Israel Shamir

The Fighting Optimist

The Battle for Auschwitz

On Friday, January 17, 2020, three thousand salvos shook the earth of the Russian capital city; the sky over Moscow had been emblazoned by glorious fireworks. This was the repeat of the memorable salute given seventy-five years ago, on January 17, 1945 by 24 salvos of 324 heavy cannons at liberation of Warsaw by the Red Army. Ruined Warsaw had been saved from total loss.

This could be an excellent occasion for display of friendliness between the two Slavic nations. The Poles could remember 200,000 Russian soldiers and officers killed in action at Warsaw, and say: they died so we may live. They could thank Russia for the bountiful lands and great cities that were torn out of defeated Germany and presented to Poland: Danzig became Gdansk, Stettin became Szczecin, Breslau became Wrocław, and Posen became Poznań. They could thank Russia even for passing to the Ukraine the Ukrainian-populated lands that were under Polish rule between the wars, the rule that ended in a big massacre of the resident Poles by Ukrainian nationalists.

Gratitude is not a strong feature of the Polish national character: the Polish government ignored the event. Instead, the Poles destroyed the memorials and tombs of Russian soldiers. It was mighty annoying, but much less important than Warsaw’s decision to establish the US radar system of a European missile shield on its soil, the system that made a sudden US nuclear strike on Russia a very tangible possibility. Poland’s effort to undermine Russia’s pipeline to Germany; Poland’s invitation of US armour to take positions on its eastern border; Poland’s endless hostility to Russia in the Europarliament made the Russians to view this old founding member of the Warsaw Pact as its enemy No. 1 in the European continent.

You won’t be amazed that the Russians had used a good opportunity to pay tit for tat. This opportunity came from the Jewish offensive against Poland. The Jews attacked this anti-Communist eastern bulwark of the West from two sides at once, powerful US Jewry and the mighty Jewish state. Or almost at once. American Jews began the operation by pushing through the obsequious Congress Bill S. 447 (it became the Public Law No. 115-171) . This bill told Poland to cough up $300 Billion to American Jewish organisations.

Under this American law, all property that once belonged to a person of Jewish descent in Poland must be transferred to American Jewish organizations. One third of Warsaw, half of Krakow, much of residential property in Poland belonged to Jews before the war – and now it was going ‘back’ to US Jewry. The law created a unique situation – what belonged to a Jew remains forever in Jewish hands. And lawsuits cannot be brought against these “Jewish hands”. That is, if a Jewish citizen of Poland died leaving debts, these debts disappeared. But if he died intestate, then the house goes to Jewish American organizations. They can evict the resident Poles, or make them pay a rent for what they thought was their own apartments.

S774 is a brilliant idea. It revives medieval Polish Jewry – a state in a state. In pre-war Poland this was not the case; Polish Jews were Polish citizens, and if a Polish Jew died without leaving any heirs, his escheated property went to the Polish republic, as did the property of a Catholic or Orthodox Pole who died intestate. American Jews decided to turn the Holocaust into the biggest property snatch of the 21st century, by reverting to the 16th century ideas. They will take in their own hands all the property that belonged to the Polish citizens of the Mosaic Law before the war.

This peculiar idea was not to be applied in the US or England. If an American (or British) Jew dies without appointing heirs, the property will be transferred to the state. But for Poland, they conceived a complete restitution. If it will work with the Poles, it may work elsewhere; the Jews won’t be ordinary citizens of their countries, but rather members of supranational Jewry. The debts will be their private affairs, but their assets will be of the Jewry. Brilliant, isn’t it?

The Poles didn’t like S447. There are demonstrations against the law, there are calls to oust the American ambassador, who added insult to injury by congratulating Polish Jews on Hanukkah while forgetting to send Christmas greetings to the Catholic Poles, the vast majority of the nation. At that time, Israel came to support the US Jews. They demanded that Poland repent for being nasty to Jews, to accept partial responsibility for the Holocaust and pay. Israel pumped out many billions from Germany, but these billions have already been used up. Poland had paid nothing to Israel. The Bolsheviks who ruled after-war Poland did not think that the Zionists should be paid; they considered Poland a Nazi victim, not a beneficiary. Now there were no more communists, so please pay, said the Jews.

