Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Whose suffering is the worst?

In an Editorial of an Israeli quality newspaper, I read the following two paragraphs:

“However, the uniqueness of Polish suffering is inseparable from the unique suffering of Poland’s Jews, who made up 10% of the total population, or around 3.5 million, at the start of the war. By the end of the war, only around 100,000 Polish Jews remained alive. Well over half of all Poles who were killed during the war were Jewish.”

“So while the entire Polish people were the victims of both Nazi and Soviet barbarism (the two countries split Poland between them on October 6, 1939) their suffering pales in comparison to the atrocities committed against the Jews.”

So it says “their suffering pales in comparison to the atrocities committed against the Jews.”

Let me tell you a story that shows how wrong this idea is.


My parents survived the Second World War in the largest Dutch concentration camp, Westerbork, from where 75% of all Dutch Jews were sent to their speedy death in camps in Poland. They were almost sole survivors of large Jewish families.

After the war, my mother told a Gentile woman her story as survivor. The woman then explain: We also suffered tremendously.

My mother asked her how.

She told her. At the end of the war, there was one more firefight close to our home. A stray bullet entered our house and went through our linen-cupboard. There was not one piece of linen without at least one bullet hole.

That was her tragedy. My mother understood. For herself, who lost almost all her family, her friends, her colleagues, this was silly. But for this woman it was a disaster.

My mother, whenever she told this story, then added her mild and empathic conclusion: Everyone feels their own sorrow the most.


And therefore you can’t say “We suffered far more – your suffering doesn’t count.” Besides, the Polish People also suffered ethnic cleansing by the Nazis. Million of Poles were not accidentally killed in the war but purposely murdered. They were not targeted like the Jews for extermination but the Nazis considered them Untermenschen (sub-human creatures, not worthy of life) and their Slave culture also inferior which should be destroyed. That is not nothing! Do not speak disparagingly about ethnic cleansing! This is much worse than the above mentioned linen with holes in them.

On top of that, the Dutch and the Poles had record numbers of Gentiles who hid, protected, fed and supported Jews against the Nazis, with danger to their own lives and the lives of their families. Record numbers. Don’t slight this!

The other side of the coin is that before, during and after WW II, anti-Semitism in Poland was rampant. Poles murdered Jews before, during and after WW II. The Nazi death camps were largely on Polish soil enabled by the anti-Semitic atmosphere in Poland. Don’t deny that either.


Don’t say that the Poles didn’t suffer.

Don’t say that their suffering was not so bad.

Don’t deny the exceptional Polish courage to save many Jewish lives.

Don’t deny the centuries of Jew hatred and murder in Poland.

Don’t pretend that situating Nazi death camps in Poland was accidental.


The Jewish death toll does not undo the Slave death toll.

The Slave suffering and resistance do not undo Polish Nazi collaboration.

Shame about Nazi sympathy in Poland doesn’t substitute for repentance.


The real issue here is not if the death camps were Polish. Rather, the question is if Poles are ready to face their centuries of Jew hatred – as can be read and heard still today from Poles.

Germany shows and models that pride does not need denial of a monstrous past. Rather, true pride can only come from acknowledging a monstrous past and rejecting it – with pride.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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