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"I was more afraid of fellow Poles than Nazi German Officers", says Bartoszewski


Stu 12 | 522
2 Mar 2011  #1
In an interview with the German newspaper "Die Welt", former FM Bartoszewski, who is (as I understand) widely seen as an authority with regard to what happened in Poland in WWII, said he was more afraid of fellow Poles than of Nazi German Officers.

He says: In 1944, when Warsaw was empty and my house was burned down, you could only enter the city with a special pass, otherwise you got shot. And who looted the city? Not only those who organised transports to Germany. People, farmers from surrounding villages came with horse and carriage, escorted by German NCO's, who probably took part in it. These people told the Germans, they wanted to collect their possessionss. Then they took clothes and furniture. Who got robbed here? Poles! And who robbed them? Poles! This enrichment had no racist background. It was simply greed."

In another interview he says: "I lived in a house full of intelligentsia, in the Mickiewicz Street nr 37, second floor. But when someone was afraid, then not of the Germans. When an officer saw me on the street and didn't have the order to arrest me, then I had nothing to fear. But I had to fear the Polish neighbour, who noticed I bought more bread than usual."

Do you think he crossed a boundary by saying this, or do you think he has a point?

I am not trying to bash Poles here. Every country has its fair share of events which it likes to sweep under the carpet, mine included. I am just interested in your points of view on this matter.
Harry
2 Mar 2011  #2
Do you think he crossed a boundary by saying this, or do you think he has a point?

He is bang on the money here. And he perfectly echos the words of Israeli humanist Prof. Israel Shahak who wrote letter to the editor published on 19 May 1989 in Kol Ha'ir newspaper, Jerusalem, about his experience as a Jew under Nazi occupation:

"In the Warsaw ghetto, even during the period of the first massive extermination (June to October 1943), one saw almost no German soldiers. Nearly all the work of administration, and later the work of transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths, was carried out by Jewish collaborators.

...

Every Jewish child was taught, and this saved the lives of some of them "if you enter a square from which there are three exits, one guarded by a German SS man, one by an Ukrainian and one by a Jewish policeman, then you should first try to pass the German, and then maybe the Ukrainian, but never the Jew".

One of my own strongest memories is that, when the Jewish underground killed a despicable collaborator close to my home at the end of February 1943, I danced and sang around the still bleeding corpse together with the other children. I still do not regret this, quite the contrary.

It is clear that such events were not exclusive to the Jews, the entire Nazi success in easy and continued rule over millions of people stemmed from the subtle and diabolical use of collaborators, who did most of the dirty work for them."
Ironside 48 | 9,708
2 Mar 2011  #3
My point of view:
Human nature is the same regardless of nationality, cultural imprint works for some, for some it does not, everyone is tested by the life events to sort out chaff from grain.

While generalizing one should take into account all circumstances, His subjective point of view cannot be seen as a kernel of the truth.
What counts is intention of questioner, and an obvious intention of that German newspaper was indirect slander of Poles in general, not human nature or individual in particular.

The point is that generally speaking the Germans were the bastards and Poles were heroes!
Bartoszewski is presented as professor by Germans for a reason, and in reality he is just a big gob and an old fool, who just happened to survived the war - so what? Many survived the war !
Marynka11 4 | 675
2 Mar 2011  #4
Poles! And who robbed them? Poles! This enrichment had no racist background. It was simply greed."

It's just human nature. Read " A woman in Berlin". Germans did exactly the same things to one another. In love and war everything is allowed.
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
2 Mar 2011  #5
How does he know these people were from surrounding villages and not former Warsaw residents?
A lady I spoke to who had served in the AK in the Mokotow district during the Uprising,but who managed to slip out as a civilian after the surrender told me that when she returned to Warsaw people just collected what they could in a sort of,"we have all lost everything,lets make the best of things now "spirit. I dont know if Im explaining this adequetly.....It wasnt seen as looting as such,as in most cases no one one be returning to collect anything. If you want to call a heroine of the AK a "looter" then I suppose technically the sheet music she picked up would count.....though maybe not the chunk of shrapnel,the only possesions she had at the time and still owns.

This frankly looks like either an interviewee butt kissing the paper he is talking to or a bit of creative editing on die welts part.

Though I will say,it sort of ties in with another thing she told me,that at least with the Germans you knew where you stood,they hated you,you hated them,and they always told you if they were going to shoot you,as opposessed to the soviets and polish communists who loudly proclaimed slavic fraternity ,clasped you on the back and led you to the execution pits.
OP Stu 12 | 522
2 Mar 2011  #6
collaborators

It is quite unfortunate, but the same goes for the Netherlands. Philips (the electronics giant), the postal services and DAF (the truck manufacturer) all collaborated. Most notably, the Dutch Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) collaborated as well, without which the extermination of Jews in the Netherlands would not have been possible. Hence their apology in 2005 for their role. In 1937 a law was adopted which ordered all civil servants to collaborate with "an occupying power", so in a way they collaborated as well.

After the war -as it goes- only the small fish were tried and convicted and not their superiors, much to the dismay of the Dutch resistance.

