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political world

Liliana's journal: Warsaw 1939-1945

jan Peczki|Thursday, March 25, 2010

In common with countless Jewish and Polish eyewitnesses, the author describes the indiscriminate bombing and strafing of defenseless Polish civilians, by the Luftwaffe, during the German-Soviet conquest of Poland in 1939. (p. 11). She recognizes the fact that the Volksdeutschen were Poles of German descent. (p. 18).

    Liliana's journal: Warsaw 1939-1945          

This work is refreshingly free of Polonophobic innuendo. Zuker-Bujanowska obtained a fake identification from the AK. (A.K., or Armia Krajowa)(p. 76). She touches on the victimhood of the Warsaw Poles: "Until July [1943] everything was quiet in the little glue factory. It became more and more dangerous to walk the streets. The Germans had finished with the Jews and now they started with the Poles. They captured men and women on the streets and sent them to work in the fields of Germany." (p. 79).

She then describes the unfolding Polish guerrilla warfare: "More and more Poles joined underground organizations, of which the most powerful was AK. They held secret meetings, organized attacks on high-ranking German officers, and killed Poles that worked for the Gestapo. They ran guerrilla training centers for young boys and men. Each new member had to be sponsored by two old members who would vouch for him and take responsibility for whatever he did. Each small group had a commander, but they did not know each other's names; they were known only by pseudonyms...The Germans tried very hard to prevent Poles from organizing. They had spies everywhere and we heard daily of mass arrests and shootings. Many good patriots were rotting in jails, being tortured to reveal the names of their comrades." (pp. 79-80). Although Zuker-Bujanowska does not develop this theme further, the sponsorship aspect of AK membership largely explains the relative infrequency of Jews admitted to the AK.

Unlike those Jewish survivors who accuse the AK of not doing much to combat blackmailers and denouncers of Jews (szmalcowniki), the author points out that her contacts with the AK alone were sufficient to intimidate a Mr. Dymski, who was said to be "...ready to denounce anything or anybody to the Germans for money." (p. 83). She adds: "Dymski knew very well that the AK was growing more and more powerful. Every day they killed Poles who collaborated with the Germans. He knew that Anek's threat was not idle." (p. 83).

The author lived in Praga (east-bank Warsaw) shortly after the war. Although this part of Warsaw had escaped total destruction by the Germans after the Soviet-betrayed Warsaw Uprising, the challenges of restoring the place to minimal habitability was still a formidable challenge. The people had to do a lot of work to clear roads, make less-damaged buildings even barely livable, and, owing to the lack of electricity and functioning plumbing, to obtain water from long distances. (pp. 116-117).

Zuker-Bujanowska went back to the Poles to whom she had entrusted her possessions during the German occupation. Although she encountered some stalling, she was able to re-acquire her possessions without incident. (pp. 119-123). This corrects Jan T. Gross, who in his FEAR had selectively emphasized those Poles who had reacted with murderous fury against Holocaust-surviving Jews returning to reclaim their property. In fact, the vast, vast majority of Jewish property re-acquisitions, all over Poland, took place without incident. See: After the Holocaust.
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