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Intermarium;A Fascinating, Very In-Depth Analysis of Poland, Baltic States, Byelorussia, Ukraine, and Notably the Koniuchy Massacre

jan peczkis|Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The title of this work refers to the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas--the territories that belonged to Poland well before the Partitions. Chodakiewicz begins with distant history, but devotes most of his scholarship to the 20th and 21st centuries. Owing to the breadth of this work, I focus on only a few issues


Much has been said about the Jedwabne massacre, and how this makes Poles complicit in the Holocaust, even though Poles were not the main perpetrators. To avoid the usual selective historical amnesia, we must also remember Jewish crimes against Poles, even though Jews were not the main perpetrators.

Chodakiewicz has a detailed chapter on the 1944 Koniuchy Massacre. The fact of many Jewish killers is mentioned not only by Polish survivors, but also by quite a few non-Poles. In fact, Chodakiewicz quotes numerous Jewish participants who implicate themselves, and other Jews, as killers. This is true of memoir-authors Isaac Kowalski and Chaim Lazar [see the Peczkis reviews by clicking on A Secret Press In Nazi Europe, The Story Of A Jewish United Partisan O, and Destruction and Resistance: A History of the Partisan Movement in Vilna. It is also true of guerrilla operations commander Genrikh Ziman (p. 501), and such Jewish participants as Zalman Wylozny (p. 503), Israel Weiss (p. 503), Ruzhka Korczak (p. 503), Pol Bagriansky (p. 505), Joseph Harmatz (p. 506), Alex Faitelson (p. 506), Rachel Margolis. (p. 507), and Leizer Bart. (p. 512). The fact of appreciable Jewish complicity in the massacre also finds confirmation in Lithuanian and German sources. (p. 501).

Jewish writings usually adopt a blame-the-victim approach by accusing the Polish Koniuchy residents of bringing the calamity upon them by collaborating with the Germans, as in welcoming and housing a fortress German garrison. [It is ironic that some Jews complain about Jews innocent of Soviet collaboration being among those killed (as it were) by the Polish reprisal act at Jedwabne, while the Jewish-murdered Polish civilians at Koniuchy included children (pp. 509-510) who could not possibly have been involved in earlier supposed anti-Jewish acts.]

The Poles-housed-Germans exculpation is rejected not only by eyewitness Poles, but also by ALL non-Jewish sources. Chodakiewicz notes the clear evidence that there was no German garrison at Koniuchy (p. 513), and comments, "Neither the Soviet, nor the German, nor the Lithuanian, nor the Polish military dispatches mention anything about any German casualties or any German presence in Koniuchy." (p. 501).

So what "crime" did Koniuchy's Poles commit? The only "collaboration" which Koniuchy's Poles engaged in was obtaining the permission of the local Lithuanian auxiliary police, housed several miles away, for using a few rusty guns to defend themselves against repeated forays of marauding Soviet partisans and common bandits (Jewish and non-Jewish). (p. 500). This permission was necessary in order to avoid "pacification" for having unauthorized firearms.


Although nationalism is a naughty word in academia, it defies simplistic labeling. Chodakiewicz implicitly recognizes the essential difference between imperialistic nationalism and emancipatory nationalism (pp. 213-214), as well as that between the usually constructive cultural nationalism and the potentially destructive ethno(folk)-nationalism. (p. 3, 239).

Chodakiewicz quotes Wincenty Lutoslawski, a leading Endek thinker and colleague of Dmowski,: (quote) Polonized Germans, Tatars, Armenians, Gypsies, [and] Jews can belong to the Polish nation if they live for the common ideal of Poland...A Negro or a Redskin can become a real Pole, if he adopts the spiritual heritage of the Polish nation, which is contained in its literature, art, politics, customs, and if he has an unwavering will to contribute to the development of the national life of the Poles. (unquote). (p. 33, 39). Lutoslawski's comments soundly refute the misrepresentation of Endeks as blind exclusivists, chauvinists, or some kind of proto-Nazis.

