"It's difficult to admit the obvious"
political world


cyprian pogonowski|Thursday, August 14, 2014

The memory of the massacre of Jedwabne of July 10, 1941 was revived
in 2001 by a film and a book both entitled "Neighbors." The film was
sponsored by George Soros through his Batory Foundation in Poland . It
was produced by Agnieszka Arnold while the book was written by J. T.
Gross, a sociology professor at the New York University, an immigrant
form Poland, now one of directors of the Batory Foundation. An
extraordinary coverage of the alleged massacre was staged in the
Polish media. It exceeded anything Poland has ever experienced


the controversy

worldwide media campaign accused the local Poles of having committed
the atrocity and accused the Polish nation of complicity in the
Holocaust. The massacre of Jedwabne of 1941 as a Polish national
crime - a serious misrepresentation of the history of Poland. It is a
well-established historical fact that the Germans were in charge and
controlled the commission of their atrocities at gun point. The
contention that the secondary roles in German crimes by people who
were held at gun point, represent Polish national responsibility is
absurd. Thus, many Poles saw the media frenzy as a mixture of the
Jewish cult of the Holocaust acting out as a cult of vengeance and
associated with it Holocaust profiteering that denigrates and
belittles the fact that more Poles than members of any other
nationality sacrificed their lives in saving Jews from the

To describe the massacre of Jedwabne of 1941 as a Polish national
crime is a serious misrepresentation of the history of Poland. It is a
tremendous disappointment to see the editors of prestigious
publications such as the New York Times and later the Foreign Affairs
having taken such a dubious and unsupportable position.
Unfortunately, the defamation campaign was also supported by
post-communists led by president Kwasniewski and a prominent leftists
daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza. These post communists are former
members of the communist elite who managed to stay in power.

In contradistinction to his disdain shown in Kharkov, Ukraine at the
graves of Polish leadership community members, killed by the Soviets
in 1940, where he became so intoxicated that he could hardly walk,
this time president Kwasniewski was very solemn and wore a yarmulke
at the graves of Jews who were killed by burning in a barn in 1941.
Mr. Kwasniewski apologized in the in the name of those Poles who in
their conscience felt the need to apologize to the Jews for the
horrible crime of sixty years ago. Naturally the world press carried
news of the presidential apology as a proof of the Polish national
guilt in the massacre. The politics of apology and contrition was
soon characterized by anticommunists as a way to smear the Polish
nation with a German crime in order to whitewash communist crimes on
one hand and provide ammunition to Holocaust profiteers, on the
other, as Poland was readied by them for a shakedown after Germany
and Switzerland.
Until the site of the atrocity in Jedwabne is fully exhumed and
thoroughly examined by forensic scientists, no one is justified in
accepting the version of events presented by Gross. This author, as
well as self-serving opportunistic politicians in the Polish
government and their supporters, have their reasons for propagating
their version of events, which is largely contradicted by reliable
eyewitness accounts and lacking in scientific evidence. The size and
nature of the two graves at Jedwabne make physically impossible such
assertions as those of J. T. Gross.

Long before Gross's book "Neighbors," was published by Princeton
University Press, 2001, the New York Times published an extensive
interview with the author. The hardcover book itself was unusual. The
text was much shorter than usual; the font and the margins were made
larger to fill the space. The question arises why such an effort to
make the book appear more important? What is the historic
perspective of the Polish-Jewish controversy? Obviously the long term
friendship of two peoples can not be based on Voltaire's notion that
history is a lie agreed upon.

I am unaware of any organized Jewish efforts to save Polish lives at
the time when Jews were in disproportionally favored position within
the Stalin's terror apparatus as members of Polish government.
Poles, who know their history, are outraged by having the crimes of
Nazi invaders attributed to them.

The history tells us that Poland saved Jews from extinction in late
medieval and early modern times as Jew had been expelled from
virtually every other country in Europe; however, the Jews were not
integrated in Poland. During the century of partitions the masses of
formerly Polish Jews were interested to find accommodation with the
partitioning powers, while Poles wanted to rebuild Poland. Despite
the fact that in 1918 all Jewish organizations were against the
rebirth of Poland, in 1926 Poland gave full citizenship to some
700,000 Jewish refugees from USSR ,while at the same time Jewish
refugees who escaped to France remained stateless until WWII. In
1938 some 20,000 to 30,000 Jews evicted from Germany were resettled
in Poland by Polish authorities.
Unprecedented terror as a price of the heroism of the Polish nation.
The great heroic deeds of Poland of the 20th century benefitted the
entire world. Such was the derailing of Lenin's world revolution based
on the Moscow-Berlin axis in 1920 as well as ruining of Hitler's
strategy for domination of the entire world in 1939. Poland's heroism
lived on in the wartime combat of Polish soldiers, airmen, and seamen,
as well as Europe's largest resistance movement and the very existence
of the Polish underground state under enemy occupation. In western
literature there is a scant documentation on personal heroism of
individual Poles and their families who risked and sacrificed their
lives trying to save lives of Jews.

