Posts Tagged ‘nazis’

In New Book, Grave Robbing and Other Stories of Poles’ Complicity

February 27, 2011
‘Golden Harvest’: Polish peasants with skeletal remains at Treblinka, where Gross said they dug for gold and jewels in the killing fields. Gross said the photograph was the starting point for his new book.

Gazeta Wyborcza
‘Golden Harvest’: Polish peasants with skeletal remains at Treblinka, where Gross said they dug for gold and jewels in the killing fields. Gross said the photograph was the starting point for his new book.

By Donald Snyder

Published February 23, 2011, issue of March 04, 2011.

Jan Gross is once again forcing Poland to take a new look at its past.

The Polish-American historian, whose previous books generated heated controversy and self-examination, has written a searing new indictment of Polish behavior toward Jews during World War II.

“Golden Harvest,” a new book by Gross and his former wife, Irena Grudzinska-Gross, charges that some Poles tried to profit from the Holocaust by digging for gold and jewels in the killing fields at Treblinka, the Nazi death camp where Germans murdered more than 800,000 Jews.

The book, which will be published in Poland on March 10, also accuses Poles of looting Jewish property.

“Poles accepted the fact that Jews were going to be destroyed,” Gross, a Princeton University historian, said in a telephone interview with the Forward. “The Poles participated in the murder of Jews, and this was done all over the country.”

In response, some of Poland’s right-wing media have branded Gross as anti-Polish.

“Jan Tomasz Gross has earned the deserved name of an untiring enemy of Poland and Poles. A swindler and a cheat,” Jerzy Robert Nowak wrote in the February 2 edition of Niedziela, a Roman Catholic publication distributed in churches.

“There is no place in Gross’s book for decent Poles, not an example,” complained a writer in the far-right tabloid Nasz Dziennik. “He only describes barbarians and villains. The purpose of the book is to make the American elite see Poles the way Jan Gross sees them.”

When asked about criticism of his work and about the allegations that he is anti-Polish, Gross responded gruffly: “This is all nonsense.”

Gross, who was born in Poland shortly after World War II, is no stranger to Polish readers. Born to a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, he fled his native country in 1968 because of an anti-Semitic campaign conducted by the Communist Party.

Gross has published two other books whose negative images of Poles provoked anger in the country of his birth.

“Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland,” published in 2001, investigated the 1941 massacre of about 1,600 Jewish villagers by their Polish neighbors. Poles were outraged when a government commission confirmed Gross’s findings.

A later book, “Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz,” published in 2006, asserted that Poles persecuted and murdered Jewish survivors.

Despite the controversy over “Golden Harvest,” Gross is not the first scholar to bring to light the Polish conduct at Treblinka. “The book is a synthesis of information uncovered by young Polish scholars,” said Michal Bilewicz, director of the University of Warsaw’s Center for Research on Prejudice. Bilewicz, who read a review copy of the book, said during a phone interview with the Forward that this information is little known outside Poland.

Gross acknowledges getting much of his material from Polish scholars who have conducted “excellent work” about Polish-Jewish relations during the war. “Much of this material has not been published in English, and it adds to our knowledge of Polish complicity in the murder of Jews,” he said.

The book also includes a photograph of Polish peasants at the edge of the gravesite at Treblinka, which previously had been published only in Gazeta Wyborcza, a leading Polish daily newspaper.

According to Bilewicz, Gross said in the book that the Polish behavior at Treblinka was criminal and abhorrent, but not inspired by anti-Semitism. “Gross says in the book that all of us are capable of committing the same crimes — if faced with the starvation the peasants experienced,” Bilewicz said.

Martyna Rusiniak-Karwat, a Warsaw University historian and author of a book on Treblinka, gave “Golden Harvest” a mixed review. “He based his book on work done by others, and used sources only selectively, including mine,” she told the Forward in a phone interview, through an interpreter.

Rusiniak-Karwat, who comes from a village about 20 miles from Treblinka, told the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita that as a child, she heard stories about Poles looking for gold that belonged to Jews murdered at Treblinka.

“When I started my research,” she said, “I found records on digging the mass graves, and that was shocking to me. I know they were searching the graves, but I didn’t have the slightest idea they went that far.” Her book “Extermination Camp Treblinka 2 in Social Memory, 1943–1989” was published in 2008.

“The peasants didn’t think of the place as a Jewish graveyard.” Rusiniak-Karwat said. “They were driven by the desire to reap a profit. They were depraved and deprived of all normal standards.”

Amid the anger Gross’s book has provoked, his inclusion of the photograph purporting to show Polish peasants searching for valuables among the dead has been especially provocative. The photograph, of which the origins are uncertain, first appeared in the January 8, 2008, edition of Gazeta Wyborcza.

Konstanty Gebert, a columnist for the newspaper, told the Forward in an e-mail: “There is a controversy about that photo and Gross acknowledges it. The photo either represents diggers, or people who were collecting human remains for future disposal.”

Rusniak-Karwat raised similar doubts. “Jan Gross used the picture as his primary evidence,” she said. “And we know little about its origin.”

Gross said he first saw the picture in Gazeta Wyborcza and learned that it had been given to a museum at Treblinka in the 1960s by an employee of a local railroad station. The photograph was the starting point for his book.

