The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/polish-historical-society/press/register.920105

From: "Charles Chotkowski" 
Subject: Submission for Nizkor Project
Content-Type: text/plain
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 18:48:04 EST
Sender: kmcvay
Status: RO

Dear Mr. McVay:

The following letters to the editor are submitted for posting at the 
location: FTP: orgs/american/polish-historical-society/press
Thank you.

Letters published in the New Haven (Conn.) Register, Jan. 5, 1992:

Holocaust denial not supported by Poles, Polish-Americans

To the Editor:
   As a Polish-American, I was distressed to read the letter from 
Zbigniew Zielinski in support of those college newspaper editors who 
published advertisements placed by Bradley Smith to deny the Holocaust.
   Zielinski is president of the Polish Historical Society, a small 
group not to be confused with the Polish-American Historical 
Association, a nationwide organization of scholars.
   Certainly the historical literature on the Holocaust -- like the 
history of any other event -- is subject to verification, correction and 
reinterpretation.  I might add that this applies especially to the 
treatment of Poland and the Poles in Holocaust literature.
   But this is not what the Smith advertisements are about.  Zielinski 
must know that those advertisements, against all historical evidence, 
promote the revisionist claim that the Holocaust never happened.  As 
such, they are an insult to all the victims of Nazi mass murders: Jews, 
Poles, Gypsies and others.
   Bradley Smith does not belong in the same category as Jewish scholars 
like Yehuda Bauer or Shmuel Krakowski, or the Polish-American scholar 
Richard C. Lukas, whose authoritative book "The Forgotten Holocaust" 
documents Nazi persecution of Poles.
   We ought to oppose revisionists of every kind: those who deny the 
Holocaust in its entirety, and those who would restrict commemoration of 
the victims to members of particular ethnic, political or religious 
   By coincidence, on the day Zielinski's letter was published, I was at 
the United Nations for the opening of a documentary photographic 
exhibition, "Auschwitz: A Crime Against Humanity," sponsored by the 
Polish government, and created by the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland 
in cooperation with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  These 
photographs of a Nazi death camp fully refute the revisionist propaganda 
in the Smith advertisements.
   Polish Ambassador Kazimierz Dziewanowski, opening the exhibition, 
remarked that the Poles, also persecuted by the Nazis, do know something 
about the tragedy of the Holocaust, and thus are better able to 
understand the pain of the Jews.
   This exhibition and the words of the ambassador -- and not Bradley 
Smith --represent the attitude of the government and people of Poland 
and of Polish-Americans.  Zielinski should have recognized the 
difference, and not written a disingenuous letter so hurtful to both 
Jews and Poles.

Charles Chotkowski

Readers beware

To the Editor:
   I have just become acquainted with the letter of Zbigniew Zielinski 
concerning the Holocaust and the responses which followed his 
utterances.  I have taught Polish history in this country for over 30 
years and I know well the historical milieu as former chairman of the 
History Section of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences, as member 
of the advisory council of the Polish-American Historical Association, 
as a member of the Pilsudski Institute and so forth.
   I have never heard either of Zielinski or of his Polish Historical 
Society.  Readers must not be misled into supposing that his letter 
represents any reputable Polish historical organization in this country 
or the views of anyone but Zielinski whoever he may be.

Piotr S. Wandycz
New Haven

Editor's note: Piotr S. Wandycz is Bradford Durfee professor of history 
at Yale University.

Revisionism lacks scholarly foundation

To the Editor:
   As a person professionally involved in the field of Polish history, I 
was surprised to find yet another revisionist interpretation of the 
Holocaust, this time among the letters to the editor of the Register.
   Zbigniew Zielinski, the president of the so-called Polish Historical 
Society in Stamford, involved himself in what he calls a "healthy 
reinterpretation of the acquired data" on the Holocaust.
   I cannot help but notice that Zielinski's "scholarly" interests have 
more in common with the latest revisionist trends in Germany than they 
have with actual work of Polish historians in this country or in Poland.
   Zielinski's society is not among a dozen, or so, nationally 
recognized associations of Polish scholars in the United States, and it 
cannot, therefore, represent the views of anyone, except Zielinski 
   Since the creation of Nazi concentration camps during World War II, 
Polish and Jewish witnesses, survivors, scholars and statesmen, carried 
on a relentless campaign to inform the world of the horrors of Hitler's 
rule.  And now, with the resurgence of extremist groups worldwide, one 
individual has the audacity to voice his twisted opinions on matters as 
sensitive as the Holocaust, as if it were the voice of some important 
professional organization.
   Aside from the fact that Zielinski's data are flawed, the tone of his 
letter is insulting to Jews and Poles alike.

Mieczyslaw Rozbicki
New Haven

Editor's note: Mieczyslaw Rozbicki is a candidate for a doctorate in 
history at Yale University.

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