The Holocaust in Poland
Top, clockwise: Warsaw Ghetto burning, May 1943 • Einsatzgruppe shooting of women from the Mizocz Ghetto, 1942 • Selection of people to be sent directly to the gas chamber right after their arrival at Auschwitz-II Birkenau • Jews captured in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising led to the Umschlagplatz by Waffen SS • Łódź Ghetto children deported to Chełmno death camp, 1942
Map of the Holocaust in occupied Poland during World War II with six extermination camps marked with white skulls in black squares: Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bełżec, Chełmno, Majdanek, Sobibór and Treblinka; as well as remote mass killing sites at Bronna Góra, Ponary, Połonka and others. Marked with the Star of David are selected large Polish cities with the extermination ghettos. Solid red line denotes the Nazi–Soviet frontier – starting point for Operation Barbarossa of 1941.
|Period||September 1939 – April 1945|
|Territory||Occupied Poland, also present day western Ukraine and western Belarus among others|
|Units||SS-Totenkopfverbände, Einsatzgruppen, Orpo battalions, Trawnikis, BKA, OUN-UPA, TDA, Ypatingasis būrys|
|Killed||3,000,000 Polish Jews and 2,500,000 ethnic Poles |
|Survivors||50,000–120,000; or 210,000–230,000; or a total of 350,000.|
|Jewish uprisings||Będzin, Białystok, Birkenau, Częstochowa, Łachwa, Łuck, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Mizocz, Pińsk, Poniatowa, Sobibór, Sosnowiec, Treblinka, Warsaw, Wilno|
The Holocaust in German-occupied Poland was the last and the most lethal phase of the Nazi "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" (Endlösung der Judenfrage) marked by the construction of death camps on German-occupied Polish soil. The genocide officially sanctioned and executed by the Third Reich during World War II, collectively known as the Holocaust, took the lives of more than three million Polish Jews. The extermination camps played a central role in the implementation of the German policy of systematic and mostly successful destruction of over 90% of the Polish-Jewish population of the Second Polish Republic.
Every arm of the sophisticated German bureaucracy was involved in the killing process, from the Interior Ministry and the Finance Ministry; to German firms and state-run trains used for deportation of Jews. German companies bid for the contracts to build the crematoria in concentration camps run by Nazi Germany in the General Government as well as in other parts of occupied Poland and beyond.
Throughout the German occupation, at great risk to themselves and their families, many Christian Poles succeeded in rescuing Jews from the Nazis. Grouped by nationality, Polish rescuers represent the biggest number of people who saved Jews during the Holocaust. Already recognized by the State of Israel, the Polish Righteous Among the Nations include 6,706 gentiles, more than any other nation. A small percentage of Polish Jews managed to survive World War II within the German-occupied Poland or successfully escaped east beyond the reach of the Nazis into the territories of Poland annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939, only to be deported to forced labour in Siberia along with the families of up to 1 million Poland's non-Jews.
- 1 Background
- 2 Nazi ghettoization policy
- 3 The Holocaust by bullets
- 4 Final Solution and liquidation of Ghettos
- 5 Armed resistance and ghetto uprisings
- 6 Poles and the Jews
- 7 Coordinated and organized efforts
- 8 Role of national minorities
- 9 Rate of survival
- 10 Holocaust memorials and commemoration
- 11 See also
- 12 Footnotes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Following the 1939 invasion of Poland in accordance with the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned Poland into occupation zones. Large areas of western Poland were annexed by Germany. The Soviets tricked the Poles into believing that they crossed the border to help Poland fight Germany; and subsequently took over some 51.6% of the territory of the Second Polish Republic with fewer military losses. The entire Kresy macroregion – inhabited by about 13,200,000 people – was annexed by the Soviet Union in the atmosphere of terror surrounding a mock referendum staged by the secret police and the Red Army. Within months, the Polish Jews in the Soviet zone, who refused to swear an oath of allegiance, were deported deep in the Soviet interior along with the Catholics. Their number is estimated at about 200,000 men, women and children among those who survived in the most extreme conditions.
Both occupying powers were equally hostile to the existence of sovereign Polish state, and endorsed the policy of genocide. However, the Soviet rule was short-lived because the terms of the Nazi–Soviet Pact signed earlier in Moscow were broken, when the German army crossed the Soviet occupation zone on June 22, 1941 (see map). From 1941 to 1943 all of Poland was under the control of Nazi Germany. The semi-colonial territory of the General Government, set up in central and south-eastern Poland, took up 39 percent of the occupied area.
Nazi ghettoization policy
Prior to World War II, there were 3,500,000 Jews in Poland, living predominantly in the cities; about 10% of the general population. Database of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews provides information on 1,926 Jewish communities across the country. Following the conquest of Poland, and the 1939 murder of intelligentsia, the first German anti-Jewish measures involved the policy of expulsion of Jews from the territories annexed by the Third Reich. The westernmost provinces of Greater Poland and Pomerelia were turned into brand new German Reichsgaue named Danzig-West Prussia and the Wartheland, with the intention of their complete Germanization through settler colonialism (Lebensraum). Annexed directly to the new Warthegau district, the city of Łódź absorbed the influx of some 40,000 Polish Jews forced out from the surrounding areas. A total of 204,000 Jewish people passed through the ghetto in Łódź. Initially, they were to be expelled to the Generalgouvernement. However, the ultimate destination of the massive removal of Jews was left open until the Final Solution was set in motion two years later.
Persecution of Polish Jews by the German occupation authority began immediately after the invasion particularly in major urban areas. In the first year and a half, the Nazis confined themselves to stripping the Jews of their valuables and property for profit, herding them into makeshift ghettos, and forcing them into slave labor for public works and the war economy. During this period, the Germans ordered Jewish communities to appoint Jewish Councils (Judenräte) to administer the ghettos and to be "responsible in the strictest sense" for carrying out orders. Most ghettos were set up in cities and towns where Jewish life was well organized. For logistical reasons, the Jewish communities in settlements without railway connections in occupied Poland were dissolved. In a massive deportation action involving the use of freight trains, all Polish Jews had been segregated from the rest of society in dilapidated neighborhoods (Jüdischer Wohnbezirk) adjacent to the existing rail corridors. The food aid was completely dependent on the SS. Initially, the Jews were legally banned from baking bread; they were sealed off from the general public in an unsustainable manner.
The Warsaw ghetto contained more Jews than all of France; the Łódź ghetto more Jews than all of the Netherlands. More Jews lived in the city of Kraków than in all of Italy, and virtually any medium-sized town in Poland had a larger Jewish population than all of Scandinavia. All of southeast Europe – Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece – had fewer Jews than the original four districts of the General Government.
The plight of Jews in war-torn Poland could be divided into stages defined by the existence of the ghettos. Before their formation, the escape from persecution did not involve extrajudicial punishment by death. Once the ghettos were sealed off from the outside, death by starvation and disease became rampant, alleviated only by the smuggling of food and medicine, described by Ringelblum as "one of the finest pages in the history between the two peoples". In Warsaw, up to 80 percent of food consumed in the Ghetto was brought in illegally. The food stamps introduced by the Germans, provided 9 percent of the calories necessary for survival. In two and a half years some 100,000 Jews died in Warsaw of starvation and disease; in Łódź, around 40,000. By the end of 1941, most ghettoized Jews had no savings left to pay the SS for further bulk food deliveries. The 'productionists' among the German authorities – who attempted to make the ghettos self-sustaining by turning them into enterprises – prevailed over the 'attritionists' only after the German attack on the Soviet positions in eastern Poland, codenamed Operation Barbarossa. The most prominent ghettos were stabilized through the production of goods needed at the front, and death rates among the Jewish population began to decline (at least temporarily).
The Holocaust by bullets
Following the German attack on the USSR in June 1941, Himmler assembled a force of about 11,000 men to pursue a programme of physical annihilation of the Jews for the first time. Also, during Operation Barbarossa, the SS had recruited collaborationist auxiliary police from among Soviet nationals. In what became known as the Holocaust by bullets, the German police battalions (Orpo), SiPo, Waffen-SS and special-task Einsatzgruppen along with the Ukrainian and Lithuanian auxiliaries, operated behind the front lines systematically shooting tens of thousands of men, women and children independently of the army. Massacres were committed in over 30 locations across formerly Soviet-occupied parts of Poland, including in Brześć, Tarnopol, and Białystok, as well as in prewar provincial capitals of Łuck, Lwów, Stanisławów, and Wilno (see Ponary). The survivors of mass killing operations were incarcerated in the new ghettos of economic exploitation, and starved slowly to death by artificial famine at the whim of German authorities. Because of sanitation concerns, the corpses of people who had died as a result of starvation and mistreatment were buried in mass graves in the tens of thousands. Gas vans were made available in November 1941. By December, between 500,000 and 800,000 Jewish people from Poland and the Soviet Union had already perished behind the German–Soviet Frontier (at a rate of 2,700 to 4,200 per day), and entire regions were reported "Judenfrei".
