before the Holocaust, it escaped coloration by it. Quoting from the ECONOMIST about German attitudes towards the untermenschen, Segal wrote: “The Nazis appear to regard the Polish race in rather the same way they regard the Jews. Unlike the blood of the Scandinavians or the Anglo-Saxons, the blood of the Poles is not only negatively inferior in that it is not German, it is positively pernicious. The Poles cannot by losing their separate racial consciousness become merged in the Germanic blood stream. They must be rejected by the healthy Teutonic body as the Jews are rejected.” (pp. 74-75).

The Germans, besides isolating the Jews in ghettoes, wanted to isolate them further in a Lublin-area reservation (pp. 61-63), and the German press had hailed this as being “a solution of the Jewish problem in Europe.” (p. 64). Madagascar was also mentioned in this regard. In contrast, foreign nationals who were Jews were generally exempt from the Nazi anti-Jewish laws, and didn’t have to wear the Star. (p. 69).  

What if the Holocaust had never happened? Mass emigration of Poland’s Jews was proposed not only by the Zionist Jabotinsky (Jabotinski) and the Endek (Endeck) elements in the Polish Government-in-Exile, but also by Joseph Retinger, General Sikorski’s secretary. (p. 275). In addition, “However, even some leaders of the Peasant and Socialist Parties believe that because of the faulty social and economic structure of Polish Jewry, a Jewish mass emigration will be necessary after the war.” (pp. 273-274).  

The destruction of the Polish intelligentsia needs no comment. The German occupation led to near-starvation of Poles. (p. 181-on, 185-on). The Germans closed or restricted many churches and murdered or incarcerated countless Polish priests. They also used priests as hostages whenever peasants were under-compliant in delivering their goods. (p. 83). The Germans forced priests to say things from the pulpit, including prayers for Hitler. (p. 78). (It is easy to see how it came to be that some priests preached obedience to the German authorities, later even with implicit or explicit denunciation of fugitive Jews, as misrepresented by Jan T. Gross and other Polonophobes.).  

Was there no Polish Quisling because the Germans never wanted one? Hardly. The Germans approached Professor Stanislas Estreicher, a lifelong Germanophile, as a prospective Quisling. In the absence of proffered Polish autonomy, he refused, and was dispatched to a concentration camp and murdered. (pp. 92-93).  

In his FEAR, Jan T. Gross has falsely portrayed lower-level administrators as collaborators. In actuality, the mayors and other Polish locals were unilaterally appointed by the Germans and, unlike their counterparts in western Europe, they had no powers of autonomy or self-government, and their sole role was to transmit or fulfill German orders. (pp. 23-24). The Polish Blue police (Policja Granatowa) under German rule dealt with criminal matters and traffic control. (p. 34). It was not a collaborationist police.   

In his NEW POLAND AND THE JEWS [link], Segal had painted a bleak picture of Polish agriculture, and the alleged government’s unwillingness to rectify it, in the context of Poland’s Jewish problem. In this book, he sings a different tune. The prewar Polish government did consolidate many inefficiently-small holdings (pp. 141-142), and Poland had been a food-exporting nation all along. (p. 193). In the Reich-annexed provinces, for all the scorn of Polnische wirtschaft, German settlers’ mechanized agriculture could only modestly improve upon the land’s prewar Polish output. (p. 137).  

The Ukrainians received many privileges in German-ruled areas. (p. 93, 158-159, 172). Segal could not have known about the future role of Ukrainian collaborators in the Nazi extermination of the Jews, and the later OUN-UPA genocide of Poles, when he wrote: “The Nazis met with great success among Ukrainians in their anti-Jewish propaganda…Although there were sincere democrats among the Ukrainian nationalists, the Ukrainian nationalist movement on the whole has been, especially in recent years, dominated by the Nazis and their tools.” (p. 73).  

The 1939 war was only the beginning of Polish resistance, and Segal alludes to Hubal (p. 237) in his discussion of the endless Polish guerilla warfare. Polish pilots, “considered among the best in this war”, were responsible for over 10% of the German planes shot down over the British Isles. (p. 269).                       |      
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