Polish Anti-Semitism


Rabbi Joshua Hammerman argues that Poland’s Holocaust Law is wrong and should be opposed, but don’t boycott Poland (“Right Boycott, Wrong Country,” March 9).

Rabbi Hammerman has it wrong — the law is wrong, and Poland should be boycotted. Why is it that Nazi Germany chose to build a majority of its camps in Poland, as opposed to Norway, Belgium, or Italy? Clearly, Germany sensed that Poles would be amenable to the existence of these camps. It is ludicrous to suggest that 6,700 Polish Righteous Gentiles can override millions of collaborating Poles. Poles made it easy for the Nazis as they turned in their Jewish neighbors and friends. Jan Gross’s work, “Jedwabne,” proves incontrovertibly that Christian Poles forced Jews into a church, burning them all to death. Germans were not present during this action.

Following World War II, some Jews returned to their former homes in Poland, only to be met with vicious hostility from their neighbors, culminating in the Kielce massacre (July 4, 1946). Forty-two Jews were killed by their neighbors. In 1968, as Poland attempted to break away from the tyranny of its Russian oppressors, a mass wave of anti-Semitism gripped the country, spurred on by Minister of Internal Affairs Mieczslaw Moczar. Many Jews were fired from their positions as journalists, teachers, public service workers, and military officers. More than 13,000 Polish Jews fled the country between 1968 and 1970.

Even today, if one were to visit the barracks at Birkenau, a sign indicates that many ethnic groups perished in this camp. If one did not know otherwise, one would conclude that Jews were only a small portion of those who perished in this camp.

Anti-Semitism is alive and well in contemporary Poland. Yes, the right boycott is of Poland.