Final Solution and liquidation of Ghettos
On January 20, 1942, during the Wannsee conference near Berlin, State Secretary of the Government General, Josef Bühler, urged Reinhard Heydrich to begin the proposed "final solution to the Jewish question" as soon as possible. The industrial killing by exhaust fumes was already tried and tested over several weeks at the Chełmno extermination camp in the then-Wartheland, under the guise of resettlement. All condemned Ghetto prisoners, without exception, were told they were going to labour camps, and asked to pack a carry-on luggage. Many Jews believed in the transfer ruse, since deportations were also part of the ghettoization process. Meanwhile, the idea of mass murder by means of stationary gas chambers was discussed in Lublin already since September 1941. It was a precondition for the newly drafted Operation Reinhard led by Odilo Globocnik who ordered the construction of death camps at Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka. At Majdanek and Auschwitz, the work of the stationary gas chambers began in March and May respectively, preceded by experiments with Zyklon B. Between 1942 and 1944, the most extreme measure of the Holocaust, the extermination of millions of Jews from Poland and all over Europe was carried out in six extermination camps. There were no Polish guards at any of the camps, despite the sometimes used misnomer Polish death camps. All killing centres were designed and operated by the Nazis in strict secrecy, aided by Trawnikis. Civilians were forbidden to approach them and often shot if caught near the train tracks.
Systematic liquidation of the ghettos began across General Government in the early spring of 1942. At that point the only chance for survival was the escape into the "Aryan side". The German round-ups for the so-called resettlement trains were connected directly with the use of top secret extermination facilities built for the SS at about the same time by various German engineering companies including HAHB, I.A. Topf and Sons of Erfurt, and C.H. Kori GmbH.
Unlike other Nazi concentration camps where prisoners from all across Europe were exploited for the war effort, German death camps – part of secretive Operation Reinhardt – were designed exclusively for the rapid elimination of Polish and foreign Jews, subsisting in isolation. The camp's German overseers reported to Heinrich Himmler in Berlin, who kept control of the extermination program, but who has delegated the work in Poland to SS and police chief Odilo Globocnik of the Lublin Reservation. The selection of sites, construction of facilities and training of personnel was based on a similar (Action T4) "racial hygiene" program of mass murder through involuntary euthanasia, developed in Germany.
The "resettlement" program
The scale of the Final Solution would not have been possible without the Reichsbahn. The extermination of Polish and foreign Jews depended on the railways as much as on the secluded killing centres. The Holocaust trains sped up the scale and duration over which the extermination took place; and, the enclosed nature of freight cars also reduced the number of troops required to guard them. Rail shipments allowed the Nazi Germans to build and operate bigger and more efficient death camps and, at the same time, openly lie to the world – and to their victims – about a "resettlement" program. In one telephone conversation Heinrich Himmler informed Martin Bormann about the Jews already exterminated in Poland, to which Bormann screamed in response: "They were not exterminated, only evacuated, evacuated, evacuated!"
Unspecified number of deportees died in transit during Operation Reinhard from suffocation and thirst. No food or water was supplied. The Güterwagen boxcars were only fitted with a bucket latrine. A small barred window provided little ventilation, which oftentimes resulted in multiple deaths. A survivor of the Treblinka uprising testified about one such train, from Biała Podlaska. When the sealed doors flew open, 90 percent of about 6,000 Jewish prisoners were found to have suffocated to death. Their bodies were thrown into smouldering mass grave at the "Lazaret". Millions of people were transported in similar trainsets to the extermination camps under the direction of the German Ministry of Transport, and tracked by an IBM subsidiary, until the official date of closing of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in December 1944.
Death factories were just one of a number of ways of mass extermination. There were secluded killing sites set up further east. At Bronna Góra 50,000 Jews died over execution pits; delivered by the Holocaust trains from the ghettos in Brześć, Bereza, Janów Poleski, Kobryń, Horodec (pl), Antopol and other locations along the western border of Reichskommissariat Ostland. At the Sosenki Forest on the outskirts of Równe in prewar Wołyń Voivodeship, over 23,000 Jews were shot, men, women, and children. At the Górka Połonka forest (see map) 25,000 Jews forced to disrobe and lay over the bodies of others were shot in waves; most of them were delivered there via the Łuck Ghetto.
While the Order Police performed liquidations of the Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Poland, loading Jews onto railcars and shooting those unable to move or attempting to flee, the collaborationist auxiliary police were used as a means of inflicting terror by conducting large-scale massacres in those places. They were deployed in all major killing sites of Operation Reinhard (terror was their primary purpose of training). The Ukrainian Trawnikis took an active role in the extermination of Jews at Belzec, Sobibór, Treblinka II; during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (on three occasions, see Stroop Report), Częstochowa, Lublin, Lwów, Radom, Kraków, Białystok (twice), Majdanek, Auschwitz, the Trawniki concentration camp itself, and the remaining subcamps of KL Lublin/Majdanek camp complex including Poniatowa, Budzyń, Kraśnik, Puławy, Lipowa, and also during massacres in Łomazy, Międzyrzec, Łuków, Radzyń, Parczew, Końskowola, Komarówka and all other locations, augmented by members of the SS, SD, Kripo, as well as the reserve police battalions from Orpo (each, responsible for annihilation of thousands of Jews). Mass executions of Jews (as in Szebnie) was part of regular training of the Ukrainian Waffen-SS Division soldiers from the SS-Heidelager troop-training base in Pustków in south-eastern Poland. In the north-east, the "Poachers' Brigade" of Oskar Dirlewanger trained Belarusian Home Guard in murder expeditions with the help of Belarusian Auxiliary Police. By the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, over 90% of Polish Jewry perished. Only about 50,000–120,000 Jews survived the war on Polish soil, out of Poland's prewar Jewish population of 3,500,000.
Death camp at Chełmno
The Chełmno extermination camp (Kulmhof) was built as the first-ever, following Hitler's launch of Operation Barbarossa. It was a pilot project for the development of other extermination sites. The experiments with exhaust gases were finalized by murdering 1,500 Poles at Soldau. The killing method at Chełmno grew out of the 'euthanasia' program in which busloads of unsuspecting hospital patients were gassed in air-tight shower rooms at Bernburg, Hadamar and Sonnenstein. The killing grounds at Chełmno, 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Łódź, consisted of a vacated manorial estate similar to Sonnenstein, used for undressing (with a truck-loading ramp in the back), as well as a large forest clearing 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) northwest of Chełmno, used for the mass burial as well as open-pit cremation of corpses introduced some time later.
All Jews from the Judenfrei district of Wartheland were deported to Chełmno under the guise of 'resettlement'. At least 145,000 prisoners from the Łódź Ghetto perished at Chełmno in several waves of deportations lasting from 1942 to 1944. Additionally, 20,000 foreign Jews and 5,000 Roma were brought in from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. All victims were killed with the use of mobile gas vans (Sonderwagen), which had exhaust pipes reconfigured and poisons added to gasoline (see Chełmno Trials for supplementary data). In the last phase of the camp's existence, the exhumed bodies were cremated in open-air for several weeks, during Sonderaktion 1005. The ashes, mixed with crushed bones, were trucked every night to the nearby river in sacks made from blankets, to remove the evidence of mass murder.
The Auschwitz concentration camp was the largest of the German Nazi extermination centers. Located 64 kilometres (40 mi) west of Kraków, Auschwitz processed an average of 1.5 Holocaust trains per day. Overwhelming majority of prisoners deported there were murdered within hours of their arrival. The camp was fitted with the first permanent gas chambers in March 1942. The extermination of Jews with Zyklon B as the killing agent began in July. At Birkenau, the four killing installations (each consisting of coatrooms, multiple gas chambers and industrial-scale crematoria) were built in the following year. By late 1943, Birkenau was a killing factory with four so-called 'Bunkers' (totaling over a dozen gas chambers) working around the clock. Up to 6,000 people were gassed and cremated there each day, after the ruthless 'selection process' at the Judenrampe. Only about 10 percent of the deportees from transports organized by the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) were registered and assigned to the Birkenau barracks.
