Friday, January 27, 2023

Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27

 Czeslawa Kwoka. Died in Auschwitz when she was 14. 

Katarzyna Kwoka. She was Czeslawa's mother and she also died in Auschwitz 

Czeslawa and Katarzyna were both Polish Catholics. 

January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day, on the anniversary of the Red Army marching on Auschwitz. 

We can do two things at once. We can acknowledge the horror of what the Nazis planned and did to Jews. 

We can also acknowledge what the Nazis planned and did to Poland and to Catholic Poles. 

Here's an unedited transcript from an interview I did with a university student. 

"I get this feeling that Polish people don't really have a full respect for Jewish people and that there is an anti-Semitism still lingering and the main thing that makes me think that is an article I read in the Washington Post a month or two ago and what happened was that some warehouse that was very near Auschwitz was recently turned into a discotheque."

Me: "I know this will sound like a ridiculous question, but can you tell me what Auschwitz was?"

My goal: to discover if informant knew that Poles had been interned in Auschwitz.

"Auschwitz had been a concentration camp that a great number of Jewish people were brought to by train. A lot of Jews worked there and died of starvation.  And I wanna say that, uh, zyklon b, the chemical that was thrown into the so called shower stalls was instituted there."

Me: "Do you know about the history of non-Jews at Auschwitz?"  

"No, I don't any specific history of non-Jews in Auschwitz. "


  1. No surprise. The Holocaust dominates the western public consciousness, and all other genocides are crowded out. This has been now going on for the last 40 years.

  2. Dan Stone has published a book about non-German participation in the Holocaust. I have found this open access review. . "The Polish government has tried to silence historians who have uncovered information about Poles who handed Jews over to the Nazi occupiers."

    1. Here is the link to the review This review is generally correct, better than the one in The Guardian.

  3. The Guardian does not summarize the book by Dan Stone The review ignores eg. massive Romanian and Croatian participation in the Holocaust. Only Poland is listed "A 2018 law made it “a criminal offence to accuse Poles of being complicit in the Nazi murder of the Jews”. According to a scholar called Jan Grabowski, he and his fellow “independent historians of the Shoah continue to face today, in Poland, the full might and wrath of the state”.


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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