In order to understand why during the Second World War Poland suffered
the worst terror in Europe at the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets
we have to remember how the Poles first derailed Lenin's attempt to
stage a communist world revolution in 1920, and then eighteen years
later how they wrecked Hitler's plans for the domination of the world.

Derailing of Lenin's world revolution

After World War I the Poles declared their independence on Nov. 11,
1918. To keep their independence, the Poles had to win borderland
wars. By far the most important was the Polish victory, led by
Marshal Józef Pilsudski, over Lenin's Red Army in 1920. Lenin had
attempted to overrun Poland and form a Moscow-Berlin alliance in
order to stage a worldwide communist revolution. Germans resented
their defeat in World War I; at the time there were six millions
communists in Germany and millions more who were ready to accept a
communist government in return for the re-annexation of western and
northern Poland offered by Lenin, once those lands would be occupied
by the Soviets. The Polish victory deprived Lenin of a chance for a
worldwide revolution. The Soviets then retaliated with terror first
against millions of Polies living on the territory of the USSR and
then murdered more Polish nationals than did the Germans, during the
World War II, in 1939-1941. In the Spring of 1940 alone the NKVD
executed 21,857 members of Polish leadership community. About four-
fifths of all victims were betrayed to the NKVD by local leftists,
mostly of Jewish background.

The doctrine of Lebensraum and world domination

Meanwhile the doctrine of Lebensraum was revived in Germany. The
doctrine of Lebensraum or "German living space" was first stated in
1848 during the All-German Congress at Frankfurt, when an attempt was
made to unify Germany, fragmented for centuries into more than three
hundred fifty independent units (principalities and kingdoms, and
free towns).

The same year Pan-Slavic Congress at Prague bitterly reacted to the
doctrine of Lebensraum as a new version of the 1000-year-old German
"push to the east to conquer Slavic lands, known as the "Drang nach
dem Slavischen Osten" or simply as the "Drang nach Osten." Soon along
the doctrine of Lerbensraum appeared plans for German domination of
the world.

"Mein Kampf" from 1925 on as an early warning to Poland

Karl Haushofer, a mentor of Rudolf Hess, founded Zeitschrift für
Geopolitik, with German domination of world affairs as his editorial
mission. *When Hess was imprisoned in 1924, together with Hitler in
Landsberg, (now Gorzów Wielkopolski in Poland), Haushofer visited Hess
and Hitler in prison at least eight times. It was during the time when
Hitler dictated to Hess his "Mein Kampf" in which the doctrine of the
Lebensraum was included. (After both Hitler and Hess were released
from prison, Hess became Hitler's private secretary and in 1933 was
appointed the "Stellvertreter des Führers" or a deputy Führer.) Thus,
since 1924 with the publication of Hitler's program the Poles were
aware that these grandiose German plans could be realized only at the
expense of Poland and other Slavic lands.

When Hitler became the chancellor, the essence of the policies of his
government at all times was the implementation of the doctrine of
Lebensraum. In order to accomplish German domination of the globe
Hitler considered the defeat of Russia as fundamental for German
control of the Eurasian Heartland and the eventual subjugation of the
rest of the world, called the Rimland. Hitler, following the
teachings of Haushofer, regarded the British Empire to be eventually
dominated by Germany as an indispensable part of the world order. For
this reason in 1940, when some 300,000 British soldiers were most
vulnerable during their escape across the Channel, Hitler decided to
let them go rather than killing most of them, which he could have
Hitler's urgency to start the war
Hitler, in an advanced stage of Parkinson's disease, was in a hurry to
start an anti-Soviet crusade to build his "1,000 year Reich" from Riga
to the Black Sea and control world's main oil resources for his "war
of the engines." Hitler hoped that Poland, a physical barrier between
Germany and the USSR, could be persuaded to join Germany and Japan in
the conquest of the Soviet Union.
    Hitler was seen by most of the Germans as a "man of destiny" and a
"Germany personified." He himself believed in this preposterous notion
and repeatedly stated that he preferred to go to war in 1939 when he
was fifty, rather than later, when he expected to be less vigorous at
fifty five or sixty. He was bothered by trembling of his left hand
and thought that his Parkinson's disease markedly shortened his life
expectancy. (Recently Newsweek magazine listed Hitler as among
prominent sufferers of Parkinson's disease.)