Israel and American Jews keep the pressure on Poland. They call Auschwitz a “Polish concentration camp”, which offends the Poles very much. They say that many Poles helped the Nazis to realise the “final solution to the Jewish question.” Poles made a law forbidding saying that; the Jews took to chanting it on the streets.

The conflict is coming now to the fore, with the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation (by the Red Army, by the way: President Obama’s uncle didn’t fight in Poland, despite this silly claim of the previous American president). It will be celebrated in two places: in Jerusalem and in Auschwitz. In Jerusalem, all important dignitaries will gather: the French President, the US Vice-President, the German Chancellor, the Russian President Putin. The Polish president Andrzej Duda was invited, too – but not as a speaker, just an also-present guest. He preferred to skip the occasion altogether and to visit the much more modest Auschwitz celebration at the site of the camp.

President Putin is aware of the Polish controversy, and he decided to show the Poles that their relentless hostility to Russia just does not pay. A few weeks ago on December 24, at the meeting of the Russian Ministry of Defence, Putin presented certain documents of the World War Two period, attesting to the rabidly anti-Jewish attitude of the pre-war Polish leadership. For instance, Jozef Lipsky, the Polish ambassador to Nazi Germany until 1939, told the Germans that the Poles would erect a monument to the Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler in Warsaw if he were to rid Poland of its Jews. “Such an anti-Semitic pig!” – exclaimed Putin indignantly.

The Poles made a miserable attempt to reinterpret the damning words, saying that the Polish ambassador had meant to save Jews by sending them to safe Africa, for instance, to Madagascar, to the harmless lemurs, in cooperation with Zionists, and so he was a Zionist pig, rather. It did not play well.

But Putin had more papers and more proof in his vaults. He produced a report dated late 1944-early 1945, when pro-London Polish militants of AK had made an attempt to take over Warsaw from the Germans before the Red Army’s arrival. The report said that the AK fighters systematically killed all the Jews who survived the German suppression of Warsaw Ghetto uprising (1943). It could explain why the Russian army did not think it is their sacred duty to help the AK militants.

Russians were always rather good and tolerant to Jews. There were no pogroms in Russia – only in Poland, the Ukraine and Moldova, the independent states once parts of the Russian Empire. The Russians saved millions of Jews, including millions of Polish Jews who were allowed to move to Russia. No other country accepted so many Jewish refugees as Russia did, by a long chalk. The Jews paid this back with black ingratitude by helping the West to carry out its psy-war against Russia. Masha Gessen and Leonid Gozman are typical pro-Western and anti-Russian Jews who won’t be alive but for Russian courage and generosity.

Still, Russia is good for Jews. They are an integral part of modern Russian elites; Jewish centres occupy prime real estate sites in Moscow and elsewhere. Relations with Israel are also rather good, despite the low-key confrontation in Syria. While visiting the Auschwitz forum in Jerusalem, Putin will also unveil a new memorial to the Soviet Jews who perished during the cruel Leningrad siege. Netanyahu is particularly friendly to Putin, and this personal friendship allowed them to avoid an all-out war for Syria.

Israeli liberals, enemies of Trump and Netanyahu, are definitely unhappy about this development. They would prefer that Jerusalem accommodate Warsaw, even for the tiny price of overlooking the ethnically-cleansed Jews of Poland. But they are not ruling Israel, yet, though their main newspaper, Haaretz, is as anti-Putin as any Western media.

The Poles are screwed-up. They thought the Jews connected to the US would support them against Russia, but Jews have their own calculations and interests. If the Poles thought the Russians would never discover their vulnerabilities, they were mistaken. It is true, the Russians had kept so many damning documents of the period in their sealed archives; but that was when Warsaw was an ally of Moscow. Now it makes no sense at all, and Russians do present terrible proofs of violent Polish anti-Jewish attitudes.