“On the surface, it appears to be a very banal photograph,” he said. “But when you realize that the crops in front of [the peasants] are not beets or potatoes but skulls and bones, that is a very freaky experience,” he observed.

Znak, the book’s Roman Catholic publisher in Krakow, acknowledged receiving many e-mails denouncing publication of the book.

Henryk Wozniakowski, president of Znak, said at a news conference in Warsaw on February 8 that the book was being published to “revise our memory and confront it with historical truth.” He said charges that the book is anti-Polish are groundless, and that profits from its sale will be donated to charity. “We don’t consider this book a business project,” he noted. The first printing will be 50,000 copies.

But the controversy over the book has also sparked internal conflict at the publishing company. Znak Director Danuta Skora said at the same news conference that she was opposed to publishing the book. According to a report in Gazeta Wyborcza, she called the book “unjust” and apologized to Poles who were hurt by its allegations.

The book hits a raw nerve because Poles believe they acted honorably during the brutal German occupation. Six million Polish citizens — half of them Jews — were killed during the war, and the Polish Underground performed courageously, including during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. And Poland has had more citizens honored as Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem than any other European country. This is part of the Polish identity.

“Poles regard themselves as innocent victims of history and find it difficult to concede they may be something else,” Gebert said.

The chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, gave this assessment: “There is no way to justify what happened, but the people who were going into the graves were very hungry. We have to think of what the times were then. It was starvation. Did they do this because the victims were Jewish, or did they do it because they thought they could find something to feed their families?”

An English edition of the book is scheduled for publication in August.

Contact Donald Snyder at feedback@forward.com

Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/135643/#ixzz1EyTvVMA8

TUVIA FRIEDMAN, NAZI HUNTER

January 13, 2011

The man who caught Adolph Eichman and many nazi criminals tells all.

Part 1

You can see a 2 hours intervieu with Tuvia at the group “The Exodus from Europe” or at Boris Kangun

Bella Friedman Kangun’ s husband, Tuvia’s sister, whom Boris brought from Auschwitz to Vienna on a Russian truck sent from Vienna by order of the Russian comander who occupied Austria and helped Boris Kangun make it possible to bring 300000 holocaust survivours to Vienna via Italy to Israel.

Part 2

The real story told, no newspaper nor a writer who made a book about this person or another told this for a simple reason, they were working for fame and tell bla bla stories which had mostlly no real history value, none is covered by documents.

Part 3

See the documents, pictures and video, you will get the truth about how it was really done.

Part 4

Part 7

Part 8

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

 

https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=136958126331409&comments&ref=mf

German faked conversion to board ‘Jewish’ Gaza boat

October 10, 2010

http://goo.gl/DI8j

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL
10/08/2010 03:01

Television producers face flak for false report, say “not customary to pressure people to produce conversion documents before interviews.”

Talkbacks (6)

BERLIN – The German passenger aboard the Irene catamaran that tried to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza last month appears to have invented her conversion to Judaism, Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“Edith Lutz is definitely a Jew, like a smoked pork chop is kosher,” reporter Henryk M.Broder wrote.

The Irene, organized by the British NGO Jews for Justice for Palestinians, supposedly carried a total of nine passengers and crew members, all Jews, to show that not all Jews supported Israel’s Gaza policies. The Israel Navy diverted it to Ashdod Port.

According to the Tagesspiegel report, the German Jewish psychologist Dr. Rolf Verleger asked Lutz if she formally converted to Judaism, and she “did not dispel the suspicion” that she is not Jewish.

The German television program ARD-Magazin Monitor broadcast a widely-seen report in June, in which Lutz was named as a representative of “Jews from Germany”, and as part of a group of Germans Jews who want to show that “they are not in agreement with the policies of Israel.”

Monitor’s producers have been accused of sloppy journalism for failing to diligently factcheck Lutz’s credentials as a converted Jew, and turning her into a representative of Germany’s 106,000 Jews.

The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily on Wednesday termed the Monitor report “embarrassing” and noted that many German news organizations have paraded Lutz as a “prominent spokesperson for the organization ‘Jews for a Just Peace in the Middle East’ – and she is not a Jew.”

Sonia Seymour Mikich, the editor-in-chief of Monitor, seemed to duck the criticisms in a statement on why the program presented a woman masquerading as a converted Jew.

It “is not customary for Monitor to pressure people to produce baptismal and conversion documents in order to conduct interviews”, she wrote.

Mikich further noted that Lutz wishes to “continue to protect her private life.”

Many German journalists devote a great deal of coverage to fringe Jews who bash the Jewish state.

The popular pro-Israeli blogger website Lizas Welt wrote on Tuesday that Lutz’s tirades against Israel are “what the majority in Germany wants to hear.”

Lizas Welt slammed Lutz’s “verbal attacks on Israel” as including equating the Jewish state’s actions with those of the Nazis.

Lutz has stated that the Israeli government issued her passport without a “deportation stamp.” The word “deportation” in a German context carries a Nazi-era connotation from the time when Europe’s Jews were deported to extermination camps.

Nathan Gelbart, the Berlin-based attorney who heads the German branch of Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that “over 7 million people live in Israel’s democracy, which, in contrast to their more than 30 million Arab neighbors, are allowed to openly discuss the controversy surrounding the appropriateness of the sea blockade of Gaza. And Israelis openly discuss the blockade.