Warnings about the risks of a world war by several leaders of the
German military-industrial complex only served to reinforce Hitler's
belief in his role as the one and only leader in German history who,
thanks to almost total public support, could lead Germany to start a
global war for Lebensraum and world supremacy by the German race.
Thus, Germany was about to bring a tragic end to the European phase
of Jewish history, when the vast majority of all Jews lived in Europe.
 Hitler’s efford to get Poland to fight the Russia

Hitler admired the Poles for inflicting a crushing defeat in 1920 on
Lenin's invasion of Poland and derailing Soviet attempt to advance
westward, "over the corpse of Poland, to worldwide communist
revolution." Hitler hoped to include Polish soldiers in his anti-
Soviet crusade because his generals told him that Germany did not
have enough men to win the Lebensraum and dominate the Eurasian
Heartland. (A well-known fact is that Germany was short 1,000,000
soldiers per year on the front lines from 1941 on.) Thus, Hitler,
warned by his generals that Germany had insufficient military
manpower for his grandiose schemes, strived in 1935-1939 to have on
his side Poland with its potential 3,500,000 soldiers. The Berlin
government felt that combining German and Polish forces in Europe
with Japanese forces in Asia would bring a quick and decisive victory
over the USSR and with it a German control over the world's main oil
fields, which were also essential to secure Hitler's world domination.

Hitler's efforts to persuade Poland to join the Anti-Comintern Pact
were recorded in detail by Józef Lipski in his book Diplomat in Berlin
1933-39 covering the period when the author served as Polish
ambassador to Germany.

Already on Aug. 5, 1935 Hitler declared that good Polish-German
relations are of primary importance. German proposals included:
military cooperation, alliance against Russia, an air pact, etc. A
year later on Aug. 31, 1936 German payment in gold to Poland for
transit through Pomerania between Germany and East Prussia was settled
and Hitler declared that it was as a financial and not a political

On Nov. 25, 1936 the Anti-Comintern Pact against the USSR was signed
by Germany and Japan and on Aug. 13, 1937 the Germans met with the
Japanese for consultations on their pressure on Poland to join the
Anti-Comintern Pact and their analysis of Polish politics. Japanese
Gen. Sawada suggested a carrot and stick approach. On one hand the
Nazis were to order ethnic Germans in Poland to cease anti-Polish
hostilities and on the other they were to concentrate the German army
on Poland's borders and occupy Klajpeda-Memel in Lithuania (the
latter happened in March 1939). Meanwhile Herman Goering used his
frequent "bison hunting trips" to Poland in an attempt to persuade
the Poles to join the Anti-Comintern Pact.

When on Nov. 6, 1937 Italy Joined the German-Japanese Anti-Comintern
Pact - the need for Poland's participation in the pact was stressed.
Three days later Poland's Foreign Minister Beck commented evasively on
the participation of Poland in the Pact. However the next day on Nov.
10, 1937 German and Polish Ambassadors to the Quirinal discussed the
pact in Musolini's residence. At the same time Vatican considered the
USSR to be more dangerous to the Church than was Hitler's Germany.

On Jan, 1938 Italy proposed a membership in the Pact to Poland, Spain,
and Brasil. Three weeks later on Feb. 4, 1938 German Minister von
Ribbentrop intensified his campaign to get Poland into the Pact. Two
months later, on March 31, 1938 German pressure was exerted on Poland
to sign the Anti-Comintern Pact in a face-to-face conference.

On Sept. 27, 1938 during the Czech crisis Germany asked again about
Poland's attitude towards the Pact. A month later, on Oct. 24, 1938
Germany offered a general settlement of Polish-German problems within
the Pact. Three months later, on Jan. 26, 1939 Ribbentrop was told in
Warsaw that Poland will not join the Anti-Comintern Pact and Polish
participation in German and Japanese attack on the USSR was out of

When on March 31, 1939 Poland, Gr. Britain and France exchanged mutual
defense guarantees, Poland shaped the history of the world for decades
to come. Poland did this by refusing to take part in a simultaneous
attack on the USSR from the east and the west - such an attack that
most likely would have destroyed the Soviet state. Hitler realized
that Poland's refusal critically weakened his plans for the
domination of the world and reacted with a fury.

