How Much Did the Polish Resistance Help Jews During the Holocaust?

During World War II, Poland had a highly organized resistance movement, complete with its own fighting force known as the Home Army. Joshua D. Zimmerman discusses the fraught relationship between the Polish underground and the Jews:

Stefan Rowecki, [the commander of the Home Army], authorized the transfer of arms, ammunition, and explosive-device materials to the [Warsaw] ghetto beginning in late January 1943 [in preparation for the uprising there]. The reason for this authorization was a combination of pressure from London and Rowecki’s new appreciation for the demonstrated ability of Jews to fight effectively. Rowecki thus came to the conclusion that Jewish resistance groups inside ghettos deserved, and as citizens of Poland were entitled to, assistance. He also approved or ordered seven documented actions on behalf of the ghetto fighters. During the Warsaw ghetto uprising, Rowecki’s men suffered between fifteen and twenty casualties, [including] two dead, as a result. . . .

Rowecki [also] issued an order to district and sub-district commanders to provide military assistance to Jews inside [other] ghettos wishing to mount self-defense. Almost none, however, obeyed this order and the vast majority of Jews outside Warsaw received no assistance whatsoever. . . .

The most important evidence on this issue comes from the testimony of Yitzḥak Zuckerman. When the ghetto rising began, Zuckerman was residing on the Aryan side of Warsaw while serving as the Jewish Combat Organization’s liaison to the Home Army. He requested a meeting with the Home Army commander to coordinate joint actions. Five days later, the head of the Warsaw district of the Home Army informed Zuckerman that no such meeting would take place. . . .

The ambivalent attitude of the Polish underground to the rising is also evidenced by the important finding of [the historian] Paweł Szapiro, who found that in the extensive coverage of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in the clandestine press of the [resistance], not a single mention was ever made of Home Army aid to the ghetto fighters. Szapiro concluded that the underground authorities had to have imposed a ban on this topic probably out of fear of [negative] public reaction.

Read more at Visegrad Insight

More about: History & Ideas, Holocaust, Polish Jewry, Warsaw Ghetto, World War II


Why Saturday Was a Resounding Defeat for Iran

Yaakov Lappin provides a concise and useful overview of what transpired on Saturday. For him, the bottom line is this:

Iran and its jihadist Middle Eastern axis sustained a resounding strategic defeat. . . . The fact that 99 percent of the threats were intercepted means that a central pillar of Iranian force projection—its missile and UAV arsenals—has been proven to be no match for Israel’s air force, for its multilayered air-defense system, or for regional cooperation with allies.

Iran must now await Israel’s retaliation, and unlike Israel, Iranian air defenses are by comparison limited in scope. After its own failure on Sunday, Iran now relies almost exclusively on Hizballah for an ability to threaten Israel.

And even as Iran continues to work on developing newer and deadlier missiles, the IDF is staying a few steps ahead:

Israel is expecting its Iron Beam laser-interception system, which can shoot down rockets, mortars, and UAVs, to become operational soon, and is developing an interceptor (Sky Sonic) for Iran’s future hypersonic missile (Fattah), which is in development.

The Iron Beam will change the situation in a crucial way. Israell’s defensive response on Saturday reportedly cost it around $1 billion. While Iron Beam may have to be used in concert with other systems, it is far cheaper and doesn’t run the risk of running out of ammunition.

Read more at JNS

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iron Dome, Israeli Security, Israeli technology