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Microhistories of the Holocaust (War and Genocide) 1st Edition by Claire Zalc (Editor),‎ Tal Bruttmann (Editor);Au Revoir, JUDENJAGD. The “Polish Complicity in the Holocaust” Canard Refuted. Polish Jew-Killing and Anti-Semitism Unconnected

jan peczkis|Friday, December 22, 2017

My review is limited to Tomasz Frydel and his chapter: “The ‘Hunt for the Jews’ as a Social Process, 1942-1945”. Once again, Frydel’s work is refreshingly objective. It is a clear contrast to the standard narrative, especially as propounded by neo-Stalinist authors such as Jan T. Gross, Jan Grabowski (especially his JUDENJAGD), and Barbara Engelking. According to the standard narrative, Poles, apart from a handful of enlightened individuals that rescued Jews, were a terrible, primitive people steeped in Catholic-patriotic traditions, making them (what else?) anti-Semitic, and therefore prone to denounce and kill fugitive Jews. Using excellent scholarship, including the use of archival information, Frydel soundly debunks this standard Polonophobic and anti-Catholic nonsense.

This is not to say that Frydel was the first to discover all this. He builds upon the earlier works of historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, whom he avoids mentioning at all. See, for example, my detailed review of Chodakiewicz’s BETWEEN NAZIS AND SOVIETS.


In all my reviews, I use the word JUDENJAGD (hunt for the Jews, in German) for purpose of reference, but with reluctance, owing to its German-guilt-diluting Orwellian connotations. The reader sees the word “hunt”, and ordinarily thinks of the all participants acting freely, and killing game animals in accordance with a common purpose. Moreover, the hunt is not just an animal-shooting operation: It is a social event that celebrates and enhances the camaraderie of the men in the hunting party.

The term JUDENJAGD, a form of Newspeak (specifically Holocaustspeak), creates a narrative of false equivalences (at multiple levels) of Nazi-German Jew-killers and Polish Jew-killers. See below. Worse yet, the Orwellian term JUDENJAGD implies that a camaraderie exists, or is being built, between German Jew-killers and Polish Jew-killers. This, too, is patently false, as shown below. JUDENJAGD thus serves to make the Jew a perpetual victim—of the Pole no less than the German—and to shift part of the blame for the Holocaust from where it belongs—the Germans—and unto the Poles.


Various accusations against the Polish Blue Police, concerning the Jews, tacitly assume that its members were fully responsible for their actions. They most certainly were not. The meme of “choiceless choices” is customarily applied to the conduct of Jewish KAPOS in concentration camps, and, to a lesser extent, to that of the Jewish ghetto police. However, Frydel makes it clear that the POLICJA GRANATOWA [also called the PP (POLNISCHE POLIZEI), which was subordinate to the German ORDNUNGSPOLIZEI] was under very tight German supervision and control. In fact, the very leadership of the “Polish” police forces consisted largely of VOLKSDEUTSCHE (Polish-speaking Germans). Frydel writes, “The PP therefore had a degree of limited autonomy that was kept in check by a system of rotating gendarmes (USUALLY OF ETHNIC GERMAN BACKGROUND) as commandants of the PP posts to provide oversight and to build group morale by fraternizing with its members.” (p. 174; Emphasis added).


This work overlaps Frydel’s outstanding analysis of the German “pacification” of the village at Podborze (Mielec county), and how it so terrorized the Poles that they began turning-in and killing the Jews that they had heretofore been hiding—in an attempt to save the Poles’ own lives. See my review of The Holocaust and European Societies: Social Processes and Social Dynamics (The Holocaust and its Contexts).

Tomasz Frydel reiterates the fact that the German-induced murderous Polish panic spread geographically away from Podborze, “If viewed on a map, subsequent peasant violence toward Jews formed a ring around the site of repression. To ethnic Polish communities, it was likely that anything was preferable to inviting the unpredictable violence of the German police.” (p. 176).

A kill-or-be-killed “choiceless choice” situation was created by the frequent betrayals of Polish rescuers by recaptured fugitive Jews. (e. g, pp. 178-180). Frydel comments, “A second core component of this pattern was the belief that the preemptive capture or killing of fugitive Jews by local villagers would save a family or village in the event that a captured Jew denounced their former protectors.” (p. 177).

Frydel adds that, “A third layer of the hunt for Jews were informed by the presence of numerous informers, or V-MANNER [VERTRAUENSPERSON or ‘trusted person’], dispatched by German authorities to entrap peasants and report on activities deemed illegal. This was a broad strategy usually coordinated by the local Gestapo to apprehend sheltered Jews, escaped Soviet POWs, and members of the Underground…In a number of instances, Jews themselves were used to entrap peasants hiding Jews.” (p. 181).

The author combines these factors into a whole, “Taken together, the congruence of fears surrounding pacification actions, the potential of betrayal by those who were given help, and the existence of undercover agents gave the JUDENJAGD deadly momentum, especially as it was connected to a large hunt for Soviet POWs, partisans, German deserters, and other fugitives.” (p. 183).

The facts are clear. The Polish denouncing and killing of fugitive Jews did not flow out of pre-WWII Polish-Jewish relations. Nor was it an act of Nazi collaboration, and still less was it “Polish complicity in the Holocaust”. It most certainly did not imply some kind of Polish agreement with the Nazi German objective of destroying Europe’s Jews. So what was it? It was a kill-or-be killed act of self-preservation, pure and simple.


Researcher Tomasz Frydel explodes another anti-Polish Holocaust myth as he trenchantly writes, “A macrohistorical view of local murder as a form of ethnic cleansing motivated primarily by anti-Semitism or extreme nationalism disintegrates under the microscope of local history. The JUDENJAGD occurred in the midst of a radical transformation of social relations conditioned by a brutal occupation and itself functioned as a powerful driver of this process.” (p. 184).


The author relates this little-known fact, “Many village guards who had to participate in hunts for Jews or Soviet POWs often sheltered such fugitives themselves.”(pp. 183-184).

If the reader learns anything from this work, it is that Polish (and Jewish) acts cannot be pigeonholed into the standard mystification of the Holocaust that has long been in force. Frydel quips, “The relationship between the helper and the helped could transform over time into a TWO-WAY STREET between the denouncer and the denounced, the perpetrator and the victim. These are findings that will not satisfy those who expect a black-and-white story of perpetrators and victims, heroes and villains.” (p. 185; Emphasis added).


For corrections of Jan Grabowski’s misrepresentations of events surrounding the so-called JUDENJAGD (Hunt for the Jews), specific to the setting of his Polonophobic screed (that, is, German-occupied Dabrowa Tarnowska county), see my detailed, English-language review of Krwawe Upiory (Polish Edition).

For a broad-based but detailed analysis surrounding the betrayal of fugitive Jews by Poles, please examine the free online book by Mark Paul, titled: PATTERNS OF COOPERATION, COLLABORATION, AND BETRAYAL (2016 or more recent version, if now available.)


Unfortunately, Tomasz Frydel’s excellent research will not have much of an impact on the public understanding of Jewish-Polish relations during the German-made Holocaust. The media shapes public opinion, and it does not value Polish suffering. The media cares only about Jewish suffering. The media is not interested in what actually took place: The media only wants to promote the standard Judeocentric narrative of the innocent-victim Jew and the villainous Catholic Pole.
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