On Aug. 22, 1939 Hitler delivered a secret speech to his generals in
which he stated that the complete destruction of Poland and especially
its population was his primary target. Hitler talked about the
conquest and colonization of Poland. He ordered his military
commanders to use the utmost ferocity in merciless killing Polish
men, women, and children. Hitler's orders issued at this crucial
moment had nothing to do with the extermination of Jews; these orders
were a retaliation for the derailment by the Poles of Hitler's
strategy to conquer the Euro-Asian Heartland.

German betrayal of Japan, German-Soviet pact

After Germany and Japan had signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936,
Japan attacked the USSR in 1938. Later, in Aug. 1939 in the middle
of a bloody battle for control of the Trans-Siberian railroad the
Japanese lost 25,000 and at the same time learned that Germany
betrayed them by signing a nonaggression pact with the Soviets in
order to partition Poland and get a common border with the USSR.

Soviet-Japanese battle on Aug 20 - 23, 1939, on the Khalka River in
Mongolia was won by Marshal G. Zhukov who used new tactics of
coordinated attacks of tanks, assault aircraft, and deception, which
consisted of broadcasting of sounds of moving tanks by loudspeakers
far away from the location of the intended attack. Thus, when Japan
expected German help against Russia, Germany was signing a
non-aggression pact with the Soviets.
       On Aug 23, 1939 the Soviet-German pact on non-aggression set the stage
for the outbreak of World War II. The secret clauses on the partition
of Poland opened the stage of the Hitler-Stalin partnership which
resulted in obliteration of Poland and of the mass murders and
deportations of Polish citizens. The full content of the Soviet-
German pact was immediately revealed to the government of the United
States by Hans von Horwath, an employee of the German ministry of
foreign affairs in Berlin and by agents in Moscow. The United States
did not warn Poland about the secret content of the Hitler-Stalin
pact. Japan felt betrayed by the new German partnership with the
USSR. The Japanese lodged a sharp protest in Berlin against the
German-Soviet pact.
The Soviets were quick to participate in the fourth partition of
Poland and hoped for a long war of attrition on Germany's western
front as Great Britain and France would declare war on Germany in
fulfillment of their common defense treaty with Poland. The pact with
Germany strengthened the Soviet position in negotiations for
conclusion of the armistice with Japan on Sept. 15, 1939, two days
before Soviet invasion of Poland.

The Japanese never forgave the Germans for the betrayal. Even after
Germany declared war on the United States four days after the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan did not renew its attacks on the USSR in
1941, which would have helped Germany to take Moscow and defeat the
Soviet Union by pinning down the Siberian army and keeping it from
rescuing the Soviet capital.

Deciphering of Enigma and the plan to attack Poland

On July 25, 1939, Poland gave Great Britain and France each a copy of
a linguistic deciphering electro-mechanical device for the German
secret military code system Enigma, complete with specifications,
perforated cards, and updating procedures. Thanks to the Polish
solution for breaking the Enigma, the British project Ultra was able
to interpret German secret messages during the entire war of 1939-
1945. The invasion of Normandy would not have been possible without
it. In 1999, the American code expert David A. Hatch of the Center of
Cryptic History, NSA, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland wrote that "the
breaking of the Enigma by Poland was one of the cornerstones of
Allied victory over Germany."
   The Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Józef Beck, following the
strategic advice of the late Marshal Pilsudski, held both the Germans
and the Soviets at bay as long as it was possible. The Polish refusal
by the end of January 1939 to join the Anti-Comintern Pact derailed
Hitler's plans and caused him to lose his chance to join Japan in the
attack on the USSR. Hitler signed Fall Weiss plan on April 11 and
ordered the attack on Poland to be on September 1, 1939.

Fall 1939 - Winter 1941. The high tide of German conquests and the
Soviet occupation

The Jewish population of 8,700,000 was trapped under the control of
the Berlin government; at least sixty percent (or about 5,100,000)
were exterminated by the Germans during World War II. However, during
first years of war the rate of German and Soviet murder of the Poles
was much higher than that of the Jews.

On Sept. 21, 1939 Reinhard Heydrich, the head of German National
Security Office (which united state and Nazi party police) ordered to
concentrate Jews and isolate them from the Poles in newly created
ghettos, each administered by a Jewish council called the Judenrat,
which was "fully responsible... for precise and timely execution of
all orders [given by German authorities]." Jews were to wear bands
displaying the Star of David. Jews 14 to 60 years old were to be used
as a slave labor force working on a starvation diet.

