COPENHAGEN (Feb. 19)
Life in Warsaw under Nazi domination outwardly has become more “normal,” according to reliable information received here today through private channels.
This deceptive normalcy stems from the fact that the populace is becoming more used to the prevalent nightmare conditions. To some extent this is also true of the Jews in Warsaw, particularly since in recent weeks there have been no developments of great importance while the previous anti-Jewish “discipline” has lost its initial sting by the very fact of its continued existence. In short, the Jews have grown accustomed to the cruelties and the barbarities of the Nazi regime.
The latest anti-Jewish measure for compulsory labor has not yet been enforced in Warsaw, although it is certain that enforcement of this measure will be the cruelest of all blows the Jews have yet suffered. The Jews have become inured to suffering to such an extent that they react very slowly to the prospect of more suffering to come.
Furthermore, Warsaw Jewry feels a certain relief as a result of the changed attitude on the part of the “Pole in the street.” The effects of the anti-Semitic regime of the Skladkowski-Beck Government continued to be felt in the early days of the Nazi occupation. The average Pole sought to console himself in some measure for the disasters which had over taken Poland by exercising his greater freedom in respect to treatment of Jews.
Polish mobs at first, therefore, greatly assisted the Nazis in their anti-Semitic measures. The attitude of the ordinary Pole towards Jews in trolley cars or queues was, as a rule, far from friendly and many Poles either participated in or displayed enjoyment at Nazi torture of Jews. This attitude recently, however, has undergone a change for the better. Even the least discerning Pole today realizes the real purpose of the Nazi Jew-baiting.
Evolution of this process was much more rapid in the provinces than it was in Warsaw, where the effects of the ruthless policy of extermination directed against the Poles were less apparent than, for example, in the western districts of Poland. Complete suspension of the Polish press and the ban on owning radio sets were responsible for the fact that the process of enlightenment was somewhat delayed.
The atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Poles in Warsaw itself, however, speeded up the enlightening process considerably, unmasking the real aims of the Nazis in Poland. The most barbarous of these atrocities perpetrated recently was the mass execution of 200 Poles, including many women and children, in the Warsaw suburbs of Grochow and Wawer. In addition, the Poles in Warsaw have had many opportunities to see with their own eyes Polish victims of Nazi barbarities in the western districts of the country, including women and children, who have been expelled from their native towns at an hour’s notice under terrible conditions.
The average Pole now sees quite clearly that there is no difference between the Nazi treatment of Poles and Jews. Another reason for this change in the attitude of the average Pole towards the Jews was the recent wave of arrests of prominent Poles, some of whom had refused to collaborate with the Nazis. Many well-known Polish lawyers were among those arrested, including Nowodworski, prominent member of the anti-Semitic Endek party and former president of the Polish Lawyers’ Association.
Still another reason behind the changed attitude is the illegal propaganda being disseminated by the Polish Socialists through proclamations and leaflets which unmask the real intentions and aims of the Nazi anti-Jewish campaign.
The common suffering endured by Poles and Jews under the unspeakable Nazi terror has contributed towards mutual understanding, the chief feature of their present relationship being the consciousness of the common source of their misfortunes. There are daily manifestations of this new relationship. For example, Jews and Poles meeting in the streets smile encouragingly at each other and exchange a greeting such as this: “Let’s persevere and endure the present hard times. Better times are sure to come.”