Thursday, March 31, 2016

Polish Concentration Camps in Scotland

"In his new book, historian and author Simon Webb, claims a network of ‘concentration camps’ operated in Scotland during and after the Second World War. Run with the full approval of the British government by a Polish government-in-exile, some only eight miles from the centre of Edinburgh, Webb claims that those detained in the camps were mainly Jews, communists and homosexuals. Here Webb takes a look at some of the most gruesome evidence he uncovered while researching his book."

Read about it here.

Thank you to Michal Karski for alerting me to this article. 


  1. I'd be interested in the opinion of other blog readers on this. This is not the usual "Polish concentration camp" complaint. The author has unearthed a genuine if unpleasant story which casts Sikorski in a very poor light. If he had left the story at the camps - and yes, they were "concentration" camps in the strict sense of the word before it took on the kind of overtones we tend to associate with death or extermination camps - there might have been no cause for complaint, but he has quite unjustifiable drawn the conclusions that the Polish army was anti-Semitic and that Sikorski himself was an anti-Semite. I am hoping to have a riposte published at the Scotsman rebutting the charge - I have already posted several comments - but the Polish Foreign Ministry might be interested in this. They would not, in my opinion, win any case on the basis of the "Polish death camp" formulation, since the geographical location argument could always be made, but here they have an open goal. Sikorski was not an anti-Semite and this is defamation. Sikorski left no family to defend his reputation.

    1. Michal, all Poles, including Sikorski, are anti-Semites.

    2. Because that's what culture says. Facts are immaterial.

  2. That was probably Webb's starting point, I agree. But maybe if we focus on individual cases, then we could slowly change perceptions. Both you and Lukasz will probably be aware of something which you've been campaigning for so long - the recognition of the sacrifice of the Ulma family. This will probably never make a Hollywood film, for the simple reason that it ends tragically, and people naturally prefer to have their spirits raised (hence the story of Schindler who didn't pay with his life but survived) so there was a happy ending of sorts.

    Will perceptions ever shift? We can but hope.

  3. Hello,

    I've read about those "concentration camps" several years ago. No secret. Not now. Not then.

    I will write about it tomorrow. The hour is late in Poland.

    It seems that Mr. Webb cares about Poles. As long as they are Jewish, commies, or homosexual.

    1. Simon Webb was full of comments initially but has been maintaining radio silence lately. He's undoubtedly in a fix. If he is forced to apologize, then not only will he lose face, but his book might have to be withdrawn or at least amended, probably a very costly process. If, on the other hand, the MSZ were to take him to court - "pour encourager les autres" - it might end up costing him even more. I wouldn't like to be in his shoes right now. In fact, if this wasn't such a blatant case of defamation, I would feel rather sorry for him. He is totally out of his depth.

  4. Hello,

    I have read Mr. Webb's articles and his comments. I will share some facts.

    General Sikorski said: "Those who conspire will be sent to concentration camps".
    But he said that in early 1940. He didn't had THAT type of concentration camp in mind. He didn't knew what we currently know.
    Mr. Webb commits an error that disqualifies him as a historian.

    It was not a camp. It's a town. Officers were living in a hotel and in a guesthouses. They received part of officer's pay. They couldn't leave the town. Those officers were mostly pilsudskites. Link below.

    Rothsay on Bute Island
    Hardly a concentration camp either. No guards or barbed wire. Officers were mostly pilsudskites. Some were suspected of being gay or erotomaniacs. Homosexuality was not a crime in Poland, but it was in England. When in Rome...
    In total 1500-1700 people were interned in Rothsay (depending on sources). Among them was Aleksandra Piłsudska (Marshall's widow).

    Tighuabruaich on Bute Island
    Camp for junior officers loyal to sanacja. Over a dozen tents surrounded by barbed wire and watchtowers. Spartan conditions.

    Penal camp in Kingledoors.
    Later moved to Shinafoot near Auchterarder. In the end that camp was moved to Abernethy.

    On 29 October 1940 in Kingledoors camp prisoner Edward Jakubowski was shot by a guard. Fellow prisoner wrote in a letter that Jakubowski used profane word that involved guard's mother. After judical inquiry the guard was exonerated.

    And there are of course accusations of anti-semithism.
    To anyone interested in that subject I recommend reading:

    Mr. Webb is placing all "camps" in one basket. He also needs to remember who really invented the concept of concentration camp. Mentioning Bereza Kartuska reminded me something I've read long time ago. About a speck of sawdust and a planck.

    A British man whining about commies, is like a pig crying over wolf's carcass.

  5. The case of Simon Webb is not a case that gets solved using lawsuits. The lawsuit should be against the Scotsman. As for Mr. Webb, I hope the Polish government takes a page from the Mossad.

  6. I appreciate this is an old thread but I attended a talk in Rothesay on Saturday on the subject of the Polish officers sent there during WW2 which was largely prompted by the organiser’s discovery of the book Wyspa Wezy by Malgorzata Szejnert. It is a subject that has interested me for some time as some of those officers were billeted in my grandmother’s boarding house. Since the talk, I have been rereading some of the newspaper articles that followed the publication of Webb’s book and more than ever it strikes me as a disingenuous account. These bases that were allegedly sovereign Polish territory- on Rothesay there was no base, no camp, no barbed wire. The conclusion of the talk was that people were sent there for varying reasons. Of the officers whose history I have traced so far, they were overwhelmingly men who had served their country with distinction in the past but were now out of favour. Connections to Sanation and/or the failures of the September Campaign appear strong. It appears to me that people have been hijacking this story for their own purposes. The use of the Russian claims of 1945 speak volumes. As does that claim that Britain did not with to upset a valuable ally by asking what went on in these “camps”. When did Britain ever treat Poland or Polish people as a valuable ally - even if it was and they were.

  7. I never heard these accusations before. I only knew Polish people and Scottish people liked each other. The best friend of my Polish American mother was Scottish American. As for Poles hating Jews, why then has Poland taken in an enormous amount of Jewish refugees throughout the centuries?


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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