German plans for the starvation of ghetto inmates was sabotaged by
illegal deliveries of about 250 tons of flour daily to the Warsaw
Ghetto alone by Polish underground organizations. Józef Dabrowski and
others were shot by Germans for making such deliveries. By then the
daily food ration in Warsaw was 184 calories for a Jew, 669 for a
Pole, and 2,613 for a German. Eighty percent of the food consumed by
the Jews was smuggled into the ghettos by Poles. Despite these facts,
German propaganda, stating that the Poles rather than the Germans
were the principal enemies of the Jews, often was effective in the
ghetto. Neither the extensive smuggling of food into the ghetto by
the Poles nor the illegal Polish trade convinced the Jews that
Germans, not Poles, were their deadly enemies.

The Jewish Ghetto Police was to enforce German policies towards the
Jews in each ghetto. Jewish Ghetto Police were to arrest non-Jews who
made purchases in stores exclusively designated for the Jews or
brought merchandise or food with them. Arrested Polish gentiles were
to be turned over to the Germans for execution. A number of such
executions actually took place in Konin and other localities. Polish
underground courts prosecuted traitors and criminals during the war.
Crime was rampant inside and outside ghettos. It included extortions,
robberies and murders.

During the Soviet invasion a very visible part of the Jewish and
Byelorussian population received the Red Army with triumphal arches,
flowers, and symbolic gifts of bread and salt, trying to ally
themselves with the invaders. Before long, many were collaborating in
NKVD arrests, deportations, and the killings of Polish cultural
leaders, business people and their families. A Jewish lawyer from
Lwów observed:"When there was a political meeting, parade, or any
other happy occasion the visual impression was always the same ...the
Jews [were most visible](as quoted by J.T. Gross in 'Polska a Rosja

A paradoxical situation developed. Jewish collaborators started to see
themselves as first class citizens, much above local Christians, while
in fact the Soviets were in a short time abolishing all Jewish
communal institutions and destroying the rich cultural Jewish
heritage in eastern Poland. Jewish religious schools were closed,
teaching of the Hebrew language forbidden, Zionist movement and youth
organizations were declared illegal, Jewish political parties were
liquidated, and members of the traditional Jewish leadership
community were arrested.
     Individually Jews served the Soviets as an exceptionally effective
instrument against the Poles, while as a culture they were doomed.

The German-Soviet Population Exchange Commission received thousands of
applications from Jewish refugees from western Poland for permission
to return to German-occupied Poland; soon the lists of the applicants
were turned over to the NKVD and used for their deportation despite
the fact that many Jewish refugees shouted "Long live Hitler."

The Soviets deprived the Jewish inhabitants of eastern Poland of their
ethnic and cultural identity while they made the Jews feel superior to
others in their access to government jobs, universities, professions,
etc. However, anyone, whether Christian or Jew, who lived comfortably
before the war, was automatically considered by the Soviets to be an
enemy of the Soviet Union. Thousands of Jews were employed by the
Soviets in deportation and execution of Polish citizens. Among the
deportees 52 percent were Poles, 30 percent were Jews, and 18 percent
were Ukrainians and Byelorussians.
Soviet order of June 24, 1941 to execute imprisoned Polish

German attack on the USSR started on June 22, 1941. In the part of
Poland occupied by the Soviets there were about 40,000 Polish citizens
imprisoned, mostly non-Jews. Two days later Laurenty Beria ordered the
execution of the prisoners. Some 30,000 Polish citizens were murdered
within two weeks. Soviet mass murders of Polish civilians played an
important role when the government in Berlin learned about these
executions and its members were motivated by them to further brutalize
the war. Massive pogroms of Jews and communists were soon ordered on
the newly conquered land.
Berlin's order of June 29, 1941 to hide the German role in executions
of Jews

Five days after Beria's order to conduct massive executions of Polish
"counter-revolutionaries" in the NKVD prisons, the government in
Berlin formulated its propaganda that the population terrorized by
the Soviets started massive pogroms of Jews and communists. Therefore
Reinhard Heydrich ordered his men to eradicate all traces of their
presence at the execution sites. The Nazis were able to radicalize
the war and make it even more brutal as German soldiers saw masses of
corpses and among the dead some German prisoners of war still in
uniform. Thus, Soviet mass murders at the start of German-Soviet war
put Germans into a killing frenzy. They shot to death one million
civilians, mostly Jews, up till the end of 1941.

