Facing Our History With Honesty


As president of The Kieltzer Society [which is made up of] Jewish descendants of Kielce, Poland, I would like to offer my comments regarding the attempts at reconciliation in Kielce (“Reconciliation In Kielce,” Back Of The Book, Oct. 21).

Anti-Semitism still remains a problem in Poland. But to accuse all Poles of it is wrong and unhelpful. To further reconciliation, it is going to take a much greater effort to bridge the gulf between Polish and Jewish perceptions and to combat negative stereotypes.

Polish-Jewish reconciliation cannot be based on polite, expedient ambiguity.

It must be built on a foundation of facing our shared history with honesty.

It must arise out of an acknowledgement of unpleasant and shameful historical truths. We, the members of The Kieltzer Society, are heartened by the many positive efforts that have been made by The Jan Karski Society in Kielce and their courageous chairman, Bogdan Bialek. What Bogdan is doing is providing an environment that allows Polish Catholics and Jews to reexamine their pasts together. Many Jews and Catholics have discovered that their views are not as mutually contradictory as they had once maintained.

I feel that Kielce, through the pioneering work of Bialek, has done much to advance Polish-Jewish reconciliation. I thank and acknowledge Bogdan Bialek for his dedication, courage and continuing efforts in the recognition of the Jewish community that once existed in Kielce.

Note: The comment allegedly submitted by Bogdan does not ring true. I personally know Bogdan and he does not express himself in such a manner.