Auschwitz II extermination program resulted in the death of 1.3 to 1.5 million people. Over 1.1 million of them were Jews from across Europe including 200,000 children. Among the registered 400,000 victims (less than one-third of the total Auschwitz arrivals) were 140,000–150,000 non-Jewish Poles, 23,000 Gypsies, 15,000 Soviet POWs and 25,000 others. Auschwitz received a total of about 300,000 Jews from occupied Poland, shipped aboard freight trains from liquidated ghettos and transit camps, beginning with Bytom (February 15, 1942), Olkusz (three days of June), Otwock (in August), Łomża and Ciechanów (November), then Kraków (March 13, 1943), Sosnowiec, Będzin, Dąbrowa (June–August 1943), and several dozen other metropolitan cities and towns, including the last ghetto left standing in occupied Poland, liquidated in August 1944 at Łódź. Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers and crematoria were blown up on November 25, 1944, in an attempt to destroy the evidence of mass killings, by the orders of SS chief Heinrich Himmler.
Designed and built for the sole purpose of killing people, Treblinka was one of only three such facilities in existence; the other two were Bełżec and Sobibór. All of them were situated in wooded areas away from population centres and linked to the Polish rail system by a branch line. They had transferable SS staff. There was a railway platform constructed alongside the tracks, surrounded by an 2.5 m (8 ft) high barbed-wire fencing. Large barracks were built for storing belongings of disembarking victims. One was disguised as a railway station complete with a fake wooden clock and signage to prevent new arrivals from realizing their fate. Passports and money were collected for "safekeeping" at a cashier's booth set up by the "Road to Heaven", a fenced-off path leading into the gas chambers disguised as communal showers. Directly behind were the burial pits, dug with a crawler excavator.
Located 80 kilometres (50 mi) northeast of Warsaw, Treblinka became operational on July 24, 1942, after three months of forced labour construction by expellees from Germany. The shipping of Jews from the Polish capital – plan known as the Großaktion Warschau – began immediately. During two months of the summer of 1942, about 254,000 Warsaw Ghetto inmates were exterminated at Treblinka (by some other accounts, at least 300,000). On arrival, the transportees were made to disrobe, then the men – followed by women and children – were forced into double-walled chambers and gassed to death in batches of 200, with the use of exhaust fumes generated by a tank engine. The gas chambers, rebuilt of brick and expanded during August–September 1942, were capable if killing 12,000 to 15,000 victims every day, with a maximum capacity of 22,000 executions in twenty-four hours. The dead were initially buried in large mass graves, but the stench from the decomposing bodies could be smelled up to ten kilometers away. As a result, the Nazis began burning the bodies on open-air grids made of concrete pillars and railway tracks. The number of people killed at Treblinka in about a year ranges from 800,000 to 1,200,000, with no exact figures available. The camp was closed by Globocnik on October 19, 1943 soon after the Treblinka prisoner uprising, with the murderous Operation Reinhard nearly completed.
The Bełżec extermination camp, set up near the railroad station of Bełżec in the Lublin District, began operating officially on March 17, 1942, with three temporary gas chambers later replaced with six made of brick and mortar, enabling the facility to handle over 1,000 victims at one time. At least 434,500 Jews were exterminated there. The lack of verified survivors however, makes this camp much less known. The bodies of the dead, buried in mass graves, swelled in the heat as a result of putrefaction making the earth split, which was resolved with the introduction of crematoria pits in October 1942.
Kurt Gerstein from Waffen-SS, supplying Zyklon B from Degesch during the Holocaust, wrote after the war in his Gerstein Report for the Allies that on August 17, 1942 at Belzec, he had witnessed the arrival of 45 wagons with 6,700 prisoners of whom 1,450 were already dead inside. That train came with the Jewish people of the Lwów Ghetto, less than a hundred kilometers away. The last shipment of Jews (including those who had already died in transit) arrived in Bełżec in December 1942. The burning of exhumed corpses continued until March. The remaining 500 Sonderkommando prisoners who dismantled the camp, and who bore witness to the extermination process, were murdered at the nearby Sobibór extermination camp in the following months.
The Sobibór extermination camp, disguised as a railway transit camp not far from Lublin, began mass gassing operations in May 1942. As in other extermination centers, the Jews, taken off the Holocaust trains arriving from liquidated ghettos and transit camps (Izbica, Końskowola) were met by an SS-man dressed in a medical coat. Oberscharführer Hermann Michel gave the command for prisoners' "disinfection".
New arrivals were forced to split into groups, hand over their valuables, and disrobe inside a walled-off courtyard for a bath. Women had their hair cut off by the Sonderkommando barbers. Once undressed, the Jews were led down a narrow path to the gas chambers which were disguised as showers. Carbon monoxide gas was released from the exhaust pipes of a gasoline engine removed from a Red Army tank. Their bodies were taken out and burned in open pits over iron grids partly fueled by human body-fat. Their remains were dumped onto seven "ash mountains". The total number of Polish Jews murdered at Sobibór is estimated at a minimum of 170,000. Heinrich Himmler ordered the camp dismantled following a prisoner revolt on October 14, 1943; one of only two successful uprisings by Jewish Sonderkommando inmates in any extermination camp, with 300 escapees (most of them were recaptured by the SS and killed).
The Majdanek forced labor camp located on the outskirts of Lublin (like Sobibór) and closed temporarily during an epidemic of typhus, was reopened in March 1942 for Operation Reinhard; first, as a storage depot for valuables stolen from the victims of gassing at the killing centers of Belzec, Sobibór, and Treblinka, It became a place of extermination of large Jewish populations from south-eastern Poland (Kraków, Lwów, Zamość, Warsaw) after the gas chambers were constructed in late 1942. The gassing of Polish Jews was performed in plain view of other inmates, without as much as a fence around the killing facilities. According to witness's testimony, "to drown the cries of the dying, tractor engines were run near the gas chambers" before they took the dead away to the crematorium. Majdanek was the site of death of 59,000 Polish Jews (from among its 79,000 victims). By the end of Operation Harvest Festival conducted at Majdanek in early November 1943 (the single largest German massacre of Jews during the entire war), the camp had only 71 Jews left.
Armed resistance and ghetto uprisings
There is a popular misconception among the general public that most Jews went to their deaths passively. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jewish resistance to the Nazis comprised not only their armed struggle but also spiritual and cultural opposition which gave the Jews dignity despite the inhumane conditions of life in the ghettos. Many forms of resistance were present, even though the elders were terrified by the prospect of mass retaliation against the women and children in the case of anti-Nazi revolt. As the German authorities undertook to liquidate the ghettos, armed resistance was offered in over 100 locations on either side of Polish-Soviet border of 1939, overwhelmingly in eastern Poland. The uprisings erupted in 5 major cities, 45 provincial towns, 5 major concentration and extermination camps, as well as in at least 18 forced labor camps. Notably, the only rebellions in Nazi camps were Jewish.
The Nieśwież Ghetto insurgents in eastern Poland fought back on July 22, 1942. The Łachwa Ghetto revolt erupted on September 3. On October 14, 1942, the Mizocz Ghetto followed suit. The Warsaw Ghetto firefight of January 18, 1943, led to the largest Jewish uprising of World War II launched on April 19, 1943. On June 25, the Jews of the Częstochowa Ghetto rose up. At Treblinka, the Sonderkommando prisoners armed with stolen weapons attacked the guards on August 2, 1943. A day later, the Będzin and Sosnowiec ghetto revolts broke out. On August 16, the Białystok Ghetto uprising erupted. The revolt in Sobibór extermination camp occurred on October 14, 1943. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the insurgents blew up one of Birkenau’s crematoria on October 7, 1944. Similar resistance was offered in Łuck, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Pińsk, Poniatowa, and in Wilno.
Poles and the Jews
The relations between Poles and Jews during World War II present one of the sharpest paradoxes of the Holocaust. Only 10 percent of Poland's Jews survived the genocide, less than in any other country; and yet, Poland accounts for the majority of rescuers with the title of 'Righteous Among the Nations', i.e. people who risked their lives to save Jews. The Poles honored by Yad Vashem are a fraction of the true number of deserving individuals and: "so far represent only the tip of the iceberg," according to Paulsson. The nature of this paradox was debated by historians on both sides for more than fifty years often with preconceived notions and selective evidence.
Many Jews, persecuted by the Nazis, received help from the Poles; help, ranging from major acts of heroism, to minor acts of kindness involving hundreds of thousands of helpers acting often anonymously. This rescue effort occurred even though ethnic Poles themselves were the subject to capital punishment at the hands of the German police (since October 1941) if found offering any kind of help to a person of Jewish faith or origin. Poland was the only occupied country in Europe in which such a death penalty was imposed and frequently used.
On November 10, 1941, the death penalty was expanded by Hans Frank to apply to Poles who helped Jews "in any way: by taking them in for a night, giving them a lift in a vehicle of any sort" or "feed[ing] runaway Jews or sell[ing] them foodstuffs." The law was made public by posters distributed in all major cities. Capital punishment meted out to entire families, was the most draconian penalty ever imposed. In total, some 30,000 Poles were executed by the Nazis for hiding Jews. Over 700 Polish Righteous among the Nations received their award posthumously, having been murdered by the Germans for aiding or sheltering their Jewish neighbors. Many of the Polish Righteous awarded by Yad Vashem came from the capital. In his work on the Jews of Warsaw, Gunnar S. Paulsson has demonstrated that despite the much harsher conditions, Polish citizens of Warsaw managed to support and hide the same percentage of Jews as did the citizens of cities in reportedly safer countries of Western Europe.