In reality all mass executions of Jews and communists were conducted
according to German plans and under German control. The usual German
scheme was to gather the local Jews and make them wash the bodies of
the victims of recent Soviet executions for identification by their
relatives. Afterwards the Jews had to bury the corpses. Once the
burials were over the Germans killed the Jews and proceeded to
eradicated all traces of their presence at the execution sites.
Soviet collaborators, mostly Jews, fled with the NKVD, only to return
at the end of the war to help in bloody pacification of Poland in the
process of converting it into a Soviet satellite state. As we well
know, despite the crucial Polish contributions and sacrifices for the
Allies' victory, Poland was betrayed by Roosevelt and Churchill first
at Teheran and then at Yalta; it was handed over to become a Soviet
satellite state, after a ruthless pacification by the communist
terror apparatus in which Jews played a disproportionately large

Truth vs. propaganda about the tragedy of Jedwabne

One of the tragedies resulting from the brutalization of the war in
the wake of mass murders ordered by Beria happened in Jedwabne, north
east of Warsaw. Sixty years later a "media battle of Jedwabne"
resounded in Poland and elsewhere. Dr. M. J. Chodakiewicz, of the
University of Virginia showed in his study that during the war more
Christians than Jews were killed in the town of Jedwabne. In the
discursive world of the media Holocaust, profiteers feeding on fear
and selective truth presented the tragedy of Jedwabne as a Polish
national crime. Using systematic distortion of information taken out
of the true context of war and terror, authors like Jan.T. Gross make
the horrors of occupation virtually invisible. Polish Christians are
shown as vile and sadistic criminals whom the Nazis tried to restrain.
On July 10, 1941 German executioners collected Jews of Jedwabne in the
town square and drove them by physical violence to the site of their
murder. First they shot some 50 Jews and then burned alive 250 others
(not 1600 or 1800 as inaccurately reported in the American press on
the basis of false information published by J. T. Gross who ignored
Soviet and other sources as well as German archives in his book
Neighbors , published in 2001). The number of victims will not be
known until a full exhumation and detailed forensic studies will be
performed at the site of the massacre - now we are left with
preliminary estimates that range from 100 to 400 victims.

The executioners of the Einsatztrupen enlisted help of several ethnic
Germans (the "Volksdeutche" known as traitors and spies), and a group
of primitive and illiterate criminals, both local and from out of
town, as well as possibly a few "avengers." The latter must have
believed that they and their relatives had suffered murderous
persecution by Soviet security officers and deportation to the Gulag
because of the betrayal by some of the Jews living in Jedwabne.
German executioners forced an additional number of Poles, at
gunpoint, with blows of rifle butts, and with threats, to help bring
Jewish victims to the town square (the marketplace) ostensibly to
clean the pavement.
According to eyewitnesses still living today, uniformed Germans
committed this wartime atrocity. They forced some 300 Jews to march
in a mock- funeral procession while carrying a concrete head of Lenin
that had been removed from a monument.

The Germans of the Einsatzgrupen divided the marchers into two groups.
The first group consisted of some 50 Jews, men strong enough to put
up a fight. The second group was formed from the approximately 250
remaining Jews, mostly old people, women, and children.

While the second group was held back, the first group was directed
into a 62.4 by 23 feet wooden barn. The keys to the barn were
confiscated a day earlier by uniformed Germans, who removed
agricultural machinery from it and prepared it for the execution of
the Jews next day. (The daughter of the owner of the barn repeatedly
testified about this facts, most recently on the CBS "60 minutes" on
March 24, 2002.)
The 50 Jewish men were ordered to dig a large grave inside the barn,
ostensibly for burying Lenin's concrete head. (J. T. Gross wants his
readers to believe that the head of Lenin was buried in the Jewish
cemetery.) As the diggers stood near the grave, the Germans shot them
and then ordered several Poles to drag into the shallow grave the
bodies of the Jews, some slain and some wounded but possibly still
alive. Lenin's concrete head was placed on top of the victims in the
grave #1. The German executioners then ordered the second, more
defenseless, group into the barn, which moments later would be turned
into a gigantic funeral pyre.

Stefan Boczkowski, Roman Chojnowski and five other eyewitnesses
reported seeing the following: A small German military truck loaded
with soldiers and gasoline canisters quickly pulled up to the barn
crowded with Jews. Some of the soldiers jumped down from the truck,
and those soldiers staying in the truck handed them the canisters,
whose contents they poured on all outer walls of the barn. The flames
engulfed the barn at once. Pyrotechnic analysis indicates that the
Germans used approximately 100 gallons (over 400 liters) of gasoline
to soak some 1000 square ft. of walls of the barn in order to engulf
all of it with fire, burn it and in the process suffocate the victims
(by inhalation of the hot smoke). Later (reportedly the next day) the
Germans ordered Poles at gunpoint to bury the partly burned bodies
emanating a horrible odor. Remains of about 250 victims were buried
in the grave #2 located along the barn (the high content of water in
human bodies requires temperature of some 800 degrees Centigrade for
more than thirty minutes in order to obtain a complete cremation).