“Edith Lutz, whether Jew or non-Jew, is needed in Israel as much as her three backpacks that she sought to bring to Gaza – that is to say, not at all.”

According to a report from Ulrich Sahm, a veteran journalist in Israel, Lutz brought three backpacks that contained stuffed animals, second hand toys and musical instruments on the Irene.

No Dogs and Israelis

July 3, 2010

No Dogs and Israelis

No Dogs and Israelis

My name is Lior Zagury and I’m a very proud Israeli Jew.

Yes, it is important for me to present myself in this way, especially today when there is a feeling that there is a festival for anti-Semites.

I just came back yesterday from Poland after 8 days of having the privilege of guiding the Inter Disciplinary university students in the death camps. These students, studying in Israel were Jews, Christians and Muslims. Five huge armed commando Polish soldiers with rifles and pistols needed to secure our check in to EL-AL flight to Israel from the Warsaw airport.

I know that you got at least 100 e-mails about the flotilla to Gaza and I will not repeat what was said there. I want to speak about something much bigger that is happening now.

The header of my letter wasn’t taken from the streets of Berlin in 1933 when the Nazi’s came to power, not from the neighborhoods of Warsaw in 1941 when the Jews lived in the Ghetto, and not even from the shops of Kielce after the Second World War in 1946, just before the pogrom that made Jews understand that there isn’t a safe place for them and they need to leave Europe.

The header was taken from signs that were hanged at the entrance to big markets and offices in Turkey in the past few days, in June of 2010 and similar signs that were hung in Jordan. The signs say: “We do not receive dogs & Israelis” as you can see in the photo.

What we see around us is not about the flotilla and Gaza. It is a very sophisticated plan to demolish the legitimacy of the existence of the Jewish state of Israel.

In his first speech at the German Reichstag at 1/30/1933 Hitler said the cause of all the world problems is world Jewry. Most of the people didn’t take him seriously and felt very safe in their countries, trusting their governments. Twelve years later we lost 6 million Jews in the Holocaust in the worst way that human kind has ever known.

These days, 65 years after, Achmadinijad from Iran and many others say exactly the same. The history repeats itself. Most of the people do not take him seriously and feel very safe in their countries, trusting their governments…..

This is a wake up call.

If you will ignore it and convince yourselves that this is not the mainstream, this is just a passing storm and that it will never happen to us — sooner or later, you might find those restrictions in your backyard, in your favorite restaurant, in your great bar and in your amazing university as it was 75 years ago. A few months ago, an Arab restaurant in Haifa didn’t allow Israeli soldiers to come in and eat.

We need your support now more then ever. We need to raise our heads, speak in a very clear and loud voice and especially be one, united. I have a complete and strong confidence in our nation.

Israel has the most moral army in the world, it is the only democracy in the world that in each and every given moment there are thousands of missiles and rockets ready to be launched to the central of its cities from enemies that want to erase us, and the only place in the world that a Jew can just be a Jew and feel completely safe about it.

We promised NEVER AGAIN. Don’t wait to say we didn’t know.

Yours,
Lior

FOOD FOR THOUGHT – A Holocaust Survivor’s View on Islam

June 26, 2010

A Holocaust Survivors View on Fanatic Islam >

This is one of the best explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation I have read. His references to past history are accurate and clear. Not long, easy to understand, and well worth the read. The author of this email is Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well-known and well respected psychiatrist.

A Holocaust Survivor’s View on Islam

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. ‘Very few people were true Nazis,’ he said, ‘but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories. ‘We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march… It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is > the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the ‘silent majority,’ is cowed and extraneous. Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were ‘peace loving’? History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts — the fanatics who threaten our way of life. Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world-wide, read this and think about it, and send it on – before it’s too late.

Some things never change!

June 19, 2010

You probably don’t  know the name Eric Hoffer.
He was a  longshoreman who turned into a philosopher. He  wrote columns for newspapers and some books.

He was a non-Jewish American social philosopher.

He was born in 1902 and died in  1983, after writing nine books and winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

His first  book, The True Believer, published in 1951, was  widely recognized as a classic.

Eric  Hoffer was one of the most influential American  philosophers and free thinkers of the 20th  Century.  His books are still widely read  and quoted today.  Acclaimed for his thoughts on mass movements and fanaticism, Hoffer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.

HERE IS ONE OF HIS COLUMNS.

Some things never change!

ISRAEL’S PECULIAR  POSITION.
by Eric Hoffer.
Los Angeles Times. 26/5/1968.

The Jews are a  peculiar people: things permitted to other  nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other  nations drive out thousands, even millions of  people and there is no refugee problem. Russia  did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it.

Turkey threw out a million Greeks and  Algeria a million Frenchmen.

Indonesia threw  out heaven knows how many Chinese and no one  says a word about refugees.

But in the case  of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become  eternal refugees.  Everyone insists that  Israel must take back every single one.

Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by  the Nazis.

Other nations when victorious on  the battlefield dictate peace terms.

But  when Israel is victorious, it must sue for peace.

Everyone expects the Jews to be the  only real Christians in this world.

Other  nations, when they are defeated, survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would  be destroyed.

