Today I caught the last 2 minutes of Glenn’s comments about Obama’s “Polish death camps” blunder. I have to admit it, my jaws dropped to the floor. While pointing out that Poland was under Nazi occupation and that Death Camps were Nazi Death Camps he “authoritatively” pointed out that Poles were guilty as well.
Because I am still shaking with rage I will use Alex Storozynski’s words for rebuttal to this outrageous insult:
Poland was the only country where hiding a Jew was punishable by death for your entire family. Hans Frank, the Governor General of German occupied Poland ordered his army to hang posters in Polish cities that said: "Jews face the death penalty for leaving their neighborhoods [the ghettos], but so will anyone who in any way helps them to hide. This includes taking them in for the night, giving them a lift in a vehicle of any kind, feeding runaway Jews or selling them food."
Despite facing the death penalty, Poles risked their lives to save Jews. Many were killed for doing so. Others, like Irena Sendler, were tortured, and still did not reveal where Jews were hiding. Sendler rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto and found Poles willing to hide them. It took at least ten Poles for every Jewish child that was saved. Once in Christian hands, the children were fed, clothed and given a new home. They were taught to pray in Polish in case they were stopped and questioned by Germans. They were given Christian names and forged birth certificates provided by priests. Yet their true identities were preserved, so that they could be returned to their parents after the war.
The underground created a clandestine organization called Zegota, the Polish Council to Aid Jews, which rescued tens of thousands of Jews from the German killing machine. At Yad Vashem in Israel, which honors the righteous who saved Jews during World War II, are the names of 6,339 people from Poland, more than any other country.
The reason Hitler built concentration camps in Poland is that's where the Jews were. Poland is not just where Jews died - it's where they lived. Poland was the center of Jewish life for centuries, dating back to the Statue of Kalisz in 1264, which provided civil liberties for Jews and explicit penalties for crimes against Jews. As a result, Poland is were where Talmudic scholarship grew and Chasidim began. It's where Yiddish flourished. It's where numerous Jewish artists such as Isaac Bashevis Singer, Artur Szyk, and Artur Rubenstein honed their art.
It is long overdue for an American President to listen to the message that Jan Karski sent to the west about what was going on in Poland. If Roosevelt had listened to Karski, many more Jews would have been saved.