At that time there was no gasoline available to the local population
of Jedwabne (only a small amount of hydrocarbons in form of kerosene
for lamps was available to the rural population). Such small amounts
of kerosene (as mentioned by J. T. Gross) with its flashpoint of
about 50 degrees Centigrade could not produce a sudden fire to engulf
the entire barn at once.
In the 2001 investigation by the Polish government bodies of the
victims of the July 10, 1941 massacre were found buried in the graves
#1 and #2. Thorough search and drilling some 170 test cores in the
vicinity found no other graves of the 1941 massacre of the Jews in
Jedwabne; however, at the request of an Orthodox rabbi who objected,
rigorous forensic studies and full exhumation of all victims and the
determination by autopsy of causes of death of every one of them was
prematurely terminated. Thus, only an approximate number of victims
could be estimated by the size of the two graves. Unfortunately these
unanswered questions inevitably discredit the veracity of the final
report of the official investigation by the Polish government's
agency, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN).
The veracity of Gross's book and the film Neighbors is further
compromised by a baseless, uncorroborated claim that a cut-off head
of a Jewish female was kicked around in Jedwabne. Jerzy Robert Nowak,
the author of the book '100 Lies of J.T. Gross' (published in Poland)
claims that after its publication he determined additional factual
errors in Neighbors.
"The book of Prof. Gross cannot be considered a serious scholarly
work: it is rather a tendentious propagandistic pamphlet. He jumps to
farfetched conclusions before examining the existing evidence." wrote
to the New York Times M. K. Dziewanowski, Professor of History,
author of 'History of Soviet Russia', 5th edition, Prentice Hall,
As Alexander B. Rossino, historian at the Holocaust Museum in
Washington, D.C. writes in an article to be published in Polin,
Volume 16, 2003: "The evidence collected by the West Germans,
including the positive identification of [Hauptsturmfuehrer Herman]
Schaper by witnesses from £omza, Tykocin, and Radzilów, suggested
that it was indeed Schaper's men who carried out the killings in
those locations. Investigators also suspected, based on the
similarity of the methods used to destroy the Jewish communities of
Radzilów, Tykocin, Rutki, Zambrów, Jedwabne, Piatnica, and Wizna
between July and September 1941 that Schaper's men were the
perpetrators... The method used to kill the Jews of Jedwabne was
exactly the same that had been employed by the Gestapo
[Einsatsgruppen] to kill the Jews of Radzilow only three days

During the initial investigation of 1964, German investigator Opitz in
Ludwigsburg, Germany, concluded that Hauptsturmfuerer Hermann
Schaper's Einsatskommando conducted the mass execution of Jews in
Jedwabne. Nonetheless, Schaper gave conflicting answers to his
interrogators. First, he lied that in 1941 he had been a truck driver
and he used false names. Later he claimed to have been an
administrative officer, and another time a hunter of double agents,
when the Gestapo was busy finding and killing communist commissars
and Jews.

Court documents at Ludwigsburg archives show that the chief of the
German civilian administration in the Nazi occupied £om¿a district,
Count van der Groeben testified that Schaper conducted mass executions
of Jews in his district, which included the town of Jedwabne. That
notwithstanding, legal proceedings against Schaper were terminated
Sept. 2, 1965 despite positive identification of the defendant by
Jewish survivors of the execution in Radzilow and Tykocin.
In 1974 Schaper's case was reopened and in 1976 a German court in
Giesen, Hessen, pronounced the then 68 year old Schaper guilty,
together with four other members of the kommando SS Zichenau-
Schroettersburg, of executions of Poles and Jews. Schaper was
sentenced to a six-year term in prison, but was soon released for
medical reasons. (The facts of Schaper's dossier are quoted from
article by Thomas Urban, reporter of the Suddeutsche Zeitung; Polish
text in Rzeczpospolita, Sept 1-2, 2001.)
To make any legal sense in 2002 the Polish Government should have
demanded either the extradition or deposition under oath of Schaper
by a German court and not an interview which has no legal meaning and
cannot give legally binding information. However, the Polish
government's agency, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN),
gave the press a report that "Hauptsturmfuehrer Hermann Schaper
confirmed known facts."

