Pogroms in Poland | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Pogroms in Poland


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To the editors:

Ms. Eva Jastrzebski of the Polish American Congress comments in the September 24 issue [Letters] on "Children of the Holocaust" [July 6] and wonders why the writer and his interviewees were critical of the Polish people during the nazi occupation.

Unfortunately, many Poles were too quick to help the nazis persecute Jews. The Polish underground fought Jewish partisans as well as the nazis. When it did help, it charged plenty. Many Poles turned in their Jewish neighbors to the nazis.

Anti-Semitism has a long history in Poland, from before the Chmelnicki pogroms in the seventeenth century when an estimated hundred thousand Jews were killed through the massacre of Holocaust survivors in Kielce in 1946.

Ms. Jastrzebski mentions the atrocities suffered by non-Jewish Poles. These atrocities have one significant distinction: the perpetrators were foreign invaders and did not enjoy the assistance of the victims' fellow citizens and neighbors.

Robert Hankelsman


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