Sorry to everyone in the delay getting back to you, Krakow can waylay your weekend that way. Below are some answers and thoughts on the questions asked of my own responses and the general conversation. I’ve posted them separately to make them a little easier to follow.
Sjam – Post 87
I would be very appreciative if you could post that reference. Many thanks ;-)
Sure. There really is a bunch of references to this phenomenon, although I think it’s not hard to comprehend for anyone who understands communism and how it worked. Religion and communism are almost diametrically opposed, certainly in the early Stalin years that we’re discussing.
The best reference would be Poland and the Jews
by Stanislaw Krajewski who has a chapter called Jews, Communism, and the Jewish Communists, which includes a section entitled Jewish communists rarely cared about Jewish concerns and often virtually stopped being Jewish
pg123. He documents Polish Jewish emigrants complaining about there treatment by Jews in upper communist positions, such as Minc, Berman, Zambrowski and Borejsza. Some primary quotes from Polish-Jewish emigrants at the time include “Jewish Bolsheviks wanted to convince Stalin that they were first and foremost Communists, rather than Jews” Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. Bernard Goldstein, a local community leader, says “they were hired servants of the dictatorship”, “Jewish communists were not especially interested in the Jewish issue”. Krajewski goes on himself to state that he believes “Among the most significant features of Jewish communists was their desire to leave the Jewish World, often to stop being Jewish…I, as well as my friends know this from our own experience”.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. It is a dispassionate and through look at modern Polish - Jewish relations. There is unfortunately to much literature out there, on both sides, that is little more than propaganda. Krajewski also deals with the problem of Polish Jews links with communism and their unwillingness to what was undoubtedly a movement, although by no means a major one. I agree with Krajewski here, Polish-Jews, in discussing the past, need to be more willing to participate in a discussion on their role in communism on a grass roots and ideological level, although that is a different discussion.
Separately, in a book I can’t seem to remember the name of at the moment, there is a diary extract from a Polish staff member who worked in the UB immediately after the war in Lublin, I think, and was shocked by how little regard Jewish UB members showed towards their fellow Jews. This book isn’t about Jewish issues, it’s about how the Soviets seized control of Lublin in 1944 and established the PKWN.
I also want to get back to 1Jola and Ela about figures, the IPN and the control Jews exercised in the post war security responses. Original quotes and responses below.
I'm not sure why you say the statistics come from wiki when they actually come from historians at IPN. The figure of 1.7% you gave is roughly correct, and would raise no eyebrows since Jews made up around 1% of the population. At the decision making level they were hugely overrespresented. 167 of 450 positions is significant. When Jews are overrepresented in, say medicine, it is a cause for celebration, in this case it should be a source of shame and simply aknowledged. Poles are not proud of the executioners among us, and should be brought to justice. Notice that Helena Wolińska, a Stalinist procecutor, also cried anti-semitism when Poland tried to get her extradited from England.
I agree, to an extent, with Harry about the IPN, it cannot be treated as a wholly reliable source. It has some excellent historians and has done some superb work, for example, their Jedwabne research report is the most comprehensive and accurate produced thus far, and substantially superior to the work of Gross. That said, the IPN has been politicised, primarily by PIS, when it was in power, and subsequently, although arguably to a lesser extent, by PO. This undermining of its independence also undermines its objectivity. You are of course correct that the IPN uses primary sources, however, the figures I supplied were also from a primary source. As I mentioned in a previous post, the figures are notoriously unreliable, all we can say at the moment is that we are working with a lower boundary of 13% and an upper one of 37%. The main problem is that the primary sources the IPN is working with are themselves seriously tainted, we, or the IPN are unlikely to discover where there has been fraud and falsification, to say nothing of later amendments. That is by no means to say that the Bierut document is in anyway watertight. The poor quality of primary sources is what worries me most about the IPN lustracja investigations, although it is something I fully believe they should be undertaking. I’ll pick up the over representation and numbers again below.
When it's a famous non-religious Jewish musician, politician, or scientist, he is still a Jew; when it's criminal - he is not. That is called a double standard.
I agree, this is often a problem and a myth pushed by Israel. I’m a believer in Dawkins idea that no one is born Jewish/Catholic/Muslim, their parents make that choice for them. According to the Catholic Church, I am only a lapsed catholic, because only they can excommunicate me, I can’t leave. Unfortunately for them, I’m not a Catholic and they have no voice in that choice. In the same way, Israel, or at the other extreme, the IPN, doesn’t have the right to attribute someone as being Jewish, no matter they’re good or bad deeds, if they genuinely renounced their religion, which many Jews participating in the post war security forces did (see post above).
Do you know on what basis the IPN was registering an individual as a Jew in their research? Eg, parentage, heritage, stated religion. This could account for our discrepancy and open another debate.
Officer corps in any army also make a small percentage of the overall numbers, yet they make decisions - they play the leading role.
This is erroneous. In what way could we successfully compare the officer corps of an army with that of the Jewish role in Poland’s post war security services? There is no supporting evidence that Jews played a 'leading' or controlling role in the post war security services. If you believe 13%-37% of Jews dominated 87%- 63% of Poles, you are giving Catholic Poles too little credit and Polish Jews too much. I’m afraid it will also bring us to the end of our discussion, because it is not possible to rationally argue the bogeyman or conspiracy theories.
Given the percentage of Jews in post WWII Poland (less than 1% of the entire population). 37% is a very disproportionate number. 37% versus 1%...I would say that speaks for itself in an organization that was aimed at destroying any effort at establishing an independant Poland and executing and deporting mostly Polish-Catholics in it's course of existance. Then look at who led the primary Communist Security apparatus: Jakub Berman, Hilary Minc, and countless other Polish-Jews who went as far as changing their surnames to Polish-Catholic sounding ones in order to make it appear that the Communist apparatus in Poland did not appear 'too Jewish' looking to the general public.
I think it’s important to remember what we were talking about in the first place, because we’ve touched on several issues. The original quote from 1Jola was
A huge percentage of communist "security" at upper levels, were the Holocaust survivors-Jews. Being a Pole was a disadvantage at that time.
Whatever figure we take, whether it’s the 13% from Bierut or the 37% from the IPN, I think it’s quite obvious statistically that the two statements above are not true. A huge percentage of communist security at upper levels were not Jewish, they were in fact Polish, 67%, to take the lower figure; which also makes the second statement that being a Pole was a disadvantage incorrect.
1Jola and Ela, you’re right, there was a disproportionate number of Jews in the upper levels of the security services, there are concrete reasons accounting for this, such as fear, following the holocaust and subsequent pogroms. There are, however, also much more intricate, although less immediate reasons, primarily associated with Zionism and its attraction to communism and the pre-war political stance of Central European Jews. As I mentioned in my previous post, this is an uncomfortable part of Jewish history, that Jewish historians haven’t and need to fully deal with. I don’t, however, believe there is any truth or documentation supporting Ela’s suggestion that Jews joined the security services to destroy an effort at an independent Poland, or to execute and deport Catholics. Personally, I believe, most Jews, like most Poles, joined the security services for nothing more complicated than fear or to serve themselves.
Naming Berman and Minc as major players in post war security apparatus, which they were, is no more proof that me naming two Poles. We could carry on slinging them back and forth; however, your store would run dry, as only 37%, according to your IPN figures, were Jewish. I, on the other hand, have 67% of the forces to choose from.