This kind of methodology by the Institute of National Remembrance in
Warsaw is unacceptable. The men of the Institute have apparently
learned from their colleagues in the United States and Western Europe
how to manipulate information; they omit inconvenient facts and come
to conclusions likely to advance their careers. This is done
regardless of objective reality in order to win the favor of those in
position to further their economic and professional prospects.
Perhaps they have seen the wisdom of Pontius Pilate, who solved the
moral dilemma by simply saying "What is truth?" He knew better than
to antagonize either the government or the Jews.

Attempts to stop the Final Solution
On Jan. 20, 1942, the Wannsee Conference in Berlin finalized the plans
for the implementation of the "Final Solution of the Jewish
Question." The Berlin government, in the wake of its defeat in the
battle of Moscow, announced invitation for bids from German industry
for equipment for an industrial process of extermination of eleven
million European Jews. Terrorized Jewish personnel were to be used in
the extermination process, with the nominal involvement of Germans.
No Jewish "germ cell" was to be allowed to survive. Procedural
guidelines were specified.

On Dec. 4, 1942 the headquarters of the Council of Assistance for the
Jews was established in Warsaw with financial support of the Polish
Government-in-Exile. It had code name "Zegota" and it was unique in
occupied Europe. Zegota provided over 100,000 Jews with living
quarters, "Aryan" documents, food, medical care, and financial aid.
It donated money for weapons for Jewish resistance fighters. However
most of the help for the Jewish victims of the brutal German policies
was provided by private people who risked their lives helping Jewish
On Dec. 10, 1942 the Polish Government-in-Exile issued an urgent
appeal to the Allies, primarily addressed to the governments of the
United States and Great Britain, to stop German genocidal operation
by bombing the access railways, gas chambers, and crematoria. It was
the only such governmental initiative during the war.
Of the hundreds of thousands of Poles who risked their lives to help
Jews only a small fraction is known and documented. Thousands of
rescuers were killed and some who succeeded are presently recognized
by the Israeli Yad Vashem Institute - The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes
Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, as "Righteous Among Nations".
[At present their number is 5,632 with new names being constantly
added; this puts Poland in the undisputed first place on the list,
see http://www.yad-vashem.org.il/righteous/index_righteous.html , MW]

Remembering the horrific events of the war Poles and Jews must
understand in the full historical context the tragedies caused by the
Nazis and by the Soviets. Now is the time for full reconciliation and
cooperation in our joint humanity.

Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski

(Author of: Poland, an Illustrated History (Hippocrene Books, New
York, 2000), Jews in Poland, The Rise of Jews as a Nation from
Congressus Judaicus in Poland to the Knesset in Israel (Hippocrene
Books, New York, 1993), Poland, a Historical Atlas (Hippocrene Books,

* Karl Haushofer was influenced by Alfred Kjellen, the Swedish creator
of the term "geopolitics;" Frederick Ratzell's organismic theories of
the growth of nations; and Sir Halford John Mackinder, who put forth
the concept of strategic importance of the Euro-Asian heartland.

Mr. James Hoge, Jr., Editor September 14, 2002
Foreign Affairs
58 East 69th street
N. Y. C., NY 10021

Dear Mr. Hoge:

In your letter of September 9, 2002, to Mr. Moskal, you refer to me by
name, therefore, please, allow me to answer some of your basic
  You treat the massacre of Jedwabne of 1941 as a Polish national
crime - a serious misrepresentation of the history of Poland. It is a
tremendous disappointment to see the editor of a prestigious
publication having taken such a dubious and unsupportable position.
It is a well-established historical fact that the Germans were in
charge and controlled the commission of their atrocities at
gunpoint. The Brumberg-Gross contention that the secondary roles in
German crimes by people who were held at gunpoint, represent Polish
national responsibility is absurd.

I am unaware of any organized Jewish efforts to save Polish lives at
the time when Jews were in disproportionally favored position within
Stalin's terror apparatus as members of Polish government. Poles, who
know their history, are outraged by having the crimes of Nazi invaders
attributed to them.

Until the site of the atrocity in Jedwabne is fully exhumed and
thoroughly examined by forensic scientists, you are not justified in
accepting a Brumberg-Gross version of events. These authors as well as
self serving opportunistic politicians in the Polish government and
their supporters have their reasons for propagating their version of
events, which is largely contradicted by reliable eyewitness accounts
and lacking in scientific evidence. The size and nature of the two
graves at Jedwabne make impossible the assertions of J. T. Gross and
Abraham Brumberg
The long term friendship of two peoples can not be based on Voltaire's
notion that history is a lie agreed upon.
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, a survivor of 64 months of Gestapo prisons and
Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin (number 28865).
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