Sunday, March 28, 2021

Unbelievable attack on victims of Nazi Germany by The New Yorker


  Two days ago, The New Yorker published an article, “The Historians Under Attack for Exploring Poland’s Role in the Holocaust,” that goes way beyond what I have ever seen. And I have seen plenty of unfair and unfounded attacks on Poland and Poles. This one, despite all the evidence to the contrary, places blame for the Holocaust squarely at their (our) feet. That includes my mother, her family, and thousands like them, people who did risk their lives to save Jewish lives. 

I am not saying that lightly, but how should I understand this subtitle: “To exonerate the nation of the murders of three million Jews, the Polish government will go as far as to prosecute scholars for defamation”?!

And how should I understand the caption under the picture of two innocently looking German soldiers that follows? It states that: “Half of the European Jews murdered in the Holocaust were killed in what had been Poland before the war. Gentiles who risked their lives to rescue Jews were an exception.” For some reason, the author chose this particular picture and not one of the hundreds that show smiling Germans next to the piles of their victims’ bodies. All of that even before the article starts.

The article was written in defense of prof. Jan Grabowski and prof. Barbara Engelking, who at the beginning of February this year were convicted of defamation of Edward Malinowski. According to them the man allegedly led the Nazis to Jews hiding in the forest, of whom 21 were killed. Unfortunately for “historians,” a niece of Mr. Malinowski (apparently the only surviving family member), filed a lawsuit against them. It alleged that Grabowski and Engelking’s publication presented a falsehood, and such actions harm the personal rights of the niece herself and every Pole.

The court agreed with those arguments and found the authors guilty. Did they go to jail or had to pay huge amounts of money as restitution? No. Prof. Grabowski and Prof. Engelking were to publish an apology on the homepage of the Center for Research on the Extermination of Jews, addressed to Mrs. Leszczyńska, and to send a letter, personally signed apology to the claimant.

The author of the piece, Masha Gessen, wrote that “when facts get in the way of this revisionist effort, historians pay the price.” I would see that differently; when a “long-deceased” victim of defamation finds a defender of his honor, the so-called “historians” have to apologize. I am surprised that The New Yorker doesn’t see that this way.

Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek agrees with that. He says that "the New Yorker's article is a scandalous story that tries to place on Poland responsibility for the extermination of Jews during World War Two."

Meanwhile, the Committee of American Jews for Central Europe (AJC Central Europe) wrote on Twitter: “We have criticized the Polish government for sugar-coating the truth about Poles’ approach towards Jews during World War Two. But to say that Poland, understood as a community of ethnic Poles and the Polish state, are guilty of the deaths of three million Jews is a distortion of the Holocaust.”

If there ever will any attempt to file a large-scale or class action lawsuit against The New Yorker I will be more than happy to help.


One last thing. I found it a "strange" coincidence that such media attacks on Poland coincide with the efforts to renew the talks about German reparations to Poland for war atrocities.

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