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

 

The Significance of Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust Denial

Aug. 19 2022

On Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, during an official visit to Berlin, gave a joint press conference with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, where he was asked by a journalist if he would apologize for the murder of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. (The relationship between the group that carried out the massacre and Abbas’s Fatah party remains murky.) Abbas instead responded by ranting about the “50 Holocausts” perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians. Stephen Pollard comments:

Scholz’s response to that? He shook Abbas’s hand and ended the press conference.

Reading yet another column pointing out that Scholz is a dunderhead isn’t, I grant you, the most useful of ways to spend an August afternoon, so let’s leave the German chancellor there, save to say that he eventually issued a statement hours later, after an eruption of fury from his fellow countrymen, saying that “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. For us Germans in particular, any trivialization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” Which only goes to show that late is actually no better than never.

The real issue, in Pollard’s view, is the West’s willful blindness about Abbas, who wrote a doctoral thesis at a Soviet university blaming “Zionists” for the Holocaust and claiming that a mere million Jews were killed by the Nazis—notions he has reiterated publicly as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, [Abbas] “clarified” his remarks in Berlin, saying that “the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.” Credulous fools have again ignored what Abbas actually means by that.

It’s time we stopped projecting what we want Abbas to be and focused on what he actually is, using his own words. In a speech in 2018 he informed us that Israel is a “colonialist project that had nothing to do with Judaism”—to such an extent that European Jews chose to stay in their homes and be murdered rather than live in Palestine. Do I have to point out the moral degeneracy of such a proposition? It would seem so, given the persistent refusal of so many to take Abbas for what he actually is.

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Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Anti-Semitism, Germany, Holocaust denial, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority