Thursday, February 21, 2019

"From the Breasts of the Youth": Poland 1922

In November 1922, Gabriel Narotuwicz was elected President of the Polish Republic. He was eventually assassinated a mere five days later, accused among other claims that he was too sympathetic to the Jews..

On the background of the remarks of Acting Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz, quoting Yitzhak Shamir, "that Poles 'suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk'” it is historically necessary to note this:

From the breasts of the youth a spontaneous call went forth: ‘We don’t want this kind of president! We don’t know him! Down with the Jews!’ This chant echoed through the streets of Warsaw and spontaneously a march was formed. (p. 2 of this doctorate)

As explained there

When the Bloc’s votes tipped the scale in favor of Narutowicz, the candidate of the left, a violent and fiercely anti-Semitic campaign was orchestrated against the new president. It was waged jointly by the National Democratic press, parliamentary deputies, and demonstrators in the street, all of which claimed that only a “Polish majority” had the 2 right to elect the president of Poland.

Jews were always "aliens" in Poland. No matter what other charge Polish nationalists make, justified or not during the interwar period and just entering the Holocaust period - about Jewish Bolsheviks, about part of the Soviet oppression, economic exploitations, etc., at the end, Jews were not real citizens. And so, ghetto benches were set up, kosher ritual slaughter was banned partially, pogroms took place and other violent actions.


Background on the new Polish controversy:-
"Zimmerman finds, among other things, that the attitude of the Polish underground toward the Jews reflected the prewar political views of its individual officers, commanders, and major constituent bodies. Those who had been open to a more pluralistic Polish society—one that accepted minorities as part of the landscape of Poland—had a radically different attitude toward Jews than those whose orientation as narrowly nationalistic.
Attitudes toward the Jews not only mirrored prewar political stances, but also were shaped by geography and the progress of the war. Why geography? Attitudes common in eastern Poland—the territories first occupied by the Soviet Union after
September 17, 1939—were strikingly different from those common in territories occupied at that time by Germany. Zimmerman’s findings correlate with Timothy Snyder’s description of “double occupation” and “double collaboration” in the zones first occupied by the Soviets and later, after the June 1941 invasion, by the Germans. Poles in the East generally did not grasp that Jews may have been more
welcoming to Soviet occupation because the alternative was German occupation; for Jews, the Soviets represented protection from ghettoization and persecution, though few could as yet conceive of the coming annihilation. Similarly, many Poles were ready to identify Jews with Communism, but less willing to understand the impact that Communism had had on Jews as individuals—merchants and religiously observant Jews, for example...

...Those who argue that many Poles were not unhappy about the elimination of Jews from Poland—even if they were revolted by the Germans’ means—will find substantiation of their views in Zimmerman’s work. Yet, those who take note of Polish sympathy toward the Jews can point to other compelling and competing evidence."
From Michael Berenbaum's review of The Polish Underground and the Jews, 1939–1945 by Joshua D. Zimmerman



Yitzchak said...

My father-in-law z"l, after witnessing the Kielce pogrom in Poland AFTER WW2, said that the Poles were worse than the Nazis, ym"sh. He promptly left Poland, never to return!

Joe in Australia said...

The Hungarian post-WW2 pogroms have also been mostly forgotten.

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