Had Nasser triumphed last June, [1967], he would have wiped Israel off the map,  and no one would have lifted a finger to save  the Jews.

No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on.

There is a cry of  outrage all over the world when people die in  Vietnam or when two Blacks are executed in  Rhodesia .

But, when Hitler slaughtered Jews  no one demonstrated against him.

The Swedes,  who were ready to break off diplomatic relations  with America because of what we did in Vietnam,  did not let out a peep when Hitler was  slaughtering Jews.

They sent Hitler choice  iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his  troops in Norway.

The Jews are alone in the  world.

If Israel survives, it will be solely  because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources.

Yet at this moment, Israel is our only  reliable and unconditional ally.

We can rely  more on Israel than Israel can rely on us.

And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer, [1967], had the Arabs and  their Russian backers won the war, to realize  how vital the survival of Israel is to America  and the West in general.

I have a  premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.

Should Israel perish, the Holocaust will be upon us all.
Astonishing!

THIS WAS WRITTEN IN 1968.  42 years ago.

Sent by:  Albert Tari

Gas Chamber – An American Idea

May 9, 2010

The Nazis’ Murder of Jews, Communists and Gypsies In Gas Chambers Was an AMERICAN Idea

Believe it or not, the Nazis’ murder of Jews, communists and gypsies using gas chambers was actually an American idea.

As the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in 2003:

the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn’t originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement’s campaign for ethnic cleansing.

Eugenics was the pseudoscience aimed at “improving” the human race. In its extreme, racist form, this meant wiping away all human beings deemed “unfit,” preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in 27 states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in “colonies,” and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.

California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the 20th century’s first decades, California’s eugenicists included potent but little-known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles Goethe, as well as members of the California state Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.

Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims.

Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood” in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation”, in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.

In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation’s social service agencies and associations.

The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, confinement or forced sterilization.

The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.

Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California’s quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as Pasadena’s Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations — which functioned as part of a closely-knit network — published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics, and propagandized for the Nazis.

***

The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in the United States was a “lethal chamber” or public, locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, “Applied Eugenics”, which argued,

“From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution . . . Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated.”

“Applied Eugenics” also devoted a chapter to “Lethal Selection”, which operated “through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency.”

Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Ill., fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to 40 percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect.

***

Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote,

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

This decision opened the floodgates for thousands to be coercively sterilized or otherwise persecuted as subhuman. Years later, the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Holmes’ words in their own defense.

Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German officials and scientists.

Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti-Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. Hitler’s race hatred sprung from his own mind, but the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America.

During the ’20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany’s fascist eugenicists. In “Mein Kampf”, published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics.

“There is today one state”, wrote Hitler, “in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception (of immigration) are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States.”

***

During the Reich’s early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler’s plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.

In 1934, as Germany’s sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe, upon returning from Germany, ebulliently bragged to a colleague,

“You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.”

***

More than just providing the scientific roadmap, America funded Germany’s eugenic institutions.

By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 — almost $4 million in today’s money — to hundreds of German researchers. In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 toward creation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry. Among the leading psychiatrists at the German Psychiatric Institute was Ernst Rüdin, who became director and eventually an architect of Hitler’s systematic medical repression.

Another in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute’s complex of eugenics institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the institute, once again, was Hitler’s medical henchman Ernst Rüdin. Rüdin’s organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others.

Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed.

Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, declared of Nazism, “While we were pussy-footing around … the Germans were calling a spade a spade.”

A special recipient of Rockefeller funding was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin. For decades,

American eugenicists had craved twins to advance their research into heredity.

The Institute was now prepared to undertake such research on an unprecedented level. On May 13, 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York dispatched a radiogram to its Paris office: JUNE MEETING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS OVER THREE YEAR PERIOD TO KWG INSTITUTE ANTHROPOLOGY FOR RESEARCH ON TWINS AND EFFECTS ON LATER GENERATIONS OF SUBSTANCES TOXIC FOR GERM PLASM.

At the time of Rockefeller’s endowment, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a hero in American eugenics circles, functioned as a head of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. Rockefeller funding of that institute continued both directly and through other research conduits during Verschuer’s early tenure. In 1935, Verschuer left the institute to form a rival eugenics facility in Frankfurt that was much heralded in the American eugenics press. Research on twins in the Third Reich exploded, backed by government decrees. Verschuer wrote in Der Erbarzt, a eugenics doctor’s journal he edited, that Germany’s war would yield a “total solution to the Jewish problem.”

Verschuer had a longtime assistant. His name was Josef Mengele.

***

Rockefeller executives never knew of Mengele. With few exceptions, the foundation had ceased all eugenics studies in Nazi-occupied Europe before the war erupted in 1939. But by that time the die had been cast. The talented men Rockefeller and Carnegie financed, the great institutions they helped found, and the science they helped create took on a scientific momentum of their own.

As Michel Crichton wrote in 2004:

Its supporters included Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Winston Churchill. It was approved by Supreme Court justices Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis, who ruled in its favor. The famous names who supported it included Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone; activist Margaret Sanger; botanist Luther Burbank; Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University; the novelist H. G. Wells; the playwright George Bernard Shaw; and hundreds of others. Nobel Prize winners gave support. Research was backed by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. The Cold Springs Harbor Institute was built to carry out this research, but important work was also done at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Legislation to address the crisis was passed in states from New York to California.

