Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Betar Members of Przytyk

At Przytyk occurred a murderous pogrom on March 9, 1936. Two Jews were beaten to death after Endek pogromists attacked Jews which developed into a riot including attacks on policemen.  A young 20-year old Jew, Shalom Lesko, whose house was being attacked, opened fire with a hunting rifle and killed a Pole. That caused an increase in the Polish violence and two elderly Jews, a man and his wife, Josef and Chaya Minkowski, were clubbed and beaten to death.

Recent Polish anti-Jewish historical revisers have sought to blame the whole affair on the Jews as here:

Przytyk became the scene of the Polish-Jewish riot on March 7–9, 1936, triggered by the killing of Polish farmer Stanisław Wieśniak by the young Jewish vigilante.

And here, in Polish.

There were also shots fired at the beginning in the marketplace in self-defence.

The academic article by Joshua Rothenberg of Brandeis University, The Przytyk Pogrom, published in the journal Soviet Jewish Affairs Volume 16, 1986 - Issue 2, ignores the identity of the Betar members as well the head of the local New Zionists-Revisionists Organization chairman in the self-defense efforts. 

He names them, Yitzchak Frydman and Jankel Kirszencwajg, as he had to: Jankel received six years imprisonment and Frydman five.  But they are somehow unaffiliated. Anonymous. In all, 14 Jews were accused of illegal use of arms and violence:

Four Poles were accused of murdering the Minkowski couple; both were killed  with an axe in their own house. After their death, the killer(s) beat up MinkowskiÕs children, who were hiding in another room. The suspects were all acquitted because of the lack of evidence. Two Jewish members of the self-defence organization were condemned to five and six years in prison for possession of illegal weapons. The court rejected the claim that the Jewish defendants had acted in self-defence and held them responsible for inciting a riot in the market by attacking peasants. The trials ended on June 26th, and the  Jews were charged with insulting the honour of the Polish nation


Historian Emanuel Melzer noted that: 'the state showed no inclination at this time to control or condemn the radical Endek anti-Jewish propaganda that continued to be distributed. Newspapers began to agitate explicitly for Jewish blood to be spilled'.

 A shame that the organizational allegiance of the self-defence activists was ignored.

Or, for shame.


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