Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany

Cover of Wearing the Letter P - Polish Women as forced laborers in Nazi Germany 1939-1945 Polish women sent as forced labor to Nazi Germany during World War II is an under-reported war crime inflicted against Polish civilians by Germany. Germans considered Poles to be untermenschen or subhuman, only suitable for slave labor to the superior German race. Until I encountered the book Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945 by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab (Hippocrene Books 2016) I had no idea of this facet of World War II. An estimated 1.7 million civilians were forced into slave labor and sent to Germany, the majority of them young women. Continue reading

Do Not Blame Poland and Poles for the Holocaust

Block 11 in Auschwitz

Nearly 20,000 Poles were executed in front of this wall near Block 11 in Auschwitz by a single shot in the back of the head. Photo by author, 2013.

Do not blame Poland and Poles for the Holocaust. It’s untrue, wrong and akin to hate speech. I struggle to comprehend the vehemence of so many people to blame Poland for the Holocaust and for concentration camps built in occupied Poland by Germany. Clearly, a review of Polish history is in order. Think of Henry Zguda, and thousands like him, who were beaten, starved, or worse, in German concentration camps like Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Then imagine someone telling Henry Zguda to his face he hadn’t suffered as much as others, and most of Poland collaborated with the Germans. That Poland should pay for its role in the Holocaust. It happened. And he never forgot it. Such is the seemingly worldwide insistence and conviction to blame Poland for the Holocaust, including the government of Israel. Consider the following.

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Fantastic Things are Happening for HENRY: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America

In the first three months after publication, fantastic things are happening for HENRY: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America. I am proud to report many highlights and successes and remain hopeful for more. With publication of the book, Henry Zguda’s story is now out in the world as both a powerful witness to the Holocaust and a testament to what so many Poles suffered during WWII. May neither be forgotten. Henry – we did it! Na zdrowie!

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Happy New Year! Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

Happy New Year 2018! Symbolically, a new year is a new beginning, 365 days to seize a new opportunity to learn, to grow, to experience, to laugh, to apologize, to look forward, and to leave regret behind. I’m reminded of a sign my niece gave me several years ago: “If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.” For most of us, that is far easier said than done. 2017 is the closest I’ve come so far. Continue reading