These efforts had the support of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Medical Association, and the National Research Council. It was said that if Jesus were alive, he would have supported this effort.

All in all, the research, legislation and molding of public opinion surrounding the theory went on for almost half a century. Those who opposed the theory were shouted down and called reactionary, blind to reality, or just plain ignorant. But in hindsight, what is surprising is that so few people objected.

***

The plan was to identify individuals who were feeble-minded — Jews were agreed to be largely feeble-minded, but so were many foreigners, as well as blacks — and stop them from breeding by isolation in institutions or by sterilization.

***

Such views were widely shared. H.G. Wells spoke against “ill-trained swarms of inferior citizens”. Theodore Roosevelt said that “Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind.” Luther Burbank” “Stop permitting criminals and weaklings to reproduce.” George Bernard Shaw said that only eugenics could save mankind.

***

Eugenics research was funded by the Carnegie Foundation, and later by the Rockefeller Foundation. The latter was so enthusiastic that even after the center of the eugenics effort moved to Germany, and involved the gassing of individuals from mental institutions, the Rockefeller Foundation continued to finance German researchers at a very high level. (The foundation was quiet about it, but they were still funding research in 1939, only months before the onset of World War II.)

Since the 1920s, American eugenicists had been jealous because the Germans had taken leadership of the movement away from them. The Germans were admirably progressive. They set up ordinary-looking houses where “mental defectives” were brought and interviewed one at a time, before being led into a back room, which was, in fact, a gas chamber. There, they were gassed with carbon monoxide, and their bodies disposed of in a crematorium located on the property.

Eventually, this program was expanded into a vast network of concentration camps located near railroad lines, enabling the efficient transport and of killing ten million undesirables.

After World War II, nobody was a eugenicist, and nobody had ever been a eugenicist. Biographers of the celebrated and the powerful did not dwell on the attractions of this philosophy to their subjects, and sometimes did not mention it at all. Eugenics ceased to be a subject for college classrooms, although some argue that its ideas continue to have currency in disguised form.

***

The scientific establishment in both the United States and Germany did not mount any sustained protest. Quite the contrary. In Germany scientists quickly fell into line with the program. Modern German researchers have gone back to review Nazi documents from the 1930s. They expected to find directives telling scientists what research should be done. But none were necessary. In the words of Ute Deichman, “Scientists, including those who were not members of the [Nazi] party, helped to get funding for their work through their modified behavior and direct cooperation with the state.” Deichman speaks of the “active role of scientists themselves in regard to Nazi race policy … where [research] was aimed at confirming the racial doctrine … no external pressure can be documented.” German scientists adjusted their research interests to the new policies. And those few who did not adjust disappeared.

Appendix 1, State of Fear (Avon 2004).

Note: Obviously, not all Americans bought into crazy eugenics theories.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/02/nazis-murder-of-jews-communists-and.html

The amazing story of survival in the sewers of Lvov

April 14, 2010

http://media.aish.com/images/Angels_in_the_Dark
The amazing story of survival in the sewers of Lvov.

It was the end of May, 1943 and Jewish Lvov was burning. Once home to Poland’s third largest Jewish community, Lvov’s 100,000 Jews numbered less than 8,000. “They are killing the Jewish police! This is the end!” came a cry from the ghetto.

Huge buildings, entire blocks were on fire. Jews ran in all directions. Hundreds made a dash for the sewers, hoping to avoid detection by vicious German dogs and their inhuman masters. Jewish children were rounded up and tossed into awaiting trucks like sacks of raw potatoes. Watching helplessly at the fate of their children, some women threw themselves down from several stories high. Little Krystyna Chiger beheld all of this in fear and terror.


http://image.aish.com/AngelsKristina-and-Pavel-Ch.jpgFor months, a small group of Jews were preparing for this moment. Yaakov Berestycki understood the fate of Lvov’s already martyred Jews would soon be his own. Daily, he and a few others clawed away at a concrete floor with spoons and forks and small tools from the apartment of a Jew named Weiss to gain entry into the sewers.

Ignacy Chiger was their leader. Weeks before the ghetto’s destruction they broke through and lowered themselves into the sewers of Lvov. As they searched for a place that might be their ‘home,’ they were discovered by three Polish sewer workers.

The three Poles could have easily handed them over to the Nazis for a reward of badly needed food.

The three Poles could have easily handed them over to the Nazis for a reward of badly needed food. With no options before them, Weiss and Chiger explained what they had done. A cherubic-looking Pole named Leopold Socha was amused. He followed the diggers and raised himself up through the floor of the ghetto apartment. He beheld a defiant Jewish mother, Paulina Chiger, clutching two children closely to her chest. Deeply moved by the frightened youngsters, he broke out in a magnificent smile.


http://image.aish.com/AngelsLeopold-Socha.jpgLeopold Socha was not merely any sewer worker; he was Chief Supervisor of all of Lvov’s sewers. He knew the best places to hide and how to lead prowling German inspectors in a direction away from clandestine Jews.
For Krystyna, her brother Pavel and the rest, the escape into the sewers was a nightmare. Accompanied by screams and shrieking in a stone and lime chamber that trapped all sound, the Jews entered a world of cold darkness. The deafening sound of the river waters terrified Krystyna. Her subterranean world was inhabited by rats that made no secret of their presence, and she could not see where she was going.

