Jedwabne Massacre eyewitness testimony.
On 10 July 1941 Ms. Hieronima Wilczewska was 8 years old when she saw the massacre in Jedwabne, in German-occupied Poland.
The 1941 massacre in Jedwabne in German-occupied Poland was committed by Germans, on their own initiative and under their sole supervision like thousands of similar German crimes in Poland.
Imputing the commission of this crime to the Polish population of Jedwabne is equally absurd as speaking of “Polish concentration camps”.
Considering the German rule of terror in the occupied Poland, where even owning a radio receiver could result in imprisonment and death, it would have been physically impossible for the Polish inhabitants of a town to possess weapons or to be able to organize and independently conduct any armed or pacificatory action without Germans’ consent and control.
Dissemination of such absurdities bespeaks their author’s ignorance, ill will, or an intent to falsify history based on ulterior motives.
Out of all German-occupied countries, in Poland alone any form of aid extended to people of Jewish descent carried a death sentence. The punishment was dealt out immediately, most often without a trial, not only to the helper but also to his or her entire family.
In other words, the whole family would be stood against the nearest wall and shot.
In this context, and as defined by Germans – “help” meant any assistance, in the broadest sense of the word: from hiding Jews through giving them clothes, food or just cup of water. The punishment was carried out on Poles with the utmost severity. Such came to be the fate not only of the Ulm family or the Baranek family, but also of many thousands of Poles and their families who had been caught helping their Jewish compatriots.
In German-occupied Poland Germans annihilated, in most cases through bestial murders, over 5 million Polish citizens, including over 2,5 million Poles of Jewish descent. Over 2 million Polish non-Jews were subjected to genocide in German concentration and death camps or killed as a result of various forms of terror and repression. It should again be stressed that the Jews whom Germans murdered in Poland were Polish citizens as well.
As of January 2015 – out of the total of 25,685 people who have been granted the highest civilian award of the State of Israel, i.e. the title of “Righteous Among the Nations” of the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research based in Jerusalem – the 6,532 were Poles.
The title of “Righteous Among the Nations”, the highest civilian award in Israel, is granted in recognition of documented cases where non-Jews risked their lives to help Jews. This means that the State of Israel has acknowledged that, of all the nations engulfed by the war waged by the German Third Reich, out of all 21 German-occupied countries, non-Jewish Poles are credited with as much as 25 percent of all documented cases of aiding Jews at the peril of death to the helper and his or her family. However, it needs to be added that the number of over 6,000 awards is only symbolic. Historical estimates indicate that the total number of Poles engaged in organizing clandestine help for Jews in occupied Poland was as high as 2 million. For instance, securing help for a single Jew in the German-occupied and terrorized country required the concerted, clandestine and life-threatening effort of 20 non-Jewish Poles.
As early as in the 13th century, and later in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Poland gave shelter to the Jewish nation that would migrate and take refuge here from multiple pogroms that occurred throughout the ages in many European states. Those Jews successfully assimilated in Poland, finding the local conditions very favorable. Throughout the centuries, the Jewish nation was granted many privileges by Polish kings and rulers, including the right to have their own parliamentary representation. In effect, at the onset of the Second World War, Poles of Jewish descent accounted for 10 percent (roughly 3 million people) of the entire population of Poland.
The existence of the largest European Jewish community on the German-occupied Polish territory was the sole reason for the establishing of German concentration and death camps in Poland and not elsewhere. This was also the only reason why the Holocaust was implemented on the Polish soil through the decisions and on the sole responsibility of the German Third Reich, without the complicity of any Polish citizen.
