Det er nesten ikke er til å fatte: da overlevende polske jøder vendte hjem fra leirene, skjulesteder og skogene, møtte de ikke åpne armer, men skulende blikk, trusler, og sogar åpen vold. Selv de gode polakkene som hadde skjult jøder, tryglet dem om ikke å fortelle det til noen. De var redd for naboenes reaksjoner. Det er ett av de tristeste kapitlene i polsk historie, som er samlet i en bok av Jan T. Gross, historiker ved Princeton.

Polakkene led forferdelig under annen verdenskrig, fra første stund. Men på ett punkt var det mange polakker som var enig med nazistene, og det var i løsningen av jødeproblemet.

As the deportations proceeded, and practically before the trains had left for Chelmno or Belzec or Treblinka, Poles gathered on the outskirts of towns, waiting to plunder Jewish property or move into Jewish homes. And while the Nazis killed millions of Jews, Poles killed thousands — most famously, as Gross related in «Neighbors» (2001), a book that caused an uproar in Poland, 1,600 of them in the town of Jebwabne in July 1941 — crimes little noted at the time nor since remembered in Polish history books.

With the war over, and to tumultuous applause, a thousand delegates of the Polish Peasants Party actually passed a resolution thanking Hitler for annihilating Polish Jewry and urging that those he’d missed be expelled. Indeed, the mopping up soon began. Returning to their villages and towns, Jews were routinely greeted with remarks like «So, ____? You are still alive.» Their efforts to retrieve property were futile — and, sometimes, fatal. Some Jews met their end on trains — not cattle cars this time, but passenger trains, from which they were thrown off. If the trains weren’t moving fast enough, they were beaten to death.

Claude Lanzmann har flere sekvenser med denne folkelige, selvfølgelige antisemittismen i sitt episke verk «Shoah». En bonde som ler til jødene på vei til Treblinka og lar fingeren gli over strupen.

Mange polakker var besatt av tanken på all rikdommen jødene hadde skjult.

This is a book filled with arresting, appalling images. There’s Treblinka, September 1945: a lunar landscape pockmarked with craters, where Poles had dug thousands of holes searching for gold fillings amid the bones and ashes. Or Polish synagogues disassembled for construction projects, and Jewish cemeteries used for landfill. Or Jewish schoolchildren being harassed and Jewish artisans and professionals denied work.

With the police and courts looking the other way, Jews were murdered randomly, or in pogroms. Behind these massacres, invariably, was the old canard of Jews killing Christian children for their blood, but with a new twist: Jews now craved gentile blood not just to make matzos, supposedly, but to fortify their own emaciated selves.

In the most notorious episode, 60 years ago this month, residents of Kielce, among them policemen, soldiers and boy scouts, murdered 80 Jews. «The immense courtyard was still littered with blood-stained iron pipes, stones and clubs, which had been used to crush the skulls of Jewish men and women,» the Polish-Jewish journalist Saul Shneiderman wrote the following day. It was the largest peacetime pogrom in 20th-century Europe, Gross says. But he maintains that Kielce was nothing special: during this era, it could have taken place anywhere in Poland. Polish intellectuals, Gross notes, were mortified by what was happening in their country. Only a psychopath, one wrote, could have imagined such cruelty.

Kirken har vært ett med nasjonen. I dette tilfelle samtykket den også i forbrytelsene. En enslig biskop protesterte, men ble satt på plass av de andre.

ays before the pogrom, the Polish primate, Cardinal August Hlold, had spurned Jewish entreaties to condemn Roman Catholic anti-Semitism. Afterward, he charged that by leading the effort to impose Communism on Poland — Jews were in fact prominent in the party, though hardly in control — the Jews had only themselves to blame. The point was seconded by the bishop of Kielce, who suggested that Jews had actually orchestrated the unrest to persuade Britain to hand over Palestine. It was a neat trick: being Communists and Zionists simultaneously. Only the bishop of Czestochowa condemned the killings, and was promptly reprimanded by his colleagues. One wonders how Karol Wojtyla, then a young seminarian, later Pope John Paul II, viewed this cesspool of ignorance and intolerance.

Kommunistpartiet var ikke stort bedre. De forholdt seg passive. Senere skulle de selv overta og gjøre antisemittisme til et politisk våpen, både i 1956-57, da det foregikk utrenskninger i flere Østblokkland, blant annet mot kosmopolitter et annet navn for jøder. Andre bølge kom etter Seksdagerskrigen.

If the Church gave the Jews short shrift, the same was true of the Communists, even the Jewish ones. For them, ignoring the Jewish plight, as well as Polish complicity in wartime atrocities, offered a way to ingratiate themselves with a wary nation. Besides, what was to be done? When Polish Jewish leaders called for the Communists to do something to stop the hatred, one official had a ready rejoinder. «Do you want me to send 18 million Poles to Siberia?» he asked.

Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz. An Essay in Historical Interpretation.
By Jan T. Gross.
Illustrated. 303 pp. Random House. $25.95.

bildet viser den væpnede vaktstyrken til den jødiske komiteen i Wroclaw i 1945-46

fra anmeldelsen i nytimes:

Postwar Pogrom

Utdrag fra første kapittel:

Polen ble lurt flere ganger: Undergrunnsstaten var et stort nasjonalt prosjekt: en hemmelig polsk stat eksisterte under nazi-okkupasjon. Men de allierte «sold out» til Stalin, og den polske regjering i London ble forrådt. Man må anta at det var de beste kreftene som deltok i Undergrunnsstaten. De ble kriminalisert da kommunistene tok over. Det kan kanskje forklare et stykke på vei hvordan pogromene kunne finne sted. De verste kreftene hadde frie hender.

The Underground State was the product of a broad mobilization of societal energies. It came about as a result of myriad individual initiatives, which were then institutionalized and put in a broader organiza-tional framework. One could have expected that such a remarkable collective achievement would provide a good foundation for postwar reconstruction. But it was not to be. As a by-product of Great Power politics and the division of postwar Europe into spheres of influence, all the efforts and sacrifice that had gone into the creation of this contested realm, this civil society that had defied a ruthless regime of occupation, were soon dismissed as a misguided and wrongheaded enterprise. Once Poland had been liberated by the Red Army in 1944-45, any earlier association with the so-called London underground was labeled a stigma and a liability by the emergent Communist organizers of the public order. Soon after liberation the Home Army was portrayed in propaganda posters as «a spittle-bespattered dwarf of reactionary forces» («AK-zapluty karzel reakcji») and its veterans had to either hide their past or else risk arrest, internment, censure, or humiliation. How did this situation-which led to a pervasive sense of historical injustice among a significant majority of the Polish population-come about?

But as the fortunes of war gradually turned and as the Soviet Union proved a formidable member of the anti-Nazi coalition, Churchill and Roosevelt developed an ever greater sympathy with Soviet territorial claims and security guarantees in postwar Europe. During their Big Three meeting with Joseph Stalin in Teheran late in 1943, they agreed that after the war the Soviet Union’s border could be moved far to the west, at Poland’s expense, roughly to the Curzon Line. In this manner, without consulting or informing the Polish government-in-exile in London, they sanctioned a territorial expansion reminiscent of what the Soviet Union had acquired as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact in 1939.

As an emboldened Stalin began to maneuver for a postwar settlement that would eventually lead to the Communist subjugation of Eastern Europe, Polish-Soviet relations soured. Indeed, the deterioration had begun even before the Teheran conference. In the spring of 1943, the USSR severed diplomatic relations with the Polish government following the discovery of mass graves in Katyn. . . .