Lvov’s labyrinth underground system was actually a complicated work of art, designed by early 20th century Italian engineers. As it wove its way beneath the city’s major landmarks and streets, the 20-foot wide Peltew River roared, charging mightily. It snatched all those who got too close, including Krystyna’s beloved Uncle Kuba.


http://image.aish.com/AngelsMundek-Margulies.jpgAnother Jew who descended that terrible day in May 1943 was a resourceful, spirited Jew named Mundek Margolies. His name was on several deportation lists. Each time he somehow managed to escape. While in the ghetto he grew fond of Klara Keller. Mundek convinced her to take a chance with life by coming with him into the sewers, leaving her sister, Mania, behind.

Socha promised Chiger that he would protect 20 Jews — for a price.
Socha promised Chiger that he would protect 20 Jews — for a price. The Chigers provided the lion’s share of the money, having stashed some cash and valuables away before the war. Socha brought whatever food he could each day, as well as news from a place called Earth. He gave them pages of newspapers and took their clothes home to clean each week. On Passover he provided potatoes.


http://image.aish.com/AngelsPaulina-Chiger.jpgOver time the 20 hidden Jews shrank to ten. Some died. After living under inhuman conditions for several months, some left out of sheer madness. A newborn baby was smothered by its mother to save the lives of the others who trembled at the sound of his pitiful cries.
This small group of Jews struggled to maintain some semblance of Jewish life in their underground hiding place. Yaakov Berestycki, a chassid, found a relatively clean place to put on tefillin each morning.
Paulina Chiger asked Socha if he could bring her some candles. She wished to bring light of Shabbat into the sewers. Socha loved those who loved God as much as he did and he was excited by the challenge. Every Friday, Socha was paid by Ignacy and Paulina later lit her candles.
Socha spoke to the children. He played with them and tried to raise the spirits of all ‘his’ Jews. He took Krystyna to a place where she could see light drifting into the sewers as she sat upon his shoulders.
Mundek Margolies made daring forays into the destroyed ghetto to bring anything left behind that would make the lives of his friends more bearable. He had resolved to marry Klara after the war. They eventually learned that Klara’s sister, Mania, was sent to Janowska concentration camp. Klara blamed herself for abandoning her.
In the hellish world of concentration camps Janowska was particularly horrific. People were left overnight to see how quickly they could freeze to death in icing vats of water. Each morning nooses were prepared in the large square. Jews were “invited” to “volunteer” to be hanged. Tragically, there was no shortage of daily volunteers. Despite all this, Mundek determined to sneak himself into Janowska to rescue Mania and other Jews he could convince to follow him into the sewers.

It was insane. It was impossible. But angels can fly.
It was insane. It was impossible. But angels can fly. Mundek changed identities with a Jewish slave he spied out from a work detail on one of his courageous flights outside the sewer. He smuggled himself into Janowska with the work detail at evening.
A little over a day later he located Mania behind a fence. Mania told him she simply could not live in a sewer and wrote a note to Klara, begging that she not blame herself. She blessed Klara with life.
Mundek met other Jews, urging them to leave. They thanked him and blessed him. But they were weak and terrified. The angel returned to the sewers, alone.
After several months the Chigers’ money ran out. They met with Socha and he told them such an enormous risk required compensation; that Wrobleski and Kowalow, his two Polish friends, could not be expected to assist him otherwise. They wished each other goodbye and good luck.
The following day a familiar shuffling of footsteps was heard. It was Socha! He became so committed to preserving their lives he saw no alternative but to use his own money. But he was concerned that his buddies, upon learning that the money was his, would back out of the rescue. So he asked Chiger to pretend he had found extra money and that is was really Jewish money being paid to Wrobleski and Kowalow.
One day Socha revealed to the Jews his motive for rescue. He had been a convicted felon, spent considerable time in jail before the war. This mission was his way to show that he was a changed man and return to God.
Protective wings sheltered the hidden Jews. They survived discovery by a Pole who opened up a manhole cover and shouted: “It’s true! There are Jews in the sewers!” (Socha moved them to a safer location.) They survived the planting of mines only days before the Germans fled Lvov, as the Russian army neared. Socha and Kowalow shouted with all the authority men in overalls could muster before well-dressed German soldiers. They warned that gas pipes lay directly below the ground they were digging for the mines. The Germans would blow up the whole street, themselves included.
It was a lie. And it saved the subterranean Jews.
They survived the melting snows and heavy spring rains in the winter of 1944. The water filled their small basin and rose above their necks. Krystyna screamed to Yaakov, the chassid, “Pray, Yaakov! Pray to God to save us!” Yaakov prayed and the water receded. Sixty years later she said, “It was a miracle.”

