The following article about the Polish Historical Society appeared in the _Polish-American Journal_, Dec. 1993, p. 8: "Holocaust Revisionists Are Polonia's Worst Enemies," by John Radzilowski Recently, a group calling itself "The Polish Historical Society" sent a mailing to a number of Polish Americans that includes a form letter to sign addressed to the _New York Post_. That package also included a letter written by Zbigniew Zielinski, the president of this society, addressed to the _New York Daily News_. Both letters are protests against recent articles and letters in these papers (related to the John Demjanjuk fiasco), which clearly defamed Poles and people of Polish descent. However, both of the letters also imply that _the Holocaust never happened_. I contacted this organization at its headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, and talked to a member of [sic] who blithely informed me that his group had looked into the work of Holocaust revisionists (those who claim the Nazi murder of millions of Jews and Poles did not occur), and had found a lot of "truth" in what these people said. He then told me that his group had "investigated" both Auschwitz and Treblinka and found that only a few people had really died there. This group was also making the extravagant claim that their work helped force Russia to admit its guilt in the Katyn massacre. This group, of course, represents only a tiny minority of people, a lunatic fringe. Furthermore--though they claim to be Poles--their letter urges people to send contributions to the "Ukrainian Friends of Fairfield Association," which is headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut. Not even our worst enemies could devise something so harmful to Polonia. Just as we have begun to get people to listen to our side of the story, just as we have begun to breech the walls of hatred and ignorance that others have built up around us, along comes this obscenity. Not only does this group claim that the Holocaust never happened, not only do they explain how one quarter of all Polish citizens living in 1939--Christians and Jews alike--died under Nazi and Soviet terror, but they even claim that Poland is today controlled by "Jews." Among these "Jews," they include Adam Michnik and Jacek Kuron, two men who spent much of their lives fighting the communist system. Do Michnik and Kuron have Jewish ancestors? Who cares?! Worse still, the "Polish Historical Society" has tried to besmirch the name of Jan Karski with the accusation that he, too, is a "Jew" and is subverting Poland (and Polonia). Jan Karski is one of Poland's greatest heroes and one of the greatest heroes of the twentieth century. This man risked torture and death at the hands of the Gestapo to tell the world exactly what the Nazis were doing to Poland. Perhaps these people hate Karski because what he saw puts a lie to their positions. We Poles have always prided ourselves on our commitment to truth, to justice, and to freedom. These ideals are the dearest part of our heritage. From the earliest times, to Kosciuszko's rebellion, to the motto "For your freedom and ours," to the Gdansk shipyards, to Pope John Paul II's statements on human dignity, Poles have laid down their lives for freedom, stood up against injustice, and spoken truth to power. This commitment to truth and freedom is why Poles fought so hard against Nazism, beginning with the desperate struggles of 1939, when Poles battled the armies of both Hitler and Stalin. They fought for these ideals at Narvik high above the Arctic Circle, in the sands of North Africa, in the skies over Britain, in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, and in every city and village in Poland; they drove the Nazi paratroopers from Monte Cassino, closed the trap on 60,000 German troops at Falaise, and smashed their way into the heavily fortified Reichstag, in Berlin, planting the white and red standard in the very heart of Nazism. These same ideals motivated huge numbers of young Polish Americans to join the U.S. armed services and fight the Axis on every American battlefield in Europe, Asia, and Africa. The work of the "Polish Historical Society," spits in the face of everything these men and women fought and died for. It is a direct affront to the many Polish Americans whose families in Poland suffered so much during World War II. It seeks to exonerate the culprits of the worst crimes in history, crimes that Poles, as much as anyone, were the victims of. Holocaust revisionism is anti-Polish. We have often been hurt by the lies and distortions about Polish-Jewish relations that still appear too frequently in the media in this country. We must continue to fight back against this slander, but we must do so with truth because truth is our strongest weapon. We cannot fight lies with lies. The haters and the bigots on both sides want you to believe one big, important lie on which all of their other lies are based: that the history of Polish-Jewish relations has been one of conflict and hatred. It has not. Certainly, there have been many said [sic] instances of intolerance and conflict between Poles and Jews, and there is enough blame to go around for everyone. Yet, overall, looking back across the span of history, the story of Polish-Jewish relations has primarily been one of the [sic] cooperation and mutual respect. Jews found a safe haven in Poland where they could live in peace after they had been persecuted and expelled from western countries like England and Germany. By the same token, Jews brought Poland vital skills that helped Poland's rulers maintain its independence and built a strong nation in the late medieval and early modern periods. Exchanges and even intermarriage between our two peoples enriched both cultures and both heritages. We must continue to speak out against any and all anti- Polish defamation, but we must do so with truth and fairness, for Poles, we can [sic] no less.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor