An Uncomfortable Truth About Jews in Poland

The BBC has posted an interesting first-person account of a visit to Poland.

We meet a man aged 95, Stanislaw Stefaniak. He describes how the village had always been divided – Jews in the centre doing trades, Poles around the edge farming the land.

Then one day the Jews were ordered to gather in the main square before being marched to the nearest railway station. A few, he says, were hidden by Poles.

He hesitates. The easiest narrative here is that it was only the Nazis who killed the Jews. But Stanislaw admits an uncomfortable truth. After the war, he says, the Jews who came out of hiding were robbed and killed by Poles.

This reminds me of my own recent visit to the Auschwitz death camp. A Polish woman said to me “the Germans did all this”. I said “evil people did all this, and evil people were from other countries too, not just Germany”. She disliked my answer and insisted Germans were to blame for everything.

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