Nowadays, "nationalism" is just one of several broken-record name-calls, along with other ones--fascism, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, and whatnot--freely used by postmodernists and their post-Communist allies, throughout the Intermarium [and elsewhere], against those not to their liking. (p. 245). [RADIO MARYJA listeners are all too familiar with this abuse.] Interestingly, during the Solidarity era, Communists warned of the danger of theocracy in Poland (p. 19). Now exactly the same bogeyman is raised in connection with Polish traditionalist Catholicism. When all else fails, the REDUCTIO AD HITLERUM tactic is employed against unwelcome viewpoints. (p. 254). Polish suffering, as at Katyn, is disregarded in favor of that of postmodernist-appointed "victim groups". (p. 244), and the agendas of the liberal-left in the West are advanced.

Ironic to the detractors of Chodakiewicz, who deliberately mischaracterize him as an ethnonationalist, he actually objects to this position as unobjectively particularistic. (pp. 497-499). At the same time, he notes that much of Western scholarship has viewed events in the Intermarium through the singular prism of the Holocaust (p. 498)--(which is why those hostile to the enunciation of this fact call him a nationalist!)


Let us now look at some numbers. Throughout his work, Chodakiewicz excels in the presentation of facts and figures on population losses--something he even tabulates in detail. (pp. 536-537). The Germans murdered as many as 4 million Polish gentiles during WWII (not the 1-2 million claimed by some Judeocentrists). The Communists murdered about 30,000 Poles in 1944-1953.

Now consider the Polish deportees of 1939-1941. Chodakiewicz expands his scholarly contentions for rejecting the archival Soviet figure of about 400,000 in favor of at least the threefold greater earlier-cited toll. (pp. 114-117, 125-126).

Fast forward to 1989. Communism never left Poland--it merely rebranded itself. (pp. 182-183). There never has been a de-Communization, or lustration, and no reckoning of Communist crimes. (p. 244). All this has stunted the development of Polish democracy.


Chodakiewicz provides interesting insights on Polish-Ukrainian relations through time. For instance, he corrects the common misconception of the Chmielnicki uprising as a nationalist-separatist one. Most of the Cossacks were freebooters. For a long time, the Cossacks fought many battles against Poland's enemies and were loyal to the Polish Commonwealth. It was the "foolishly myopic" (in the author's words) rights-denying policies of the Polish and Ukrainian magnates, towards the Cossacks, that eventually provoked the uprising. (p. 54). As for pedigrees, Khmelnytsky (Chmielnicki) had a rebellious Polish noble as his father, and an Orthodox mother. (p. 303).

Now consider WWII. Chodakiewicz summarizes the OUN-UPA genocide of Kresy Poles and the fundamental disagreement that Poles and Ukrainians have about it today. Ukrainians will not accept responsibility for the mass murders conducted on Poles by the OUN-UPA (pp. 446-447), and Poles will not accept the SS GALIZIEN and OUN-UPA as freedom fighters. (p. 428). [Were they? The OUN pressed for its own onerous totalitarian rule, not a free society. The SS GALIZIEN fought for the benefit of Nazi Germany, which had made it perfectly clear, long before then, that it did not intend to create a free Ukraine in any form.] The author contends that Poles have made many recent concessions to the Ukrainians that have scarcely found reciprocation. (pp. 427-428, 444-445).


Throughout his work, Chodakiewicz presents an assortment of interesting information, of which I mention a little. Ironic to the perennial German Great-Depression excuse for supporting Hitler, the reader may be surprised to learn that Poland suffered more from the Great Depression than any other country--losing, for example, more than 20% of her real output, which was more than that lost by Germany and Austria. (p. 84). Under the WWII German occupation, there were, by some estimates, 100,000 Ukrainian collaborationist police at the disposal of the Germans to help realize the Holocaust. (p. 140). Stalin killed more people than Hitler. (p. 17). Upon the breakup of the Soviet Union, Germany reportedly tried to revive East Prussia in the form of the re-acquisition of the now-isolated Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg, Krolewiec) enclave. (p. 382). There are some quoted testimonies of non-Poles in the erstwhile Kresy who remember Polish times with fondness. Finally, when it comes to recent geopolitics, Chodakiewicz warns that the resurgence of Russia, with her imperial ambitions, poses unappreciated dangers, and American foreign policy is little sensitive to this challenge. (p. 5, 376).
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