Polish investigation of nazi criminal in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Minneapolis man thought to be Nazi commander after Associated Press report

15 June 2013

Residents of a Minneapolis neighborhood are reacting this morning to allegations that one of their neighbors was the commander of a Nazi SS unit during World War II. The investigation found that 94-year-old Michael Karkoc was a top commander in the Ukrainian Self-Defense Legion.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Poland: Ukrainian nazi officer ‘harboured by the US

Saturday 19th November 2016

POLISH experts are probing whether the US harboured a World War II Ukrainian nazi officer for decades, a prosecutor announced on Thursday.

The Associated Press news agency identified Michael Karkoc

now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

as a commander of a unit in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion, which is accused of burning villages in Poland.

Poland subsequently opened a probe into Mr Karkoc, 97, who denies that he fought in the war.

The accusations are based on wartime documents, testimony from other members of the unit and Mr Karkoc’s own Ukrainian-language memoir.

Prosecutor Dariusz Antoniak said experts would confirm whether Mr Karkoc is the same person as the nazi commander by comparing facial features in photos of him now with those in a 1940 picture taken in Ukraine.

German prosecutors shelved their investigation of Mr Karkoc in 2015, saying he was not fit to stand trial.

Ukrainian nazis’ massacres of Poles, new film

This 13 July 2016 Polish video is the trailer of the film ‘Wolyn‘ (Volhynia) by Wojtek Smarzowski. It is about the massacres by Ukrainian allies of Hitler’s Third Reich of Polish civilians.

By Dorota Niemitz:

Volhynia (Hatred) by Wojciech Smarzowski—a gripping account of the 1943 massacre

2 November 2016

Written and directed by Wojciech Smarzowski, based on Hatred by Stanisław Srokowski (2006)

“Borderland civilians were murdered twice––once with an axe, the second time through silence. And the second death was worse than the first.” This quote by an eyewitness to the Volhynia massacre, Jan Zaleski, opens Wojciech Smarzowski’s long awaited epic.

Smarzowski’s Volhynia ––its English-language title is Hatred, after the book on which it is based––deals fictionally with a traumatic event in Polish-Ukrainian history. In 1943-45 an estimated 100,000 Polish civilians were brutally murdered in an operation carried out by the nationalist Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) on the eastern borderlands (Kresy) of Nazi-occupied Poland. The UPA was the armed wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, Stepan Bandera faction (OUN–B).

Volhynia is the first feature film about the slaughter and the first historically accurate treatment of Kresy in Polish cinema. The massacre has been largely neglected both in Poland and internationally. Under the Polish Stalinist regime (1945-1989) the historical episode was considered taboo because of the so-called disputed territories located between eastern Poland and western Ukraine, part of the Soviet Union at the time. ….

Scholarly studies on the UPA-OUN published after World War II reached only a limited audience, of survivors, historians and those specifically interested in the massacre. Smarzowski’s Volhynia has already attracted close to 1 million moviegoers since its premiere October 7. The substantial number of viewers in Poland is an indication of great interest in these historical questions, as well as unease about the resurgence of the far right in Eastern Europe.

The film has stirred controversy following a ban on its showing in Ukraine. The Ukrainian media has accused the director of making a biased movie, “based only on Polish historical sources,” at a time “when Ukraine is trying to defend itself from Russian aggression.” The Ukrainian ambassador to Poland, Andriy Deszczyca, justified the censorship, arguing the film could cause unrest on the streets of Kiev. This is the face of the “new,” “democratic” Ukraine. The head of the Ukrainian Association in Poland, Piotr Tyma, asserted the movie would “kill off Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation efforts.”

Smarzowski’s film appears at a time when tensions between the Polish and Ukrainian ruling elites are rising, with right-wing, nationalistic tendencies active in both countries. Ultra-right political groups have formed militias and those fascistic elements have been incorporated into the armed forces of both Ukraine and Poland. …

Various war criminals and fascists, such as Bandera and Roman Shukhevych, have been declared “heroes of Ukraine” (2010). The OUN-UPA is being rehabilitated by the Ukrainian regime. …

Victims of a massacre committed by UPA in the village of Lipniki, Poland, 1943

In 2015, the Ukrainian parliament officially declared the OUN-UPA activities in the war, which included initial collaboration with the Nazis, as a legitimate struggle for Ukraine’s independence. Last July, Poland’s Sejm [lower house of parliament] passed a resolution officially terming the OUN-UPA atrocities against the Poles in Volhynia “genocide.” This resolution was then criticized by the Ukrainian government …

Asked if the vivid reconstruction of the events would not reopen old wounds and inflame long-standing conflicts, Smarzowski replied: “This film will not divide people. On the contrary, as I see it, this is a film that will bring Poles and Ukrainians together, and likewise the whole world in the fight against fascist ideology”.