Many survived the war

But not so many survived Auschwitz.
guesswho 4 | 1,289
2 Mar 2011  #7
In love and war everything is allowed.

I bet some guys here will love you for that :-)
isthatu2 4 | 2,708
2 Mar 2011  #8
Most notably, the Dutch Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) collaborated as well,

yes,but only after going on strike and risking their lives surely?
I know that there were a lot of Dutch "nazis" but on the flip side the Dutch who opposed the nazi edicts did tend to do so rather more loudly than their neighbours.
Bzibzioh
2 Mar 2011  #9
Germans did exactly the same things to one another.

But nobody is going to talk about that.

I think Bartoszewski had the right to say what he thinks, but he should also be aware of the possible spin; he's talking to the German newspaper after all. He should have been wiser.
Marynka11 4 | 675
2 Mar 2011  #10
I bet some guys here will love you for that :-)

Well, I don't have to love them back...
Harry
2 Mar 2011  #11
Interesting development: historian and Auschwitz survivor Bartoszewski is now being attacked by the darling of the loony Catholic bitter&twisted brigade, Marta Kaczynska. She wrote on her blog that Bartoszewski had "damaged Poland's image".

thenews.pl/national/artykul150417_former-fm-criticised-over-pol ish-german-ww-ii-comment.html

But still, what can one expect from a Jew-lover?
Marynka11 4 | 675
2 Mar 2011  #12
I think Bartoszewski had the right to say what he thinks, but he should also be aware of the possible spin; he's talking to the German newspaper after all.

Victim's syndrom IMHO.
Bzibzioh
2 Mar 2011  #13
She wrote on her blog that Bartoszewski had “damaged Poland’s image”

And you, of course, don't think that's the possibility.

Victim's complex IMHO

Are you talking about Bartoszewski or Polish nation as a whole?
Harry
2 Mar 2011  #14
Bartoszewski is presented as professor by Germans for a reason, and in reality he is just a big gob and an old full, who just happened to survived the war - so what? Many survived the war !

A big gob and an old fool?
1944 Silver Cross of Merit and the Cross of Valor
April 18, 1963 Polonia Restituta
1965 Righteous Among the Nations
1981 honorary doctorate from the University of London
1983 Herder Prize, Vienna
1984 honorary doctorate from the University of Baltimore
1986 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
1996 Heinrich-Brauns Prize and Heinrich Heine Prize of the city of D├╝sseldorf
1997 Grand Cross with Star of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
1997 St. Liborius Medal for Unity and Peace of the Archdiocese of Paderborn
1997 Merit of the State of Baden-W├╝rttemberg
3 September 2001 Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
2002 Prize of the German humanism Altphilologenverbands Eugen Kogon, and the prize
2002 honorary doctorate from the University of Warsaw
2007 Jan Nowak-Jezioranski Prize of the Embassy of the USA
June 2007 International Prize in Bratislava Adalbert
2008 prize of €15,000 - first European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma
2008 Adam Mickiewicz Award for Services to the German-French-Polish cooperation (Weimar triangle)
2008 prize of the city of Kassel
2009 Kaiser-Otto Prize of Magdeburg.
2009 Commander of the Legion of Honor (France)
2009 Richeza Prize of North Rhine Westphalia

Knight of the Order of the White Eagle
honorary citizen of Israel
Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, 1st Class
Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great

If that is what you call "an old fool", you describe yourself as what? "An utter cretin who needs to be tied into a sack weighed down by bricks and thrown into the river"?
Ironside 48 | 9,708
2 Mar 2011  #15
you describe yourself as what?

Someone who can recognize quality!
Titles and orders do not impress me much!

A big gob and an old fool?

He doesn't know when to shut up!
An old fool because he doesn't know in what kind of Poland he lives or either he doesn't care as long as can spill his beans !
alexw68
2 Mar 2011  #16
He doesn't know when to shut up!
An old fool because he doesn't know in what kind of Poland he lives or either he doesn't care as long as can spill his beans !

Well, there's quite a lot of that about. Is there not, Iron?

OK, sorry, throwaway remark. Benefit of the doubt and all - you said earlier:

What counts is intention of questioner, and an obvious intention of that German newspaper was indirect slander of Poles in general, not human nature or individual in particular.

I couldn't find any evidence of the intentions, indirectly or otherwise, of this text to slander Poles. My German is probably good enough to be able to root that kind of thing out. So, in a spirit of fair play, perhaps you can substantiate your quote above? My general opinion of the press isn't so high that there is no way you could convince me, so what do you say? Show us what you've got.
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
2 Mar 2011  #17
But still, what can one expect from a Jew-lover?

I'm trying to figure our what exactly are you? you obviously hate Poles and Poland, all you ever talk about is negative things about Poland especially with regards to WWII. You never once showed pity for the 2 million ethnic Poles who died. I speak for most on this forum you therefore mean nothing to us. Take your Zionist ideas to Israel.
Marynka11 4 | 675
2 Mar 2011  #18
Are you talking about Bartoszewski or Polish nation as a whole?