Difficulties in rescue attempts
Polish Jews were a 'visible minority' by modern standards, distinguishable by language, behavior and appearance. Only 12 percent of Jews declared Polish as their first language in the national census of 1931, while 79 percent listed Yiddish and the remaining 9 percent Hebrew as their mother-tongue. For hundreds of thousands of Jews the Polish language was barely familiar. By contrast, the overwhelming majority of German Jews of this period spoke German as their first language. In the labour market of many cities including Poland's provincial capitals, the presence of such large, mostly non acculturated minority, was a source of competitive tension. Here is where the temptation to jump to conclusions with regard to Holocaust rescue comes into play wrote Gunnar Paulsson: "leaving aside acts of war and Nazi perfidy, a Jew's chances of survival in hiding were no worse in Warsaw, at any rate, than in the Netherlands" once the Holocaust began.
Toward the end of the ghetto liquidation period, the largest number of Jews managed to escape to the 'Aryan' side, and to survive with the assistance of Polish helpers. In general, during the Nazi occupation, most gentile Poles were engaged in a desperate struggle for survival. They were in no position to oppose or impede the German extermination of the Jews. Between 1939 and 1945, nearly 2.8 million Christian Poles died at the hands of the Nazis, and 150,000 due to the Soviet repressions. About one fifth of the prewar population of Poland perished. Their deaths were the result of deliberate acts of war, as well as mass murder, incarceration in concentration camps, forced labor in Germany, malnutrition, disease, kidnappings and expulsions. There were however many Christian Poles risking death to hide Jewish families and assist the persecuted Jews on compassionate grounds. The number of Jews hiding with the Catholics quoted by Żarski-Zajdler was around 450,000. Possibly a million gentile Poles aided their Jewish neighbors. Some estimates go as high as three million helpers, wrote Richard C. Lukas. Because of the border changes imposed by the USSR, exact numbers of surviving Polish Jews have been difficult to ascertain. According to official statistics from January 1946, about 81,500 survivors of the Holocaust have registered with the Central Committee of Polish Jews; their numbers had risen to about 205,000–210,000 within half a year (see below), including 180,000 Jews who arrived from the Soviet or Soviet-controlled territories after the repatriation agreement. Another 30,000 Jews returned to Poland after the Stalinist repressions ended a decade later. Those who did not register include hundreds of so-called Convent children saved by the Sisters of the Family of Mary running more than 20 orphanages similar to other convents.
Coordinated and organized efforts
The Polish Government in Exile was the first (in November 1942), to reveal the existence of Nazi-run concentration camps and the systematic extermination of the Jews. No Polish collaborative government was ever formed during World War II. The genocide was reported by courier Jan Karski, as well as officer Witold Pilecki who volunteered to be imprisoned at Auschwitz in order to gather intelligence, and has subsequently compiled his Witold's Report to the Allies. In September 1942 the Provisional Committee for Aid to Jews (Tymczasowy Komitet Pomocy Żydom) was founded with assistance from the Underground State on the initiative of Zofia Kossak-Szczucka. This body later became the Council for Aid to Jews (Rada Pomocy Żydom), known by the code-name Żegota. It is not known how many Jews were helped by Żegota, but at one point in 1943 it had 2,500 Jewish children under its care in Warsaw alone. Żegota was granted nearly 29 million zlotys (over $5 million) since 1942 for the relief payments to thousands of extended Jewish families in Poland. The government in exile also provided special assistance – funds, arms and other supplies – to Jewish resistance organizations like ŻOB and ŻZW.
The Polish Underground State strongly opposed collaboration in anti-Jewish persecutions and threatened death to all informers against them, on behalf of the Polish military tribunals of the Home Army. However, the continued brutality of war led to the breakdown of traditional social norms and values. Some persons betrayed hidden Jews to the Germans, others made money as extortionists (szmalcownik), blackmailing Jews in hiding and Poles who protected them. Estimates of the number of Polish collaborators vary. The lower estimate of seven thousand is based primarily on the sentences of the Special Courts of the Polish Underground State, sentencing individuals for treason to the nation. The highest estimate yet of about one million collaborators, as proposed by a German historian, includes all Polish citizens who in some way contributed to the German activities, such as: low-ranking bureaucrats employed in Nazi German administration, construction workers, members of the Blue Police, slave laborers in German-run factories and farms and similar others (notably, the second figure originates from a single statistical table of outdated scholarship with a very thin source base). Relatively little active collaboration by individual Poles – with any aspect of the German presence – took place in Poland. All Nazi propaganda efforts to recruit Poles in either labor or auxiliary roles were met with almost no interest, due to the everyday reality of German occupation. The non-German Wachmänner guards in the extermination camps were mostly Ukrainian-speaking or native to the Baltic states. John Connelly, quoting Leszek Gondek, described the phenomenon of Polish collaboration as 'marginal' and stated that "only relatively small percentage of Polish population engaged in activities that may be described as collaboration when seen against the backdrop of European and world history".
Role of national minorities
|Part of a series of articles on the|
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Judaism in Poland
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The Republic of Poland was a multicultural country before the Second World War broke out, with almost a third of its population originating from the minority groups: 13.9% Ukrainians; 10% Jews; 3.1% Belarusians; 2.3% Germans and 3.4% Czechs, Lithuanians and Russians. Soon after the 1918 reconstitution of an independent Polish state, about 500,000 refugees from the Soviet republics came to Poland in the first spontaneous flight from persecution especially in Ukraine (see, Pale of Settlement) where up to 2,000 pogroms took place during the Civil War. In the second wave of immigration, between November 1919 and June 1924 some 1,200,000 people left the territory of the USSR for new Poland. It is estimated that some 460,000 refugees spoke Polish as the first language. Between 1933 and 1938, around 25,000 German Jews fled Nazi Germany to sanctuary in Poland.
Following the Nazi-Soviet invasion of 1939, many hundreds of ethnically German men living in Poland joined the Nazi Sonderdienst formations, launched in May 1940 by Gauleiter Hans Frank stationing in occupied Kraków; while the Ukrainian nationalists joined the pokhidny hrupy (pl) trained at the German bases in the General Government. The existence of Sonderdienst constituted a grave danger to the Catholic Poles who attempted to help ghettoised Jews in the cities which had a sizable German and pro-German minorities, as in the case of the Izbica Ghetto or Łuck and the Mińsk Mazowiecki Ghettos among numerous others. Anti-Semitic attitudes were particularly visible in the eastern provinces which had been occupied by the Russians following the Soviet invasion of Kresy. Local people had witnessed the repressions against their own compatriots, and mass deportations to Siberia, conducted by the Soviet security apparatus with some of the local Jews collaborating with them. Others assumed that, driven by vengeance, Jewish Communists had been prominent in betraying the ethnically Polish or other victims.
Many German-inspired massacres were carried out across occupied eastern Poland with the active participation of indigenous people. The guidelines for such massacres were formulated by Reinhard Heydrich, who ordered his officers to induce anti-Jewish pogroms on territories newly occupied by the German forces. In the lead-up to the establishment of the Wilno Ghetto in the fifth largest city of prewar Poland and a provincial capital (Wilno), German commandos and the Lithuanian Auxiliary Police Battalions killed more than 21,000 Jews during the Ponary massacre in late 1941. At that time, Wilno had only a small Lithuanian-speaking minority of about 6% of the city's population. In the infamous series of Lviv pogroms committed by the Ukrainian militants in the eastern city of Lwów (now, Ukraine), some 6,000 Polish Jews were murdered in the streets between June 30 and July 29, 1941, on top of 3,000 arrests and mass shootings by Einsatzgruppe C. The Ukrainian People's Militia formed by OUN with the blessings of the SS spread terror to other locations throughout Kresy.
Long before the Tarnopol Ghetto was set up, and only two days after the arrival of the Wehrmacht, up to 2,000 Jews were killed in the provincial capital of Tarnopol, one-third of them by the Ukrainian People's Militia. Some of the victims have been decapitated. The SS shot the remaining two-thirds, in the same week. In Stanisławów – another provincial capital in the Kresy macroregion – the single largest massacre of Polish Jews prior to Aktion Reinhardt was perpetrated hand in glove by Orpo, SiPo and the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police (brought in from Lwów) on 12 October 1941; tables with sandwiches and bottles of vodka had been set up about the cemetery for shooters who needed to rest from the deafening noise of gunfire; 12,000 Jews were murdered before nightfall. A total of 31 deadly pogroms were carried out throughout the region in conjunction with the Belarusian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian Schuma. Further east, during the massacre in Jedwabne, over 300 Jews died (Institute of National Remembrance's Final Findings), burned alive in a barn set on fire by a group of Polish men in the presence of German Ordnungspolizei. The circumstances surrounding the events in Jedwabne are still debated, and include the ominous presence of the Einsatzgruppe Zichenau-Schroettersburg under SS-Obersturmführer Hermann Schaper deployed in Bezirk Bialystok, as well as German Nazi pressure, anti-Semitism, but also resentment over Jewish cooperation with the Soviet invaders during the Polish-Soviet War of 1920 as well as the alleged Jewish participation in anti-Polish terror following Soviet 1939 invasion of Kresy in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet Pact.
Some members of ultra-nationalist National Armed Forces (NSZ, or Narodowe Siły Zbrojne), participated in executions of Jews during wartime, according to Stefan Korboński. Other NSZ units rendered assistance to them and included Jews in their ranks as well as Polish Righteous Among the Nations. The NSZ Holy Cross Brigade rescued 280 Jewish women among some 1,000 persons from the concentration camp in Holýšov. A Jewish partisan from NSZ, Feliks Parry, suggested that most of them "didn't have the slightest notion of the ideological underpinnings of their organization" and didn't care, focused only on resisting the Nazis. In postwar Poland, the communist secret police routinely tortured the NSZ insurgents in order to force them to confess to killing Jews among other alleged crimes. This was most notably the case with the 1946 trial of 23 officers of the NSZ in Lublin. The torture of political prisoners by the Ministry of Public Security did not stop automatically when the interrogations were concluded. Physical torture was also ordered if they retracted in court their confessions of "killing Jews".
In 1946, over a year after the end of the war, 40 Jews and 2 ethnic Poles were killed in the Kielce pogrom, including 11 stabbed with bayonets and 11 more fatally shot with military assault rifles (official findings), indicating direct involvement of the Stalinist troops; therefore, prompting Gen. Spychalski of PWP from wartime Warsaw, to sign a legislative decree allowing the remaining survivors to leave Poland without visas or exit permits. Poland was the only Eastern Bloc country to do so upon the conclusion of World War II. Consequently, the Jewish emigration from Poland increased dramatically. Britain demanded from Poland (among others) to halt the Jewish exodus, but their pressure was largely unsuccessful. The massacre in Kielce was condemned by a public announcement sent by the diocese in Kielce to all churches. The letter denounced the pogrom and "stressed that the most important Catholic values were the love of fellow human beings and respect for human life. It also alluded to the demoralizing effect of anti-Jewish violence, since the crime was committed in the presence of youth and children." Priests read it without comments during Mass, "[h]inting that the pogrom might have in fact been a political provocation."
Rate of survival
The exact number of Holocaust survivors is unknown. About 300,000 Polish Jews escaped to the Soviet-occupied zone soon after the war started, where many of them perished at the hands of OUN-UPA, TDA and Ypatingasis būrys during Massacres of Poles in Volhynia, the Holocaust in Lithuania (see Ponary massacre), and Belarus, but most Polish Jews in the Generalgouvernement stayed put. Prior to the mass deportations, there was no proven necessity to leave familiar places. When the ghettos were closed from the outside, smuggling of food kept most of the inhabitants alive. Escape into clandestine existence on the "Aryan" side was attempted by some 100,000 Jews, and, contrary to popular misconceptions, the risk of them being turned in by the Poles was very small.
The question regarding the Jewish real chances of survival once the Holocaust began continues to draw attention of historians. For one, the Germans made it extremely difficult to escape the ghettos just before "resettlement" to the death camps. All passes were cancelled, walls rebuilt containing fewer gates, with policemen replaced by SS-men. Some victims already deported to Treblinka were forced to write dictated letters back home, stating that they were safe. Around 3,000 others fell into the German Hotel Polski trap. Many ghettoized Jews did not believe what was going on until the very end, because the actual outcome seemed unthinkable at the time. David J. Landau suggested also that the weak Jewish leadership might have played a role. Likewise, Israel Gutman proposed that the Polish Underground might have attacked the camps and blown up the railway tracks leading to them, but as noted by Paulsson, such ideas are a product of hindsight.
It is estimated that about 350,000 Polish Jews survived the Holocaust. Some 230,000 of them survived in the Soviet territory, including eastern half of Poland annexed after the 1939 invasion. Soon after the war ended, some 180,000 to 200,000 Jews took advantage of the repatriation agreement meant to ratify the new borders between Poland and the USSR. The number of Jews in the country changed dramatically, with many Jews passing through on their way to the West. Poland was the only Eastern Bloc country to allow free Jewish aliyah to Mandate Palestine, with Stalin's vexed approval, seeking to undermine British influence in the Middle East. In January 1946, there were 86,000 survivors registered at Central Committee of Polish Jews (CKŻP). By the end of summer, the number had risen to about 205,000–210,000 (with 240,000 registrations and over 30,000 duplicates). Most refugees crossing the new borders left Poland without Western visas or Polish exit permits. Uninterrupted traffic across the Polish borders intensified. By the spring of 1947 only 90,000 Jews remained in Poland.
Gunnar S. Paulsson estimated that 30,000 Jews survived in the labor camps and up to 50,000 in the forests and among soldiers who returned with the pro-Soviet Polish "Berling army" formed by Stalin ahead of his advance into Germany. The number of Jews who successfully hid on the "Aryan" side individually could be as high as 50,000 according to Paulsson's estimates. Many did not register themselves after the war, as was the case with Jewish children hidden by non-Jewish Poles and the Church. The survival rate among the ghetto escapees was relatively high given the severity of German measures designed to prevent this occurrence, and by far, these individuals were the most successful.
Holocaust memorials and commemoration
There is a large number of memorials in Poland dedicated to the Holocaust remembrance. Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw was unveiled in April 1948. Major museums include the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on the outskirts of Oświęcim with 1.4 million visitors per year, and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw on the site of the former Ghetto, presenting the thousand-year history of the Jews in Poland. Since 1988, an annual international event called March of the Living takes place in April at the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp complex on the Holocaust Remembrance Day, with the total attendance exceeding 150,000 youth from all over the world. There are state museums on the grounds of each death camp of Operation Reinhard including the Majdanek State Museum in Lublin, declared a national monument as first in 1946 with intact gas chambers and crematoria from World War II. Branches of the Majdanek Museum include the Bełżec, and the Sobibór Museums where advanced geophysical studies are being conducted by the Israeli and Polish archaeologists. The new Treblinka Museum opened in 2006. It was later expanded and made into a branch of the Siedlce Regional Museum located in a historic Ratusz (see also the Siedlce Ghetto).
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Both regimes endorsed a systematic program of genocide.
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By the end of 1940, the forced-labor program in the General Government had registered over 700,000 Jewish men and women who were working for the German economy in ghetto businesses and as labor for projects outside the ghetto; there would be more.
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Mass graves resulting from deaths in the ghettos and various places of detention due to mistreatment, starvation ... concern the fate of several hundred thousand Jews. In the Warsaw ghetto alone, more than 100,000 Jews died and were buried in various places.
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—— Deportations to Killing Centers.
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- Deborah Dwork, Robert Jan van Pelt (1997), Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, Norton Paperback edition, ISBN 0-393-31684-X, p. 336–337.
- Ber Mark, Isaiah Avrech (1985), The Scrolls of Auschwitz, Am Oved, pp. 71, 260, Hometown of Róża (Roza) Robota.
- Pressac, Jean-Claude; Van Pelt, Robert-Jan (1994). The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz. Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp by Gutman, Yisrael & Berenbaum, Michael. Indiana University Press. p. 232. ISBN 0-253-20884-X.
- "Book of Sosnowiec and the Surrounding Region in Zaglembie".
- Jewish Virtual Library, Overview of the Ghetto's history
- "Online Exhibitions: Give Me Your Children - Voices from the Lodz Ghetto". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
- Arad, Yitzhak (1999) . Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Indiana University Press. pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-0-253-21305-1.
- Testimony of Alexsandr Yeger at the Nizkor Project
- Smith, Mark S. (2010). Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling. The History Press. pp. 103–107. ISBN 978-0-7524-5618-8. Retrieved 9 April 2015 – via Google Books preview.
See Smith's book excerpts at: Hershl Sperling: Personal Testimony by David Adams, and the book summary at Last victim of Treblinka by Tony Rennell.
- Kopówka & Rytel-Andrianik (2011), chapt. 3:1, p. 77.
- "Aktion Reinhard" (PDF). Yad Vashem. Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies. "Aktion Reinhard" was named after Reinhard Heydrich, the main organizer of the "Final Solution"; see also, Treblinka death camp built in June/July 1942 some 80 kilometres (50 mi) northeast of Warsaw.
- Barbara Engelking-Boni; Warsaw Ghetto Internet Database hosted by Polish Center for Holocaust Research. The Fund for support of Jewish Institutions or Projects, 2006. (in Polish) (in English)
- Barbara Engelking-Boni, Warsaw Ghetto Calendar of Events: July 1942 Timeline. See: 22 July 1942 — the beginning of the great deportation action in the Warsaw ghetto; transports leave from Umschlagplatz for Treblinka. Publisher: Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów IFiS PAN, Warsaw Ghetto Internet Database 2006.
- "Holocaust Encyclopedia - Warsaw Ghetto Uprising". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
- McVay, Kenneth (1984). "The Construction of the Treblinka Extermination Camp". Yad Vashem Studies, XVI. Jewish Virtual Library.org. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Court of Assizes in Düsseldorf, Germany. Excerpts From Judgments (Urteilsbegründung). AZ-LG Düsseldorf: II 931638.
- "Operation Reinhard: Treblinka Deportations" The Nizkor Project, 1991–2008
- Ainsztein, Reuben (2008) . Jewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe. University of Michigan (reprint). p. 917. ISBN 0-236-15490-7. Retrieved 21 December 2013 – via Google Books snipet view.
- David E. Sumler, A history of Europe in the twentieth century. Dorsey Press, ISBN 0-256-01421-3.
- Klee, Ernst., Dressen, W., Riess, V. The Good Old Days: The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders. ISBN 1-56852-133-2.
- Kopówka & Rytel-Andrianik (2011), pp. 76–102 (of 610) in PDF.
- Treblinka - ein Todeslager der "Aktion Reinhard", in: "Aktion Reinhard" - Die Vernichtung der Juden im Generalgouvernement, Bogdan Musial (ed.), Osnabrück 2004, pp. 257–281.
- Arad (1999), p. 375.
- Alex Bay (2015) . The Reconstruction of Belzec, featuring 98 photos. Holocaust History.org. Belzec. The Nazi Camp for Jews in the Light of Archaeological Sources by Andrzej Kola, translated by Ewa and Mateusz Józefowicz, The Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Warsaw-Washington. Belzec survivor Rudolf Reder, author of postwar memoir about Belzec wrote that the camp's gas chambers were rebuilt of concrete. No traces of concrete were found in archaeological studies. Instead, the brick rubble was found in excavations.
- "Holocaust Encyclopedia - Belzec". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- Rudolf Reder (1946). Bełżec. 1999 reprint by Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum with Fundacja Judaica in bilingual format, featuring English translation by Margaret M. Rubel. Preface by Nella Rost (ed.). Kraków: Centralna Żydowska Komisja Historyczna division of the Central Committee of Polish Jews. pp. 1–65. OCLC 186784721. Retrieved 28 May 2015 – via WorldCat..
- Yahil, Leni; Friedman, Ina; Galai, Hayah (1991). The Holocaust: The fate of European Jewry, 1932–1945. Oxford University Press. pp. 356–357. ISBN 978-0-19-504523-9. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
- Gerstein Report in: Dick de Mildt, In the name of the people Published by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. ISBN 90-411-0185-3.
- Kurt Gerstein, "Gerstein Report" in English translation. Tübingen, 4 May 1945.
- "Holocaust Encyclopedia - Belzec: Chronology". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
- ARC (26 August 2006). "Belzec Camp History". Aktion Reinhard.
- "Archeologists reveal new secrets of Holocaust", Reuters News, 21 July 1998
- Belzec, Complete Book and Research by Robin O'Neil
- Raul Hilberg. The Destruction of the European Jews. Yale University Press, 1985, p. 1219. ISBN 978-0-300-09557-9
- Schelvis (2014), p. 70, Arrival and Selection.
- Chris Webb, C.L. (2007). "Former Members of the SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor describe their experiences in the Sobibor death camp in their own words". Belzec, Sobibor & Treblinka Death Camps. H.E.A.R.T. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
It was a heavy Russian benzine engine – presumably a tank or tractor motor at least 200 horsepower V-motor, 8 cylinders, water cooled (SS-Scharführer Erich Fuchs).
- Schelvis (2014), p. 110.
Sobibór branch of the Majdanek State Museum (2016). "History of the Sobibór extermination camp".
"Holocaust Encyclopedia - Sobibor". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
- Schelvis, Jules. Sobibor: A History of a Nazi Death Camp. Berg, Oxford & New Cork, 2007, p. 168, ISBN 978-1-84520-419-8.
- "Sobibor Death Camp www.HolocaustResearchProject.org".
- Holocaust Encyclopedia - Lublin/Majdanek Concentration Camp: Conditions. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
- Rosenberg, Jennifer (2008). "Majdanek: An Overview". 20th Century History. about.com. ISBN 0-404-16983-X.
- Jewish Virtual Library 2009, Gas Chambers at Majdanek The American-Israeli Cooperative
- Kranz, Tomasz (2005). "Ewidencja zgonów i śmiertelność więźniów KL Lublin" [Records of deaths and mortality of KL Lublin prisoners] (PDF). 23. Lublin: Zeszyty Majdanka: 7–53.
- Reszka, Paweł P. (December 23, 2005). "Majdanek Victims Enumerated. Changes in the history textbooks?". Gazeta Wyborcza. Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Archived from the original (Internet Archive) on November 6, 2011. Retrieved March 5, 2015.
- Lawrence, Geoffrey; et al., eds. (1946). "Session 62: February 19, 1946". The Trial of German Major War Criminals: Sitting at Nuremberg, Germany. 7. London: HM Stationery Office. p. 111. ISBN 1-57588-677-4.
- Yad Vashem (2000), An Interview With Prof. Yehuda Bauer (PDF), Shoah Resource Center, The International School for Holocaust Studies, pp. 28–30 of 58 in current document.
- Christopher Browning (2001), "Raul Hilberg", Yad Vashem Studies, Wallstein Verlag, pp. 9–10, ISSN 0084-3296
- Isaiah Trunk (1972), "The Attitude of the Councils toward Physical Resistance", Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe Under Nazi Occupation, U of Nebraska Press, pp. 464–466, 472–474, ISBN 080329428X,
The highest degree of cooperation was achieved when chairmen, or other leading Council members themselves, actively participated in preparing and executing acts of resistance, particularly in the course of liquidations of ghettos. [Prominent examples include Warsaw, Częstochowa, Radomsko, Pajęczno, Sasów, Pińsk, Mołczadź, Iwaniska, Wilno, Nieśwież, Zdzięcioł (see: Zdzięcioł Ghetto), Tuczyn (Równe), and Marcinkańce (Grodno) among others]Also in: Martin Gilbert (1986), The Holocaust: the Jewish tragedy, Collins, p. 828
- The Holocaust Encyclopedia (2011), Jewish Resistance, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, see map. – via Internet Archive. Also in: Shmuel Krakowski (2010), Armed Resistance, YIVO
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Resistance during the Holocaust (PDF), The Miles Lerman Center for the Study of Jewish Resistance, p. 6 of 56 in current document.
- The Holocaust Encyclopedia (2017), Resistance in the Vilna Ghetto, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Gunnar S. Paulsson (Summer–Autumn 1998). "The Rescue of Jews by Non-Jews in Nazi-Occupied Poland" (PDF). Journal of Holocaust Education. Frank Cass, London. 7 (1&2): 19–44. Retrieved 12 Feb 2014.
Keeping in mind that these cases are drawn from published memoirs and from cases on file at Yad Vashem and the Jewish Historical Institute, it is probable that the 5,000 or so Poles who have been recognised as 'Righteous Among the Nations' so far represent only the tip of the iceberg, and that the true number of rescuers who meet the Yad Vashem 'gold standard' is 20, 50, perhaps even 100 times higher (p. 23, § 2; available with purchase).
- Poray, Anna (2004). "Referenced Material". Those who risked their lives. Isurvived.org.
- Ewa Kurek (2012). Polish-Jewish Relations 1939–1945: Beyond the Limits of Solidarity. iUniverse. p. 305. ISBN 978-1-4759-3832-6.
- Mordecai Paldiel (1993). Gentile Rescuers of Jews. The Path of the Righteous. KTAV Publishing House Inc. p. 184. ISBN 0881253766.
- Cherry & Orla-Bukowska (2007), p. 5, "Armia Krajowa."
- Holocaust Survivors and Remembrance Project: Poland
- Leszek Sołek (2007). "Anna Poray-Wybranowska – dokumentalistka, autorka książki o ratowaniu Żydów przez Polaków" [Meet Anna Poray – author of book about rescue of Jews]. Są Wśród Nas (in Polish). Montreal: Consul General (Konsulat Generalny) R.P.
- Ron Riesenbach, The Story of the Survival of the Riesenbach Family
- Chaim Chefer, Righteous of the World: Polish citizens killed while helping Jews During the Holocaust
- Unveiling the Secret City H-Net Review: John Radzilowski
- Celia Stopnicka Heller (1993). On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland Between the Two World Wars. Wayne State University Press, 396 pages. ISBN 0-8143-2494-0.
- Główny Urząd Statystyczny (1938). Drugi Powszechny Spis Ludności, 9.XII.1931 (PDF). Polish census of 1931. Table 10, page 30 in current document (in Polish). Warsaw. PDF file, direct download.
Religion and Native Language (total). Section, Jewish: 3,113,933 with Yiddish: 2,489,034 and Hebrew: 243,539.
- Mark Paul (October 2007). "Traditional Jewish Attitudes Toward Poles" (PDF). International Research Center. pp. 4–. PDF file direct download 933 KB.
See: Isaac Bashevis Singer under pen-name I. Warszawski (September 17, 1944), "Jews and Poles Lived Together for 800 Years But Were Not Integrated", Forverts, New York. Two decades later – in the March 20, 1964 issue of Forverts – Singer wrote again: "My forefathers have lived for centuries in Poland ... with separate language, ideas and religion. I sensed the oddness of this situation ..."
- Norman Davies (1979), God's Playground, (Polish edition), Second volume, pp. 512–513; Alice Teichova, Herbert Matis, Jaroslav Pátek (2000), Economic Change and the National Question in Twentieth-century Europe, pp. 342–344; Gedeon & Marta Kubiszyn, "Business environment in 1926–1929", Jewish history of Radom (in Polish), Virtual Shtetl, page 2 of 6; Lubartow during the Holocaust in occupied Poland, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture.
- Materski & Szarota (2009), page 9.
- Piotrowski (1998), pp. 305–, 'Poland's losses.'
- Materski & Szarota (2009), page 16.
- Materski & Szarota (2009), page 28. About 800,000 Poles perished in concentration camps and mass killings.
- Żarski-Zajdler, Władysław (1968), Martyrologia ludności żydowskiej i pomoc społeczeństwa polskiego [Martyrdom of the Jewish people and their rescue by the Polish society], Warsaw: ZBoWiD, p. 16, [in:] Lucas (2013), p.14. Note 21 to "Introduction."
- Hans G. Furth One million Polish rescuers of hunted Jews? Journal of Genocide Research, June 1999, Vol. 1 Issue 2, pp. 227–232; AN 6025705.
- Frank Golczewski (2000). Neil Gregor, ed. Nazism. The impact of National Socialism. OUP Oxford. pp. 329–330. ISBN 0191512036. Prof. Czesław Madajczyk ascribed 2,000,000 Polish-Jewish victims to extermination camps, and 700,000 others to ghettos, labour camps, and hands-on murder operations. His stated figure of 2,770,000 victims is regarded as low but realistic. Madajczyk estimated also 890,000 Polish-Jewish survivors of World War II; some 110,000 of them in the Displaced Person camps across the rest of Europe, and 500,000 in the USSR; bringing the number up to 610,000 Jews outside the country in 1945. Note: some other estimates, see for example: Engel (2005), are substantially different.
- Nahum Bogner (2012), The Convent Children. The Rescue of Jewish Children in Polish Convents During the Holocaust (PDF), Shoah Resource Center, pp. 41–44 – via direct download, 45.2 KB. Also in: Mark Paul (2009), Wartime Rescue of Jews by the Polish Catholic Clergy (PDF), Polish Educational Foundation, pp. 63–71.
- "Note to the Governments of the United Nations - December 10th, 1942". Republika.pl. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
- John Connelly, Why the Poles Collaborated so Little: And Why That Is No Reason for Nationalist Hubris. Slavic Review, Vol. 64, No. 4 (Winter, 2005), pp. 771–781. In response to article by: Klaus-Peter Friedrich, Collaboration in a "Land without a Quisling": Patterns of Cooperation with the Nazi German Occupation Regime in Poland during World War II. Slavic Review, ibidem.
- Pawłowicz, Jacek (2008). Rotmistrz Witold Pilecki 1901–1948 (in Polish). ISBN 978-83-60464-97-7.
- David Cesarani, Sarah Kavanaugh, Holocaust Published by Routledge. Page 64.
- Dariusz Stola. The Polish government in exile and the Final Solution: What conditioned its actions and inactions? In: Joshua D. Zimmerman, ed. Contested Memories: Poles and Jews During the Holocaust and Its Aftermath. Rutgers University Press, 2003.
- Piotr Chojnacki; Dorota Mazek, eds. (2008). Polacy ratujący Żydów w latach II wojny światowej [Poles rescuing Jews during World War II]. Zeszyty IPN, Wybór Tekstów. Warsaw: Institute of National Remembrance. pp. 7, 18, 23, 31.
Kierownictwo Walki Cywilnej w "Biuletynie Informacyjnym" ostrzega "szmalcowników" i denuncjatorów przed konsekwencjami grożącymi im ze strony władz państwa podziemnego. [p.37 in PDF] Ot, widzi pan, sprawa jednej litery sprawia ogromną różnicę. Ratować i uratować! Ratowaliśmy kilkadziesiąt razy więcej ludzi, niż uratowaliśmy. – Władysław Bartoszewski [p.7]
- Paul, Mark (September 2015). "Patterns of Cooperation, Collaboration and Betrayal: Jews, Germans and Poles in Occupied Poland during World War II" (PDF). Glaukopis. Foreign language studies. p. 159 of 344 in PDF.
Testimony of Anzel Daches, Majer Gdański, Laja Goldman, Mojżesz Klajman, Chana Kohn, Jakub Libman, and Izrael Szerman, dated October 13, 1947; Jewish Historical Institute Archive, record group 301, number 2932.
- Piotrowski (1998), p. 66. 'Collaborating.'
- Piotrowski (1998), p. 66, "Blackmailers."
- PWN (2016). "Rosja. Polonia i Polacy". Encyklopedia PWN. Stanisław Gregorowicz. Polish Scientific Publishers PWN.
- Sharman Kadish. Bolsheviks and British Jews: The Anglo-Jewish Community, Britain, and the Russian Revolution. Routledge. p. 80. ISBN 0-7146-3371-2.
- Joseph Marcus (1983). Social and political history of the Jews in Poland, 1919–1939. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 17–19. ISBN 90-279-3239-5.
- Gilbert, Martin (2002). The Routledge Atlas of the Holocaust. Psychology Press. p. 23, Map 15: Jewish Refugees Find Haven in Europe, 1933–1938. ISBN 0-415-28146-6 – via Google Books.
- Wojciech Roszkowski (4 November 2008). "Historia: Godzina zero". Tygodnik.Onet.pl weekly. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- The Erwin and Riva Baker Memorial Collection (2001). Yad Vashem Studies. Wallstein Verlag. pp. 57–. ISSN 0084-3296.
- Irena Cantorovich (June 2012). "Honoring the Collaborators – The Ukrainian Case" (PDF). Roni Stauber, Beryl Belsky. Kantor Program Papers.
When the Soviets occupied eastern Galicia, some 30,000 Ukrainian nationalists fled to the General Government. In 1940 the Germans began to set up military training units of Ukrainians, and in the spring of 1941 Ukrainian units were established by the Wehrmacht.See also: Marek Getter (1996). "Policja w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie 1939–1945". Przegląd Policyjny nr 1-2. Wydawnictwo Wyższej Szkoły Policji w Szczytnie. pp. 1–22. WebCite cache.
- Lerski, Jerzy Jan; Wróbel, Piotr; Kozicki, Richard J. (1996). Historical Dictionary of Poland, 966–1945. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 110, 538. ISBN 0-313-26007-9. For the Soviet deportations' more recent IPN findings, see Materski & Szarota (2009), Introduction. – via Google Print.
- Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, "Jedwabne: The Politics of Apology", presented at the Panel Jedwabne – A Scientific Analysis, Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, Inc., June 8, 2002, Georgetown University, Washington DC.
- Tomasz Strzembosz, "Inny obraz sąsiadów" archived by Internet Wayback Machine
- Browning (2004), p. 262.
- Michael C. Steinlauf. Bondage to the Dead. Syracuse University Press, p. 30.
- Paweł Machcewicz, "Płomienie nienawiści", Polityka 43 (2373), October 26, 2002, p. 71–73 The Findings
- Gross, Jan Tomasz (2002). Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland's Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia. Princeton University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-691-09603-2.
