May 2016 Traditional Jewish Attitudes Toward Poles



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Jews as Chosen: Are Jews Better?

In Deuteronomy 7:6-8 and 9:6, God plainly tells the Jews that He is not choosing them according to any merits of their own. However, this did not prevent Jewish interpretations from developing that explicitly taught that Jews are better than the goyim, and that God chose Jews precisely because of their pre-existing superiority. Moreover, these beliefs became a mainstay in the Jewish religion, and persisted to fairly modern times. What today is called Orthodox Judaism is really neo-Orthodox Judaism. Kaplan explains this whole process. He writes, “The Neo-Orthodox conception of Israel, though presumably a reiteration of the traditional view of Israel, turns out, upon examination, to be a decided recasting of that view in a number of ways. The traditional belief as formulated by Judah Ha-Levi is that Israel was privileged to come into the possession of the Torah on account of the inherent superiority which it had inherited from Adam, Noah, and the Patriarchs, and which marked them off as a higher human species. According to Neo-Orthodoxy, it is for the sake of the Torah, for the sake of preserving and propagating the teachings of that Torah, and not because of any hereditary superiority, that God chose Israel. Tradition declares that the Torah is principally a means of maintaining Israel’s inborn superiority so that at no time shall Israel descend to the level of the nations. … It is evident that Neo-Orthodoxy is not prepared to retain the traditional belief in the inherent superiority of Israel.” (Pp. 145–46.) Furthermore, the traditional Jewish belief had unmistakable Jewish supremacist connotations. Kaplan remarks, “According to Judah Ha-Levi, Kitab Al Khazari I, par. 47, the Jews alone inherited from Adam a capacity for spiritual life.” (P. 526.)



Jews as Chosen: Talmusic Perspective

Rabbi Kaplan implicitly supports the premise that the Talmud teaches a much stronger form of Jewish elitism than does the Old Testament. He thus describes the reason, according to the Talmud and in contradistinction to the Bible (Old Testament), for God creating the world, “The creation of the world is no longer taken for granted, as in the Bible, as an ultimate act of God which needs no further accounting. It is now interpreted as having been intended mainly for Israel. Rabbinic Judaism represents largely a reversal of centrality in the spiritual realm analogous to the reversal of centrality effected by the change from the Ptolemaic to the Copernican system of astronomy. Instead of Israel existing for the world, it is the world that exists for Israel.” (P. 380.)

It gets even better. The Talmud teaches that, not only was the world created specifically for the Jews, but the entire universe was created specifically for the Jews, and, what’s more, only for the Jews. Quoting Berakot 32b (Reference 54, p. 547), Kaplan writes, “It is in no hyperbolic sense that Resh Lakish represents God as saying to Israel, when the latter complains that God seems to have forgotten her, ‘I have created twelve constellations in heaven, each constellation consists of thirty hosts, etc., and each camp consists of 365 times ten million stars, … and all of them I have created only for thy sake.’” (P. 381.)

Jewish Chosenness Implies Jewish Separatism

Mordecai M. Kaplan comments, “The Jews, however, have found it necessary to retreat from the stand taken by them in the past with regard to their being God’s chosen people. They realize intuitively that, if they were to persist in the literal acceptance of that doctrine, they would have to exclude themselves from complete self-identification with the state. For, according to the literal interpretation of that doctrine, it is the destiny of the entire Jewish people to be restored to Palestine.” (emphasis his) (P. 23.)



Jewish Chosenness, Zionism, and Messianism

The author quotes Claude Montefiore, who wrote a 1912 book, Outlines of Liberal Judaism. Montefiore considers Jewish Chosenness as having less to do with universalism and more to do with what may be called Jewish nationalism. He writes, “He [Montefiore] recognizes that even the few passages in the Bible which dwell upon the election of Israel were always understood in the national sense. Messianism meant less the universal adoption of the truth concerning God than the prosperity of Israel and its spiritual preeminence. The glory of God was identified with the glory of Israel.” (P. 531.) In an essay published in 1903, Claude Montefiore, a leading British Jew, sees the original Jewish conception of a Chosen People in terms of a tribal deity: “Jehovah or Yahweh was originally a national God, whose pleasure and profit was to protect and aggrandize his own. This was the popular conception. The wars of Israel were the wars of Yahweh, and Israel’s victories were Yahweh’s victories as well.” Montefiore continues, “But why did Yahweh “choose” Israel? In old days nobody asked the question. The race had its god, as the child had his father. The one relation was as natural as the other.” See Claude Goldsmid Montefiore, Liberal Judaism: An Essay (Ulan Press, 2012), 184, 185. This book was originally published in 1903 by Macmillan (London and New York).



8 A striking example of this was the successful campaign mounted by Jewish organizations in the United States after the Second World War to have President Truman recognize Jewish DPs as a distinct national group entited to separate Jewish camps; Truman’s designation of Palestine as the main destination of the Jewish DPs; and his appeal to the British to allow entry of 100,000 Jewish DPs into Palestine. “All helped the Zionist claim that Jewish DPs were part of a single and distinct people, the Jewish nation, for whom Zionism sought a state in Palestine.” See Arieh J. Kochavi, “Pressure Groups versus the American and British Administrations during and after World War II,” in Norman J.W. Goda, ed., Jewish Histories of the Holocaust: New Transnational Approaches (New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2014), 260–61. While presenting a united front vis-à-sis non-Jews, this is not to say that Jews, among themselves, are a cohesive entity. On the contrary, even in Poland, there was considerable rivalry and bad faith among various factions, especially the so-called Litvaks caused concern for native Jews. (There is more on this later.) See Edward Gigilewicz, “Litwacy,” in Encyklopedia “Białych plam” (Radom: Polskie Wydawnictwo Encyklopedyczne, 2005), vol. 19, 262–64.

9 Jakob Weiss, The Lemberg Mosaic: The Memoirs of Two Who Survived the Destruction of Jewish Galicia (New York: Alderbrook Press, 2010), 373.

10 This phenomenon still persists. On June 25, 2005 “, the Toronto Star reported the Jewish enclave around Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue ran as high as 70 percent, making it the most “segregated” neighbourhood in Toronto, even though Jews—unlike many other groups—are not recent immigrants to the city. See Prithi Yelaja and Nicholas Keung “A Little Piece of the Punjab: Immigrants recreate home in suburbs,” Toronto Star, June 25, 2005. One can imagine how much more intense the desire for separation was in a traditional Jewish environment like Poland’s.

11 Avigdor Miller, Rejoice o Youth! An Integrated Jewish Ideology (New York: n.p., 1962), 276–77. Historian John Doyle Klier broaches the topic of assimilation in his study, John Doyle Klier, Imperial Russia’s Jewish Question, 1885–1881 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005). The resistance of many Jews to acculturation and assimilation is usually framed in terms of the consideration that doing so would cause an unacceptable loss of essential Judaic elements (e.g, p. 103), or that a strongly Christian majoritarian atmosphere made it difficult for Jews to “fit” into gentile society. In addition, Jews must maintain their particularism as an antidote to anti-Semitism and the lack of Jewish legal equality with gentiles (e.g, p. 106). However, Jewish attitudes have also been animated by the notion that the goyim are unworthy of Jewish assimilation—that is, unless the local Jews decide that their self-interest indicates otherwise, or that the nation in which they live is, or becomes, “good enough”—in Jewish opinion—to merit the Jews’ assimilation. Jewish Germanophilia also became a factor. The foregoing lines of thinking are exemplified by an article in the Jewish newspaper Sion, which rejected linguistic acculturation (let alone assimilation). Klier comments, “Sion offered its own list of reasons why the Empire’s Jews were slow to speak Russian, none of them very flattering to Russians. On a daily basis, Yiddish served the Jews as the language of a separate caste of tradesmen within the wider society. Where economic necessity required the Jews to acquire another language, such as Ukrainian, they easily did so. Russian culture offered nothing that Jews saw as worthy of imitation, in contrast to German culture. There was even a ‘German Party’ of Jews in Russia, seeking to introduce their fellows to the cultural riches of Germany.” Ibid., 106. In what is perhaps an ironic reversal of the minority conforming to the majority, the article in Sion specified the economic and cultural terms that could make Russia worthy of Jewish acculturation and assimilation. Klier writes, “Russian participation in the commercial life of the Empire must grow sufficiently to force knowledge of Russian out of economic necessity. The institutional network of Russian culture must expand sufficiently to justify and expedite its adoption by Jews.” Ibid., 107. Interestingly, the same attitudes later surfaced during the resurrection of the Polish state in 1918. Some of Poland’s Jews openly stated that Poles were not morally or culturally worthy of the Jews’ assimilation.

12 Harry M. Rabinowicz, The Legacy of Polish Jewry: A History of Polish Jews in the Inter-War Years 1919–1939 (London: Yoseloff, 1965), 148. Rabinowicz goes on to state: “Not only were there invisible walls between Jew and Pole, but there were even barriers between Jew and Jew. On the one side were the ultra-Orthodox Chassidim; on the other side were the Bundists who substituted Das Kapital of Karl Marx for the Torah of Moses.”

13 The rise of Jewish nationalism and Zionism in the 19th century was a phenomenon that was parallel to and inspired by European models, especially the German one, and thus borrowed some of its racist teachings. Zionism and diaspora Jewish nationalism incorporated a high level of political self-awareness and thus resembled other nationalist movements in East Central Europe. See Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People (New York: Verso, 2009). As Joshua Shanes’s study of the Austrian-ruled province of Galicia—Diaspora Nationalism and Jewish Identity in Habsburg Galicia (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012)—shows, although lacking in territorial ambitions because the Jewish population was dispersed, modern Jewish nationalism shared features in common with other nationalisms. It manifested itself primarily in the nascent but growing Zionist movement, which promoted exclusivist Jewish ethno-nationalism (Jewishness was seen as an innate and immutable characteristic, and religious symbolism and the “glorious” past of ancient Israel were appropriated for its nationalist propaganda—pp. 13, 63, 89–90, 92, 128–29, 138–41, 229, 233, 286); bitterly opposed assimilationist politicians and Orthodox Jews who sought cooperation with the dominant Poles (even though the former merely intended the modernization of Jews and their integration into non-Jewish societies as Jews, and the latter eschewed both modernization and integration—pp. 10, 65, 109, 150, 251, 260–61); was permeated with a high degree of chauvinism and even displayed open hatred towards its opponents and other national groups (its inflammatory nationalist rhetoric unfairly denigrated Jewish assimilationists and Orthodox Jews and led to their increasing marginalization and “illegitimacy” in the political spectrum and society, looked down on other national groups as “inferior,” and railed against Poles and Polonization, because of its perception of an irreconcilable conflict between Polish and Jewish interests—pp. 51, 60–61, 64, 80, 81, 128, 137, 144–45, 150, 216–17, 223, 227, 243–45, 250–53, 257, 264); and did not shy away from political violence to combat its opponents (pp. 236–37, 271–72, 279). Shanes makes it abundantly clear that Jewish nationalism was not simply “constructed,” but rather derived from Jewish ethnicity embedded in Jewish religious tradition. Jewish nationalism was an integral development among Galician Jews, and not so much of a defence against alleged anti-Semitism (pp. 49, 50). Its ultimate goal was “to organize Jews politically as Jews” (p. 11). Cooperation was shunned in favour of confrontation. Jewish nationalists tended to be self-declared enemies of the Polish cause. They had no loyalty to Poland, and even those Galician Jews considering themselves Polish did not usually identify with Polish national aspirations. (On the other hand, Galician Zionists, as almost all Habsburg Jews, openly declared their loyalty to Austria, even though Austria did not recognize Jews as a national or ethnic group and denied them linguistic rights. In January 1914, Galician Zionists even issued a resolution calling Jews to arms against Czarist Russia—p. 282.) By 1914, most Jews in Galicia had come to accept an ethno-nationalist definition of their community and demanded political rights. As Shanes notes,
Galician Jews constituted a distinct ethnic group in the region: linguistically, religiously, economically and socially. Moreover, Judaism itself provided the linguistic and cultural building blocks with which Jewish nationalists could construct a modern nationalist consciousness: a collective understanding of Jewish peoplehood, reinforced by liturgy and ritual, a shared historical connection to a specific territory, and a unique common language. (P. 286).
Similar developments had occurred in Russian-occupied Poland. Even the socialist Bund (General Jewish Workers’ Party), at its 1901 congress, adopted a full-fledged national programme, declaring that Jews should be recognized as a nation and receive “national-cultural autonomy.” When nationalisms share a common territory and have disparate political agendas, conflict is inevitable. The situation was, therefore, diametrically opposed to Western European countries, where integration and assimilation were the norm and Jews did not think of asserting their own political agenda. Notwithstanding these glaring differences, Western historians do not address Jewish ethno-religious nationalism as a factor in Polish-Jewish relations, and focus exclusively on Polish nationalism as the sole cause of Polish-Jewish antagonism. Although hostile to competing nationalisms, as were all nationalisms at the time, Polish nationalism lacked the sophistication and racist edge of the German model or the perseverance of Jewish nationalism, as evidenced in the State of Israel and the Jewish diaspora.

14 David E. Fishman, The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), 69.

15 Joshua D. Zimmerman, “Feliks Perl on the Jewish Question,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 1815–1918, vol. 27: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015), 328.

16 As Poland was in the process of being resurrected, a majority of local Jews supported the total dis-affiliation with Poland. In Prussian Poland, where pro-German sentiments were nearly universal, many Jews opted for German citizenship and those Jews that remained in Poland often sent their children to German schools and considered themselves to be German patriots. See, for example, Jerzy Topolski and Krzysztof Modelski, eds., Żydzi w Wielkopolsce na przestrzeni dziejów, 2nd edition (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 1999), 191; Roman Wapiński, ed., U progu niepodległości 1918–1989 (Ostaszewo Gdańskie: Stepan design, 1999), 174; Czesław Łuczak, “Żydowska Rada Ludowa w Poznaniu (1918–1921),” in Marian Mroczka, ed., Polska i Polacy: Studia z dziejów polskiej myśli i kultury politycznej XIX i XX wieku (Gdańsk: Uniwersytet Gdański, 2001), 191–99. See also Zvi Helmut Steinitz’s memoir As a Boy Through the Hell of the Holocaust: From Poznań, through Warsaw, the Kraków ghetto, Płaszów, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Berlin-Haselhorst, Sachsenhausen, to Schwerin and over Lübeck, Neustadt, Bergen-Belsen, and Antwerp to Eretz Israel, 1927–1946 (Konstanz: Hartung-Gorre, 2009), 15, 17, 58. Although born in Polish Poznań in 1927, Steinitz considered Germany to be his fatherland. (His contempt for Poland continued even after the horrors of the Second World War: “It is probably no coincidence that the Holocaust took place in Poland. ... Within a matter of days, Poland was occupied almost without a fight ... It was no great surprise to me that the Nazis had built their extermination machine in Poland, as they knew that many Polish people had a negative attitude towards Jews.” Ibid., 67, 77, 264.) Moreover, the pro-German sentiments of Jews in Upper Silesia were not dampened by German demonstrations in 1920 and 1923 that “escalated into pogrom-like attacks on Jewish property.” See Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (New Yok: The Penguin Press, 2006), 197. Oscar Janowsky comments, “The Jews of Posen [Poznań] had become thoroughly German in sentiment, but the defeat of Germany, the uncertainty as to the ultimate disposition of that Polish region, and fear that the Jews might suffer in the struggle between Germans and Poles led to a demand that the Jews be recognized as a third nationality in the region. … with the support of a majority of Jews of the contested territory, it appealed to the Peace Conference to assure the Jews of Posen the rights of a national minority.” See Oscar I. Janowsky, The Jews and Minority Rights (1898–1919) (New York: Columbia Uinversity Press, 1933), 279. Jews in Galicia overwhelmingly supported the Austrians throughout the First World War, even as Polish attitudes towards Austria became more hostile, thus leading to worsening of Polish-Jewish relations. The Russian Jewish writer S.Y. Ansky noted: “The Galician Jews, however, stuck to their pro-Austrian orientation, flaunting it in the most delicate circumstances, with no concern for horrible consequences.” Jewish merchants were widely blamed for hoarding goods and profiteering which, in increasingly impoverished conditions, led to riots in a number of cities. See Michał Galas and Antony Polonsky, “Introduction,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 23: Jews in Kraków (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2011): 18–21. Henry Morgenthau, the U.S. envoy sent to monitor conditions in Poland in 1919, reported on conditions in Eastern Poland as follows: “Now, of course, the Jews in that part of the country were a little to blame, and the reason is this: We found that … they do not want to remain with Poland, and they make no secret of it. They are pro-Russian. They believe that Lithuania should be returned to Russia or what they want is … to have a separate Canton arranged where Jewish and Hebrew would be spoken; where they would elect their man to Parliament, who could speak in their own language and have entirely self government.” See Przemysław Różański, “Wilno, 19–31 kwietnia 1919 roku,” Kwartalnik Historii Żydów, no. 1 (2006): 13–34. The opposition to Polish rule in Białystok was quite vociferous, whereas in Lwów, Drohobycz and Borysław it was more muted. See Katarzyna Sztop-Rutkowska, “Konflikty polsko-żydowskie jako element kształtowania się ładu polityczno-społecznego w Białymstoku w latach 1919–1920 w świetle lokalnej prasy,” Studia Judaica, vol. 5, no. 2(10) (2002) and vol. 6, no. 1(11) (2003): 131–50, especially 136–37 (virtually all Jewish organizations in Białystok were opposed to Polish rule); Vladimir Melamed, Evrei vo Lvove (XIII–pervaia polovina XX veka): Sobytiia, obshchestvo, liudi (Lviv: Sovmestnoe Ukrainsko-Amerikanskoe Predpriiatie TE, 1994), 134 (documents support for the Ukrainian cause by Zionists in Lwów); Iakov Honigsman, 600 let i dva goda: Istoriia evreev Drogobycha i Borislava (Lviv: Bnei-Brit “Leopolis” and Lvovskoe ob-vo evreiskoi kultury im. Sholom-Aleikhema, 1997), 27–28 (documents support for the Ukrainian cause by Zionists, Poalei Zion and the Bund in Drohobycz and Borysław). Arthur L. Goodhart, who came to Poland in the summer of 1920 as counsel to a fact-finding mission sent by the president of the United States, was told by leading Jewish citizens of Białystok that the Jews hoped that a plebiscite would be held, in which case the majority would vote in favour of belonging to Lithuania (even though there were no Lithuanians in this predominantly Polish region). See Arthur L. Goodhart, Poland and the Minority Races (New York: Brentano’s, 1920), 45, 60. (When the Red Army conquered Białystok in 1920, only Russian and Yiddish were recognized as official languages and those who spoke only Polish could not occupy any official positions.) In Wilno, a city where ethnic Poles formed the largest group and Lithuanians represented no more than two percent of the population, the Jews were also opposed to Polish rule. An article in the June 1918 Yiddish daily Letzte Naies expressed surprise that Poles would even ask Jews for support, since they would not grant Jews rights as a full-fledged separate nationality. The article argued that Jewish culture is older and more advanced than Polish culture, and the moral development of Poles is on the same level as that of the Hottentots. For more on conditions in the Eastern Borderlands, where Jewish opposition to Polish statehood sometimes took on violent forms, see the studies by Janusz Szczepański, Wojna 1920 roku na Mazowszu i Podlasiu (Warsaw and Pułtusk: Instytut Historyczny Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 1995); Janusz Szczepański, Wojna 1920 roku w Ostrołęckiem (Warsaw, Ostrołęka, and Pułtusk: Urząd do Spraw Kombatantów i Osób Represjonowanych, Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczna w Pułtusku, Ostrołęckie Towarzystwo Naukowe, and Stacja Naukowa MOBN w Pułtusku, 1997); Janusz Szczepański, Społeczeństwo Polski w walce z najazdem bolszewickim 1920 roku (Warsaw and Pułtusk: Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych, and Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczna; Warsaw: Oficyna Wydawnicza Towarzystwa Opieki nad Zabytkami, 2000). Even in central Poland, Jews dispalyed open hostility toward Polish statehood. According to Jewish accounts, the Jewish working class awaited the arrival of the Red Army with anticipation and wanted to see it victorious over Poland. See Pierre Goldman, Souvenirs obscurs d’un Juif polonais né en France (Paris: Seuil, 1975), 28. On November 10, 1918, large demonstrations of Jews in Warsaw chanted slogans like “Down with Poland, long live Bolshevism,” “Down with the Polish army,” “Down with Piłsudski.” See Piotr Wróbel, Listopadowe dni—1918: Kalendarium narodzin II Rzeczypospolitej (Warsaw: Pax, 1998), 89. A large demonstration against the Polish army and government in Kalisz was attended mostly by Jews, and understandably provoked a reaction which escalated into a small riot after a Pole was stabbed by a Jew. See Katarzyna Sztop-Rutkowska, Próba dialogu: Polacy i Żydzi w międzywojennym Białymstoku (Kraków: Nomos 2008), 143–44. There was also considerable agitation on the international scene by influential Jewish circles directed against Poland, and even its restoration as an independent state. The foremost Jewish delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, which was dominated by Zionists and enjoyed the support of the American Jewish Congress, demanded that Poland recognize its Jewish residents as members of a distinct nation, with the right to collective representation at both state and international levels. This sweeping form of autonomy would have entailed the creation of a separate Jewish parliament, alongside a state parliament representing all the country’s inhabitants, as well as a Jewish seat at the League of Nations. The demands for formal, corporate, political/diplomatic status for a territorially dispersed nation, in effect creating a state within a state, were strongly opposed by Poland, as well as the Czechoslovak contingent who faced similar demands. Ultimately, these demands were rejected as unworkable, as they would seriously undermine the authority of the Polish Government. Grossly exaggerated claims about the hardships faced by Jews, accompanied by a vicious public relations campaign directed against the Polish state, did much damage to the Polish cause, while diverting attention from the incomparably worse treatment being meted out to Jews by the Russians, Ukrainians, and Belorussians. The negative publicity generated by this concerted campaign, as well as other displays of hostility toward Polish Americans, likely also played a significant role in the antagonism toward Jews felt by some Polish-American volunteers in General Haller’s army. What particulary irked many Poles, as well as some assimilationalist Polish Jews, was the demand that Poland be monitored by an international body on the treatment of its minorities, something which no Western European countries (or any non-European countries) had to endure. A rhetorical question: Would Israel or the Jewish diaspora ever tolerate such a condition being imposed on Israel? See, for example, Peter D. Stachura, “National Identity and the Ethnic Minorities in Early Inter-War Poland,” in Peter D. Stachura, ed., Poland Between the Wars, 1918–1939 (Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and London: Macmillan Press, 1998), 67–70, 74–77; Tadeusz Radzik, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Stanach Zjednoczonych Ameryki w latach 1918-1921 (Lublin: Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, and Polonia, 1988); David Kaufman, “Unwelcome Influence? The Jews and Poland, 1918–1921,” in Stachura, Perspectives on Polish History, 64–79; Aviel Roshwald, Ethnic Nationalism and the Fall of Empires: Central Europe, Russia and the Middle East, 1914–1923 (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 165; Neal Pease, “‘This Troublesome Question’: The United States and the ‘Polish Pogroms’ of 1918–1919,” in M.B.B. Biskupski, ed., Ideology, Politics and Diplomacy in East Central Europe (Rochester, New York: University of Rochester Press, 2003), 58–79; Andrzej Kapiszewski, “Contoversial Reports on the Situation of Jews in Poland in the Aftermath of World War I,” Studia Judaica, vol. 7, no. 2 (14) (2004): 257–304. For a comparison of the situation of Jews under Polish rule with the incomparably worse conditions that prevailed under Russian and Ukrainian rule, see Benjamin Lieberman, Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006), 140–46; Lidia B. Miliakova, ed., Kniga pogromov: Pogromy na Ukraine, v Belorussii i evropeiskoi chasti Rossii v period Grazhdanskoi voiny 1918–1922 gg. Sbornik dokumentov (Moscow: ROSSP-EN, 2007). The symbol of well-placed Jews working against the interests of Poland was Lewis Namier (formerly Niemirowski Bernstein), who worked in the British Foreign Office. Namier is believed to have tampered with the drawing of the so-called Curzon line (first suggested by Lord Curzon at the Spa Conference in 1920), which was surreptitiously altered in favour of Soviet Russia; the altered frontier line was resurrected in 1943 and provided ammunition for Molotov’s rapacious claims to Poland’s Eastern Borderlands. See Norman Davies, Rising ’44: ‘The Battle for Warsaw’ (London: Macmillan, 2003), 55, 144. That intransigent Jewish nationalism was also a destabilizing factor is attested to by the Jewish leader Lucien Wolf who commented on the Minorities’ Treaty on September 16, 1919: “We cannot pretend to have solved the Jewish Question in eastern Europe, but at any rate we have on paper the best solution that has ever been dreamt of. We have still before us the task of working out this solution in practice. It will be difficult and delicate because we shall be confronted by two kinds of mischief-makers—on the one hand the violent anti-Semites, and on the other the extreme Jewish nationalists.” See Peter D. Stachura, Poland, 1918–1945: An Interpretive and Documentary History of the Second Republic (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 91. Anti-Polish fanaticism personified in Jewish political leader Yitzhak Grünbaum plagued the Jewish political agenda during the interwar period, just as anti-Semitism was part of the agenda of some Polish political movements.

17 The Rightist Zionists went even further: the Jews would tolerate the presence of Arabs, but they would never be equals. In the view of Vladimir Jabotinsky and many others similarly minded (then and now), “they [Arabs] could never be part of the Israeli nation.They could not become one with the dominant force that would determine the nature of the country. ... to maintain the distinction between members of the Hebrew nation, who ruled the country (and determined its character), and the Arabs, whom the Hebrews denied any access to real centers of power.” This followed from Jabotinsky’s tacit definition of nationalism: “‘Every distinctive race aspires to become a nation, to create a separate society, in which everything must be in this race’s image—everything must accommodate the tastes, habits, and unique attributes of this specific race. … A national culture cannot be limited to music or books as many argue.’” See Eran Kaplan, The Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and Its Ideological Legacy (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, 2005), 49–50.

18 Joshua M. Karlip, The Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2013).

19 Janowsky, The Jews and Minority Rights (1898–1919), 300.

20 Karlip, The Tragedy of a Generation, 146.

21 See, for example, Antony Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia, vol. 2: 1881 to 1914 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010), who, while acknowledging Jewish demands for autonomy and the existence of Jewish nationalism (e.g., pp. 111, 138–39), does not attribute any particular significance to these phenomena, and attributes the deterioration of Polish-Jewish relations exclusively on Polish nationalism. In earlier years, however, some Jewish historians were more even-handed in assigning blame for the state of affairs: “Having just concluded a bloody struggle for national independence, the Poles could not have been expected to be pleased with the presence on their soil of three million mostly unacculturated Jews, many of whom had been sympathetic to Poland’s enemies. … Objective reasons for disliking the Jews, who were so numerous, so influential, and so clearly non-Polish, were not lacking, and the chauvinistic atmosphere that pervaded the country made things worse.” See Ezra Mendelsohn, Zionism in Poland: The Formative Years (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981), 12.

22 H.H. Fisher, America and the New Poland (New York: MacMillan, 1928), 159, 331.

23 For example, the municipality of Zamość allocated substantial funding for Jewish schools, an old age home, social organizations, and summer colonies for Jewish children. See Mordechai V. Bernstein, ed., The Zamosc Memorial Book: A Memorial Book of a Center of Jewish Life Destroyed by the Nazis (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacob Solomon Berger, 2004), 283. Jewish schools and socio-cultural organizations received subsidies from the municipality of Mińsk Mazowiecki. See Janusz Kuligowski, “Zarządy miejskie Mińska Mazowieckiego i Siedlec w pierwszych miesiącach okupacji niemieckiej, Rocznik Mińsko-Mazowiecki, vol. 5 (1999): 56–64, here at 57. The same was true in many other localities, such as Wilno (and nearby towns) and Białystok. See Jarosław Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939 (Białystok: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku, 2004), 133–43, 186–97, 209–12, 216–17, 219, 222–23, 227, 263, 275–76, 280, 285, 288; Katarzyna Sztop-Rutkowska, Próba dialogu: Polacy i Żydzi w międzywojennym Białymstoku (Kraków: Nosmos, 2008), 182–83, 233, 244. Subsidies to Jewish schools and organization were also provided in Warsaw and Łódź, and doubtless many more places.

24 Writing in 1894, a French Jewish author describes this phenomenon in the following terms: While Talmudism (“the nationalist ethics of the Talmud”) and Jews-as-nationality reigns among the Jews of such places as Russia and Poland, “This intolerant aversion toward the stranger has disappeared among the Western Jews,” who opted for assimilation. See Bernard Lazare, Antisemitism: Its History and Causes (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1995), 136.

25 Sean Martin, Jewish Life in Cracow, 1918–1939 (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2004), 14, 50, 84; Wierzbieniec, Żydzi w województwie lwowskim w okresie międzywojennym, 41–42.

26 Joanna Januszewska-Jurkiewicz, Stosunki narodowościowe na Wileńszczyźnie w latach 1920–1939, 2nd edition (Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, 2011), 550. Another organization started up in interwar Wilno which promoted biculturalism was also denounced by Jewish community leaders, especially Zionists. Ibid., 550–51. The actions of Berek Joselowicz, who participated in the 1794 Kościuszko Uprising, are usually celebrated in terms of Polish patriotism. Derek J. Penslar throws some cold water on this narrative. First of all, he considers the regiment of Jewish volunteer cavalry a legend, and suggests that it may have been a part of the urban militia defending Warsaw from the Russians, and not an independent regiment. More important, Penslar raises sensitive issues that include opportunism and ephemeral loyalties:
Berek was not so much a Polish patriot as an adventurer and activist who sought to enhance his own personal honor as well as that of the Jews under his command. Although Berek is most famous for his service for Poland, in 1796 he proposed to the Habsburg emperor the raising of a corps of six thousand to eight thousand Jews who would be divided into cavalry and infantry units to fight against the French.
See Derek J. Penslar, Jews and the Military: A History (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2013), 56–57. On a related Jewish personage, Penslar examines the motives of Dov Ber Meisels, the chief rabbi of Kraków, a prosperous banker and supporter of the Poles’ January 1863 insurrection. The author notes that Meisels was, in his words, a “reactionary antinationalist,” and proposes that Meisels’ support for the Polish cause owed to his long-standing close associations with the Polish nobility. Ibid., 58. However, was the fact that Meisels was a banker imply that he had a financial stake in a Polish victory in the 1863 Uprising? While rejecting the premise of international bankers working in collusion, Penslar is candid about the fact that, “Revulsion against hateful stereotypes should not blind us to the sizable presence of Jews in finance and business who made money from war. … It is a fact, not an antisemitic fantasy, that Jews played vital roles in coordinating the allocation of raw materials during the First World War, not only in Germany but also in the United States.” Ibid., 145, 150.

Even in Warsaw, Jewish support for the Polish patriotic manifestations that culminated in the January 1863 uprising was atypical, and the Jewish population as a whole “displayed no great enthusiasm for rapprochement or merger with the Poles.” See Klier, Imperial Russia’s Jewish Question, 1885–1881, 147. The disloyalty of most erstwhile Polish Jews was not just an opinion held by Poles. M. Morgulis, a Russian Jewish intellectual, reckoned the Jews to have been loyal to Russia during the insurrection. Ibid., 191. Russian “hangman” Muraviev, while wreaking ghastly reprisals against Poles, considered Jewish conduct to have been ambiguous enough, during the insurrection, for the Jews to escape massive repression. Ibid., 160. In Den, an Odessa-based Jewish newspaper, “In article after article Den asserted that the Jews had steadfastly resisted Polonization. Jews recognized the ultimate futility of Polish aspirations and also displayed a basic loyalty to the Russian state. If the Jews acted in this way when they received no tangible reward, what would be their response if the government adopted a positive program of emancipation to win over the Jews?” Ibid., 354. For a time, Jews were allowed by the tsarist authorities to acquire Polish land, Klier comments: “Thus, the decree of 26 April 1862, which gave the Jews in the Southwestern and Western Regions the right to purchase gentry land, assumed that the Jews were allies of the Russian cause in the Ukraine.” Ibid., 185.



27 Ralph Slovenko, “On Polish-Jewish Relations,” The Journal of Psychiatry & Law, vol. 15 (Winter 1987): 597–687, as quoted in Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, Jews in Poland: A Documentary History: The Rise of Jews as a Nation from Congressus Judaicus in Poland to the Knesset in Israel (New York: Hippocrene, 1993; Revised edition–1998), 157. Slovenko goes on to state some rather self-evident truths that are often overlooked by those who tend to view Polish-Jewish relations as some exceptional form of ethnic or religious interaction: “The phenomenon is surely not unique. Birds of a feather flock together. That people group with those similar to themselves is one of the most well-established replicable findings in the psychology and biology of human behavior. People of whatever race or religion have always tried to insulate and remove themselves from what is perceived as different behavior, whatever its origins.” George Orwell in his famous “Notes on Nationalism,” writes that characteristic for the nationalism of the victim is a reluctance to acknowledge in just measure the sufferings of other peoples, and an inability to admit that the victim can also victimize.

28 In fact, there was nothing unusual in such co-existence either at that time or today. In Canada, there was an enormous divide between French Canadians and the dominant English-speaking society until the 1960s. A similar situation prevailed in Northern Ireland, between the dominant Protestants and the Catholics, throughout the 20th century, and many Protestants and Catholics continue to live in segregated communities to this day, afraid of attacks from the other side. In many Western countries, where racist policies were part of their very fabric, there was state-enforced segregation and, in some cases, genocidal policies were implemented. In the United States, Blacks and native Indians were segregated from Whites, as were native Indians in Canada and the aboriginal peoples in Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand, like the United States, has a shameful, but little known, history of bloodily forcing its Maori population off their lands. Edward Cornwallis, the governor of Nova Scotia, ordered all Mi’kmaq people to be scalped and killed in 1752 amid the natives’ raids on the British settlement in Halifax. Historians have recently argued that Canada pursued a deliberate policy of starving the Plains people in the latter half of the 19th century. See James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Poltics of Starvation and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (Regina, Saskatchewan: University of Regina Press, 2013). The Canadian government either abandoned or attempted to assimilate its aboriginal population through coercive measures such as residential schools. The monumental 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which gave rise to entirely credible charges of cultural genocide, highlighted the practice of seizing aboriginal children permanently and usually unwillingly from their parents, placing them in state custody, and subjecting them to the forced labour and isolation of “residential schools.” The practice reached its peak at the very end of the 1950s and continued in significant numbers through the 1970s (the last residential school didn’t close until 1996). Almost a third of aboriginal Canadians—150,000 people—were raised, without access to their families, in these institutions. The system of institutionalized cultural control and domination arose in the 1870s when the new bureaucratic order of post-colonial Canada began to apply structure and order to newly added territories—many of which it wished to parcel up and hand to newcomers, cleansed of pre-existing people—and also applying discipline and institutional homogeneity to what it saw as lost and unhygienic populations. The result was the simultaneous emergence of the reserve system and the residential-school archipelago. The residential school archipelago, when it was created in the 1870s and 1880s, was modelled not after European boarding schools but after the British reformatories and industrial schools designed in the early 19th century to support a child-labour regime, and which were gradually abolished in Britain after 1848. This Canadian system was meant to receive no government or private financing whatsoever: It was to be funded entirely (and in practice was funded “on a nearly cost-free basis,” according to the report) from the products of the unpaid labour of its “students.” The resulting revenues proved grossly inadequate to the nutritional, physical and health needs of the children, and as a result, more than 4,000 of them died. Between 2006 and 2011, there were 29,000 documented claims of physical and sexual abuse in native residential schools. The following is a rather typical profile of one of the thousands of victims of abuse who was forced into a residential schools in the late 1940s, as reported by Tom Hawthorn, “Residential School Survivor Spoke for Truth,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), August 9, 2014:
At the age of 10, Alvin Dixon was removed from his home and family and sent more than 500 kilometres south to the Alberni Residential Indian School on Vancouver Island. Two hours after arriving, he was beaten with a strap. His crime: speaking the only language he knew, which was not English.

Many more beatings were to be endured in the following years. The boarding school operated by the United Church would be revealed later to have been a stalking ground for sadists and at least one predatory pedophile, their quarry the helpless children snatched away in the name of civilization.



What young Alvin and the other children suffered is shocking for its callousness and cruelty. Even the mundane seemed puzzling; he was expected to fill out a form detailing what he had eaten after every meal, an odd bureaucratic task considering the boys all ate from the same shared pot. Only last year it was revealed the children had been the unwitting subjects of experiments conducted by the federal government and the Canadian Red Cross to determine how little nutrition they needed to survive. Alvin Dixon, a malnourished boy, had been a human guinea pig.
During the 1930s, Canadian government officials tested tuberculosis vaccines on impoverished aboriginal people instead of fixing poor living conditions that spread the disease. See Bob Weber, “TB Vaccine Tested on Reserves in 1930s: Historian Says Medicine Given Meant Officials Could Ignore Poverty,” Toronto Star, July 28, 2013. In the 1940s and 1950s, Canadian government bureaucrats subjected 1,300 hungry aboriginals, mostly children, to nutritional experiments by cutting milk rations in half at residential schools and depriving them of essential vitamins and dental services. See “Hungry Aboriginal People Subject of Experiments, Paper Finds,” The Canadian Press, July 16, 2013, Internet: ; Bob Weber and Andrew Livingstone, “Hungry Kids Used As Guinea Pigs: Federal Bureaucrats in 1940s and 1950s Tested Theories by Withholding Nutrients and Calories, Research Reveals,” Toronto Star, July 17, 2013. As late as the 1950s, Inuit families were uprooted from their traditional homes and shipped to remote reaches of the Arctic—an attempt by the government to assert Canada’s sovereignty in the uninhabited Arctic Islands. The transplanted people were left without assistance to endure winters in Igloos and tents made of muskox hide. Struggling to find food, many of them did not make it through the punishing winters. See Bill Curry, “An Apology for the Inuit Five Decades in the Making,” The Globe and Mail, August 19, 2010.

29 Regina Renz, “Small Towns in Inter-War Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 17: The Shtetl: Myth and Reality (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Litman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2004), 143–51, at 148.

30 Cited in Chone Shmeruk, “Isaac Bashevis Singer and Bruno Schultz,” The Polish Review, vol. 36, no. 2 (1991): 161–67.

31 Brian Horowitz, Empire Jews: Jewish Nationalism and Acculturation in 19th- and Early 20th-Century Russia (Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica Publishers, 2009), 6. Polish nationalist writers are attacked for thinking that even assimilated Jews cannot understand the Polish spirit. Russian writers felt the same way about assimilated Russian Jews, as did German writers of the Weimar Germany about assimilated German Jews.

32 Cited in Roni Stauber, The Holocaust in Israeli Public Debate in the 1950s: Ideology and Memory (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007), 3.

33 Cornelis A. van Minnen, Van Loon: Popular Historian, Journalist, and FDR Confidant (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 31.

34 Daniel Stone, ed., The Polish Memoirs of William John Rose (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1975), 100.

35 Stone, The Polish Memoirs of William John Rose, xxiii.

36 Elie Cohen as cited in Anton Gill, The Journey Back From Hell: Conversations with Concentration Camp Survivors (London: Grafton Books, 1988), 371–72.

37 Apolinary Hartglas, Na pograniczu dwóch światów (Warszawa: Rytm, 1996), 18, 19, 30, 31, 35, 40, 46–47, 51, 54, 55, 107, 152, 174, 190–92. The summary in the text is from an Amazon review by Jan. Peczkis.

38 Fishman, The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture, 101, 102, 103. Although Fishman attempts to soften the secularism of the Yiddishist movement, he finally admits to its militant atheist essence: “Discussion of God as creator, master of the universe, or providential force was beyond the pale of acceptable discourse. Consequently, prayer and religious ritual were likewise anathema. … While much of the religious tradition could be recast in national terms, the aversion to religion per se remained nearly total. … the Judaism of secular Yiddishists, even of the national-romantic variety, was a Judaism without religion and a Judaism without God.” Ibid., 112–3.

39 David Biale, Not in the Heavens: The Tradition of Jewish Secular Thought (Princeton, New Jersey and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2011), 136. Biale remarks, “That Jews throughout the world today are disproportionately more secular than their Gentile neighbors in all of the ways articulated in this book is one piece of evidence of the ongoing nature of this legacy.” (P. 181.) In addition: “The majority of Jews in the world today are, in some sense, secular. They either doubt the existence of God or consider the question superfluous.” (P. 192). As reviewer Jan Peczkis asks pointedly, “Were he alive today, would Polish Cardinal August Hlond feel vindicated for his much-maligned 1936 ‘Jews are freethinkers’ statement?” In 1936, August Cardinal Hlond made a much-condemned statement about “Jews as freethinkers, vanguards of Bolshevism, and a threat to morals,” etc., which he did not apply indiscriminately to Jews. This occurred after much of Poland’s Jewish population had undergone self-atheization to varying degrees. In fact, the self-atheization of Poland’s Jews, which had begun in tsarist Russia decades earlier (for example, through the Yiddishist movement) was by now well advanced. Many Jewish authors have written about this, and religious Jews condemned the large-scale Jewish departure from religion even more severely than the Catholic Poles. All this occurs even today—in Israel. The haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) condemn the mores of secular Israeli Jews in very much the same ways that Catholic Poles did their secular Jewish counterparts in the 1930’s.

Although author Joshua Karlip does not mention Hlond, he makes it easy for the reader to see where Hlond was coming from. Leading Yiddishist thinker Elias Tcherikower effectively corroborated Hlond, writing the following in 1939, in the context of an anti-assimilationist mindset: “The tragedy of our generation does not consist of afflictions that have befallen our lot, but rather in that the generation has lost the old beliefs and has despaired of the new. Through and through individualistic, skeptical, and rationalistic, our generation is devoured by assimilation—right or left—and has lost its past strength.” See Karlip, The Tragedy of a Generation, 13. Furthermore, according to Tcherikower, the abandonment of religion by the Jewish masses had become so pervasive and so irreversible that there could be no return to Jewish religion as the foundation of Jewish self-identity. This was even in the face of the growing disillusionment with the Yiddish language and Jews-as-nationality as modern forms of Jewish self-identity.” Ibid., 207. After World War II, Yisroel Efroikin adopted a friendlier attitude to religion, and came to believe that, “The Jewish rejection of God had led not only to national disintegration but also to moral degradation.” Ibid. 311. In fact, Efroikin went even further. Nowadays, the Nazi-collaborating conduct of the Judenrats and Jewish ghetto police are usually framed solely in terms of powerless, desperate Jews trying to save their own lives. In contrast, “Efroikin contrasted what he deemed the immoral and opportunistic behavior of the acculturated Jews of the Judenräte and Jewish police with the much more exemplary behavior of those Jews who had remained loyal to the religious tradition.” Ibid. 311. Interestingly, the way that today’s Haredim experience Israel’s secular Zionist-oriented Judaism sounds very much like 1930’s Poland’s devout Catholics had experienced the emerging secularization of Poland’s Jews. Secularized Jews provoked the same reaction among pre-WWII Poles as they now do in Israel among the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews.) Noah Efron’s comments are instructive: “Ultra-Orthodox distanced themselves from Zionist culture, which was, as Rabbi Eliezer Schach put it memorably, ‘poisoned by the secular press, full of heresy and alienation, which incites and demeans all that is holy to us.’” Further: “Most Haredim regret exposing their children to the mores of secular Jews.” See Noah J. Efron, Real Jews: Secular Versus Ultra-Orthodox and the Struggle for Jewish Identity in Israel (New York: Basic Books, 2003), 51, 138.



40 Cited in Alina Cała, “The Social Consciousness of Young Jews in Interwar Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8: Jews in Independent Poland, 1918–1939 (London and Washington: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1994), 50.

41 Cited in Ewa Kurek, Poza granicą solidarności: Stosunki polsko-żydowskie 1939–1945 (Kielce: Wyższa Szkoła Umiejętności, 2006), 86; translated as Polish-Jewish Relations 1939-1945: Beyond the Limits of Solidarity (New York: iUniverse, 2012).

42 Evgeny Finkel, Victims’ Politics: Jewish Behavior During the Holocaust, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 2012, 275.

43 Isaac Deutscher, The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), 54.

44 Deutscher, The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays, 96.

45 Aviel Roshwald, Ethnic Nationalism and the Fall of Empires: Central Europe, Russia and the Middle East, 1914–1923 (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 165. See also Peter D. Stachura, “National Identity and the Ethnic Minorities in Early Inter-War Poland,” in Peter D. Stachura, ed., Poland Between the Wars, 1918–1939 (Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and London: Macmillan Press, 1998), 67–70, 74–77.

46 Cited in Kurek, Poza granicą solidarności, 34–35.

47 Typical of sentiments in Jewish memoirs is the following: “We dreamed of living in Palestine, equal members of society in our own Jewish state.” See Shalom Yoran, The Defiant: A True Story ((New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 120. There was little place in such a state for non-Jews. The following excerpts from a memorial book from a typical shtetl in Eastern Poland, where most Jews were said to be “middle class” and better off economically than their Christian neighbours, are instructive:
The tradition of mutual assistance between peoples existed for many years. … The Torah commandment: “And your brother shall live among you,” became a prime concept for the Rokitno Jews. … They showed their love for their fellow Jews and their wish to help each other.
“Hashomer Hatzair” [a leftist-leaning political organization] in Rokitno was built on pure nationalism and Zionism. … On Polish Independence [sic, Constitution] Day, May 3rd, we were forced to participate in a parade in order to show loyalty to the government.
When construction was completed, most of the Jewish students transferred from public schools to the Hebrew school. More than 90% of the children of the town and its surroundings were educated in the Tarbut School. It is important to point out the great dedication of the parents who willingly gave up the free public school whose building was spacious and well equipped. … Except for geography, Polish history and language—compulsory subjects taught in Polish, the language of instruction was Hebrew.
There were about 300 children in the Hebrew school in Rokitno in 1927–28, i.e., almost all the children in town. It seems to me that no Jewish children attended the Polish school, or at least very few did.
The members of the [Hebrew-speaking] association kept their vow and spoke Hebrew at home and outside, in spite of the Poles. When they entered a Polish store [the author must mean a government office, because Jews rarely, if ever, patronized Polish stores—M.P.] they used sign language or winking and pointing to show the shopkeeper what they wanted.
There was hardly a Jewish child in Rokitno who did not know Hebrew. … Parents denied themselves food to give their children a Jewish education, so they would grow up knowledgeable and comfortable with their background. … the children were educated with Jewish values and Hebrew language. When they made Aliyah, they seemed and felt like native-born.
From time to time a wall newspaper was published in the school. … The richest section was the one with news of Eretz Israel. This was our purpose in life. There were always enthusiastic students standing near that section.
The JNF [Jewish National Fund] served as a cornerstone for the nationalistic education—the value of the land [in Palestine] to the people. The notion: “The land will not be sold for eternity” was well received by the students. Every new purchase of land was received enthusiastically and donations were increased. There was a JNF corner in every classroom and the blue box was the center of the corner and of the life of the class. Every happy event was celebrated with a donation.
Although the Jews of Rokitno had dealings with non-Jews, they did not follow their customs. There was a division between them when it came to matters of faith and opinion. The locals fed calves for alien work and bowed to emptiness while we [Jews] thanked and blessed our G-d for his creation.
See E. Leoni, ed., Rokitno–Wolyn and Surroundings: Memorial Book and Testimony, posted on the Internet at: ; translation of E. Leoni, ed., Rokitno (Volin) ve-ha-sevivah: Sefer edut ve-zikaron (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Rokitno in Israel, 1967) 45, 65–66, 87–112, 167. Joseph Schupack describes similar conditions in Radzyń Podlaski, where Jewish religious-based nationalism thrived:
My small existence, like that of my friends, centered around my parents’ home, the Hebrew school and the Zionist youth organization, Hashomer-Hazair. There, on the fertile ground of the Diaspora, we were nourished with love for Eretz-Israel. It was unnecessary to teach Zionism; we were born in Zionism and grew up with it. The Polish national holidays of May 3 and November 11 were only pro forma holidays for us; our holidays were Purim and Hanukah. The biblical prophets and Bilaik were our poets. Negev, Judea and Galilee were our provinces. The pictures we drew as children always depicted the sun, palm trees and the Star of David. Our coins went into the Keren-Kayemeth piggy banks. We were always concerned about recent developments in Eretz-Israel. When we weren’t speaking Yiddish with each other, Hebrew became our common language. Thus we lived our own lives. I was supposed to go to Palestine and attend the agricultural school of Ben-Shemen, but things turned out differently. There were only a few Jews who were willing to do without the cultural or religious ties to Judaism in order to assimilate into Polish society.

See Joseph Schupack, The Dead Years ([New York]: Holocaust Library, 1986), 6. This self-imposed isolation with its negative preconceptions of the “hostile” environment surrounding it appears to have a direct correlation to the holding and disseminating of primitive prejudices against Poles harboured by Jewish society. This memoir is littered with such examples: “Polish children had ingested anti-Semitism along with their mothers’ milk” (p. 3); “The Polish anti-Semites, a group largely identical with the ruling class, thought they should equal or even surpass the Nazis’ intense hatred of Jews” (p. 5); “We children had our first amusing moment when [Polish] officers carrying maps … asked us the way to Rumania” (p. 8); “the power of the Nazis was based partly on the considerable support which anti-Jewish laws received among the Polish population. It was not by chance that Poland was chosen as the place for the extermination of the Jews” (p. 59); “I also think about the Poles who helped my friends and me when we were in grave danger. Although their number is less than in other countries …” (p. 185); “Without their collaboration, quite possibly every third or fourth Jew in Poland might have remained alive” (p. 186).



48 Norman Salsitz describes how, in the interwar years, when buildings were obligated to display the flag on national holidays, he made the rounds in his small town of Kolbuszowa to bring to the attention of Jews that they had sewed together the flags incorrectly: “Many people sewed the red segment on top of the white; but that unfortunately was the Czech flag … In the Polish flag the white area was above the red.” See Norman Salsitz, as told to Richard Skolnik, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland: Remembering Kolbuszowa (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1992), 64–65, 70–71, 126.

49 Candid Jewish authors do not hide this fact. For example, Isaac Deutscher acknowledges that “From the outset Zionism worked towards the creation of a purely Jewish state and was glad to rid the country of its Arab inhabitants.” See Deutscher, The Non-Jewish Jew and Other Essays, 137. Even today there is a strong movement, as evidenced in the proposal for a Basic Law on Israel—the Nation State of the Jewish people, to turn Israel into a purely Jewish state in which minorities are at best tolerated on the sidelines.

50 Janusz Korczak, The Ghetto Years, 1939–1940 (Tel Aviv: Ghetto Fighters’ House and Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 1983), 128.

51 Arthur L. Goodhart, Poland and the Minority Races (New York: Brentano’s, 1920), 170–72.

52 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 201–202.

53 Ibid., 25. Goodhart also saw an anti-Polish play in a Jewish theatre in Warsaw, to which the “audience was most enthusiastic. … The audience consisted chiefly of young people, all of whom were dressed in the modern European style. ” According to Goodhart, “In this play a young Jewish widow marries a Pole, who is anxious to get her money. She changes her religion, but in spite of this her drunken husband abuses and ridicules her. Finally, she leaves her home in despair, while her cousin, who has remained true to her faith, marries a young Jew and lives happily ever after.” Ibid., 134.

54 Hania and Gaither Warfield, Call Us to Witness: A Polish Chronicle (New York and Chicago: Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, 1945), 49–50.

55 Raymond Leslie Buell, Poland: Key to Europe, Second revised edition (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939), 308–9.

56 Authors sympathetic to Poles have underscored the fact that economics has long divided Polish Jews and gentiles. C.M.A.Phillips wrote in 1923: “The first trade of the Jew in Poland was the slave trade. Money lending and the ubleasing of State revenues next developed …. then tavern-keeping and the liquor traffic, which became in time almost exclusively a Jewish business; finally, a general trading and brokerage in all commodities … Money-lending, in the days when such business knew no regulations and the profits were unlimited, naturally led to extortion and usury; and out of it all grew inevitably that bitter feeling which such trade always engenders between lender and borrower—in this case between Jew and Pole.” See C.M.A. Phillips, The New Poland (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1923), 288.

57 W. D. Rubinstein, “Jews in the Economic Elites of Western Nations and Antisemitism,” The Jewish Journal of Sociology, vol. 42, nos. 1 and 2 (2000): 5–35, especially at pp. 8–9, 18–19. >>>

See Joseph Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919–1939 (New York: Mouton, 1983), 42 (Table 6), 231, 253–56. The image of Jews as poverty-stricken and persecuted was reinforced by publications such as Roman Vishniac’s photographic A Vanished World. It turns out, however, that Vishniac had been sent by the Joint Distrubution Committee “on a very specific assignment: to document not the fullness of Eastern European life buts its most needy, vulnerable corners for a fund-raising project. … The most extensive falsification … is in the captions, the bulk of which Vishniac wrote after the war. Many include incredibly vivid captions—too vivid—as well as dramatic narratives that either could not have happened or could not have happened the way Vishniac presented them.” See Alana Newhouse, “A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac,” New York Times Magazine, April 4, 2010.



58 Real output in Poland fell by more than 20%, thus exceeding Austria and Germany’s drop. The rate of decrease in most other countries was substantially smaller. See Niall Ferguson, The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West (New York: The Penguin Press, 2006), 234. According to another source, between 1928 and 1932 the wage index fell by 61 percent and industrial output declined by 40 percent. See Alexander V. Prusin, The Lands Between: Conflict in the East European Borderlands, 1870–1992 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 114.

59 Joseph Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919–1939 (New York: Mouton, 1983), 42 (Table 6), 231, 253–56. The image of Jews as poverty-stricken and persecuted was reinforced by publications such as Roman Vishniac’s photographic A Vanished World. It turns out, however, that Vishniac had been sent by the Joint Distrubution Committee “on a very specific assignment: to document not the fullness of Eastern European life buts its most needy, vulnerable corners for a fund-raising project. … The most extensive falsification … is in the captions, the bulk of which Vishniac wrote after the war. Many include incredibly vivid captions—too vivid—as well as dramatic narratives that either could not have happened or could not have happened the way Vishniac presented them.” See Alana Newhouse, “A Closer Reading of Roman Vishniac,” New York Times Magazine, April 4, 2010.

60 Ludwik Ręgorowicz, “Obraz Dąbrowy Tarnowskiej i powiatu dąbrowskiego od końca XIX w. do wybuchu II wojny światowej,” in Rocznik Tarnowski 1999/2000 (Tarnów, 2000): 130. 

61 Beatrice C. Baskerville, The Polish Jew, His Social and Economic Value (New York: MacMillan, 1906), 36–37. The British author’s understanding of Jews is quite different from that of Westerners, and she points out, in the Preface, that her conclusions are supported by eight years’ residence in Russian-ruled central Poland, at the turn of the century. She asks, “Can he [the Westerner] imagine the capital of Poland, the most civilized city in Russia, the link between Europe and Asia, where every third man is a Jew, where the trade and commerce are in the hands of the Jews and where Jewish organizations have openly declared their intention of converting the Imperial army to the tenets of Socialism and of gaining the greatest amount of political influence...?” Baskerville also points out that for the most part Poles and Jews lived in amity, notwithstanding the anti-Semitic undercurrent, which was normally dormant and otherwise lacking in aim and energy—completely unlike Russian anti-Semitism. (Pp. 57, 127, 144, 150.) The Catholic clergy opposed pogroms and the blood libel (pp. 141, 146).

