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Jedwabne Eyewitnesses Debunk the Falsehoods of Jan T. Gross,

jan peczkis|Monday, September 5, 2011

JEDWABNE AS SEEN BY EYEWITNESSES is the title of this Polish-language book, whose author is a Polish priest.

When the Soviets invaded the area in 1939 as part of the German-Soviet conquest of Poland, eyewitness Janina Biedrzycka reports seeing many of Jedwabne's Jews collaborating with the Soviets in the identification and mass arrests of Poles. (p. 14). Eyewitness Genowefa Malczynska recounts how her home had been approached, at night, by two NKVD men and two Jews working for them. (p. 55). More on this later.

A number of the authors debunk the Grossly-exaggerated (pardon the pun) 1,600 Jedwabne Jews. For instance, eyewitness Czeslaw Magierski recalls conducting a onetime survey of the town, which identified 46 Jewish households. (p. 79). This points to a Jewish population of a few hundred, a figure later confirmed by the exhumation of the mass grave.

Ironic to Jan T. Gross and his tale of July 1941 Poles conducting a self-directed massive pogrom of Jews, eyewitness Jadwiga Wasowski-Kordas points out that the entering Germans had the entire Polish population too terrorized and under control to do much of anything, and, besides that, the Germans would have summarily shot anyone engaged in any kind of disorder. (p. 44). Later, the Germans ordered the Poles to round up the Jews, all the while giving commands at gunpoint, and discreetly filming the Poles for propaganda purposes. (p. 50, 64). Also, ironic to the charge that the Poles were greedily seeking the acquisition of Jewish property (a notion further embellished in Gross' FEAR), it was the Germans who, no sooner having displaced the Soviets, began mass confiscations of the most valuable Polish properties. (p. 53).

Eyewitness Ryszard Malczynski knows of a Pole, Zejer Stanislaw, to whom the Germans had come with the order to help round up the Jews. When he started to walk away, the Germans pulled out a pistol to make him obey. Despite the obvious duress, the NKVD later gave him a 12 year prison sentence, from which he never returned. (pp. 71-72). Malczynski also reported how Father Keblinski (Kobylinski) had told him of approaching the Germans with the plea to spare at least some of the Jews, and the Germans responded with a "You can join the fate of the Jews!" statement if he did not shut up and get lost. (p. 63).

Eyewitness Czeslaw Magierski (p. 77) recounts how his mother had been approached by two Jewish women who wanted to be hidden. Mother replied that there were too many Germans in town for that to succeed (they could all end up in the burning barn), and that the Jewesses should flee to the forest. They did. Magierski also reports that the local Poles knew that Jews were hiding in the forest, but would not report that to the Germans.

The book ends with an interview with Fr. Orlowski. The author, Fr. Eugeniusz Marciniak, reports on what eyewitness Fr. Jozef Keblinski had told Fr. Orlowski about the events at Jedwabne. Fr. Keblinski described the massive scale of Jewish-Soviet collaboration, which included Jews making lists of important Poles for the Soviets to deport to Siberia, patrolling the deportation wagons set to head for nearby Lomza, and refusing the tearful pleas of Poles to be released. (p. 89, 98-99).

Fr. Jozef Keblinski confirmed the fact that the Germans, not Poles, were responsible for the massacre of Jews at Jedwabne (p. 94), although the willing participation of a few Poles seeking revenge cannot be ruled out. (p. 91). Karolak, the German-appointed Mayor of Jedwabne, was not from Jedwabne and was not known to the locals. He transmitted the Germans' orders for Poles to take action against the Jews. (p. 96). Finally, Fr. Keblinski, who had spoken fluent German, confirms having attempted to intervene with the Germans on behalf of the Jews, only to be arrogantly rebuffed. (p. 90).

One of the local Jews saved by Poles was Szmul Wasersztrajn (Polonized to Stanislaw Calka). He later returned the favor by serving in the dreaded Communist security forces (UB, U.B., or Bezpieka), and slanderously blaming the Poles for the Jedwabne massacre. Jan T. Gross copied Wasersztajn's falsehoods in his NEIGHBORS. (p. 102).

Some Jewish sources confirm the fact that Germans, not Poles, were the main killers of Jews at Jedwabne. See the Peczkis review of: The Warriors: My Life As A Jewish Soviet Partisan (Religion, Theology, and the Holocaust),and follow the link therein to Maik, another Jewish testimony.
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