- Timothy Snyder. The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569–1999. Yale University Press. pp. 84–89. ISBN 0-300-10586-X – via Google Books, preview.
- Müller, Jan-Werner (2002). Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the Past. Cambridge University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-521-00070-3.
- Longerich, Peter (2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. p. 194-. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5.
- "Holocaust Encyclopedia - Lwów". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
- Dr. Frank Grelka (2005). Ukrainischen Miliz. Die ukrainische Nationalbewegung unter deutscher Besatzungsherrschaft 1918 und 1941/42. Viadrina European University: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 283–284. ISBN 3-447-05259-7. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
RSHA von einer begrüßenswerten Aktivitat der ukrainischen Bevolkerung in den ersten Stunden nach dem Abzug der Sowjettruppen.For the German administrative divisions of Polish kresy with prominent Jewish communities destroyed under Nazi occupation, see: Yehuda Bauer (2009), The Death of the Shtetl, Yale University Press, pp. 1–6, 65, ISBN 0300152094
- Robert Kuwałek; Eugeniusz Riadczenko; Adam Marczewski (2015). "Tarnopol". Virtual Shtetl. Translated by Katarzyna Czoków and Magdalena Wójcik. pp. 3–4.
- "Tarnopol Historical Background". Yad Vashem. Archived 9 March 2014.
- Talking with the willing executioners. Haaretz.com 18 May 2009 via Internet Archive. A horrific page of history unfolded last Monday in Ukraine. It concerned the gruesome and untold story of a spontaneous pogrom by local villagers against hundreds of Jews in a town [now suburb] south of Ternopil in 1941. Not one, but five independent witnesses recounted the tale.
- Dieter Pohl. Hans Krueger and the Murder of the Jews in the Stanislawow Region (PDF). Yad Vashem Resource Center. pp. 12/13, 17/18, 21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 August 2014 – via direct download, PDF 95 KB.
It is clear that a massacre of such proportions under German civil administration was virtually unprecedented.
Andrea Löw. "Holocaust Encyclopedia - Stanislawów (now Ivano-Frankivsk)". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. From The USHMM Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
- Piotrowski (1998), Poland's Holocaust, page 209.. Also in: Eugeniusz Mironowicz (2007). "German-Belarusian Alliance" [Idea sojuszu niemiecko-białoruskiego]. Okupacja niemiecka na Białorusi. Związek Białoruski w RP; Katedra Kultury Białoruskiej Uniwersytetu w Białymstoku – via Internet Archive.
- "Jedwabne Tragedy: Final Findings". Info-poland.buffalo.edu. Retrieved 2011-10-07.
- Alexander B. Rossino, Polish 'Neighbors' and German Invaders: Contextualizing Anti-Jewish Violence in the Białystok District during the Opening Weeks of Operation Barbarossa. Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 16 (2003). Referenced citations: #58. The Partisan: From the Valley of Death to Mount Zion by Yitzhak Arad; #59. The Lesser of Two Evils: Eastern European Jewry under Soviet Rule, 1939–1941 by Dov Levin; and #97. Abschlussbericht, 17 March 1964 in ZStL, 5 AR-Z 13/62, p. 164. Internet Archive.
- Piotr Wróbel (2006). Polish-Jewish Relations. Dagmar Herzog: Lessons and Legacies: The Holocaust in international perspective. Northwestern University Press. pp. 391–396. ISBN 0-8101-2370-3. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America, "The Politics of Apology and Contrition" by prof. Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., June 8, 2002.
- Zaloga, Steven J. (1982). "The Underground Army". Polish Army, 1939–1945. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 0-85045-417-4.
- The Polish Army 1939–45.
- Piotrowski (1998), p. 95, A quote verifying the information.
- Piotrowski (1998), p. 96, Verification.
- Piotrowski (1998), pp. 77–142, "NSZ underpinnings."
- Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, The Dialectics of Pain Glaukopis, vol. 2/3 (2004–2005). See also: John S. Micgiel, "'Frenzy and Ferocity': The Stalinist Judicial System in Poland, 1944–1947, and the Search for Redress," The Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies [ Pittsburgh], no. 1101 (February 1994): 1–48. For concurring opinions see: Krzysztof Lesiakowski and Grzegorz Majchrzak interviewed by Barbara Polak, "O Aparacie Bezpieczeństwa," Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 6 (June 2002): 4–24; Barbara Polak, "O karach śmierci w latach 1944–1956," Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 11 (November 2002): 4–29.
- Andrzej Jankowski; Leszek Bukowski (4 July 2008). "Pogrom kielecki – oczami świadka" (PDF). Niezalezna Gazeta Polska. Warsaw: Institute of National Remembrance: 1–8. Also in Wokół pogromu kieleckiego. 2. with Foreword by Jan Żaryn. IPN. 2008. pp. 166–71. ISBN 83-60464-87-1.
- Tamara Włodarczyk. "Osiedle żydowskie na Dolnym Śląsku w latach 1945–1950 (na przykładzie Kłodzka)" (PDF). Bricha (2.10). pp. 44–45 (23–24 in PDF).
The decision originated from the military circles (and not the party leadership). The Berihah organization under Cwi Necer was requested to keep the involvement of MSZ and MON a secret.(24 in PDF) The migration reached its zenith in 1946, resulting in 150,000 Jews leaving Poland.(21 in PDF)
- Aleksiun, Natalia. "Beriḥah". YIVO.
Suggested reading: Arieh J. Kochavi, "Britain and the Jewish Exodus ... ," Polin 7 (1992): pp. 161–175
- Devorah Hakohen, Immigrants in turmoil: mass immigration to Israel and its repercussions ... Syracuse University Press, 2003 - 325 pages. Page 70. ISBN 0-8156-2969-9
- Marrus, Michael Robert; Aristide R. Zolberg (2002). The Unwanted: European Refugees from the First World War Through the Cold War. Temple University Press. p. 336. ISBN 1-56639-955-6.
This gigantic effort, known by the Hebrew code word Brichah(flight), accelerated powerfully after the Kielce pogrom in July 1946
- Kochavi, Arieh J. (2001). Post-Holocaust Politics: Britain, the United States & Jewish Refugees, 1945–1948. The University of North Carolina Press. pp. xi. ISBN 0-8078-2620-0.
- Manuela Consonni (2005). "The Church and the Memory of the Shoah: The Catholic Press in Italy, 1945–1947". In Eli Lederhendler. Jews, Catholics, and the Burden of History. Oxford University Press. pp. 21–34. ISBN 978-0-19-530491-6.
- David J. Landau, Caged — A story of Jewish Resistance, Pan Macmillan Australia, 2000, ISBN 0-7329-1063-3. Quote: "The tragic end of the Ghetto [in Warsaw] could not have been changed, but the road to it might have been different under a stronger leader. There can be no doubt that if the Uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto had taken place in August—September 1942, when there were still 300,000 Jews, the Germans would have paid a much higher price."
- Laura Jockusch, Tamar Lewinsky, Paradise Lost? Postwar Memory of Polish Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union, full text downloaded from Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Volume 24, Number 3, Winter 2010.
- Devorah Hakohen (2003), Immigrants in turmoil, page 70.
- Philipp Ther, Ana Siljak (2001). Redrawing nations: ethnic cleansing in East-Central Europe, 1944–1948. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 138. ISBN 0-7425-1094-8. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
- Michael C. Steinlauf. "Poland.". In: David S. Wyman, Charles H. Rosenzveig. The World Reacts to the Holocaust. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
- Lukas (1989); also in Lukas (2001), p. 13.
- Albert Stankowski, with August Grabski and Grzegorz Berendt; Studia z historii Żydów w Polsce po 1945 roku, Warszawa, Żydowski Instytut Historyczny 2000, pp. 107–111. ISBN 83-85888-36-5
- Timothy Snyder (December 20, 2012). "Hitler's Logical Holocaust". New York Review of Books.
- The Associated Press (June 24, 2007), Poland's new Jewish museum to mark community's thousand-year history.
- POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (2014), "Core Exhibition."
- "History of the Holocaust. Remembering the Past, Ensuring the Future". Open registration. International March of the Living 2012–2013. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- Nir Hasson (Jun 7, 2013). "Archaeologists find escape tunnel at Sobibor death camp". Haaretz Daily Newspaper.
- Memorial Museums.org (2013). "Treblinka Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom". Portal to European Sites of Remembrance.
- Kopówka, Edward (4 February 2010). "The Memorial". Treblinka. Nigdy wiecej, Siedlce 2002, pp. 5–54. Muzeum Walki i Męczeństwa w Treblince. Oddział Muzeum Regionalnego w Siedlcach [Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom at Treblinka. Division of the Regional Museum in Siedlce].
- Arad, Yitzhak (1999) . Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34293-7 – via Google Book phrase search.
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