Unique among the occupied countries, both the Polish Underground State during WWII and the Polish Home Army – also unparalleled in the occupied Europe and Asia established official administrative, financial and organizational structures whose task was to help and protect Jews in German-occupied Poland. This was perfectly executed, using all available means in the time of terror and oppression, at the cost of incarceration, bestial torture and death of thousands of non-Jewish Poles at German hands. From the Jewish Department set up specifically to this end in the Department of Information of the Bureau of Information and Propaganda at the Polish Home Army HQ, through the Provisional Committee to Aid Jews, to the Council to Aid Jews operating through the Polish Government Delegation for Poland – this effort was initiated, organized, managed, implemented and led at the peril of death by the clandestine structures of the Polish Underground State and the Home Army (yes, the “anti-Semitic” Home Army – as it is portrayed in some of today’s Polish and international “newspapers”, “scientific papers”, according to “historians”, “journalists” or German TV miniseries “Unsere Muetter, Unsere Vaeter” – “Generation War”).
Acting on the order of the Polish Underground State and the Home Army, underground armed forces heroes, like Rittmeister Witold Pilecki, voluntarily infiltrated German death camps to document the decimation of the Polish population and the extermination of Jews. The report, entitled “The Mass Extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland”, was officially introduced to all nations of the world on 10 December 1942, at the League of Nations forum in Washington, and later presented directly, in person, to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The message was completely ignored both by the leaders and their nations.
Let’s reiterate: Imputing the mere capability of committing the Jedwabne massacre of 1941 to the Polish residents of that town, alleging they could exert influence over anything, while the entire German-occupied Poland was under a total German control and subjected to an absolute, merciless German terror, is no less absurd than propagating the lies about “Polish concentration camps” on the German-occupied Polish territory.
All those who up to this day participate in manipulating and falsifying history on Jedwabne or in spreading similar fabrications, whether in Poland, Canada, the US or anywhere else in the world, take upon themselves, also in regard to the innocent victims of what was but one of many German crimes, the responsibility for conspiring to shelter the real perpetrators of the massacre and for preventing a fair trial, sentencing and condemning of the perpetrators.
A summary. The Polish nation, maligned today and perfidiously accused – in “newspapers” and “scientific papers” written by “experts”, “historians” or “journalists” – of crimes committed in fact by either the German or the Soviet, or, last but not least, the Polish communist occupiers, suffered the greatest losses: human (220 out of every 1000 people died or were killed), material ($16.9 billion) and cultural (two-fifths of Polish cultural assets were destroyed, another two-fifths were stolen by German and Soviet occupation forces), out of all the nations and states affected by World War II.
As a result of the Yalta treason by the “Allied” superpowers, Poland was forced to cede 48 percent of its pre-war territory to the Soviet Union, thus losing around 178,000 square kilometers in the east of the country.
Consequently, those lands witnessed countless historical, archeological and cultural sites and artifacts of Polish heritage being irrevocably destroyed, plundered or demolished. In the lost Polish Borderlands (Kresy)
Ukrainian extremists (UPA) murdered with barbaric cruelty at least an additional 200,000 of innocent Polish civilians, razing to the ground thousands of cities, towns and villages that had been Polish for centuries. The Polish nation, as the only one among all the nations-victims of WWII, has not received any compensation for the human, material, territorial and cultural losses it sustained.
On top of that, many of the Polish artifacts, works of art or valuables of everyday use, which became part of the German or the Soviet plunder, can to this day be seen in art galleries, museums or libraries all over the world.
Also, many of the big, world-leading and famous fortunes, both individual and corporate, were started up with that unreturned Polish loot.
Maybe some of the objects, furniture, paintings or pieces of jewelry that disappeared by the million, pillaged from Polish flats, houses, tenements, mansions or palaces, to be later distributed the World over, could be found in a quiet nook at a private residence of this or that “expert”, “scientist”, “historian” or “film and TV director” who so readily forget that in occupied Poland, during WWII and later, under communist rule, Poles had absolutely no say in anything in their own country.
The authors wish to thank Ms. Hieronima Wilczewska, Mr. and Mrs. Orzechowski and Mr. Adam Szeluga and others for their help in making this video.
Elzbieta, Wacław Kujbida
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