The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/polish-historical-society/press/polish-american-journal-1293



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.


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