The Polish Catholic Who Sneaked into Auschwitz to Warn an Indifferent World

July 15 2019

A member of the Polish resistance to the Nazis, Witold Pilecki became aware that something terrible was occurring at Auschwitz, and so smuggled himself in and out of the camp, bringing back detailed descriptions of its murderous purpose. Reviewing The Volunteer, Jack Fairweather’s recent biography of Pilecki, Caroline Moorehead writes:

Between September 1941, [when he first got to Auschwitz], and April 1943, when he escaped in order to convey himself the news of what was happening, Pilecki, who as a Polish prisoner was employed in a variety of laboring jobs, sent out report after report via couriers, other brave men who often died for their efforts. Full of statistics, they detailed the number of deaths, as well as facts about the arrival of Jewish families, the trains, the typhus, the starvation, the crematorium, and the gas chambers, though it took Pilecki a long time to comprehend that Auschwitz was in fact the epicenter for the Nazi program of extermination.

These reports, received by the Warsaw underground and gotten out to London and Washington, were for the most part dismissed as rumors. Whether bombing the camp (something Pilecki urged, on the grounds that it might, at the very least, give a number of prisoners a chance to escape) would in fact have changed anything is hard to say, and the Allies were in any case hard-pressed militarily. But as Fairweather shows, there was no desire to believe [reports], particularly as the horrific killings were often watered down in the telling.

“Poles,” observed one man at the [British] foreign office, “are being very irritating over this.” An American official spoke of the documentation as being “too Semitic.”

Pilecki spent the remainder of the war fighting the Germans—a fact that made him suspect in the eyes of the postwar Communist regime in Poland, which murdered him in 1948.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Auschwitz, Communism, Holocaust, Poland, Righteous Among the Nations

 

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy