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Polish Collaboration and Polish Underground Justice Under the Spotlight,

jan peczkis|Saturday, April 5, 2014

PUNITIVE POLAND 1939-1945 is approximately the title of this Polish-language book. This work is yet another refutation of the silly notion that Poles are so imbued with their "heroic narrative" of fighting the Nazis that they are unwilling to discuss "dark chapters" of Polish history. In fact, heroic behaviors and cowardly behaviors were mirror images of each other under the brutalities of the German occupation. (p. 107). The Polish Blue Police (POLICJA GRANATOWA) exemplified this divide. A significant fraction (perhaps over 10%) were involved in the Polish Underground, while another fraction collaborated with the enemy or engaged in exploitative or bandit conduct. (e. g, p. 99, 111).

4.0 out of 5 stars Polish Collaboration and Polish Underground Justice Under the Spotlight, March 25, 2014 This review is from: Polska Karzaca 1939-1945: Polski Podziemny Wymiar Sprawiedliwosci W Okresie Okupacji Niemieckiej (Hardcover)

Gondek places Polish misconduct, during WWII, outside its usually portrayed Judeocentric formulations. Thus, blackmail and denunciation of Poles, by other Poles, was a common problem (e. g, p. 101, 106-107), and not only that of the SZMALCOWNIKI (Poles blackmailing and denouncing fugitive Jews.) Banditry was also a common all-around problem (e. g, pp. 68-69, 104), and not only of Poles looting Jews.


This work includes details of specifically named Poles who were liquidated for collaboration. How many were there? The ARMIA KRAJOWA (A. K.) estimated that, as of 1943, some 2,000 citizens served the Germans in the city of Krakow. (p. 114). At Nowy Sacz, captured Gestapo documents pointed to 400 Gestapo confidantes in the area of that town. (p. 114). It is unclear if the foregoing estimates include Volksdeutsche.

Now consider less extreme forms of conduct. An Underground source, in 1942, estimated that about 5% of Warsaw consisted of well-to-do Poles that served as a source of propaganda about how well the Germans were treating the Poles. Another 70% of Warsaw's population was passive in the face of the enemy. Finally, about 25% of Warsaw's citizens were actively patriotic. (pp. 94-95).


Author Gondek cites Zygmunt Janke-Walter, a leading member of the Polish Underground in the areas of Lodz and Silesia. (pp. 107-108). Many years after WWII, Janke-Walter still wondered how some Poles could so willingly serve the German enemy. He suggested that financial reward was not the only motive, and suspected that it was a sense of power in the face of otherwise powerlessness under the German occupation. Thus, the collaborator had the power of life and death over people (even paradoxically sparing some while denouncing others), as well as the power of committing heinous acts and getting away with them. [The same mindset, of course, explains the conduct of Poles who denounced fugitive Jews, notably those who paradoxically helped some Jews while denouncing other Jews.]
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