As for blame, Baskerville faults with both sides: “But to the mere observer it appears that there has been a good deal to forgive on both sides; and today, at any rate, the Jews are as anti-Polish as the Poles are anti-Semitic. They do not want to assimilate, they do not want to blend their interests with the interests of the rest of the community. They are striving to assert their national individuality, to live their own lives and attain their own ends, all three of which are as far removed from the Sclavonic [Slavonic] ideals as the twilight from dawn, as night from day.” (Pp. 150–1.) She adds, “Thanks to political and social conditions, and partly also to Talmudism, the Jews in Poland have preserved their exclusiveness.” (P. 107.) Jewish self-imposed separateness was also re-affirmed by modern Jewish thinking. Baskerville comments: “Amongst the Poles themselves, Sionism [Zionism] with its separatism, with its anti-communal and anti-cultural tenets, has only served to increase anti-Semitism. To the Polish nature, easy-going though it be, there is something particularly obnoxious in the contemplation of the better part of a million Jews, whose forefathers found a refuge in the country at a period when the Semite was chivied and chased from all parts of Europe, who have lived upon that country for centuries, some of which have even amassed fortunes, assuming an attitude of hostile exclusiveness towards the very people of whom they owe so much, flaunting the cult of the jargon [Yiddish], the halat and the Talmud before their eyes, and eagerly looking forward to the time when they will have amassed a sufficient quantity of Polish gold to bear them over the seas and establish them in Palestine.” Jews also had active prejudices against Poles. Baskerville notes: “(the) learned Jew holds a high place in the ghetto. Nobody hates the goya [goy] like he, and he would rather suffer hunger than learn to speak Polish.” (P. 26.) As for Jewish children in the cheder (school), taught by a melamed (teacher): “All they are taught of the Gentile and his culture is to hate both.” (P. 87.) Ironic to the later much-maligned Polish boycotts of Jews, Baskerville faulted the Poles for not forming guilds, or taking other measures, to protect their economic interests from the Jews (p. 138). Although the Dmowski-led retaliatory boycotts of Jews after the 1912 Duma election were still years in the future, Baskerville alludes to one of the reasons for the newly-politicized Judaism constituting an affront to Polish national aspirations: “…the Jew, who has been economically dangerous to Polish interests for centuries, has now become a political peril, because, having nothing to gain by keeping quiet and a possible gain in revolt, he has prompted and is guiding the present revolutionary movement. This conviction prompted the Poles to act with unexpected energy during the election for the Duma.” The Bund, though anti-Zionist, promoted Jewish particularism (p. 158) and grew increasingly anti-Polish (p. 186). The Jewish Bund and SD (Social Democrats) often turned against even Polish socialists (p. 164). Bund-led strikes ended up hurting Poles more than the Russian authorities: They closed factories, drove commerce overseas, and lowered the standard of Polish produce (p. 165). Armed Bund gangs killed policemen in broad daylight (p. 21). Bund-led violence, both of a revolutionary as well as bandit nature, was supported by numerous firearms, and was well organized (pp. 173–201). Poles were often the victims.

Roman Dmowski’s 1912 anti-Jewish boycott is nowadays presented without proper context. C.M.A. Phillips, author of the The New Poland, by contrast, understands the crucial nature of Polish representation in the Duma [Russian parliament]: “But then had come the Russo-Japanese war and the establishment of the Duma, with Poles sharing in the newly-won constitutional privileges of the Empire. These privileges, extremely limited though they were, had revived the political impulse of the Pole.” (p. 52) “But Russia still feared the subject State. Within two years, practically all the blood-bought concessions of 1905 had been repudiated. Poland’s Duma delegation of thirty-four was reduced to twelve…” (p. 101). Continuing this theme, Phillips elaborates on the overt Jewish separatism as follows: “The newcomers, especially those from Lithuania and Russia, the ‘Litwaki’ [Litvaks], brought with them as counteractants against assimilation not only a rigorist Talmudism … but they added the embittering factor of political Judaism, which they immediately backed up with the foundation of the Jewish Press… It was at this period that the Poles, now literally inundated with the Jewish flood, heard perhaps for the first time the cry of ‘Polish Judea’ raised in their midst. ‘Judeo-Polonia!’—Poland was henceforth to be Zion… The Rabbinical extremists welcomed this new political strength… The Jewish masses, wholly ignorant except for their Talmudic training, fell completely under the spell of the new ‘Judeo-Polonia’ power, which spoke so efficaciously to them in terms of political ambition that by 1912, in the election for the Russian Duma, the Jews of Warsaw—40 percent of the city’s population—were able to secure majority enough to send their own representative to the Assembly at Petrograd as the spokesman for the Polish capital. If he had been simply a Jew—that is, if he had been merely a Polish citizen of the Mosaic religion—it would have been one thing. [In fact, the Jewish-supported winner was Eugeniusz Jagiełło, a Pole and a Socialist, who did not sit as a part of the Polish Circle.] But he was a radical internationalist socialist, pledged to every policy and ideal abhorrent to Poland and to democracy. The complete cleavage of Pole and Jew dates from this time.” It was then that Dmowski launched his much-condemned boycotts of Jews. Phillips sees the 1912 decision as not so much a boycott as “a protest of the Poles against political Zionism” (p. 305), and continuation of the positive goal whose end had been the economic emancipation of Poles: “The co-operative movement in Poland did not owe its origin to anti-Jewish politics, but was a natural outgrowth of the country’s agricultural and economic progress. The realization among Poles that Jewish trade was becoming a dangerous monopoly did, however, give enormous impetus to the idea.” (p. 305) Although Joshua Karlip does not put it in these terms, he realizes the inordinate political power that Jews had acquired, owing to tsarist Russian policies, before 1912. He remarks, “When the tsarist authorities promised municipal self-government to the cities of Congress Poland, the Kola [Koło, the Polish Club] joined forces with the tsarist regime in seeking to restrict Jewish representation in cities where Jews constituted a majority. Tension reached fever pitch when Poles and Jews fought over whom to send to the fourth Duma as a representative from Warsaw. Because Stolypin’s limited franchise favored property owners, the majority of Warsaw voters for the fourth Duma were Jewish.” Karlip, The Tragedy of a Generation, 74. This greatly, of course, hindered Polish national aspirations, which hinged upon representation in the Duma. Furthermore, it functionally and artificially made the Poles a minority in their own (Russian-occupied) capital city. Both the Poles’ disenfranchisement and the inordinate political power of the Jews became even more objectionable to Poles because of the refusal of these Jews to even nominally support Poland’s liberation as a free nation after more than a century of post-Partition foreign rule. Karlip states, “Complicating matters further was the fact that Diaspora nationalists, as opponents of territorial nationalism, envisioned the future of Poland as part of a reformed Russian state, not as an independent country of its own. This issue deeply divided Jewish socialist and liberal nationalists from their Polish counterparts.” Ibid., 75. Karlip realizes that support for the Dmowski-led boycott of the Jews went far beyond Endek and Endek-sympathetic circles. It included many Polish liberals and progressives. Ibid., 74, 75. In any event, outside Warsaw the boycott, which was short-lived (it was initiated in November 1912 and was over by the beginning of 1914), had little or no success. It was virtually ignored in the countryside. It had no impact on large Jewish enterprises. Most of the violence involved Poles attempting to stop other Poles from entering Jewish shops. Jewish factory owners began to retaliate by firing Christian workers and Jewish shops proclaimed a counter-boycott in the fall of 1913. See Robert Blobaum, “The Politics of Antisemitism in Fin-de-Siècle Warsaw,” Journal of Modern History, vol. 73, no. 2 (2001): 275–306;Yedida Kanfer, “‘Each for His Own’: Economic Nationalism in Łódź, 1864–1914,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 1815–1918, vol. 27: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1918 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015), 176–77. Moreover, at that time (1914), even the National Democrats (Endeks) warned against violence directed at Jews in their popular newspaper: “All manifestations of physical violence toward Jews we regard as harmful, above all for Polish society, and beneath our national dignity.” See Robert Blobaum, “A Warsaw Story: Polish-Jewish Relations during the First World War,” in Glenn Dynner and François Guesnet, eds., Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2015), 274.

62 For a discussion of this topic which draws on studies by Edna Bonacich—“Theory of the Middleman Minorities,” American Sociological Review, vol. 38 (1973): 583–94—and Amy Chua—World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (New York: Doubleday, 2003), see Danusha V. Goska, Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010), 178–92. Yuri Slezkine also noted that the difficulties experienced by Jews, as traders and middlemen, were or are paralleled by those of other nationalities that fill the same niche all over the world. For instance, the pre-World War II European-Jewish conflicts revolving around Jewish economic dominance were similar to those between Chinese and native Malayans. See Yuri Slezkine, The Jewish Century (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University, 2004), 37.

63 Emanuel Melzer, “Anti-Semitism in the Last Years of the Second Polish Republic,” in Yisrael Gutman, Ezra Mendelsohn, Jehuda Reinharz, and Chone Shmeruk, The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars (Hanover, New Hampshire and London: University Press of New England for Brandeis University Press, 1989), 129. See the discussion of this topic later on.

64 There have been numerous firebomb attacks in Germany on “foreigners” in recent years. Attacks on residences for asylum seekers and foreign workers in Hoyerswerda and Rostock in 1991 and 1992 respectively resulted in no life-threatening injuries or deaths. Two homes of Turkish families were set on fire with Molotov cocktails in Mölln in November 1992, with a woman and two young girls dying in the flames and nine other people injured. Two women and three young girls died in an arson attack on a home occupied by two Turkish families in Solingen in May 1993, and another 14 people were injured (four German men, one as young as 16, were convicted and sentenced to prison terms of 10 to 15 years). Ten people died and another 38 were injured in an arson attack on a residence for asylum seekers in Lübeck in January 1996 (no Germans were charged for this crime). A homemade cluster-bomb detonated on the platform of a railway station in Düsseldorf in July 2000, injuring ten immigrants from the Soviet Union, most of them Jewish (no charges were ever brought). A nail bomb detonated in a Turkish area of Cologne known as “Little Istanbul” in June 2004, injuring 22 people, four seriously—all but one of the injured were of Turkish descent (no charges were ever brought). In August 2007, eight Indian citizens were chased through the town of Mügeln and beaten by a large mob of German youths, encouraged by spectators seeking enjoyment to continue their assault and accompanied by police brutality on the victims. In February 2008, neo-Nazi graffiti was found scrawled on the entrance to a Turkish cultural centre at a building in Ludwigshafen, Germany, where nine Turks, including five children, were killed in a fire believed to be set by arsonists. See “Investigators Visit German Fire Site,” The New York Times, February 7, 2008. Between 2000 and 2006 nine immigrant shop and snack stand owners, eight Turks and one Greek, were murdered by Germans described as right-wing extremists. Most of the victims were shot in the head. See John Rosenthal, “An East German Problem? Racist Violence in Germany,” World Politics Review, August 30, 2007; Melissa Eddy, “German Murders by Neo-Nazis ‘a disgrace’,” Toronto Star, November 15, 2011. This disturbing trend appears to be on the rise. In 2014 there were about 150 attacks on refugee shelters, with three residences in Vorra set on fire in December of that year. There is no sign of abatement. There were 150 arson or other attacks that damaged or destroyed refugee shelters in the first six month of 2015. The German media reported, in October 2015, that several refugees have been injured in dozens of arson attacks on German asylum shelter in the preceding few months. By December 2015, there had been 68 recorded arson attacks on refugee shelters and over 800 racist incidents. In the first ten months of 2015, there were 20 arson arracks on refugee shelters in Sweden. Conditions in interwar Poland, where perhaps some 20 Jews died as a result of anti-Jewish violence, should also be compared with conditions in Israel. In the 1950s, a group known as the Covenant of the Zealots torched cars that were driven on the Sabbath and firebombed non-kosher butchers and restaurants. The group’s aim was to impose Jewish law and make Israel a Halakhic state. Between 1979 and 1983 a group known as the Jewish Underground attempted to assassinate a number of West Bank mayors by planting bombs in their cars. Bassam Shakaa, mayor of Nablus, lost both his legs as a result. Members of the group also carried out a “revenge” attack on an Islamic college in 1983, killing three students and wounding 33, when they tossed grenades into a classroom. In 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler in Hebron, killed 29 Muslims at prayer in the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians, still a cause for celebration for his followers. A year and a half later, Yigal Amir, a fan of Dr. Goldstein, assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after a peace rally in Tel Aviv. A Palestinian toddler was killed on July 31, 2015 when Jewish extremists (settlers) set fire to the family’s home near Nablus; his parents and four-year-old brother remain in critical condition in Israeli hospitals with massive, life-threatening burns. One should not think that any state or racial profile is immune from staging such killings. Anti-foreigner violence in South Africa targets primarily other blacks (Somalis, Ethiopians, and others, but also Pakistanis). In 2008, about 60 people were killed and 50,000 displaced from their homes. Flare-ups and killings on a smaller scale have continued into 2015.

65 Edna Bonacich, “Theory of the Middleman Minorities,” American Sociological Review, vol. 38 (1973): 583–94, at 590.

66 That fact was recognized by non-Polish historians and knowledgeable observers in the past but is now considered politically incorrect among recent historians and writers, who profess to have “deeper insights” into this topic. An example of the “old-fashioned” school is A. Bruce Boswell, a research fellow in Polish at the University of Liverpool, who wrote on the pioneering work of the priest and social activist Piotr Wawrzyniak, who lived in Prussian-occupied Poland in the latter half of the 19th century. Rev. Wawrzyniak’s goal was to enable Poles “… to compete with the German element and to emancipate itself from the strangling grip of German capital and the Jewish money-lender.” (P. 172.) The Poles got educated, learned various trades, formed agricultural circles, co-operative societies, credit associations, banks, etc. The turnaround from Polish poverty was dramatic: “His [Wawrzyniak’s] work made possible the growth of a Polish middle class of merchants and artisans; and soon the towns were repeopled by Poles who could compete with the Germans in every branch of trade and industry. One result of this movement was the elimination of the Jew as middleman, factor and usurer. Without pogrom or boycott the Jewish population was steadily reduced in numbers and influence, until the Jewish element was either assimilated by the Germans or Poles, or forced to emigrate.” (P. 177.) All of this was facilitated by the fact that, unlike the other backward regions of foreign-ruled Poland, Prussian-ruled Poland had a well-developed infrastructure. (P. 170.) The boycotts of Jews, in Russian-ruled Poland, had been partly real, and partly an indirect outcome of the changing economic players. But, as Bowell points out, “… the deepest cause of Jewish hatred for the Poles lies in the recent growth of a Polish middle class, and the attempt to eliminate the Jewish usurer from the village.” (P. 39.) Boswell adds: “But it must be remembered that Jewish economic solidarity has constituted an informal boycott of Polish traders for hundreds of years, so that this measure is looked on by the Poles as a policy of self-defence.” (P. 191.) The circumstances behind the formal boycotting of Jews, started by Roman Dmowski in retaliation for the Jews’ support for candidates who did not support the Polish national platform in the 1912 Duma (Russian Parliamentary) election, is described by Boswell thus: “This Jewish nationalism is called Sionism [Zionism], but has little in common with the Western Jewish scheme for the revival of a State in Palestine. In its extreme form, it is a plan to create a joint State, Judaea-Polonia [Judeopolonia], where Poles and Jews shall have equal rights. In the main, it is a movement for the use of Yiddish in the administration and the schools, on an equality with Polish. … The rise of Jewish nationalism has thus led to a great political antagonism between the two races.” (P. 190.) See A. Bruce Boswell, Poland and the Poles (London: Methuen, 1919). For a pro-Jewish version see Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia, vol. 2, 75, 107–11. Paul Super (1880–1949), who was a member and activist of the International Committee of Young Men’s Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) and organizer and General Director of the Polish Y.M.C.A. (1922 to 1949), was in a unique position to assess Polish “nationalism,” on a daily basis, as it looked on the ground. Super commented: “I have spent a quarter of a century among Poles and probably know more Poles than any living foreigner. Except among a small but politically active element of the student population of Poland, I have never encountered that which is evil in nationalism, and there is a good, a splendid, side … Such nationalism as Poland had, looked inward, to the building of a worthy nation; it does not look outward in envy of some other nation’s lands; it never took the form we Americans call spread-eagle boasting; it made no silly assertions of superiority over all other nations.” See Paul Super, Twenty-Five Years With the Poles ([New York]: Paul Super Memorial Fund, 1951), 115.

67 Hillel Levine, Economic Origins of Anti-Semitism: Poland and Jews in the Early Modern Period (New Haven, Connecticut and London: Yale University Press, 1991).

68 Glenn Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland (Oxford University Press, 2014), 174. During episodes of the banning of Jewish tavern ownership, many Jews surreptitiously resorted to unlicenced taverns, Christian-front taverns, and home “taverns.” Hasidic tzaddik Menahem Mendel of 18th-century Vitebsk claimed that the forcible removal of Jewish tavernkeepers was not disastrous, as these Jews simply found new occupations. Ibid., 52–53. However, the economy could not speedily absorb them, especially in large numbers.

69 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 46.

70 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 28.

71 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 26.

72 Josh Tapper, “Q&A: Glenn Dynner on Yankel’s Tavern: Jews. Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland,” Moment, Internet: .

73 Booker T. Washington, with the collaboration of Robert E. Park, The Man Farthest Down: A Record of Observation and Study in Europe (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1912; New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1984), 252, 257, 267–69, 291–94.

74 Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014), 151–52.

75 Adam Teller, “The Shtetl as an Arena for Polish-Jewish Integration in the Eighteenth Century,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 17 (2014): 25–40, at 37–38.

76 William I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (New York: Dover Publications, reprinted 1958), vol. 2, 1200–1201.

77 In the latter part of the 19th century, when members of the Catholic clergy undertook a battle against the widespread alcoholism and poverty that afflicted the peasants, they ran into hostility on the part of some landowners and Jewish innkeepers who owned or operated pubs in the villages, and benefitted materially from the misfortune of the peasants. The pastoral and community activities of Rev. Bronisław Markiewicz, the founder of the Michaelite Fathers, were particularly effective in bettering the lot of the peasants:
It was late fall 1875 when he [Rev. Markiewicz] found himself with a few belongings in the Parish of Gać [near Kańczuga], to devote himself to the care of souls. He approached his duties enthusiastically. First of all he had to get to know his parishioners. To achieve this he visited each house and each family and he came to the conclusion that the cause and the root of all evil in this area was alcoholism, which was deeply rooted from generation to generation, and was fostered silently by those whose duty it was to fight this evil. These people were the landowners of the surrounding villages.

Fr. Markiewicz fought with love and determination against this evil and pointed out the extent of this evil to save his parishioners from this sin. It did not take long until the pubs became very empty. To keep the farmers busy with something new he invited them to participate in conversation about new achievement in agriculture. He showed them new methods how to cultivate the land; he advised them to later the system of seeding and to start orchard farming.

It was his intention to stimulate “Self-help” for farmers. The Savings Bank was founded, which in time became the Savings and Borrowing Bank. This way the pastor helped to achieve a certain prosperity in his Parish. The youth were close to his heart in a special way and he wanted to protect them from alcoholism, he opened a meeting room in the rectory which was equipped with different games, especially chess. He did this with the conviction that decent recreation would be the best way to more noble interests.

Unfortunately, it was not granted to him to remain too long in this Parish. When the Countess Wanda Ostrowska who was a patroness of the Parish Błażowa, she heard about Fr. Markiewicz’s successful work in Gaś, and she suggested to the Bishop’s Office in Przemyśl to entrust him with the new parish which was under her custody. The Countess suffered seeing constantly spreading immorality among people.

At the request of the Countess it was decided to move Fr. Markiewicz in 1877 to the new parish. As in the previous Parish, Father began his work teaching his parishioners moderation. Also a foundation of the small hospital made people’s lives easier. Local people had been operating the weaving mill a long time. Father improved their life condition in this area as well. Father Markiewicz worked at this parish until 1882.
The village Miejsce—which later thanks to Fr. Markiewicz’s effort received the nickname “Piastowe” was at that time a small Parish with no more than 800 souls, and was situated … no more than 6 kilometres from the city of Krosno. …

Fr. Markiewicz, with his concern for souls, began to work in this new place. … In Miejsce Piastowe he started catechetical classes each Sunday for all parishioners before high mass and again in the afternoon. This program turned out very successful. Each Sunday the number of participants was larger, which resulted in larger number of people receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.

Next was the campaign against alcoholism, which deeply plagued the populace. In a few months he was able to inscribe 60 parishioners into the book of abstinence. Something should be said about the battle with the innkeepers. There were two pubs in the parish, and two others were as the saying went, “owned privately”.

Both innkeepers left the village, one in 1893 and the other later on. The “private” pubs died natural deaths. That is how one of Father’s students reported it: already in his first year as a pastor you would not see a drunkard in the village. As the destructive force of alcoholism decreases, the prosperity of the people increased, together with their moral and cultural standards. The parishioners have found themselves: these were the fruits of the enthusiastic effort of their new pastor.


See Johannes Drozd, Father Bronislaw Markiewicz and His Work: Founder of the Michaelites, Guardian of the Orphans and Educator (London, Ontario: n.p., n.d.), 3–4, 6–7.

78 Keely Stauter-Halstead, The Nation in the Village: The Genesis of Peasant National Identity in Austrian Poland, 1848–1914 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2001), 41, 50, 116, 133.

79 Ibid., 41.

80 Ibid., 134.

81 Ibid., 139.

82 Michał Kurkiewicz and Monika Plutecka, “Rosyjskie pogromy w Białymstoku i Siedlcach w 1906 roku,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 11 (November 2010): 22. See also Stanisław Thugutt, Autobiografia (Warsaw: Ludowa Współdzielnia Wydawnicza, 1984), 68–69.

83 “Confessions of Zbigniew Romaniuk,” interviewed by Wojciech A. Wierzewski, in The Story of Two Shtetls, Brańsk and Ejszyszki: An Overview of Polish-Jewish Relations in Northeastern Poland during World War II (Toronto and Chicago: The Polish Educational Foundation in North America, 1998), Part One, 22; Zbigniew Romaniuk, The Jewish Community of Brańsk, 1795–1914, The American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies, Internet: .

84 Jan Slomka, From Serfdom to Self-Government: Memoirs of a Polish Village Mayor, 1842–1927 (London: Minerva Publishing Co., 1941), 199. Słomka, onetime mayor of the village of Dzików near Tarnobrzeg, provides very interesting insights into the relationship between Jews and peasants during this period: how Jews became money-lenders to the peasants, whom they had previously shunned, and took advantage of them and acquired numerous farms from indebted peasants until laws were passed against usury (pp. 84–87); how the gradual entry of Poles into the local trade raised the level of commerce in the interwar period (p. 265).

85 Slomka, From Serfdom to Self-Government, 200.

86 Thomas and Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, vol. 2, 1180.

87 It is interesting to note that the Maskilim (“enlightened Jews”), in late 18th-century Austrian-ruled Poland as well as in Russia, shared the Poles’ abhorrence towards the vocational choices of most Jews, a theme that is usually considered the property of anti-Semites:
Other Maskilim petitioned civil authorities to prohibit Jewish innkeeping, leasing of land, moneylending, and other debauched occupations, hoping instead to train Jews for more productive work in agriculture or crafts. Another prominent Maskil, Zalkand Hourwitz, suggested that the use of Yiddish and Hebrew be banned in business contracts, even between Jews, so that all transactions be transparent to all, Jew and gentile alike. Yiddish, in particular, took a beating, and was denounced regularly in the pages of Haskalah journals.
[Leon] Bramson was an advocate of the so-called “productivization of the Jews,” according to which the “Jewish problem” could be solved if Jews were to engage in productive occupations, such as manufacturing, crafts, and agriculture (as opposed to trade). The notion was of course popular among Russian maskilim, whom Bramson admired.
See, respectively, Efron, Real Jews, 20; Horowitz, Empire Jews, 122.

88 Two insightful articles on this topic which depart from the prevalent stereotypical conclusions appeared in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): Szyja Bronsztejn, “Polish-Jewish Relations as Reflected in Memoirs of the Interwar Period,” pp. 66–88, and Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, “Shtetl Communities: Another Image,” pp. 89–113.

89 Eva Hoffman, Shtetl: The Life and Death of a Small Town and the World of Polish Jews (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997), 8–9.

90 Ibid., 44–45.

91 Ibid., 63.

92 Joanna Beata Michlic, Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2006), 15. Michlic’s study is written from a distinctly one-sided, Jewish nationalist perspective, yet she has nothing to say about the phenomenon of Jewish nationalism istelf. Driven by her ideological agenda, the author pushes stereotypes of Poles to the extreme, frequently descends to the level of partisan polemics, and uses facts in highly selective manner. While excelling at stereotyping Poles, she eschews any hint of a critical approach toward the behaviour of Jews. Only Poles are infected with “ethno-nationalism,” never Jews. Her biases are all too pronounced, and those whose views do not conform to hers) are summarily dismissed as “anti-Semites” or “ethno-nationalists.” This is a rather transparent ploy not to have to deal with problematic or even devastating facts or arguments. Michlic is also quick to level harsh criticism on accomplished non-Polish historians such as Brian Porter and Gunnar Paulsson, who express more measured and moderate views on Polish-Jewish relations than her often extremist positions. Ibid., 283, 299, 329–30. (See Paulsson’s response to the charges Michlic leveled at his book Secret City, in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, vol. 20, no. 2 (2006): 372–74. Porter’s views are by no means complimentary of Polish “nationalism” and his book When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), was subjected to criticism by John Radzilowski in Kosmas: Czechoslovak and Central European Journal, vol. 15, no. 1 (Fall 2001): 97–99, and by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, “Nacjonalizm wyobrażony,” Arcana, no. 6 (2004): 167–86.) Various historical errors mar her study Poland’s Threatening Other. It is not true that the National Democrats introduced “anti-Jewish images and stereotypes” in Poland in the 1880s (p. 1), since the party was not in existence at that time. It is also not true that Eugeniusz Jagiełło was the only non-anti-Semitic candidate in the election to the Fourth Duma in 1912, as no one seriously accused the main Polish candidate, Jan Kucharzewski, of anti-Semitism (p. 64). Michlic is unaware of important developments in historical research such as the ethnic make-up of the leadership of Stalinist security office (p. 204). Compare with Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, ed., Aparat bezpieczeństwa w Polsce: Kadra kierownicza, vol. 1: 1944–1956 (Warsaw: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2005]. Michlic is also not above manipulating facts and making baseless charges with her characteristic rancour and self-aggrandizement. Indeed blatant misrepresentations abound in Michlic’s scholarship, which, in this respect, is reminiscent of Yaffa Eliach’s. For example, she misrepresented the findings of the Jedwabne investigation in the January 2008 issue of History and claimed, bizarrely, in a conference paper presented in Jerusalem in March 2009, that Poles see themselves as the only victims of the Second World War.

A much more balanced study, which largely avoids the extremist premises advanced by Michlic and the relentless pursuit of anti-Semitism as the sole explanation for Polish behaviour, is Theodore R. Weeks’ From Assimilation to Antisemitism: The “Jewish Question” in Poland, 1850–1914 (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006). However, it too is flawed in viewing Jews solely as “passive participants” rather than “actors,” in country where they were a major presence on the urban landscape and formed a powerful force on the economic plane. Orthodox Jews, including the Jewish masses, were simply inassimilable, and the assimilationists, a relatively small number, were ostracized by their community. Weeks does not appear to appreciate the critical role of this major stumbling block to Polish-Jewish co-existence. Weeks also fails to come to terms with the real reason why Poles did not embrace his favoured solution of cultural and national autonomy for Jews, also put forward as a “Polish-Jewish condominium.” Not only was there no model for such autonomy (no European country granted Jews that status at the time, and none does today), but more importantly, the Poles considered Poland to be a national state for the Poles, just as Jews today consider Israel a homeland for the Jews and utterly reject the notion of a “Jewish-Palestinian condominium.” (In fact, the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel describes the country as a Jewish state and established Judaism as the dominant religion. Israel has enacted more than fifty laws that provide for preferential treatment of Jews. If any largely Christian country were to treat Christians preferentially over Jews in this way, there would be an international outcry led by Jews. As in most cases, the “double standard” that Jewish nationalists love to decry works in their favour.) Among other shortcomings, Weeks does not draw meaningful comparisons with the situation of Jews in neighbouring countries such as the Czech lands, and fails to reconcile his premise that Polish society as a whole adopted stridently anti-Semitic views by the beginning of the twentieth century with the fact that the anti-Jewish boycott of 1912 was generally ignored by the peasantry, and indeed the majority of Poles. Ibid., 166, 169. While mentioning incidents such as the harassment of Jews “suspected” of supporting the Russians during the 1863 insurrection, he neglects to mention that Romuald Traugutt, the leader of the rebellion, was in fact betrayed by a Jew, a fact that is noted by the very historian he cites (Stefan Kieniewicz). Ibid., 49. (Indeed, there are many dark chapters in Polish history in which Jews played a role. For example, when Frederick II of Prussia, the principle author of the partitions of Poland, embarked on his ruinous scheme to forge Polish currency, he employed Jewish minters and moneylenders.) Weeks neglects to mention that the Warsaw pogrom of 1881 was resoundingly condemned by the Catholic hierarchy, and ignores the role of the Russian authorities in the pogroms in Brześć (Brest, 1905) and Siedlce (1906), which were carried out by the army. Ibid., 72. Weeks’ notion that, while there is no “direct line,” the Endeks’s ideas “made the [Nazi] murderers’ jobs that much easier,” is not only inflammatory but also empirically baseless. Ibid., 178. The rate of survival, once one subtracts those who managed to flee to another country or were exempt from annihilation (e.g. converts, mixed blood, through marriage) was no higher for Jews in countries like Holland, Norway and the Czech lands than in Poland.

Writing from an American perspective, and largely for an American audience, it is surprising that neither Michlic nor Weeks takes the trouble to remind Americans of the many dark chapters of their past and draw comparisons to the treatment of minorities in the United States. Riots (pogroms) and lynchings are an integral part of the fabric of America from its birth. Blacks and Native Americans were the most likely to be victimized. Dr. Arthur Raper was commissioned in 1930 to produce a report on lynching. He discovered that “3,724 people were lynched in the United States from 1889 through to 1930. Over four-fifths of these were Negroes, less than one-sixth of whom were accused of rape. Practically all of the lynchers were native whites. The fact that a number of the victims were tortured, mutilated, dragged, or burned suggests the presence of sadistic tendencies among the lynchers. Of the tens of thousands of lynchers and onlookers, only 49 were indicted and only 4 have been sentenced.” When the United States seized Texas and California from Mexico in mid-19th century, Mexican landowners lost their properties and many were shot or lynched. During the early-to-mid-19th century, violent rioting occurred between Protestant “Nativists” and recently arrived Irish Catholic immigrants. These reached heights during the peak of immigration in the 1840s and 1850s in cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. See, for example, Michael Feldberg, The Philadelphia Riots of 1844: A Study of Ethnic Conflict (Westport, Connecticut: Greewood Press, 1975). During the early 20th century, riots were common against Irish and French-Canadian immigrants in Providence, Rhode Island. During the San Francisco Vigilance Movements of 1851 and 1856, the vigilantes also systematically attacked Irish immigrants. The anti-immigrant violence later focused on Mexicans, Chileans, who came as miners in the California Gold Rush, and Chinese immigrants. Other racial or ethnic violence targeted Filipinos, Japanese and Armenians in California in the early 20th century. One of the largest lynchings in U.S. history occurred in New Orleans in 1891, when eleven Italians were violently murdered in the streets by a large lynch mob. In the 1890s a total of twenty Italians were lynched in the South. Riots and lynchings directed against Italian Americans erupted into the 20th century in the South, as well as in New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. Pervasive discrimination against Mexicans resulted in a series of riots, known as the Zoot Suite Riots, that erupted in Los Angeles in 1943 (where several thousand servicemen attacked Mexican-Americans) and spread to other cities like San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and New York. Anti-Polish incidents and violence also occurred in the same time period. The fate of Chinese immigrants has been detailed in books such as Jean Pfaelzer’s Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans (New York: Random House, 2007), but remains an unknown chapter in American history. A firestorm of ethnic cleansing erupted in the expulsion of over 200 Chinese communities and thousands of Chinese forced from their homes in the 19th century American West. Pfaelzer cites records of more than 100 round-ups, pogroms, expulsions and ethnic cleansings in which white Westerners united to drive the Chinese out of their communities from 1850 to 1906. They used warnings, arson, boycotts and violence to achieve their goal. In many cases, labour organizations led the campaigns, casting the Chinese as competitors for jobs and depressors of wages. Filled with resentment over the collapse of the California gold rush and the economic depression that followed, communities from Wyoming to California and up through the Washington Territory, launched a series of violent attacks against Chinese immigrants: rioting in local Chinatowns, levying unfair taxes against Chinese workers, and forcing Chinese women who had fled to rural towns back into sexual slavery in San Francisco. By 1885, white citizens—mayors, judges, and vigilantes—throughout the Pacific Northwest rounded up thousands of Chinese immigrants at gunpoint, marched them out of town and burned their homes to the ground. In one incident, Chinese residents of a California town were given 24 hours to pack up and leave after a city councilman was killed in the crossfire of two duelling Chinese men. The entire local population of over 300 Chinese was stripped of their belongings, loaded onto steamboats in Humboldt Bay, and shipped to San Francisco. In Tacoma, with no notice, the entire Chinese community was marched nine miles in the rain and abandoned at a railroad crossing in the woods as Chinatown burned. However, victims could also turn into victimizers. The violence of Irish gangs’ attacks on Jewish businesses and individuals far exceeded that of violent incidents between Jews and Eastern Europeans. Irish gangs instigated a widespread attack on a Jewish business district in Chicago in the summer of 1916, attacking Jewish shops, smashing windows, and beating merchants and bystanders. About a score of Jews were injured, three of them critically. Although the attack was expected and the Jews had requested police protection, none was forthcoming. Not one single policeman came to investigate until everything was over. The district around Taylor and Cypress Streets “looked like the aftermath of a battle.” See John Radzilowski, “Conflict between Poles and Jews in Chicago, 1900–1930,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 19 (2007): 129. The shameful treatment of immigrants in the United States is largely unknown to the American public, or simply ignored. It has virtually no impact on how Americans view themselves or how others are influenced to view Americans, nor do such stories have any real impact on how these groups interrelate today. While Americans (and Western Europeans) refuse to define themselves by their long history of mistreatment of others in their midst, it has become politically correct, and even quite fashionable, to view Poles through the prism of one-sided Jewish allegations, even by members of nationalities whose own minorities have fared no better, and in many cases, far worse than Poland’s.

93 Theodore R. Weeks, “Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 1861–1914: Changes and Continuities,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 1815–1918, vol. 27: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 306.

94 Weeks, From Assimilation to Antisemitism, 175–76.

95 The 17th century Khmelnitsky (Chmielnicki) revolt is commonly presented in Ukrainian-Jewish dialogue as a case of the Polish nobility and Jesuits oppressing the Cossacks, with Jews, as pawns of the nobility, merely transmitting the orders of the Polish overlords, and then becoming the innocent victims of Cossack anger over the Polish policies. This portrayal of Jews as passive victims of anti-Semitic exploitation is at odds with the active role they played in the scheme of things. While not denying the acts of the Polish nobles (who, in the Ukraine, were generally polonized Ruthenians), the German Jewish historian Heinrich Graetz (1817–1891) makes it clear that the Jews played a major role in inciting hatred against themselves and the Poles, and that they did so freely. Far from being mere order-fulfillers of the Polish nobility, the Jews had considerable autonomy, and even advised the Poles on how to more effectively exploit the Cossacks. In addition, there were features of the Talmudism and messianism of the time that facilitated Jewish exploitative conduct. Finally, Khmelnitsky had been personally wronged by the Jews, and acted on his grudge. See Heinrich Graetz, History of the Jews, volume 5: From the Chmielnicki Persecution of the Jews in Poland (1648 C.E.) to the Period of Emancipation in Central Europe (c. 1870 C.E.) (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974), 6 ff.

96 Borrowing from the arguments of Jewish ethno-nationalist like Joanna Michlic and the moralizing of post-modern historians of Polish-Jewish relations, the first contact between Polish peasants and Jews was in the latter’s capacity as people wanting to enslave Poles. As new Christians, Polish peasants knew nothing of Jews and had no innate predisposition towards them. On the other hand, the “bad” Jews were simply out for profit at the expense of others, whereas the “good” Jews who believed the teachings of their religion also came with hatred in their hearts toward Christians. The role of the relatively small Polish ruling class in the slave trade cannot salvage the reputation of the Jewish slave traders, just as the Western European slave trade of Blacks cannot be pinned on the few tribal chiefs who faciliatated that enterprise. In both cases, the only institution that spoke out against this evil practice and sided with the downtrodden was the Catholic Church. Such was the stage that the Jews themselves set for Polish-Jewish relations.

97 Pogonowski, Jews in Poland, 257–66; M.M. Postan and Edward Miller, eds., The Cambridge Economic History of Europe, vol. 2: Trade and Industry in the Middle Ages, Second edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 416–18, 485–87; Roman Jakobson, Selected Writings, vol. 6: Early Slavic Paths and Crossroads, Part 2: Medieval Slavic Studies (Berlin, New York, and Amsterdam: Mouton, 1985), 864; Timothy Reuter, ed., The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 3: c.900–c.1024 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 69–70; H.H. Ben-Sasson, ed., A History of the Jewish People (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1976), 394–98, Plate 31; Joseph Adler, “The Origins of Polish Jewry,” Midstream, October 1994, 26–28; Livia Rothkirchen, The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia: Facing the Holocaust (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, and Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2005), 8. See also “Radhanite”, Internet: ; “Slavery in Medieval Europe,” Internet: .

The Radanites were one of three groups that dominated the white slave trade at the time. They were the ones who controlled the western overland route from the Slav territories to Muslim Spain via Germany and France. The northern route, via the Baltic, was run by Viking traders. The various eastern routes, via the Dnieper, the Don, and the Volga, were run by either Viking or Khazar traders. All three trading groups worked with each other, particularly the Radanites and the Khazars (who converted to Judaism). The slave trade resulted in the banishment in 995 of Adalbert (Vojtĕch in Czech, Wojciech in Polish), the bishop of Prague, who condemned the practice in his treatise “Infelix Aurum.” Adalbert fled to Poland where he continued to ransom Christians sold into slavery. In this context, it is irrelevant that some Christians abetted this activity (just as some Blacks in Africa were implicated in the Black slave trade—in fact, most of the slaves were caught and sold by Black chiefs or middlemen as slavery was a well-established practice in Africa long before the arrival of Western European slave traders), because Jews were not enslaved, but only “the others.” Put bluntly, Jews traded in Christian slaves; Christians did not trade in Jewish slaves. Suffice it to say that if Poles had been responsible for enslaving Jews in the past, that fact would be forever have been held against the Poles and would doubtless figure prominently in the history of Polish-Jewish relations to this day. It should be noted that both the Old Testament and the Talmud sanctioned the possession of non-Jewish slave: “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.” (Leviticus 25:44.)

Jews also played a significant role in the Tatar slave trade in Slavs in the Crimea, which began in the late Middle Ages and continued well into the eighteenth century. According to Mikhail Kizilov, “Slaves, Money Lenders, and Prisoner Guards: The Jews and the Trade in Slaves and Captives in the Crimean Khanate,” Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 58, no. 2 (Autumn 2007): 189–210:
Trade in slaves and captives was one of the most important (if not the most important) sources of income of the Crimean Khanate in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. …

The sources testify that Jewish population played a highly significant role in the trade in slaves and captives of the Crimean Khanate in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. The ways, in which the Jews were engaged in this business, were varied and diversified—from mediators in trade and money-lenders to commandants of the Jewish fortress of Çu-fut Qaleh, from wealthy slave-owners to misfortunate victims of the Tatar predatory raids. Moreover, the Jews played important role in international trade and were sometimes appointed influential state officials of the Crimean Khanate.


As an Israeli scholar points out, slaveholding—particularly of females of Slavic origin—in Jewish households in the urban centres of the Ottoman Empire was widespread from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and Jews were involved in the slave trade as dealers. Female slaves were forced to cohabit with Jewish men, serving as their concubines and bearing them legitimate children who were raised as Jews. Marriages entered into with manumitted slaves who converted to Judaism were also common. Since Ottoman Jews did not possess or trade in Jewish slaves (except to ransom Jewish captives), there is a significant religious dimension to the holding of Christians as slaves. Descendants of Marranos in like circumstances are actively targeted by Jews to this day to return to the Jewish fold. See Yaron Ben-Naeh, “Blond, Tall, With Honey-Colored Eyes: Jewish Ownership of Slaves in the Ottoman Empire,” Jewish History, vol. 20, nos. 3–4 (December 2006): 316–32.

98 Zofia Kowalska, “Handel niewolnikami prowadzony przez Żydów w IX-XI wieku w Europie,” in Danuta Quirini-Popławskiej, ed., Niewolnictwo i niewolnicy w Europie od starożytności po czasy nowożytne (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, 1998), 81–92. Other literature on this topic published in Polish and Poland includes: Tadeusz Lewicki, “Osadnictwo słowiańskie i niewolnicy słowiańscy w krajach muzułmańskich według średniowiecznych pisarzy arabskich, Przegląd Historyczny, vol. 43, nos. 3–4 (1952): 473–91; Tadeusz Lewicki, “Handel niewolnikami słowiańskich w krajach arabskich,” in Słownik Starożytności Słowiańskich: Encyklopedyczny zarys kultury Słowian od czasów
najdawniejszych, vol. 2 (Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 1964), 190–92; Iza Bieżuńska-Malowist and Marian Małowist, Niewolnictwo (Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1987), 267–77; Zofia Borzymińska, Studia z dziejów Żydów w Polsce (Warsaw: DiG, 1995), 14–26; Ahmed Nazmi, Commercial Relations between Arabs and Slaves (9th-11th Centuries) (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Akademickie Dialog, 1998), 114–83; Hanna Zaremska, “Aspekty porównawcze w badaniach nad historią Żydów w średniowiecznej Polsce,” Rocznik Mazowiecki, vol. 13 (2001): 177–91, here at 178.

99 Robert Chazan, The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 1000–1500 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 205–6.

100 Pogonowski, Jews in Poland, 159; Bernard D. Weinryb, The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100 to 1800 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1972), 9–10.

101 Jonathan Krasner, “Constructing Collective Memory: The Re-envisioning of Eastern Europe as Seen Through American Jewish Textbooks,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 19: Polish-Jewish Relations in North America (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2007), 229–55, here at 241.

102 Israel Bartal, “Relations between Jews and Non-Jews: Literary Perspectives,” The Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Internet: .

103 Miller, Rejoice o Youth!, 136.

104 Mordechai Nadav, The Jews of Pinsk, 1506 to 1880 (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2008), 76–79, 85.

105 Ibid., 142–43.

106 Ewa Morawska, “Polish-Jewish Relations in America, 1880–1940: Old Elements, New Configurations,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 19 (2007): 75. Morawska goes on to argue that the negative attitude towards peasants was “accompanied by pity for their wretched conditions.” This is an unwarranted generalization for which she presents no persuasive evidence. While this sentiment is sometimes mentioned in Jewish memoirs, it was that of some individuals and could not be said to be widely held or representative of Jewish attitudes.

107 Abraham Shulman, The Old Country (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1974), 15.

108 John D. Klier, “Christians and Jews and the ‘Dialogue of Violence’ in Late Imperial Russia,” in Anna Sapir Abulafia, ed., Religious Violence Between Christians and Jews: Medieval Roots, Modern Perspectives (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Publishers, 2002), 163.

109 Jabob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance: Studies in Jewish-Gentile Relations in Medieval and Modern Times (London: Oxford University Press; New York: Behrman House, 1961). In recent centuries, according to Katz, some Jewish thinkers did genuinely reject the Christians-are-idolaters premise—in part because Christians believed in creatio ex nihilo (pp. 163–66, 191). Put in broader context, Jewish goodwill towards Gentiles, according to Katz (pp. 58, 101–2), was motivated in part by expediency (e.g., avoid giving all Jews a bad name), and in part by genuine adherence to moral principles. Commensurate with both tendencies, the Talmud teaches loving-kindness to all human beings, helping the poor and sick, etc. (pp. 59–60). But what of the Talmudic verses that allow Jews to cheat gentiles, etc.? (p. 107). Katz replies: “The disputants claimed that all disparaging references to Gentiles in Talmudic sources applied only to those ‘seven nations’ which are mentioned in the Bible as the aboriginal inhabitants of the Land of Israel, and remnants of which survived as late as Talmudic times. But this statement is no more than an ad hoc device used in the course of controversy. There is no indication in the Talmud or in the later halakhic sources that such a view was ever held, or even proposed, by any individual halakhist. In fact, evidence to the contrary exists.” (p. 110.) Another important, path-breaking study is Israel Jacob’s Yuval’s Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antquity and the Middle Ages (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006). In his review of that book, Jan Peczkis writes:
Yuval does not see Christianity as a daughter religion of Judaism. Instead, he sees both Christianity and Talmudic Judaism as daughter religions of Biblical Judaism—the latter of which ended with the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. Thus, Christianity and Mishnaic Judaism were sister religions that formed against a common backdrop of subjugation and destruction. …

Nowadays, we commonly hear that Judaism had no inherent hostility to Christianity, and reacted belatedly against it only in response to persecution by Christians. The truth is rather different. We learn from Yuval that, notwithstanding the rarity of obvious Jewish polemical literature against Christianity in the first eight centuries of their coexistence, the Jewish polemics was more subtle. In addition, the hostility between the two religions began long before Christians had acquired the political power to be in a position to persecute Jews. In fact, in pagan Rome, Christians were persecuted while Jews had the legal status of religio licita.

Yuval summarizes the situation as follows, “The basic premise of this book is that the polemics between Judaism and Christianity during the first centuries of the Common Era, in all their varieties and nuances, played a substantial role in the mutual formation of the two religions. Here I am referring not only to an explicit and declared polemic, but to a broad panorama of expressions that include, particularly from the Jewish side, allusions, ambiguities, denials, refutations, and at times also internalization and quiet agreement.” (p. xvii). For example, the Midrashic literature opposes Christian teachings not by direct rebuttal, but by presenting alternative stories that negate the Christian versions. … Christians understood the Roman destruction of the Temple as an act of divine vengeance for the Crucifixion of Christ. Jews saw the guilt of pagan Rome in the destruction of the Temple, which they juxtaposed Rome with Edom. (p. 32). Later, Christian Rome became Edom—the continuation of pagan Rome. (p. 274).

Yuval confirms the sometimes-denied fact that the Talmud refers derisively to Jesus Christ. He comments, “Indeed, in several places the identification of Balaam with Jesus is clearly called for (e. g, in B. Sanhedrin 106b), while other sources clearly speak of two distinct figures (as in B. Gittin 57a—in the uncensored version the reading there is “Jesus” rather than “the sinners of Israel”, as in the Vilna edition). (p. 293). The author also confirms that the sentence of boiling in feces (B. Gittin 57a) applies to Jesus Christ, and that Jews interpreted it as such, going far back into history. (pp. 196–197).
Some commentators have gone as far as suggesting that Christianity is inherently intolerant of Jews and Judaism (perhaps even in a proto-Nazi exterminatory sense), because the very existence of Judaism is a negation of the raison d'etre of Christianity. However, Yuval notes that this goes both ways, “To be a ‘Jew’ meant, in the most profound sense, to adopt a religious identity that competed with Christianity, and vice versa. Or, to adopt the formulation of the late Jacob Katz, the veracity of one religion depended on the negation of the other.” (p. 25).

The author describes in considerable detail the imprecations against gentiles, directed to God and spoken by Jews, in the face of persecution by Christians, notably during and after the First Crusade. They called upon God to kill indiscriminately and ruthlessly. (p. 120). Yuval points out that these Jewish attitudes went far beyond the pain and anger of persecution, and became more or less a mainstay of Jewish thinking. He comments, “Two arguments may be adduced to refute the explanation of Goldschmidt and Freimann, who tended to see these curses as a direct response to the distress and suffering of Ashkenazic Jewry. The first is that this is a standard ritual transplanted into the landscape of Ashkenazic prayer. Even if the texts were created against the backdrop of great disaster, there is a far-reaching significance to their repetition year after year, even in times of calm and tranquility. … We are dealing here with a comprehensive religious ideology that sees vengeance as a central component of its messianic doctrine.” (pp. 122–123).

In addition, the hostility of Jews against Christianity was not limited to matters surrounding Christian conduct against Jews. It was directed against the Christian religion in toto. For instance, Rabbi Yitzhak of Corbeil denounced Christians as idolaters. (p. 204). Of the many anti-Christian stories told by Jews, there was one in which the account of King Solomon and the two whores (I Kings 3:16) was changed so that Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Jesus, were the two whores. (p. 194).

Yuval points out that, whereas Christianity never sought the systematic extermination of Jews as collective punishment for the Crucifixion of Christ, European Judaism did seek the systematic extermination of Christians (by the hand of God) as collective punishment for the pogroms during the Crusades. Yuval, having just finished an extensive discussion of such things as the accusations of ritual murder, and the blood libels, assesses all this as follows, “Jewish messianism plays an important role in understanding the mechanisms that triggered Christian fantasies about the Jews. There is a tragic asymmetry between the messianic expectations of Christians and of Jews. The Christians awaited the conversion to Christianity of the Jews, while the Jews anticipated the destruction of Christianity. … Thus, the Jewish messianic fantasy played a major role in shaping Christian anti-Semitic fantasies.” (p. 289).


110 Antony Polonsky, “Introduction,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 15 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2002), 52. In his study Jews in Poland-Lithuania in the Eighteenth Century: A Genealogy of Modernity (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2004), Gershon David Hundert argues that the Jewish community held a basic and unassailable feeling of superiority over the non-Jewish world, 234–35. Hundert also dispells the notion that 18th century Poland was a period of social and economic deterioration for the Jews, as well as of serious decline in Polish-Jewish relations. Historian David Frick argues that separation for the good of the community “was the goal of authorities on both sides, and structural parity in the two societies helped both to maintain that separation and to police necessary breaches of it.” See David Frick, “Jews in Public Places: Further Chapters in the Jewish-Christian Encounter in Seventeenth Century Vilna,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 22 (2010): 215–48, here at 242. See also Edward Fram, Ideals Face Reality: Jewish Law and Life in Poland, 1550–1655 (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1997), 28.

111 Magda Teter, Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland: A Beleaguered Church in the Post-Reform Era (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 118.

112 Ibid., 71–73.

113 Ibid., 75.

114 Salo Baron, History and Jewish Historians (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1964), 142.

115 Moshe Rosman, “Poland before 1795,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed., The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), vol. 2, 1388.

116 M. J. Rosman, “A Minority Views the Majority: Jewish Attitudes Towards the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth and Interaction with Poles,” in Polin: A Journal of Polish-Jewish Studies, vol. 4 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell for the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, 1989), 37. An example of a double standard of morality is found in the writings of David ben Samuel Halevi, a 17th century rabbi, who pondered the question of whether one should rescue non-Jews or apostates from danger to prevent their death. The rabbi concluded that active killing was not permissible, even if walking away without helping was. Faced with that same question, an anonymous Polish Catholic priest’s answer was: “Without any exception whether he is a good man or a bad man, a Jew or a pagan, faithful or an infidel, Catholic or heretic, servant, lord, or a serf, relative or kinsman, rich or poor, he is our neighbour and therefore must be loved, albeit not equally.” See Magda Teter, “‘There should be no love between us and them’: Social Life and the Bounds of Jewish and Canon Law in Early Modern Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 22: Social and Cultural Boundaries in Pre-Modern Poland (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010), 250.

117 Raphael Mahler, Hasidism and the Jewish Enlightenment: Their Confrontation in Galicia and Poland in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1985), 16–17.

118 Ibid., 307.

119 Zvi Gitelman, A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present (New York: YIVO Institute, 2001), 17.

120 According to the Boston College Center for Christian-Jewish Learning (Internet: ):
Tosefta Berakhot 6:18 teaches in the name of Rabbi Yehuda ben Ilai (mid-2nd c. CE) that every (Jewish) man is obligated to recite three blessings daily. These express gratitude for ones station in life through the negative statements: thank God that I am not a gentile, a woman, or a slave (or in earlier formulations, a boor). This language echoes Greek prayers preserved first by Plato. Especially because this text also appears as a legal dictum in the Babylonian Talmud, Menahot 43b, these blessings, which modern scholars call the “blessings of identity,” gradually became part of the preliminary prayers to the daily morning service. They are found in the earliest preserved Jewish prayer books, from the end of the first millennium, but not yet universally as public prayers.

121 Mark Zborowski and Elizabeth Herzog, Life Is With People: The Culture of the Shtetl (New York: Schoken, 1952).

122 David Assaf, Untold Tales of the Hasidim: Crisis and Discontent in the History of Hasidism (Lebanon, New Hampshire: Brandeis University Press, 2010), 185.

123 Rosa Lehmann, Symbiosis and Ambivalence: Poles and Jews in a Small Galician Town (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2001), 124.

124 Ibid., 71–72.

125 Ibid., 84.

126 Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia, vol. 2, 166–67.

127 Petrovsky-Shtern, The Golden Age Shtetl, 165, 166, 167–69.

128 Samuel C. Heilman, Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry (New York: Schocken Books, 1992), 21.

129 Ibid., 233.

130 Bernard Weinryb, The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100 to 1800 (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1972), as quoted in Facing History and Ourselves, The Jews of Poland (Brookline, Massachusetts: Facing History and Ourselves Foundation, 1998), 40.

131 Ivan G. Marcus, “Honey Cakes and Torah: A Jewish Boy Learns His Letters,” in Lawrence Fine, ed., Judaism in Practice: From the Middle Ages through the Early Modern Period (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001), 116–17.

132 Judith Kalik, “Polish Attitudes towards Jewish Spirituality in the Eighteenth Century,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 15 (2002): 80–81. On the portrayal of Jesus and Christian beliefs in the Jerusalem Talmud and Babylonian Talmud, see Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007), 10–13. According to rabbinical teachings:
Jesus was not born from a virgin, as his followers claimed, but out of wedlock, the son of a whore and her lover; therefore, he could not be the Messiah of Davidic descent, let alone the son of God.
… sexual transgressions are involved because the Christian cult was characterized as enticing its members into secret licentious and orgiastic rites.
… details the halakhic procedure of Jesus’ trial and execution: Jesus was not crucified but, according to Jewish law, stoned to death and then, as the ultimate postmortem punishment reserved for the worst criminals, hanged on a tree. … The reason for his execution was because he was convicted of sorcery and of enticing Israel into idolatry.
The most bizarre of all the Jesus stories is the one that tells how Jesus shares his place in the Netherworld with Titus and Balaam, the notorious archenemies of the Jewish people. … Jesus’ fate consists of sitting forever in boiling excrement. … the story conveys an ironic message: not only did Jesus not rise from the dead, he is punished in hell forever; accordingly, his followers … are nothing but a bunch of fools, misled by a cunning deceiver.
Schäfer’s highly regarded study authoritatively discredits the claim that anti-Christian passages in the Talmud are merely inventions of anti-Semites, a notion that is increasingly commonplace in modern scholarship. For example, Magda Teter writes: “Following medieval anti-Jewish rhetoric again, many Catholic writers in Poland claimed that Jewish hostility toward Christians had its roots in the Jewish religion and in the Talmud. Polish clerics repeated old claims that in their rituals and prayers, Jews cursed and blasphemed against Christianity.” See Teter, Jews and Heretics in Catholic Poland, 117, 119. It is only later—buried in an endnote—that Teter notes: “These claims were not entirely unsubstantiated. Jewish prayers did indeed contain some anti-Christian statements.” Ibid., 210, n.140. However, she does not retract from her position regarding the Talmud. Teter’s study is intended to be an expose of religious bigotry and the author admits to some of the biases she personally had to overcome: “… led me to expect to find in the archives abundant material filled with anti-Jewish sentiments and tales filled with hate. I expected to find countless sermons that disseminated these sentiments. But when I confronted the sources … I had to reassess my ideas. I did not find large quantities of anti-Jewish works … Jews were not even mentioned in the vast majority of the works I examined. … The Jews were one of the multiple concerns of the Church. … I expected to find Jews as a central focus of the Church’s thought and actions.” Ibid., xv. Rabbinic Judaism also played a large role in concealing the historical significance of Hanukkah, which in actual fact marked the revolt against and massacre of Hellenized Jews by armed Hasmonean priests and their followers, by turning it into a putative celebration of light. The miracle-of-the-oil celebration of Hanukkah was later invented by the rabbis to cover up a blood-soaked struggle that pitted Jews against Jews. See James Ponet, “Jew versus Jew: Hannukah’s miracle-of-the-oil myth covers up the reality of an ancient, blood-soaked civil war.” National Post, December 18, 2009.

Another scholarly work by a Jew that explores the notion of Jewish supremacy and traditional Jewish antagonism toward non-Jews is Sacha Stern’s Jewish Identity in Early Rabbinic Writings (Leiden and New York: Brill, 1994). Apologists claim that Jewish teachings about Christians, unlike Christian teachings about Jews, had no real impact on the behaviour of Jews toward Christians. This is demonstrably not the case. Elliott Horowitz’s book Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2006), shows that Jews harboured as much religiously-motivated animosity against Christians as Christians did against Jews. Horowitz discusses Jewish violence against Christians throughout the ages, and how information about it has been suppressed in Jewish historiography. A case in point is the massacre of between 40,000 and 90,000 Christians, for the most part by Jews, during the Sassanian Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614. (The magnitude of this slaughter far surpasses the Cossack massacre of Jews in 17th century Poland which scholars now estimate to be in the range of 10,000 victims.) The Jews burned churches and monasteries, killed monks and priests, and burned holy books. The avoidance of discussion of Jewish violence stems from the tendency to consider Jews as victims and not victimizers. Horowitz comments: “Evenhanded assessments of the reciprocal role of violence in Jewish-Christian relations were to become increasingly rare in post-Holocaust Jewish historiography, both in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora.” Ibid., 235.

Israeli historian Ariel Toaff made many of these same points in his book 2007 Blood Passover. Virtually the entire print of this book was destroyed soon after it was published, but the book has since reappeared. Toaff affirms the fact that the Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 57a) refers to Jesus Christ burning in hell in hot excrement, and that this teaching was especially prominent among the Jews of German origin. (P. 301.) He also affirms the fact that the Toledot Yeshu, which he dates to the 5th–8th century, was a Jewish “Counter-Gospel”. (Pp. 273, 298, 301.) The author discusses Israel Jacob’s Yuval’s Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antquity and the Middle Ages. As a result of the Crusades, the Jews had developed an elaborate vindictive worldview that called for the destruction of not only those Christians that had persecuted the Jews, but of all Christians. The Jewish drinking of Christian blood was thus an extension of this elaborate vendetta. The Jews had a custom of roasting the Passover lamb skewered on a spit in a vertical position, with the head upwards. This was a creative mockery of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, in which He was the agnus Dei (Lamb of God). (P. 70.) Purim long included many visible manifestations of anti-Christian rituals. (For examples, see pp. 192–95.) Jews had many contemptuous terms for Christians. These included shekez, shekz, sheghez, sceghesc, and shiksa or shikse, etc. (P. 265.) As pointed out by Jan Peczkis in his Amazon review, Toaff contends that it is unlikely that the medieval notions of Jews conducting ritual murder were merely copied from similar accusations in Antiquity, as the latter were probably not widely known and disseminated in the Middle Ages. (P. 185.) Instead, they probably arose de novo. They developed out of gentile awareness of the Jewish vendetta against Christianity as a whole, as noted from the Yuval work mentioned above. The extensive Jewish involvement in the slave trade also played a major role in the medieval-era accusations of ritual murder. It induced Christians to think that Jews would kidnap Christian children. (P. 188.) The standard argument adduced against the validity of ritual-murder accusations is the one that consumption of blood is invariably and necessarily abhorrent to Judaism. Toaff shows that this was not necessarily so. (Pp. 152–55.)

Jewish antagonism towards Jesus Christ is usually understood in terms of the Talmud and the attitudes of religious Jews. However, secular Yiddishist thinker Zelig Hirsh Kalmanovitch, writing in 1920, actively juxtaposed traditional Jewish motifs against Jesus Christ with his antagonism to certain political opponents. He wrote, “those we were accustomed to see as virtually paragons of virtue now seem in my eyes as though they were bathed in the lake of Hell in which ‘that man’ [Jesus of Nazareth] was condemned. [The smell] carries, it seems to me, for a mile.” See Karlip, The Tragedy of a Generation, 170 (the brackets are Karlip’s).



133 Graetz, History of the Jews, volume 5: From the Chmielnicki Persecution of the Jews in Poland (1648 C.E.) to the Period of Emancipation in Central Europe (c. 1870 C.E.), 4, 5–6.

134 Stephen G. Bloom, Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America (New York: Harcourt, 2000), passim.

135 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 65, 163, 164, 177.

136 Interview with Gizela Fudem, December 2004, Internet: .

137 Leon Berk’s account is by no means an isolated one. Samuel Lipa Tennenbaum, from Złoczów, recalls: “I entered gimnazjum in 1920, graduating in 1927 … The teachers were Poles, except for a single Ukrainian, and a Jew … grading remained fair and Jewish students were treated equally with Poles. Zloczow [Złoczów] was represented in the Sejm by its mayor, an attorney, Dr. Moszynski [Moszyński]. A liberal who associated with all, he forged good relations between Poles and Jews and between Poles and Ukrainians. … When we were in gimnazjum, my future wife and I associated mostly with gentiles. I played tennis and volleyball and was one of two or three Jews who exercised at the Polish sports association Sokol [Sokół], which ordinarily did not admit Jews.” See Samuel Lipa Tennenbaum, Zloczow Memoir (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1986), 37, 46, 54. The notion that Jews in interwar Poland were incessantly terrorized or harassed by their Polish neighbours has little basis in fact. As one historian who studied Polish-Jewish relations points out, “Recent studies on the issue of coexistence between Jews and Poles conclude that, while it is true that Jews and Poles periodically found themselves in confrontation, most of the time they lived in co-operative symbiosis.” See Rosa Lehmann, “Jewish Patrons and Polish Clients: Patronage in a Small Galician Town,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 17 (2004): 153–69, at 168. There are many reports attesting to generally correct day-to-day relations between Poles and Jews, particularly in small towns and the countryside where relations were generally amicable.

Rachela Walshaw (née Schlufman) describes a rather typical small town in central Poland by the name of “Wonchok,” probably Wąchock, near Starachowice, (Polish names are typically misspelled in Holocaust literature, especially in memoirs), where Polish-Jewish co-existence was proper, but reserved: “The community was clearly divided between Poles and Jews. There were about 500 Polish families and only about one hundred Jewish ones, but we all lived and worked in relative peace. There were no ghettos then. Jews could live anywhere in town, but generally chose to live together … among their own kind … Though I went to school with Christians, my knowledge of the private workings of the Christian world was limited. The Catholic priests who ran our school were strict but fair and excused us from participating in their prayers. On the whole, my gentile classmates were a decent lot with whom we remained distant but friendly. We were not invited to their homes; nor were they invited to ours.” See Rachela and Sam Walshaw, From Out of the Firestorm: A Memoir of the Holocaust (New York: Shapolsky Publishers, 1991), 7–8. Barbara Krakowski (now Stimler), the daughter of a small textile shop owner in Aleksandrów Kujawski, relates: “I attended a nursery and private school supervised by Christian nuns, where I was the only Jewish child. I had a large circle of friends, and am still in touch with the few of them who attended my school.” See Wendy Whitworth, ed., Survival: Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Story (Lound Hall, Bothamsall, Retford, Nottinghamshire: Quill Press in association with The Aegis Institute, 2003), 363. Esther Raab (née Terner), who grew up in Chełm, was enrolled in an all-girls private Catholic school which several Jewish girls attended. “Although the Jewish girls in the school were by far the minority, they got along very well with their Catholic friends. They felt very comfortable at the school and were treated fairly by the students and staff. In all her years there, Esther never experienced any anti-Semitic incidents at the Catholic school. Twice a week, when the Catholic girls received religious instruction, all the Jewish students assembled in a different classroom. The school had hired a Jewish teacher, and during those periods, they studied Jewish history.” See Shaindy Perl, Tell the World: The Story of the Sobibor Revolt (Lakewood, New Jersey: Israel Bookshop, 2004), 24. A Jew from Sierpc stated that the Jews lived in peace with their Polish neighbours. When a motion came before the town council in 1929 to change the market day to a Saturday, five Polish councillors voted with the five Jewish councillors to defeat it. See Leon Gongoła, “O prawach i ludziach,” Polska (Warsaw), no. 7 (1971): 170–72. A Jew from the village of Czerwony Bór near Łomża recalled: “we Jews always got along well with the local villagers.” He also recalls open displays of solidarity on the part of Christian acquaintances. See Rivka and Israel Teyer, eds., The Red Forest: As Narrated by Izhak Shumowitz (Raanana, Israel: Docostory, 2005?), 45, 74. A Jew from Przytoczno, a small village in Lublin province, does not recall any ethnic-based conflicts between Jews and non-Jews. In elementary school he was not treated any worse in terms of grades and discipline than Polish students, and he remembers warmly many of his teachers and the parish priest as well as the local bishop, all of whom treated Jews with respect. See Michał Rudawski, Mój obcy kraj? (Warsaw: TU, 1996), 31–32, 42–43. A Jew from Stróża, a village near Kraśnik (about 50 kilometres from Lublin), recalls: “It must be stressed again that notwithstanding occasional misunderstandings, we lived in peace, often in friendship, with our Polish neighbors. Despite the fact that we were only four Jewish families in Stroza, we never knew of any bitter quarrels.” See Sam Edelstein, Tzadikim in Sodom (Righteous Gentiles): Memoir of a Survivor of World War II (Toronto: North American Press Limited, 1990), 19. In nearby Izbica, a small town whose population was almost exclusively Jewish, the 3,600 Jewish residents lived in relative harmony with the town’s 200 Christians and those from the surrounding countryside: “We lived peacefully with our Catholic neighbors. True, once in a while anti-Semitic slogans like ‘Jews to Palestine’ and ‘Don’t buy from Jews’ appeared in the post office, but no one took them seriously. Catholic and Jewish schoolchildren kept mainly to themselves. About half of the students were Jewish and half Catholic, for though the town was over 95 percent Jewish, the children from all the outlying villages attended the town’s elementary school. Inside the classroom there was no visible antagonism.” See Thomas Toivi Blatt, From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1997), 10. In Żółkiewka, another nearby town, according to Itzhak Lichtman relations between Poles and Jews had also been proper before the war: “We didn’t feel anti-Semitism; Jews and Poles enjoyed a friendly relationship.” See Miriam Novtich, ed., Sobibor: Martyrdom and Revolt (New York: Holocaust Library, 1980), 80. Other Jewish residents of that town, Chaim Zyberklang and Natan Irland, recalled their teachers, fellow students, neighbours, and business associates, as well as the local authorities including police as fair, decent, and even generous people. See Chaim Zylberklang, Z Żółkiewki do Erec Izraela: Przez Kotłas, Buzułuk, Ural, Polskę, Niemcy i Francję, Second revised and expanded edition (Lublin: Akko, 2004), 29, 45–46, 53, 55–56, 61–62, 64–66, 228–29. In Strzyżów near Hrubieszów, the author of a memoir did not recall any outbursts of violence against Jews: “The fact is that in our little town Jews and non-Jews lived side-by-side in a restless peace … I had numerous friends, both Jews and non-Jews.” See Rose Toren, A New Beginning (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1997), 13. For reports from other towns, see Jacob Biber, ed., The Triumph of the Spirit: Ten Stories of Holocaust Survivors (San Bernardino, California: The Borgo Press, 1994). One Jew recalls: “I was born in 1917, in Gniwoszow [Gniewoszów near Radom] … My home town was a small Jewish shtetl, with a population of approximately 5,000 Poles and 2,500 Jews. Most of the Poles worked in agriculture, and the Jews were artisans and maintained small businesses. … Although most of the Poles were friendly towards us, there remained a minority who were anti-Semites.” Ibid., 71. Another Jew writes: “I was born in 1922, in Dzialoshcy [Działoszyce near Kraków] … Our town was eighty percent Jewish—business people, artisans, and other workers, and mostly Orthodox. … The Poles in our town had never been anti-Semitic, and even spoke Yiddish with us. We generally lived in friendly cooperation, the Polish people working together with Jews in the various trades.” Ibid., 91. In the small town of Przecław near Mielec, “The two people, the Jews and Christians lived together peacefully. For many years it even had a Jewish vice-mayor … and a few councilors.” See Avraham Spielman, “The Townlet Przeclaw,” in H. Harshoshanim, ed., Radomysl Rabati ve-ha-sevivah: Sefer yizkor (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Radomysl and Surroundings in Israel, 1965), posted online in English translation at . Leon Zalman reminisced about Szczekociny, a predominantly Jewish town of 5,000 people near Częstochowa: “On one side of the Pilica lived the Jews; on the other there was a mixed population and a large church. The Jews had two synagogues. Jews and Christians lived side by side in mutual tolerance. … Almost all the businesses and taverns surrounding the square were Jewish, with the exception of Kaletta, the large, imposing restaurant. The Jews didn’t usually go there because it wasn’t kosher. When they had something to celebrate … they preferred their own establishments. … The teachers liked me … One Sabbath, to disturb the service and get attention, some young [Jewish] socialists threw a white dove into the synagogue. The rabbis were outraged. … I had a large circle of friends, among them many non-Jews. … The young Jews did not feel that the shtetl was a ghetto. We felt no differences between Jews and Christians, except on market day, when perhaps a farmer who always mistrusted Jews felt that he had been overcharged. But that kind of thing could also happen among Christians or among Jews. We did not feel that we were discriminated against; … In school we associated widely with Polish Christians.” See Leon Zelman, After Survival: One Man’s Mission in the Cause of Memory (New York and London: Holmes & Meier, 1998), 2–16. Jewish survivors from Jaśliska, a village near Krosno, uniformly attest to proper relations between the two communities: “One hardly noticed anti-Semitism amongst the people. The relationships between Jews and non-Jews were rather good and the trading contacts were based on mutual trust. Until the outbreak of [World War One] there were no Christian shops in Jaśkiska or in the neighbouring villages. Also the officials, priests and teachers from the villages bought in Jewish shops. We did not experience anything like anti-Jewish harassment. The good relationship between Jews and non-Jews gave rise to a steady material prosperity among the Jews. Although there was one cooperative shop run by Christians in which agricultural products were sold, there was no question of [real] competition [for the Jews].” See Lehmann, Symbiosis and Ambivalence, 185–86. Good relations also extended to the village priest: “it is said that father Rąpała, the late priest of Jaśliska, was a fluent Yiddish speaker. Among the Polish as well as the Jewish informants, father Rąpała, was known to have been on good terms with the Jews. Polish informants mentioned the amicable conversations of the priest with local Jewish residents. The Jewish informant Josko S., for instance, recalled the evening walks of his father with the priest. While walking, both men would discuss all kinds of subjects. Harmonious contacts between the ‘learned’ priest and ‘lay’ Jews were customary in other towns and villages in the region as well. Pearl O. [from the nearby village of Królik Polski] recalled the long walks and discussions of her father with the priest. She also remembered the weekly meetings at her parents’ home, to which all members of the village elite were invited, among them the priest and teachers of the local primary school.” Ibid., 98. Man Elchanan, president of the Committee of Expatriates from Brańsk in Israel, writes of the “harmonious life of Jews and their Polish neighbors,” in the interwar period. See The Story of Two Shtetls, Brańsk and Ejszyszki, Part One, 43. In the nearby town of Zabłudów, “the relationship was cordial with mutual respect and a greeting of the traditional raising of the hat. There were mutual congratulations in times of holidays and business relationships were out of necessity. They also worked together in leather factories that were owned by Jews. Full cooperation existed also in times of crisis the town faced like natural disasters, fires, etc. … I can’t remember any anti-Jewish fights, with serious violence, except small fights when they [the villagers] were drunk. In those rare occasions Jews had the upper hand and they [the villagers] remembered the results for a long time. Our Polish neighbors from the town stood aside and didn’t intervene, and in most occasions they encouraged the Jews by saying that the villagers became obnoxious and that they have to learn a lesson. Here and there, there were reserved friendships between the Jewish and Polish youth. Usually it was during sport meets on the field, or at coed dances.” See the account of Eliyahu Ben Moshe-Baruch and Bluma Zesler in Nechama Shmueli-Schmusch, ed., Zabludow: Dapim mi-tokh yisker-bukh (Tel Aviv: The Zabludow Community in Israel, 1987), posted on the Internet in English translation at . In the village of Drobin, northeast of Płock, a Jewish survivor who was taught by his father to respect Poles recalls: “My sister was a straight A student … Her Polish was the best in the class, in which there were only two other Jewish students. … She was selected by her classmates and her teacher to read a poem for a play …” See Abraham D. Feffer, My Shtetl Drobin: A Saga of a Survivor (Toronto: n.p., 1990), 9. Mendel Berman, the president of the Lomazer Landsmanschaft in America, underscored that, in Łomazy near Biała Podlaska, “A good relationship of coexistence prevailed between Jews and Poles, even if some deplorable incidents occured [sic] from time to time, but such mishaps used to pass quickly.” See Yitzhak Alperovitz, ed., The Lomaz Book: A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Lomaz (Tel Aviv: The Lomaz Society in Israel, and the Lomaz Society in the United States of America, 1994), 68–69. Pnina Knopfmacher-Krajs from Włodawa, a town on the River Bug, recalled: “Right up to the first years of the war one did not feel anti-Semitism in our town. Our youth took part in swimming, skating and soccer matches with Polish youth.” She also mentions by name prominent Poles who were known for their friendliness toward the Jews. See the testimony of Pnina Knopfmacher-Krajs, Ghetto Fighters House Archives, catalog no. 2427. John (Jan) Damski, a Pole who was awarded by Yad Vashem, recalled a telling episode that occurred in his home town of Solec Kujawski, near Bydgoszcz, where there was just one Jewish family, the Dalmans, who had three sons: “All three brothers belonged to our gymnastic organization, the Polish Falcons. … One day a fellow from the district organization came to our meeting and made a fuss about Jews being in our group. The oldest of the three Dalman brothers stood up and told him that the Jews were just as patriotic as the Poles, they had fought for Poland too, and other such sentiments. It didn’t take very long before the local organization just fell apart. First, all the teachers from our little town who belonged to this club resigned. They didn’t say it was in protest—they were just no longer interested. My brother and I dropped out of the organization, and so did many of our friends; half of the membership resigned. Nobody said, ‘I’m quitting because the district officer made an anti-Semitic speech.’ We just didn’t like what was happening; we simply did not see any difference between us and the Jews.” See “John Damski: Polish Rescuer,” Internet: . Mala Goldrat Brandsdorfer (née Liss) of Bolesławiec, a small town near Wieluń, recalled: “I remember growing up in Boleslawiec very happy. The town had about 500 families, with about 2500 people. Jews made up about a quarter of the population. There weren’t many of the problems between the Jews and the Christians that there were in the larger cities. We lived and traded together in peace. There were some Poles in our town who were openly anti-Semitic, but very few.” See Mala Brandsdorfer, as told to Louis Brandsdorfer, The Bleeding Sky: My Mother’s Recollections of the Shoah, Internet: , Chapter 2. Wacław Iglicki (then Szul Steinhendler) from Żelechów near Warsaw recalled: “I used to go to a public school. It was an elementary school. … When there was Polish religion [a lesson of Roman-Catholic religion] for the Polish youth, we would go to a different classroom, a teacher would come to us and teach us Yiddish religion [Jewish religion]. Other than that there were no segregations, and there were also no problems.” See the testimony of Waclaw Iglicki, September 2005, Internet: . Henryk Prajs from Góra Kalwaria near Warsaw recalled: “There were three Polish and three Jewish families in our yard. We got on with each other very well, like a family. There was no anti-Semitism, none at all. … My friends were mostly Poles … I went to a Polish elementary school at the age of seven. From 7am to 1 or 2pm I was at school, and after that I went to the cheder. … Jews and Poles studied together, but the Jews were fewer. … I was very popular at the school, I liked the teachers. … There was an Endeks organization … but they used to go rumble somewhere else, not in our town. Mayor Dziejko and Police Chief Boleslaw [Bolesław] Janica wouldn’t allow it.” See the testimony of Henryk Prajs, January 2005, Internet: . See also the testimony of Abraham Warszaw (Alec Ward) regarding Magnuszew near Góra Kalwaria: David Onnie, “Alec Ward’s Story,” The ’45 Aid Society Journal, no. 32 (2008). In Przedecz, near Koło, there was reportedly “no ethnic hatred whatsoever,” even though the Jewish middle class “was very pro-German.” See the testimony of Alina Fiszgrund, March–August 2005, Internet: . For additional examples see Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, “Shtetl Communities: Another Image,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 103–12.

The same held true in Poland’s Eastern Borderlands. In Kopaczówka, a village near Rożyszcze, in Volhynia, “The relations between the Jews and the local Gentile population, which was mostly Polish, had been very good until the outbreak of the war.” See Gershon Zik, ed., Rożyszcze: My Old Home [Rożyszcze Memorial Book] (Tel Aviv: The Rozhishcher Committee in Israel, 1976), 45. For a similar account from Kołki, a small town near Łuck, also in Volhynia, see Daniel Kac, Koncert grany żywym (Warsaw: Tu, 1998), 153: “Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians lived alongside each other peaceably, without conflict. When Jews celebrated their holy days, the Polish and Ukrainian streets felt and respected that.” In Powursk, Volhynia, “The relations between the Jews, the Poles and the Ukrainians were correct, even friendly.” See Alexander Agas, “Povursk: The Town’s Jews,” in Yehuda Merin, ed., Memorial Book: The Jewish Communities of Manyevitz, Horodok, Lishnivka, Troyanuvka, Povursk and Kolki (Wolyn Region) (Tel Aviv: Shlomo Levy, 2004), 418. Sara Najter from Ostróg, in Volhynia, recalled that relations with their Christian neigbours were cordial and that everyone helped one another when in need. See her account in Michał Grynberg and Maria Kotowska, comp. and eds., Życie i zagłada Żydów polskich 1939–1945: Relacje świadków (Warsaw: Oficyna Naukowa, 2003), 592. William Ungar, from Krasne near Skałat, recalled: “Both Father Hankiewicz and Father Leszczynski [Leszczyński] mainly preached the loving kindness of God. Because of the priests’ behavior, the peasants didn’t bear a grudge against Jews. … The result was … growing up without either hatred or fear. My playmates were Polish and Ukrainian children and no one ever insulted me or tried to beat me up. … Of course, they knew I was Jewish … But they considered me one of theirs.” See William Ungar and David Chanoff, Destined to Live (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2000), 66–67. In Łunin (Lenin), in predominantly Belorussian Polesia, a Jewish memoir stresses: “Jews and gentiles lived in harmony with their neighbours. … there was an acceptance and understanding between Jew and Christian, at least on a personal level.” See Faye Schulman, A Partisan’s Memoir: Woman of the Holocaust (Toronto: Second Story Press, 1995), 24. In Nieśwież, “for the most part, at least in my town, gentiles and Jews lived side by side peacefully.” See Michael Kutz, If, By Miracle (Toronto: Azrieli Foundation, 2013), 11. In Brasław, a mixed Polish-Belorussian area in the northeast corner of Poland: “On the whole relations between the Braslaw Jews and the peasants were normal, even friendly.” See Ariel Machnes and Rina Klinov, eds., Darkness and Desolation: In Memory of the Communities of Braslaw, Dubene, Jaisi, Jod, Kislowszczizna, Okmienic, Opsa, Plusy, Rimszan, Slobodka, Zamosz, Zaracz (Tel Aviv: Association of Braslaw and Surroundings in Israel and America, and Ghetto Fighters’ House and Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, 1986), 615. A resident of Dołhinów, in the Wilno region, stated: “We did not feel anti-Semitism on the part of the Christian population.” See the testimony of Jofe Gerszon, June 20, 1959, Yad Vashem Archives, 03/1293. In Olkieniki, in the Wilno region, where many Jews played on the local soccer team, “Relations between the Jews and their non-Jewish neighbors were generally correct. Friendly relations developed with some of the peasants in the nearby villages.” See Shmuel Spector, ed., Lost Jewish Worlds: The Communities of Grodno, Lida, Olkieniki, Vishay (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1996), 232. In Marcinkańce, a small town near the Lithuanian border, which was inhabited mostly by Poles and Jews, “By and large, the economic life of the Jews was prosperous. … The attitude of the Christian population towards their Jewish neighbors was friendly.” See L. Koniuchowsky, “The Liquidation of the Jews of Marcinkonis: A Collective Report,” YIVO Annual of Jewish Social Science 8 (1953): 206, 208. In Oszmiana, “Jewish farms and villages were scattered like tiny islands in the sea of the native peasants. Yet between the two communities there were good neighbourly relations, there was even friendliness towards each other.” See Moshea Becker (Ra’Anana), “Jewish Farmers in Oshmana”, in M. Gelbart, ed, Sefer Zikaron le-kehilat Oshmana (Tel Aviv: Oshmaner Organization and the Oshmaner Society in the U.S.A., 1969), 22 (English translation posted on the Internet at ). In Dowgieliszki, a small rural community near Raduń inhabited mostly by Jews: “The road from Radun to Dowgalishok ran through villages and estates owned by Poles. Normally the way was peaceful, and when I was alone with my brother, there was almost no antgonism towards us. … the people were not hostile. Sometimes we would get a lift from a farmer with a wagon going towards Dowgalishok and back. Many farmers of the neighborhood knew us as the children of the blacksmith, and they would invite us to join them on their wagons.” See Avraham Aviel, A Village Named Dowgalishok: The Massacre at Radun and Eishishok (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2006), 18–19. In Zdzięcioł, “we were living mixed with them [Christians]. And we we were always, always friendly and so did they. … In our little town, I would say [there was no anti-Semitism] because we had actions [dealings] with the Polish priest. He was very, very good to us … he never let anything to with the anti-semitism or whatever. Sure there was, you know, but basically as a whole we had none. I didn’t feel it.” See Interview with Sonia Heidocovsky Zissman, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, May 25, 1995, 2. In Szereszów near Prużana, Jews attended Christian weddings and did not experience any problems due to the Christian population. See the interview with Fania Krawczyk, Internet: . In Podwołoczyska, in Tarnopol province, “The Jews of the town lived harmoniously with their Polish neighbors. There were no quarrels or fights between them or public outbursts of anti-Semitism.” On the other hand, “The relationship with the Ukrainians in the town was non-existent. There certainly were no friendly relations between them.” See Dr. Y. Gilson, “Podwoloczyska, Part IV,” in Podwoloczyska and Its Surroundings (Internet: Sefer Podwoloczyska ve-ha-sevivah (Haifa: Podwoloczyska Community in Israel, 1988). Two Jews from Drohobycz, Alfred Schreyer and Abraham Schwartz, attest to very cordial relations between Poles and Jews in that city, as well as with the Polish Catholic clergy. In their state high school, where there were Jewish and Ukrainian teachers as well as Polish ones, Polish and Jewish children got along splendidly: they formed many friendships, played together, and even visited each other’s places of worship. See Agata Tuszyńska, “Uczniowie Schulza,” Kultura (Paris), no. 4 (1993): 33, 39; Wiesław Budzyński, Miasto Schulza (Warsaw: Prószyński i S-ka, 200), 352.

Jews and Poles enjoyed good relations in many larger towns (small and medium-sized cities) as well. Christine Damski (née Rozen) from the city of Zamość recalled: “I always knew I was Jewish; our family observed Passover and other holidays. In Zamosc everyone accepted us as equals. Growing up, my girlfriends were both Polish and Jewish. At my Polish high school about ten of the girls in my class were Jewish, but I was the only one in the entire class to get ‘Excellent’ in Polish language; no Polish girl received that grade. Really, I didn’t feel different while I was in high school.” See Ellen Land Weber, To Save a Life: Stories of Holocaust Rescue (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 277–78. Melita Huppert, a Jewish woman from Wadowice, the home town of Pope John Paul II, recalls: “It was a very nice relationship between Jews and Christians. It was a peaceful co-existence.” See Laurie Goodstein, “How Boyhood Friend Aided Pope With Israel,” New York Times, March 29, 1998. Several biographies of the Pontiff detail friendly Polish-Jewish relations in Wadowice, for example, D’Arcy O’Brien, The Hidden Pope: The Untold Story of a Lifelong Friendship That Is Changing the Relationship between Catholics and Jews (New York: Daybreak Books/Rodale, 1998), 51–54. According to Felicia Haberfeld, from nearby Oświęcim, where the Germans would later build their infamous concentration and death camp known as Auschwitz, Jews and Gentiles also got along well: “It was a very special town.” See Abigail Goldman, “Elderly widow dreams of ‘house for humanity,’” Toronto Star, April 2, 1998 (reprint from the Los Angeles Times). Another resident of Oświęcim agrees with that assessment: “But non-Jews and Jews had a good relationship. You didn’t see any graffiti …” See Jake Geldwert, From Auschwitz to Ithaca: The Transnational Journey of Jake Geldwert (Bethesda, Maryland: CDL Press, 2002), 5. Joseph Nichthauser, who hails from Andrychów, recalled very friendly relations with local Poles and no displays of anti-Semitism. See Aldona Zaorska, “Gdzie ten antysemityzm polski?” Warszawska Gazeta, November 18, 2011. Oswald Rufeisen, who grew up in Bielsko-Biała and attended a Polish state high school in Żywiec, did not remember feeling discriminated against or being abused. He was fond of his classmates and thinks they reciprocated in kind. In this school the Jewish and Catholic children were taught religion separately, by a rabbi and a priest. See Nechama Tec, In the Lion’s Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeien (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 10. Calel Perechodnik, who grew up in Otwock near Warsaw, where he belonged to a Zionist organization, states: “I want it clearly understood that I personally did not come into contact with anti-Semitism.” See Calel Perechodnik, Am I a Murderer? Testament of a Jewish Ghetto Policeman (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996), xxii. Sol Pluda, a Jew from Pułtusk, writes: “We had Polish-Christian neighbors, friends, and customers, and relations between the Jewish and Christian citizens of Pultusk were not strained.” See Carole Garbuny Vogel, ed., We Shall Not Forget!: Memories of the Holocaust, Second edition (Lexington, Massachusetts: Temple Isaiah, 1995), 376. A memoir from Zduńska Wola, near Łódź, states: “Although my hometown was not paradise, there was mostly peace among Jews, ethnic Germans, and Poles. I don’t remember much overt anti-Semitism … I remember the Polish and German leaders of the town reassuring us that nothing could possibly happen in Zdunska Wola. ‘Our people live and work together,’ they said. ‘Why should things be disturbed? No one would benefit from that.’” See Isaac Neuman with Michael Palencia-Roth, The Narrow Bridge: Beyond the Holocaust (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 15–17. Gizela Fudem (née Grunberg) recalls friendly relations with her Polish neighbours in Tarnów: “I don’t remember any anti-Semitic incidents. Both groups—Jewish and Christian—lived separately, and aside from trade or meetings of the intelligentsia, there were no other contacts. We kept in touch with some non-Jewish neighbors. We had one neighbor above us, who every Sunday morning, before she went to church, came by, kneeled in the middle of the kitchen, and asked whether she looked good, whether her stockings fit her well, if she had put her skirt on correctly. That was Mrs. Dankowa. We had a good relationship with her. On the ground floor there were neighbors who had boys my age, and they always invited us over for Christmas and for Easter, that real Easter. And we used to get a chocolate egg or something like that.” See Interview with Gizela Fudem, December 2004, Internet: .

True, incidents did occur, especially in the larger centres, but even there they were not the norm in day-to-day dealings between Poles and Jews. Most Jews who lived in predominantly Polish or mixed neighbourhoods got along well with their Christian neighbours. Manya Reich Mandelbaum, for example, reports “a good relationship between the Poles and Jews in Kraków.” See her testimony in Joseph J. Preil, ed., Holocaust Testimonies: European Survivors and American Liberators in New Jersey (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2001), 88. Helena Ziemba, who grew up in Kalinowszczyzna, a suburb of Lublin, recalls that her family got on well with their Polish neighbours and did not encounter anti-Semitism. See Helena Ziemba, “W getcie i kryjówce w Lublinie,” in Jerzy Jacek Bojarski, ed., Ścieżki pamięci: Żydowskie miasto w Lublinie—losy, miejsca, historia (Lublin and Rishon LeZion: Norbertinum, Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka–Teatr NN,” Towarzystwo Przyjaźni Polsko-Izraelskiej w Lublinie, Stowarzyszenie Środkowoeuropejskie “Dziedzictwo i Współczesność,” 2002), 27. Regina Winograd, from a middle-class family, also recalled that relations between Poles and Jews in their apartment building in Lublin were amicable and that all the children played together in the courtyard. See Regina Winograd, “Na Lublin patrzę oczami trzynastoletniej dziewczynki,” in ibid., 39–40. Mosze Opatowski’s testimony is similar. See Mosze Opatowski, “Zapamiętajcie, co przeżyłem,” in ibid., 74. Sally Tuchklaper, who grew up in a mixed neighbourhood in Radom, stated that Jews did not experience anti-Semitism in her neighbourhood and that she had Gentile friends. See the interview of Sally Tuchklaper, March 2, 1983, Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Internet: . Karol Kewes, whose parents were Jews and atheists, enrolled him in a Catholic high school in Łódź run by priests where he was exempted from religious teaching. He states that he “was never personally beaten up as a ‘dirty Yid.’” See K.S. Karol, Between Two Worlds: The Life of a Young Pole in Russia, 1939–46 (New York: A New Republic Book/Henry Holt and Company, 1986), 10. A Jewish woman who grew up in Katowice recalled that her life was peacefully blissful. The Jewish and Gentile populations in Katowice were entirely integrated, as it was not until high school that she became friends with other Jewish youth. In her apartment complex, she grew up playing with children regardless of religious background. See Natalie Marsh, “Opening the Dusty Windows of History,” California Holocaust Memorial Week, April 28–May 4, 2008, April 2008, 135. Aharon Arlazoroff, who lived in a mixed neighbourhood of Wilno, stated that in their building Jews and non-Jews lived in relative harmony and did not recall any anti-Semitic incidents. See the testimony of Aharon Arlazoroff, Internet: . A young woman from a Jewish family who moved to Lwów from Ukraine after the Bolshevik Revolution recalled: “Our first residence was in an ethnically mixed neighborhood where Jews and Gentiles lived side by side without incident or any apparent enmity. … In the late 1920s, we moved out of the cramped flat on Piekarska Street to take up residence in an apartment building at 51 Zyblikiewicza Street. … Our new neighborhood, like the one we had moved out of, was ethnically diverse, with Jews and Gentiles, and Poles, Russians, and Ukrainians living together in harmony. … We got along well enough with the Gentiles, but we didn’t socialize with them. A few polite words of greeting usually marked the extent of our dealings with each other. My parents didn’t socialize with Polish Jews either. There was no friction between Polish and Russian Jews, but little effort was made by either group to get to know the other. My parents kept to their own kind, Russian immigrants who had fled Bolshevik oppression.” See Lala Fishman and Steven Weingartner, Lala’s Story: A Memoir of the Holocaust (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1997), 42, 47–48. Uri Lichter, whose family owned a prosperous business in Lwów, recalled: “The Prachtels, the Swirskis, and others, all Polish and Ukrainian professionals, high civil servants, army officers and businessmen, were our steady customers. They liked to do business with Uri Lichter and Family. … We had all co-existed peacefully with Polish and Ukrainian families, many of them were good customers and gracious acquaintances.” See Uri Lichter, In the Eye of the Storm: A Memoir of Survival Through the Holocaust (New York: Holocaust Library, 1987), 24, 38. Leopold Weiss, a native of Lwów, reported: “My memories are of a mixed neighborhood where Polish Catholics lived together with Orthodox Jews side-by-side, peacefully, and without incident.” See Weiss, The Lemberg Mosaic, 15. Edward Spicer, who attended a school in Lwów where ther were only a very small number of Jewish students, remembers being treated fairly and did not have any specific problems with students or teachers. See the testimony of Edward Spicer, Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Interview code 12729. A Jew who attended the Romuald Traugutt senior high school in Częstochowa during the years 1934–1939 recalled, “There was no open anti-Semitism ar school. … we were not discriminated against in school. We were treated just like other students.” See Kazimierz Laski, “A Few memories, “ in Jerzy Mizgalski and Jerzy Sielski, eds., The Jews of Częstochowa: The Fate of Częstochowa Jews 1945–2009 (Toruń: Adam Marszałek, 2012), 230.

Given the large number of such testimonies, it is surprising, to say the least, for historian Antony Polonsky to claim, as he did in his obituary of Irena Sendler, that “Unusually for a Catholic child, she was allowed to play with Jewish children as she grew up.” See Antony Polonsky, “Polish Social Worker Saved Around 2,500 Jewish Children from the Nazis,” The Guardian, May 14, 2008; reprinted under the heading “Polish Nurse Saved 2,500 Jewish Children from the Nazis,” The Globe and Mail, May 15, 2008. In fact, as Jewish testimonies confirm, the objections most often came from the Jewish side. Since this obituary is doubtless Polonsky’s most widely read piece on Polish-Jewish relations, he has done more than any other historian to entrench this particular falsehood—a veritable “black pearl.” For many Jews who lived amidst Poles in Warsaw (and not in Jewish enclaves) relations with non-Jews were no different than in Western European countries or North America at the time. A Jew from Warsaw recalled: “I was transferred to a public school at 68 Nowolipki Street where most of the teachers and students were Jewish because it was located in the Jewish section of the city. … It became my ambition to become a student of the Marshal Józef Piłsudski School of Graphics in Warsaw. … It was very difficult to be accepted to this school. … There were three other Jews in my class besides me … Sending me to such a school involved great financial sacrifice for my parents. … In addition, a Polish musician named Bronisław Bykowski, who was very devoted to my father, pawned his and his wife’s wedding rings to help us out. … the atmosphere at the Marshal Piłsudski School was liberal and tolerant based on ethical and democratic principles. I enjoyed a warm and kind relationship with the director of the school, Stanisław Dąbrowski, and many of the professors and instructors, which included both Poles and some Germans. … They made no distinction between Christians and Jews. … My relationships with my classmates were cordial, although we never mixed socially outside school.” See Morris Wyszogrod, A Brush with Death: An Artist in the Death Camps (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), 18–20. Bernard Goldstein, a socialist who worked in a slaughterhouse in Warsaw, recalled: “Jews and Poles worked side by side and the relations between them were good, despite the fact that both were strongly nationalistic, unruly, and impulsive. They had frequent conflicts over working conditions, but they always managed to settle them in comradely fashion. They drank and played cards together, living in friendly harmony.” See Bernard Goldstein, The Stars Bear Witness (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950), 8. Another Jew from Warsaw recalled: “When Grandfather Yakov and I came to the village [of Siekierki, just outside the city], we would enter a peasant hut where we were welcomed with respect and genuine warmth. I felt comfortable with the peasants. Grandfather spoke spicy Polish, without any Jewish slang or idiom. … We lived in a working-class quarter where there weren’t many Jewish families. … There were few Jewish children my age in the neighborhood, so I played mostly with Gentile children who came to my house. We’d play soccer, go down to the Wisla [Wisła] River and enjoy the fresh air, swim, and row. Later, when I went to the Jewish school, the Gentile children used to tease the Jewish children on their way to and from school, so we would walk in a group and felt safer. We didn’t run away from Gentile hoodlums but fought back with blows and stones. … [My parents] made their living running a store that sold paint, kerosene, building materials, and haberdashery. Ninety-nine percent of their customers were Poles, who got along well with my parents … When Mother went into labor, I was sent to fetch the Polish midwife. … I started my formal schooling in the heder … But I soon quarrrelled with the teacher and ran away from the heder. The teacher, who felt responsible, sent some children to look for me and bring me back. When they followed me to my street, I sicked my Polish friends on them.” See Simha Rotem (“Kazik”), Memoirs of a Warsaw Ghetto Fighter (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994), 2–5. Barbara Góra, born in Warsaw in 1932 as Irena Hochberg, was from an assimilated family who lived in the city centre on .Zurawia Street. She recalled that, in their apartment building, Poles and Jews lived in harmony, and during the tome of the war all the children played together in the courtyard.” See Wiktoria Śliwowska, ed., The Last Eyewitnesses: Children of the Holocaust Speak (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1998],71.

At a scholarly conference on this topic held in Radom in December 1998, many examples of peaceful coexistence of Poles and Jews, especially in small towns, were brought to light. Feliks Tych, the director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, expressed the view that on the whole, despite the growing economic competition and social radicalization of the 1930s, Polish-Jewish relations remained proper. The main bone of contention was the economic field. In Rzeszów, for example, where there was good cooperation in the city council under its Polish mayor and Jewish vice-mayor, there was fairly fierce competition (mostly verbal) between the fledgling Polish merchant class and the entrenched Jewish merchant class, who did not wish to yield its domination over the local economy. See Zbigniew K. Wójcik, Rzeszów w latach drugiej wojny światowej: Okupacja i konspiracja 1939–1944–1945 (Rzeszów and Kraków: Instytut Europejskich Studiów Społecznych w Rzeszowie, and Towarzystwo Sympatyków Historii w Krakowie, 1998), 162. Charactistically, Jews who didn’t personally experience harassment often claim that it happened elsewhere. Felicia Fuksman, who hails from the large industrial city of Łódź, explains her lack of problems to the fact that she “lived in a much bigger town. In the smaller towns those things happened. But I did not experience this.” See the account of Felicia Fuksman, Louisiana Holocaust Survivors, The Southern Institute for Education and Research, posted online at . Yet, Eva Galler, who hails from the small town of Oleszyce, where she wasn’t afraid to venture out of her home, maintains that the problems occurred in the “bigger cities” but not in her town. See the account of Eva Galler, Louisiana Holocaust Survivors, The Southern Institute for Education and Research, posted online at .

According to one historian, bonds between Poles and Jews were strongest in small villages where Jews lived among Poles and not in isolation:
Among other things, Jews here forsook the strict Orthodoxy—impractical in rural life—of those in town. … Less hindered by the social control in town, Jews and Christians in a village were guided by a sense of belonging to it, and by their own needs and those of their local compatriots.

The non-Jewish peasants valued their Jewish equals as good, hard-working people not unlike them; it was only natural that the Jew and non-Jew in Cieszyna would hitch horses and plough their respective fields together. … Andrzej Burda described the attitude of the peasants to the Jews from the village of Rzeszotary near Kraków as friendly and says that “in the countryside, good will was something quite natural in the common lives of people bound by the land.” …


See Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, “Maintaining Borders, Crossing Borders: Social Relationships in the Shtetl,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 17 (2004): 171–95, at 189.

138 Wołkonowski, Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w Wilnie i na Wileńszczyźnie 1919–1939, 198–200.

139 Leon Berk, Destined to Live: Memoirs of a Doctor with the Russian Partisans (Melbourne: Paragon Press, 1992), 3–4.

140 Norman Salsitz and Amalie Petranker Salsitz, Against All Odds: A Tale of Two Survivors (New York: Holocaust Library, 1990), 249–50.

141 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 241–45.

142 Ibid., 260.

143 Millie Werber and Eve Keller, Two Rings: A Story of Love and War (New York: PublicAffairs, 2012), 23.

144 Byron L. Sherwin, Sparks Amidst the Ashes: The Spiritual Legacy of Polish Jewry (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 131.

145 Ibid., 18. This is not a new phenomenon. Ralph Slovenko, who was active in Polish-Jewish dialogue in the 1980s, reported: “When I would make a trip to Poland, my Jewish friends in the United States would say, ‘Why do you go to that anti-Semitic country? That is the land of the Holocaust.’ Little or nothing would be said when I would go to Germany, Austria or the Ukraine, though anti-Semitism in … Poland pales in comparison to that in those places. … In comparison to the talk about Polish anti-Semitism, no one talks about German, Austrian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, or Latvian anti-Semitism. … Though I am a Jew, I have a Ukrainian name and I believe that it has made me privy to attitudes, when at times I would raise the discussion about Jewry, that I would not otherwise have heard.” See Pogonowski, Jews in Poland, 162.

146 Naomi Rosh White, From Darkness to Light: Surviving the Holocaust (Melbourne: Collins Dove, 1988), 67.

147 Ibid., 80–81.

148 Walter Tausk, Breslauer Tagebuch, 1933–1940 (Frankfurt am Main: Röderberg Verlag. 1977), entry for May 15, 1936.

149 Robert Michael, A History of Catholic Antisemitism: The Dark Side of the Church (New York and Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillian, 2008), 160, 249.

150 Introduction to Lichter, In the Eye of the Storm, 9.

151 Mark Raphael Baker, The Fiftieth Gate: A Journey Through Memory (Sydney: Flamingo/HarperCollins, 1997), 39.

152 Anne Roiphe, A Season for Healing: Reflections on the Holocaust (New York: Summit Books, 1988), 117.

153 Thomas S. Gladsky, Princes, Peasants, and Other Polish Selves: Ethnicity in American Literature (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1992), 207. Surprisingly, the stereotype of the “stupid” Pole even surfaced when Poles put their lives at risk to shelter Jews during the war. As could be expected, living in close quarters could lead to occasional to flare-ups between the charges and rescuers. Teresa Prekerowa, who was active in the Żegota organization, recalls: “It was often that Jews told Poles, ‘We are more intelligent than you,’ and it made the Poles crazy. It was a very difficult situation.” See Lawrence N. Powell, Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, The Holocaust, and David Duke’s Louisiana (Chapel Hill, North Carolina and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 261.

154 Thomas Gladsky presents an excellent survey of the mean-spirited and often crude stereotypes of Poles that permeate many of the works of fiction of well-known and popular Jewish-American authors such as Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, and Leon Uris. Such books doubtless have had a huge impact on how Polish-Jewish relations are perceived in North America. See Gladsky, Princes, Peasants, and Other Polish Selves, 163–220. There exists no parallel phenomenon in Polish literature.

155 Zvi Gitelman, “Collective Memory and Contemporary Polish-Jewish Relations,” in Joshua D. Zimmerman, ed., Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and Its Aftermath (New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Rutgers University Press, 2003), 274–75. Gitelman also states: “Of course, the stereotype of Polish antisemitism—which like all stereotypes has truth in it except that it becomes overgeneralized and attributed to each Polish person—itself breeds resentments against Jews.” Ibid., 285. Gitleman thus concedes that Polish stereotypes concerning Jews are not without foundation in fact.

156 Lucy S. Dawidowicz, From That Place and Time: A Memoir, 1938–1947 (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1989), 107.

157 Testimony of Alina Fiszgrund, March–August 2005 (from Łódź), and testimony of Salomea Gemrot (from a village near Rzeszów), February 2005, Internet: .

158 Poles are still frequently refered to as shkotsim in Jewish community memortial (yizkor) books. See, for example, Efraim Talmi et al., Memorial Book of Sierpc, Poland (New York: JewishGen, 2014), 80–81, 205, 393 (referring to assimilated Jews) 454, 473.

159 Nechah Hoffman-Shein, “Jews and Non-Jews in Serafinitz,” in Sh. Meltzer, ed., Sefer Horodenka (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Horodenka and Vicinity in Israel and the U.S.A., 1963), 265ff., translated into English as The Book of Horodenka and posted on the Internet at: .

160 Katz, Gone to Pitchipoï, 39. Characteristic of many Jewish memoirs, this one too is full of primitive assertions that are lacking in substance. The author alleges that the Polish government devised a plan, the so-called Madagascar Plan, in order to “expel” the Jewish population but was prevented from carrying through with it only because the war broke out; this, in turn, inspired the Nazis to resurrect the plan to expel all the Jews under their control. Ibid., 30, 53. In fact, plans like this to resettle European Jews had been contemplated by the Germans, British and Zionists much earlier. With the cooperation of the French, the Polish government commissioned a task force in 1936 to examine the possibility of encouraging the emigration of Jews to Madagascar. The head of the commission, however, felt the island could accommodate 5,000 to 7,000 families, but Jewish members of the group estimated that only 500 or even fewer families could be accommodated. The plan was, therefore, effectively abandoned.

161 Talmi, Memorial Book of Sierpc, Poland, 321–22.

162 Moshe Rozdzial, “The Crucifix,” Brother: Newsletter of the National Organization For Men Against Sexism, Winter 1999, posted on the Internet at: .

163 There are also credible Polish reports of Polish servant girls being taken advantage of and sexually abused. See John J. Hartman and Jacek Krochmal, eds., I Remember Every Day…: The Fates of the Jews of Przemyśl during World War II (Przemyśl: Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk w Przemyślu; Ann Arbor, Michigan: Remembrance & Reconciliation Inc., 2002), 196.

164 Leon Weliczker Wells, Shattered Faith: A Holocaust Legacy (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1995), 1–10.

165 Zbigniew Hauser, Ilustrowany przewodnik po zabytkach Galicji Wschodniej (Warsaw: Burchard Edition, 2004), 270.

166 For a similar testimony from Przemyśl see the account of Fred Wahl in Hartman and Krochmal, eds., I Remember Every Day…, 59: “Jewish people in Przemyśl adored German democracy. They wished they could send their kids to Berlin to be educated, to Vienna to be educated. If you spoke German on the streets they called it hoch German (high German) and you were considered to be very intelligent. It is sad because they thought the Germans were the nicest people on earth, the most intelligent.” As Israeli scholars point out, Jewish philo-Germanism blossomed in the 19th century and continued to grow in the 20th century: “This situation, which endured until the rise of Nazism, made the Jews of eastern Europe strong German sympathizers and contributed to the rise of modern Polish anti-Semitism. Contrary to what Goldhagen has propagated, Jews of eastern Europe, even during World War I, regarded the Germans and the German occupying army as philo-Semitic. They had good reasons for holding this view.” See Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, New edition (London and Ann Arbor, Michigan: Pluto Press, 2004), 167.

167 Robert Melson, False Papers: Deception and Survival in the Holocaust (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 32.

168 Shimon Kanc, ed., Sefer Ripin: A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Ripin [Rypin] (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Ripin in Israel and in the Diaspora, 1962), 9–10.

169 Lyn Smith, ed. Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust (London: Ebury Press/Random House, 2005), 71.

170 Bryan Mark Rigg, Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military (Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press, 2002), Chapter 1. According to one Jew, “The German Jews, likewise, bore a strong dislike for the eastern Jew, the Hasid. Some blamed the Hasidim for the dismal fate they had suffered, having been rejected as rightful citizens of their beloved Germany.” See William Samelson, “Piotrków Trybunalski: My Ancestral Home,” in Eric J. Sterling, ed. Life in the Ghettos During the Holocaust (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2005), 8.

171 Horowitz, Empire Jews, 15.

172 Allan Nadler, “The Scholarly Life of the Goan of Vilna,” in Fine, Judaism in Practice, 513. In the mid-19th century, the factional conflict between Bratslav Hasidism, and other forms of Hasidism, repeatedly became violent. Jewish violence against Bratslav Hasidim continued into the early 20th century. See Assaf, Untold Tales of the Hasidim, 120–53.

173 Archival figures from the Polish revolutionary regime show that, during the 1830 uprising, 83 out of 288 accused spies were Jews. Even though most accused spies were Poles, 83/288 amounts to 28.9%, which, if valid, means that Jews were three times more common among spies than among the general population. The evidence for Jewish espionage during the 1863 uprising is more abundant than that for 1830. See Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 111, 122ff. On conditions in Brańsk see Zbigniew Romaniuk, The Jewish Community of Brańsk, 1795–1914, The American Association for Polish-Jewish Studies, Internet: . See also Petrovsky-Shtern, The Golden Age Shtetl, 47–48, which describes the Jews’ new-found loyalty towards the Russian state in the early 19th century and the activities of voluntary informers, for example, shtetl Jews informing on Polish gentry hiding French transports. There were also many Jews who informed on fellow Jews who dominated transborder smuggling at the time. Ibid., 71, 79–80.

174 Brian Horowitz, “A Jewish Russifier in Despair: Lev Levanda’s Polish Question,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 17 (2014): 279–98, at 281.

175 François Guesnet, “From Community to Metropolis: The Jews of Warsaw, 1550–1880,” in Dynner and Guesnet, Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis, 134.

176 Kalman Weise, “The Capital of ‘Yiddishland’?” in Dynner and Guesnet, Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis, 134.

177 Włodzimierz Mędrzecki, Województwo Wołyńskie 1921–1939: Elementy przemian cywilizacyjnych, społecznych i politycznych (Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy imienia Ossolińskich, Polska Akademia Nauk, 1988), 182.

178 Nathaniel Deutsch, The Jewish Dark Continent: Life and Death in the Russian Pale of Settlement (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2011), 151.

179 Theodore S. Hamerow, Remembering a Vanished World: A Jewish Childhood in Interwar Poland (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2001), 135–37. As Hamerow indicates, Jews often viewed Poles as morally lax and accused Polish girls and women of promiscuity. The following account from Działoszyce, a small town near Kraków, paints a realistic picture of conditions in a typical, traditional shtetl (the author was born in 1927): “Young men in their 20s would pay me, too, but for a different service. They were too embarrassed to buy their own condoms, so for two groszy per visit, I would do the purchasing for them. I learned all about the different types and brands. … I once counted several unmarried pregnant girls in our modest and very religious town.” See Joseph E. Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption: A Life Renewed (Washington, D.C.: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and The Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project, 2005), 79, 81.

180 See, for example, Rabbi Shimon Huberband, Kiddush Hashem: Jewish Religious and Cultural Life in Poland During the Holocaust (Hoboken, New Jersey: Ktav Publishing House, and Yeshiva University Press, 1987), xxxii, xxxvi.

181 Ben-Zion Gold, The Life of Jews in Poland before the Holocaust (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 76, 79, 80. Gold goes on to state: “However, it would be grossly unfair to give the impression that all Polish people wanted to harm Jews. I knew Poles who defended Jews, who did business and worked with them.” Ibid., 80–81.

182 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 32–33.

183 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 45.

184 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 31ff.

185 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 38ff.

186 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 45.

187 Iyov Ha-Giben (pseud.), Willow Weep For Me (New York: Bloch Publishing, 1991), 162–71.

188 John Sack, An Eye for an Eye (New York: Basic Books/HarperCollins, 1993), 28. Although the State Security office was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of persons (Christians of various nationalities), there is no evidence that any of the murdered victims were Jews. Adam Krawecki’s account is reminiscent of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s 1989 statement that Poles “suck in anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.”



189 Pinchas Bibel, “Satan Was Left Unemployed…”, in Dov Shuval, ed., The Szczebrzeszyn Memorial Book (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacob Solomon Berger, 2005), 45–47.

190 Stanisław Likiernik, By Devil’s Luck: A Tale of Resistance in Wartime Warsaw (Edinburgh and London: Mainstream, 2001), 21.

191 Barbara Engelking, Na łące popiołów: Ocaleni z Holocaustu (Warsaw: Cyklady, 1993), 126.

192 Testimony of David Krelenbaum, Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Interview code 37873.

193 As cited in Christopher S. Browning, Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp (New York and London: Norton, 2010), 21.

194 Henia Reinhartz, Bits and Pieces (Toronto: Azrieli Foundation, 2007), 7.

195 Dov Freiberg, To Survive Sobibor (Jerusalem and New York: Gefen, 2007), 6–7.

196 Kopel Kolpanitzky, Sentenced to Life: The Story of a Survivor of the Lahwah Ghetto (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007), 18.

197 Halina Birenbaum, “W przyjaźni można sobie wiele wyznać,” Więź (Warsaw), October 1999, 142.

198 Eta Wrobel with Jeanette Friedman, My Life My Way: The Extraordinary Memoir of A Jewish Partisan in WWII Poland (New Milford, New Jersey: The Wordsmithy; and New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 2006), 43.

199 Aleksander Pruszyński, “Ost Front,” Goniec (Mississauga), April 15–20, 2011.

200 John Munro, Bialystok to Birkenau: The Holocaust Journey of Michel Mielnicki (Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, and Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, 2000), 59, 67.

201 William Samelson, “Piotrków Trybunalski: My Ancestral Home,” in Sterling, ed., Life in the Ghettos During the Holocaust, 11.

202 Cited in Alina Cała, “The Social Consciousness of Young Jews in Interwar Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 45.

203 Cited in Alina Cała, “The Social Consciousness of Young Jews in Interwar Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 45.

204 Haskell Nordon, The Education of a Polish Jew: A Physician’s War Memoirs (New York: D. Grossman Press, 1982), 40.

205 Samuel Honig, Reunions: Echoes of the Holocaust, Pre-War and Post-War Stories (Windsor, Ontario: Benchmark Publishing & Design Inc., 2000), 51.

206 Citing Israeli scholars such as Yisrael Bartal and Rami Rosen, an authoritative source on this topic states: “Rosen included in his long article many well-documented cases of massacres of Christians and mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus on Purim, most of which occurred either in the late ancient period or in the Middle Ages.” See Shahak and Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, 116.

207 Fishman, The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture, 109.

208 Horowitz, Reckless Rites, 86–87.

209 Jan Slomka, From Serfdom to Self-Government (London: Minerva, 1941), 50.

210 Alina Cala, The Image of the Jew in Polish Folk Culture (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, Hebrew University, 1995), 81, 113; Kurek, Poza granicą solidarności, 83, 93.

211 These events, which took place on April 5, 1924, happened to be observed by two police officers and a military gendarme, and consequently, the culprits were charged and convicted under the criminal laws for profaning the Crucifix. Since the Jewish community had tolerated these anti-Catholic antics, the local Endeks reacted by urging a boycott of Jewish shops. It is doubtful, however, that this boycott was respected or sustained for any period. See “Koszerna balanga,” Nowa Myśl Polska, December 5, 2004.

212 Horowitz, Reckless Rites, 11, passim, especially chapter 6. Horowitz concludes his survey of Jewish attacks on sacred Christian objects by Jews as follows: “we are in a better position to take Christian reports of Jewish cross-desecration seriously rather than dismissing them as anti-Semitic inventions. There is also no paucity of references to such conduct in Jewish sources …” Ibid., 156.

213 Ibid., 10.

214 Sandro Contenta, “Fiery ritual ignites passions: English town clings to ancient practice of burning effigy of pope in its blazing celebration of Bonfire Night,” Toronto Star, November 4, 2006.

215 Mark S. Smith, Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling (Gloucestershire, United Kingdom: The History Press, 2010), 59.

216 Ellen Livingston, Tradition and Modernism in the Shtetl: Aisheshuk, 1919–1939: An Oral History (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1986), 74.

217 Ibid., 97. A Jewish woman from Wołożyn recalled: “The goyim would often come to the rabbi for a blessing. They would bring a chicken, a few zlotes [złoty] to heal and the rabbi would offer them a prayer.” See Cheyna Rogovin Chertow, “Growing Up in White Russia: My Memories of Belakoritz ans Wolozyn(Poland/White Russia) 1912–1931,” Belarus (SIG) Newsletter, no. 2 (February 1999).

218 Ellen Livingston, Tradition and Modernism in the Shtetl, 96.

219 Aviel, A Village Named Dowgalishok, 19.

220 Haya Kreslansky, “This is How We Lived in Our Town,” in Dereczin (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacob Solomon Berger, 2000), 158.

221 Testimony of Krystyna Budnicka, August 2003, Internet: .

222 Kosow Lacki (San Francisco: Holocaust Center of Northern California, 1992), 19.

223 Ibid., 49.

224 Mordechai Bochner, ed., Sefer Chrzanow: Lebn un umkum fun a yidish shtetl (Roslyn Harbor, New York: Solomon Gross, 1989), 1ff., translated (by Jonathan Boyarin) as Chrzanow: The Life and Destruction of a Jewish Shtetl, Internet: .

225 Interview with Miles Lerman, July 17, 2001, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

226 Samuel P. Oliner, Restless Memories: Recollections of the Holocaust Years (Berkeley, California: Judah L. Magnes Museum, 1986), 29, 44, 46, 54, 81.

227 Zborowski and Herzog, Life IsW with People, 91.

228 Alex Gross, Yankele: A Holocaust Survivor’s Bittersweet Memoir (Lanham, New York, and Oxford: University Press of America, 2001), 3.

229 Leon Weliczker Wells, The Janowska Road (New York: Macmillan, 1963), 15.

230 Roman Frister, The Cap, or the Price of a Life (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), 277–78.

231 Edith S. Weigand, Edith Weigand, Out of the Fury: The Incredible Odysssey of Eliezer Urbach (Denver: Zhera Publications, 1987), 17–18.

232 Gill, The Journey Back From Hell, 139.

233 Wiesław Magiera, “Żydówka za karmelitankami,” Głos Polski (Toronto), October 9, 1993.

234 Sulia Wolozhinski Rubin, Against the Tide: The Story of an Unknown Partisan (Jerusalem: Posner & Sons, 1980), 47, 49.

235 Account of Irena Kisielewska née Englard in Marian Turski, ed., Losy żydowskie: Świadectwo żywych, vol. 1 (Warsaw: Stowarzyszenie Żydów Kombatantów i Poszkodowanych w II Wojnie Światowej, 1996), 8–10.

236 Lucien Steinberg, The Jews Against Hitler: Not as a Lamb (London: Gordon and Cremonesi, 1978), 168.

237 Theo Richmond, Konin: A Quest (London: Jonathan Cape, 1995), 58–59, 161.

238 Account of Rochl Leichter in Berl Kagan, ed., Luboml: The Memorial Book of a Vanquished Shtetl (Hoboken, New Jersey: Ktav Publishing House, 1997), 135. We also learn that this woman’s sister became a popular seamstress: “All our Christian neighbors began to bring in orders for dresses, blouses, and children’s items.”

239 Donia Rosen, The Forest, My Friend (New York and Tel Aviv: Bergen Belsen Memorial Press, 1971), 6–7.

240 Testimony of Irit R. in Ewa Kurek, Your Life Is Worth Mine: How Polish Nuns Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children in German-Occupied Poland, 1939–1945 (New York: Hippocrene, 1997), 191.

241 Fanya Gottesfeld Heller, Strange and Unexpected Love: A Teenage Girl’s Holocaust Memoirs (Hoboken, New Jersey: Ktav, 1993), 20, 31–32. Adam Neuman, who grew up in Płock, also recalled, “I never felt different from my Catholic friends, and, in fact, I always had an open invitation to their homes at holiday time.” See Adam Neuman-Nowicki, Struggle for Life During the Nazi Occupation of Poland (Lewiston, New York; Queenston, Ontario; Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998), 4.

242 Sylvia Rothchild, ed., Voices from the Holocaust (New York: Nal Books/New American Library, 1981), 74.

243 Joseph S. Kutrzeba, The Contract: A Life for a Life (New York: iUniverse, 2009), 56–57.

244 Timothy W. Ryback, The Last Survivor: In Search of Martin Zaidenstadt (New York: Pantheon Books/Random House, 1999), 185.

245 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 137.

246 “Bartoszewski i Wishner—Twarzą w twarz: Dialog polsko-żydowski,” Dziennik Związkowy (Chicago), December 6–8, 1996.

247 Her testimony is posted online at: .

248 Cited in Józef Geresz, Międzyrzec Podlaski: Dzieje miasta i okolic (Międzyrzec Podlaski: InterGraf, 2001).

249 Joanna Wiszniewicz, And Yet I Still Have Dreams: A Story of Certain Loneliness (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2004), 8, 11.

250 Yehuda Nir, The Lost Childhood: A Memoir (San Diego, New York and London: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989), 44.

251 A Jewish girl who grew up in a small village near Kraków where there were only five Jewish families, all of them merchants who appeared to have led comfortable and peaceful lives and were “very close” to one another, nonetheless “felt”—though she was not actually told as much—that the villagers looked upon them “as different because of our religion, and their inability to handle our differences set the Jewish inhabitants apart. Their fear of us was so pronounced that any attempts to come close, in any shape or form, always failed. I was keenly aware of this situation but could not understand it, nor could I accept it emotionally.” Since the writer was just a young girl at the time and her assessment goes far beyond her own personal experiences, it is doubtless much embellished by her impressions and by hearsay for which she does not set out a factual basis for the reader to judge. Typically, she is silent about Jewish views of Poles. See Renée Fodor Schwarz, Renée (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1991), 31.

252 Anthony Netboy, A Boy’s Life in the Chicago Ghetto ([Chicago:] n.p., 1980), 44.

253 Eliyahu Eisenberg, ed., Plotzk (Płock): A History of an Ancient Jewish Community in Poland (Tel Aviv: World Committee for the Plotzk Memorial Book and Plotzker Association in Israel, 1967), 37; English translation posted online at .

254 The rebbe in the cheder in Kortelisy, Volhynia, used the word shkotsim, a derogatory term for non-Jews. See Laizer Blitt, No Strength to Forget: Survival in the Ukraine, 1941–1944 (London and Portland, Oregon: Vallentine Mitchell, 2007), 9.

255 L. Losh, ed., Sefer zikaron le-kehilot Shtutshin, Vasilishki, Ostrina, Novi Dvor, and Rozanka (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Shtutshin, Vasilishki, Ostrina, Novi Dvor, and Rozanka, 1966), 41.

256 Rubin, Against the Tide, 122.

257 Account of Ahuvah Linchevsky (Ramat Gan), “My Childhood Memories,” in David Shtokfish, ed., Sefer Drohiczyn (Tel Aviv: n.p., 1969), 5ff. (English section).

258 Account of Isaac Milstein in Berl Kagan, ed., Szydlowiec Memorial Book (New York: Shidlowtzer Benevolent Association in New York, 1989), 61.

259 Cited in Alina Cała, “The Social Consciousness of Young Jews in Interwar Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 53.

260 Zosia Goldberg, as told to Hilton Obenzinger, Running Through Fire: How I Survived the Holocaust (San Francisco: Mercury House, 2004), 4.

261 Res Publica, no. 7 (1988): 43–52.

262 Theodore S. Hamerow, Remembering a Vanished World: A Jewish Childhood in Interwar Poland (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2001), 129. It is a well-documented fact that popular sporting events like soccer matches are often a venue for hooliganism and crass or even racist behaviour throughout the world. The Amsterdam soccer team Ajax falsely gained a reputation for being a “Jewish” team in the 1960s; although its own fans adopted this identity as a point of pride, it soon became a source of derision for, and anti-Semitic displays by, fans of opposing teams. To provoke Ajax supporters, rival fans would give the Nazi salute, chant “Hamas, Hamas!”, shout “Jews to the gas!” or simply hiss to simulate the sound of gas escaping. See Craig S. Smith, “A Dutch Soccer Riddle: Jewish Regalia Without Jews,” The New York Times, March 28, 2005. The activities of Beitar Jerusalem Football Club supporters in Charleroi, Belgium, on July 16, 2015, were describd as follows: “Beitar supporters, including members of the French Jewish Defence League, began their visit by rampaging in the streets of Charleroi, picking fights with fans of the local team. … The JDL, founded by the late extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, whose movement and political party, Kach, are banned in Israel and several other countries, claims affiliation to the militaristic Beitar movement to which Mr. Kahane belonged as a youth. The fans arrived at the stadium and hung their Kach flags alongside Israel’s national flags. Charleroi fans chided them by giving them the Nazi straight-arm salute, which drove Beitar supporters crazy. Dozens of flares and fireworks were thrown on the field, delaying the game. Later, the Charleroi goalkeeper was hit in the head with some object thrown from the Beitar crowd. Despite all that, Beitar players came over to their fans at the end of the game and applauded them. … This is a team that never has had an Arab on its squad, even though Israel’s population is 20 per cent Arab … Two years ago, Beitar signed two skilled Chechens—Muslims—to play for the team, and fans became incensed, burning down part of the club’s practice facility. The Chechens were traded to another team.” See Patrick Martin, “Love, Hatred, Religion and Politics Fuel Fans of Beitar Jerusalem FC,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), July 25, 2015.

263 Larry Stillman, A Match Made in Hell: The Jewish Boy and the Polish Outlaw Who Defied the Nazis. From the Testimony of Morris Goldner (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2003), 16–17.

264 Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption, 31.

265 Irene Shapiro, Revisiting the Shadows: Memoirs from War-torn Poland to the Statue of Liberty (Elk River, Minnesota: DeForest Press, 2004), 41.

266 Henry G. Gribou, Hunted in Warsaw: A Memoir of Resistance and Survival in the Holocaust (Jefferson, North Carolina a,d Londond: McFarlans, 2012), 37.

267 Daniel Kac, Koncert grany żywym (Warsaw: Tu, 1998), 66–67.

268 Berk, Destined to Live, 64–65.

269 Isaac Aron, Fallen Leaves: Stories of the Holocaust and the Partisans (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1981), 118.

270 Henry Orenstein, I Shall Live: Surviving Against All Odds, 1939–1945 (New York: Beaufort, 1987), 25. As Orenstein notes, “the Jews had always lived almost totally separate from the gentile population … Many Jews did not speak Polish at all, or at best only broken Polish. At home, they spoke Yiddish, and their customs and culture were different, too, as was their appearance: most of them wore beards and long earlocks, yarmulkes on their heads, and black caftans. Their religion was the key to their existence, and precluded any assimilation. … The Polish peasants were poor, and opportunities for Jews were limited. … These conditions and many restrictions caused a few of the Jews to resort to questionable business practices. … Most Poles viewed the Jews with suspicion; to them they were a strange people, a foreign body thrust into the middle of Polish society. They couldn’t understand why Jews held to their traditions and religious beliefs with such fanatic dedication, and they resented them for it. … The relationship between Jews and Poles had become a vicious cycle. Each had good reason to mistrust the other, but it was the Jews who bore the brunt of the abuse because they were the minority.” Ibid., 4–6.

271 Interview with Leon Lepold, June 30, 1983, The Generation After Oral History Project, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Marquette University Libraries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

272 André Caussat, Gutka: Du ghetto de Varsovie à la liberté retrouvée (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1999), 22.

273 Maurice Shainberg, Breaking From the KGB: Warsaw Ghetto Fighter…Intelligence Officer…Defector to the West (New York: Shapolsky, 1986), 33–40.

274 Munro, Bialystok to Birkenau, 54; Jakub Gutenbaum and Agnieszka Latała, eds., The Last Eyewitnesses: Children of the Holocaust Speak, vol. 2 (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2005), 319. On the other hand, the Polish family in the latter case did not disown their son for marrying a Jewish woman, even though she did not convert and their child was not baptized. For another example a religious Jewish family cutting off relations with a Jewish woman who married a Pole, see Ruta Pragier, Żydzi czy Polacy (Warsaw: Rytm, 1992), 124.

275 Livingston, Tradition and Modernism in the Shtetl, 68. The attitude toward illegitimate offspring was equally unenlightened. When a child was born to a Jewish maid in Kolbuszowa, “The town’s younsters never tired of taunting the man’s other children with the name of the illegitimate child. See Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 190. Edwin Langberg of Drohobycz described the situation in his own household as follows: “my 75 year-old maternal grandmother Sara Nacht was frail and permanently bedridden. She relied on her nurse Blima for all of her physical needs. Our housekeeper Sophie helped in trading for food and took care of meals. The status of Sophie and Blima was an anachronism, an indirect result of the orthodox interpretation of the Hebrew Old Testament relating to ‘mamzers,’ those born of an illegitimate union. The Torah states: ‘No mamzer shall be admitted into the congregation of the Lord; none of his descendants, even in the tenth generation, shall be admitted into the congregation of the Lord’ (23:3). The circumstances of their births tragically precluded Blima and Sophie from any chance of a Jewish marriage and family, or membership in the Jewish congregation in pre-war Poland when Jewish life was to a large extent ruled by Orthodox Judaism. Female mamzers frequently entered into service with Jewish families, usually at a young age. There was no binding agreement but after a year or two, both parties considered the position lifelong. Sophie took care of the children in my uncle Elias’ family, and after my mother’s death, became our housekeeper. Blima took care of my arthritic grandmother for years.” See Edwin Langberg with Julia M. Langberg, Sara’s Blessing (Lumberton, New Jersey: Emethas Publishers, 2003), 16–17. This phenomenon probably accounts for the fact that a number of Jewish children were taken in by Catholic orphanages in the interwar period. The traditional charge levelled against the Catholic Church in Poland, in particular its convents, regarding the abduction and forcible conversion of Jewish children and especially young women has been discredited by research conducted by Jewish historians. See ChaeRan Freeze, “When Chava Left Home: Gender, Conversion, and the Jewish Family in Tsarist Russia,” and Rachel Manekin, “The Lost Generation: Education and Female Conversion in Fin-de-Siècle Kraków,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 18 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2005), 153–219. For statistics on conversions in the 1930s see Wacław Wierzbieniec, Żydzi w województwie lwowskim w okresie międzywojennym: Zagadnienia demograficzne i społeczne (Rzeszów: Uniwersytet Rzeszowski, 2003), 33–40.

276 Abraham W. Landau, Branded on My Arm and on My Soul: A Holocaust Memoir (New Bedford, Massachusetts: Spinner Publications with The Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford, 2011), 25.

277 Machla Lewin-Botler, “The Last Ones of a Family,” in A. Sh. Sztejn (Shtayn) and Gavriel Wejszman (Vaysman), eds., Pinkas Sokhatshev (Jerusalem: Former Residents of Sochaczew in Israel, 1962), 533ff.; translasted as Memorial Book of Sochaczew, Internet: .

278 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 190.

279 Roman Halter, Roman’s Journey (London: Portobello, 2007), 265.

280 Eliach, There Once Was a World, 399.

281 Leon Kahn (as told to Marjorie Morris), No Time To Mourn: A True Story of a Jewish Partisan Fighter (Vancouver: Laurelton Press, 1978), 81.

282 Livingston, Tradition and Modernism in the Shtetl, 68.

283 Account of Maria Chilicka, dated February 6, 2005 (in the author’s possession).

284 Samuel Bak, Painted in Words: A Memoir (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press; Boston: Pucker Art Publications, 2001), 243.

285 Henry Gitelman, I Am Drenched in the Dew of My Childhood: A Memoir (No publisher, 1997), 21, as quoted in Zvi Gitelman, “Collective Memory and Contemporary Polish-Jewish Relations,” in Zimmerman, ed., Contested Memories, 275.

286 Adam Kazimierz Musiał, Lata w ukryciu (Gliwice: n.p.; 2002), vol. 2, 329.

287 Lehmann, Symbiosis and Ambivalence, 116–18. When this woman was seized by the Germans during the occupation together with other Jews and taken to the ghetto in Rzeszów, Jews in the ghetto tried to persuade a tipsy Ukrainian soldier to shoot her: “The Jews told him: ‘She is a convert! She has to be killed and shot!’ They said so in my presence. They didn’t care at all! But the Ukrainian soldier told the Jews that he had not received an order to shoot her. He beat her instead in order to ‘silence’ the Jewish mob.” Ibid., 119.

288 Lehmann, Symbiosis and Ambivalence, 126–27.

289 Diane Armstrong, Mosaic: A Chronicle of Five Generations (Milsons Point, New South Wales: Random House, 1998), 129.

290 Freiberg, To Survive Sobibor, Chapter 1.

291 Helene C. Kaplan, I Never Left Janowska… (New York: Holocaust Library, 1989), 3.

292 Roman Grunspan, The Uprising of the Death Box of Warsaw (New York: Vantage Press, 1978), 12.

293 Marian Pretzel, Portrait of a Young Forger: Marian Pretzel’s Memoirs of His Adventures and Survival in Wartime Europe (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1989), 89–90.

294 Israel Gutman, ed., The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations: Rescuers of Jews During the Holocaust: Supplementary Volumes (2000–2005), volume II (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2010), 569–70.

295 Fay Walker and Leo Rosen (with Caren S. Neile), Hidden: A Sister and Brother in Nazi Poland (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), 193, 194.

296 Haroon Siddiqui, “Anti-Arab Hate Grows in Israel with Rise of the Right,” Toronto Star, August 21, 2014.

297 Assimilationists and converts were generally loathed in the ghettos. In his chronicle of the Warsaw ghetto Emanuel Ringelblum notes that Jewish nationalists were delighted that the Jews were finally separated from the Poles, albeit in ghettos, seeing in this the beginnings of a separate Jewish state on Polish territory. Hatred towards Polish Christians grew in the ghetto because it was believed that they were responsible for the economic restrictions that befell the Jews. Moreover, many Jews embarked on a battle against the use of the Polish language in the ghetto, especially in Jewish agencies and education, and were opposed to Jewish converts occupying positions of authority. See Emanuel Ringelblum, Kronika getta warszawskiego: Wrzesień 1939–styczeń 1943 (Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1983), 118, 214–15, 531ff. Some Jewish nationalists simply did not permit the use of the Polish language in their homes. See Antoni Marianowicz, Życie surowo wzbronione (Warsaw: Czytelnik, 1995), 46; Antoni Marianowicz, Life Strictly Forbidden (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2004). That author also attests to the fact that converts were generally detested (p. 47), and to the pro-German attitudes of some Jews in the ghetto (pp. 66–67, 190). A Jewish memoir describes how children who did not speak Yiddish, which was a German-based language, were ostracized by Yiddish-speaking children in the Warsaw ghetto: they were disparaged as “Poles” and “converts” and were even pelted with rocks. See Małgorzata-Maria Acher, Niewłaściwa twarz: Wspomnienia ocalałej z warszawskiego getta (Częstochowa: Święty Paweł, 2001), 48. A Jewish woman who turned to a bearded Jew in Polish, since she did not speak Yiddish, recalled his hostile reaction: “I think he understood me, but he got very angry that I did not speak Yiddish, so he spat at me, “Du solst starben zwischem goyim!” I did not understand exactly what he said, so I went back to my apartment and repeated it to my mother. “What does ‘Du solst starben zwischem goyim’ mean?” She said, “Who cursed you like this?” She explained to me that he had said, “May you die amongst the goyim!” He said this because if you do not speak Yiddish, you were an outcast.” See Goldberg, Running Through Fire, 39.

According to one source, there were fewer than 1,600 Christian converts in the Warsaw ghetto; according to other sorces, there may have been as many as 2,000 or even 5,000. See, respectively, Yisrael Gutman, The Jews of Warsaw, 1939–1943: Ghetto, Underground, Revolt (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982), 59; Barbara Engelking and Jacek Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto: A Guide to the Perished City (New Haven, Connecticut, and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 652; Peter F. Dembowski, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto: An Epitaph for the Unremembered (Notre Dame Indiana: Notre Dame University, 2005), 66–68. As many accounts confirm, the general sentiment toward Jewish converts to Christianity living inside the ghetto was one of hostility and derision. Malicious jokes about converts circulated within the ghetto. See Lusia Przybyszewicz, All That Was ([Broovdale, New South Wales]: n.p., 2001), Chapter 13. Rabbi Chaim Aron Kaplan expressed tremendous rancor toward Jewish converts, attributing to them the vilest of motives and rejoicing at their misfortune: “I shall, however, have revenge on our ‘converts.’ I will laugh aloud at the sight of their tragedy. … Conversion brought them but small deliverance. … This is the first time in my life that a feeling of vengeance has given me pleasure.” See Abraham I. Katsh, ed., Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan (New York: Macmillan; and London: Collier-Macmillan, 1965), 78–79, 250 (Kaplan suggests that Jewish informers may have been behind their betrayal to the Germans). Traditionally, Jews viewed converts as particularly virulent “enemies of Israel.” See Dembowski, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto, 101. Even Jewish atheists openly declared their disdain toward converts. See Grace Caporino and Dianne Isaacs, “Testimonies from the ‘Aryan’ Side: ‘Jewish Catholics’ in the Warsaw Ghetto,” in John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell, eds., Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire and New York: Palgrave, 2001), vol. 1, 194. As many accounts confirm, the general sentiment toward Jewish converts to Christianity living inside the ghetto was one of hostility and loathing. The Orthodox members of the Jewish council attempted to deny Christian Jews the rights and help given to Jews in the ghetto. See Dembowski, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto, 70. They were detested for everything: their betrayal of Judaism, their use of the Polish language, their education and social and economic status, their alleged air of superiority and anti-Semitism, and even the assistance they received from Caritas, a Catholic relief organization. Soon malicious, but false, stories spread that they had taken over the senior positions in the ghetto administration and controlled the Jewish police force. See Havi Ben-Sasson,”Christians in the Ghetto: All Saints’ Church, Birth of the Holy Virgin Mary Church, and the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto,” in Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 31 (2003): 153–73. This was so even though, according to one prominent researcher, many if not most of the converts were opportunistic and continued to consider themselves Jews, few of them sustained any connection with their new religion, and “virtually all continued to donate to Jewish religious charities.” See Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919–1939, 78. See also Dembowski, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto, 93; Marian Małowist, “Assimilationists and Neophytes at the Time of War-Operations and in the Closed Jewish Ghetto,” in Joseph Kermish, ed., To Live With Honor and Die With Honor!…: Selected Documents from the Warsaw Ghetto Underground Archives “O.S.” [“Oneg Shabbath”] (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1986), 619–34. (The memoir of Halina Gorcewicz, whose father ostensibly converted to Catholicism when he married her mother, illustrates that even Jews who had fully assimilated linguistically and culturally maintained a strong tribal-like attachment to fellow Jews—perhaps an embodiment of the lingering notion of the oneness of “the chosen people” they had inherited from Judaism. See Halina Gorcewicz’s memoir, Why, Oh God, Why?, posted online at .) When Ludwik Hirszfeld, a renowned specialist and convert, started to give lectures for medical practitioners in the Warsaw ghetto, he was boycotted by Jewish nationalists. See Dembowski, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto, 122. The blatant hostility and humiliations faced by Christian converts in the Warsaw ghetto are documented by Alceo Valcini, the Warsaw correspondent of the Milan Corriere della Sera, whose diary was translated into Polish as Golgota Warszawy, 1939–1945 (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1973). Converts were repeatedly harassed when they left church after mass and, on occasion, even the German police had to intervene to protect them from enraged Orthodox Jews. Converts who did not figure in community lists were denied food rations and material assistance. Ibid., 235–36. Valcini’s portrayal is fully supported by a report filed by a Jewish Gestapo informer: Crowds of Jews would gather in front of the Christian churches on Sundays and Christian holy days to take in the spectacle of converts attending mass. At Easter in 1942, the crowd of onlookers was so large at the church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Leszno Street that the Ordnungsdienst (Jewish police) stationed a special squad there to maintain order and protect the converts. Cited in Christopher R. Browning and Israel Gutman, “The Reports of a Jewish ‘Informer’ in the Warsaw Ghetto—Selected Documents,” in Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 17 (1986): 263. Hostilities also occurred during the Sunday mass at All Saints’ Church, where a large mob of Hasids gathered with sticks to beat up the converted Jews as they left church. The Jewish order police was called in to disperse the Hasidic pogromists. This incident is described in the memoirs of Stanisław Gajewski, which are found in the Yad Vashem archives. See Engelking and Leociak, The Warsaw Ghetto, 654; Dembowski, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto, 85. A Jewish woman, who was not a convert, describes in her memoirs how Jewish scum in the Warsaw ghetto harassed Jewish Christians who attended church services. See Ruth Altbeker Cyprys, A Jump For Life: A Survivor’s Journal from Nazi-Occupied Poland (New York: Continuum, 1997), 32. A Pole who entered the ghetto recalled the caustic remarks made by onlookers about Jews who attended religious services at All Saints’ Church. See Waclaw Sledzinski, Governor Frank’s Dark Harvest (Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Mid-Wales: Montgomerys, 1946), 120. This is confirmed by another Jew who observed Jewish youths standing in the street as converts walked to church services and calling out mockingly “Good Yontiff!” (Good holiday!). See Gary A. Keins, A Journey Through the Valley of Perdition ([United States]: n.p., 1985), 86. A similar situation prevailed in Kraków: when priests and nuns would enter the ghetto to tend to the spiritual needs of converts, they were spat on and cursed by indignant Jews. “Converts were not popular in the ghetto. … We’re foreigners and they hate us.” See Frister, The Cap, or the Price of a Life, 84, 89–90. Those who did not abide by religious traditions were also abused, especially by intolerant Orthodox Jews. A teenaged girl from Łódź, who took refuge with her parents in Łosice, recalled the abuse hurled on her for performing a chore on the Sabbath. See Stella Zylbersztajn, A gdyby to było Wasze dziecko? (Łosice: Łosickie Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju Equus, 2005); Marek Jerzman, “A gdyby to było nasze dziecko,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 3 (March 2009): 59.

The fate of the Gypsies, who were rounded up and sent to Jewish ghettos, was even harsher than that of the Jews since they had no communal welfare organizations to assist them. The Gypsies were beggars and were forced to wear distinctive armbands. They were universally regarded as intruders and loathsome thieves. Chaim Kaplan, for example, complained in his diary that “they occupy themselves by stealing from the Jews.” See Abraham I. Katsh, ed., Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan (New York: Macmillan; London: Collier-Macmillan, 1965), 294–95. Gypsies apprehended in “Aryan” Warsaw were taken to the prison on Gęsia Street where they were guarded by functionaries of the Jewish police. See Institute of National Memory, Warsaw Regional Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against the Polish Nation, file no. S 5/20/Zn. There is no record of Jews displaying solidarity or offering assistance to the Gypsies. The Gypsies in the Warsaw ghetto were rounded up and deported to the death camps scarcely noticed. Within the confines of the large Jewish ghetto in Łódź, the Germans built a smaller, isolated ghetto for some 5,000 Gypsies. Conditions there were even worse than for the Jews and, without connections or any outside assistance (such as almost all Jewish ghettos received from the surrounding Polish community), the Gypsies were soon decimated by hunger and disease. Jews were not starving in the Łódź ghetto. Although their food rations were reduced from 1,600 calories in 1940 to 1,000 in 1942, in the analogous period, food rations for Poles in the Generalgouvernment were 736 and 400, respectively. See Grzegorz Berendt, “Cena życia—ekonomiczne uwarunkowania egzystencji Żydów po ‘aryjskiej stronie’,” in Zagłada Żydów: Studia i materiały, vol. 4 (Warsaw: Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów, IFiS PAN, 2008): 115, 118. Mordechai Rumkowski, chairman of the Jewish council, argued with the German authorities about the arrival of the Gypsies: “We cannot live together with them. The Gypsies are the sort of people who can do anything. First they rob and then they set fire and soon everything is in flames, including your factories and materials.” See Alan Adelson and Robert Lapides, eds., Łódź Ghetto: Inside a Community Under Siege (New York: Viking, 1989), 173. A Jewish doctor from Łódź admits candidly: “There was no pity in the ghetto for Gypsies.” See Arnold Mostowicz, Żółta gwiazda i czerwony krzyż (Warsaw: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1988), 25–27. According to another source, “The Jews shut their eyes to the fate of the Gypsies. Rumkowski was ordered to set up special barracks for them, to provide food and medical services, and to see that the dead were buried in the Jewish cemetery. A typhus epidemic, in which several Jewish doctors lost their lives, broke out in the Gypsies’ quarters. They were strictly quarantined during their short-lived existence in the ghetto. In December, 1941, they were deported. The Jews neither knew where nor cared. The Gypsies ended at the death camp of Chelmno [Kulmhof].” See Leonard Tushnet, The Pavement of Hell (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1972), 44. In Głębokie, “In the fall of 1941, Gypsy wagons were brought into the Gendarmerie yard. The Gypsies were brought with their women and children. … A rumor spread that they were to be put in the second ghetto with the Jews. To prevent this, the Judenrat asked for another bribe quota for the Germans. It turned out that the Gypsies were shot with their women and children before dawn.” Dov Katzovitch (Petach Tikva), “With the Partisans and in the Red Army,” in David Shtokfish, ed., Book in Memory of Dokshitz-Parafianow [Dokszyce-Parafianowo Memorial Book], (Israel: Organization of Dokshitz-Parafianow Veterans in Israel and the Diaspora, 1990), Chapter 4 (Internet: www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/dokshitsy/). However, sociologist Nechama Tec blames the Gypsies for the conflict. See Nechama Tec, “Resistance in Eastern Europe,” in Walter Laqueur, ed., The Holocaust Encyclopedia (New Haven and Yale: Yale University Press, 2001), 544.

298 Marta Markowska, ed., Archiwum Ringelbluma: Dzień po dniu Zagłady (Warsaw: Ośrodek Karta, Dom Spotkań z Historią, and Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, 2008), 121.

299 Quoted in Ruzhka Korczak (Reizl Korchak), Levahot be-efer, 3rd edition (Merhavia: Moreshet Sifriat Poalim, 1965), 345. Already in the inauguratory issue of the Wilno Jewish newspaper Vilner Togblat, dated December 27, 1939, the editorial decried: “we are decidedly opposed to the fact that Jews of Wilno, or Warsaw, or anywhere else, speak in Polish on the streets of Wilno, in cafes or in homes.” At the time, Poles constituted a majority of the city’s population. See Andrzej Krzysztof Kunert, ed. Polacy–Żydzi, Polen–Juden, Poles–Jews, 1939–1945: Wybór Źródeł, Quellenauswahl, Selection of Documents (Warsaw: Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa, Instytut Dziedzictwa Narodowego, and Rytm, 2001), 364.

300 While Polish language schools in Łódź were closed down in December 1939, Jewish schools in the ghetto continued to function until the fall of 1941. See Adam Sitarek, “Trzy miasta: Dzień powszedni w Litzmannsadt—wybrane problemy,” in Tomasz Chinciński, ed., Przemoc i dzień powszedni w okupowanej Polsce (Gdańsk: Muzeum II Wojny Światowej; Oskar, 2011), 471–74.

301 See, for example, Acher, Niewłaściwa twarz, 48 (Warsaw); Gustaw Kerszman, Jak ginąć, to razem (Montreal: Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation, 2003), 52 (Białystok).

302 Piotr Gontarczyk, Polska Partia Robotnicza: Droga do władzy 1941–1944 (Warsaw: Fronda, 2003), 45–46.

303 Celia S. Heller, On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland between the Two World
Wars
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), 286–91.

304 Szyja Bronsztejn, “Polish-Jewish Relations as Reflected in Memoirs of the Interwar Period,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 84.

305 Cited in Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, “Shtetl Communities: Another Image,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 101.

306 Tuviah Friedman, Nazi Hunter (Haifa: Institute for the Documentation of Nazi War Crimes, 1961), 81.

307 Alexander Szurek, The Shattered Dream (Boulder, Colorado: East European Monographs, 1989), 31.

308 Stillman, A Match Made in Hell, 7.

309 Kutz, If, By Miracle, 11.

310 Dan Kurzman, Ben-Gurion: Prophet of Fire (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 50.

311 David Ben-Gurion and Thomas R. Bransten, ed., Memoirs: David Ben-Gurion (New York: World Publishing, 1970), 36–37.

312 Piotr Kardela, “Krasnostawcy Żydzi,” Przegląd Polski (New York), June 16, 2000.

313 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 245.

314 Testimony of George (Boris Rubin), Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Interview code 5800.

315 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 64–65, 70–71, 126.

316 Mieczysław Dobrzański, Gehenna Polaków na Rzeszowszczyźnie w latach 1939–1948 (Wrocław: Nortom, 2002), 93.

317 Zdzisław Zakrzewski, “Na Politechnice Lwowskiej,” Glaukopis: Pismo społeczno-historyczne, no. 5–6 (2006): 112–13.

318 Neuman-Nowicki, Struggle for Life During the Nazi Occupation of Poland, 6–7.

319 Interview with Miles Lerman, July 17, 2001, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

320 Yerachmiel Moorstein, ed., Zelva Memorial Book (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacob Solomon Berger, 1992), 101.

321 Sports was often one more realm in which anti-Jewish sentiment found visceral expression. Non-Jewish teams at times refused to play against Jewish sports teams; when Jewish sports teams played in general arenas, players were called “Jewish pigs” and other such names, and shouts of “Death to the Jews” were commonplace. Jews sometimes responded in kind, and Jewish fans joined in the fighting at times. See Michael Brenner and Gideon Reuveni, eds., Emancipation through Muscle: Jews and Sports in Europe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006).

322 Rivalry between the Rangers and Celtic football clubs in Glasgow (the former being a bastion of hardcore anti-Catholic and anti-Irish bigotry, the latter considered a Catholic team) led to eight deaths and hundreds of assaults between 1996 and 2003 alone. See Franklin Foer, How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization (New York: HarperCoollins, 2004), 36 – 37. In Busto Arsizio, AC Milan players walked off the field on January 3, 2013, because of racist chants directed at several Milan Black players. In England, there have been several arrests among fans for racist outbursts at Premier League matches, and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Chelsea captain John Terry served bans for racially abusing opponents. In October 2012, Serbian fans directed monkey chants at black England players in a European under-21 match that ended in a brawl between players and coaches from both teams. In December 2012, fans of Russian champion Zenit St. Petersburg issued a petition calling for non-white and gay players to be excluded from the team. See “AC Milan Exhibition Ends After Racist Chants,” The Associated Press, The Telegraph, January 3, 2013.

323 Account of Dr. Leopold Lustig in Henryk Grynberg, Drohobycz, Drohobycz and Other Stories: True Tales from the Holocaust and Life After (New York: Penguin Books, 2002), 16.

324 Aleksandra Namysło, “Kim jestem—Polakiem, Niemcem, Żydem? Stosunki żydowsko-żydowskie na dawnym Górnym Śląsku,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 11 (November 2010): 55.

325 Kolpanitzky, Sentenced to Life, 24.

326 Nechama Tec, Defiance: The Bielski Partisans (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 8–9.

327 Peter Duffy, The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Saved 1,200 Jews, and Built a Village in the Forest (New York: HaperCollins, 2003), 15–16.

328 Ben Rose, “Discarded rifle kept family alive during war,” The Canadian Jewish News, August 24, 1995. One wonders if a Black American could ever expect to see such leniency in the military in interwar America.

329 Pell and Rosenbaum, Taking Risks, 30–31. One wonders if a Black American could ever expect to see such leniency from an official in interwar America.

330 Testimony of Salomea Germot, February 2005, Internet: .

331 Yankl Lapp, “Heroism (Episodes),” in Shuval, The Szczebrzeszyn Memorial Book, 29.

332 Joe Friesen, “Black Belt Teen Strikes Back at Bully, and Rallies Community Around Racism,” The Globe and Mail, April 30, 2009; Joe Friese, “Hate-crime Investigator Digs Deeper Into bullying Brawl,” The Globe and Mail, May 1, 2009.

333 Account of Rivka Barlev in Kosow Lacki, 14.

334 Account of Leo Scher, Loiusiana Holocaust Survivors, The Southern Institute for Education and Research, posted at .

335 See, for example, Yehoshya Zilber, “The Revisionist Part,” in M. Bakalczuk-Felin, ed., Commemoration Book Chelm, Internet: ; translation of Yisker-bukh Chelm (Johannesburg: Former Residents of Chelm, 1954), 213–14 (the local Polish authorities in Chełm alerted the police commander, who sent out patrols to ensure that rumoured violence did not erupt).

336 Many examples of police interventions, arrests, and criminal trials in Lwów are noted in Grzegorz Mazur, Życie polityczne polskiego Lwowa 1918–1939 (Kraków: Księgarnia Akademicka, 2007), 219–74. For examples of interventions by the Polish authorities in the Wilno, Lublin and Łódź areas see, respectively, Januszewska-Jurkiewicz, Stosunki narodowościowe na Wileńszczyźnie w latach 1920–1939, 559, and Zbigniew Zaporowski, “Miaszteczko i sztetl: Polacy i Żydzi w województwie lubelskim w przededniu II wojny światowej,” and Michał Trębacz, “Stosunki polsko-żydowskie w województwie łódzkim (1938–1939),” in Sitarek, Trębacz, and Wiatr, Zagłada Żydów na polskiej prowincji, 25–26, 45–46. See also the following: “Glowno”, in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1976), 81–84, translated as Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Internet: (six instigators of riots were put on trial and jailed for 4 to 8 months); “Opatow”, in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 7 (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1999), 58–64, translated as Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Internet: (rioters who attacked stores and stalls of Jews in Opatów were arrested, brought to trial, and sentenced); “Radzyn,” in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 7, 543–47, translated as Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Internet: ; “Sosnowiec,” in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 7, 327–38, translated as Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Internet: . Notwithstanding this overwhelming evidence, some Jewish historians claim the Polish authorities were complicit in these disturbances and that the administration largely remained inactive. See, for example, Prusin, The Lands Between, 118–19.

337 Polish rioters were shot by the police in Odrzywół on November 20, 1935, when 12 Poles were killed and some 20 were wounded, and in Radziłów on March 23, 1933, when two Poles were killed and two died of their wounds in the hospital. For a description of the police pacification in Wyszyn near Chodzież, see Rafał Sierchuła and Piotr Szewczyński, “Sprawa zabójstwa Wawrzyńca Sielskiego w Wyszynie: Policyjna pacyfikacja Stronnictwa Narodowego w powiecie konińskim w lutym 1936 r. w świetle dokumentów prokratury,” Glaukopis (Warsaw), vol. 29 (2013): 284–318.

338 See, for example, Eliasz Bialski, Patrząc prosto w oczy (Montreal: Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation, 2002), 24. The author recalls the friendly attitude of his professors at the Main School of Farming (Główna Szkoła Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego) in Warsaw. Ibid., 41. Bronisława Witz-Margulies, a Jewish student at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lwów, recalled the opposition on the part of her Polish professors, all of whom she held in high esteem, to the so-called “bench ghettos” introduced by nationalist students. See Bronisława Witz-Margulies, “Jan Kazimierz University 1936–1939: A Memoir,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 14 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2001): 223–36. According to Jewish sources, Jewish students comprised 24.6 percent of the entire Polish university population in the 1921–22 academic year, and 20 percent in 1928–29. In 1932–33 their number fell to 18.7 percent, and in 1935–36, to 13.3 percent. By 1936–37 they comprised 11.8 percent of all students, and in 1937–38 only 10 percent (which was slightly higher than their overall share of the country’s population). These figures do not include many Poles of Jewish origin among the intelligentsia who had converted to Catholicism. See Raphael Mahler, “Jews in Public Service and the Liberal Professions in Poland, 1918–39,” Jewish Social Studies, vol. 6, no. 4 (October 1944), 341. According to official Polish sources, in 1934–35 Jews accounted for 18 percent of all high school students, 16.2 percent of vocational school students, and 14.8 percent of higher school (university, etc.) students. Jews comprised 23.7 percent of students enrolled at the University of Warsaw, 25.8 percent at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, 29.7 percent at the Stefan Batory University in Wilno, and 31.8 percent at the John Casimir University in Lwów. See Mały rocznik statystyczny 1937 (Warsaw: Główny Urząd Statystyczny, 1937), 312. Even with the admission restrictions imposed in the mid–1930’s so that the number of Jewish students would not be disproportionate to their share of the population, Jews continued to be overrepresented at some Polish universities. For example, at the Stefan Batory University in Wilno, in the 1938–39 academic year, 417 of the 3,110 students enrolled were Jewish, or about 13½ percent of the student body (other minorities accounted for 432 students, or almost 14 percent), whereas in 1926–27 Jews constituted 25.6% of the student population, and in 1928–29 30.4%, with a heavy concentration in medicine and law. (See Piotr Łossowski, ed., Likwidacja Uniwersytetu Stefana Batorego przez władze litewskie w grudniu 1939 roku (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Interlibro, 1991), 74; Januszewska-Jurkiewicz, Stosunki narodowościowe na Wileńszczyźnie w latach 1920–1939, 553–54. For detailed statistics for the Jagellonian University in Kraków, see Mariusz Kulczykowski, Żydzi–studenci Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego w Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej (1919–1939) (Kraków: Polska Akademia Umiejętności, 2004). It should also be noted that enrolment levels in Polish universities was very low by European and North American standards, e.g., the university in Wilno, the only university in northeastern Poland, had only 3,110 students in the 1938–39 academic year. Jewish nationalists were already complaining about alleged discriminatory admission practices at that university when the proportion of Jews reached 30% of the student body in the 1920’s. It is apparent, therefore, that no amount of accommodations would have pleased them or allowed large numbers of Jews to attend Polish universities, given their relatively small size.

British intellectual Rafael F. Scharf, who attended the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, writes: “It is true that there was the so-called numerus clausus in the Faculty of Medicine, meaning that only a restricted number of Jewish students were accepted—and we made a great deal of fuss about it. If there had been no restrictions of that kind … Jewish medics might have greatly outnumbered their non-Jewish colleagues—a situation which, not surprisingly, was not tenable in the prevailing conditions. Considering that sons and daughters of practicing Doctors of Medicine could, if they wished, enter the Faculty outside the quota, that numerus clausus rule, in retrospect, does not appear so monstrous.” See Rafael F. Scharf, Poland, What Have I To Do with Thee…: Essays without Prejudice, Bilingual edition (Kraków: Fundacja Judaica, 1996), 209. Jewish accounts alleging discrimination tend to grossly exaggerate the situation by suggesting that virtually every Jew who was not admitted to university was the victim of anti-Semitism. The reality was quite different. In his memoirs, one Jew describes how he was one of 500 Jews who applied for 200 places at the Warsaw School of Medicine. Of the 200 students admitted annually, 80 places were reserved for members of the military medical corps, 100 for non-Jewish applicants and the rest, 20 for Jews. The Jewish quota corresponded to the percentage of Jews in the country. However, even if 50 had been admitted, still 90 percent of those Jews who applied would have been rejected for reasons other than anti-Semitism. See Haskell Nordon, The Education of a Polish Jew: A Physician’s War Memoirs (New York: D. Grossman Press, 1982), 82–83. Some accounts are even more far-fetched in hurling false accusations. Rosalie Silberman Abella, who sits on the Supreme Court of Canada, has gone out of her way to publicize that her father, who attended Jagiellonian University’s Faculty of Law from 1930 to 1934, was allegedly “one of only four [sic] Jews permitted entry under quotas,” and that Jewish students were assigned special seats in the lecture rooms. See, among others, her Opening Address at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Benchers’ Retreat, October 14, 1999, Internet: ; and Donna Bailey Nurse, “Just ‘Rosie’,” University of Toronto Magazine, Winter 2006, Internet: . (Rosalie Abella’s son, no doubt tutored by his mother, has made similar claims in Nexus, University of Toronto Law School’s alumni magazine.) In fact, there were no quotas or special seats assigned to Jews at that time, and more than 1,000 students, including very many women (which was unheard of in Canada at the time), who declared themselves to be Jews were enrolled in the Faculty of Law. The following statistics are taken from Kulczykowski’s authoritative study, Żydzi–studenci Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego w Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej (1919–1939), 66 (Table 9): in 1928–29, of 2,525 students enrolled, 1,074 were Jews (including 121 females), or 42.54% of all students; in 1929–30, of 2,565 students enrolled, 994 were Jews (119 females), or 38.75%; in 1930–31, of 2,660 students enrolled, 1,084 were Jews (169 females), or 40.75%; in 1931–32, of 3,096 students enrolled, 1,182 were Jews (230 females), or 38.18%; in 1932–33, of 3,049 students enrolled, 1,167 were Jews (246 females), or 38.28%; in 1933–34, of a total enrolment of 2,970, 910 were Jews (191 females), or 30.64%.

The numerus clausus (“closed number” in Latin), or quota restrictions, introduced at some Polish universities in the mid–1930s, sought to limit Jewish enrolment to that group’s overall share of the country’s population (which was a little under 10%) in face of the marked overrepresentation of Jewish students in the early 1920s when they made up about 25 percent of the entire student body. There was a longstanding tradition of restricting Jews in Czarist Russia, Imperial Germany and the Autro-Hungarian Empire. Similar policies were put in place post-World War I in many European countries such as Hungary, already in the early 1920s, in Austria, the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. See Peter Tibor Nagy, “The Numerus Clausus in Inter-War Hungary: Pioneering European Antisemitism,” in East European Jewish Affairs, vol. 35, no. 1 (June 2005): 13–22; American Jewish Committee, The Jewish Communities of Nazi-Occupied Europe (New York: Howard Fertig, 1982), Estonia, 2–3, Latvia, 21, Lithuania, 6. The number of Jewish students at Tartu University in Estonia dropped precipitously from 188 in 1926 (4% of the student body) to 69 in 1938 (2.1%). As restrictions were imposed on Jewish students in the medical, agricultural, and engineering faculties, the number of Jewish university students in Lithuania fell from from 26.5% (1,206) in 1932 to 14.7% (500) in 1938. Jewish students at the Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas were required to occupy separate benches in the lecture halls. (This information is entirely overlooked in a recent article by a Lithuanian historian who claims, falsely, that the numerus clasus was a Polish “law,” and that so such “laws” were introduced in Lithuania, in contrast to other new central European nation states. He also alleges that Lithuanian students’ demands for separate seatings for Jews were never implemented, contrary to Jewish sources. See Vladas Sirutavičius, “‘A Close, but Very Suspicious and Dangerous Neighbour’: Outbreaks of Antisemitism in Inter-War Lithuania,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 25: Jews in the Former Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1772 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2013), 247, 259.) Moreover, like in other countries, violent attacks on Jews in the streets and on Jewish property were not uncommon in Lithuania, with hundreds of Jews suffering injuries. Nationalist economic policies also targeted Jews, who were virtually excluded from the public service, and nationalist policies, such as discriminatory electoral practices and the outlawing of all signs and posters in public places in a language other than Lithuanian, permeated public life. The Business Association called for a boycott of Jewish enterprises, while “Iron Wolf” members vandalized Jewish shops. See Alfonsas Eidintas, Jews, Lithuanians and the Holocaust (Vilnius: Versus Aureus, 2003), 82–88; Dov Levin, “Lithuania” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, vol. 1, 1073; Christoph Dieckmann, “Holocaust in the Lithuanian Provinces: Case Studies of Jurbarkas and Utena,” in Beate Kosmala and Georgi Verbeeck, eds., Facing the Catastrophe: Jews and Non-Jews in Europe during World War II (Oxford and New York: Berg, 2011), 74; Vladas Sirutavičius and Darius Staliūnas, “Was Lithuania a Pogrom-Free Zone? (1881–1940),” in Jonathan Dekel-Chen, David Gaunt, Natan M. Meir, and Israel Bartal, eds., Anti-Jewish Violence: Rethinking the Pogrom in East European History (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2011), 146–47; Vladas Sirutavičius, “‘A Close, but Very Suspicious and Dangerous Neighbour’: Outbreaks of Antisemitism in Inter-War Lithuania,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 25 (2013): 245–62; Solomonas Atamukas, “The Hard Long Road Toward the Truth: On the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Holocaust in Lithuania,” Lituanus, vol. 47, no. 4 (2001): 19–21. Even in the Soviet Union, Jewish students were expelled to make room for Slavs, e.g., in 1922, Jews constituted over 60% of all students at institutions of higher learning in the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, whereas Belorussians accounted for only 31%. By 1927, Belorussians constituted 61% of all students in tertiary education, their numbers growing at the expense of Jews. See Per Anders Rudling, The Battle Over Belarus: The Rise and Fall of the Belarusian National Movement, 1906-1931 (Edmonton, Alberta: n.p., 2010), 245. Polish interwar quotas, which lasted less than a decade, were clearly more short-lived than the restrictions imposed on Jews, Blacks, Catholics, and other “undesirables” by many universities in the United States (especially Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell) and in Canada (McGill University, University of Toronto, University of Manitoba), which reached their height in the 1920s and 1930s but were in force as late as the 1960s (e.g., at Yale). As Oscar and Mary Handlin note, “In the 1920’s almost every leading American college and university, formally or informally, adopted a quota system for Jewish students. Unofficial regulatory agencies made it difficult for Jews to enter almost every profession. In 1944 and 1945, some representative groups in the fields of dentistry and psychiatry went so far as openly to propose a quota system in those fields.” See Rose and Rose, Minority Problems, 22. Conditions for blacks were, of course, far worse. As president of Princeton, Woodrow Wilson excluded blacks entirely: he did not admit any black students to Princeton during his tenure. He was a vocal advocate for the Ku Klux Klan. In his 1901 book, A History of the American People, he extolled the Ku Klux Klan for helping “the white men of the South” to rid themselves of “the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant Negroes.” As president of the United States, he resegregated the federal civil service and removed black employees from positions of authority. He told a group of black professionals, “Segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.” It is not surprising, therefore, that anti-Jewish discourse publicly flourished on American university campuses on the eve of the Holocaust, that American educators helped Nazi Germany improve its image in the West, and that leading American universities such as Harvard and Columbia welcomed Nazi officials to campus and participated enthusiastically in student exchange programs with Nazified universities in Germany. Indeed, American interactions with Nazi Germany—financial, commercial, cultural, academic, and political—were extensive throughout the 1930s and even into the first months of World War II. See Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005); Stephen N. Harwood, The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009). During the Second World War, American bureaucrats went out of their way to stop the arrival of Jewish refugees. Breckenridge Long, the assistant secretary of state in charge of visa policies, issued a classified interdepartmental memo that outlined how U.S. diplomats could circumvent their own government’s immigration quotas by putting obstacles in the way of and delaying the issuance of visas. Consequently, the number of Jewish immigrants to the United States fell from 43,450 in 1939, to 4,704 in 1943. See Valery Bazarov, testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security and International Law, March 19, 2009. Remarkably such policies, which also excluded Blacks and other minorities, continued well into the 1960s in countries like the United, States, Canada, and Australia. Eve toda, the chances of visible minorities gaining admission to prestigious universities in the United Kingdom are still negligible. Of the 2,653 students accepted at Oxford in 2010, only 41 were members of visible minorities. Discrimination against visible minorities is a persistent feature in Western countries. A Law Society of Upper Canada report released in 2014 revealed that “overt discrimination and bias are a feature of daily life” for visible minority lawyers in the province of Ontario. “Racialization is a constant and persistent factor,” the report stated. See Colin Perkel, “Discrimination a Daily Reality for Visible Minority Lawyers in Ontario, Report Says,” Toronto Star, November 14, 2014.