After 14 months underground, Socha lifted the manhole cover, telling the Jews they were free.
The long awaited day of liberation came. In July 1944, after 14 months underground, Socha lifted the manhole cover, telling the Jews they were free! Like creatures from another planet, hunched over from a hideout with low ceilings, ten ragged, thin and filthy survivors found themselves surrounded by Poles who gaped in wonder: “Jews really did live in the sewers!” After months of darkness, their eyes were blinded by the sunshine. Everything seemed red, “bathed in the color of blood.” Socha brought them indoors, to dark rooms where their eyes could adjust to light.
Months after liberation, Socha and his daughter were riding their bicycles in the street. A truck came careening in the direction of Socha’s little girl. He steered quickly to knock her out of the way. Once again he saved a life — his daughter’s — but Socha was killed, his blood dripping into the sewer. ‘His’ Jews, dispersed around Poland and Europe, returned to pay their last respects.
Krystyna still cannot cry. In the sewer she learned to suffer quietly. Her body swallows her tears. She dreads the sound of rushing water and moments of darkness. But she is a healer — a medical professional with an office in New York and has raised a Jewish family. Her brother Pavel served in the IDF and also raised a new generation. Ignacy and Paulina lived out their lives in Israel where Paulina continued bringing the light of Shabbat into her home.
Yaakov moved to Paris where he, too, raised a Jewish family and lived a full life. All those in the sewer, but for Krystyna, have since passed to a world with angels on high.
http://image.aish.com/AngelsMundek-Margolies-and-.jpgMundek and Klara married shortly after the war. After moving to London from Poland, they established together a flourishing kosher catering business, still run by the family. He danced in the very center at every celebration he catered, grabbing his clients by the hand and beaming a broad smile, for his Jewish world was revived. Every Jewish simcha was his simcha. The world of darkness he once knew was now filled with light.

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Raoul Wallenberg: Soviets may have lied about his death | Mail Online

April 3, 2010

Raoul Wallenberg: Soviets may have lied about his death | Mail Online.

Was Russian prisoner No. 7 actually the ‘dead’ diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust?

By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 12:03 PM on 02nd April 2010

WHO WAS RAOUL WALLENBRG?

The son of a naval officer, Wallenberg trained as an architect but later joined a Stockholm import-export business and became the company’s representative in Budapest where he learned Hungarian.

Mystery: Raoul Wallenberg may have been alive longer than Soviet  officials claimed
In 1944, as the persecution of Jews in Hungary became known abroad, Wallenberg was picked as Sweden’s envoy to return to Budapest and organize a rescue programme.
Together with fellow Swedish diplomat Per Anger, he issued ‘protective passports’ which identified the bearers as Swedish subjects awaiting repatriation and thus preventing their deportation. It is estimated he saved 20,000 Jews destined for Nazi extermination camps.
He was arrested by the Russians in January 1945 and was reported to have died two months later, although the circumstances of his death have long been in dispute.
Wallenberg has been honoured numerous times. He is an honorary citizen of the United States, Israel, Canada, and Hungary, while monuments and streets have been named after him throughout the world.
A Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States was created in 1981 to perpetuate his ‘humanitarian ideals and the non-violent courage’, giving out the Raoul Wallenberg Award to that end.

The heroic story of Raoul Wallenberg is one of the most extraordinary to emerge from the horrors of the Holocaust.

And yet, the eventual fate of the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of thousands of Jews has remained one of the conflict’s greatest mysteries.

Working as an envoy in Budapest, Hungary, from July 1944, he prevented the deportation of 20,000 Jews destined for Nazi concentration camps or death factories.

As a result of his actions he has been made an honorary citizen of several nations with parks, schools and philanthropic organisations named in his honour.

Precisely what happened to him as the war reached its conclusion is not known.

But now from the depths of Russian security service archives new evidence has emerged which suggests that rather that he was alive years after he was said to have died.

Wallenberg, born in 1912 into one of Sweden’s wealthiest families, was arrested in Budapest in January 1945 by the Soviet army.

The Soviets claimed he was executed two years later on July 17 but never produced a reliable death certificate or his remains.

Witnesses claim he was seen in Soviet prisons or labour camps many years later, although those accounts were never verified.

Now, the archives of the Russian security services say a man identified only as ‘Prisoner No.7’, who was interrogated six days after the diplomat’s reported death, was ‘with great likelihood’ Wallenberg.

The security services reported the find last November to Susanne Berger and Vadim Birstein, two members of a research team that conducted a ten-year investigation into Wallenberg’s disappearance in the 1990s.

The researchers informed Wallenberg’s relatives in a letter this week and the findings were also reported in the Swedish magazine Fokus.

The information still has to undergo in-depth verification, but Berger wrote in the letter, ‘if indeed confirmed, the news is the most interesting to come out of Russian archives in over 50 years’.

She said strong circumstantial evidence supported the archivists’ conclusion of the identity of Prisoner No. 7.

Berger quoted the Swedish ambassador in Moscow, Tomas Bertelman, as saying in a note to the head of the Russian archives last December that if true, the report would be ‘almost sensational’.

A group of Hungarian Jews pictured in 1944. It is believed Raoul  Wallenberg prevented the deporation of up to 20,000 jews destined for  concentration camps

A group of Hungarian Jews pictured in 1944. It is believed Raoul Wallenberg prevented the deporation of up to 20,000 Jews destined for concentration camps

wallenberg

Wallenberg’s stand against the Nazis have made him a folk hero and the subject of dozens of books and documentaries

As Sweden’s envoy in Budapest from July 1944, Wallenberg prevented the deportation of thousands of  Jews but also dissuaded German officers occupying the Hungarian capital from a plan to obliterate the city’s Jewish ghetto, averting a massacre of its 70,000 residents.

