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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Author Profile: Donna Urbikas, author of My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia

Meet Donna Urbikas, author of My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Stalin’s Siberia. Urbikas’ book is the true story of her mother Janina’s and sister Mira’s eviction from their small, family farm in eastern Poland by the Russians during World War II. Far less has been written about the devastating acts committed against Poles during World War II by the Russians under Józef Stalin. I read the book shortly after it came out in 2016, and consider it an important addition to my growing library on Polish history and memoirs. Continue reading

Author Profile: Greg Archer, Author of Grace Revealed, a Memoir

October is Polish Heritage Month, which is a perfect time to introduce a new monthly  blog feature: Author Profiles. Meet Greg Archer, author of Grace Revealed, a Memoir

Greg Archer grew up Polish in Chicago. His book, Grace Revealed, a Memoir, explores his Polish family’s history as victims of Jozef Stalin’s mass deportation of more than one million Polish citizens to the frozen Siberian Gulags in early 1940. Most people know that Hitler launched an invasion against Poland on September 1, 1939, leading to a declaration of war two days later. I submit that far fewer people, especially outside of the Polish community, are fully aware of the true scope of horrendous crimes Stalin waged against Poland.

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The Warsaw Uprising began August 1, 1944

Warsaw Uprising Monument

Warsaw Uprising Monument. Photo credit www.thevisitor.pl

The Warsaw Uprising began August 1, 1944 as a heroic, catastrophic last stand against the Germans, and ended 63 days later with the death of more than 200,000 Poles, the majority civilians. After nearly five years of German occupation, the Russians were advancing from the east, sending German troops into retreat. The Germans had begun evacuating Warsaw. In July 20, a failed assassination attempt on Hitler revealed a huge coalition of top German officials complicit in their perceived need to murder Hitler. And, Soviet aircraft even dropped leaflets in Warsaw exhorting people to rise up in armed action. On the surface, it sounded like a good time to revolt. History played out differently.

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