It is also worth noting that in contemporary Israel, Palestinians are severely disadvantaged in terms of employment in the civil service, access to and use of land, educational opportunities, and in many other respects. It is exceedingly rare—approximately one in a thousand—for an Arab Bedouin, a group numbering some 150,000, to reach higher education. See Zama Coursen-Neff, “Discrimination Against Palestinian Arab Children in the Israeli Educational System,” Journal of International Law and Politics, vol. 36 (2004): 101–62; The Inequality Report: The Palestinian Arab Minority in Israel (Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, 2011). While Jews continually harp on the Polish interwar record as if it were a current event and demand that Poles apologize and be chastised for it, Jews do not feel that they themselves have anything to answer for with respect to their own record and become indignant when Israel’s discriminatory practices are pointed out to them. Yet the record is quite poor. As pointed out by Baylis Thomas,

It is clear that the Israeli government and its Jewish citizenry see Arab-Israelis as aliens. … Palestinians who remained in Israel in 1948 were held under martial law for eighteen years. These Arab-Israelis lost most of their land to Israeli confiscation. Today, after sixty years, Arab-Israelis are denied state benefits, equal employment, adequate water and electricity, education, and cultural freedom. Israel, in its own opinion (Or Commission, 2003), behaves in a “neglectful and discriminatory” manner towards its Arab-Israeli citizens. …

Between 1967 and 1998, no Arab-Israeli ever served as a cabinet minister; none served as a member of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee; none chaired any Knesset committee; none directed any state-owned enterprise or government bureau (including the branch that handles Arab communal and religious interests). Although comprising 20 percent of the Israeli population, Arab-Israelis in 1998 held seventeen of 1,300 senior government positions, ten of 5,000 university posts and garnered, on average, 5 percent of Knesset seats. …



Other major obstacles to a one-state solution consists in Israel’s agencies of institutional discrimination—sometimes referred to as Israel’s “invisible” government or “the glass wall.” In Israel, quasi-governmental agencies are the guardians of unofficial discrimination against non-Jews. These agencies include the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency, both explicitly chartered by the government to serve Jewish interests only. … The JNF bars Arab-Israeli use of 94 percent of the land of Israel. … Upon statethood, the Israeli government assigned the JA primary responsibility for Jewish immigration, settlement, and development in Israel. During the first quarter century after statehood, the JA financed the immigration of 1.4 million Diaspora Jews, providing all their settlement needs cost-free (food, clothing, medical care, generous benefits, grants, employment, and housing). No assistance was given to Arab-Israelis who were discriminated against in employment, civil service positions, schools, and health services. When two-thirds of their farmland was confiscated, they resorted to menial construction jobs and remained segregated in isolated villages without adequate services. The JA, not an official part of the government, freely discriminates against Arab-Israelis.
See Baylis Thomas, The Dark Side of Zionism: Israel’s Quest for Security through Dominance (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2009), 172–74. According to the United States Department of State 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom, Israeli government allocations of state resources favoured Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jewish religious groups and institutions, discriminating against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. Abusive and discriminatory practices by individuals and groups against Israeli Arab Muslims, evangelical Christians, and Messianic Jews persisted. Non-Jewish holy sites do not enjoy legal protection under the 1967 Protection of Holy Sites Law because the government does not recognize them as official holy sites. Thus many Muslim and Christian sites are neglected, inaccessible, or threatened by property developers and municipalities. The state transportation company, Egged, which operates the country’s public transportation system, continued to operate sex-segregated buses along routes frequented by ultra-Orthodox Jews, and women who refuse to sit at the back of such buses risk harassment and physical assault by male passengers. The government funds the construction of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, but not non-Jewish ones. Government resources available for religious/heritage studies to Arab and non-Orthodox Jewish public schools are significantly less than those available to Orthodox Jewish public schools. State funding for public and private Arab schools is proportionately less than the funding for religious education courses in Jewish schools. Housing, educational, and other benefits, as well as employment preferences based on military experience, effectively discriminate in favour of the Jewish population, the majority of which serves in the military. The 2008 budget for religious services and institutions for the Jewish population was approximately $457 million, whereas religious minorities, which constituted slightly more than 20 percent of the population, received approximately $18.6 million, or just less than 4 percent of total funding. The municipal authorities of the Be’er Sheva area, with 5,000 Muslim residents and no mosque, blocked the reopening of the city’s old mosque, while there was one synagogue for every 700 Jews. A group of approximately 200 Orthodox Jews violently disrupted the religious service of a Messianic congregation in Be’er Sheva, and pushed and slapped the congregation’s pastor and damaged property. This was but one of a number of violent attacks on Messianic Jews that occurred throughout Israel. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which ostensibly preaches tolerance, was given permission by the High Court to continue construction at a site containing a centuries-old Muslim cemetery. Israel’s Interior Ministry has attempted to revoke the citizenship of persons discovered holding Messianic or Christian beliefs and to deny some national services (such as welfare benefits and passports) to such persons. The police had to reissue a 1999 directive to police precincts throughout the country reminding them of their duty to fully investigate crimes against minority religious communities. Members of Orthodox Jewish groups continued to treat non-Orthodox Jews with displays of discrimination and intolerance. Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and other ultra-Orthodox enclaves threw rocks at passing motorists driving on the Sabbath and harassed or assaulted women whose appearance or behaviour they considered immodest, including throwing acid on them. Members of Jehovah’s Witnesses reported an increase in assaults and other crimes against their members and faced difficulties convincing the police to investigate or apprehend the perpetrators. Vandals painted anti-Muslim and anti-Arab graffiti—including slogans such as “Mohammed is a pig,” “death to Arabs,” and “Kahane was right”—on the doors and walls of the Al-Bahar mosque in Jaffa. A less than positive note was the sentencing, in November 2008, of two defendants to a mere two months’ imprisonment for their part in a 2006 attack on a group of Christian tourists in Jerusalem launched by approximately 100 ultra-Orthodox Jews. According to this objective report, the situation for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories was incomparably worse, with violence perpetrated by Jewish settlers on the increase. Israeli settler radio stations often depicted Arabs as subhuman and called for Palestinians to be expelled from the West Bank. Jewish settlers, acting either alone or in groups, assaulted Palestinians and destroyed Palestinian property. Most instances of violence or property destruction committed did not result in arrests or convictions.

339 Mały rocznik statystyczny 1939 (Warsaw: Główny Urząd Statystyczny, 1939), 52. Some of the returnees (Yordim) alleged that Jews in Palestine treat the Jewish arrivals as bad as Poles treat Jews in Poland. See Mendelsohn, Zionism in Poland, 260. For an example of a prosperous businessman returning to Poland see Edelstein, Tazdzikim in Sodom (Righteous Gentiles), 26–27.

340 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 220. For an example of a Jewish girl born to Polish Jews in New Jersey who returned to Tarnów, Poland with her family, see “Spett family,” in Emily Taitz, ed., Holocaust Survivors: Biographical Dictionary (Westport, Connecticut and London: Greenwood Press, 2007), vol. 2, 476.

341 Mazur, Życie polityczne polskiego Lwowa 1918–1939, 408 (Lwów, 1936); Tomasz Marszałkowski, Zamieszki, ekscesy i demonstracje w Krakowie 1918–1939 (Kraków: Arcana, 2006) (Kraków, 1923 and 1936).

342 Mazur, Życie polityczne polskiego Lwowa 1918–1939, 61 (attacks on Jews), 114–39.

343 Josef Sztamfater, “Walki robotników w Lublinie w latach 1915–1920,” in Adam Kopciowski, ed., Księga pamięci żydowskiego Lublina (Lublin: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Skłodowskiej, 2011), 206–7; translation of Dos bukh fun Lublin (Paris: Former Residents of Lublin in Paris, Paris, 1952).

344 Examples of politically and religiously based turmoil, assaults and even murders are plentiful. See Leonard Rowe, “Jewish Self-Defense: A Response to Violence,” and Moyshe Kligsberg
, “Di yidishe yugnt-bavegung in Poyln tsvishn beyde velt-milkhomes (a
sotsyologishe shtudye),” in Joshua A. Fishman, ed., Studies on Polish Jewry, 1919–1939 (New York: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, 1974), 111–16, 201–3; Celia S. Heller, On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland Between the Two World Wars (New York: Schocken Books, 1980), 255–57. It is noteworthy that frequently the Polish police was called on by the Jews themselves to intervene, thus belying the claim that Jews distrusted the Polish police and that the latter were unresponsive to violence directed at Jews. The Bund Youth Tsukunft periodical, Yungt-veker, printed reports on an attempt by Communist youth to break up a meeting of the Tsukunft, on Communist attempts to infiltrate and disrupt local branches of the Tsukunft, and on the physical intimidation of an individual who attempted to leave the Communist youth organization in order to join the Tsukunft. See Jack Jacobs, Bundist Counterculture in Interwar Poland (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2009), 13. There were frequent political altercations in Kraków. At a Zionist meeting in 1920 invaded by Bundists, the Bundist Sacher Glasman stabbed the Zionist Szlomo Kornegold and killed him. On November 16, 1930, the day of elections to the Seym (Polish Parliament), Zionists beat up Berisch Weinberg and his son, Orthodox Jews, because they had supported the pro-government party (Bezpartyjny Blok Współpracy z Rządem). Fans of competing Jewish soccer teams were also involved in brawls. See Marszałkowski, Zamieszki, ekscesy i demonstracje w Krakowie 1918–1939. In Brańsk, according to Jewish reports, “‘there was no Saturday or holiday that passed without a fight.’ Party meetings were disrupted by the acolytes of all the other parties, and resulted in ‘bloody fights’ that spilled into the streets.” See Hoffman, Shtetl, 180–81. In Ejszyszki, the “library was the ‘bone of contention’ and constant battleground of the two camps: the Hebrews and the Yiddishists. Meetings for the election of the library management often ended in blows. Torn shirts and bloody noses were a frequent result of this language battle.” See Livingston, Tradition and Modernism in the Shtetl, 66. See also Yaffa Eliach, There Once Was a World: A Nine-Hundred-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok (Boston: Little, Brown, 1998), 509 (Ejszyszki). In a village near Raduń, “when one of the Zionist parties sent a lecturer to speak on their behalf. Then there was fervent excitement among the younger generation, and not infrequently such a gathering would end in a free-for-all and the meeting would break up in a scramble.” See Aviel, A Village Named Dowgalishok, 11. An “ugly incident” occurred in Kolbuszowa “on Simchat Torah, the joyous holiday on which congregants paraded around bearing the sacred Torahs. With the rabbi dancing about, carrying one of the Torahs, a follower of the dayan [an assistant and rival to the rabbi] ran up and attempted to snatch it from him. A battle then ensued between the two sides. The fight ended quickly; but the matter was taken to court, where the dayan’s supporter was convicted for ‘disturbing religious services’ and received a five-year prison term. Other heated legal issues between the two sides dragged on year after year.” See Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 156–57. In Kraśnik, where the Jews were “overwhelmingly” very religious, traditionalists “fought energetically against the liberationist movement [i.e., secular leftist Jews]. There were organized groups of the Orthodox who, on every Friday evening, would break into the apartments where the Jewish youth congregated to check whether anyone was in violation of the Sabbath.” See Beniamin Zylberberg, “Żydzi w Kraśniku i … z Kraśnika,” Kalendarz Żydowski 1993–1994: Almanach 5754 (Warsaw: Związek Religijny Wyznania Mojżeszowego w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, 1993), 35. In Pińczów, the Chasidim of Pinczow were vehemently opposed to any human (as contrasted to divine) initiative to reestablish the Jews in their homeland. … on a particular Saturday, some Chasidim hired thugs to intimidate the Zionists, threatening that if they did not stop preaching [to people move to Palestine], ‘we will knife you.’” See Yehudi Lindeman, ed., Shards of Memory: Narratives of Holocaust Survival (Westport, Connecticut and London: Praeger, 2007), 130. In Powursk, Volhynia, “There were two synagogues in town … Both establishments had their own followers and sometimes fights would break out between the two Hasidic camps about how the community should be run.” See Alexander Agas, “Povursk: The Town’s Jews,” in Merin, Memorial Book, 417. For accounts from other localities see Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Żydzi i Polacy 1918–1955: Współistnienie—Zagłada—komunizm (Warsaw: Fronda, 2000), 91–96 (various localities); J. Ben-Meir (Treshansky), Sefer yizkor Goniadz (Tel Aviv: The Committee of Goniondz Association in the USA and in Israel, 1960), translated as Our Hometown Goniondz, Internet: , 475–76 (a gang that “held the gentiles around adjacent towns in fear”), 545–46 (a notorious bandit gang “composed primarily of Jewish young men … terrorized both Jews and Christians in all the region”); Benyamin Shapir-Shisko (Karkoor), “Culture Wars in Volozhin,” in E. Leoni, ed., Wolozin: The Book of the City and of the Etz Hayyim Yeshiva, posted on the Internet at ; translation of Wolozyn: Sefer shel ha-ir ve-shel yeshivat “Ets Hayim” (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Wolozin in Israel and the USA, 1970), 440ff. (Wołożyn); David Shtokfish, ed., Sefer-yizkor Ostrow-Lubelski—Yisker bukh Ostrow-Lubelski (Israel: Association of Former Residents of Ostrow-Lubelski in Israel, 1987), in particular, the account of Mechi (Mischa) Eckhaus posted on the Internet at (Ostrów Lubelski); Mędrzecki, Województwo Wołyńskie 1921–1939, 179, n.18 (political gatherings often ended in brawls and religious-based confrontations also occurred in Volhynia); Lucy S. Dawidowicz, From That Place and Time: A Memoir, 1938–1947 (New York and London: W.W. Norton, 1989), 156–57 (political violence in Wilno); Naftali Dov Fuss, The Imposter (Jerusalem: Gefen, 1992), 35–36 (Tarnów); Jack Pomerantz and Lyric Wallwork Winik, Run East: Flight from the Holocaust (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 12 (Radzyń Podlaski, where political fighting pitted against each other Communists, Bundists, and Zionists); Gitel Donath, My Bones Battle to Survive: A Lonely Battle to Survive German Tyranny (Montreal: Kaplan Publishing, 1999) (Siedlce); Paweł Machcewicz and Krzysztof Persak, eds., Wokół Jedwabnego (Warsaw: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej–Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu, 2002), vol. 2, 269 (Radziłów); Stefan Ernest, O Wojnie wielkich Niemiec z Żydami Warszawy, 1939–1945 (Warsaw: Czytelnik, 2003), 173 (Izrael First, the administrator of the Jewish Academic House in Warsaw’s Praga suburb, was renowned for leading fights with Jewish students with communist leanings); Joseph Pell and Fred Rosenbaum, Taking Risks: A Jewish Youth in the Soviet Partisans and His Unlikely Life in California (Berkeley: Western Jewish History Center of the Judah L. Magnes Museum and RDR Books, 2004), 27–28 (altercations between Betar and Hashomer supporters and fist fights between Bundists and Zionists in Biała Podlaska); Mariusz Bechta, Narodowo radykalni: Obrona tradycji i ofensywa narodowa na Podlasiu w latach 1934–1939 (Biała Podlaska: Biblioteczka Bialska and Rekonwista, 2004), 209–10 (Międzyrzec Podlaski, Radzyń Podlaski); Janusz Szczepański, Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku (Pułtusk: Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczna imienia Aleksandra Gieysztora w Pułtusku, 2005), 265 (15 Bundists armed with hammers, posts and iron rods attacked Beitar members in Długosiodło, injuring 9 of them), 278 (Przasznysz), 284 (Maków), 286 (Mława), 304 (various locations), 305 (Nowy Dwór), 306 (Pułtusk), 315 (various locations), 317 (Wyszogród)—Szczepański’s study mentions many interventions by police; Mosze Snejser, as told to Jakub Rajchman, “Robiłem buty, odmawiałem kadisz,” Rzeczpospolita, January 29–30, 2005 (a Communist by the name of Jojne Bocian was killed as a traitor); Kamil Kijek, “Radykalizm polityczny sztetlowej młodzieży okresu międzywojennego,” in Sitarek, Trębacz, and Wiatr, Zagłada Żydów na polskiej prowincji, 86 (Leftist youth attacked stores belonging to Revisionists in Bielsk Podlaski, and fights between these factions occurred even during synagogue services); Bechta, Pogrom czy odwet?, Chapter 1 (Jewish Communists attacked Zionists in Parczew); Fay Bussgan and Julian Bussgang, eds., Działoszyce Memorial Book (New York: JewishGen, 2012), 126 (fist fights between Zionists and religious Jews and burning of library books in Działoszyce).

This communal violence was not just an interwar phenomenon but went back at least many decades prior, as the following example from Our Hometown Goniondz, 543–44, cited above, illustrates:


In Goniondz [Goniądz], in the 1880’s, a great schism occurred between the Chassidim and the misnagdim. … During that time period, there was a Reb Berele who was very staunchly supported by the poorer folk in town. The successful Chassidic merchants in town, however, were not pleased with him, and brought in Rabbi Gedaliah Kaminetzky. A sharp division soon broke out between the two rival factions. The Chassidim persecuted Reb Berele. They broke his windows and didn’t provide him with an income, since the local government franchise was in their hands.

The misnagdim mounted a counter attack. They went to the little Chassidic shtibl, which at that time was located in Chatzkel Babniak’s house. They pulled out the Sefer Toras and other books, and broke the benches and tables. From time to time, a fist fight would break out in the House of Study. Once, after the Sabbath prayers, the Chassids fell on Yehuda the butcher. When the other butchers found that Yehuda was being beaten, they all ran to the House of Study to defend him. At the end, the Chassids won the battle and Reb Berele had to leave town.


Violence also plagued Jewish politics in Palestine. See Joseph B. Schechtman, Fighter and Prophet: The Vladimir Jabotinsky Story (New York and London: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959). When Vladimir Jabotinsky spoke, he often faced well-planned Jewish Communist and Jewish Socialist heckling and disruption. Jabotinsky used “self-defence” units, comprising Barissia and later Betar, to beat up the disrupters. (PP. 36, 110–11, 190–91.) Sometimes the Revisionist youth instigated violence against Jewish leftists (p. 462). A Revisionist (Stavsky) was accused of the murder of Chaim Arlosoroff in Tel Aviv in 1933. Arlosoroff had been anti-Revisionist. Jewish leftists and other anti-Revisionists raised a hue and cry, trying to associate all Revisionists with the crime. Jabotinsky pointed out that, ironically, blaming an entire community for the actions of one of its individuals had been a poison weapon of anti-Semites (p. 186). The strong attack against the accused assassin, Stavsky, before he had been convicted of the crime amounted, in Jabotinsky’s words, to a “shameful pogrom and blood libel campaign conducted by Jews against Jews.” (P. 187.) Some Jews vowed to kill Revisionists to avenge Arlosoroff’s blood but, while this did not happen, there were violent attempts against Jabotinsky (pp. 189–90). (In time, Stavsky was acquitted and the crime was never solved.) Jabotinsky was candid about prejudices emanating from the Jewish side. He commented: “‘The main difficulty lies in the attitude of the Zionist leaders toward the non-Jewish world. … Theirs is a typical ghetto mentality, which regards all non-Jews as goyim, as enemies. With such a mentality nothing can be achieved. It is time that the Jewish people began to have confidence in the goyim. The goyim have not produced only Hamans; they have also produced great idealists who have given their blood for the cause of humanity.’” (P. 71.)

345 Kenneth B. Moss, “Negotiating Jewish Nationalism in Interwar Warsaw,” in Dynner and Guesnet, Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis, 411–12.

346 Kenneth B. Moss, “Negotiating Jewish Nationalism in Interwar Warsaw,” in Dynner and Guesnet, Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis, 419.

347 Kenneth B. Moss, “Negotiating Jewish Nationalism in Interwar Warsaw,” in Dynner and Guesnet, Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis, 429.

348 By the early 1930s He-halutz had tens of thousands of members, and by 1935, the Revisionists could claim some 450,000 supporters and some 40,000 in its Betar youth organization. See Kenneth B. Moss, “Negotiating Jewish Nationalism in Interwar Warsaw,” in Dynner and Guesnet, Warsaw: The Jewish Metropolis, 426–27.

349 Hillel Halkin, Jabotinsky: A Life (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014), 181.

350 Arkadiusz Kołodziejczak, “Morderstwo Dawida Siedlarza: Karta z dziejów Komunistycznej Partii Polskiej w Radzyniu Podlaski,” Radzyński Rocznik Humanistyczny, vol. 3 (2005): 97–105; Dariusz Magier, “Komuniści w powiecie radzyńskim w latach 1918–1944,” Radzyński Rocznik Humanistyczny, vol. 6 (2008): 188–89. When local Jewish communists learned that Dawid Siedlarz had become a police informer, he was knifed to death in May 1930 after two earlier failed attempts to kill him. More than a dozen Jews were implicated in his murder.

351 One memoirist recalled the reaction of her father when he learned about the verbal “advances” of his teenaged daughter’s male acquaintance: “When my father heard of this incident, he beat the boy till he was black and blue.” See Miriam Brysk, Amidst the Shadows of Trees (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Yellow Star Press, 2007), 35. An example from Chmielnik is the animosity toward a Jew called “Pitro,” who was disliked by other Jews. His antagonists would pay young Polish boys money to call him “Duński Kozalc” and then laugh at him. See Maciągowski and Krawczyk, The Story of Jewish Chmielnik, 192.

352 Mireille Silcoff, “(Moder) Day of Atonement,” National Post (Toronto), September 18, 2010.

353 Andrzej Krempa, Zagłada Żydów mieleckich, Second revised edition (Mielec: Muzeum Regionalne w Mielcu, 2013), 41. The local police intervened and arrests were made, among them Süssel Schmidt, a member of the town council, who was not elected to the Jewish community council. Some Jewish Communists also took part in the mêlée.

354 Samuel D. Kassow, “Community and Identity in the Interwar Shtetl,” in Gutman, et al., The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars, 204–205. Kassow goes on to point out: “Quite often these conflicts went to the Polish courts, a point suggesting a higher degree of Jewish-Gentile contact than one would assume from reading the memorial books.” Jews often prevailed over Christians in proceedings in Polish courts, both civil and criminal, which were by and large impartial. See, for example, Wrobel, My Life My Way, 42; Leah Shlechter-Shapiro, “I Was a Wtniess to a False Accusation,” in Dereczin, 189–90; Asher Tarmon, ed., Memorial Book: The Jewish Communities of Manyevitz, Horodok, Lishnivka, Troyanuvka, Povursk, and Kolki (Wolyn Region) (Tel-Aviv: Organization of Survivors of Manyevitz, Horodok, Lishnivka, Troyanuvka, Povursk, Kolki and Surroundings Living in Israel and Overseas, 2004), 121.

355 Samuel Kassow, “The Shtetl in Interwar Poland,” in Steven T. Katz, ed., The Shtetl: New Evaluations (New York and London: New York University Press, 2007), 128, 130.

356 One newspaper, Sprawa Katolicka, reported the following incidents in a span of several weeks in 1935: an assault on athletes in Równe; an assault on a Catholic newspaper distributor; an assault on a painter in Radom; an assault on a 73-year-old woman in Lwów. See Dariusz Libionka, “Duchowieństwo diecezji łomżyńskiej wobec antysemityzmu i zagłady Żydów,” in Machcewicz and Persak, eds., Wokół Jedwabnego, vol. 1, 111.

357 Sebastian Piątkowski, Dni życia, dni śmierci: Ludność żydowska w Radomiu w latach 1918–1950 (Warsaw: Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych, 2006), 90–100, 145–47.

358 Tomasz Kawski, Kujawsko-dobrzyńscy Żydzi w latach 1918–1950 (Toruń: Adam Marszałek, 2006), 230–31.

359 Kosow Lacki (San Francisco: Holocaust Center of Northern California, 1992), 49; David Ravid (Shmukler), ed., The Cieszanow Memorial Book (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacob Solomon Berger, 2006), 40. Another account in the latter book refers to General Władysław Sikorski as having a “filthy Polish heart.” Ibid., 112.

360 Piotr Gontarczyk, Pogrom?: Zajścia polsko-żydowskie w Przytyku 9 marca 1936 r. Mity, fakty, dokumenty (Biała Podlaska: Rekonwista, and Pruszków: Rachocki i S-ka, 2000), 34.

361 Kawski, Kujawsko-dobrzyńscy Żydzi w latach 1918–1950, 237.

362 Joanna Żyndul, Zajścia antyżydowskie w Polsce w latach 1935–1937 (Warsaw: Fundacja im. K. Kelles-Krauza, 1994).

363 Emanuel Melzer, “Anti-Semitism in the Last Years of the Second Polish Republic,” in Gutman, et al., The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars, 129. According to historian Emanuel Melzer: “The anti-Jewish excesses and pogroms in the years 1935–37 had their specific characteristics and dynamics. Usually they resulted from the killing of a Pole by a Jew, either as an act of self-defence or [more often] as a criminal act of an individual committed out of personal revenge. For this killing the entire local Jewish community was held collectively responsible. The pogroms of Grodno (1935), Przytyk (1936), Mińsk Mazowiecki (1936), Brześć nad Bugiem (1937), and Częstochowa (1937) all followed this pattern.” See Emanuel Melzer, No Way Out: The Politics of Polish Jewry, 1935–1939 (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1997), 53. The murder of the Pole that led to the retaliation killing of a Jewish couple in Przytyk in March 1936 was not an act of self-defence: he was shot in the back. It was the Jews, and not the Poles, that had escalated the heretofore-limited conflict by introducing firearms and shooting indiscriminately at Poles. Up to that time, the dispute had been limited to mutual insults, fisticuffs, and reciprocal overturning of booths. In May 1936, without any provocation, a group of Jews attacked and started to beat some young, unarmed Poles who passed by them on a street in in Kielce. One of the Jewish assailants stabbed Stanisław Łagowski, a 17-year-old student, in the back, seriously injuring him. In retaliation, some Poles accosted Jews in the area of the crime. The police quickly intervened to restore order, and arrested thirty Jews suspected of involvement in the attack on the Poles as well asother involved in altercations. A number of Jewish stores were demolished in Mińsk Mazowiecki in June 1936 after Jan Bujak, a Wachtmeister of the local 7th Uhlan Regiment was shot by Judka Lejb Chaskielewicz, a Jewish resident. The stabbing of a policeman by a Jew in Brześć was an unprovoked attack; the Jewish leaders failed to take immediate steps to distance the community by condemning the aggression against a state official. The shooting of a Polish labourer by a Jewish restaurateur on September 17, 1937 led to disturbances in Bielsko-Biała where windows of Jewish shops and homes were broken. (See Żyndul, Zajścia antyżydowskie w Polsce w latach 1935–1937, 48, with an erroneous date of November.) Melzer fails to make it clear that the number of Polish rioters was relatively small (only a tiny fraction of the large numbers of people involved in race riots that have periodically engulfed the United States in the 20th century: the riots often lasted for days or weeks, wreaked massive destruction on cities and resulted in hundreds of deaths and widescale looting, e.g., 53 in the Los Angeles riots of April 1992 alone, and more than 2,000 personal injuries); that the police arrested hundreds of rioters, both Poles and less frequently Jews, who were brought to trial speedily, and if found guilty, punished by prison sentences; that Poles were often assaulted by Jews during these altercations, as was the case in Przytyk, Brześć, and Cieszanów (1924). See Ravid, The Cieszanow Memorial Book, 21. Such factors do not lend support to the notion of a high degree of mass popular fury directed at Jews collectively. Moreover, reports about such incidents were often grossly exaggerated as when, for example, the Jewish press in Warsaw turned an altercation at a football game in Lublin in October 1931, into a pogrom in which more than 30 Jews were allegedly wounded, some seriously. The Lubliner Tuglat was astounded by these revelations and rebuked the Warsaw press. See Maurycjusz, “‘Kibole’ minionej epoki,” Nowa Myśl Polska, December 5, 2004. For more about violence by Christians directed at Jews, its background, Jewish retaliation, and the reaction of the authorities including the frequent use of police reinforcements, preventative detention and punishment of perpetrators, see: Żyndul, Zajścia antyżydowskie w Polsce w latach 1935–1937; Chodakiewicz, Żydzi i Polacy 1918–1955, 78–91; Gontarczyk, Pogrom?, especially 32–44; Wojciech Śleszyński, Zajścia antyżydowskie w Brześciu nad Bugiem 13 V 1937 r. (Białystok: Archiwum Państwowe w Białymstoku, Polskie Towarzystwo Historyczne–Oddział w Białymstoku, 2004)—for a critique of Śleszyński’s book, see Piotr Cichoracki’s review in Dzieje Najnowsze, vol. 37, no. 3 (2005): 214–18, and also Piotr Cichoracki, Polesie nieidylliczne: Zaburzenia porządku publicznego w województwie poleskim w latach trzydziestych XX w. (Łomianki: LTW, 2007), 198–253; Szymon Rudnicki, “Dokument kontrwywiadu o pogromie brzeskim 13 maja 1937 roku,” Kwartalnik Historii Żydów, no. 2 (2009): 221–34; Bechta, Narodowo radykalni, chapter 4; “Confessions of Zbigniew Romaniuk,” in The Story of Two Shtetls, Brańsk and Ejszyszki, Part Two, 24–25; Hoffman, Shtetl, 196–99; Machcewicz and Persak, eds., Wokół Jedwabnego, vol. 1, 112–13; Mariusz Bechta, Pogrom czy odwet?: Akcja zbrojna Zrzeszenia “Wolność i Niezawiłość” w Parczewie 5 lutego 1946 r. (forthcoming), Chapter 1 (an armed groups of Jew attempted to storm the local headquarters of the National Democratic Party and beat up its leader). After the Przytyk riots in March 1936, the Jewish community smuggled out of the country most of the twenty members of the so-called self-defence group, thus demonstrating that the Jews considered themselves to be above the law. See Antony Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia, vol. 3: 1914 to 2001 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2012), 146. Anti-Jewish disturbances also occurred in areas where the population was primarily non-Polish. In Kamień Koszyrski, Polesia (Polesie), an angry Ukrainian mob reportedly pillaged, robbed and killed some Jews on May 18, 1937. See Shmuel Aba Klurman, “September 1939—The Beginning of the End,” in A. A. Stein, et al., eds., Sefer ha-zikaron le-kehilat Kamien Koszyrski ve-ha-seviva (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Kamin Koshirsky and Surroundings in Israel, 1965), 101, translated as Kamen Kashirskiy Book, Internet: . It should be noted that Poles were also assaulted by Jews during this period. In addition to the examples mentioned in the text see: Witold Saski, Crossing Many Bridges: Memoirs of a Pharmacist in Poland, the Soviet Union, the Middle East, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Nebraska (Manhattan, Kansas: Sunflower University Press, 1988), 21–22 (Polish student Stanisław Wacławski was stoned to death in Wilno); Wojciech J. Muszyński and Jacek T. Persa, “II Rzeczpospolita korporancka,” Glaukopis (Warsaw), no. 1 (2003): 7–60, at pp. 58–60 (a group of Polish students was attacked in Lwów which resulted in the death of Jan Grodkowski); Grzegorz Mazur, “Skic z dziejów Stronnictwa Narodowego we Lwowie w latach 30. XX wieku,” in Hanna Konopka and Daniel Boćkowski, eds., Polska i jej wschodni sąsiedzi w XX wieku: Studia i materiały ofiarowane prof. Dr. hab. Michałowi Gnatowskiemu w 70-lecie urodzin (Białystok: Uniwersytet w Białymstoku, 2004), 105–137, at pp. 109, 112, 116, 119–20. As for thuse use (and abuse) of the term “pogrom,”Jan Peczkis has argued compellingly:
The term pogrom is not only a matter of semantics, but of application—an application that is determined according to politics. Consider, for example, the unmentioned Crown Heights riots of 1991. There had been a spasm of community anger directed against Jews collectively, and the Jew Yankel Rosenbaum was brutally murdered. Although some Jewish groups called the Crown Heights riots a pogrom, most did not, and the term pogrom never stuck. Why? The answer is simple. The USA is a sophisticated, pluralistic society. Therefore, a pogrom occurring in the USA is not really a pogrom. However, in Poland, a presumably backwards, hyper-Catholic nation, a pogrom is expected to occur, and the term sticks, even when only one Jew is killed, as happened at Przytyk. There is, in addition, the standard politics of victimhood in play, as determined by the leftists who steer our popular culture. African-Americans are a recognized victim group. Jews are a recognized victim-group, especially in the context of Polish-Jewish relations. Poles, in contrast, are not a recognized victim group. Therefore, a pogrom conducted by African-Americans cannot be a true pogrom, while one conducted by Poles certainly can.
One of the bones of contention at Polish universities in the interwar period was the fact the Jewish community refused, ostensibly for religious reasons, to provide Jewish cadavers for use in training medical students, but fully expected Jewish students to have access to and dissect the bodies of Christians. Between 1923 and 1926, of 246 cadavers used in Wilno only one was Jewish, assuming it was genuinely Jewish. Following protests over the fact that only Christian cadavers were being used for dissection in anatomy, Stanisław Wacławski, a Polish student was stoned to death by Jews in Wilno in October 1931, which led to some Polish students calling for the segregation of Jewish students at the university. See Saski, Crossing Many Bridges, 21–22; Aleksander Srebrakowski, “Sprawa Wacławskiego: Przyczynek do historii relacji polsko-żydowskich na Uniwersytecie Stefana Batorego w Wilnie,” Przegląd Wschodni, vol. 9, no. 3 (2004): 575–601; Januszewska-Jurkiewicz, Stosunki narodowościowe na Wileńszczyźnie w latach 1920–1939, 554–56. (Characteristically, Jewish authors ignore the killing of the Polish student and claim that there were “fatalities” in Wilno, implying, falsely, that the victims were Jews. See Larissa Cain, Irena Adamowicz: Une juste des nations en Pologne [Paris : Cerf, 2009], 28.) The Jewish religion considered using Jewish cadavers for such purposes to constitute desecration, though Jews had no ethical qualms about using Christian corpses and even made light of that fact. (As one Jewish student recalled, “‘Find me a young one, a pretty one,’ we would joke …”) Consequently, Polish students pressed the university authorities to require the Jewish community to provide cadavers for the Jewish students. The Jewish Medical Students Association in Warsaw turned to the Central Rabbinic Council for their cooperation, which entailed a ruse involving the “loaning” of death certificates with which to tag Christian female corpses as Jews. When this practice drew suspicion, various bribes were paid to facilitate this unsavoury charade. The practice spread to the medical faculties in Wilno, Kraków, and Poznań. See Moshe Prywes, as told to Haim Chertok, Prisoner of Hope (Hanover and London: Brandeis University Press, 1996), 65–66. Yet this author notes that the resultant campus disturbances did not adversely effect how Jewish students performed and were graded by the professors: “year after year, class after class, graduation after graduation, the outstanding students in the medical school were to be found among the ranks of the bench ghetto.” Ibid., 71. For a Jewish nationalist perspective that glosses over contentious matters, see Natalia Aleksiun, “Christian Corpses for Christians!: Dissecting the Anti-Semitism behind the Cadaver Affair of the Second Polish Republic,” East European Politics and Societies, vol. 25, no. 3 (August 2011): 393–409.

Anti-Jewish excesses and racial strife occurred throughout Europe at that time, even in countries that did not have a sizeable Jewish or non-white population. On August 19, 1911, several hundred miners attacked Jewish-owned businesses in Tredegar, Wales, accompanied by calls of “Let’s get the Jews” and the singing of Welsh hymns. Riots targeting Jews also occurred in industrial towns such as Caerphilly, Ebbw Vale, Cwm and Bargoed. Home Secretary Winston Churchill, who described the events as “a pogrom,” was forced to call in the army after Jewish businesses and houses were looted and burned over the course of a week. (Chinese workers were also attacked in Cardiff.) Subsequently, these events were downplayed and reduced to “social unrest.” See Neil Prior, “History Debate Over Anti-Semitism in 1911 Tredegar riot,” BBC News August 19, 2011, Internet: . Race riots occurred in both France and Britain during and after the First World War. During the latter years of the war, conflicts between the French and the nonwhite newcomers escalated into a wave of racial violence, ranging from numerous small-scale incidents to a few major riots. From the spring of 1917, African workers were subjected to increasing street-level assaults in France, which culminated in large-scale riots like those in June and August 1917. Crowds of up to 15,000 people attacked North Africans (Moroccans) in Dijon, LeHavre and Brest. Fifteen people were killed in LeHavre and 7 in Brest. See Neil MacMaster, Racism in Europe: 1870–2000 (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001), 121; Tyler Stovall, “The Color Line behind the Lines: Racial Violence in France during the Great War,” The American Historical Review, vol. 103, no. 3 (June 1998): 737–69. Britain witnessed anti-German riots on a wide scale, the government introduced a policy of mass internment of Germans, and, by 1919, 28,000 had been deported: one-third of the pre-war population. “Economic racism” continued on an extensive scale immediately after the war, as tens of thousands of colonial and white seamen and soldiers were demobilized and found themselves in competition for housing and employment in the major seaports. From January to August 1919, a series of major riots targeting colonial labourers and demobilized seamen erupted in South Wales (Cardiff, Barry, Newport and Cadoxton), Liverpool, London, Salford, Hull, South Shields, Glasgow, Tyneside, resulting in at least five fatalities, as well as vandalization of their homes and properties. In Cardiff, Liverpool and Glasgow large crowds of up to 2,000 people (some estimates say 10,000), often led by ex-servicemen who deployed military tactics, laid siege to the black dockland ghettos, destroying lodging houses and shops. The rioting in Liverpool lasted three days, from June 8 to June 10, 1919. Three Africans were stabbed on June 8 as mobs of well-organized young men roamed the streets savagely attacking and beating any black they could find. In nearly all cases, white crowds numbering in the hundreds and sometimes thousands made up the aggressors and black men and their families their victims, yet nationally police arrested nearly twice as many black men (155) as white men (80) and women (9). The rioters represented a cross-section of the white working class. See MacMaster, Racism in Europe, 122–23; Jacqueline Jenkinson, Black 1919: Riots, Racism and Resistance in Imperial Britain (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2009). On November 5, 1923, a mob numbering in the thousands brutally attacked Jews, killing at least one and severely wounding others, and assaulted and looted Jewish shops (or shops regarded as Jewish) and private homes in Scheunenviertel, an area of Berlin where a visibly large population of eastern Jewish migrants were living. The authorities reacted slowly, which contributed to the spread of violence, and Jews were the first to be arrested. See Christhard Hoffmann, Werner Bergmann, and Helmut Walser Smith, eds., Exclusionary Violence: Antisemitic Riots in Modern Germany (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002), 130–32. In the mid-1920s student bodies refused to accept Jewish members and violence against Jewish students and professors erupted frequently at German and Austrian universities. See Peter Longerich, The Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 21–22; and the eyewitness account of violent anti-Jewish demonstrations at the University of Vienna in Emanuela Cunge, Uciec przed Holocaustem (Łódź: Oficyna Bibliofilów, 1997), 30. There was an explosion of anti-Jewish violence in German-annexed Austria in 1938, when ordinary people fell upon and brutalized Jews in the streets of Vienna. In November 1938, during the so-called Kristallnacht, violence descended pn the Jews of the entire enlarged Reich, including the Jews of Austria. (Polish students were also assaulted by Germans in the Free City of Danzig. See Maria Wardzyńska, Był rok 1939: Operacja niemieckiej policji bezpieczeństwa w Polsce: Intelligenzaktion (Warsaw: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej–Komisja Ścigania przeciwko Narodowi, 2009), 41.) (Anti-Semitism has a long history in Germany and Austria. Pogroms against Jews, known as the Hep-Hep riots after the perpetrators’ derogatory rallying call, occurred in 1819 in dozens of cities and villages throughout Germany, Austria, Denmark and even Latvia. Many Jews were killed and much Jewish property was destroyed. Jews were terrorized by arson attacks and synagogues were demolished. Often the police appeared too late or stood idly by while the mob raged through the streets. Anti-Jewish violence was repeated in many German towns and villages in 1830. Another wave of anti-Jewish violence occurred during the revolution of 1848. See Hoffmann, Bergmann, and Smith, Exclusionary Violence.) Anti-Jewish disturbances and attacks on Jews, about which there is more later on, were not uncommon in Lithuania in the 1930s. In the summer of 1931, in Thessaloniki (Salonika), Greeks wreaked havoc in the city’s Jewish quarter of Kambel, causing fatalities (one Jew and one Christian were killed) and leaving behind scores of injured Jews. The Jewish neighbourhood was completely destroyed by fire and 500 families left homeless. See Aristotle A. Kallis, “The Jewish Community of Salonica under Siege: The Antisemitic Violence of the Summer of 1931,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, vol. 20, no. 1 (spring 2006): 34–56. (Anti-Semitism has a long history in Greece. An 1891 blood libel in Corfu and subsequent mass exodus of many the island’s Jews led to an international boycott against Corfu lemons. See Shanes, Diaspora Nationalism and Jewish Identity in Habsburg Galicia, 135–36.) In neighbouring Turkey, extensive anti-Jewish riots erupted in 1934 in the territories of eastern Thrace. See Hatiice Bayraktar, “The Anti-Jewish Pogrom in Eastern Thrace in 1934: New Evidence for the Responsibility of the Turkish Government,” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 40, no. 2 (2006): 95–111. In October 1936, a legal march by the British Union of Fascists, formed in 1932 by the aristocratic adventurer Sir Oswald Mosley, formerly a Labour Member of Parliament, descended on the East End of London, and provoked the so-called Cable Street Riot. East London was the home of a large Jewish population and a seedbed of anti-Semitism and racist propaganda in general, even though Jews comprised only 0.7 percent of the country’s total population at the time. The British Brothers’ League, founded by ex-army officers in 1900, claimed 45,000 members in the East End. Organized on a semi-military footing, it campaigned against “alien” and especially Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe, influencing the passing of the Aliens Restriction Act in 1905. Mosley’s East London campaign began in earnest in the summer of 1936 with a big rally in Victoria Park in June. Through endless street-corner meetings, fire-bombing and smashing the windows of Jewish shops, racist abuse and physical attacks, the fascists worked overtime to create an atmosphere of siege. In late September 1936 the League announced its intention to mount a show of strength on the afternoon of Sunday, October 4, designed to intimidate the organized working class and in particular the local Jewish community. Uniformed fascists were to gather in military formation at Royal Mint Street, where they would be reviewed by their Führer, before marching in separate contingents to four meetings in East London. Despite urgent appeals and petitions the Home Office refused to intervene to stop the march even though its consequences were plainly apparent. In fact, 10,000 police were brought in from all over London and deployed to protect the marchers from the anti-fascists. According to the Daily Herald: “the police precautions enabled the rest of the Fascists to assemble unmolested. They formed in military formation, a column of 3,000 stretching for half a mile, with over 200 black-bloused women in the centre. … The Blackshirts jeered back at distant booing. ‘The Yids, the Yids, we are going to get rid of the Yids’, they chanted, or, ‘M-0-S-L-E-Y, we want Mosley’, to which the crowd shouted back, ‘So do we, dead or alive’. New detachments arrived in the steel-protected Fascist vans, behind steel-wire meshing.” Only towards the evening were the Blackshirts escorted out of Royal Mint Street by thousands of police and diverted down the Embankment—away from East London. As the fascists skulked off towards the West End, “everyone of Jewish appearance was insulted and in some cases they were spat upon.” See Richard Price and Martin Sullivan, “The Battle of Cable Street: Myths and Realities,” Workers News, March–April 1994. Attacks on Jews began in Belgium in the 1930s, taking place in both Antwerp and Brussels. On August 25 and 26, 1939, on the eve of World War II, anti-Jewish riots broke out in Antwerp, and the rioters gained the support of some the city’s press as “justified.” Jewish lawyers were ousted from the Flemish Conference of the Antwerp Bar and the Antwerp Bar Association in May 1939. See Dan Michman, “Why Did So Many of the Jews in Antwerp Perish in the Holocaust?” Yad Vashem Studies, vol. 30 (2002): 465–82; Bob Moore, Survivors: Jewish Self-Help and Rescue in Nazi-Occupied Western Europe (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 168–69. Of course, all of this pales in comparison to what was happening at the time in countries like Germany, the Soviet Union, Italy and Spain. The post-World War II era saw no improvement. The postwar record of the French was no better. In the Algerian war of the late 1950s, the French government ordered or tolerated the taking of Arab hostages, the burning of villages, and the torturing of prisoners. In exchange, the Algerian Muslim rebels thre bombs into cafés crowded with pieds-noirs, Europeans living in Algeria. See Deák, Europe on Trial, 216. On October 17, 1961, during the Algerian War, French police took to the streets of Paris to quell an illegal but peaceful demonstration by pro-National Liberation Front Algerians. Many demonstrators died when they were violently herded by police into the River Seine, with some thrown from bridges after being beaten unconscious. Other demonstrators were killed within the courtyard of the Paris police headquarters after being arrested and delivered there in police buses. How many demonstrators were killed is still unclear, but estimates range from 70 to 200 people. A plaque which commemorates the massacre, unveiled 40 years later, states: “In memory of the many Algerians killed during the bloody repression of the peaceful demonstration of 17 October 1961.” However, no one was ever punished for these transgressions.

Much less known is the day-to-day harassment experienced by Jews in contemporary Western Europe. A Jewish student from England who spent six months living in Vienna, reported: “The Jews of Austria are constantly blamed by people of other religions for crimes such as muggings, burglaries and shoplifting. The Jewish family I stayed with received regular intimidation in retaliation for crimes supposedly committed by Jews. I also witnessed several incidents where orthodox Jews were attacked by gangs of youths. The authorities in Vienna take absolutely no notice of this antisemitic behavior, which leads me to believe that they are glad to see our persecution.” See Mervyn S. Feinstein, letter, “Austria,” Economist, July 11, 1987, as quoted in Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, The Jews of Poland: A Documentary History (New York: Hippocrene, 1993), 175. In Sweden, in the spring of 2002, a group of about 100 Jews protesting anti-Semitism was attacked by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who burned their signs and posters as police stood by watching. Jewish school children hide their Star of David pendants under their shirts for fear of being attacked and find their school work desecrated with swastikas and are greeted with “Heil Hitler” salutes by their schoolmates, with principals and teachers refusing to intervene. One Jewish student at an elite high school was told it was a shame that Hitler did not finish the extermination of all Jews, so they would not come to Sweden. See Michael Moshe Checinski, Running the Gauntlet of Anti-Semitism: From Polish Counterintelligence to the German/American Marshall Center (Jerusalem and New York: Devora, 2004), 302. Attacks on Jews in Britain in 2007 reached the highest level ever in the 23 years records have been kept, according to the Community Security Trust, a Jewish defence organization. There were 547 hate incidents against the Jewish community that year, down from 594 in 2006, of which 114 were violent assaults against individuals. Most anti-Semitic incidents are likely never reported. For example, Ryan Craig, a British playwright born in 1972, recalls that, as a boy, non-Jewish children threw bacon and spouted slurs at him as he walked to Hebrew school in North London. In the December 14, 2008 issue of The Jerusalem Post, Manfred Gerstenfeld published a scathing exposé entitled “Norway—a Paradigm for Anti-Semitism,” in which he documents copious examples of blatant anti-Semitism in the mainstream Norwegian media, including an op-ed by Jopstein Gaarder published two years earlier in the conservative Aftenposten, reputedly the “vilest anti-Semitic article published in a European mainstream paper since the Second World War.” He also noted instances of harassment and intimidation of Jews. During the Second Lebanon War, anti-Semitic incidents in Oslo were the most severe in Europe: the synagogue was shot at, the cantor was attacked on a main street, and the Jewish cemetery was desecrated. Gerstenfelds’ article is not without a good dose of hypocrisy, because blatant racist bigotry also emanates from Jewish Norwegians such as Hans-Wilhelm Steninfeld, one of the most profiled reporters in the Norwegian National Broadcasting Corporation NRK. From January through May 2005, Steinfeld made a series of outrageous claims regarding Poles on NRK’s website and in the flagships of the Norwegian press, the dailies Aftenposten and Verdens Gang. Although his claims were dismissed by leading historians, including Jewish ones like Raul Hilberg, Israel Gutman and Antony Polonsky, Steinfeld was defended by his publishers and the Norwegian Press Ethics Board. See “Celebrated Norwegian Journalist Falsifies History,” Internet: .

In many countries the situation for non-Jews was even worse, often far worse, especially for non-White minorities, who to this day continue to face hostility and frequent excesses in many countries. The Muslim conquest of India from the 12th to the 18th centuries reportedly resulted in the slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus.The Act of Resettlement that followed Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland, ordered Irish property owners in three-quarters of the island to remove themselves to the impoverished western province of Connacht by May 1, 1654, to make room for incoming English and Scottish colonists; those remaining east of the River Shannon after that date were to be killed wherever found. “The human misery involved,” in the judgment of Marcus Tanner, “probably equalled anything inflicted on Russia or Poland in the 1940s by Nazi Germany.” See Marcus Tanner, Ireland’s Holy War: The Struggle for a Nation’s Soul, 1500–2000 (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2001), 145. The treatment of the Irish by their English rulers, who exacerbated if not directly caused a famine that took one million lives between 1845 and 1852, was one of darkest chapters of British history, eclipsed only by the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Protected by the British navy, in the 1710s and 1720s alone, British ships carried 200,000 slaves across the Atlantic. In the mid-1700s there were approximately 15,000 black servants (many of them slaves) in London. Slavery there was as brutal as it was in Mississippi or Alabama; slaves were often beaten so badly that they died or became crippled. In 1783, Guildhall was the site of the infamous Zong Massacre trial. The Zong was a ship manned by slave traders; they decided to tie the hands and feet of 133 slaves and throw them overboard, and then tried to collect insurance on their dead cargo. When this horror began to be widely known, it pushed many who had been ambivalent about slavery to oppose it. Others suffered as well, though their tolls were smaller. From 1869 to 1939, an estimated 100,000 orphaned or abandoned youngsters, the so-called home children, were taken off the streets of Britain and, without the consent or knowledge of their parents, sent to Australia, Canada and other former British colonies with the promise of a better life. Many were abused physically and mentally, especially in orphanages, or put to work as child labourers. (Australia apologized in November 2009 for its part in the mistreatment of the home children and the British government announced it will issue a formal apology in 2010.) During the Second Boer War (1899–1902), the Brish builr 45 tented camps were built for Boers—mostly women and children—whose farms had been destroyed under the “scorched earth” policy. Approximately 120,000 persons held under terrible living conditions, of whom 28,000 died of starvation, disease and exposure. At least 20,000 Blacks also died in the camps. Only recently, in conjunction with a lawsuit brought by the victims in 2011, is the British colonial legacy of the mid-20th Century coming to light. Kenyans were systematically castrated and raped for political purposes by British officials in the 1950s, during the Mau Mau rebellion against colonial rule. In that same decade, considered by many as the “enlightened” late period of the empire, the British slaughtered, tortured, sexually brutalized, burned alive, starved and jailed some 150,000 Africans, for having the temerity to fight for national independence. See Doug Saunders, “The Importance of National Shame,” The Globe and Mail, April 9, 2011. The track record of the Dutch is especially appalling. As historians have pointed out, “from the outset, violence was intrinsic to Dutch colonial exploits in the Indonesian archipelago. The VOC, the Dutch East India Company, used extreme force to build up its trade empire in the seventeenth century. The almost total annihilation of the population of the Banda Islands in 1621, a clearly genocidal act committed under the direction of Governor-General Jan Pieterszoon Coen in enforcing the Dutch spice trade monopoly, is only the most gruesome and well-known example. A later infamous violent episode was the massacre of up to 10,000 ethnic Chinese in Batavia (now Jakarta) in 1740.” See Bart Luttikhuis and A. Dirk Moses, “Mass Violence and the End of the Dutch Colonial Empire in Indonesia,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 14, nos. 3–4 (2012): 257–76, here at 265. During the conquest of the Caucasus, between 1860 and 1864, the Russians massacred and expelled hundreds of thousands of Adygs (Circassians or Cherkess). The Belgians are said to have systematically murdered millions of Black Congolese between 1880 and 1900 in their quest for rubber. Congolese who refused to harvest the rubber for their Belgian overlords had their hands chopped off, before bleeding to death. Between 1904 and 1911, the Germans exterminated 65,000 out of 80,000 members of the Herero tribe, about 85 percent of the tribe’s population, during the Herero uprising in German South West Africa. (Some estimates mention 100,000 victims from the Herero and 15,000 Namaqua, a smaller ethnic group, in what is today Namibia.) The extermination order was hung around the necks of captive Herero, who were driven into the desert under gunfire to die. Bizarre racial experiments, like those of the Nazi German concentration camps, were performed on prisoners. (Thousands of skulls and other body parts flooded German universities, where academics and students conducted “scientific” tests aimed at proving that Africans were anatomically similar to apes.) See Ben Shepherd, War in the Wild East: The German Army and Soviet Partisans (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004), 42–43; David Olusoga and Casper W. Erichsen, The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism (London: Faber and Faber, 2010). The Armenian genocide of 1915 is said to have claimed at least one million lives. Horrific atrocities were also perpetrated in many other countries. Repeated murderous attacks by Hindus upon Muslims have become a feature of intercommunal relations in several Indian cities since partition of the subcontinent in 1947. See Ashutosh Varshney, Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2002). In September 1955, mobs of Turks attacked the Greeks of Istanbul and left 45 Greek communities in ruins, smashing their homes, businesses, churches, schools, and cemeteries. The pogroms effectively ended millennia-old Greek civilization in Asia Minor. Between 1935 and 1976, 60,000 mentally and physically handicapped women were forcibly sterilized in socialist Sweden. One of the goals of that program was to rid society of “inferior” racial types such as Gypsies and to encourage Aryan features. Similar allegations were levelled with respect to Denmark, Norway, Finland and Switzerland.

Especially in Germany, but also in France, England and elsewhere, violent assaults against immigrants and foreigners became a daily occurrence in the 1990s. In that decade, at least 40 Gypsies were killed in the Czech Republic in racially motivated attacks. See Gwynne Dyer, “Europe’s Gypsies consider their future,” The Toronto Star, August 6, 2000. Romas continue to be persecuted, attacked and killed, and their homes are fire-bombed in the Czech Republic and Hungary. Anti-Roma riots broke out in northern Bohemia in September 2011, and again on August 24, 2013, eight Czech cities experienced riots. Characteristically, what is branded as a “pogrom” in Eastern Europe (except in the case of the Czech Republic) becomes merely a “riot” if it occurs in Western countries. In this regard, the 2001 attacks on East Indians in Oldham, England, where dozens were injured, are no exception. See, for example, the following media reports: “Race Riot Casts Pall over U.K. Vote,” The National Post (Toronto), May 28, 2001; “Right-wing Groups Blamed for British Riots,” The National Post, May 29, 2001. One of the most notorious race riots in England, Totenham’s 1985 Broadwater Farm riot, which was sparked by the death of a local resident after an encounter with the police, led to the savage killing of a police officer (who was hacked to death) and the wounding of nearly 60 others when 500 mainly Black youths rampaged through the streets, assaulting police and setting fires. A Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) inquiry in 1999 into the death of Black British teenager concluded that the force was “institutionally racist.” On August 6, 2011, several hundred youths rained missiles and bottles on officers near Tottenham police station after a protest over the fatal shooting of a Black man by armed officers. Twenty-six officers were injured in the skirmish as rioters smashed windows, looted and set buildings alight, and torched three police cars. See Raphael G. Satter, “London’s Dramatic Riot Echoes Deadly Unrest of 1985,” Toronto Star, August 7, 2011; “Violence in London Erupts in Wake of Riots,” Reuters, August 7, 2011. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, a series of attacks on Muslims was unleashed in distant Western Europe. Within eight days of the killing of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh on November 2, 2004, arsonists attacked nine mosques and four Islamic schools were bombed, vandalized, or set on fire in Holland, in places like Eindhoven, Uden, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Breda, and Huizen near Amsterdam. Dozens of violent attacks on Muslims were reported. See Michael McClintock, Everyday Fears: A Survey of Violent Hate Crimes in Europe and North America (New York: Human Rights First, 2005), 1; Sandro Contenta, “Fear replaces tolerance as racism sweeps Holland,” Toronto Star, November 27, 2004. Within days of the London commuter bombings by Muslim extremists in July 2005, more than 100 revenge attacks—including the beating death of a Pakistani immigrant—were reported across Britain. See Caroline Mallan, “‘He was just another kid,’” Toronto Star, July 14, 2005. A number of Jews, including schoolchildren, were also assaulted in the United Kingdom during this period. See McClintock, Everyday Fears, 3. Gypsies and Africans have fared badly throughout Western Europe in recent years. When a a mentally disturbed immigrant was accused of stabbing a Spanish woman in El Ejido, a small town in Andalucia, Spain, in February 2000, two days and two nights of looting and burning of houses, shops and mosques belonging ensued. The violence against Moroccan and Algerian immigrants, accompanied by racist slogans, reportedly met with the passivity or connivance of most inhabitants of the town, the police and the municipal government. According to a BBC report of February 8, 2000, “Riot police in Spain have again clashed with hundreds of protesters on the third consecutive day of violence directed against immigrants from North Africa. The local immigrant community has asked the authorities for protection after rioting left their property ransacked and their cars overturned. Clouds of smoke wafted over the south-eastern Spanish region of Almeria as a plastic recycling factory, set alight by anti-immigrant protestors, burnt to the ground. … Spanish state radio reported that more than 30 people were injured and seven others arrested as police prevented protesters marching on El Ejido.” The Ponticelli Romani camp in Naples was burned to the ground in May 2008, causing the approximately 800 residents to flee, while Italians stood by and cheered; four Molotov cocktails were thrown into Romani camps in Milan and Novara that same month; in June, a settlement of around 100 Romanian Roma in Catania, Sicily, was attacked and burned to the ground. Other incidents that year included racist attacks by vigilantes, assaults by law enforcement officials, and forced evictions. See Claude Cahn and Elspeth Guild, Recent Migration of Roma in Europe, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, December 10, 2008, 61–62. After Black African migrant workers were shot at and beaten with metal rods in Rosarno, Italy, in early January 2009, they rampaged through the town destroying everything in their path and attacked residents and police officers. See Adriana Sapone and Ariel David, “African migrant workers continue rampage in Italy,” The Globe and Mail, January 9, 2009. Polish immigrants have been the victims of scores of racially motivated assaults, house burnings, and even killings on the streets of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Ireland in recent years. Two Polish immigrants were murdered in Ireland in February 2008, with screwdrivers driven through their skulls; three Polish immigrants were murdered in Northern Ireland in July 2009. A Pole barely escaped lynching at the hands of a mob armed with bats in Accrington, Lancashire, in May 2009; a Pole was knifed in York and yet another suffered serious head injuries in Aberdeen, Scotland, in July 2009. After an international soccer match between Poland and Northern Ireland in March 2009, gangs of young people started attacking Poles and the Romas in Belfast, culminating in the expulsion of more than 100 Romanian Gypsies from their homes in a wave of attacks by hooligans armed with bricks and bottles. In May 2011, a man carrying a knife threatened Polish residents of a housing estate in County Antrim, north of Belfast, in a racist attack. A British loyalist group claimed responsibility for a pipe bomb was left on the windowsill of a house inhabited by Poles in County Antrim in October 2011. Other racist incidents in the area have included smashing windows of homes, threatening graffiti, and physical assaults. On July 11, 2012, Polish flags were burned in several places in Belfast as well as election posters of a Polish candidate. See “Northern Ireland Attacks on Poles Blamed on Loyalists,” The Guardian, April 10, 2009; “100 Romanian Gypsies Take refuge in Belfast Church After String of Violent Attacks,” Associated Press, June 17, 2009; “Three held after Poles threatened by knifeman,” Belfast Telegraph, May 16, 2011; “Migrants living in fear after racist bomb attack on Poles,” Belfast Telegraph, October 13, 2011. A spate of attacks on Polish homes in Belfast erupted again in January 2014, and several Poles were knifed and assaulted in racial incidents in England in late 2013 and early 2014. See Steven Alexander, “Seven Attacks in 10 Days as Racist Gang Targets Polish Community in East Belfast,” Belfast Telegraph, January 17, 2014; Maciej Czarnecki, “W Wielkiej Brytanii atakują Polaków,” Gazeta Wyborcza, February 21, 2014. Attacks continued through February and March, culminating in the vicious beating of three young Poles by a gang in a Belfast park on April 21, 2014. See Adrian Rutherford and Claire Williamson, “Gang of 15 That Attacked Polish Trio Playing Football ‘Needs To Be Taken Off the Streets,’” Belfast Telegraph, April 25, 2014. BBC News Northern Ireland reported on May 6, 2014, that the home of a Polish mother and her son was attacked in east Belfast. The living room window of the house was smashed and the windscreen of a car parked outside was also broken. Another spate of hate crimes targeting the Polish community in Belfast occurred in April 2015, when several homes occupied by Polish people were struck. A beauty salon employing a number of Polish staff was extensively damaged by arsonists; days before the attack, graffiti saying “Polish Out” was daubed on the shop front. In 2013 there were 307 racist hate crimes reported in the city, and in 2014 there were 476—88 of which targeted the Polish community. Police believe loyalist paramilitary elements have been involved in the attacks. See “Poland Concern over Belfast Attack,” Belfast Telegraph, April 14, 2015. Incidents of violence against Jews, Muslims and others have also been reported perennially in great numbers throughput the United Kingdom. According to a 2009 report, the Crown Prosecution Section prosecuted 13,008 racially and religiously motivated crimes in the United Kingdom, of which 10,398 led to convictions. See the United States Department of State International Religious Freedom Report 2009, Internet: . During 2013 British police arrested 585 people for hate crimes against Poles. See Marek Pruszewicz, “How Britain and Poland Came to Be Intertwined,” BBC New Magazine, August 31, 2014. France’s record is no better. Muslims, Jews and Romani migrants have been targeted: scores of persons were seriously injured and there many incidents involving arson attacks, desecration, and vandalization of mosques, synagogues, schools, cemeteries, shops, homes, and private vehicles. See McClintock, Everyday Fears, 76–79; Claude Cahn and Elspeth Guild, Recent Migration of Roma in Europe, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, December 10, 2008, 62; United States Department of State International Religious Freedom Report 2009, Internet: . During the July 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza, at least 8 synagogues were attacked in France. In Paris, a pro-Palestinian protest turned ugly when several Jewish shops were burned and some demonstrators chanted “Death to Jews.” Mosques were also torched in Malmö, Sweden, in October 2005. Riots engulfed Stockholm for days in May 2013, with their roots in segregation, racism, neglect and poverty. Cars were torched, schools set on fire, and police attacked. An Ethiopian-born nurse said, “My daughter comes home from school and says the kids say they can’t play with her because she’s dark.” See Niklas Pollard and Philip O’Connor, “Sweden Riots Expose Ugly Side of ‘Nordic Model’.” Reuters, May 23, 2013. In December 2014, in the central town of Eskilstuna, Sweden, a suspected arson attack at one mosque injured at least five people while a second mosque in the same town was vandalized. Racial riots swept France in October and November 2005, with more than 8,000 automobiles and several Catholic churches set on fire. Conditions in Germany are undoubtedly the worst. In February 2008, neo-Nazi graffiti was found scrawled on the entrance to a Turkish cultural centre at a building in Ludwigshafen, Germany, where nine Turks, including five children, were killed in a fire believed to be set by arsonists. See “Investigators Visit German Fire Site,” The New York Times, February 7, 2008. The event has revived memories of numerous firebomb attacks in Germany in recent years: two homes of Turkish families were set on fire with Molotov cocktails in Mölln in November 1992, with a woman and two young girls dying in the flames and nine other people injured; two women and three young girls died in an arson attack on a home occupied by two Turkish families in Solingen in May 1993, and another 14 people were injured (four German men, one as young as 16, were convicted and sentenced to prison terms of 10 to 15 years); ten people died and another 38 were injured in an arson attack on a residence for asylum seekers in Lübeck in January 1996 (no Germans were charged for this crime); a homemade cluster-bomb detonated on the platform of a railway station in Düsseldorf in July 2000, injuring ten immigrants from the Soviet Union, most of them Jewish (no charges were ever brought); a nail bomb detonated in a Turkish area of Cologne known as “Little Istanbul” in June 2004, injuring 22 people, four seriously—all but one of the injured were of Turkish descent (no charges were ever brought); in August 2007, eight Indian citizens were chased through the town of Mügeln and beaten by a large mob of German youths, encouraged by spectators seeking enjoyment to continue their assault and accompanied by police brutality on the victims. Attacks on residences for asylum seekers and foreign workers in Hoyerswerda and Rostock in 1991 and 1992 respectively resulted in no life-threatening injuries or deaths. Between 2000 and 2006 nine immigrant shop and snack stand owners, eight Turks and one Greek, were murdered by Germans described as right-wing extremists. Most of the victims were shot in the head. See John Rosenthal, “An East German Problem? Racist Violence in Germany,” World Politics Review, August 30, 2007; Melissa Eddy, “German Murders by Neo-Nazis ‘a disgrace’,” Toronto Star, November 15, 2011. Credible reports indicate that German police routinely ignore racially motivated attacks and they have also been accused of manipulating statistics to hide the soaring number of incidents involving neo-Nazis. See Harry de Quetteville, “German police ‘routinely ignore racist attacks’,” Telegraph, December 6, 2007. On the alarming conditions in Germany, including the dramatic rise of anti-Semitic occurrences (such as the torching of a synagogue in Wuppertal in July 2014), see the United States Department of State International Religious Freedom Report 2009, Internet: ; Benjamin Weinthal, “Germany’s Jewish Problem: Anti-Semitism Is On the Rise in Germany: But Is Angela Merkel Doing Anything About It?” Foreign Policy, September 25, 2014. According to Human Rights First, some of the most horrific incidents involving African students in Europe have been reported in the Russian Federation, particularly since November 2003, when 42 mostly African and Asian students burned to death in a fire in their dormitory at Moscow’s Friendship University. Racist attacks have been extremely frequent for years in Russia, and continue unabated. According to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, during the period from January to October 2008, there were 254 recorded attacks based on xenophobia, involving 340 victims, of whom 113 (mostly foreigners) were killed. See McClintock, Everyday Fears, 6–7; Mansur Mirovalev, “Migrants bear backlash brunt,” Toronto Star, December 22, 2008; Claude Cahn and Elspeth Guild, Recent Migration of Roma in Europe, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, December 10, 2008, 62. Australia has witnessed numerous racist outbursts in recent years. In December 2008, mobs of youths attacked people of Middle Eastern appearance on Cronulla beach in south Sydney. More than 5,000 people gathered at the beach after e-mail and mobile phone messages called on local residents to beat-up “Lebs and wogs”—racial slurs for people of Lebanese and Middle Eastern origin. Chanting “No more Lebs” and “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie … Oi, Oi, Oi,” mobs of drunken young men waving Australian flags attacked anyone suspected of having a Middle Eastern background. Six police officers were injured as they tried to quell the violence. Twenty-five people were injured and 16 were arrested. See “Race riots erupt on Australian beach: Mobs of youths attack people of Mideast origin,” National Post (Toronto), December 12, 2005. Melbourne and Sydney witnessed a spate of violent attacks on Indian students in first-half of 2009. More than 70 Hindus were beaten, stabbed, slashed or burned, some very seriously, by roving gangs of White Australian youths engaged in “curry bashing”. In one case a petrol bomb was hurled through the window of a home resulting in the occupant sustaining burns to thirty percent of his body. See, for example, Rick Westhead, “India’s media slam ‘racist’ Australia over spate of attacks,” Toronto Star, June 17, 2009. Nor is Asia immune from xenophobia. The massacre of thousands of Koreans by Japanese mobs in the wake of the 1923 Tokyo earthquake is one of many atrocities that stand out in the interwar period. India experienced a rash of anti-Christian pogroms in 2008 in which at least 40 Catholics were killed. Modern-day Israel is plagued by minority problems, not only in relation to the native Palestinian (Arab) population, but also in relation to the many Christians who have migrated there in recent years from the former Soviet Union. See, for example, Patrick Martin, “Little promise in the promised land”, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), February 18, 1995, which outlines some of the religious-based hostility directed at these non-Jewish immigrants. The Gaza war in 2008–2009, in which some 1,300 Palestinians were killed, brought about a backlash of hatred directed against all Arabs, even the peaceful Arab citizens of Israel. “Death to the Arabs” has become a rallying call for Israeli youth and political parties are advocating openly racist agendas. See Patrick Martin, “Anti-Arab Sentiment Swells Among Youth in Aftermath of Gaza War,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), January 26, 2009. See also Gideon Levy, The Punishment of Gaza (London and New York: Verso, 2010). The bloody sectarian warfare witnessed in the latter part of the 20th century in Sri Lanka, India, Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, the Occupied Territories, Rwanda, and many others countries throughout the world, was by and large avoided during the long centuries that Jews lived in large numbers on Polish soil. Comparisons are shocking. In a span of three decades, before the power-sharing agreement of 1998, the so-called Belfast “Good Friday” Agreement, more than 3,600 people were killed as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland, known euphemistically “The Troubles.” It is estimated that 107,000 people suffered some physical injury as a result of the conflict. In fact, “nearly two per cent of the population of Northern Ireland have been killed or injured though political violence. … If the equivalent ratio of victims to population had been produced in Great Britain in the same period some 100 000 people would have died, and if a similar level of political violence had taken place, the number of fatalities in the USA would have been over 500 000, or about ten times the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.” See Brendan O’Leary and John McGarry, The Politics of Antagonism: Understanding Northern Ireland, 2nd edition (London: Athlone Press, 1996), 12–13. In January 2013, communal violence again erupted when a decision was taken to limit the flying of the Union Jack over Belfast city hall to 18 designated days per year. See Paul Waldie, “Belfast Comes Apart at the Seams Over a Flag,” The Globe and Mail, January 10, 2013.

Even highly developed countries like the United States did not escape the scourge of racism. The legacy is long and makes for very disturbing reading. Because of abysmal conditions, many slaves died soon after arriving in the American colonies. Runaway slaves were hunted down relentlessly and rebellious slaves were beheaded and their heads impaled on posts along roads as a warning to other slaves. Although slavery was outlawed in 1865, Confederate veterans formed the Ku Klux Klan to maintain white control by terrorizing Blacks. States passed black codes to restrict the rights of freed slaves. Souhern Blacks widely lost the right to vote as states enacted poll taxes and literary tests and restricted voting to men whose father or grandfather coud vote in 1867. Between 1917 and 1921 riots, started by Whites attacking Blacks, swept the country. In 1917, one of the bloodiest race riots in American history took place in East St. Louis, Illionis. It was started by white workers who were protesting the hiring of African Americans. By the time the violence ended, 39 blacks had been murdered and nearly 6,000 others had been driven from their homes. During the “The Red Summer of 1919” alone there were 26 race riots in which the White population turned on Black Americans and destroyed their communities, murdering and injuring thousands of Blacks. The most infamous of these was the Chicago Race Riots. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the end of May 1921, the city’s whites, incited by the press and by politicians, massacred several hundred innocent Blacks. See István Deák, “Heroes and Victims,” The New York Review of Books, May 31, 2001; Brent Staples, “Unearthing a Riot,” The New York Times, December 19, 1999. Assaults on Blacks continued unabated. See, for example, Robert Shogun and Tom Craig, The Detroit Race Riot: A Study in Violence (Philadelphia: Chilton books, 1964). The United States—and not Nazi Germany—was the first country to concertedly undertake compulsory sterilization programs for the purpose of eugenics, targeting, among others, Black and Native American women, and implemented a wide-scale sterilization programme in Puerto Rico, such that by 1965 34% of Puerto Rican mothers ages 20–49 had been sterilized, the highest rate ever documented for a population. See Harriet B. Presser, “The Role of sterilization in Controlling Puerto Rican Fertility,” Population Studies, vol. 23 (3) (November 1969): 343–361. In addition to the forced sterilization Puerto Rican women endured, starting in 1965, they were also used as test subjects for birth control pills. The Puerto Rican women involved in the study were not told they were part of a drug trial. Researchers informed them that they would be receiving a drug that prevented pregnancy.While not nearly as horrific as the medical experiments conducted by the Germans (on Jews and Poles) and the Japanese (on Chinese) during the Second World War on a massive scale, the U.S. government subjected hundreds of African Americans to medical experiments, known as the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, in which the victims were left untreated to study the disease between 1932 and 1972. The experimentation only came to an end in 1972 because of a whistle-blowing Public Health Service epidemiologist. See Kathleen Kenna, “U.S. to apologize for experiments on black farmers,” The Toronto Star, May 16, 1997; “‘We were treated … like guinea pigs,’” The Toronto Star, May 17, 1997. The U.S. government continued to conduct medical experiments in foreign countries, even after the Holocaust. Between 1946 and 1948, some 1,500 soldiers, prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala were infected with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. A number of high-ranking U.S. government officials knew about the research, including Thomas Parran Jr., who was then U.S. surgeon general, the documents show. He was reported to have said, “You know, we couldn’t do such an experiment in this country.” While there was a belated apology when the information was unearthed more than 60 years later, there was no mention of compensation. See Rob Stein, “U.S. Apologizes for Newly Revealed Syphilis Experiments in Guatemala,” The Washinghton Post, October 1, 2010. When blacks went to use the public swimming pools for the first time in St. Louis, Missouri, on Independence Day in 1949,
Outside the pool fence, a mob of some 200 restless white teen-agers collected. Police arrived in time to escort the Negroes safely from the park. But all that afternoon, fist fights blazed up; Negro boys were chased and beaten by white gangs. In the gathering dusk, one grown-up rabble-rouser spoke out: “Want to know how to take care of those niggers?” he shouted. ‘Get bricks. Smash their heads, the dirty, filthy —.” Swinging baseball bats, the crowd shuffled in mounting excitement. Then someone called out: “There’s some niggers!” The crowd cornered two terror-stricken Negro boys against a fence. Under a volley of fists, clubs and stones, the boys went down—but not before one of them whipped out a knife and stabbed one of his attackers. In a surge of fury, the nearest whites kicked and pummeled the two prostrate bodies, turned angrily on rescuing police with shouts of “Nigger lovers.” Within an hour the crowd had swollen to number more than 5,000. In the park along bustling Grand Boulevard, busy teen-age gangs hunted down Negroes. Other ones climbed into trucks and circled the park, looking for more targets. … By 2 a.m., when hard-pressed police finally cleared the streets, ten Negroes and five whites had been hospitalized, one critically injured. Next day Mayor Joseph M. Darst ordered both outdoor pools closed, and ruled that St. Louis’ pools and playgrounds would stay segregated.
See Time Capsule 1949: The Year in Review, As Reported in the Pages of Time.

The litany of racist incidents does not stop there. Some 60 Black churches were burned to the ground or seriously damaged in the southeastern states in 1995–1996, all too reminiscent of the brutal 1960s when the Ku Klux Klan and others burned an estimated 100 churches in Mississippi alone. (The Sunday bombing of a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, killed four African-American girls.) See David Snyder, “Re-igniting the fires of racism,” The Toronto Star, March 31, 1996 (Newhouse News Service). (In January 2012 Jewish synagogues in New Jersey, one of them with a rabbi and several worshippers inside, came under firebomb attacks.) According to the FBI more than half of the almost 7,500 reported hate crime incidents in the United States in 2003 were directed at blacks. There were 3,150 black victims, including four who were murdered. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported nearly 10,000 hate crimes committed in 2006, mostly directed against non-Whites, and that figure is considered to be low as such crimes are often not reported by victims and law enforcement agencies. Of these, more than 1,100 were anti-Semitic in nature, including 80 physical attacks on Jews. A worrisome trend is a sharp increase in incidents in which nooses—a symbol of racist lynchings—are hung outside the homes of Blacks. See McClintock, Everyday Fears, 132–37, which also documents hate crimes directed against people of Hispanic origin and Muslims, including murders. Racial tensions between Orthodox Jews and Blacks continue to explode periodically. A 7-year-old Black child was struck by a car in the motorcade of an Orthodox Jewish spiritual leader in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in 1991, and later died of injuries. In the ensuing rioting by Black youths, which lasted three nights, a rabbinical student, a member of the Lubavitcher Hasidic movement, was mortally stabbed. After an Orthodox Jewish school teacher was acquitted of assaulting a Black teenager in Lakewood, New Jersey, in the summer of 2007, a group of Orthodox Jews was pelted with eggs by teenagers and, in October of that year, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi was severely beaten by a Black man wielding a baseball bat. Brooklyn’s Crown Heights became the scene of Jewish-Black racial confrontations again in April and May 2008, when a Black man was badly beaten by two Jews, believed to be members of a local street patrol group, in an unprovoked assault. The suspects were not arrested by the police. This was followed by an attack on a Jewish teenager by two Black youths, who were promptly arrested. Angry Jews and Blacks took to the streets, pelting homes and school buses with rocks. Racial flare-ups in the United States persist to this day and take on all sorts of permuations. For example, Black mobs attacked Whites in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 4, 2011 and August 4, 2011 resulting in scores of injured. See Don Walker, Mike Johnson, and Breann Schossow, “State Fair melees produce 11 injuries, 31 arrests,” Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee), August 5, 2011. On August 5, 2012, a White supremacist opened fire on congregants at a Sikh Temple on the outskirts of Milwaukee killing six American Sikhs. On February 10, 2015, three young Muslims were gunned down near the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill. On June 17, 2015, nine Blacks were killed when a White extremist opened fire on them in a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The history of oppression of Blacks in Canada is a topic that is avoided in favour of stories of Black slaves who escaped from the United States. Shelburne, Nova Scotia, was the site of Canada’s first reported race riot, when in 1784, white settlers burned twenty homes of black Loyalists. The Ku Klux Klan came to Canada in 1924 and soon enlisted thousands of followers, stirring up ethnic and religious hatred directed against Blacks, Roman Catholics, Jews and immigrants. Their founding meeting at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, attracted some 8,000 interested people willing to join. The Klan and the mainstream Conservatives joined together to defeat that province’s Liberal government in 1929 on an anti-immigrant platform. Like in the United States, Klansmen held outdoor meeting with burning crosses and exploded fire bombs in Catholic churches in Quebec. In February 1930, in Oakville, Ontario, scores of Klansmen gathered to burn a cross to protest a marriage between a White girl and a Black World War I veteran, who was threatened with death and his fiancée kidnapped. One of the leaders was charged and convicted, but sentenced to only three months in jail. Tellingly, many political and public figures, including the town’s mayor, as well as the local press, approved of the Klan’s conduct. In 1946, a middle-class Black woman named Viola Desmond was handled roughly and tossed out a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, when she took a seat on the ground floor of the theatre, which was reserved solely for White patrons. Besides being fined, she was charged with defrauding the Government of Nova Scotia of the difference in the tax between a ground floor and a balcony seat, where Blacks were required to sit, which amounted to one cent. Her appeal proved to be unsuccessful as the theatre owner’s right to refuse services as it wished trumped the equality promised in a democracy. See Constance Backhouse, Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900–1950 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999). In recent years, the Black Cultural Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was firebombed in 2006 and the Black Loyalist Heritage site in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, was destroyed by arson which also destroyed records and genealogical data collected by the Black Loyalist Society over the last 20 years. A Black woman from Jamaica immigrated toToronto in the 1950s was told to sit at the back of the bus and shopkeepers wouldn’t let her into their stores, saying they didn’t want “her kind of business.” When she bought a house in an upscale area of Toronto in the 1970s, where she was the only black resident, her neighbours threw garbage on her lawn, rang her doorbell at night, and left letters in her mailbox addressed to “monkey.” See Janet Thorning, “A Great Canadian Bird: For My Jamaican-born Grandmother, Hope Really Was Something You Could Catch,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), July 2, 2012. It is not unheard of for young black children to be called “niggers” by their classmates in Canadian public schools still today. See Lesley Ciarula Taylor, “Darker the Skin, Less You Fit In,” Toronto Star, May 14, 2009. Racial harassment occurs in many other contexts. In just one season there were 96 reported cases of young teenagers playing for the Greater Toronto Hockey League being penalized for discriminatory slurs targeted at visible minorities and other ethnic and religious groups. See Robert Cribb and Lois Kalchman, “Violence, racial slurs on the rise in kids’ hockey,” Toronto Star, December 5, 2009. In April 2014, in a town outside Toronto, a black student was beaten in a high school schoolyard as onlookers yelled racial slurs. The incident was filmed by several students who watched the morning attack of punches and kicks as one onlooker yelled “pound the nigger.” Others then taunt a white student after he falls, saying “you’re losing to the black kid,” followed by: “Get the nigger, get pounding.” Four youths and one adult were charged with assault. See Kristin Rushowy, “Students Hurl Racial Slurs as Teen Beaten at Sutton High School,” Toronto Star, May 6, 2014. Conditions for Chinese and Japanese immigrants to Canada were not much better. Some 17,000 Chinese labourers were brought to Canada to help build the transnational railroad in the early 1880s. As well as being paid less, Chinese workers were given the most back-breaking and dangerous work to do. In order to justify imposing a racist head tax on all future Chinese immigrants, John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, provided the following justification on May 4, 1885: “The Chinaman … has no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations, and therefore ought not to have a vote.” On September 7, 1907, “a rally of the xenophobic Asiatic Exclusion League boiled over into a riot. The mob, more than 10,000 white men, stormed the city’s Chinese and Japanese enclaves, throwing some immigrants in the harbour and damaging every Asian business they could find. ‘Not a Chinese window was missed,’ one local newspaper reported.” See Kate Allen, “How science got weeded out of Canada’s marjuana laws,” Toronto Star, December 1, 2013. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Chinese were barred from voting, barred from the practice of most professions and the civil service and even barred from gaining admission to public swimming pools. It was dangerous for Chinese people to venture out of Chinese enclaves.

Even though treated far less severely thank Blacks, Asians, and Native Americans, Jews faced tremendous barriers to advancement. Open and flagrant discrimination of Jews was part of day-to-day life for most Jews in the United States and Canada well into the 1950s. Severely restrictive quotas on the admission of Jews were instituted by many American universities, including the prestigious Ivy League schools, already in the 1920’s. See Leonard Dinnerstein, Anti-Semitism in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), which describes a variety of discriminatory restrictions and practices against Jews that were widespread in the United States. Similar forms of overt racism and religious bigotry prevailed in Canada as well. Jews, as well as Blacks, were routinely banned from parks, beaches and community facilities, faced restrictions at universities and in property ownership, and were shut out from public offices and municipal employment. It was probably easier for a Jew to obtain such employment in interwar Poland than in Canada. According to one source, 2.5 percent of Poland’s 77,150 elementary and high school teachers were Jews, and Jews constituted 1.8 percent of all those employed in the public service. See Jaff Schatz, “Jews and the Communist Movement in Interwar Poland,” in in Jonathan Frankel and Dan Diner, eds., Dark Times, Dire Decisions: Jews and Communism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 15. In the small town of Kolbuszowa, a Jew worked as a revenue official and another as a clerk in the county office. See Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 105–6. Jews were often the object of violent hostilities that led to race riots like the anti-Jewish pogrom at Christie Pits Park in Toronto in August 1933. See “The ugly side of Toronto the Good,” The Toronto Star, February 21, 2002. A volume of personal accounts of Jews from small communities recalled all-too-frequent occurrences of beatings at the hands of anti-Semitic youth and being called a “dirty Jew.” See Howard Victor Epstein, Jews in Small Towns: Legends and Legacies (Santa Rosa, California: Vision Books International, 1997). Signs bearing “No Jews or dogs” were still seen in Miami after 1945. A Jewish-American composer recalled how, as young men in the 1970s, he and his brother were taunted by fellow workers on a tobacco farm. After a group of about six workers beat up his brother, they tied him (the future composer) to a tree and tried to set him on fire. Only the fortuitous intervention of a foreman put a stop to this, but no one was punished and the incident was hushed up. See Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy (2012). Actress Debra Messing, who grew up in a small Rhode Island in the 1970s, recalled that as the only Jewish child in her elementary school full of Irish and Italian Catholics, her “most vivid memory” of second grade when a boy told her “Get to the back of the line, kike.” Relating her experiences she said, “We were different. We looked different, and people didn’t like us, which was very painful for my parents who grew up in Brooklyn and Queens. … I remember my mom crying when she went outside the day after Halloween and saw a swastika painted on my grandmother’s car who was visiting.” See Allison Kaplan Sommer, “Not a Sitcom: Debra Messing on the ‘Ugly Reality’ of Being Jewish in Hollywood,” Haaretz, November 9, 2015. Just as in other large North American cities, Jewish children in Toronto were frequently assaulted on their way home school in the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, and even in the 1950s. Since Jews attended public schools, whereas Catholics almost always attended Catholic schools, in most cases the bullies who victimized Jews were Protestants. When Irving Ungerman’s parents opened a poultry shop in Toronto in 1934, swastikas would be daubed on the store windows. Ungerman was bullied and beaten up repeatedly on the way from school, sometimes accompanied by anti-Jewish taunts. See Ron Csillag, “The Triumph of the ‘Chicken King’,” The Globe and Mail, November 14, 2015. The internationally acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, who grew up in then largely Protestant Ontario in the 1930s and 1940s, recalled: “In Canada when I was a kid, I remember going to restaurants with my father that had signs saying NO JEWS ALLOWED. I used to get beaten up for killing Christ.” See “The Frank Gehry Experience,” Time (Magazine), June 26, 2000, 52. Growing up in the Junction area in West Toronto during World War II, where he attended a largely Protestant public school, Joey Tanenbaum recalled that his classmates often taunted him for being Jewish and even blamed him for the war. See Liem Vu, “Members preserve synagogue legacy,” Toronto Star, July 16, 2011. Ruth Gottlieb Katz, a refugee from Germany, where she was vilified in school, harassed, spat on, kicked, and beaten by Nazi youth, found that when the family immigrated to Montreal before World War II, she was called a “Kraut” by other school children and routinely had her hand beaten with a ruler by the teacher when she made a grammatical error. See “Ruth Gottlieb Katz,” The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem, Internet: . Esther Fairbloom, a Holocaust survivor from Poland, recalled being “jeered and bullied” by her peers at a rural school near Ottawa and being called a “dirty Jew.” See “Esther Fairbloom,” February 28, 2014, Manuscript Projects, March of the Living Canada, Internet: . There are similar reports from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the Province of Quebec. Signs that read “No Jews or Dogs Allowed,” “For Christians Only,” and “For Gentiles Only” were posted all over Canada. TV celebrity Monty Hall, who grew up in Winnipeg, recalled that the children in the non-Jewish area of Elmwood “took turns beating the hell out of me.” Yude Henteleff, who grew up in rural Quebec, was regularly chased and beaten, until he fought back with a stick. Jews were routinely denied membership in sports and social clubs until the 1960s. They were denied internships at hospitals, employment as school principals, judges and professors, and at banks, insurance companies and department stores. See Alan Levine, Coming of Age: A History of the Jewish People in Manitoba (Winnipeg: Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada in association with Heartland Associates, 2009). As a young man during the Second World War, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the future Liberal prime minister of Canada, wore a swastika and would display it when he rode his motorbike around the Quebec lakeside where Jews had their cottages. Notwithstanding this shameful legacy, hundreds of acts of anti-Semitic harassment, vandalism, and violence continue to be reported in Canada each year. Synagogues and Jewish schools have been vandalized and burned to the ground in Canada in recent years, though not as frequently as happens in Australia, and the nativity creche in front of the old city hall in Toronto has been repeatedly vandalized. See McClintock, Everyday Fears, 64–65. Montreal has repeatedly experienced firebombings of Jewish institutions and establishments in recent years: a Jewish elementary school in 2004; an Orthodox Jewish boys’ school in 2006; a Jewish community centre in 2007; a kosher restaurant in 2013. In January 2011, the windows in three synagogues, a Jewish school and a daycare were smashed. But one should not single out Canada in this regard, because such incidents happen in many other countries. A postwar Jewish immigrant in Argentina recalled the situation for Jews there: “The Jews had never been fully accepted into the larger society, nor did they feel part of the state. … antisemitism was widespread. I had to live with it everyday. … From time to time, graffiti would appear on the walls that read in Spanish: ‘haga patria, mate judios,’ which means, ‘be patriotic, kill Jews.’ I heard people saying, ‘Jews are rich; Jews are Christ killers.’” See Elaine Saphier Fox, ed., Out of Chaos: Hidden Children Remember the Holocaust (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2013), 106.

Other non-Jewish immigrant groups have also faced prejudice and hostilities in Canada. In the latter half of the 19th century, the Protestant establishment including leading newspapers, politicians and clergymen, demonized Irish Catholic immigrants who flooded into Toronto. Not only did they face discrimination and exclusion at every turn, they were frequently physically attacked by Protestants. Bloody confrontations between Irish Potestants and Catholics were regular occurrences, especially on July 12 and St. Patrick’s Day, when parades were held. Protestants and Catholics clashed at least 22 times between 1867 and 1892. See Allan Levine, Toronto: Biography of a City (Madeira Park, British Columbia: Douglas and McIntyre, 2014). In Winnipeg, during the 1930s, “anyone with a Ukrainian or Polish name had almost no chance of employment except rough manual labour. The oil companies, banks, mortgage companies, financial and stock brokers and most retail and mercantile companies except the Hudson’s Bay Company, discriminated against all non Anglo-Saxons.” See James Gray, The Winter Years: The Depression on the Prairies (Toronto: Macmillan, 1966), 126. Catholics were virtually precluded from municipal employment including the police force in Ontario as late at the 1950s. See Murray Nicolson, “The Irish worker in Victorian Toronto,” Catholic Insight, April 1999, 28. Other immmigrant groups did not fare better. Thousands of ex-servicemen and ordinary citizens converged on Greek establishments and attacked Greek immigrants for several days when a large anti-Greek riot broke out in Toronto in August 1918. More than 40 Greek businesses were destroyed, the city was put under martial law, troops were brought in and it took days of street fighting to restore order. See Joseph Hall, “The Danforth, 2004,” Toronto Star, August 13, 2004.



Anti-Christian violence is endemic in many Muslim countries. After the fall of President Mohamed Morsi’s government in Egypt in 2013, scores of Christian churches, schools and other buildings were destroyed by rampaging mobs. Israel is plagued by its own minority problems, not only in relation to the native Palestinian (Arab) population, but also in relation to the many Christians who have migrated there in recent years from the former Soviet Union. See, for example, Patrick Martin, “Little promise in the promised land,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), February 18, 1995, and the affidavit of Lynda Brayer, in Tadeusz Piotrowski, Poland’s Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918–1947 (Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland, 1998), 270–75, which outline some of the religious-based hostility directed at these non-Jewish immigrants. In another seething development, violent riots erupted in Jerusalem on January 28, 1996 involving Ethiopian Jews protesting against what they perceived as widespread racism. A few months later, on May 24, hundreds of Jewish worshippers went on a rampage in the Old City, attacking Arab bystanders and damaging Arab property; according to Israeli police, this riot was unprovoked. See the Jerusalem Post Foreign Service report filed by Bill Hutman, reproduced in Kielce—July 4, 1946: Background, Context and Events (Toronto and Chicago: The Polish Educational Foundation in North America, 1996), 151. An Arab driving through a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood in Acre at the beginning of Yom Kippur was enough to “provoke” an attack by Jewish residents. Rioting ensued for several days, as gangs of Jews and Arabs swarmed through the streets smashing shop windows, destroying cars, and throwing rocks at each other. Dozens of rioters were injured in the clashes and about one dozen Arab houses were torched. The Northern District police commander reported that the majprity of those inciting violence were Jews. Not surprisingly, Jewish politicians accused the Arab minority of staging a “pogrom.” See Oakland Ross, “Israelis hope ethnic tensions isolated,” Toronto Star, October 14, 2008. The sorry plight of the Palestinian population under Israeli occupation has received extensive coverage in human rights monitoring publications. Suffice it to point out that an editorial in the Israeli daily Haaretz, on July 9, 2008, acknowledged that Jewish settlers, who are bankrolled by the state of Israeli and international Jewish organizations, subject the Palestinians to continual abuse and mistreatment (assaults and even shelling are frequent occurrences), speak openly of driving them out of their homeland and making their lives a misery, and the police and courts rarely take these matters seriously, thus tolerating Jewish violence against Palestinians, the vast majority of whom are peaceful, law-abiding citizens. One of the most appalling examples of a racially motivated pogrom in recent years was an unprovoked rampage in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of in Pisgat Ze’ev on April 30, 2008, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, in which some 100 rather ordinary Jewish youths, armed with sticks, clubs, and knives, attacked and seriously injured defenceless Arab teens from a nearby refugee camp. Fortunately, the event was captured on a video surveillance camera and in ICQ messages, as otherwise many quarters would have doubtless claimed that it was started by Arabs and that Jewish “self-defence” was fully justified. The police took no steps to stop the announced pogrom, security guards and observers did not notify the police once it started, the parents of the attackers considered the children who were arrested to be the victims, and the local community by and large condoned their actions. More pogroms were being planned for future dates. The community was rewarded for the beatings when, several weeks later, the government announced the construction of 763 new homes in Pisgat Ze’ev, on territory incorporated into the state of Israel contrary to international law. According to a detailed report published in the Israeli daily Haaretz (Uri Blau, “‘I Kicked the Arab, I Stepped on His Head,’” June 5, 2008):
Dozens of teenage boys from Jerusalem received the same ICQ message: “We’re putting an end to all the Arabs who hang out in ‘Pisga’ [Pisgat Ze’ev] and the mall … Anyone who is Jewish and wants to put an end to all that should be at Burger Ranch at 10 P.M. and we’ll finally show them they can’t hang in our area anymore. Anyone who is willing to do that and has Jewish blood should add his name to this message.”

It would have been difficult to choose a more cynical date on which to send out such a message: Wednesday, April 30, the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Dozens of boys arrived at the meeting place in the Pisgat Ze’ev shopping mall. They streamed in from all parts of the capital, some on foot, some by bus and some driven in by parents. Equipped with knives, sticks and clubs, they all had one purpose: to do harm to Arabs for being Arabs.

At the entrance, the gang encountered two boys from the Shuafat refugee camp, who had come to shop for clothes and didn’t know the mall had closed early for Holocaust Day. The day’s end saw the two battered, bleeding and stabbed, and at Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem. … Their testimony indicates the attack was perpetrated in a society in which violence against Arabs is seen as a legitimate and necessary means by which to restore Jewish hegemony to the neighborhood. …

“Yaron, who had a stick, hit him between the ribs or the head … Uzi jumped on his body. I more or less saw that they all jumped, kicked, stepped on him, on the Arab. The kid was a trampoline and punching bag. … The way he was pushed against the railing and the blows he got, I don’t know how the boy is alive. …”

While the boys were beating Walid like a punching bag, Ahmed was stabbed in the back. …

Another boy who was present, Ya’akov, 16, said in his interrogation that “these were two groups that split up. Each one attacked a different Arab, but most of the chaos was where I was looking. At least 20 kids hitting and lots of others, 100, standing on the side … I saw one heavy one, a fat face with a beard and stubble, he was holding a board like a construction board, 60 centimeters long. I heard someone, I couldn’t tell who, saying ‘Move for a second, move,’ and then he came and hit the Arab on the head with the stick. The Arab held his head after a second and shouted ‘ay’... Aside from the stick, I saw that they punched him hard, hit him. And then he started running toward the gas station.” …

The group beating of the two teenage boys ended only when a police van approached the site by chance. …

To identify the attackers, the police investigators from the juvenile division of the Zion district used footage from security cameras at the mall. The suspects turned out to be “ordinary” boys, without criminal records, who study at well-known schools in the city. Some said their participation in the incident was a result of peer pressure. … Only few of the accused expressed sorrow and regret. …

Anat Asraf, Liran Asraf’s mother, says her son is the victim. “My son has no criminal record and happened to be there out of curiosity, like 200 other children. … But my son is a victim of the state. …”

Still, you won’t hear many people condemning the attack on the Arab teens here.


The belligerence of Jewish youth has not diminished as shown by the following report of anti-Arab riots that took place in Jerusalem in March 2012. Again the events were captured on video so it is difficult, though not impossible, for Jewish nationalists (and their allies) to turn this into just another example of Jewish “self-defence.” The Israeli police did not intervene to protect Arab citizens or arrest any of the culprits, and only launched an investigation under media pressure. If something like this had occurred in interwar Eastern Europe it would have been called a “pogrom.” According to a report published in Haaretz on March 25, 2012 (Oz Rosenberg, “Jerusalem Police Launch Probe of Soccer Fans Caught Attacking Arab Workers at Mall”):

Video footage shows hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans rioting against Arab workers in Malha Mall; investigation delayed because no complaints were filed, say police. 


The Jerusalem Police announced Sunday that it had opened an official investigation over the riots that erupted last week when 300 Beitar Jerusalem fans attacked Arabs at the capital’s Malha shopping mall.

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem supporters who went to the mall after a match last week were caught on video assaulting Arab cleaning personnel, in what was said to be one of Jerusalem’s biggest-ever ethnic clashes. “It was a mass lynching attempt,” said Mohammed Yusuf, a team leader for Or-Orly cleaning services.

Despite CCTV footage of the events, no-one was arrested. Israel Police chief said Rosenfeld said no investigation was launched before a Haaretz article on the incident stirred a controversy, because no one sought medical attention or filed complaints.

Witnesses said that after a soccer game in the nearby Teddy Stadium, hundreds of mostly teenage supporters flooded into the shopping center, hurling racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.

“I’ve never seen so many people,” said A, a shopkeeper. “They stood on chairs and tables and what have you. They made a terrible noise, screamed ‘death to the Arabs,’ waved their scarves and sang songs at the top of their voices.”

Shortly afterward, several supporters started harassing three Arab women, who sat in the food hall with their children. They verbally abused and spat on them.

Some Arab men, who work as cleaners at the shopping center and observed the brawl, came to their rescue. “How can you stand aside and do nothing?” said Akram, a resident of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter who was one of the cleaners who got involved. CCTV footage shows that they started chasing the rioting youths, wielding broomsticks.

It seemed the workers managed to chase the abusers away, but a few minutes later supporters returned and assaulted them. “They caught some of them and beat the hell out of them,” said Yair, owner of a bakery located in the food hall. “They hurled people into shops, and smashed them against shop windows. I don’t understand how none shattered into pieces. One cleaner was attacked by some 20 people, poor guy, and then they had a go at his brother who works in a nearby pizza shop and came to his rescue.”

The attackers also asked Jewish shop owners for knives and sticks to serve as weapons but none consented, witnesses said. Avi Biton, Malha’s security director, sent a force of security guards in an attempt to restore order, but they were outnumbered. He called the police who arrived in large numbers about 40 minutes after the brawl started. At about 10.30 P.M., they evacuated the mall and the management shut its doors.

“I’ve been here for many years and I've never seen such a thing,” said Gideon Avrahami, Malha’s executive director. “It was a disgraceful, shocking, racist incident; simply terrible.”

Biton said that his department would step up security measures when Beitar matches take place. “This event was unusual for Beitar fans,” he said. “We’ve learned our lesson and from now on we'll make more serious preparations ahead of Beitar games.”

Beitar fans are known for their staunchly anti-Arab positions and have been previously involved in attacks on Arabs.


A few weeks later dozens of Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans marched in Jerusalem chanting anti-Arab slogans (“Death to the Arabs”) on their way to a match and beat a woman who objected. Typically, the police who escorted the march part of the way did not hear any racist chants and couldn’t apprehend her attackers since they melted into the crowd. See Nir Hasson and Oz Rosenberg, “Beitar Soccer Fans March in Jerusalem Chanting Racist Slogans, Allegedly Beat Woman,” Haaretz, April 16, 2012. That same month, Molotov cocktails were hurled at apartments occupied by African refugees in Tel Aviv’s Shapira neighbourhood, causing significant property damage but, fortunately, there was no loss of life. A kindergarten attended by migrant children was also targeted and damaged in the attacks. In May 2012, thousands of Israeli protesters attacked Africans they encountered, vandalized cars, and smashed windows and looted stores. See Ilan Lior and Tomer Zarchin, “Demonstrators Attack African Migrants in South Tel Aviv,” Haaretz, May 24, 2012. The following week, unknown attackers set fire in Jerusalem to an apartment housing Eritrean migrants, luckily injuring only two people. Concerned that their non-Jewish presence could become permanent, and inflamed by hateful political rhetoric and ugly rumours falsely accusing asylum-seekers of committing 40 percent of the crime in the Tel Aviv area, spray painted on the wall was the ominous threat, “Get out of the neighbourhood.” See Patrick Martin, “Flood of African Asylum Seekers into Israel Sparks Race Riots,” The Globe and Mail, June 5, 2012. Africans, of course, are often on the giving end in such confrontations, as the anti-Rwandan riots in Lusaka, Zambia in April 2016 show. See Siobhán O’Grady, “After Mysterious Ritual Killings, Two Zambians Burned Alive in Witch Hunt,” Foreign Policy, April 20, 2016.

364 During the 19th century partitions of Poland most lands inhabited by Poles came (eventually) under Russian rule. The Jews were confined by and large to the Pale of Settlement, most of which was ethnically Ukrainian or Belorussian, except for the lands west of the Bug and around the city of Wilno (Vilna in Russian). As Jewish scholars point out, “Until 1881 in Russia, the number of riots by Jews against other Jews probably exceeded the number of pogroms by non-Jews against Jews.” See Shahak and Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, 132. The pogroms that occurred in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century for the most part bypassed the ethnically Polish lands. The deadly pogroms that did occur there were perpetrated by the Russian authorities, for example, in Białystok in June 1906 and Siedlce in September 1906. Only one Jew was killed as a result of anti-Jewish rioting that occurred in Warsaw in 1881, which was precipitated by a stampede that took 28 Polish lives. See Michał Kurkiewicz and Monika Plutecka, “Rosyjskie pogromy w Białymstoku i Siedlcach w 1906 roku,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 11 (November 2010): 20–24; Artur Markowski, “Pogromy, zajścia, ekscesy: Zbiorowe akty przemocy przeciw Żydom w Białymstoku pierwszych dekad XX wieku,” Studia Judaica, 27 (2011): 23–44; Artur Markowski, “Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the Kingdom of Poland” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 1815–1918, vol. 27: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1918 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015), 219–55, here at 230–33. Given the infrequency of such occurrences (eight “pogroms” in the Kingdom of Poland, some of them small, involving a small number of ethnic Poles over the span of 100 years, and usually precipitated by local grievances), Artur Markowski’s conclusion that “pogrom attitudes” permeated Polish society is an unwarranted generalization similar to stereotypes that form the basis of twentieth century (and even current-day) charges of “Black crime” in the United States or Canada. (Unfortunately, Makowski frequently resorts to sweeping generalizations based on stereotypes.) Pogrom paranoia swept the Jewish community at the beginning of the twentieth century and all sorts of myths and rumours about the Chrsitians’ anti-Jewish activities arose, such as speculation about attempts to achieve the mass extermination of Jews by poisoning them, for example, Christians were allegedly handing out poisoned sweets and sugar to Jewish children. This psychosis bred Jewish aggression causing them sometimes to attack Christians without cause.

365 Sławomir Mańko, “Żydzi międzyrzeccy w okresie Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej w świetle dokumentów Archiwum Państwowego w Lublinie,” Kwartalnik Historii Żydów, no. 2 (2006). As pointed out in a study on the town of Chmielnik, the Jewish community derived the vast majority of its income from slaughter charges and ritual butchers were, along with rabbis, the best paid employees in the community. See Marek Maciągowski and Piotr Krawczyk, The Story of Jewish Chmielnik (Kielce: XYZ and Town and Municipality Office in Chmielnik, 2007), 92. The vast majority of Poland’s meat production (much higher than in other countries) was prepared according to the dictates of Jewish ritual slaughter, and this greatly raised the price of beef. Within the Jewish community this was felt most heavily by impoverished Jews. Legislation was enacted by the Polish Parliament in January 1937 to limit ritual slaughter of animals proportionate to the Jewish share of the country’s population. While the law was recognizably enacted to reduce the Jewish dominance of the meat industry, it did not abolish kosher slaugher contrary to what many historians allege. See Gershon C. Bacon, The Politics of Tradition: Agudat Yisrael in Poland, 1916–1939 (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, Magnes Press, 1996), 278. Many historians, like Anika Walke, for example, claim that by the mid-1930s, the Polish government had “prohibited the ritual slaughter required to maintain the Jewish dietary law.” See the introduction to Kutz, If, By Miracle, xv. Nonetheless, this measure sparked boisterous accusations of anti-Semitism even though, at that time, the practice had been banned entirely in Switzerland, Norway and Sweden (for humanitarian reasons animals had to be stunned before slaughter). (It should also be noted that ritual slaughter is presently not permitted in the European Union except for religious purposes.) In Poland, there was an important economic consideration at play, in that the meat processing industry was largely in Jewish hands and as many as 90% of cattle were killed ritually. Ritual slaughter was an important source of revenue—perhaps as high as 50% of their income—of Jewish communities, who licenced those who carried it out and charged a tax for every slaughtered animal. In effect, Christian consumers bore the bulk of the tax on kosher meat and were thus subsidizing Jewish community institutions. The restriction of the practice of ritual slaughter alleviated the unnecessary financial burden that fell on the largely impoverished Christian population for a practice that was not dictated by their religion. Had the situation been reversed, and Jews were subsidizing Christian community institutions, it would undoubtedly have been branded as anti-Semitic. While the charges extracted from North American food producers for kosher certification are equally exorbitant and are borne for the most part by Christians, while enriching the coffers of the Jewish religious establishment, they are spread over a much larger consumer base. Emanuel Melzer correctly points out that the new shechita law reduced, but did not eliminate, the practice. However, the author states that the new law deprived tens of thousands of Jews of their livelihood, and that it caused such a drop in revenue available to the Jewish communities that they had to institute a new tax among Jews to make up for the loss. See Melzer, No Way Out, 86, 194–95. This telling fact validates the premise that the Jewish system of ritual slaughter, was, in part, economically superfluous, and that the shechita system did in fact impose a hidden tax upon Poles.

366 Katz, Gone to Pitchipoï, 6–7.

367 Thomas Toivi Blatt, From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival (Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1997), 10.

368 “Polish Rabbi Arrested for Inciting Congregation Against Sabbath Desecrating Barber,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 6, 1932.

369 Testimony of Avraham Hartman in Denise Nevo and Mira Berger, eds., We Remember: Testimonies of Twenty-four Members of the Kibbutz Megiddo who Survived the Holocaust (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1994), 220.

370 Aharon Schrift, “The Match,” in Shuval, The Szczebrzeszyn Memorial Book, 25–27. The author recalled: “My father rolled me over, and he flayed me on my behind with his belt until I became black and blue. I could not sit for days. My yelling could be heard out in the middle of the street.”

371 Leibush Glomb, from the village of Grabowiec near Zamość, writes that the Jews “enjoyed not only some sort of religious and spiritual autonomy, but could also carry on their business amongst themselves without interference of secular authorities. When they had quarrels, they went to their Rabbi.” See Sh. Kanc, ed., Memorial Book Grabowitz (Tel Aviv: Grabowiec Society in Israel, 1975), 12–13 (English section). For examples of chicaneries see Szczepański, Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku, 317. Another example: “Frysztak received a reputation as a fanatical place in the area. The community followed the extreme precepts of orthodox Jewry and did not tolerate the slightest deviation. There was not even a breath of Zionism in the shtetl. Several young yeshiva students tried to open a non-religious library in the hamlet and borrowed some books from nearby Strzyzow [Strzyżów]. The religious opponents took matters in their hands and set the place on fire. Following serious discussions within the community to prevent the matter from reaching the courts, the culprits admitted their deeds and promised to pay damages to the library in Strzyzow.” See “Frysztak,” in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 3 (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1984), 295–98, translated as Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities in Poland, Internet: .

372 The son of a well-to-do fur merchant in Radom recalls: “After a burglary, we, like other such victims, would go to a certain tavern in town notorious for its underworld clientele. We would wait until we were approached by one of the regulars who asked us what kind of merchandise we were seeking. … We then told him what was missing and he would invariably tell us to come back the following day. When we did, we would have a ‘discussion’ with the thieves’ ‘representatives’ and negotiate a price in exchange for the return of the mechandise. … Going to the police was a ‘breach of faith,’ and the thieves could no longer negotiate with us.” See Jack Werber with William B. Helmreich, Saving Children: Diary of a Buchenwald Survivor and Rescuer (New Brunswick, New Jersey and London: Transaction Publishers, 1996), 8–10.

373 Leonard Rowe, “Jewish Self-Defense: A Response to Violence,” in Fishman, Studies on Polish Jewry, 1919–1939, 105–49. Rowe argues that the formation of Jewish militias was largely in response to Polish anti-Semitic violence and that they engaged only in “self-defence” or “preventive” actions. Rowe extols their virtues to the heavens: “Their moral values and mode of living were expected to be impeccable, and these expectations were usually met. Indeed, there was insistence on complete honesty, integrity, and ethical purity.” However, the examples he cites, as well as those gathered here, clearly indicate that the various Jewish militias had their own independent raison d’être and were more often battling each other (and the communists), than Polish groups. This was especially so in small towns were Polish-organized confrontations with Jews were rather rare. Rowe makes the following revealing comment about a Jewish self-defence group: “The Ordener-grupe leaped into action when the picketing of Jewish stores became too flagrant.” Ibid., 119. Jewish sources also confirm that members of the Jewish underworld were also conscripted to repel attacks by “anti-Semites.” See Bernard Goldsein, The Stars Bear Witness (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950), 15; Honig, Reunions, 49.

374 According to in-depth studies by historian Mordechai Zalkin of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, until the Second World War, the underworld in Warsaw, Wilno and other large Polish cities was largely in the hands of Jewish syndicates: “Jews could be found at almost all levels of underworld activity, from the individual thief to gangs that numbered more than 100 members. The large organizations operated in the cities, which they divided into sectors among themselves. Each organization had a charter, a clear hierarchy and internal courts, and its work was divided according to different areas, such as theft, protection money, prostitution, pickpocketing and murder. The art of crime was treated seriously, as it was a major source of livelihood for many people.” See Kobi Ben-Simhon, “World of our (god)fathers,” Haaretz, October 21, 2004. David Ben-Gurion (Grün), who was jailed in Warsaw in 1905, recalled: “That was the first time that I ever came into contact with the dregs of society. I was shaken to the core at the language and behavior. I never had the slightest notion that such people ever existed. … The thing that shook me most was that these criminals were Jews.” See Dan Kurzman, Ben-Gurion: Prophet of Fire (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983), 67. The Jewish underworld controlled most of the brothels and was particularly successful in luring young women into prostitution, at first mostly Jews, but later a great many Christians. Jewish gangsters also controlled hundreds of brothels in South America (principally in large centres like Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro), South Africa, and to a lesser extent, New York City, where they employed thousands of Jewish women, often brought from Poland under false pretences. At its peak in the 1920s, the Zvi Migdal organization had 430 pimps, controlled 2,000 brothels with 30,000 women in Argentina alone. Counting 400 members, its annual turnover was around fifty million dollars at the turn of the century. They generously donated funds for the construction of synagogues and other community buildings. Because Argentinian officials were bribed, few of the organizers who were convicted of crimes in the crackdown in the 1930s ever served their sentences. As most of the Jewish prostitutes came from Poland, the word “polaca” (“Polish woman”) acquired a scornful meaning in Argentina and Brazil because it was used as synonomous to prostitutes. In the 1920s the investigations of the League of Nations, particularly its 1927 Report of the Special Body of Experts on Traffic in Women and Children, highlighted the visibility of Jewish prostitutes and traffickers. In 1931 the Polish authorities compiled for the League of Nations a list of more than 500 traffickers, almost all of them Jews, who supplied women to brothels in Argentina and Brazil. See Edward J. Bristow, Prostitution and Prejudice: The Jewish Fight Against White Slavery 1870–1939 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982; New York: Schocken Press, 1982); Nora Glickman, Jewish White Slave Trade and the Untold story of Raquel Liberman (New York and London: Garland, 2000); Isabel Vincent, Bodies and Souls: The Tragic Plight of Three Jewish Women Forced into Prostitution in the Americas (Toronto: Random House, 2005); Charles van Onselen, The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Rackateer and Psycopath (London: Jonathan Cape/Random House, 2007); Małgorzata Kozerawska and Joanna Podolska, “Piranie czekają na kadisz,” Gazeta Wyborcza (Wysokie Obcasy), January 22, 2007. Edward Bristow describes what was probably the largest episode of violence directed against Jews in Warsaw’s history (before the German occupation in World War II), the so-called Alphonsenpogrom or Alfonse pogrom. (Alphonse or alfonse was the slang term for pimp.) In late May 1905, Jewish workers clashed with members of the Jewish underworld, and rampaged for several days in and around brothels and other public spaces throughout Warsaw. Although accounts differ over the exact origins and course of the violence, bands of armed Jewish workers went from brothel to brothel ransacking property and assaulting both prostitutes and pimps, who controlled most of the city’s legal brothels, eliminating most of their competitors. Jewish factory workers and artisans looted and destroyed public houses and places frequented by pimps throughout Warsaw, knifing, beating, and throwing pimps and prostitutes out of windows. Forty brothels were torched, eight people were killed (including one prostitute), and more than 100 injured. See Bristow, Prostitution and Prejudice, 58–61. According to other sources, over 100 apartments were ransacked, five people were killed in the events themselves, another ten died from wounds they incurred during the mayhem, and over forty were hospitalized. According to one version, the brothel keepers and prostitutes were perceived to be agents of the Russian police, who were attempting to undermine the Jewish trade union movement. Indeed, the Bund portrayed the Alfonse pogrom “as part of government designs to discredit the revolution. … the regime was cast in the role of the mastermind and director of the affair.” Even though Bund supporters were among the pogromists, the Bund “placed the blame for the developments on the tsarist regime and its reactionary allies, the Black Hundreds, local thieves and ‘the wild youth.’” See Scott Ury, Barricades and Banners: The Revolution of 1905 and the Transformation of Warsaw Jewry (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2012), 126–29. Antony Polonsky argues that “competition between legal and illegal [Jewish] brothel owners led to violent attacks on the legal brothels in May 1905 by gangs associated with the illegal trade, which eliminated most of their legal competitors. The view that this was a political action organized by the Bund, a reaction of Jewish workers to the exploitation of Jewish women, cannot be sustained given the documented participation of the criminal underworld and the fact that only licensed brothels were affected.” See Antony Polonsky, The Jews in Poland and Russia, vol. 2: 1881 to 1914 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon; The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010), 93. (It should be noted that Polonsky generally eschews topics such as the participation of Jews in the criminal underworld and their involvement in white collar crime, which was massive and undetected. He also skirts over the issue of trafficking in women, particularly its international aspect, shifting much of the blame onto the victimized women. Polonsky focuses more on attacking alleged Polish perceptions than on honestly assessing the impact of a very real problem on Polish-Jewish relations. Ibid., 92–95.) Rioting also occurred in Lublin and Łódź. At that time almost all the brothels were operated by Jews, and most of the prostitutes were Jews. Jewish outrage subsided, however, when increasingly young Christian women were lured into Jewish brothels.

