(February 10, 2022 / JNS) The Holocaust is back in the news but not in an educational context. Whoopi Goldberg made sure of that.
By declaring falsely that “the Holocaust isn’t about race,” she revealed the total lack of understanding that many seem to carry around with them as a result of bereft analysis. She apologized, but the damage was done.
The Holocaust targeted the Jewish people. The Nazis sought the extermination of the Jewish race. They not only wanted to make Germany Judenrein, but the entire planet.
Holocaust revisionism has been surging of late, and unless the Jews stand up and correct the problem, it will only get worse.
The leader of Holocaust revisionism today is not Whoopi Goldberg, but the current Polish government.
A recent New York Times article by University of Ottawa history professor Jan Grabowski makes this patently clear.
He writes, “Poland’s efforts to reframe history reflect a trend proliferating in other European countries to obfuscate the history of the Holocaust. In France, the far-right has made efforts to whitewash the record of the Vichy government, which collaborated with the Nazis.”
The Poles have taken it to a whole new level, in an attempt to defend the “historical innocence of the nation.” According to a Polish poll from 2020, almost half think that Auschwitz was mostly a place of Polish suffering, despite the fact that a million Jews were murdered there.
Grabowski points out the method of distortion employed by the Polish government. Monuments are unveiled honoring Polish citizens murdered by the Nazis for giving water to the Jews as they waited in locked cattle cars outside death camps like Treblinka, where 900,000 Jews were slaughtered.
Survivors of Treblinka testified that Polish railway workers and youths stood close to cattle cars ready to hand over water in exchange for gold or cash. Most did this out of greed, not out of compassion.
In any case, the false equivalence of victimization is a hallmark of the new Polish revisionism. This is not to downplay the fact that the Poles suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis. It is the placement of monuments that make the murder of one Pole equivalent to the industrial genocide of 900,000 at Treblinka, for example, which is the problem.
To give equal space on the monuments to one Pole vs. 900,000 is their method of distortion. As Grabowski writes, “Polish national pride is being built at the expense of Jewish memory.”
The lack of acknowledgment of the Polish involvement in the killing of Jews is also completely removed from the historical record.
Grabowski describes the testimony of Adam Starkopf, who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto. In his memoir, Will to Live, he writes about a time when he was living among the Poles because he looked “Aryan,” and a group of Poles included him in their plan to hunt down, rob and then turn over a group of Jews who had escaped from a cattle car to the Gestapo. The Poles took delight in the fact that this was a “windfall.” Starkopf declined the offer to participate.
I described in a recent article how the Poles burned members of my family alive in the Jedwabne pogrom of July 10, 1941. The Polish education minister refused to recognize the complicity of the Poles in this atrocity. Poland outlawed anyone blaming Poles for Nazi atrocities, including those who participated in the Jedwabne massacre. This is historical revisionism in living color.
With Poland’s concerted effort to change the historical narrative, it is only up to the Jewish people to declare and uphold the truth. This has been our legacy for 5,000 years. It should not have to be this way, but I am afraid it is.
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.
Jewish News Syndicate
With geographic, political and social divides growing wider, high-quality reporting and informed analysis are more important than ever to keep people connected.
Our ability to cover the most important issues in Israel and throughout the Jewish world—without the standard media bias—depends on the support of committed readers.
If you appreciate the value of our news service and recognize how JNS stands out among the competition, please click on the link and make a one-time or monthly contribution.
We appreciate your support.