Esor Ben-Sorek

Why Can’t He Face the Truth?

An intelligent and prolific writer frequently replies to published articles of mine with criticism and often pure denial of the facts.

In his most recent reply to my article on Poland’s pre-war history from 1918-1939, in which I made references to the two major post-war pogroms in Jedwabne and in Kielce in 1941 and 1946 respectively, his comment was that those two events were, in his words, “insignificant.”

His reaction was shocking, an indication that either he does not know the truth or even worse, that he can’t face the truth.

The Jedwabne pogrom, by the Christian villagers of that town on July 10, 1941, in the midst of the war, rounded up 340 Polish Jews, locked them in a large barn and set fire to it, burning the 340 Jews alive.

That pogrom was not condemned by the Polish church nor by local Polish authorities working under Nazi occupation.

In the last 20 years, the Polish government, with assistance from some former Jedwabne citizens who had witnessed the event, revealed the truth of the horrors of that infamous pogrom.

In a separate post-war pogrom in the city of Kielce, on July 4, 1946, Jews who returned from the death camps in search of possible surviving family members and claiming lost homes and property were viciously attacked by Polish soldiers, Polish police officers, and Polish civilians in Kielce. 42 Jews were murdered and 40 more were badly beaten and injured.

Under outcries from the USA and Britain, the Polish courts eventually sentenced nine of the attackers to death.

The Kielce pogrom was not condemned by the Polish Catholic church.

On the contrary, when Jewish leaders approached high-ranking Catholic clergy, they were met with disgust and disappointment.

On July 11, 1946, the Polish Cardinal Augustus Hlond put the blame for the pogrom on the Jews.  He accused the Jews of collaborating with Soviet communists and he said publicly that “Jews occupy too many leading positions in Poland in state life.”

When Jews appealed to Czeslaw Kaczmarek, Bishop of Kielce, he stated that “when Jews began to interfere in Polish politics and Polish public life, they insulted the Poles’ national sensitivities.”

Stefan Wyszinski, the well-known bitter anti-Semitic Bishop of Lublin made a terrible public statement on the Kielce pogrom. “Hostilities to Jews is provoked by the Jewish backing of Communism. In addition, the issue of the Jews killing Christian children to use their blood for religious purposes was never fully resolved.” The medieval blood libel fraud invoked once again by the Polish church.

These comments by church officials encouraged Poles to continue attacking Jews and it led to the first mass emigration of Polish Jews.

These are the tragic facts, historically proven, that my respondent considers “insignificant.”    Why can’t he face the truth?

Without any doubt, he will respond to my words as usual with the same negation of facts.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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