This is a fragment from "This Way to the Gas Please, Ladies and Gentelmen" by Tadeusz Rozewicz. During WWII he was a capo in a death camp. Another example of the syndrome. A person who is helpless towards their opressor will turn their hate on the weaker and stay loyal to their abuser.

"You see, my friend, you see, I don't know why, but I am furious, simply furious with these people—furious because I must be here because of them. I feel no pity. I am not sorry they're going to the gas chamber. Damn them all! I could throw myself at them, beat them with my fists. It must be pathological, I just can't understand . . . "

"Ah, on the contrary, it is natural, predictable, calculated. The ramp exhausts you, you rebel—and the easiest way to relieve your hate is to turn against someone weaker. Why, I'd even call it healthy. It's simple logic, compris?"
Harry
2 Mar 2011  #19
Take your Zionist ideas to Israel.

No thanks: unlike you I very much like living in Poland. And also unlike you, I very much like Poland, which is why I worked to help Poland when she needed help and choose to pay taxes in Poland, while you betrayed Poland and swore to attack her when ordered to do so by a foreign power.
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
2 Mar 2011  #20
No thanks: unlike you I very much like living in Poland.

Yet you very much hate Poles. Sick in the head.

I very much Poland

You need to brush up on your English, Scotsman. I mean Polish Jew :))))))
Ironside 48 | 9,708
2 Mar 2011  #21
Well, there's quite a lot of that about. Is there not, Iron?

What do you expect? It is the internet forum .......
You seems to act as if I stepped on your toes - I do not recall anything of the kind - so either open your heart and spit it out or p'ss off !

So, in a spirit of fair play, perhaps you can substantiate your quote above? My general opinion of the press isn't so high that there is no way you could convince me, so what do you say?

What are you even talking about ?

I am just interested in your points of view on this matter.

Take a good look at the OP request !!

My point of view:

Now, See my first sentence in my first post here ???? Good Day!!
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,724
2 Mar 2011  #22
What counts is intention of questioner, and an obvious intention of that German newspaper was indirect slander of Poles in general, not human nature or individual in particular.

Heh:)
You think the german interviewer put a gun to Bartoszewskis head?

Or that the polish Holocaust survivor Bartoszewski likes Germans so much that he downtalkes Poles just to please them?

Man...you really have some screws loose!
Harry
2 Mar 2011  #23
Someone who can recognize quality!
Titles and orders do not impress me much!

Comparing an AK veteran and Auschwitz survivor and holder of Poland's highest decoration to Stalin: you could be any more classy?
Torq 26 | 2,370
2 Mar 2011  #24
Do you think he crossed a boundary by saying this, or do you think he has a point?

What boundary? Most of what he said is common knowledge. The fact that he was more afraid
of szmalcownicy and other collaborators, who could be secretely spying on him, than some random
nazi officers wandering the streets is quite obvious.
Marek11111 9 | 816
2 Mar 2011  #25
there must be a reason why there is so much anti Polish propaganda in Western press it's like someone is trying to rewrite a history could be a Jews trying to get compensation from Poland for ww2 or just old fools making living.
Marynka11 4 | 675
2 Mar 2011  #26
Or just journalists looking for a good story.
Ironside 48 | 9,708
2 Mar 2011  #27
Man...you really have some screws loose!

Maybe I do... B asked me to leave you alone,maybe I was wrong about you( I doubt it, flipping over the picture eh?).

Heh:)
You think

I think that he likes to talks a lot and Germans like to listen to him for some reason.I think that I understand that reason?

What says you ? Our German friend ?
:)

Comparing an AK veteran and Auschwitz survivor and holder of Poland's highest decoration to Stalin: you could be any more classy?

Having you fun Harry? what do you care ? It only an illustration that titles and decoration are just a secondary brass, not saying much about a human quality!
alexw68
2 Mar 2011  #28
What are you even talking about ?

It's not rocket science.

What counts is intention of questioner, and an obvious intention of that German newspaper was indirect slander of Poles in general

You imply a hidden, or not so hidden, agenda on the part of the German press. In this article. I couldn't, in all honesty, find it. You, evidently, did. Fine - now share it. A quite open-minded, reasonable and straightforward request.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,724
2 Mar 2011  #29
I think that he likes to talks a lot and Germans like to listen to him for some reason.I think that I understand that reason?
What says you ? Our German friend ?
:)

I only can tell you that he for sure doesn't talk like that because he likes Germans. He was the one for example who spoke out against giving Germany the Berlinka treasure back.

So do you think he is lying now? And why should he?

...oh and you better listen to Bibzi! :)
Torq 26 | 2,370
2 Mar 2011  #30
there must be a reason why there is so much anti Polish propaganda in Western press

How is what Bartoszewski said an anti-Polish propaganda? He was just talking about his
personal experience and feelings and what he said can easily be jusitified and confirmed
in other witnesses' accounts.

I'm not saying there isn't any anti-Polish bias in Western press. Of course there is, but not
in this case.

Calling maturzysta Bartoszewski a "professor" (whilst he doesn't even have a magister degree)
is a different matter, but as it isn't the subject of this thread I will not comment further :)


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