Israel sides with the Russian Holocaust narrative over the Polish one as the 75 year anniversary of the end of WWII looms
The events of 75 years ago are as relevant today as they have ever been, as evidenced by the ongoing feud between Russia and Poland as to who between them carries the bigger burden of responsibility for WWII and the Holocaust of European Jewry in general and Polish Jewry in particular.
Poland has been reminding the world that the USSR under Stalin’s leadership entered WWII on the side of the Nazis when it realized its part of the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that eliminated Poland as a country by dividing it between Nazi Germany and Bolshevik Russia. While this is true, there are some other facts that are also true, facts that the Polish side is less willing to recall.
In the 20th century, Poland became an independent polity only in the aftermath of the First World War, a war that destroyed the Russian (via the Bolshevik revolution), and the Austro-Hungarian empires and handed Germany a humiliating defeat. Poland’s independence and territorial integrity were secured by “ironclad” guarantees and defense pacts between it and the European victorious parties to the Great War, France and England. As is well-known, neither of these lifted a finger when Germany broke every obligation it had undertaken in the Versailles agreements and was showing every sign of rearranging the “sacrosanct” post-war borders in its favor starting with those Eastern European countries like Czechoslovakia and Poland that were born out of these agreements.
As Putin pointed out, it was England’s Neville Chamberlain who personally met with the Fuhrer and did such a thorough job of licking his boots and it was none other than the renowned French general Philippe Pétain who surrendered France to Hitler and established over much of it a Nazi lackey state. Stalin, at the very least, kept his nose clean enough to have never met with the German butcher.
Poland, knowing full-well that it would eventually have to defend itself from both Russia and Germany had time between the wars to invest in its military and deter the expected aggression. The much smaller Finland had done just that and managed to defend itself against vastly superior Soviet forces in the winter war of 1939, the same year that Poland surrendered to the Germans and the Russians with nary a shot fired.
Once occupied by the Germans, Poland was indeed powerless, as the Polish government now claims, to stop the Germans from using its territory as the staging ground for the biggest genocide in human history. However it is well documented that regular Poles, with few highly notable and commendable exceptions, gleefully and willingly assisted the Germans in slaughtering the 10% of their population that was Jewish, a population that had lived side by side with them for several centuries.
Stalin’s reckless misreading of Hitler’s intentions and his weakening, for political purposes, of the Soviet military invited or at least advanced German aggression against the USSR. Nevertheless, his subsequent defense of the country against the invasion and his willingness to make it possible for Soviet Jews who so chose to evacuate east of the Volga ahead of the advancing Germans saved millions of Soviet Jews, my family among them.
So on the balance of the horrid scale of the Holocaust Poland and Poles acted in ways that made Jews die and Russia acted in ways that made Jews live. This is why Putin will be among those who will be giving a speech at the Israeli Holocaust memorial institute and museum Yad Va’Shem and Andrzej Duda will not.
Other speakers will include representatives from the Allied Powers of Britain, France, and the United States, as well as Germany. The choice of allowing Germany’s representatives a platform at the event stems from Germany’s acceptance of its role as solely responsible for the Jewish genocide known as the Holocaust and its having taken steps to partially redress this wrong, something that Poland has not done and is yet refusing to do.
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