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Golden Harvest or Hearts of Gold?: Studies on the Wartime Fate of Poles and Jews Paperback – March 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is a Professor of History and holder of the Kosciuszko Chair in Polish Studies at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC. From 2005 to 2010 he was a presidential appointee on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, which advises the US Holocaust Museum in Washington on commemoration of the Holocaust. Wojciech Jerzy Muszynski holds a PhD in history is a researcher at the Institute of National memory in Warsaw, Poland. He is also editor of the scholarly historical quarterly Glaukopis. Pawel Styrna holds a Master's degree in modern European history from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is a researcher at the Institute of World Politics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: SIS/Waller (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982488815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982488812
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,977,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Kindle Edition
Even the well-informed reader will learn much from this work. The comprehensiveness and depth of this tome is head, shoulders, and chest above that of Jan T. Gross and his Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust. (See also the Peczkis review therein).

In the Introduction, the editors trace historical developments. Communist propaganda smeared Poland as anti-Semitic, and the West welcomed this as a palliative for Yalta pangs of conscience. The rise of identity politics in American academia meant that the moral right always belonged to the minority, and criticism of Jews was dismissed as anti-Semitism. (pp. 13-14). [Of course, minority is a relative term. Next to the vastly more populous and powerful Germans and Russians, Poles are very much a minority!]

Historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz shows how Jan T. Gross demonizes the Poles by selective anecdotes and systematic ignoring of contrary evidence (p. 21, 25, 31, 33), and how Gross makes utterly silly comparisons of Poles with Hutus. (p. 28). Chodakiewicz concludes that: "In this sense, GOLDEN HARVEST reads as another prejudicial assault on Polishness, patriotism, Christianity, tradition, and the sense of national identity." (pp. 62-63).

Gross' frauds begin with the book-cover photograph "of Polish Treblinka grave-diggers". In actuality, the photo is of unclear origin, and even the leftist GAZETA WYBORCZA has disavowed it. (p. 24). The major exploitation of Treblinka remains was actually conducted by the Red Army--and on an industrial scale. (p. 27). Unlike Gross, Chodakiewicz puts Polish looting of Jews in proper wartime German-occupation context. As exemplified by the Krasnik area, "...
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Format: Paperback
Not all of Thucydides' academic heirs have devoted themselves to the pursuit of truth, searching every nugget of data they manage to dig out from oblivion, then revise their speculation in deference to the facts; indeed, the political correctness that currently infects public discourse is anathema to such practice.
A notable exception is this splendid anthology, GOLDEN HARVEST OR HEARTS OF GOLD? , which offers the patient reader a sterling example of history at its best. The essays included here take on the deeply divisive topic of Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War and thoroughly succeed in presenting a far more nuanced picture than the caricatures currently en vogue.
The editors name the two contrasting versions of that tragic historical moment: "the black legend" on the one hand, and "the heroic mythology" on the other. The sinister black legend, dominant in the West, portrays the anti-Semitic Poles as collectively complicit with the Nazis in the crimes of the Holocaust, mainly for material gain; by contrast, the so-called heroic version, prevalent in Poland to this day, has the Polish population standing staunchly by their Jewish neighbors committed to the Golden Rule of brotherly love. Neither is remotely true.
Though at pains to demonstrate the flaws that plague both of the grotesquely simplistic mythologies of that tragic time, the editors go one step further to explore the origins of each. The legend of the Polish anti-Semite, for example, owes its historical and philosophical foundations to the Stalinist propaganda machine. The Pole-Fascist narrative had offered at least a modicum of moral legitimacy to the Communist take-over of that long-coveted piece of real estate and reduced Western pangs of conscience over Yalta.
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Format: Paperback
For my review in Polish [POLSKOJEZYCZNA RECENZJA], see [ZOBACZ] Comment 1.

Even the knowledgeable reader will learn much from this work. The comprehensiveness and depth of this tome is head, shoulders, and chest above that of Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust. (See also the Peczkis review therein).

In the Introduction, the editors trace historical developments. Communist propaganda smeared Poland as anti-Semitic, and the West welcomed this as a palliative for Yalta pangs of conscience. The rise of identity politics in American academia meant that the moral right always belongs to the minority, and criticism of Jews was dismissed as anti-Semitism. (pp. 13-14). [Of course, minority is a relative term. Next to the vastly more populous and powerful Germans and Russians, Poles are very much a minority!]

Historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz shows how Jan T. Gross demonizes the Poles by selective anecdotes and systematic ignoring of contrary evidence (p. 21, 25, 31, 33), and how Gross makes utterly silly comparisons of Poles with Hutus. (p. 28). Chodakiewicz concludes that: "In this sense, GOLDEN HARVEST reads as another prejudicial assault on Polishness, patriotism, Christianity, tradition, and the sense of national identity." (pp. 62-63).

Gross' frauds begin with the title-cover photograph "of Polish Treblinka grave-diggers". In actuality, the photo is of unclear origin, and even the leftist GAZETA WYBORCZA has disavowed it. (p. 24). The major exploitation of Treblinka remains was actually conducted by the Red Army--and on an industrial scale. (p. 27).
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47 Comments 11 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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