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Diary from the Years of Occupation 1939-44 Hardcover – March 1, 1993
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Klukowski's journal entry for May 30, 1943, reads: "We are still afraid of the Germans, but now the Germans are afraid of us." For diarist and reader alike, that observation posits the first realistic hope that the enemy ultimately will be routed. Because of his post as superintendent of a county hospital in southeastern Poland, Klukowski (1885-1959), unlike the Jews and others among his fellow Christians, was not transported to a concentration camp. Near war's end, his virtually depopulated city was already resettled by Germans. A doctor by profession, a writer, historian and book collector by avocation, Klukowski determined to record daily life under the occupation, unflinchingly noting the actions of informers, looters and collaborators, along with the small and large heroisms he witnessed. No matter how familiar the brutality of the Nazis, readers will respond anew to Klukowski's rendering of the round-ups of Jews, of the transports of gentiles to labor camps, of the reprisal killings for sabotage, of the scarcity of food, heat and medicine. The diary is unusual in its depiction of a region's population at large, gentiles as well as Jews, making this a document of historical value. Originally published in Poland in 1958, the book is translated by the author's late son and edited by his American grandchildren. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
One hopes that Klukowski's Diary will serve as a lasting testament to both human courage and dignity under totalitarian rule. Klukowski was a doctor in the town of Szcebrezezyn, in the southeastern corner of Poland, who saw brief service in the military in 1939. After the defeat by the Nazis, he returned home, where, through untiring perseverance and dedication, he kept the local hospital in operation during the entire war. He maintained his diary despite constant harassment by the Nazis, crafting each entry with a balance and care that is quietly moving and historically invaluable. His entries regarding the treatment of Jews in Szcebrezezyn are of special interest, as are his general descriptions of German policies. This fine memoir is recommended for all libraries with European collections.
- Joseph W. Constance Jr., St. Anselm Coll. Lib., Manchester, N.H.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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JEWISH-SOVIET COLLABORATION AGAINST POLES
What about the Zydokomuna (Bolshevized Judaism)? During the 1939 Soviet/German transfer of territory, "Many Jews left Szczebrzeszyn with the Soviet army, especially those who were part of the Red militia." (p. 38).
NO "SPECTATORS": POLES SYSTEMATICALLY BRUTALIZED BY THE GERMAN ENEMY
The German occupation was characterized by: Confiscation of educational materials (p. 72, 106), mass murders--especially of the Polish intelligentsia (p. 140), the destruction of youth (p. 87), destruction of churches (p. 112), destruction of national culture (p. 140), mass deportations for forced labor (p. 137), promotion of alcoholism (p. 132), etc. For all the current emphasis on Jews and Poles being unequal victims, their experiences overlapped considerably: "It is legal for Germans to shoot Poles and Jews." (p. 101). "The Germans are beating the workers for no reason, Poles as well as Jews." (p. 121). "The Germans are taking good furniture, carpets, and paintings from private homes, not only Jewish but Polish also." (p. 125). "...the court building...a sign reading,`Jews and Poles Not Allowed'." (p. 134).
NO DIALECTIC OF THE VILLAINOUS POLISH CATHOLIC AND THE INNOCENT-VICTIM JEW
Klukowski's diary has been twisted by professional Polonophobe Jan T. Gross, and more recently by his colleague Jan Grabowski, into an indictment of Polish conduct against Jews. Ironically, Klukowski himself warned against this: "Yesterday, a general destruction and looting of the stores took place, Polish and Jewish. But since there are more Jewish establishments than Polish, the common statement was, `They are plundering the Jews'." (p. 28).
Did Poles have some kind of primitive drive to exploit and murder Jews? Hardly. It was a matter of severe wartime demoralization. Throughout this diary, there is frequent mention of mostly Pole-on-Pole robbery and banditry (including murder) (p.28,30,128,137,163,181,187,195,198, 201, 212, 216, 217, 244). In fact, "Approximately 30 robberies take place each day [at Zamosc]".(p. 199).
THE FULL CONTEXT OF A COMMONLY-MISQUOTED VERSE
The following is a statement that has been taken out of context. It is now quoted with the proper context: "There are several Jews active with the bandits. The villages have turned against the Jews because of this and try to find them in the fields and forests. It is hard to believe but the attitude toward Jews is changing. There are many people who see the Jews not as human beings but as animals that must be destroyed." (p. 227). The rampant banditry is what explains eventual Polish anti-Jewish attitudes, not the Poles starting to imitate the Nazis by de-humanizing the Jews.
WARTIME DEMORALIZATION: NOT ONLY FUGITIVE JEWS WERE DENOUNCED BY POLES!
Now consider Pole-on-Pole denunciations:
(p. 57,77,85,87,89,110,136,205,232,249,256,257,258,335). These stemmed from such things as social de-moralization (p. 77), simple meanness (p. 87), etc. Klukowski's obvious inclination towards recording ignoble Pole-on-Pole conduct explains the frequency of his references to comparable ignoble Pole-on-Jew conduct. Finally, all the Polish misdeeds must be placed in proper geographical and numerical context, so as not to appear more common than they actually were. They occurred not in one small village, but over a large geographic area, out of a sampled population base of many thousands (if not tens of thousands) of Poles.
THE GERMAN, NOT POLISH, IDENTITY OF THE GENDARMES
Neo-Stalinists Jan T. Gross and Jan Grabowski (in his JUDENJAGD, THE HUNT FOR THE JEWS) both misrepresent "our own gendarmes" and "Blue Police" killing Jews. (p. 219). Actually, the gendarmes and part of the "Blue Police" (POLICJA GRANATOWA) were VOLKSDEUTSCHE (p. 222), and the ethnic Poles in the "Blue Police", usually not collaborators, were often forced by the Germans to perform collaborative deeds. Also, not mentioned is the fact that: "...the Jewish police are very active in hunting the Jews. They know the hiding places..." (p. 223). It is also forgotten that fugitive Jews turning themselves in was a "common occurrence". (pp. 225-226). All of this reminds us that the much-mentioned alleged low survivorship of fugitive Jews does not necessarily mean that the Poles were primarily at fault.
NO MONOLITHIC POLISH ATTITUDES TOWARDS FUGITIVE JEWS
Poles hid and aided Jews. (p. 237,247,256). Ridicule of suffering Jews was true of SOME Poles (p. 102,197), as were expressions of sympathy by "the whole [Polish] population" (pp. 163-164) in other instances. The Gross-emphasized Polish "acquisitiveness" of post-Jewish properties was hardly aimed specifically at Jews. It was also true of German-abandoned properties. (pp. 161-162).
LOCAL UKRAINIAN NAZI COLLABORATORS
On another subject, mention is made of the local administrative and other privileges of Ukrainian collaborators (p. 83,106,114,159,269), their settling at the expense of Poles (p. 272), and of their assassinations by Poles (p. 273,293,304). The latter has been misrepresented by past and present OUN-UPA apologists as an ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians, and made into a pretext for the OUN-UPA genocide of Poles further east, and in the area. (p. 259,286,310,316-317).