He was arrested the day after the Soviet Red Army seized the city, along with his Hungarian driver Vilmos Langfelder. The Russians never explained why they detained him.

Ove Bring, professor in international law at the National Defense College in Stockholm, said the report by the Russian security services warranted reopening Wallenberg’s case.

‘Everything we believed earlier (about Wallenberg’s death) is turned upside down by this,’ he said.

‘This has to be investigated again. If he was still alive six days later, then maybe he was alive for a longer period of time.

‘Did he live another week, or a year or ten years? Suddenly that’s an open question.’

Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Teo Zetterman said the ministry has to ‘look at the information to see what it contains in order to make a decision on what we can do’.

Wallenberg’s stand against the Nazi occupation forces, his disappearance and the purported ‘sightings’ in the Soviet gulag have made him a folk hero and the subject of dozens of books and documentaries.

The mystery only deepened after the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged in the 1990s that he had been recruited for his rescue mission by an agent of the Office of Strategic Services, the OSS, which later became the CIA.

It also has been an on-and-off irritant in relations between Moscow and Stockholm. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reportedly discussed the case during a visit to the Swedish capital last November.

How one man is helping his country to remember

April 1, 2010

A controversial project aims to write the Jewish people back into Polish history, says Louis Jacob

Sunday February 21 2010

IN Poland, it’s never really a good time to bring up the Jewish thing. It is present always, but only as an illusive undertone, one which seems at times to have been lost to the whispers of ghosts on the haunted tracks from Krakow to Auschwitz and from Warsaw to Treblinka.

So when large murals with the bold statement ‘I Miss You, Jew’ began to appear on the walls of once Jewish neighbourhoods in Poland, people were a bit confused. Some were downright insulted.

In a cafe not far from Prozna, the only surviving street of the Jewish ghetto where thousands of Jews lost their lives in the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, I meet the creator of the murals, Rafal Betlejewski, a Warsaw-based artist.

His desire to create his own narrative, one which he hopes will ultimately lead him to a greater understanding of his own ‘Jewish complex’, inspired him to create the project. After six years of preparation, the ‘Tesknie za Toba Zydzie’ (I Miss You, Jew) project and website http://www.tesknie.com were launched on January 27, to coincide with International Holocaust Memorial day.

The aim is to create an accessible online archive. Rafal’s idea is simple.

“Local people in those towns and neighbourhoods once populated by Jewish people, will gather around an empty chair and declare ‘I miss you, Jew’. The photos of these actions, along with testimony and old photos from anyone who wishes to contribute, will be posted on the website. It has already been a notable success. It’s amazing how many Poles want to write warm letters to the long gone Jews.”

Rafal sees the slogan and the murals as an attempt to reclaim a language which he feels has been turned over to anti-semitism and to recast the memory of the Jews in the minds of the Polish people.

“When you understand that Poland had been the main Jewish country for six or seven centuries and that it had produced such an enormous load of cultural content, suddenly you realise that the holocaust was actually ‘our great loss’. Poland is poorer now. We are not the same nation. Our cities don’t have the same flavour or poetry and literature is less vibrant,” Rafal says.

Ten years ago, Jan Tomasz Gross, a professor of history at Princeton University and a Polish Jew, published a controversial book entitled The Neighbours. It told the story of the village of Jedwabne in north east Poland, where on July 10, 1941, the Jewish inhabitants were rounded up and locked into a barn which was then burned to the ground, killing up to a thousand people. Gross’s shocking contention was that contrary to popular belief, it was the Polish people of the village who perpetrated this crime, and not the Nazi occupiers.

According to Rafal, it demolished an accepted narrative that he and so many others had been made to believe in school.

“No one wanted to believe it, me included. Because of this book and the whole public outcry surrounding it, I suddenly realised how little, if anything, I knew about the Jews in Poland. Being just a regular student of the pre-1989 Polish education system and a reader of mainly Polish literature, a sheep to Polish Catholic culture if you like, I had no idea whatsoever as to the role the Jews had played in the history of Poland,” he explains.

Like many Poles of his generation, Rafal felt little empathy with the Jews, whose plight had simply not played a part the shaping of his own consciousness. He feels that he had no way of knowing that they used to live here in such numbers.

“I did not know their customs, language, philosophy, poetry, tradition etc. And I absolutely had no idea of the holocaust and its gravity,” he says.

He decided to travel to Jedwabne.

“I realised that it was a no-man’s-land, a place where no Polish person could truly define themselves, because everything they pertained to know was wrong. The repression of the Jewish memory, if you will, had not been accidental, it had been a concerted political effort and it is my opinion that the Jews had been tragically wiped out for a second time, in being removed from the national myth.”

He hopes that the project, which runs for a year, will represent a positive platform on which Poles can communicate repressed feelings, a place where a nation can begin to “break the spell of statistical truth, the numbers, and the dates. I hope that we can begin to connect to what used to be the real Polish-Jewish experience: the face-to-face, next-door kind of coexistence. In many ways I feel we really do ‘want’ to miss them.”

http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/how-one-man-is-helping-his-country-to-remember-2072619.html