That this serious social problem would create an unfavourable impression on the part of the Poles (it was mentioned specifically in a pastortal letter of August Cardinal Hlond), is entirely understandable. German Jewry was greatly concerned about the negative image created by their co-religionists and sent delegations eastward to see if they could curtail the trade in women. In 1910, the United States Congress passed the Mann Act (White-Slave Traffic Act) which made it a felony to procure prostitution across state lines. The Mann Act had been preceded by exposés by journalists like George Kibbe Turner, whose famous essay “The Daughters of the Poor” in McClure’s Magazine (no. 34, 1909) described the role played by Jews in prostitution in New York City. By 1912, two years after it was first published, The House of Bondage, an American novel about the evil spectre of white slavery, was already in its fourteenth printing. In the book, written by Reginald Wright Kaufman, Max Grossman is a pimp and described as “a member of a persistent race.” Despite the efforts of the Polish government, who delegalized all public houses in 1922, the problem persisted. Jews continued to figure prominently among the pimps, but Jewish prostitutes were now in a minority. The Polish government authorities reported to the League of Nations in 1931 that it had a list of almost 600 persons who were engaged in the movement of women destined for prostitution in South America. It is against this background that one has to evaluate August Cardinal Hlond’s pastoral letter of 1936 in which he decried that some Jews who took part in various criminal and immoral activities, including dealing in prostitution. Cardinal Hlond was promptly decried as an anti-Semite and continues to be so branded to this day. (In his partoral letter of February 29, 1936, Cardinal Hlond also condemned violence against Jews: “... it is not permissible to assault, strike or injure Jews. In a Jew you should also respect and love a human being and your neighbour”; just as other members of the Polish Catholic hierarchy had done. According to Jewish Telegraphic Agency dispatch of November 17, 1931, “The Metropolitan of Cracow [Archbishop Adam Sapieha] has issued an appeal to his clergy and to all Catholics, in which he exhorts the population to keep the peace and not to allow themselves to be led away by acts of provocation committed against the Jews. The Metropolitan goes on to condemn those who are inciting the people against the Jews and demands that they should be punished.” In this regard, one should bear in mind that stereotypical treatment of religious and ethnic minorities was, at that time, the order of the day among the political leadership and academic circles in Western countries such as Britain, the United States, and Canada. The extensive writing on “Black crime” in the United States shows that this treatment is still acceptable if the target group is considered an easy mark. When some Black gang members shot a few persons in Toronto in 2005, there was an outcry in the mainstream media about “Black” crime and calls for the Black community to get its house in order, even though more than 99% of Blacks had nothing to do with these criminal activities. Blatant xenophobia of this nature is also widespread on the contemporary German political scene. To the applause of the mainstream media prominent politicians call for a crackdown on “criminal young foreigners,” who are mostly German-born, while ignoring or downplaying crimes committed by native Germans on immigrants and minorities. As one report noted, “In many other Western countries, a slogan like that from a mainstream politician would have killed off his career. Yet [premier Jürgen] Rüttgers now runs Germany’s most populous state [i.e., North Rhine-Westphalia]. … People with an immigrant background make up just under 20 percent of the population. Yet immigrants are conspicuous by their absence from civil service jobs, the police force, corporate management. With a few exceptions, they are not present in broadcast news and the media.” See David Crossland, “Letter from Berlin: Xenophobia at the Heart of German Politics,” Spiegel, January 2, 2008.

As the Krynki memorial book demonstrates, the Jewish underworld was also active outside the large centres of Jewish settlement: (1) “There were in Krynik [sic] two brothers who were the leaders of all the thieves in the area: They were called the ‘Akhim’ and all the merchants, villagers, landholders, dairy farmers and tenant farmers had to absolutely deal with the ‘Akhim’ and reward them.” (2) “Krynki, like other towns, had its share of dark people, the inferiors of the Jewish community, operators and thieves who would steal anything from a hinge to a horse. The thieves were grouped in gangs, each with its ‘rabbi’ and they never betrayed each other and never took over each other’s ‘living.’ One of the famous ones was Henoch Hillke’s. Once he arrived in Zelwe [Zelwa] for a fair and made good ‘business,’ filling his pockets with the merchandise. In the end people looked around and knew that a Krinker was there at the fair. They immediately chased after him with a couple of good horses and Henoch was brought back to Zelve to the rabbi. They would not give a Jew over into gentile hands, unless they were absolutely certain that he was the thief. The rabbi ordered a hearing. So he was brought to the synagogue so that he could swear on a Torah scroll. Henoch went up to Holy Ark, opened the curtains and in a loud voice screamed: ‘Torah! Torah! Defend your honor! People want a hearing for Reb Henoch son of Hillke—he is accused of being a thief!’ The people heard it all and they were very frightened and Reb Henoch son of Hillel was set free. From then on the name ‘Krinker Thief’ meant smart.” That source also mentions a Jewish police informer named Yankl Kopel, who “would get money from everyone he could and if people did not cough up he would inform on them saying this one is a Communist.” When the Polish government found out about his antics, he was arrested but managed to escape and hide. See D. [Dov] Rabin, ed., Memorial Book of Krynki, Internet: , translation of Pinkas Krynki (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Krynki in Israel and the Diaspora, 1970), 193, 210. That source also mentions Yosel Lieder, a “meat tax” holder who “was worse than the auditors.” He also owned a distillery and “stole the excise taxes, as much as he wanted, and nobody could do anything about it.” Ibid., 195. Jewish criminal gangs of horse thieves also operated in the countryside and, as mentioned elsewhere, perpetrated insurance scams, torching their own insured property or that of other Jews to collect payments. A memoir from Łuków refers to a notorious local Jewish criminal: “Before the war, he was a professional thief who ran a school for thieves in Warsaw. As the town thief and fence, if anyone had an item stolen Avrum would be the one to go to.” See Wrobel, My Life My Way, 56. Not surprisingly, Jewish and Polish thieves often worked together: “The relationship between Jews and non-Jews in Lukow, at least until 1933, was relatively friendly. Many were business partners—even in the thieving business (they would steal our things and we would have to ransom our items back from them).” Ibid., 1–3. The son of a well-to-do fur merchant in Radom recalls: “There was always the fear of robberies which occurred from time to time. … After a burglary, we, like other such victims, would go to a certain tavern in town notorious for its underworld clientele. We would wait until we were approached by one of the regulars who asked us what kind of merchandise we were seeking. We were immediately recognizable because average citizens only went there in situations like this. We then told him what was missing and he would invariably tell us to come back the following day. When we did, we would have a ‘discussion’ with the thieves’ ‘representatives’ and negotiate a price in exchange for the return of the merchandise. I might mention that when we did get it back, nothing, not even a needle, was ever missing. After all, these were ‘honorable’ thieves who lived up to their code of conduct. Going to the police was a ‘breach of faith,’ and the thieves could no longer negotiate with us.” See Werber, Saving Children, 8–10. A prominent underworld figure from Warsaw, Icek Farberowicz, known as Urke-Naczalnik, attempted in vain to organize his colleagues to fight the Germans. He was arrested in Otwock in November 1939 together with two other Jews for illegal possession of weapons and executed. See Wojciech Chmielewski, “Nożownicy z Krochmalnej: Żydowski półświatek Warszawy,” Nowe Państwo, April 2004, 38–39. Surprisingly, some Jews deny that there were criminals among the Jews, even among those convicted of crimes. Rabbi Isaac C. Avigdor recalls the efforts of his father, Jacob Avigdor, the chief rabbi of Drohobycz in the interwar period, to help Jewish prisoners: “In Drohobycz stood one of the biggest federal penitentiaries in Poland. … The penitentiary always had thousands of prisoners, including about 100 Jews, mostly victims of false accusations or mixups in money and tax matters, innocent people locked up together with real criminals—murderers and robbers. These Jews came from all over Poland and included many scholars and pious people. … In the 20 years of his service in Drohobycz my father, of blessed memory, brought these Jews not only the material assistance provided by the community but also moral encouragement through his personal visits and letters he wrote them. He helped to get dozens of Jewish prisoners released.” See Isaac C. Avigdor, From Prison to Pulpit: Sermons for All Holidays of the Year and Stories from the Holocaust (Hartford, Connecticut: Horav Publishing, 1975), 260.

The reality of those times is reflected in candid memoirs such as the following which attest to the widespread participation of Jews in white collar crime, a massive phenomenon in business dealings. A Jewish memoir from Kraków also stresses that “it was customary to keep one’s financial status secret, mainly from the tax-inspector, but also from a jealous [Jewish] neighbour.” See Scharf, Poland, What Have I To Do with Thee…, 193. Another Jew who lived in that city concurred in that assessment: “The third group of Jews were newcomers, settlers from the eastern territories. … They traded among themselves and did not mix with other Jews. … They controlled the shoe industry, but for the most part they were wholesalers, supplying goods either to local stores or to shops in the many small towns in the countryside. They engaged trained bookkeepers to keep their books for tax purposes, but in addition they all carried in their pockets little notebooks in which their actual accounts were kept, accounts different from those found in the bookkeepers’ neat ledgers. The information in those little books was entered in a Hebrew script, legible only to them.” See Bruno Shatyn, A Private War: Surviving in Poland on False Papers, 1941–1945 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985), 101. The following experience is that of a Hasidic family from a small town in central Poland: “There was, however, at least once year when we made a concerted effort to appear less prosperous. That was when Butzke, the tax inspector, came to Dzialoszyce [Działoszyce] to assess every business in town. Butzke was from Pinczow [Pińczów], the regional tax department. When we heard rumors that he was coming, we tried to empty our usually packed store of much of its merchandise. We wanted Butzke to see as little as possible so that he would levy a lower tax.” As “justification” for this conduct the author adds: “Jews were taxed above the normal rate. We were just trying to protect ourselves from this unfair taxation.” See Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption, 59. For a vivid description of Jewish crime in pre-World War I Warsaw, see Ury, Barricades and Banners, 76–81. Even money collected for a charitable fund for victims of the Białystok pogrom of 1906 were misappropriated. Ibid., 79. Despite such overwhelming evidence, and the fact that most white collar crime went undetected, Jewish-American historian Robert Blobaum contends bizarrely that, unlike Poles, “Jews in reality didn’t steal.” See Robert Blobaum, “Criminalizing the ‘Other’: Crime, Ethnicity, and Antisemitism in Early Twentieth-Century Poland,” in Blobaum, Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland, 100.


375 Among the many words borrowed from Yiddish are: machlojka (“swindle”), melina (thieves’ “den” or “hang-out”), sitwa (“gang”), szaber (noun) and szabrować (verb) (“loot”), szacher (“swindle, cheat”), szwindel (“swindle”). See Kazimierz Ożóg, “Ślady kultury żydowskiej w języku polskim: Język polski odbija życie codzienne i kulturę Żydów polskich,” Kwartalnik Edukacyjny, no. 60 (2010), Internet: .


376 Goldstein, The Stars Bear Witness, 10–11.

377 Goldstein, The Stars Bear Witness, 13. Curiously, Goldstein avoided punishment for organizing violent activities, even though he was arrested once. Ibid., 16.

378 Daniel Pater, “Żydowski Akademicki Ruch Korporacyjny w Polsce w latach 1898–1939,” Dzieje Najnowsze, no. 3 (2002): 12–16.

379 Nordon, The Education of a Polish Jew, 85. For additional examples of “preventive actions,” see Chodakiewicz, Żydzi i Polacy, 1918–1955, 82–86.

380 Testimony of Józef Grynblatt cited in Anka Grupińska with Bartek Choroszewski, “O obrazie powstania w getcie, Żydowskim Związku Wojskowym i książce Mariana Apfelbauma,” Tygodnik Powszechny, June 29, 2003. A Jew who lived in Kaunas described the situation there prior to the war: “The competing fund-raising drives of the various Zionist factions were reaching their peak. … A great controversy developed. Should the funds be used to acquire more land in Palestine … or should they be used for the financing of illegal immigration … At school, the controversy took the form of fist fights resulting from the students grabbing and breaking the collection boxes, while the adults gave their support to various political groups whose conflicting aims and views were disseminated through vituperative articles published in Jewish newspapers. The heated arguments and the violent enmities that ensued often created rifts or even break-ups of family and friendships. … When my father discovered that I had become a member of the Betar, he beat me severely, after chasing me around the dinner table, and called me ‘dirty dog, Nazi!’ It was quite common in those days for Jews to call their political opponents Nazis, just as it is today in Israel when ‘the Likud accuses Labor of using Stuermer-style Nazi propaganda in its Histadrut [Workers’ Union] election campaign’.” See David Ben-Dor, The Darkest Chapter (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1996), 27–29.

381 Testimony of Baruch Borka Szub, Internet: .

382 Regina Renz, “Small Towns in Inter-War Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 17 (2004): 151. Also Maciągowski and Krawczyk, The Story of Jewish Chmielnik, 102.

383 Maciągowski and Krawczyk, The Story of Jewish Chmielnik, 102.

384 Shulman, The Old Country, 25–26.

385 See, for example, Chodakiewicz, Żydzi i Polacy 1918–1955, 91–92 (Częstochowa); Gontarczyk, Pogrom?, 31–32; Bechta, Narodowo radykalni, 179; Dembowski, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto, 94 (Jewish assimilationists decried the lack of commercial ethics on the part of Jewish merchants). Since Jewish merchants in Parczew effectively prevented Christians from operating stands in the local market, the town’s authorities constructed a commercial centre in the town square. See Bechta, Pogrom czy odwet?, Chapter 1. A Jewish woman who did not have a Jewish appearance had to provide assurances that she was Jewish before she was hired as a bakery manager. See Wrobel, My Life My Way, 40–41. Another memoir describes Jewish economic life in the town of Kłobuck, near Częstochowa, as follows: “A number of Jews also made a living by smuggling goods to and from Germany across the border, particularly tobacco, saccharin and silk. One Jewish entrepreneur was known for shooing his geese into the air just before the German frontier and gathering them up on the other side, where he could sell them for twice the amount without having to pay toll charges at the border.” See Smith, Treblinka Survivor, 40.

386 Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern, 146–47.

387 The slogan “Swój do swego” (“Each to his own”) was launched by the National Democrats after the 1912 election to the Russian Duma in retaliation for Jewish support for a social democrat (of Polish origin) who won in Warsaw, and sat as Russian deputy, over the National Democratic candidate who would have represented the Polish Circle and Polish interests, thus leaving the ancient Polish capital without a Polish voice in the Duma. As Theodore Weeks points out, the short-lived boycott it ushered in did not gain broad support and economically, was not particularly successful. See Weeks, From Assimilation to Antisemitism, 166, 169. The notion that Jews were being squeezed out of the economic life of Poland has no basis in fact. In Kielce, for example, their strength in commerce increased from 45.5% in 1919 to 61.4% in 1938/39. See Leszek Bukowski, Andrzej Jankowski, and Jan Żaryn, eds., Wokół pogromu kieleckiego, vol. 2 (Warsaw: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej–Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu, 2008), 13. The slogan was again popularized by Polish nationalists during the economic crisis in the 1930s. This was not, however, a novel or indigenously Polish movement. Yedida Kanfer traces the boycott to its origins in 19th century Ireland. English land agent Charles Boycott became the subject of “the boycott” by Irish tenant farmers in their struggle for fair rent prices. There was nothing remarkable in the boycott even in foreign-ruled Poland at the time. Poles boycotted the Prussians’ heavy-handed agricultural policies, as in 1901. Soon thereafter, Jews in the Łódź area boycotted German goods. See Yedida Kanfer, “‘Each for His Own’: Economic Nationalism in Łódź, 1864–1914,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 1815–1918, vol. 27: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1918 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015), 156, 172, 173–74. Historian Livia Rothkirchen writes about currency of the boycott in the latter part of the 19th century in the Czech lands where anti-Jewish unrest continually broke out in Prague and other parts of Bohemia and in Moravia, even though Jews formed a little more than one percent of the population: “With the upsurge of nationalism the growing political pressure soon focused on economy and business: in 1892 a countryside campaign was launched against German and Jewish merchants under the slogan of “each to his own” (Svůj k svému); rioting and looting occurred in towns and villages such as Kladno and Kutná Hora. … Further disturbances occurred in the wake of the 1897 Badeni language ordinances … [The anti-Jewish disturbances were also directed against poor Jews in their traditional district of Josefov in Prague, and the Austrian government was forced to impose a state of emergency in order to restore peace and order.] … Two years later … new disturbances instigated by Czech nationalists directed against Germans and Jews broke out in many localities both in Bohemia and Moravia. … The turmoil in 1897 and subsequently in 1899 generated a popular outpouring of anti-Semitism.” See Rothkirchen, The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia, 17. Although laced with anti-Semitism, Czech nationalism, which could be as belligerent and nasty as any, had primarily an anti-German focus. See Nancy M. Wingfield, Flag Wars and Stone Saints: How the Bohemian Lands Became Czech (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2007). A ritual murder trial was held after Czech nationalist circles fingered a Jewish journeyman-shoemaker in the death of a Christian girl. The Jew was condemned to death in two trials in 1889 and 1900. In total, there were twelve such trials in the Austro-Hungarian Empire between 1867 and 1914. See Heiko Haumann, A History of East European Jews (Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2002), 200–1. Although laced with anti-Semitism, Czech nationalism, which could be as belligerent and nasty as any, had primarily an anti-German focus. See Nancy M. Wingfield, Flag Wars and Stone Saints: How the Bohemian Lands Became Czech (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2007). As under Austrian rule before World War I, Germans and Czechs took turns vandalizing each others’ schools in the new Czecholslovakia. Ibid., 161. Surprisingly, a boycott of Jewish business also caught on in Ireland, even though the Jewish population was microscopic, and victims were hard to come by. In Limerick, number of Jews increased from 35, to 90 and then to 130 in 1888, 1892, and 1896 respectively. Easter Sunday of 1884 saw the first of what were to be a series of sporadic violent anti-Semitic attacks and protests. The wife of Lieb Siev and his child were injured by stones and her house damaged by an angry crowd. In 1892 two families were beaten and a stoning took place on 24 November 1896. On 1904 an economic boycott was waged against the small Jewish community for over two years. It was accompanied by a number of assaults, stone throwing and intimidation, which caused many Jews to leave the city. Anti-Jewish riots also broke out in Cork in 1894. See Dermot Keogh, Jews in Twentieth-Century Ireland: Refugees, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust (Cork: Cork University Press, 1998).

388 E. F. Benson, The White Eagle of Poland (New York: George H. Doran, 1919), 76.

389 Yedida Kanfer, “‘Each for his Own’: Economic Nationalism in Łódź, 1864–1914,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 27: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 1815–1918 (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015), 176.

390 Fishman, Studies on Polish Jewry, 1919–1939, 284.

391 Maksym Hon, “Konflikt ukraińsko-żydowski na ziemiach zachodnioukraińskich w latach 1935–1939,” in Krzysztof Jasiewicz, ed., Świat niepożegnany: Żydzi na dawnych ziemiach wschodnich Rzeczypospolitej w XVIII–XX wieku (Warsaw and London: Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN, Rytm, and Polonia Aid Foundation Trust, 2004), 245–47; Maksym Hon, Iz kryvdoiu na samoti: Ukrainsko–ievreiski vzaiemyny na zakhidnoukrainskykh zemliakh u skladi Polshchi (1935–1939) (Rivne: Volynski oberehy, 2005), 71, 77–79; Mazur, Życie polityczne polskiego Lwowa 1918–1939, 60; Lucyna Kulińska, Działalność terrorystyczna i sabatażowa nacjonalistycznych organizacji ukraińskich w Polsce w latach 1922–1939 (Kraków: Fundacja Centrum Dokumentacji Czynu Niepodległościowego and Księgarnia Akademicka, 2009), 294–98, 527, 567, 581–82.

392 Vladimir Jabotinsky, The Jewish War Front (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1940; Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1975), 59–60.

393 Jabotinsky, The Jewish War Front, 74.

394 Jabotinsky, The Jewish War Front, 74.

395 See, for example, reports authored by Jews on conditions in Turobin near Krasnystaw and Wiskitki near Żyrardów. See Aleksandra Bańkowska, ed., Archiwum Ringelbluma: Konspiracyjne Archiwum Getta Warszawskiego, vol. 6: Generalne Gubernatorstwo: Relacje i dokumenty (Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny im. Emanuela Ringelbluma, 2012), 147, 599. Official statistics show that Jews continued to dominate overwhelmingly in all branches of retail and wholesale commerce in Lwów in 1938, with non-Jews making no significant inroads. See Andrij Bezsmertnyi, “Handel lwowski w okresie międzywojennym,” Dzieje najnowsze, vol. 47, no. 2 (2015): 3–19.

396 Browning, Remembering Survival, 21–22.

397 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 244. For information about the ineffectiveness of the boycott in Mińsk Mazowiecki, see Samuel Kassow, “The Shtetl in Interwar Poland,” in Katz, ed., The Shtetl, 137–38. Many Jewish accounts confirm that the growing Christian competition had little impact on Jewish merchants, for example: “two stores were opened in Jaslo [Jasło] by Catholics from near Poznań, but they were not very successful. When university students, back from their vacations, promoted the popular slogan “Swoj [Swój] do swego” (Support your own), which advocated the boycott of Jewish businesses, this also failed to have any effect.” See Jakub Herzig, “Jasło: The Birth and Death of a Jewish Community in Poland from Its Beginnings to the Holocaust,” Internet: .

398 Rosa Lehmann, ““Jewish Patrons and Polish Clients: Patronage in a Small Galician Town,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 17 (2004): 153–69, at 159, 160.

399 Menachem Katz, ed., Brzezany Memorial Book (Haifa: Association of Former Brzezany Residents in Israel, 1978), 20 (English section).

400 Katz, Gone to Pitchpoï, 30–31.

401 A widely reported statement made in January 1938 by interwar Poland’s last prime minister, Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski, a Calvinist by religion, that voiced approval of economic competition between Poles and Jews in the private sphere, provided it did not entail violence (“Walka ekonomiczna—owszem, ale krzywdy żadnej”), was hardly a state-sanctioned policy to boycott Jewish businesses as the latter benefitted often from government contracts. A sweeping charge frequently encountered in Jewish memoirs is that Jews were discriminated against in business and greatly overburdened with taxes in interwar Poland, to the point of bankruptcy or even near starvation. One memoir by an educated Jew even claims that “hardly anyone paid taxes except for Jews.” See Jehoschua Gertner and Danek Gertner, Home is No More: The Destruction of the Jews of Kosow and Zabie (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2000), 57. Based on such anecdotal sources, Western historians claim, baselessly, that the Polish state “imposed special taxes on Jews and Jewish businesses.” See Anika Walke, Introduction to Kutz, If, By Miracle, xv. (Although Jewish political parties operated freely in interwar Poland and were represented at all levels of elected offices, Anika Walke also claims that Jewish political parties “were driven underground; many activists were arrested and imprisoned.” See Kutz, If, By Miracle, xvi.) Other historians claim that “one in three Polish Jews had been beggared by punitive [sic] taxation.” See Bideleux and Jeffries, A History of Eastern Europe, 482; Crampton, Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century, 174–76. A better informed Jewish historian makes a more modest charge: “taxation policies resulted in a disproportionate tax burden falling on small and medium-sized enterprises, where Jews were concentrated; in consequence, Jews paid between 35 and 40 percent of all direct taxes to the state.” See Jaff Schatz, “Jews and the Communist Movement in Interwar Poland,” in Frankel and Diner, Dark Times, Dire Decisions, 15. Needless to say, there was no differential tax rate based on criteria such as nationality or religion. In Western Poland, most such enterprises were non-Jewish, and many of them were owned by Germans. According to another source, the taxation system was heavily weighted towards the towns, where an overwhelming majority of Jews lived. See Simon Segal, The New Poland and the Jews (New York: Lee Furman, 1938), 141. A recent scholarly study of conditions in the small town of Jaśliska near Krosno is more nuanced and instructive. The author points out that it was the disparity in the Polish and Jewish occupations that affected the contributions to land and income tax paid by both groups, with Jews contributing a disproportionate share of the income tax, and Poles a disproportionate share of the land-tax. The Jewish share of municipal taxes reflected their preponderance (or Poles’ absence) in the local cash economy of the small town. Until the electoral reforms, this also meant considerable overepresentation on the town’s political scene: “Since the Jews paid the highest taxes, they obtained six of the twelve seats, in spite of their proportionally low numbers [about 26 percent]. The situation changed in 1923 when the number of seats was reduced by one-half. The political status of the Jews, however, remained unimpaired and the people took full account of their opinions.” The author demonstrates that even in the 1930s, the period of economic boycotts, the Poles’ involvement in local trade remained limited. Anti-Jewish propaganda had little effect on the activities and interactions of the Poles and Jews at the community level. On the whole, relations remained proper and many Jewish testimonies refer to them as favorable. As one Jew commented, “One hardly noticed anti-Semitism amongst the people. The relationships between Jews and non-Jews were rather good and the trading contacts were based on mutual trust. … We did not experience anything like anti-Jewish harassment. The good relationship between Jews and non-Jews gave rise to a steady material prosperity among the Jews.” See Lehmann, Symbiosis and Ambivalence, 48–49, 75, 82, 185–87. Moreover, the Sunday closure laws, which existed in many Western countries at the time, were not widely enforced. Jewish shops would open for Polish shoppers after mass, and a lookout was posted for the constable. Should he appear, the shops would be hurriedly closed, and he would be bribed to look the other way. See, for example, Chaim Yitchok Wolgelernter, The Unfinished Diary: A Chronicle of Tears (Lakewood, New Jersey: Israel Bookshop Publications, 2015), 35. Compare this to the violence that Orthodox Jews often visit on Sabbath “violators” in Israel.

The overall financial situation of the Jews in Poland belies the claim of “oppression” that is often levelled in popular literature. According to a study by a British economist, undoubtedly the most extensive analysis of the economic history of interwar Polish Jewry, the Jews, who represented 10 percent of Poland’s population, controlled 20 percent of the nation’s wealth. The Jewish share of the country’s wealth increased both absolutely and relative to the non-Jewish share in the period 1929–1939. Although very many Jews lived in poverty (as did non-Jews), Marcus argues that the “Jews in Poland were poor because they lived in a poor, undeveloped country. Discrimination added only marginally to their poverty.” See Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919–1939, 231, passim. The reality of those times is reflected in candid memoirs such as the following. A Jew from Stołpce near the Polish-Soviet border recalls: “The managers of my father’s factories were always Jews. The workers were drawn from the local Polish population. … In every one of the factories, there was a little provisions store that sold the basics … Shopping at this factory store saved them a trip into town, but the prices were high. So he was making money on anything and everything. And he paid very little in official taxes. If you had connections with the right Polish officials—and bribed them heavily enough—you were basically taken care of. Lazar was not the only one who took advantage of this; bribery was a way of life in Poland, for Jews and Poles alike.” See Jack Sutin and Rochelle Sutin, Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance (Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 1995), 7–8. A Jewish memoir from Kraków also stresses that “it was customary to keep one’s financial status secret, mainly from the tax-inspector, but also from a jealous [Jewish] neighbour.” See Rafael F. Scharf, Poland, What Have I To Do with Thee…: Essays without Prejudice, Bilingual edition (Kraków: Fundacja Judaica, 1996), 193. Another Jew who lived in that city concurred in that assessment: “The third group of Jews were newcomers, settlers from the eastern territories. … They traded among themselves and did not mix with other Jews. … They controlled the shoe industry, but for the most part they were wholesalers, supplying goods either to local stores or to shops in the many small towns in the countryside. They engaged trained bookkeepers to keep their books for tax purposes, but in addition they all carried in their pockets little notebooks in which their actual accounts were kept, accounts different from those found in the bookkeepers’ neat ledgers. The information in those little books was entered in a Hebrew script, legible only to them.” See Bruno Shatyn, A Private War: Surviving in Poland on False Papers, 1941–1945 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985), 101. The following experience is that of a Hasidic family from a small town in central Poland: “There was, however, at least once year when we made a concerted effort to appear less prosperous. That was when Butzke, the tax inspector, came to Dzialoszyce [Działoszyce] to assess every business in town. Butzke was from Pinczow [Pińczów], the regional tax department. When we heard rumors that he was coming, we tried to empty our usually packed store of much of its merchandise. We wanted Butzke to see as little as possible so that he would levy a lower tax.” As “justification” for this conduct the author adds: “Jews were taxed above the normal rate. We were just trying to protect ourselves from this unfair taxation.” See Joseph E. Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption: A Life Renewed (Washington, D.C.: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and The Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project, 2005), 59. There are many such accounts attesting to oervasive white-collar, yet the new generation of Jewish-American historians contend that, unlike Poles, “Jews in reality didn’t steal.” See Robert Blobaum, “Criminalizing the ‘Other’: Crime, Ethnicity, and Antisemitism in Early Twentieth-Century Poland,” in Blobaum, Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland, 100. Despite the abject poverty that many Jews faced (as did many non-Jews), there was no significant movement on the part of Jews to occupy poorly paid positions as labourers in small industries (often owned by Jews), as caretakers in Jewish tenement buildings, or as domestics in the homes of the more prosperous Jews. Such menial jobs were usually held by Christians. In their traditional strongholds of business and trade, Jews generally maintained ethnic solidarity, which translated into a de facto monopoly that adversely affected the interests of Polish farmers and the nascent Polish merchant class. This is demonstrated by the following example from Hrubieszów: “with the expansion of the [Jewish-controlled] corn trade bitter rivalries sprang up. … This state of affairs lasted for several years, until they came to realise that the only person who profited from their disputes was the [Polish] farmer. Several sensible Hrubieshov citizens epitomised the situation thus: ‘We are only pouring gold into the farmer’s bag’. The Hrubieshov merchants, the bigger and the smaller, got finally together and hit on the only logical solution: partnership in the form of a cooperative body [from which Poles were excluded]. Not all joined immediately; but as the first attempt met with almost immediate success, the movement spread. In later years, Christians, too, tried their hand; but, characteristically enough, Polish farmers remained loyal to the Jewish merchants.” See Yeheskel Ader, “Trade between the Two World Wars,” in Baruch Kaplinsky, ed., Pinkas Hrubieshov: Memorial to a Jewish Community in Poland (Tel Aviv: The Hrubieshov Associations in Israel and U.S.A., 1962), x. The notion that endemic Christian-based anti-Semitism was the overriding factor that set the tone for relations between Poles and Jews must be dismissed as an unfounded generalization—one that does not reflect day-to-day existence and omits other important components of the equation. In any event, economic conditions were harsher for national minorities in many other European countries. The Baltic States, for example, employed land reform policies as an economic weapon by nationalizing estates belonging to Germans, Russians, and Poles, paying only token compensation, and distributing the land to ethnic Balts. See Georg von Rauch, The Baltic States: The Years of Independence: Estonia, Latvia, Lithunaia, 1917–1940 (Berkeley: University of California, 1974), 89–91; Derek Howard Aldcroft, Europe`s Third World: The European Priphery in the Interwar Years (Aldershot: Ashgate, 206), 96–97; Prusin, The Lands Between, 111. By the mid-1920s, all Jewish ministry employees in Lithuania were dismissed or resigned. Similarly, by 1925, out of Latvia’s 10,237 civil servants and policemen there were only 22 Jews. See Prusin, The Lands Between, 113.

402 The following are but a few examples: “In the 1750s the British provoked the rulers of Bengal into war, defeating them conclusively in 1757. In the aftermath of their victory in Bengal, they plundered the state treasury of some £5 million and gained control of 10,000 Bengali weavers. By 1765, John Company was the civil administration of Bengal. It promptly increased the tax burden on peasants and artisans, which led to serious famines in 1770 and 1783. … Prior to the British military takeover, India had been producing cloth that was cheaper and better than English textiles … To meet this challenge, the British government prohibited the British East India Company from importing calicoes into England. To take advantage of the import restriction, English factories began producing copies of popular Indian textiles for sale both in England and abroad. In addition, India was required to admit English manufacturers free of tariffs. These actions effectively destroyed what had been a thriving Indian textile industry.” Since Western European nations were producing little that the Chinese wanted or needed, but Chinese products, notably tea, were high in demand, the British capitalized on the opium market in China. By 1773, the British East India Company had a monopoly over opium sales and smuggling opium into China, where it was illegal. “Smuggling opium into China was hugely profitable for British merchants, as well as for the Americans and the French. When the Chinese government tried to halt the trade in 1839 by seizing opium held by British merchants in warehouses in Canton, the British government intervened militarily and forced the Chinese government to stop enforcing its own opium laws. An analogy today might be the government of Colombia sending troops to the United States or Canada to force acceptance of Colombian cocaine shipments. Moreover, the British demanded and received additional trading rights into China, further opening a market, not only for opium but for textiles as well. The British-led opium trade from India to china had three results. First, it reversed the flow of money between China and the rest of the world: during the first decade of the 19th century, China was still enjoying a yearly trade surplus of 26 million silver dollars; by the third decade, 34 million silver dollars per year were leaving China to pay for opium. Second, estimates are that by the end of the 19th century, one out of every ten Chinese was addicted to opium. Finally, textile exports from England to India and China increased from 6 percent of total British exports in 1815, to 22 percent in 1840, 31 percent in 1850, and more than 50 percent after 1873.” See Richard H. Robbins, Maggie Cummings, Karen McGarry, and Sherrie N. Larkin, Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach, Second Canadian Edition (Toronto: Nelson Education, 2014), 55–56. The Americans did not lag behind. The production of cotton using slave labour fuelled the Industrial Revolution in the United States. Another means to accomplish American economic and political goals was the forced removal of the Cherokee (and other North American nations) from fertile lands in North Carolina and Georgia to a reservation in Oklahoma—the so-called Georgia Compact of 1802 instituted by President Thomas Jefferson. “Andrew Jackson made Indian removal one of the cornerstones of his presidential campaign in 1828, signed the final order, and the army was sent in to forcibly move the population as land speculators flooded onto what had been prosperous Cherokee farms and plantations. Thousands of additional acres of what had been Indian land were taken over or converted to cotton production by white farmers using black slaves. In this way, white farmers using Native American land and African labour to produce cotton for the British and American textile industries created much of the future wealth of the young country. The political economy of cotton production, slavery, and land alienation during this period of history laid the groundwork for ongoing systemic racism in North America.” Ibid., 56–58. The 1985 Academy Award-winning documentary Broken Rainbow discusses the history of injustice towards the Native American people.  The film described The Long Walk of the Navajo, which was the 1864 deportation and attempted ethnic cleansing of the Navajo people by the U.S. government. 8,000 Navajos were forced to walk more than 300 miles at gunpoint from their ancestral homelands in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico to an internment camp in Bosque Redondo, which was a desolate tract on the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico. Many died along the way. From 1863 to 1868, the U.S. Military persecuted and imprisoned 9,500 Navajo (the Diné) and 500 Mescalero Apache (the N’de). Living under armed guards, in holes in the ground, with extremely scarce rations, more than 3,500 Navajo and Mescalero Apache men, women, and children died while in the concentration camp. Native American and Blacks were not the only ones to be subjected to sweeping racist decrees. On December 17, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant issued and signed General Order No. 11 to evict Jews from the vast war zone under his command—known as the “Department of the Tennessee,” but actually stretching from northern Mississippi to Cairo, Illinois, and from the Mississippi River to the Tennessee River. Although only a tiny handful of cotton traders were Jewish, anti-Semitism flourished, as Grant wrongfully blamed the Jews for the “raging black market in Southern cotton.” His edict was subsequently described as “the most sweeping anti-Jewish regulation in all American history.” It read as follows: “The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order. Post commanders will see that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters.”

403 The following are but a few examples: Teyer, The Red Forest, 24 (a successful Jewish bakery in Czerwony Bór near Łomża supplied a nearby army camp); Rubin, Against the Tide, 19 (a dentist in Nowogródek engaged by the Polish army); Kolpanitzky, Sentenced to Life, 6 (a meat supplier to the the Polish border police in Sienkiewicze, Polesia); Testimony of Yaakov Kaplan, Internet: (the author’s father, Berko Shevachovich, who owned a butcher shop in Lida, was a food supplier to the 77th Infantry Regiment of the Polish army); Barbara Ruth Bluman, I Have My Mother’s Eyes: A Holocaust Memoir Across Generations (Vancouver: Ronsdale Press and Vancouver Holocaust Education Society, 2009), 11, 22 (one of the Hoffenberg brothers in Warsaw, who supplied fur coats to Polish railroad employees, scoffed at the suggestion of leaving Poland: “Why would I leave Warsaw?” It’s the new Jerusalem!”); Testimony of William Weiss, Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Interview code 10957 (Weiss’s father owned a store in Lwów that furnished supplies for the Polish army); Testimony of Isadore Farbstein, Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Interview code 13378 (the family business in Parczew prospered because of orders from the Polish army).

404 Robert Bideleux and Ian Jeffries, A History of Eastern Europe: Crisis and Change (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 482; R.J. Crampton, Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century (London and New York: Routledge, 1994), 174–76.

405 Schulman, A Partisan’s Memoir, 26. The author recalled that Polish military officer, a friend of the family, gave her mother 500 złoty, a small fotune in those days, so that she could pay for her daughter’s wedding.

406 Testimony of Bencjon Drutin in Marzena Baum-Gruszowska and Dominika Majuk, eds., Swiatła w ciemności: Sprawiedliwi wśród narodów świata: Relacje historii mówionej w działaniach edukacyjnych (Lublin: Ośrodek “Brama Grodzka–Teatr NN,” 2009), 56.

407 Brandsdorfer, The Bleeding Sky, Chapter 2.

408 Piotr Kosobudzki, Przez druty, kraty i kajdany: Wspomnienia partyzanta NSZ (Wrocław: Nortom, 1997), 20–21.

409 Janina Stobniak-Smogorzewska, “Osadnicy wojskowi a ludność żydowska na Kresach Wschodnich 1920–1940,” in Jasiewicz, Świat niepożegnany, 563.

410 Antoni Zambrowski, “Niczym rozmowa głuchych,” Antysocjalistyczne Mazowsze, June 9, 2005, posted at .

411 These stories from Warsaw were carried in newspaper reports from 1936: “Nielojalna konkurencja żydowskich kupców,” “Pobił ciężko przeciwnika na sali sądowej” (one the accused brought a piece of steel into the courtroom and physically attacked the owner of the store they had demolished and seriously injured him), “Żydowski ‘kartel śledziowy’.”

412 Samuel Iwry, who hails from Białystok, described the following bizarre scenario: “My father had a small business, perhaps two dozen people worked for him … My connection with this business was (and this is very difficult to understand) when we had to pay out every week his workers. There was a need to go to the bank and write out a check, and bring it back to him. … The reason that I had to do it was that according to Jewish law, a certain Hebrew inscription from the Talmud was necessary to provide on every I.O.U. or transaction like this to the bank, since it is biblically forbidden to take interest [usury] or deal with userers. The rabbis had learned how to go around it, because in their time commerce was already developed and you wouldn’t do it any other way. So I had to write out the amendment to this law. The amendment says ‘I thereby make the lender or the borrower a partner in my business, for this sum,” let’s say for 550 zloty. This way, the usury was removed.” See Samuel Iwry, To Wear the Dust of War: From Bialystok to Shanghai to the Promised Land—An Oral History, edited by L. J. H. Kelley (New York and Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 6. An example of deceitful practices that could lead to trouble in the marketplace can be found in Hanna Krall, Shielding the Flame: An Intimate Conversation with Dr. Marek Edelman, the Last Surviving Leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1986), 11: Jewish fishmongers in Warsaw would paint the gills of stale fish red to make them appear fresh. Tellingly, one Jew blames his father’s lack of success in business on his being “too honest to get rich in business.” See Severin Gabriel, In the Ruins of Warsaw Streets (Jerusalem and New York: Gefen, 2005), 62. Some Jews thought that such shady business dealings led to an increase in anti-Semitism. See Stella Zylbersztajn, A gdyby to było Wasze dziecko? (Łosice: Łosickie Stowarzyszenie Rozwoju Equus, 2005), 17. Getting a mitzvah (bargain) was valued highly, and unsophisticated farmers were often taken advantage of. Norman Salsitz describes how Jewish traders descended on Polish farmers bringing their produce animals and produce to market: “The mad dash began as soon as a wagon came into view, everyone running toward it, hoping to get on and lay claim to the fattest geese. This was no simple task, since it involved leaping aboard a moving wagon, then simultaneously holding on and thrusting one’s hand into the cages to size up the birds. … Quite a few people had by now climbed onto the wagon and were standing on the poles that ran along the sides; others were still attempting to. People’s poking around the cages naturally agitates the geese, which begin to screech hysterically. Meanwhile the peasant drive has become quite furious and begins urging his horses on, both to escape those still in pursuit and to shake the grip of the people clinging both to the wagon and the geese. A torrent of curses accomplishes little, so he turns his whip on the unwanted riders, who stubbornly hold their ground. A rising chorus of pounding hooves, abusive shouts, and cackling geese greets onlookers as the wagon careens into town with its original cargo and its recently acquired and remarkably persistent passengers, sometimes as many as five or six. Once in the marketplace the wagon comes to a stop, and the situation gradually returns to normal.” Jewish vendors also cursed and fought among themselves in the market; Jewish buyers ganged up on farmers by entering into agreements not to compete and bid up prices. See Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 119–20, 123, 128. Other examples of “sharp” business practices employed by Jews who traded with peasants are described in Pell and Rosenbaum, Taking Risks, 11–13. Market place disputes between Jews and Poles thus had little, if anything, to do with “endemic Polish anti-Semitism,” a much overused notion in this and many other contexts of Polish-Jewish relations. One sometimes encounters the charge that Poles did not repay debts owed to Jewish shopkeepers and money-lenders. The frequency of this phenomenon is not known, nor can we gauge to what extent Polish peasants were treated fairly in their dealings with Jewish traders and shopkeepers. Jewish testimonies confirm that loans made to fellow Jews were not always repaid, as the following account from Działoszyce shows: “Father loaned money without interest to people in town. These amounts were 10 zloty [złoty], 20 zloty, 30 zloty, and more. Father had a long list of perhaps 50 people who owed him money at any given time. … Often, very little of the money loaned was repaid.” See Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption, 69–70.

413 Arje Rolnicki, “Small Businesses in Our Town,” in Bussgang and Bussgang, Działoszycze Memorial Book, 93.

414 Pinchas Cytron (Zitron), ed., Sefer Kielce: Toldot Kehilat Kielce. Miyom Hivsuduh V’ad Churbanah (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Kielce in Israel, 1957), 226–27; translated as Book of Kielce: History of the Community of Kielce. From Its Founding Until Its Destruction, Internet: .

415 Richard C. Lukas, The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939–1944, Second revised edition (New York: Hippocrene, 1997), 124.

416 Cited in Stewart Steven, The Poles (London: Collins/Harvill, 1982), 313–14.

417 Jack Sutin and Rochelle Sutin, Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance (Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 1995), 7.

418 Richmond, Konin, 162.

419 Livingston, Tradition and Modernism in the Shtetl, 52–53.

420 Salsitz, A Jewish Boyhood in Poland, 207.

421 As pointed out by Meir Tamari, professor of economy at the Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Judaism permitted usury only in relation to non-Jews. It could be circumvented through the use of non-Jewish intermediaries. See Meir Tamari, With All Your Possessions: Jewish Ethics and Economic Life (New York: Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan, 1987), 179–80, 188–89.

422 Samuel Kassow, “The Shtetl in Interwar Poland,” Katz, ed., The Shtetl, 132–33.

423 Waldemar Kozyra, Urząd Wojewódzki w Lublinie w latach 1919–1939 (Lublin: Wydawnictwo UMCS, 1999), 193–94. For additional examples see: Chodakiewicz, Żydzi i Polacy 1918–1955, 91–92 (Częstochowa); Gontarczyk, Pogrom?, 31–32; Bechta, Narodowo radykalni, 179. Large Jewish-owned factories which operated on a six-day work week sometimes did not hire Jews because of their unavailability for work on Saturday. Occasionally, Jewish factory owners were also reluctant to hire Jewish workers because of their reputation for pro-communist agitation. See Jakub Bukowski, Opowieść o życiu (Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny, 2002), 15.

424 For a study on Jewish military evaders and deserters in the Lublin province, see Mateusz Rodak, “Żydowska przestępczość kryminalna w wojsku polskim w województwie lubelskim w latach 1918–1939,” Kwartalnik Historii Żydów, no. 3 (2012): 360–79.

425 Mark Verstandig, I Rest My Case (Melbourne: Saga Press, 1995), 9–11.

426 Testimony of Mieczyław Weinryb, December 2003–January 2004, Internet: .

427 Jacob Shepetinski, Jacob’s Ladder (London: Minerva Press, 1996), 50.

428 Berl Kagan, ed., Luboml: The Memorial Book of a Vanished Shtetl (Hoboken, New Jersey: Ktav Publishing House, 1997), 166–67.

429 Account of Arieh Henkin, “Dokshitz [Dokszyce] Memories,” Internet: .

430 Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press; Berkeley: John L. Magnes Museum, 2007), 316–17.

431 Michael Goldberg, Memories of a Generation (United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives, typescript, April 1998), 15.

432 Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption, 49.

433 Werber, Saving Children, 20.

434 Confirmation of this practice can be found in the following sources: Thomas and Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, vol. 1, 543–44 (a Jewish barber in Goworowo, who doubled as a physician who performed abortions, also performed artificial crippling so that the recipient could avoid travel or military service); M.N. Yarut, “Lizhensk—Russia—Lizhensk”, in H. Rabin, ed., Lizhensk: Sefer zikaron le-kedoshei Lizhensk she-nispu be-shoat ha-natsim (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Lezajsk in Israel, 1970), 96ff., translated as Memorial Book of the Martyrs of Lezajsk Who Perished in the Holocaust, Internet: ; Jehoschua Gertner and Danek Gertner, Home Is No More: The Destruction of the Jews of Kosow and Zabie (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2000), 26; Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption, 107 (the author’s father had difficulty walking: “Before the war, Father had intentionally injured his leg to avoid being drafted into the Polish army. Religious people often inflicted such wounds to avoid serving in an army without Shabes and dietary laws”); Morris Sorid, One More Miracle: The Memoirs of Morris Sorid ([United States]: Jonathan Sorid, 2007), 236 (a young Jew went to an ear doctor and asked to be made deaf in one year, others “tried to lose so much weight that they would be rejected … for being too weak to perform duties”); Testimony of Henryk Prajs, January 2005, Internet: (the author’s father had cut off his finger to avoid being drafted into the Russian army; the author, like most Jews, was treated fairly in the Polish army: “I was assigned to a non-commissioned officer school, as I had completed seven years of school. … I ranked high in the [NCOs] school, because I was able. … I was promoted to corporal. I was doing well in the army, I can’t say I was favored but they treated me fair, no complaints.”). Starvation was a much more common practice but was not always successful. After a 19-year-old Jew in Działoszyce got a draft notice in mid-1939, he wrote to his brother in Canada to express his disappointment with the fact that, despite losing ten kilos, he was accepted into the Polish army anyway. See Wolgelernter, The Unfinished Diary, 59.

435 Szczepański, Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku, 238; Sol and Toby Rubenstein, “Our Family: Lapy, Poland,” The Museum of Family History, Internet: (a medical officer was bribed to obtain an early discharge).

436 Shiye Goldberg (Shie Chehever), The Undefeated (Tel Aviv: H. Leivick Publishing House, 1985), 67.

437 Avigdor, From Prison to Pulpit, 260.

438 Gary S. Schiff, In Search of Polin: Chasing Jewish Ghosts in Today’s Poland (New York, Washington, D.C.: Peter Lang, 2012), 170. The same phenomenon is evident in modern-day Israel where avoidance of military service is by no means limited to the Haredim. By some estimates, as many as a quarter to a third of secular Jews manage to avoid military service on various grounds, though values as low as 1.5% are also quoted. Furthermore, there is no way of knowing how many secular eighteen-year-olds go abroad, or fake physical and psychological disabilities, to avoid military service. Noah Efron elaborates on the overall situation:
This trend both reflects and contributes to the fact that service in the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] is no longer viewed by many Israelis as the sole measure of good citizenship. This fact is especially evident in the reserves. Several years ago, the police uncovered a “factory” for medical exemptions from military service, based on the army’s central hospital, Tel ha-Shomer (Sheba Medical Center). For a fee running from hundreds to thousands of dollars (depending, among other things, on the length and permanence of the exemption), military doctors signed forms releasing reservists from service. The list included some of Israel’s wealthiest and most successful men …
See Efron, Real Jews, 71, 84, 85.

439 Interview with Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Writers and Company with Eleanor Wachtel, CBC Radio, May 27, 2012.

440 Sorid, One More Miracle, 239, 244.

441 See, for example, Bernard Goldstein, The Stars Bear Witness (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950), 1, where Leonard Shatzkin writes: “My father left Poland at the end of the First World War to avoid military service against the young revolutionary regime in Russia.” Shatzkin’s father was a socialist, not a communist, but harboured pro-Soviet sympathies. Another example: Two of Miriam Brysk’s uncles left for America when they were both barely twenty to avoid serving in the Polish army. See Brysk, Amidst the Shadows of Trees, 23.

442 Tadeusz Antoni Kowalski, Mniejszości narodowe w siłach zbrojnych Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej Polski (1918–1939) (Toruń: Adam Marszałek, 1997), 120. Thus official statistics show that the Jewish component was in all certainty substantially less than the usual claim found in Jewish sources that Jews accounted for ten percent of the armed forces and military losses in the September 1939 campaign. Military historian Waldemar Rezmer estimates that the actual percentage was likely closer to five. According to his count, 46,645 to 49,100 Jews served in the Polish army during the September 1939 campaign, of whom 3,437 perished. See Zbigniew Karpus and Waldemar Rezmer, eds., Mniejszości narodowe i wyznaniowe w siłach zbrojnych Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej 1918–1939 (Toruń: Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, 2001), 110. Over and above obtaining medical dispensations under false pretences, the rate of reporting for service when called was significantly lower for Jews (in 1933 it was 94.48%) than for Slavs (the corresponding figure for Poles, Ukrainians, and Belorussians was 98.56%, 98.76% and 98.5% respectively). See Kowalski, Mniejszości narodowe w siłach zbrojnych Drugiej Rzeczypospolitej Polski (1918–1939), 110. Jews were known to flee to Palestine and the Soviet Union to avoid service in the Polish army. Ibid., 112. To be fair, in the face of war, the Jewish community, for a variety of reasons including social pressures, did not shirk its responsibility and contributed to the National Loan for the defence of Poland (the equivalent of U.S. war bonds). See Szczepański, Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku, 389–90. In some communities like Puławy, it was said to have been even more generous than the Poles. See Tomasz Kowalik, “Żydowskie partie i organizacje społeczne w Puławach okresu międzywojennego,” in Filip Jaroszyński, ed., Historia i kultura Żydów Janowca nad Wisłą, Kazimierza Dolnego i Puław: Fenomenon kulturowy miasteczka—sztetl. Materiały z sesji naukowej “V Janowieckie Spotkania Historyczne”, Janowiec nad Wisłą 29 czerwca 2003 (Janowiec nad Wisłą: Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Janowca nad Wisłą, 2003), 145

443 See, for example: Testimony of Benjamin Fisk, Part 31, November 8, 1982, Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive, University of Michigan at Dearborn, Internet: ; Anna Bikont, “Ja, Szmul Wasersztajn, ostrzegam,” Gazeta Wyborcza (Warsaw), July 13–14, 2002; Leon Trachtenberg, interview 03/6588, June 13, 1992 (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Archives); Ruth Minsky Sender, To Life (New York: Alladin/Simon & Schuster, 2000), 53; Edi Weinstein, Quenched Steel: The Story of an Escape from Treblinka (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2002), 146; Pell and Rosenbaum, Taking Risks, 110, 112 (three Jews avoided the draft with the assistance of a Soviet Jewish official in Równe). Another postwar phenomenon was the ostentatious display by Polish Jewish survivors in Germany of any connection to Poland, although Jews from Hungary, for example, where local collaborators played a pivotal role in their deportation, did not demonstrate such an attitude. According to Irene Shapiro, who lived in Soviet-occupied Poland in 1939–41, “Our Hungarian neighbors are now wearing little Hungarian flags in their lapels, and the Czech girls are wearing their colors, basically to help identify them to their countrymen. The Polish-Jewish girls, however, decide against wearing the red and white flag of our anti-Semitic fatherland. I decide to place a little red flag in my lapel. After all, the Soviet Union was my latest homeland, my parents had Soviet passports, and I have considered myself a ‘lefty’ to this day. … There is an agreement between the Polish students that when we need to specify our nationality, we will all claim that we are ‘stateless.’ There is an ongoing dispute between the Polish and Jewish tables about our obstinate refusal to claim the country of our centuries-old Polish-Jewish heritage.” See Shapiro, Revisiting the Shadows, 267, 296. Jacob Olejski, a Jewish activist in camp for displaced persons in Germany, delivered a speech in August 1945 in which he stated: “No, we are not Poles, even though we were born in Poland … We are Jews!” See Ruth Gay, Safe Among the Germans: Liberated Jews After World War II (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002), 76.

444 Account of Shep Zitler, Louisiana Holocaust Survivors, The Southern Institute for Education and Research, posted online at .

445 Reuben Ainsztein, In Lands Not My Own: A Wartime Journey (New York: Random House, 2002), 17, 115–16, 155. Not surprisingly, Ainsztein is the author of the most vicious sustained attack on the Polish underground, Jewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe, which is relied on widely by Western historians to assess wartime Polish-Jewish relations.

446 Even for assimilated French Jews, loyalty to the state was not the same as unreserved identification with the nation. See Penslar, Jews and the Military, 120. As Pendlar notes, modern Jewish identities have frequently blended national attachments to a homeland with a transnationalist, pan-Jewish sensibility. Ibid., 121. Thus, there was something to the notions of Jewish internationalism and dual loyalties, which makes it easier to understand why the Endeks doubted if Polish Jews, even if assimilated and professing a loyalty to Poland, were either fully or permanently identified with the Polish nation.

447 Yehuda Nir, The Lost Childhood: A Memoir (San Diego, New York, and London: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1989), 3.

448 Pell and Rosenbaum, Taking Risks, 29, 33–34.

449 Blitt, No Strength to Forget, 25.

450 Abraham Sterzer, “We Fought For Ukraine!” The Ukrainian Quarterly, vol. 20, no. 1 (1964): 38.

451 Majer Mały quoted in Maciągowski and Krawczyk, The Story of Jewish, 231–32. A Jewish boy warned a Polish school chum not to eat chocolate from a particular Jewish manufacturer who put soap into his products. Ibid., 181. A Pole who started a transporatation business in the village of Śladków, in competition with Jews, found his property burned one night. Ibid., 184.

452 Benjamin Bender, Glimpses Through Holocaust and Liberation (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1995), 7.

453 Richmond, Konin, 105.

454 Richmond, Konin, 161.

455 Thomas T. Hecht, Life Death Memories (Charlottesville, Virginia: Leopolis Press, 2002), 67.

456 Avraham Levite, ed., A Memorial to the Brzozow Community (Tel Aviv: The Survivors of Brzozow, 1984), 32, 64, 95–96. Of course, Rev. Stanisław Trzeciak, reputedly interwar Poland’s worst anti-Semite, was no Nazi collaborator. For an account of his positive attitude toward sheltering Jews during the German occupation see Władysław Bartoszewski and Zofia Lewin, eds., Righteous Among Nations: How Poles Helped the Jews, 1939–1945 (London: Earslcout Publications, 1969), 360–62. According to historian Szymon Datner, Rev. Trzeciak rescued at least one Jewish child. See Andrzej Żbikowski, ed., Polacy i Żydzi pod okupacją niemiecką 1939–1945: Studia i materiały (Warsaw: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej—Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu, 2006), 389, 418. According to a statement submitted to Yad Vashem by Tanchum Kupferblum (alias Stanisław Kornacki) of Sandomierz, later a resident of Montreal, Rev. Trzeciak sheltered two Jews from Kraków who survived the war. See (Cieslakowski, Jan). We also learn, from the testimony of a Jew from Brzozów who served in the Polish army and was captured by the Germans in the September 1939 campaign, that Polish nuns in Rzeszów brought food and encouragement to both Polish and Jewish prisoners-of-war.