Smarzowski’s film covers the period from the spring of 1939 to the summer of 1945. The highpoint of the mass murders occurred in the summer and fall of 1943 under the Nazi occupation of western Ukraine.

In February 1943 the OUN-B (Bandera faction) ordered the expulsion of all Poles from Volhynia to obtain an “ethnically pure territory” within a future “free” Ukrainian nation state. Ethnic violence was encouraged with the help of posters and leaflets inciting Ukrainians to annihilate all Poles and Jews. The victims, including women, children and the elderly, were murdered in a barbaric fashion: raped, burned, crucified, decapitated or disemboweled with the use of sickles, axes, saws and pitchforks.

On April 6, 1944, the UPA high command ordered: “Fight them [the Poles] mercilessly. No one is to be spared, even in the case of mixed marriages.” It is estimated that as a result of the OUN-UPA operation, 1,500 out of the 2,500 villages inhabited by Poles in the Volhynia region ceased to exist.

Contrary to the claims of Ukrainian nationalists that the mass killings of Poles and others were the inevitable outcome of war, there is proof that the operation was carefully planned prior to World War II. The so-called Mykhaylo Kolodzinsky Treaty, written by one of the UPA ideologists, argued that the Ukrainian national uprising needed to be combined with massacres of Poles disguised as a spontaneous peasant uprising. Kolodzinsky wrote: “We will be victorious only when we show such cruelty that the tenth generation of Poles will look at Ukraine with fear.”

Before committing mass murder against the Poles, the OUN took part in the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, assisting in the killing of an estimated 247,000 Volhynian Jews (97 percent of all Jews in the region) in 1942. It also executed pro-Soviet Ukrainians and those Ukrainian peasants who warned or sheltered Poles, regarding them as traitors. In total, the UPA murdered an estimated 20,000 Ukrainians.

Volhynia shows some of these events through the eyes of a 17-year old peasant girl, Zosia Głowacka (Michalina Łubacz), who falls for a Ukrainian boy, Petro (Wasyl Wasyłyk), but is forced to marry a wealthy, much older Polish kulak, Maciej (Arkadiusz Jakubik).

In an opening scene (overlong and weakened by clichéd romance), Zosia’s sister marries a Ukrainian. Subsequently, through the conversations among the wedding guests, the director builds up a living picture of Volhynian society, including the sharp tensions within its multicultural society. We learn about the harsh treatment of the Ukrainian minority at the hands of the Polish authorities.

Smarzowski depicts the growth of nationalist and fascistic sentiment within the Ukrainian petty bourgeoisie and intelligentsia in response to the Polish heavy-handedness. The film shows the ugly role played by the Orthodox Church in inflaming nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Smarzowski deserves credit for his objective treatment of the Red Army and the Soviet efforts to retake western Ukraine in 1939-1941, something quite courageous in present-day Poland. In his film, the Soviet troops are welcomed as liberators by sections of the rural community, especially by the oppressed Jews.

Smarzowski proves to be a master of storytelling, keeping the audience in suspense from beginning to end. The realistic storyline is skillfully constructed as a thriller. The bride, whose braids are chopped off with an axe as part of the initial wedding ceremony, is later forced to kneel down in the same position to lose her entire head.

The reception of the film in Poland has varied. Volhynia was welcomed by surviving witnesses of the massacre, who confirmed the accuracy of the film. The majority of reviewers praised Smarzowski, comparing him to the late Polish director Andrzej Wajda, and declaring Volhynia the most important Polish film since 1989.

The critics around the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) gave the movie positive reviews, while cynically twisting its message to fit their nationalist aims. …

According to Smarzowski, “concealing the truth about a crime is a sure-fire way to create more crimes”. Exposing the true character of the executioners now declared “heroes” by Ukraine’s present-day government is important. Such a slap in the face to regimes that glorify nationalist violence and fascism is praiseworthy. …

His film deserves credit for its objective treatment of history and its courage to speak out against the rising wave of fascism in Eastern Europe.

The director recently rejected an award (including a prize of 100,000 zloty, or US$26,000) from the head of Polish television, Jacek Kurski, appointed by the PiS. Smarzowski explained that he did not want his work to be used for any political intrigue. “I am a director and I dislike being directed,” he noted.

