July 09, 2006

The Kielce pogrom

Among Jews, bad feelings about Poland are second only to Germany for the part they played in cooperating with the Holocaust. This feeling might not be accurate, in light of the fact that the Holocaust death rate in many countries approached that of Poland, and Poland was the country longest occupied by the Nazis. (German and Austrian Jews had a relatively high survival rate only because they had time to see what was coming and try to get out.) On the other hand, Poland's bad reputation is immeasurably enhanced by the Kielce pogrom:

Kielce pogrom refers to the events on July 4, 1946, in the Polish town of Kielce, when thirty-nine Polish Jews were massacred and eighty wounded out of about two hundred Holocaust survivors who returned home after World War II. Among victims were also two Gentile Poles. While far from the deadliest pogrom against the Jews, the pogrom was especially significant in post-war Jewish history, as the attack took place 14 months after the end of World War II, well after the Nazis were defeated and the extent of the Holocaust was well known to the world.

Poland commemorates its anniversary:

Poland's President Lech Kaczynski denounced anti-Semitism on the 60th anniversary of a pogrom in the town of Kielce that left 42 people dead, saying democratic Poland had "no room for racism and anti-Semitism."

"As the president of Poland, I want to say it loud and clear: what happened in Kielce 60 years ago was a crime," he said. "This is a great shame and tragedy for the Poles and the Jews, so few of whom survived Hitler's Holocaust."

In Kielce, townspeople and security officers - spurred by a false rumor that Jews living at 7 Planty Street had kidnapped a Christian boy - attacked Jewish Holocaust survivors living in the building on July 4, 1946.

They killed 42 people, almost all Jews, over several hours, and about 30 more were also killed in a violent frenzy that spread across the area. The violence led set off a mass emigration of many of Poland's estimated 250,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors - what was left of the prewar Jewish population of 3.5 million.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at July 9, 2006 11:29 AM | TrackBacks
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Righteous_Among_the_Nations

It looks like Poles were also the most frequent recepient of righteous gentile status among all nations, despite the more severe penalties for aiding Jews in Nazi occupied Poland.

Posted by: righteousdude at July 29, 2006 01:57 PM Permalink

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