Sometimes 280 characters are just not enough

This is quite incredible,

Concerning the law which attempts to criminalize portraying guilt to WW2 atrocities to the Polish government or nation, after a huge backlash from Israeli politicians – Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweets this, and it is just so disappointing to fathom.

There is something I wanted to say about this, as a grandchild to Polish Holocaust survivors, as a Jew living in Poland. I wanted to tell him he’s right. He is right because his short version of the story is right – Poland was not the perpetrator to the annihilation of European Jewry, nor an accomplice)as most countries under Nazi rule were) of the Nazi occupier. He is right in the rough detail – but there is a more detailed story.

This more detailed story is now told by the grand-kids of those who remained from the “first family” in his parable. But they widen the spec a bit: they say that before the thugs came in – some of the kids of the second family bullied them, and harassed them to leave. They mention that a few of this second family’s kids cursed them as they were beat and their family killed, they say that after some torture – those kids even sometimes took part in the action. They do remember the kindness of one of the family children, but were very disappointed of the people they considered their neighbors and allies. And they strongly remember that after the thugs left, and they came back home shocked and wounded – they were not welcomed back, they heard the question “haven’t you died?” sneered at them, and they remember being pushed away by those neighbors – long after the thugs left.

So Morawiecki is the son of this second family, and no wonder he didn’t really heard this fuller story. For a long while his family was quite oppressive (or oppressed), and those stories were taboo. But now – long after – Morawiecki refuses to hear these stories. He keeps saying “this is not what I heard from my fathers”, and I’m sure he’s right. You just have to be quite deaf and self-concentrated to refuse to hear.

We are now saying – tell us your story. We want to hear, we want to better understand (and Morawiecki is right – some members of my family are also ignorant and deaf and self-concentrated, but it’s not all of us. And I believe not most of us). But you have to be open also to hear other stories. Like each family – yours is a complicated one, you can choose the legacy of which of this family’s sons you want to carry on. I hope all of our families will decide wisely, and with open ears and hearts.

4 comments

  1. guest · January 29, 2018

    Jan Karski 1940: “But what is worse, Jews are denouncing Poles (to the secret police), are directing the work of the (communist) militia from behind the scenes, and are unjustly denigrating conditions in Poland before the war. Unfortunately, one must say that these incidents are very frequent.”
    Norman Davies: “The Yad Vashem archive in Israel, too, provides detailed substantiation of the same picture. “The Jews welcomed the Red Army with joy. The young people spent all their days and evenings with the soldiers.” In Grodno, “all sorts of appointments were filled predominantly with Jews, and the Soviet authorities entrusted them, too, with the top positions.” In Lwów, “I must admit that the majority of positions in the Soviet agencies have been taken by Jews.” A Jewish observer to the pro-Soviet demonstrations in Lwów related, “Whenever a political march, or protest meeting, or some other sort of joyful event took place, the visual effect was unambiguous—Jews.” In Wielkie Oczy, the Jewish doctor recalled how local Jewish youths, having formed themselves into a “Komsomol” toured the countryside smashing Catholic shrines. The references can be found in a recent study of the Soviet deportations from eastern Poland by J.T. and I. Gross, W Czterdziestym nas Matko na Sybir zeslali: Polska, a Rosja, 1939–1942.9

    In Pinsk, where the population was over 90 percent Jewish, young Jews built an “Arc de Triomphe.”

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    • mshefi · January 29, 2018

      Dear Whoever-you-are. You are also right. Did I try to deny those facts? did you hear about a law criminalizing the mentioning of these occurences?
      And also – can you understand Jews rejoicing it is the Red Army and not the Wehrmacht coming? can you understand people who believed communism will bring them the long waited equality they never had?
      As I wrote – tell me your story, don’t silence mine.

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      • guest · January 30, 2018

        You did not mantion those facts in your story. In your story the Jewish family is completely innocent. Loving Stalin in 1944 (and later) is absolutely understandable from the Jewish perspective. But in 1939 when the Red Army invaded Poland, there was no reason to collaborate and denounce Poles to the NKWD. One should also not forget that Semyon Krivoshein was Jewish. Polish Jewish WWII realtions are very complicated.

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  2. guest · January 29, 2018

    Semyon Krivoshein, Salomon Morel, Helena Wolinska, Jakub Berman, Abraham Gancwajch, Maurycy Diamant, Koniuchy, Naliboki

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