Polish worker, murdered by British racists, commemorated

This 31 August 2016 video from Britain is called Polish ambassador pays his respects in Harlow [after the racist murder of Polish worker Arkadiusz Jozwik] .

By Nina Massey and Sam Russell in Harlow, England:

Vigil held in show of solidarity for Polish murder victim

Friday 2nd September 2016

HUNDREDS of anti-racists have held a candlelit vigil for a Polish man murdered in a suspected hate crime.

The Harlow community turned out in force on Wednesday night in a show of solidarity for Arkadiusz Jozwik, known as Arek, who was attacked in the Essex town on Saturday night.

He died on Monday from head injuries.

The 40-year-old and another Polish man were set upon outside a row of takeaway shops in what Essex Police believe was an unprovoked attack at around 11.35pm.

Campaign group Stand up to Racism organised the vigil at the scene of the attack to show solidarity with the Polish community in the town.

Faith leaders, campaigners, the Polish community and locals were among more than 200 people attending the event.

Sylwia Karwacka, 31, of Harlow, held a candle and stood with friends carrying a Polish flag.

“Arek was lying there,” she said, standing in The Stow shopping precinct. “He was my friend.

“We do nothing wrong and I don’t understand why young people would attack Polish people.

“We live the same as everyone. We work, we pay tax.

“It’s hard at the moment. I think ‘why him? Why Polish people? Why?’.”

She added that the death of Mr Jozwik had hit some sections of the Polish community hard.

“We’re scared to go somewhere, we’re scared to go out in case someone waits somewhere for you,” she said. “We don’t want to be scared. We want to live the same as everyone else. It’s hard.”

A supporter of Stand up to Racism Lauren O’Donnell said: “I wanted to show solidarity with the Polish and immigrant community in Harlow as they have suffered some harassment since Brexit,” she said.

“It’s a very vocal minority and the majority of us wanted to say ‘We appreciate you being here,’ and welcome people into the community.”

Adam Cochrane, joint chairman of Stand up to Racism’s Harlow branch, said the turnout was “amazing.”

He added: “The crowd couldn’t be more diverse. I think Harlow showed its real face today.”

A further community event is planned on Saturday in tribute to Mr Jozwik.

In a statement, Mr Jozwik’s family said they were “extremely devastated” by their loss.

Five 15-year-old boys and a 16-year-old who were arrested on suspicion of murder have been released on police bail until October 7.

A number of xenophobic attacks on the large Polish immigrant community in the UK following the Brexit referendum are being exploited by both the Polish and British ruling class to strengthen their alliance, amid deepening divisions within the European Union (EU) and growing tensions with Germany: here.

Racists murder Polish worker in England

This video says about itself:

Vigil held for Polish man stabbed in UK

31 August 2016

People in the English town of Harlow have paid their respects to a Polish man who died in an attack at a shopping centre.

[Factory worker] Arkadiusz Jozwik and his friend were stabbed on Saturday.

Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports from Harlow.

From daily The Morning Star in England:

MP slams ‘sewer racists‘ after Pole is brutally killed

Thursday 1st September 2016

THOSE using Brexit to pursue personal racist agendas “come from the sewers,” the MP for the Essex town where a Polish man was killed in a suspected hate crime said yesterday.

Arkadiusz Jozwik was attacked in Harlow on Saturday night and died on Monday from head injuries.

The 40-year-old and another Polish man were set upon outside a row of takeaway shops at around 11.35pm, in what Essex Police believes was an unprovoked attack.

A Stand Up To Racism vigil was held in Harlow last night to show solidarity with the Polish community.

Jo Marie O’Reilly, who attended the vigil, said: “We wanted to do something to show our support for the Polish community within the town, who are all understandably quite shaken up by the event of Saturday.

“There has been a lot of talk from people in the community on social media. They are feeling uncomfortable and scared and worried about their future and about how they are going to be treated.”

Anti-Polish prejudices in the USA about 1900: here.

Anti-Semitism in Polish history and present

This video says about itself:

29 January 2008

On 10 July, 1941, the Jewish population of Jedwabne, Poland, were rounded up and murdered. Over a thousand Jews were forced into a nearby barn which was doused with petrol and set on fire. Music was played to drown out their screams. For over 60 years, the Nazis were blamed for this pogrom. But new evidence proves residents carried out the massacre. This single revelation — that ordinary Poles willingly participated in the Shoah — has proved the most shattering revelation confronting Polish society since the fall of communism. It further complicates our understanding of the Holocaust. Our documentary this week is a compelling and personal film exploring the legacy of this massacre.

Watch the full film on Journeyman.

By Clara Weiss:

Polish PiS government encourages anti-Semitism

29 August 2016

The Polish government in Warsaw is calling for a revision of history aimed at downplaying Poland’s involvement in anti-Semitic crimes. The centrepiece of the right-wing conservative government’s campaign is the pogrom in Jedwabne, a village in the northeast of Poland. There, in the summer of 1941, Polish anti-Semites killed more than 350 Jews with the agreement of German occupying forces.

Education minister Anna Zalewska asserted in a television interview she was not clear who was responsible for the pogrom in Jedwabne, as well as the pogrom in Kielce in the summer of 1946. Shortly before, Jarosław Szarek, the new director of the Institute for National Memory, which is under government control, denied the responsibility of Polish nationalists for the Jedwabne pogrom.

Soon afterwards, right-wing Lublin-based historian Ewa Kurek announced plans to collect signatures over the summer for a petition calling for the exhumation of the remains of the victims of the Jedwabne pogrom. The mayor of Jedwabne, Michael Chajewski, backed the exhumations, telling the Gazeta Wyborcza, “Yes, I would do that. It is necessary to clarify how many were killed and by whom, in order to overcome doubts.”

The exhumation of the victims’ remains was already ordered in 2001 under the presidency of Lech Kaczynski. But it was never implemented, above all due to worldwide protests. The Jewish religion prohibits exhumations, which are considered to be a desecration of the dead. Representatives of Jewish organisations in Poland and internationally repeatedly spoke out against the exhumations.

Prior to the Second World War, the Jewish community in Poland was the largest in Europe, numbering 3.5 million. In virtually every Polish city, the Jewish population amounted to between 30 and 50 percent of the total, and in some even more. In the country as a whole, which was still dominated by agricultural production, the Jewish community amounted to 10 percent of the entire population.

During the Second World War, the Nazis turned occupied Poland into the main location for the extermination of European Jewry. All six concentration camps (Auschwitz, Treblinka, Chełmno, Sobibór, Majdanek and Bełżec) were located on current Polish territory. Only around 350,000 Polish Jews survived the war, most of them in the Soviet Union. At least 1.5 million Jews from other European countries were transported to camps in Poland and murdered there.

Polish anti-Semites also carried out pogroms against the Jewish population prior to, during and after the war. The Jedwabne pogrom, which occurred soon after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, is the most well known of these. In 2000, the Polish-American sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross published a book on the pogrom titled “Neighbours,” unleashing the most wide-ranging debate on historical and political questions since 1989.

Gross played an important role in the student protests of March 1968 in Poland and then emigrated in 1969 with his family as a result of the Stalinist regime’s anti-Semitic campaign. In his book, he utilised generalisations and an ahistorical method recalling that employed by Daniel Goldhagen in his book Hitler’s Willing Executioners. Like Goldhagen, Gross, whose writings are riddled with anti-communism, opposes a class analysis of fascism and anti-Semitism. Instead, he makes use of national abstractions and declares “the Poles as a nation” to be “perpetrators.”

By contrast, he says nothing about the history of the Polish workers’ movement, which in the 1930s led a struggle against the anti-Semitism of the government and extreme right-wing forces. …

However, in contrast to the claims of the Polish government, there is no historical doubt about the responsibility of Polish anti-Semites for the Jedwabne and Kielce pogroms. A comprehensive investigation by the Institute of National Memory (IPN), which was commissioned by the government in the wake of the publication of Gross’s book, came to the conclusion that at least 340 Jews were killed in the summer of 1941, broadly agreeing with Gross’s figures.

Many victims were burnt alive in the village’s church. Research by historian Anna Bykont confirmed the findings by the IPN and Gross. According to Bykont, the pogrom was carried out by nationalist elites in the village.

With over 40 fatalities, the Kielce pogrom of July 1946 was the worst of a series of attacks and bombings that killed more than 200 Holocaust survivors between 1945 and 1948. The pogrom was covered up by the Catholic Church as well as the Polish Nationalist Armija Krajowa (Home Army), which was waging a guerrilla war against the Stalinist government and its troops at the time, and deliberately stoking the spectre of a “Żydokomuna” (Jewish commune).

Confronted with this anti-Semitic violence, 150,000 of 250,000 Holocaust survivors who had returned to Poland after 1945, left the country by 1948. In the 1950s, and particularly in response to the student protests of 1968, the Stalinist regime conducted a series of anti-Semitic campaigns that forced tens of thousands more to emigrate. According to various estimates, between 5,000 and 25,000 Jews live in Poland today. (Some estimates, which include fully assimilated descendants of Jews, put the figure at 100,000).

