by ALEXANDRA TOMPSON
We must remember that in Poland specifically, German Nazis punished those who provided any kind of help to Jews with death for the entire family, and sometimes neighbours.
Polish underground resistance, the Government in Exile actually punished Poles with death for crimes committed against Jews.
There was no anti-Semitism in the structural sense. Of course there were inevitably such individuals. The law does not whitewash their crimes.
The full history needs to be known.
MP Stephen Pound so poignantly reminded his audience in the House of Commons debate, “let us never forget that there was no Polish Pétain or Quisling. If we want to see the Poles in the Second World War, we need to look to General Bór-Komorowski, the people who fought with the Warsaw rising and the people in the Government in exile who introduced the death penalty for confiscating, stealing or abusing Jewish people or their property”.
It is only natural that Poland is concerned about the international media’s lack of care as to what actually happened in World War Two; 6 million Polish citizens slaughtered, Warsaw flattened, Poland betrayed to the Soviets by the allies. Have we forgotten?
Reacting to the constant reference to “Polish death camps” is not about redefining the past. It’s about keeping it defined. It’s about closing the door to revisionism, not solely on Polish history, but European history and the insinuated assault on the Poles’ contributions to fighting Nazi ideology. Pound summed it up beautifully.
“Sometimes silent witness is more powerful than the vocal and the verbal. To see those stars of David in the Polish cemetery [Monte Cassino] tells me that Poland protected, defended and respected its Jewish population, and it will continue to do so”.
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