Fifth, in a related vein, Gross argues, towards the close of Neighbors, that the true facilitators of the hated Communist regime in Poland were not Jews, but anti-Semites, inasmuch as the kind of Jew-hating opportunists who would have taken part in the Jedwabne massacre were precisely the kinds of individuals who would have amorally served the postwar puppet government. All of the issues it raises are handled with consummate mastery. But the matter was given short shrift in every respect and was disposed of as quickly as possible. If there has been a habitual tendency among nationalist Poles to refuse any responsibility for mistreating Jews -- and the controversy over Neighbors suggests that is the case -- then a reminder that one should not be quick to dismiss eyewitness accounts, especially if they are otherwise credible, can only be salutary. Istvan Deak and Tony Judt, ed. The book was greeted with a terrible outcry in Poland.
In addition, as social mobilization and mass participation in state-sponsored institutions and rituals were required, people became, to varying degrees, complicitous in their own subjugation. The second point that readers of this volume must keep in mind is that Polish-Jewish relations during the war are conceived in a standard analysis as mediated by outside forces—the Nazis and the Soviets. According to Gross, the culmination of these anti-Jewish actions came on July 10, 1941, when the Jews of Jedwabne -- numbered at 1,600 by the author -- were rounded up in the town square by their Polish neighbors, beaten and subjected to various indignities, and then finally marched to a nearby barn, where they were locked in and burned alive. The bulk of these depositions is recorded in the same handwriting and signed by the same investigating official, Grzegorz Matujewicz. On 15 October 2015, Polish Prosecution opened a libel probe against this author.
Its fair to say that if Jedwabne had not been occupied by the Germans, then the Jews of Jedwabne would not have been murdered. The Jedwabne massacre touches upon yet another historiographical topos concerning this epoch—one maintaining that Jews and communism were bound by a mutually beneficial relationship. Jakub Kac they stoned to death with bricks. The discussion of the local Polish citizen's collaboration with German atrocities against Jews is now punishable by law so I will have to avoid any such discussions on my next visit to Poland. The political scientist accused Gross of exploiting the Holocaust. His mother rescued a number of Jews from the Nazi extermination, including her future husband whom she married after the war. This essay renews a discussion of how historians do, and should, represent atrocity.
He even devotes a chapter that discusses his methodology. After the fire they used axes to knock golden teeth from still not entirely decomposed bodies and in other ways violated the corpses of holy martyrs. But this little book is much, much more than just another horror story from the Holocaust. Secret police encouraged, and thrived on, denunciations: divide et impera writ large. Beards of old Jews were burned, newborn babies were killed at their mothers' breasts, people were beaten murderously and forced to sing and dance.
In fact, he claims the opposite - that it was an important and real reason for the pogrom. As much as such a question can ever be answered, Neighbors tells us why. In reality, the excavations raise more questions than they answer. However, historical revisionism, and Holocaust revisionism, should be dedicated not to simply allowing each nation's partisans a voice, but to constructing a narrative that is at once true but which also attempts to reconcile the competing patriotisms of different peoples. I am referring not only to the motivations of the murderers. Instead, he attempts to argue that non-Jewish Poles were as involved, if not more involved, in collaboration with the Soviet occupiers. They advised her to lie face down in the water, so that she would drown faster.
I am deeply grateful to Lauren Lepow for copy-editing the final draft of the manuscript with consummate skill. Waclaw, Jermalowski, Ramutowski Bolek, Rogalski Bolek, Szelawa Stanislaw, Szelawa Franciszek, Kozlowski Geniek, Trzaska, Tarnoczek Jerzyk, Ludanski Jurek, Laciecz Czeslaw. But this little book is much, much more than just another horror story from the Holocaust. This volume takes the real-life horror story a step further, documenting how nearly all of the Jews of Jedwabne, Poland, were murdered on one day—most of them burned alive—by their non-Jewish neighbors. Answering these questions would throw much light on the Jedwabne tragedy. Eight of the accused were found not guilty. This, of course, is correct as far as it goes.
Thus, as a call to Gross' former countrymen to alter their idealized vision of the past, Neighbors might have served a purpose, and even have been of some service to revisionism. This reads as an extraordinary appeal to ignore the most basic canons of historiographical practice, but the wording also suggests that Gross had in mind specific practices of Polish historians in ignoring eyewitness testimony. Then the barn was doused with kerosene and lit, and the bandits went around to search Jewish homes, to look for the remaining sick and children. The book has sparked a national debate in Poland. The results offered confirmation and contradictions of aspects of Gross' account.
How will the Polish citizenry process the revelation when it becomes public knowledge? Some on the outside played musical instruments to drown out the victims' cries. I saw with my own eyes how those murderers killed Chajcia Wasersztajn, Jakub Kac, seventy-three years old, and Eliasz Krawiecki. He wrote that the atrocity was committed by Poles and not by the German occupiers. The book contains about 30 pages of photos and 47 pages of footnotes. No matter how they explained the reasons for the pogrom, all condemned the blood libel charge and anti-Jewish violence. On the other hand, while the total number of bodies could only be estimated, due to Jewish complaints of desecration, it appears that no more than 200 or 250 people were killed in the massacre of July 10, 1941.