In response to the education minister’s comments, several teachers wrote an open letter to the education ministry that has been signed by 1,300 teachers to date. In it, they resist “the manipulation of Poland’s recent history.” In Polish schools, neither the Holocaust nor Polish anti-Semitism are compulsory subjects, but a growing number of teachers are attending training courses at their own expense to be able to teach the subject.

Shortly thereafter, dozens of renowned researchers on Polish-Jewish relations at universities in the US, Israel and France published a letter opposing the comments of the Polish education minister.

The Law and Justice Party (PiS) government is directly appealing to the far right with its actions. The denial of the responsibility of Polish nationalists for anti-Semitic pogroms has been a key plank of extreme right-wing ideology for decades. A major campaign of agitation against Gross has been waged in Poland for years with unmistakable anti-Semitic undertones.

The Polish attorney general filed a lawsuit against Gross last autumn for “insulting the honour of the Polish people.” The right-wing Gazeta Warszawska, Zakazana Historia published an anti-Semitic caricature and a vile article agitating against Gross. The radical right-wing “Fortress for Poland’s good reputation–Polish anti-defamation League” backed the campaign with petitions against Gross.

The campaign is pursuing the goal of suppressing all historical research which contradicts the nationalist falsification of history. This is in keeping with the anti-communist law from earlier this year, which criminalises “communist propaganda” and requires the removal of all symbols associated with the socialist workers’ movement and the Polish People’s Republic (PRL) from public spaces.

Like the right-wing Polish nationalists in the 20th century, the PiS government combines anti-communism with anti-Semitism. Since the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the anti-Semitic spectre of the “Jewish commune” has been a central component of Polish nationalist ideology and of a large section of the bourgeoisie.

In the face of the economic crisis, the Polish government encouraged right-wing tendencies in the 1930s, which carried out pogroms on Jews, organised economic boycotts of Jewish businesses and drove Jews out of the universities. From 1936, the elimination of the Jews from Polish economic life and the “Polandisation” of major cities were official policies of the government, which collaborated closely with fascist groups and drew inspiration from the suppression of Jews in neighbouring Nazi Germany.

In 1937, Polish justice minister Witold Grabowski travelled to Germany to discuss with senior Nazis the adoption of the Nuremberg race laws in Poland. This was not firmly pursued, but between 1935 and 1939, the Polish government implemented several anti-Jewish laws, which dramatically worsened the economic and political position of Polish Jews.

Several professional associations, above all doctors, lawyers and traders, imposed bans to exclude Jews from their professions. De facto ghetto benches and a numerical limit were enforced for Jewish students at universities. Between 1936 and 1938, clashes took place almost daily between right-wing students and Jews or socialists. In some cities, especially Lvov (today Lviv and part of Ukraine), numerous Jewish students were murdered on campus.

Bloody street battles occurred in many villages and towns between fascist bands and armed self-defence groups for Jewish and Polish workers’ parties in the years prior to the German occupation of Poland in September 1939. The government gave free rein to the right-wing Endecja group led by Roman Tmowski, which carried out numerous pogroms.

Although the Nazis persecuted the Polish right wing during the war and drove the nationalists into the resistance movement, some of them supported the Nazis’ “final solution” of the “Jewish problem.” The pogroms by Polish nationalists during the Second World War, above all in rural areas, took place in this context.

Education minister Anna Zalewska is not the only government representative to dispute the responsibility of Polish nationalists for the pogroms in Jedwabne and Kielce. Current defence minister Antoni Macierewicz edited the radical right-wing newspaper Głos (the Voice) in the 1990s, where he published several anti-Semitic articles himself and denied the Jedwabne and Kielce pogroms. Macierewicz declared in an interview in the early 2000s that the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” an anti-Semitic pamphlet, was in essence correct.

The encouragement of anti-Semitism is part of the preparations for war against Russia and the militarisation of society, through which far-right forces are being systematically mobilised and integrated into the state. Macierewicz personifies this policy. As a notorious anti-communist and anti-Semite, he is also among one of the sharpest critics of Russia. At the recent NATO summit, he shook hands with US President Barack Obama and other heads of Western governments who agreed to the demands of the PiS government for the stationing of NATO troops in eastern Poland.

As part of its preparations for war against Russia, the Polish government is deliberately strengthening the far right. Since the Law and Justice Party (PiS) entered government last autumn, the number of attacks of a racist or xenophobic character has risen to its highest level since 1989. This was revealed by investigations by the NGO Nigdy Więcej (Never Again): here.