They corrected the whole narrative of the war. While Poles like to begin the history with Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty, subsequently presenting the USSR as an ally of Nazi Germany assaulting innocent and pure Poland; in the new Russian narrative (and in reality), the treaty between Poland and Nazi Germany preceded the Molotov pact by many years. Poland intended to attack Russia as a junior partner of Hitler. That is why the western border of Poland (with Germany) was totally unfortified and undefended, as opposed to the heavily fortified Eastern border with the USSR. But for this strategic miscalculation of Polish between-the-wars leadership, the Germans won’t be able to defeat Polish army within two weeks.

The Russians provided documents showing that half a million Poles served in Hitler’s Wehrmacht. These prove that the Polish leadership was fond of German Nazis, not least because of their anti-Jewish attitudes. Hitler personally attended the memorial service of Polish First Marshall Jozef Pilsudski in Berlin, in 1935.

Indeed, the tricky Poles had tried to play the West against Germany, the Germany against the USSR, and they ended with their country in ruins. Instead of learning their lessons and understanding that such intrigues are not healthy for a mid-size country, they repeated it after the Cold War, by trying to become the cutting edge of the Western assault upon Russia. The Auschwitz Forum in Jerusalem proves again that this policy leads to a new disaster.

A special resolution of the Polish Sejm – the lower house of the Polish parliament – condemned both “provocative” and “false” statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin, about the role of Poland in the beginning of World War II. “Two totalitarian regimes – Nazi Germany and the communist USSR – unleashed this war”, the resolution emphasizes, which was adopted without a voting procedure on Thursday, January 9, while Poland is innocent.

This mantra worked all right for a long time; while it was necessary to accuse Russia and to delegitimise the Soviets. But now the Jews want to have their share of fun, incidentally at the expense of Poland. For Russia it is a change for the better. Jews are a valuable ally. With Putin in the Yad va-Shem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, and the Polish president Duda not among those present, Polish voices won’t be heard.

I recently received a letter from a Polish nationalist Dr Ignacy Nowopolski; he writes – we the Poles need to go back to the Warsaw Pact protection, otherwise the Jews and Germans will fleece us.

“They started to accuse Poland of precipitating WWII and the Jewish holocaust… From 1989 on, the Western corporations were busy designing a strategy for effective robbery of the post communist societies’ wealth… The West brought immense misery to countless people around the world… The imperial media have been able to convince people in the post-communist countries to voluntarily join the newly established atheistic paradise of the EU. Today, after over three decades of functioning in the Western sphere of influence, young Polish generations accept being the second-class EU citizens as normal as the Universal Law of Gravitation.

…anti-Russian sentiments in Poland and other Central European countries are mere demonstration of imprudent tendencies in their societies. In order to survive, these nations must overcome mutual animosities, which currently enable their enemies to successfully employ ancient divide et impera strategy. The answer is in the creation of some sort of “Euroslavia” in cooperation or even confederation with Russian Federation” – i.e. going back to the Warsaw Pact.

Such a sentiment on the lips of a hard-line Polish nationalist is a sign of profound change of heart. If and when such people would occupy the old Viceroy Palace, Poland would make peace with Russia and prosper. US soldiers, tanks and radars would go back to Virginia. Russian military memorials would get freshly painted. Russians are easy to forget old grievances; they still have a warm spot in their heart for the Poles, “the French of the East”. Then Russia would support Poland against third-party claims, as she did for many years. But meanwhile, let the Auschwitz Forum be a useful lesson for Poland – do not stir hostility in the East by the orders from the West.

On the photo – a demonstration of the Poles against restitution subtitled “Neo-Nazi protest” in an American newspaper. Only a neo-Nazi would prefer to remain the owner of his apartment when it could be given over to a Jewish American organization.

Israel Shamir can be reached at

This article was first published at The Unz Review.

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