457 Haim Shteinman, “The Jews of Rokitno,” in E. [Eliezer] Leoni, ed., Rokitno–Wolyn and Surroundings: Memorial Book and Testimony, posted on the Internet at: ; translation of E. Leoni, ed., Rokitno (Volin) ve-ha-sevivah: Sefer edut ve-zikaron (Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Rokitno in Israel, 1967), 167. A Yom Kippur ritual involving corporal punishment was described as follows (at p. 179): “An unforgettable event etched in my memory was the ceremony of the punishment by lashing—forty less one. This was an ancient custom for those who repent. I watched with great interest as my father took off his shoes, lay down on a straw mattress and received his lashes willingly and with love.”

458 This nefarious volume appears to have been a staple in yeshivas throughout Poland. A 19th century memoir from Kamieniec Litewski in Polesia also records its availability. See David Assaf, ed., Journey to a Nineteenth-Century Shtetl: The Memoirs of Yekhezkel Kotik (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, published in cooperation with The Diaspora Research Institute, Tel Aviv University, 2002), 323.

459 Rachmiel Frydland, When Being Jewish Was a Crime (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1978), 17, 51, 54–55. The authenticity of the Toledot Yeshu (“The Life Story of Jesus”) is beyond question among serious scholars. It was written by Jews, most likely in the 8th century, as an internal Jewish response to the Gospels and Jesus, and is unambiguously anti-Christian. The the anti-Christian motifs within it go back at least to the time of the Babylonian Talmud—to a time and place (Sassanid and later Islamic Iraq), where Christians were in no position to persecute Jews, thus refuting the exculpatory argument that Jewish polemics against Christianity only developed when Christians were persecuting Jews. Some of the Talmudic themes in Toledot Yeshu include: Bavli Shabbat 104b—Jesus, the sorcerer, the son of Miriam (a hairdresser and adulterous woman), and Jesus the illegitimate Son of Pandera (Ben Pandera); Bavli Sanhedrin 43a—the death of Jesus Christ, vicariously by stoning, at the hands of the Jews; Bavli Gittin 56b-57a—Jesus is forced to spend eternity in hell in boiling excrement. See Peter Schäfer, Michael Meerson, and Yaacov Deutsch, eds., Toledot Yeshu (“The Life Story of Jesus”) Revisted: A Princeton Conference (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011).

460 Fram, Ideals Face Reality, 23.

461 Arnold M. Rose and Caroline B. Rose, eds., Minority Problems: A Texbook of Readings on Intergroup Relations (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 378.

462 Jeffrey A. Shandler, “Christmas,” in The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, vol. 1, 330; Talmi, Memorial Book of Sierpc, Poland, 406. The editors of the Sierpc yizkor book explain, “Nittel is the 25th of December, the date of the birth of Jesus. (The origin of the word is the Latin natale meaning birth.) The prohibition of studies is to prevent mentioning to his credit ‘that man’ who studied Torah. Because of this prohibition, Hasidim and others would play cards on that evening. Yeshiva students and beit midrash students would play games with scraps of paper.” Ibid., 454. Reading the Torah could be of benefit to Jesus Christ, who, according to Jewish belief, was burning in hell in hot excrement (Gittin 57a). This blasphemy goes further: “This night is called “Bozche Narodziny” [sic, Boże Narodzenie] (the birth of God) in Polish. In Yiddish, we called it “Baiz Gvoiren” (the birth of bad). Probably called so in Yiddish because of the play of words BozcheBaiz.” Ibid., 454.

As explained in Marc Shapiro’s article “Torah Study on Christmas Eve,” The Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, vol. 8, no. 2 (July 1999): 319–53, the Jewish custom of refraining from Torah study on Christmas Eve goes back at least a few centuries, even though it was shrouded in oral tradition in order to try to hide it from the Christians. Many, though not all Jews, observed this custom, both Hasidim and non-Hasidim, including well-known Talmudists. Shapiro rejects the common explanation, for not studying the Torah on Christmas Eve, as merely a stay-indoors policy of self-protection from possible violence from Christians on this night. After all, the prohibition also applied to studying the Torah in private at home. The motive, based in part on Sanhedrin 90b, is described by Shapiro, “It is possible that one may study something which Jesus himself studied. This in turn would be of assistance to his soul, which remains in hell.” This motive refutes the contention that Jews had no concern for Christianity other than a source of persecution. Shapiro also clarifies other Jewish teachings about Jesus Christ, as he writes, “The notion that Jesus is condemned to crawl through the latrines on Christmas eve is quite significant, as will soon be seen. The closest parallel is found in Toledot Yeshu ... presumably, a passage in Gittin 57a is relevant in this regard and may even be the origin of the notion that Jesus must crawl through the latrines. According to this passage, it has been decreed in heaven that Jesus is punished with boiling hot excrement.” Shapiro puts all this in broader context as he states that, “Of course, even without a clear halakhic prohibition, Jews were accustomed to use derogatory expressions in speaking of elements of the Christian religion.” He also notes that the dog was used as an image, of bad things in store for the Jews at Christmas-time, owing to the popular Kabbalistic identification of Jesus with a dog.



463 Mahler, Hasidism and the Jewish Enlightenment, 16.

464 Tenenbaum, Legacy and Redemption, 9–10.

465 Wrobel, My Life My Way, 30–31. Superstitions could take on less dramatic forms. One Jew recalled that a Hasidic rabbi gave his mother a kameha, a coin he had blessed, telling her that her son should carry it always so that no harm would come to him. See William Tannenzapf and Renate Krakauer, Memories from the Abyss/But I Hads a Happy Childhood (Toronto: Azrieli Foundation, 2009), 6.

466 For a discussion of Jewish communal zealotry and comments of contemporary fundamentalist rabbis on Jewish superiority over Gentiles, see Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (London: Pluto Press, 1999), 57ff., 129–34, 143–47.

467 Artur Markowski, “Anti-Jewish Pogroms in the Kingdom of Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, 1815–1918, vol. 27: Jews in the Kingdom of Poland, 243.

468 “Carmelite convent in Israel vandalized,” Toronto Star, September 27, 1989.

469 Gordon Barthos, “Tensions mar Holy Week celebrations in Israel,” Toronto Star, April 14, 1990; Gordon Barthos, “Jewish settlement bankrolled by government,” Toronto Star, April 23, 1990.

470 “Cursing of Pope lands journalist under five-day house arrest,” The National Post (Toronto), March 26, 2000.

471 John L. Allen Jr., “Playing Politics With the Global War on Christians,” National Catholic Reporter, September 7, 2012.

472 The term “price tag” refers to attacks, usually arson and graffiti, carried out by Jewish extremists to target non-Jews—including homes, churches and mosques. During the attacks, the word “price tag” has often been spray-painted on the vandalized structures. Part of the reason for the frequency of these assaults, and the impunity of the perperators, came out with the arrest, in March 2015, of an Israeli soldier who passed information regarding future Israeli defence forces operations to “price tag” hate criminals, helping them evade authorities and continue their attacks. Exceptionally, this soldier was sentenced to 45 months in prison for leaking classified information to Jewish extremists in the West Bank. See Lee Gancman and Judah Ari Gross, “Soldier who ‘spied’ for Jewish extremists gets 45 months,” The Times of Israel, January 5, 2015.

473 Oz Rosenberg, “Christian Monastery Near Jerusalem Vandalized, Door Set On Fire,” Haaretz, September 4, 2012; Nir Hasson, “Catholic Church condemns ‘price-tag’ attack on monastery, urges Israel to change ‘culture of contempt’,” Haaretz, September 4, 2012.


474 Ben Hartman, “Molotov Cocktail Thrown at Monastery Outside Beit Shemesh,” Jerusalem Post, August 21, 2013.

475 Associated Press, “Catholic Monastery Vandalized In Israel Ahead of Pope Francis Visit,” April 1, 2014.

476 Nir Hasson, “Jerusalem Church Defaced in Latest Hate Crime Attack,” Haaretz, May 9, 2014; Ilan Ben Zion, “Church Defaced in Jerusalem in Suspected ‘Price Tag’ Hate Attack,” Times of Israel, May 9, 2014.

477 Noa Shpigel and Barak Ravid, “Arson suspected at Church of loaves and Fishes in Northern Israel,” Haaretz, June 18, 2015; Ariel Schalit, The Associated Press, “Church near Sea of Galilee Damaged in Possible Extremist Jewish Arson Attack,” The Globe and Mail, June 18, 2015.


478 Isabel Kershner, “Israeli City Divided by Sectarian Violence,” The New York Times, October 12, 2008.

479 Ilan Lior and Tomer Zarchin, “Demonstrators Attack African Migrants in South Tel Aviv,” Haaretz, May 24, 2012.

480 Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh, “UN says pace of Israeli settler attacks up 4-fold,” Associated Press, January 15, 2014. See also Amira Hass, “Israeli Security Forces Stand By While Settlers Harass Palestinian Shepherds, Witnesses Say,” Haaretz, March 3, 2013; Gili Cohen, “Settlers Attack Palestinians’ House While Israeli Troops Look On,” Haaretz, January 9, 2014.

481 Chaim Levinson, Haaretz Service and The Associated Press, “Abbas slams ‘brutal’ settlers for attack on West Bank mosque,” Haaretz, December 11, 2009.

482 Patrick Martin, “Mosque Attack Outrages Israeli Leaders,” The Globe and Mail, October 4, 2011. Israeli Prime Minister’ Benjamin Netanyahu’s “outrage” must, in view of his abominable track record, be treated with a great deal of skepticism.

483 Oz Rosenberg and Nir Hasson, “Jerusalem mosque set alight in suspected ‘price tag’ attack,” Haaretz, December 14, 2011.

484 Patrick Martin, “Jewish Extremists Burn New West Bank Mosque,” The Globe and Mail, December 16, 2011.

485 Oz Rosenberg, “East Jerusalem man beaten in another suspected hate crime,” Haaretz, September 6, 2012.

486 Eli Ashkenazi, “Vandals slash tires of 40 cars in hate crime in northern Israel,” Haaretz, April 3, 2014.


487 “Jerusalem religious cites targets of Jewish extremist hate circles,” Al-Akhbar English, December 12, 2012, Internet: .

488 Gil Yaron, “Christian Immigrants Living in Israel a Growing Flock,” Toronto Star, December 26, 2010.

489 Amiram Barkat, “Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them,” Haaretz, October 12, 2004; Amiram Barkat, “Jerusalem yeshiva student apologizes to Armenian archbishop for spitting,” Haaretz, October 18, 2004.

490 “Land giveaway ‘forbidden’: Rabbis oppose handover of captured territory,” Toronto Star, June 24, 2003.

491 “‘Stalingrad of Samaria,’” Toronto Star, June 19, 2005.

492 Patrick Martin, “Arab families in Jerusalem moving on up,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), March 4, 2009.

493 Stefan Raczynski with Shoshana Raczynski, Rescuers Bios, Shtetl, Frontline, Internet: .

494 “Kronika religijna: Biblia na stosie,” Więź (Warsaw), February 2002, 123.

495 The Associated Press, “Orthodox Jewish Youths Burn New Testaments in Or Yehuda,” Haaretz, May 20, 2008; Amir Mizroch, “Or Yehuda Deputy Mayor: I’m Sorry About Burning New Testaments,” The Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2008. According to the Israeli newspaper Maariv hundreds of students took part in the burning. See also Aron Heller, “Israel arrests suspect in attacks on Arabs, leftist Jews,” Toronto Star, November 1, 2009, which reported that an ultra-Orthodox Jewish West Bank settler was behind the killing of two Arabs, the wounding of an Arab, the targeting of a peace activist, and an attack on Messianic Jews over a period of 12 years; he is not suspected of being responsible for the shooting attack against a gay youth centre in Tel Aviv in August 2009, in whcich two people were killed. Regarding the Haredim, Noah Efron has noted:
The image of the Haredim in Israel’s popular culture bears a striking resemblance to European anti-Semitic stereotypes of the Jews, which have maintained currency over the past two centuries. It is well known that many Enlightenment intellectuals—and, no less, several generations of European literati that followed—disliked Jews, feared them, and distrusted them. Scholars disagree about where to squeeze this “Enlightened” anti-Semitism into a typology of Jew hating. Because post-Enlightenment intellectuals were by and large enchanted by reason and ostensibly guided by it, their brand of anti-Semitism rarely rested explicitly on a foundation of rank fabrication or fantasy (Jews killing for blood…). And because their own ties to the Church were often attenuated, their dislike of Jews rarely had a dogmatic foundation (Jews killed Christ). The new “Enlightened” Jew hatred was, in keeping with its Enlightenment image, more a “science” of anti-Semitism. … Voltaire, perhaps the archetype of the “Enlightened” anti-Semite … Post-Enlightenment literature is filled with statements that echo Voltaire.
See Efron, Real Jews, 255–56.

496 See the experiences of Eliezer Urbach described in Weigand, Out of the Fury, 189–97. Jewish Christians were ostracized, fired from their jobs, evicted from their apartments, beaten and harassed by the Orthodox religious community. Ultra-Orthodox rabbinical students laid siege to the home of one missionary, and when they managed to escape, his family was mobbed. Anonymous threatening letters were received by people who associated with Jewish Christians. Many simply practiced their faith underground to be safe and to protect their families. Urbach witnessed a Bible store burned and destroyed. Mission school windows were broken out.

497 Carolynne Wheeler, “Women Taking a Stand to Sit Up Front: Canadian Joins Group Bringing Segregation on Buses to Court in Israel,” The Globe and Mail (Toronto), February 3, 2007. See also Ruth Marcus, “The Ultra-Orthodox Tighten Their Grip in Israel,” Washington Post, August 7, 2012, who reports that even observant, Orthodox, modestly dressed Jewish women continue to be harassed by the Haredi, often finding themselves abused verbally—being called shikseh, the deragoratory term for a Gentile woman, or prutzah, whore, spat upon or pelted by stones.

498 Reuters, “Israel jails 8 Jewish neo-Nazis,” Toronto Star, November 23, 2008. The teenagers, aged 16 to 19, were sentenced to between one and seven year in prison for a “skocking and horrifying” year-long spree of attacks that targeted foreign worlers, ultra-Orthodox Jews and homeless men. They teenagers, one of whom was the grandson of Holocaust survivors, also painted swastikas in a synagogue and planned a birthday party for Hilter.

499 Anti-Semitic acts have also been carried out by Jews rather frequently in the United States, and also in France and Poland, possibly to keep up the siege mentality promoted by some Jewish constituencies by painting non-Jews as anti-Semites. For example, two Jewish students, allegedly victimized by anti-Semities, were actually caught in the act of painting swastikas at George Washington University in November 2007. Pierre B. and his wife, who have ties to Jewish activist groups, made several reports to to the Paris police in 2014 alleging that swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans were painted on their building. In February 2015, they were caught spray painting “Juif” on twenty cars. An investigation revealed that they were actually responsible for the prior reported incidents.

500 Tzvika Brot, “MK Ben Ari Rips Up New Testament,” Israel Jewish Scene, July 18, 2012.

501 Dow Marmur, “A Stand Against Intolerance,” Toronto Star, January 7, 2013: “Christian priests have been spat upon in Jerisalem and elsewhere by ultra-Orthodox thugs who, in the guise of love of the land and love of God, commit crimes that have scandalized Jews everywhere.”

502 Amiram Barkat, “Christians in Jerusalem Want Jews To Stop Spitting On Them,” Haaretz, February 16, 2009.

503 Larry Derfner, “Mouths Filled With Hatred,” The Jerusalem Post Magazine, November 26, 2009.

504 “Christians in Jerusalem Want Jews To Stop Spitting On Them,” The European Union Times, December 14, 2009.

505 Oz Rosenberg, “Ultra-Orthodox spitting attacks on Old City clergymen becoming daily,” Haaretz, November 14, 2011.

506 Three men, who, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), belong to the Jewish extremist group Lehava, were charged with the attack.

507 Jack Khoury, “Galilee Christians, Clergy Protest Ch. 10 Sketch on Mary,” Haaretz, February 23, 2009; Barak Ravid, “PM ‘Sorry’ For Offensive Skit,” Haaretz, February 24, 2009.

508 Gil Yaron, “Christian Immigrants Living in Israel a Growing Flock,” Toronto Star, December 26, 2010.

509 Amos Harel, “IDF Rabbinate Publication During Gaza War: We Will Show No Mercy on the Cruel,” Haaretz, January 26, 2009; Amos Harel, “IDF Censures Officer for Distributing Incendiary Religious Pamphlets to Troops,” Haaretz, January 28, 2009; Ofri Ilani, “Vatican Teaching Hezbollah How to Kill Jews, Says Pamphlet for IDF Troops,” Haaretz, July 19, 2009.

510 Os Rozenberg, “Right-Wing Group Mapping Jerusalem Businesses That Employ Arabs,” Haaretz, November 21, 2011.

511 Chaim Levinson, “Police Release Rabbi Arrested for Inciting to Kill Non-Jews,” Haaretz, July 27, 2010.

512 Yaakov Lappin, “Yitzhar Rabbi Freed After Arrest for Incitement,” The Jerusalem Post, August 20, 2010.

513 Natasha Mozgovaya, “U.S.: Rabbi’s ‘Offensive’ Remarks Harm Peace Efforts,” Haaretz, August 30, 2010.

514 Jonah Mandel, “Yosef: Gentiles Exist Only to Serve Jews,” The Jerusalem Post, October 18, 2010.

515 Marius Schattner, Agence France-Presse, “Homes Not For Sale to Non-Jews: Israeli Rabbis,” National Post (Toronto), December 10, 2010; Chaim Levinson, “Top Rabbis Move To Forbid Renting Homes to Arabs, Say ‘Racism Originated in the Torah’,” Haaretz, December 7, 2010.

516 Patrick Martin, “Israel Rabbi’s Edit Targets Arabs,” The Globe and Mail, December 12, 2010.

517 Chaim Levinson, “Rabbis’ Wives Urge Israeli Woman: Stay Away from Arab Men,” Haaretz, December 28, 2010.

518 Kobi Nahshoni, “Gentile Sperm Leads to Barbaric Offspring,” Israel Jewish Scene, January 12, 2011, Internet: .

519 Asher Zeiger, “Don’t Violate Shabbat to save non-Jewish life, Shas Rabbi Says,” The Times of Israel, May 17, 2012.

520 “Israeli admits beating rabbi for attending Holocaust conference in Iran,” International Herald Tribune (Europe), March 14, 2007. Rabbi Friedman was kicked and punched repeatedly by Orthodox Jews, including some rabbis, before being saved by the intervention of local policemen. Piotr Kadlcik, who heads the Association of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, justified the assault of an anti-Zionist “extremist,” gratuitously claiming that Poles would have reacted far worse in an analagous situation. See Piotr Zychowicz, “Rabin pobity w Leżajsku,” Rzeczpospolita, March 14, 2007. An American historian has recently recalled the 1848 killing—by an Orthodox Jew—of the Reform rabbi of Lwów and his infant daughter by asenic poisoning, against the backdrop of tensions boiling over between Orthodox and Reform Jews in that city. This scholar noted that the Encyclopedia Judaica “deliberately and rather shockingly obfuscates the facts.” See Michael Stanislawski, A Murder in Lemberg: Politics, Religion, and Violence in Modern Jewish History (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007).

521 Piotr Zychowicz, “Chuligani z pejsami na Ukrainie,” Rzeczpospolita, September 14, 2010; Herb Keinon, “Foreign Ministry Sorry for Uman Rosh Hashana Violence,” The Jerusakem Post, September 17, 2010.

522 Assaf Uni and Barak Ravid, “Israel Denounces Sweden’s Silence on IDF Organ Harvest Article,” Haaretz, August 23, 2009; “Israel Hits Back over Swedish Organ Harvesting Article,” CNN, August 23, 2009; “Israel Admits Removing Organs,” Toronto Star, December 21, 2009; Marcin Szymaniak, “Izrael miał tajny bank skóry,” Rzeczpospolita, December 21, 2009. This story came on the heals of the shocking news of the uncovering of a crime syndicate in New Jersey, which included several rabbis who were charged with human kidney sales and money laundering from Brooklyn to Israel. One of the rabbis tried to sell a kidney to an FBI agent for $150,000. See Reuters, “U.S. Rabbis Suspected of Brokering Sale of Human Kidneys,” Haaretz, July 23, 2009; “US Corruption Probe Nets Dozens: More than 40 people, including politicians, officials and several rabbis have been arrested in a major FBI operation in the US,” Internet: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8165607.stm (according to U.S. officials, investigations originally focused on a network that allegedly laundered tens of millions of dollars through charities controlled by rabbis in New Jersey and neighbouring New York); Shlomo Shamir, “New York Rabbi confesses to money laundering,” Haaretz, March 29, 2011; Piotr Zychowicz, “Rabin, który stał na czele mafii,” Rzeczpospolita, April 1, 2011. The story again hit the media when The New York Times reported on an international organ-trafficking network with Israeli connections (Dan Bilefsky, “Seven Charged in Kosovo Organ-Trafficking Ring,” The New York Times, November 15, 2010).

523 David Shulman, “Israel: The Stark Truth,” The New York Review of Books, March 21, 2015 (preliminary version).

524 Steven I. Weiss, “Congress to Aid Lakewood Yeshiva,” Forward, December 19, 2003; Allan Nadler, “Charedi Rabbis Rush to Disavow Anti-Gentile Book,” Forward, December 19, 2003; Steven I. Weiss, “Ultra-Orthodox Officials Go To Bat for Anti-Gentile Book,” Forward, January 16, 2004. Since Orthodox Jews dominate Lakewood’s school board, although most schoolchildren attend private religious school, the township provides free, gender-segregated busing, which helps account for about half of a $12 million budget deficit. Having taken over Lakewood and essentially turned it into a segregated community, Orthodox Jews are now aggressively pushing into neighbouring Toms River, using blockbusting tactics to get non-Jewish homeowners to sell. See Elise Young, “Orthodox Jews Set Sights on N.J. Town and Angry Residents Resist,” Bloomberg, March 14, 2016.

525 Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion (New York: HarperOne/HarperCollins, 2011), 62–63 and ff., 78. See also Robert Wilde, The Treatment of the Jews in the Greek Christian Writers of the First Three Centuries (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1949). The Jews called the Christians minim, and found them worse than the pagans, as the latter never had the truth to begin with, while the former did have it, but had abandoned it. Ibid., 144–45. In fact, Jews used terms such as m’shumadim, nosrim, and minim, as part of the Jewish curses offered in synagogues during prayer. Ibid., 119.

526 Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (London and Boulder, Colorado: Pluto Press, 1994), 97.

527 Shahak, Jewish Religion, Jewish History, 92–93.

528 Albin (Tobiasz) Kac, Nowy Sącz: Miasto mojej młodości (Kraków: Khoker-Dapas, 1997), 59–60.

529 Grażyna Lubińska, a conversation with Roman Polański, “Getto: Łatwo wyjść, ale jak przeżyć?” Gazeta Wyborcza, March 15–16, 2003.

530 Marek Urban, Polska… Polska… (Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny IN-B, 1998), 52.

531 James Park Sloan, Jerzy Kosinski: A Biography (New York: Dutton/Penguin, 1996), 20. The author goes on to describe how Jerzy Kosiński and his Jewish playmate Stefan Salamonowicz put the child of a Polish Catholic family into a carriage and pushed her down one of the step Sandomierz hills. The child, a mere toddler, could easily have been seriously injured, even killed. Ibid., 24. On another occasion, when Kosiński and his Jewish friend were playing “horses and coachmen” with two Polish Catholic boys, taking turns in the roles of beast and master with whip, the Jewish friend’s grandfather insisted that the Jewish boys not play the part of beasts. Ibid., 23.

532 (Rabbi) Abraham D. Feffer, My Shtetl Drobin: A Saga of a Survivor (Toronto: n.p., 1990), 13. Jewish accounts mention rabbis who were well respected by Jews and Christians alike: “As it turned out, the father had been the rebbe in the Galician shtetl where the Kapo [who was a Polish prisoner in Auschwitz] had lived. He had been greatly respected by the entire population, even by the Christians. He had been called ‘the Holy Father,’ and many Poles had gone to him when they needed advice. … The Kapo had recognized him and his son in Block 16, the death block … and brought them directly over to his Kommando. … The Kapo supplied the rebbe and his son with food so that they would not have to eat the blood sausage and the nonkosher soup from the pot.” See Konrad Charmatz, Nightmares: Memoirs of the Years of Horror under Nazi Rule in Europe, 1939–1945 (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2003), 101–102. One can also find many favourable references to the Catholic clergy in Jewish memoirs and accounts. The Zionist daily Nasz Przegląd published many such accounts in the interwar period. See Anna Landau-Czajka, “Polacy w ocach ‘Naszego Przeglądu’,” Kwartalnik Historii Zydów, no. 4 (2011): 491–506, here at p. 498. Rev. Jan Skarbek, the pastor of the Catholic parish in Oświęcim, was friendly towards the local Jewish community and became friends with Rabbi Eliyahu Bombach, the Chief Rabbi of Oświęcim. In 1934, as a member if the city council, Rev. Skarbek received the title of Honorary Citizen of Oświęcim by a unanimous vote of both Christian and Jewish members of the council. See Oshpitzin, Internet: . Teresa Herzig, later Lena Allen-Shore, recalled three Polish priests who taught or visted her high school for girls in the town of Jasło: Rev. Józef Gayda, Rev. Eweryst Dębicki, and Rev. Jan Pasek. All of them, as well as the lay teachers, treated her with the utmost courtesy and respect. She describes the atmosphere in the school as “friendly.” See Lena Allen-Shore, Building Bridges: Pope John Paul II and the Horizon of Life (Ottawa: Novalis, 2004), 114–15. In the small town of Jeżów near Brzeziny, at the time of the fire in 1931, the priest and a good number of Poles hastened to save Jewish children and property from the flames. See “Jeżów,” in in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 1, 133, Internet: See also the following testimonies: J. Ben-Meir (Treshansky), Sefer yizkor Goniadz (Tel Aviv: The Committee of Goniondz Association in the USA and in Israel, 1960), 475–76, translated as Our Hometwon Goniondz, Internet: ; I.M. Lask, ed., The Kalish Book (Tel Aviv: Societies of Former Residents of Kalish and the Vicinity in Israel and U.S.A., 1968), 88–89 (on two occasions the priest in Błaszki calmed agitated crowds of Poles); David Shtokfish, ed., Sefer Drohiczyn (Tel Aviv: n.p., 1969), 5ff. (English section) (a priest in Drohiczyn); Helen Silving, “Six Million Martyrs,” in Damian S. Wandycz, ed., Studies in Polish Civilization: Selected Papers Presented at the First Congress at the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences in America, November 25, 26, 27, 1966 in New York (New York: Institute on East Central Europe, Columbia University; and The Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences in America, 1970), 391 (Rev. Wontorek, a priest in a gymnasium in a small town); Haskell Nordon, The Education of a Polish Jew: A Physician’s War Memoirs (New York: D. Grossman Press, 1982), 90–91 (a priest who taught religion in a provincial high school in central Poland; although 90 percent of the students were Polish Catholics, the author states at pp. 65 and 76: “I sensed no enmity from most of my classmates, and I don’t remember any slurs or anti-Semitic insults directed at me by them.” When a Jewish student was expelled it was for theft of another Jewish student’s books, and he was reported by the author. “The only other mildly political rumbling that I recall disturbing the relatively apolitical tranquility of our gymnasium was thanks to a Ukrainian boy named Bohun, the son of a government official transferred to our town from a far-off, heavily Ukrainian district of Galicia. Young Bohun was an ardent and outspoken Ukrainian nationalist.”); Eugeniusz Fąfara, Gehenna ludności żydowskiej (Warszawa: Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza, 1983), 335 (Rev. Stanisław Mateuszczyk of Nowa Słupia); Bruno Shatyn, A Private War: Surviving in Poland on False Papers, 1941–1945 (Detroit: Wayne State University, 1985), xx–xxi, 62–64 (Rev. Szypuła, a religious instructor at a high school in Jarosław); Samuil Manski, With God’s Help (Madison, Wisconsin: Charles F. Manski, 1990), 26 (the rector of the Piarist high school in Lida); oral history interview with Abraham Kolski, March 29, 1990, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C. (the pastor in Izbica Kujawska—the author notes that there “wasn’t so much anti-Semitism” in his town); Rachela and Sam Walshaw, From out of the Firestorm: A Memoir of the Holocaust (New York: Shapolsky Publishers, 1991), 7–8 (priests in Wąchock; the author states: “The Catholic priests who ran our school were strict but fair and excused us from participating in their prayers. On the whole, my gentile classmates were a decent lot with whom we remained distant but friendly.”); Alice Birnhak, Next Year, God Willing (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1992), 73 (a priest who was a religious instructor in a school in Kielce); Eva Feldenkreiz-Grinbal, ed., Eth Ezkera—W henever I Remember: Memorial Book of the Jewish Community in Tzoyzmir (Sandomierz) (Tel Aviv: Association of Tzoyzmir Jews and Moreshet Publishing, 1993), 542 (Rev. Adam Szymański, the rector of the diocesan seminary); Agata Tuszyńska, “Uczniowie Schulza,” Kultura (Paris), no. 4 (1993): 39 (priests in Drohobycz); Interview with Felix Horn, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, dated July 19, 1994, 3 (the author attended a largely Catholic high school in Lublin: “Well, my days in high school were extremely happy. They were the best years of my life. I never felt I’m different. … I was respected by my teachers, professors, by the priests, you know, by everyone”); Testimony of Sender Apelbaum, January 1966, Yad Vashem Archive, file O.3/2882 (Rev. Dominik Wawrzynowicz, the pastor of Włodzimierzec in Volhynia, enjoyed excellent relations with the Jews); Alina Cała, “The Social Consciousness of Young Jews in Interwar Poland,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 48 (a priest in Krasne, a teacher of religion “who kept the pupils’ antisemitic outbursts under control by speaking up against them in a decisive way”); Szyja Bronsztejn, “Polish-Jewish Relations as Reflected in Memoirs of the Interwar Period,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (1994): 78–79 (Rev. Józef Niemczyński of Kraków); Sam Halpern, Darkness and Hope (New York: Shengold Publishers, 1996), 31 (priests in the vicinity of Chorostków); Samuel Honig, From Poland to Russia and Back, 1939–1946: Surviving the Holocaust in the Soviet Union Windsor, Ontario: Black Moss Press, 1996), 233 (a priest in the Dębniki district of Kraków); Michał Rudawski, Mój obcy kraj? (Warsaw: TU, 1996), 32 (Rev. Zaremba of Przytoczno near Kock); Darcy O’Brien, The Hidden Pope: The Untold Story of a Lifelong Friendship That Is Changing the Relationship between Catholics and Jews. The Personal Journey of John Paul II and Jerzy Kluger (New York: Daybreak Books/Rodale Books, 1998), 53, 72 (the canon Rev. Leonard Prochownik of Wadowice); Henry Zagdanski, It Must Never Happen Again: The Memoirs of Henry Zagdanski (Toronto: Colombo, 1998) (a priest who taught religion in a school in Radom); Marek Urban, Polska… Polska… (Warsaw: Żydowski Instytut Historyczny IN-B, 1998), 20–23 (Rev. Błaszczyk, who taught religion in the public school in Lubartów), 30–31 (Rev. Borowski, who taught religion in a public school in Lublin); Entries for “Tomaszow Lubelski” and “Szczebrzeszyn” in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 7, 237–41 (Rev. Julian Bogatek of Tomaszów Lubelski), 577–80 (Rev. Jan Grabowski); Naomi Samson, Hide: A Child’s View of the Holocaust (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), 45–46, 147 (a priest in Goraj); Dereczin (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacob Solomon Berger, 2005), 325 (the local Catholic priest in Dereczyn, “who was known to be a liberal-minded individual, and who also had friendly relations with the Jews”); Ungar and Chanoff, Destined to Live, 66–67 (in Krasne near Skałat: “Both Father Hankiewicz and Father Leszczynski [Leszczyński] mainly preached the loving kindness of God. Because of the priests’ behavior, the peasants didn’t bear a grudge against Jews …”); Marcus David Leuchter, “Reflections on the Holocaust,” The Sarmatian Review (Houston, Texas), vol. 20, no. 3 (September 2000) (a village priest near Tarnów); George Lucius Salton, The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2002), 7 (a priest in Tyczyn near Rzeszów); Mariusz Bechta, Narodowo radykalni: Obrona tradycji i ofensywa narodowa na Podlasiu w latach 1918–1939 (Biała Podlaska: Biblioteczka Bialska and Rekonkwista, 2004), 182, 184 (Rev. Tadeusz Osiński of Radzyń Podlaski and Rev. Stanisław Nowek of Międzyrzec Podlaski, both of whom intervened to diffuse Polish-Jewish tensions); Barbara Petrozolin-Skowrońska, ed., Nieświeskie wspomnienia: Ciąg dalszy… (Warsaw: Łośgraf, 2004), 430 (Rev. Jan Grodis, the director of the high school in Nieśwież); Dov Shuval, ed., The Szczebrzeszyn Memorial Book (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacob Solomon Berger, 2005), 32 (Rev. Jan Grabowski of Szczebrzeszyn); Janusz Szczepański, Społeczność żydowska Mazowsza w XIX–XX wieku (Pułtusk: Wyższa Szkoła Humanistyczna imienia Aleksandra Gieysztora w Pułtusku, 2005), 375 (Rev. Jan Gęsty of Pułtusk was remembered for his acts of charity to the Jews, especially during World War I, and many Jews took part in his funeral in 1928); Mila Sandberg-Mesner, Light From the Shadows (Montreal: Polish-Jewish Heritage Foundation of Canada, 2005), 30 (Rev. Józef Adamski of Zaleszczyki); Diane Wyshogrod, Hiding Places: A Mother, a Daughter, an Uncovered Life (Albany: State University of New York Press–Excelsior Editions, 2012), 271(the Rozenbergs, who oewned a pharmacy in Żółkiew, north of Lwów, remembered the local Catholic priest well from before the war: “He’d come to the pharmacy, we’d chat. Nothing very personal, but pleasant. A decent man. Very respectful.”); Testimony of Salomea Gemrot, February 2005, Internet: (Rev. Józef Cieślik of Rzeszów: “when I was in the fifth or sixth grade, Father … transferred me to … Saint Jadwiga’s school, where there were no Jewish children. They took care of me there, it was good there, the priest took care of me”; the parish priest of Przybyszówka near Rzeszów: “my parents had friends and acquaintances among Poles. The priest would even come to play cards with Father in the winter and really enjoyed talking to him. He was an older man.”); Testimony of Ewa S. (Stapp), September 2005, Internet: : (Rev. Konieczny of Lwów); Lindeman, Shards of Memory, 75–76 (a priest intervened when some young ruffians attacked a Jewish boy on the way to school in Radom). In Cegłów near Mińsk Mazowiecki, Aron Stein, a merchant, was friends with Julian Grobelny, the owner of a grange lying near the town, and with Rev. Franciszek Fijałkowski, the local parish priest. Aron’s daughter recalled: “It was pleasant to watch my father, wearing his gaberdine and a long bear, strolling along with the priest in a cassock at his side.” Those two friends of the family later saved Aron’s daughter’s life. See “Chaja Estera Stein (Teresa Tucholska-Körner), The First Child of Irena Sendler,” The Polish Righteous, Internet: . In Zdzięcioł, Polesia: “In our little town, I would say [there was no anti-Semitism] because we had actions [dealings] with the Polish priest. He was very, very good to us … he never let anything to with the anti-semitism or whatever.” See Interview with Sonia Heidocovsky Zissman, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, May 25, 1995, 2. Grzegorz Pustkowiak, “W służbie Boga i człowiekowi,” Myśl Polska (Warsaw), February 6, 2005, describes the caring attitude of the Franciscan Melchior Fordon of Grodno, whose funeral brought together people of all faiths, both Christians and Jews. Faye Schulman, A Partisan’s Memoir: Woman of the Holocaust (Toronto: Second Story Press, 1995), 24, describes a celebration in Łunin that brought the residents of that small town in Polesia together: “I remember the whole town, Christians and Jews alike, celebrating the priest’s fiftieth anniversary of service to the church in our town. The Jewish community honoured him by presenting him with a book bound in gold covers.” Szymon Leibowicz of Radomyśl Wielki near Tarnów, recalls Rev. Jan Curyłło, the local pastor, as a friend of his father’s: “My father used to make contributions to held expand the church. In return, the priest promoted my father’s company among the inhabitants of the town.” See Jan Ziobroń, Dzieje Gminy Żydowskiej w Radomyślu Wielkim (Radomyśl Wielki: n.p., 2009), 177. Rosa Lehmann, Symbiosis and Ambivalence: Poles and Jews in a Small Galician Town (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2001), 98, mentions Rev. Walerian Rąpała of Jaśliska and Rev. Paweł Smoczeński of Królik Polski, two villages near Krosno, and describes the pastoral visit of the bishop of Przemyśl, which united both Poles and Jews in welcoming him to Jaśliska and receiving his blessing. A Jewish resident spoke of the event as a special occasion during which the Jewish and Polish religious elite met in public, and which was remembered by the Jewish community long after the event had taken place. Ibid., 103, 112. Ryszard Majus recalls the welcome given when a tzadik or bishop visited his small town of Wielkie Oczy: The tzadik was greeted by the mayor and local Catholic pastor together with well-to-do farmers. Similarly, the Jews would carry Torah scrolls to the edge of the town where the bishop would descend from his litter and kiss it. See the account of Ryszard Majus in Krzysztof Dawid Majus, Wielkie Oczy (Tel Aviv: n.p., 2002); this account is also posted online at . Michał Rudawski’s memoir Mój obcy kraj? (Warsaw: TU, 1996), at p. 43, contains a moving tribute to the friendly attitude of Bishop Henryk Przeździecki of Siedlce toward the Jewish community of Łysobyki. During his pastoral visit to that village, the bishop was greeted ceremoniously by a Jewish delegation, extended his blessing to the Jewish community, and quoted the Torah in Hebrew in his address to the gathering. When the arcbishop of Warsaw, Cardinal Aleksander Kakowski, visited Góra Kalwaria in the early 1930s, “everyone welcomed him, including the Jews with the rabbi. But the tzaddik did not come to greet the cardinal, and received him in his house instead. They exchanged gifts.” See the testimony of Henryk Prajs, January 2005, Internet: . The Jewish Chrocicle of August 26, 1935 reported a warm speech by the Bishop of Łuck, Adolf Szelążek, who, while on a pastoral visit to the village of Klewań, in response to a welcoming speech by a rabbi, said: “We are all creatures of the same God.” His speech was reported as having left a deep impression on the Jewish community. See Leo Cooper, In the Shadow of the Polish Eagle: The Poles, the Holocaust and Beyond (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave, 2000), 63. Bishop Teodor Kubina, who struck up a friendship with Rabbi Nachum Asch (Asz), was known for his protective attitude toward Jews. When Bishop Kubina paid a pastoral visit to Działoszyce he was warmly greeted by a delegation from the Jewish community headed by the local rabbi, who greeted him in Hebrew. Bishop Kubina greeted the rabbi in Polish, quoting excerpts from the Old Testament in Hebrew. See Aleksandra Klich, “Teodor Kubina: Czerwony biskup od Żydów,” Gazeta Wyborcza, March 1, 2008. Bishop Marian Leon Fulman of Lublin was met with a simsilar reception in Piaski, where the Jewish community erected an arch to welcome him. See Zbigniew Zaporowski, “Miaszteczko i sztetl: Polacy i Żydzi w województwie lubelskim w przededniu II wojny światowej,” in Sitarek, Trębacz, and Wiatr, Zagłada Żydów na polskiej prowincji, 24. Bishop Fulman engaged Alexander Bronowski, a Jewish lawyer, to represent the Lublin diocese in legal matters despite the vociferous protests of the nationalist press. In fact, the bishop dispatched a priest “to apologize in the name of Bishop Fulman for the unpleasantness I had been caused. He assured me that I would be asked to continue to litigate on behalf of the see [diocese]. This I did until the outbreak of the war in 1939.” See Alexander Bronowski, They Were Few (New York: Peter Lang, 1991), 3. Rev. Michał Piaszczyński, the vice rector of the Higher Seminary in Łomża, was known before the war for his openness toward the Jews and even invited rabbis to the seminary. See “Biogramy 108 męczenników,” Głos Polski (Toronto), May 18–24, 1999. On the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church towards the Jews during the interwar period, a historian writes: “Without ignoring the activities of individual priests, linked for the most part with the Nationalist camp, directed against Jews (though one should add that, generally speaking, they were the result of associating Jews with communism), we should bear in mind the overall correctness of attitudes and relations where the official Church was concerned. We do not then find aggressive, anti-Jewish comments in the pastoral letters of individual bishops, and, on the evidence of situation reports from local churches, as well as those appearing in the Catholic press, we come across the frequent participation by Jewish communities, often headed by the rabbi, in welcoming a visiting bishop. The Church’s attitude towards the Jewish community is best characterized by a statement of Bishop [Henryk] Przeździecki [of Siedlce], set out in one of his pastoral letters: ‘If we are real followers of Christ, then we should cherish the Jews.’” See Jacek M. Majchrowski, “Some Observations on the Situation of the Jewish Minority in Poland during the years 1918–1939,” in Polin: A Journal of Polish-Jewish Studies, vol. 3 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell for the Institute for Jewish-Polish Studies, 1988), 306. In that same pastoral letter issued in September 1938, Bishop Przeździecki beseeched the faithful to “love [their] fellow citizens … even if they are of a different nationality, not to harm them … To love one’s nation does not mean to bear hatred for other nations.” He admonished them that their “greatest enemies are your fellow countrymen who instil in you hatred toward other nations.” About the Jews he wrote: “And are they [i.e., the Jews] not our neighbours? They are! If we are true followers of Christ, then we should love the Jews! And that is why when one of them is living in poverty we should help that person.” See Henryk Przeździecki, Listy pasterskie i przemówienia, 1928–1938, vol. 2 (Siedlce: Kuria Diecezjalna Siedlecka czyli Podlaska, 1938), 373–74. The author is unaware of similar pronouncements and exhortations issued by rabbis in the interwar period. Another characteristic example of the attitude of priests is the advice that a Polish woman received from a priest in Starogard when she expressed her qualms about working as a nanny for a Jewish family in Warsaw: “There are good Christians and bad Christians and good Jews and bad Jews. The most important thing is that they’re good people, who will love you and whom you will love. I’ve got a feeling you’ll be happy there.” See Ram Oren, Gertruda’s Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II (New York: Doubleday, 2009), 42. In Częstochowa, as elsewhere, nuns frequented Jewish dentists and the Pauline monastery on Jasna Góra used the services of a Jewish printing press. Mizgalski and Sielski, The Jews of Częstochowa, 371. In Wizna, Izrael Lewin, a local Jewish tailor sewed cassocks for priests as well as uniforms for Polish soldiers. See “The Dobkowski Family,” The Polish Righteous, Internet: . (The entry in Israel Gutman and Sara Bender, eds., The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, volumes 4 and 5: Poland [Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2004], Part 1, 175, does not mention this nor the fact that it was the Home Army that brought the Lewins to the Dobkowskis’ house and helped Lewin escape when he was arrested by the Germans.) Despite these numerous testimonies, one can find testimonies that condemn the “Polish Catholic Church” and especially its priests as being virulently anti-Semitic. Usually those charges are not based on concrete facts, but on biases. For example, a Jew born in 1926, and therefore only 13 when the Second World War broke out, states: “The Polish Catholic Church did an excellent job of instilling deep hatred for the Jews. During Good Friday services, the priests would harangue the masses about how the Jews had killed their God, Christ. When the people came out of the church, they would attack Jews, break windows in their homes, and damage their property. Often priests themselves participated in the violence.” See Edward Gastfriend, My Father’s Testament: Memoir of a Jewish Teenager, 1938–1945 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000), 23. Good Friday services in Catholic churches in Poland did not differ from those in other countries, and the liturgy was set by the Vatican. Given the length of the pre-set service, priests generally did not preach on Good Friday. Moreover, Good Friday was not a day on which Catholics were required to attend church and, since there was but one long, late-afternoon service that day, most Catholics did not attend, certainly not those in the mood for a “pogrom.” The notion that priests incited those in attendance to attack Jews is baseless, as is the charge that priests “often” participated in violence against Jews, whether on Good Friday or any other time. There is no authentic account that sunstantiates that claim.

533 Lindeman, Shards of Memory, 8.

534 Sandberg-Mesner, Light from the Shadows, 30.

535 Lindeman, Shards of Memory, 11.

536 Heller, On the Edge of Destruction, 150.

537 Scharf, Poland, What Have I To Do with Thee…, 197. For further confirmation see Herman Kruk, The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania: Chronicles from the Vilna Ghetto and the Camps, 1939–1944 (New Haven and London: YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Yale University Press, 2002), 119 n.35.

538 Ibid., 195, 205.

539 D. Shtokfish, ed., Sefer Drohiczyn (Tel Aviv: n.p., 1969), 15ff.

540 Antoni Arkuszewski, “Co nie jest antysemityzmem,” Słowo–Dziennik Katolicki, August 9, 1995.

541 Yehuda Kellner, “Pernalities with Heart,” in Dov Shuval, ed., The Szczebrzeszyn Memorial Book (Mahwah, New Jersey: Jacon Solomon Berger, 2005), 202–3.

542 Richard C. Lukas, “A Response,” Slavic Review, Fall/Winter 1987: 584.

543 Richard C. Lukas, Out of the Inferno: Poles Remember the Holocaust (Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1989), 9. See also his other books: The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation, 1939–1944, Second revised edition (New York: Hippocrene, 1997), 124–25, 144; and Did the Children Cry?: Hitler’s War Against Jewish and Polish Children, 1939–1945 (New York: Hippocrene, 1994), 152–53.

544 Richard C. Lukas, “A Response,” Slavic Review, Fall/Winter 1987: 589–90.

545 Max I. Dimont, Jews, God and History (New York: New American Library, 1962), 387.

546 Nora Levin, The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry, 1933–1945 (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1968; reissued by Schoken Books, New York, 1973), 165.

547 Introduction to Vladka Meed, On Both Sides of the Wall: Memoirs from the Warsaw Ghetto (New York: Holocaust Library, 1979), 3–4.

548 John Weiss, The Politics of Hate: Anti-Semitism, History, and the Holocaust in Modern Europe (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2003), 192.

549 Elie Wiesel, Legends of Our Time (New York: Rhinehart and Winston, 1968), 163.

550 Helen Fine, Accounting for Genocide: National Responses and Jewish Victimization during the Holocaust (New York: Macmillan, 1979), 90–91.

551 “Wiesel assails Pontiff for ‘offensive behavior,’” JTA, The Canadian Jewish News, Toronto, July 7, 1988.

552 Internet: . In May 2013 Maram Stern was promoted to Associate Executive Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress.

553 “Reflections,” in Carol Rittner and Leo Goldberger, eds., Rescue of the Danish Jewry: A Primer (New York: Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 1993).

554 Norman F. Cantor, The Sacred Chain: The History of the Jews (New York: Harper Collins, 1994), 345, 347.

555 Glenn Kurtz, Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), 190.

556 Jerome Ostrov’s article, “After a Trip to Poland,” is posted at .

557 Doubtless Spielberg’s impressions were coloured by his own experiences as a Jewish child growing up in affluent upper middle-class America where open anti-Semitism was the norm at that time (see Bernard Weinraub, “For Spielberg, an Anniversary Full of Urgency,” New York Times, March 9, 2004):

“Anti-Semitism affected me deeply; it made me feel I wasn’t safe outside my own door.” … Discussing the taunts and ugly incidents of his childhood, Mr. Spielberg, 57, said: “It happened in affluent neighborhoods in Arizona and California, where I was one of the few Jewish students. I didn’t experience it in more lower-middle-class environments in New Jersey and Ohio.”

Once, in a silent study hall of 100 students, several of them pitched pennies around his desk to taunt him, Mr. Spielberg said quietly. “I have vivid memories of that,” he said. The hallways, too, could be an ordeal: “A lot of kids coughed the word ‘Jew’ in their hands as they walked by me between classes.”
Anti-Semitism was also a feature of “WASP” (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) upper-middle-class Canadian society well into the 1950s. According to Michael Valpy, a prominent journalist who grew up in an affluent neighbourhood in Vancouver (see his article, “Painful Memories of a Childhood Immersed in Anti-Semitism,” The Globe and Mail, March 26, 2005),
I began unearthing from my memory the portrait of myself as a teenager and the gang of boys I hung out with. Our jokes about lampshades and melting our Jewish classmates into bars of soap, and screaming “Jew!” (or “Ki-Ki-Ki-Kike”) down the hallways of Point Grey and Magee High School. …

Here is what Michael Levy, Harold Groberman and Joel Wener talked about … the golf clubs like Shaughnessy that barred their fathers, the private schools like Crofton House and St. George’s that they and their sisters and cousins could not attend, the restrictive covenants prohibiting property sales to Jews, the slurs, the hostility, the sports games.

The high-school games got dirty, says Joel Wener. “But it wasn’t just that. You’d start hearing ‘Jew-boy,’ then the punches would fly. …” …

My gang, behind Harold’s back, said terrible things about him we thought hilarious. Because he was a Jew. … Our fathers were professional men; they were business executives. …

On Oct. 29 [1943], the minutes of a Queen’s University senate meeting report: “Jewish students in arts … are admitted only on an academic standing of 75 per cent or over. Other students are admitted on a standing of 60 per cent or over.” “This regulation,” the minutes go on, “is widely known and seems to operate without any friction.” …

In November, 1948, … Maclean’s [magazine] publishes Pierre Berton’s devastating investigative exposé of anti-Semitism in Canada, detailing what occurs when people with Jewish names and non-Jewish names [i.e., British-sounding names] apply for the same jobs, try to make reservations at the same vacation resorts, ask to join the same clubs, and even try to sign up for postwar vocational training at the same government-operated schools.”


Similar (or even worse) attitudes prevailed in relation to Catholics and people of Southern and Eastern European origin, not to mention native Indians, Blacks, and Asians. Reassuringly, in North America, such prejudice is attributed to “snobbery” rather than the dislike of “the other.” Moreover, the notion that Jews were forced into ghettos in Poland and that this happened against their will has been amply discredited. What contemporary commentators neglect to take into account is that in even North America many Jews, especially Orthodox ones, choose to live in close-knit communities of their own (sometimes walled ones, as in California) and tend not to interact with non-Jews. In Toronto, for example, Jews comprise as much as 70 per cent of the residents of certain areas, making them the most “segregated” neighbourhoods in the city. As one rabbi explains, living in such enclaves with limited interaction with the outside world lessens the pressure on children to assimiliate. See Prithi Yelaja and Nicholas Keung, “A little piece of the Punjab,” Toronto Star, June 25, 2005.

558 Debbie Schlussel, “Poles Were Complicit in the Holocaust: Outrage Over Obama ‘Gaff’ Is Fraudulent, Ignorant,” May 30, 2012, posted at . By this rant Debbie Schlussel effectively discredited herself as an authority on any topic.

559 David Samuels, “The Conscience of Poland: A Q&A with Adam Michnik,” Tablet Magazine, December 18, 2014.

560 William B. Helmreich, Against All Odds: Holocaust Survivors and the Successful Lives They Made in America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 192.

561 Helmreich, Against All Odds, 252. The author points out that this sentiment is not, however, unanimous, especially among those who were saved by Poles. He cites Leon Lepold, a survivor, who stated: “Speaking from experience, if not for the Poles, none of us would have survived in southeastern Poland. A lot of Polish people were murdered, hung, shot, and had their homes burned because they were hiding Jewish people.” Ibid., 253.

562 David Samuels, “The Conscience of Poland: A Q&A with Adam Michnik,” Tablet Magazine, December 18, 2014.

563 Jack Felman, “Growing Up As a Child of Holocaust Survivors,” Internet: .

564 Jonathan Krasner, “Constructing Collective Memory: The Re-envisioning of Eastern Europe as Seen Through American Jewish Textbooks,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 19 (2007): 229–55.

565 Danusha V. Goska, “The Necessity of ‘Bieganski’: A Shamed and Horrified World Seeks a Scapegoat,” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 19 (2007): 205–28, here at 219–21. See also Danusha V. Goska, Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture (Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2010). (Surprisingly, Goska views Jan Gross’s problematic book Neighbors in a positive light, without realizing that the outpouring of bigoted and ugly demagoguery that it generated, some of which she cites, was not only inspired by the book but also calculated by the author to do exactly that. Gross never complained about his book being misread by its American reviewers, nor did he distance himself from their anti-Polish diatribes.) Fénelon’s descriptions of Poles contrast with those of many other Jewish inmates of Auschwitz. Halina Nelken, a Jewish woman from Kraków, writes of the solidarity of Polish and Jewish prisoners in the Płaszów concentration camps, the assistance shown by Polish inmates of Auschwitz, the camp’s first inmates, to later transports of prisoners, including Jews. These anonymous benefactors, who may well not have been the “norm,” were known by the name of “kochany” (“darling”). While they did not have much to offer—perhaps some scraps of food or clothing—their attitude had a great impact on the new arrivals. Nelken relates similar displays of solidarity she was shown by Polish women inmates at Ravensbrück. See Halina Nelken, And Yet, I Am Here! (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), 232, 248, 272. Sigmund Gerson and Eddie Gastfriend, young Jews imprisoned in Auschwitz, speak of the “loving” attitude of Father Maximilian Kolbe and all the Polish priests toward the Jews in the camp. Eddie Gastfriend said: “There were many priests in Auschwitz. They wore no collars, but you knew they were priests by their manner and their attitude, especially toward Jews. They were so gentle, so loving.” See Patricia Treece, A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe, Saint of Auschwitz (New York: Harper & Row, 1982; reissued by Our Sunday Visitor, Hutington, Indiana, 1982), 138, 152–53. Ada Omieljanczuk, a Jewish woman, attributes her survival to Polish fellow prisoners of Auschwitz who shared their food parcels with her. See Tadeusz Andrzejewski, “Wileńscy strażnicy oświęcimskiej pamięci,” Tygodnik Wileńszczyzny (Vilnius), February 3–9, 2005. Jerzy Radwanek, a member of the Polish underground in Auschwitz, used his position as camp electrician to provide widespread assistance to Jewish prisoners, and came to be known by them as the “Jewish uncle” of Auschwitz. See the profile of Jerzy Radwanek under “Poland” in the web site of The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, Internet: . Another inmate mentions a Polish kapo in Auschwitz who agreed to Jewish inmates holding a service and guarded the entrance to the barracks to watch out for the SS. See Judy Weissenberg Cohen, “‘The Kol Nidre I always remember,’” The Canadian Jewish News, September 24, 1998. Yet another prisoner remembers with gratitude how her Polish “block trusty” tried to protect Jewish prisoners from being sent to the ovens. See the account of Anna (Chana) Kovitzka, posted at . Assistance by Polish inmates at Auschwitz has been documented by Yad Vashem: Israel Gutman and Sara Bender, eds., The Encyclopedia of the Righteous Among the Nations: Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, volumes 4 and 5: Poland (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2004), Part 1, 256 (Stanisława Sierzputowska); Part 2, 638 (Jerzy Pozimski), 658 (Jerzy Radwanek). Other accounts that mention kind deeds by Polish kapos and block elders in Auschwitz can be found in Donald L. Niewyk ed., Fresh Wounds: Early Narratives of Holocaust Survival (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 15, 205, 210; and Konrad Charmatz, Nightmares: Memoirs of the Years of Horror under Nazi Rule in Europe, 1939–1945 (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2003), 101–102.
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