WWII was a battle for survival for Jews but also for Poles: expert

“So difficult for us who are so well fed and comfortable to understand what a battle for survival it was,” said Wojciech Kozłowski, the director of the Pilecki Institute, a research institution which documents the fate of Polish citizens in the 20th century.

Interviewed by PolandIN, Dr Kozłowski commented on a recent dispute on Holocaust research, initiated by a conference organised last week in Paris by Polish historians. They argue that there was extensive Polish collaboration during WWII and that Poles were partly responsible for the Holocaust.

Researchers from “The new Polish school of historical research on the Shoah” argue that the majority of the Jews who survived the liquidation of the ghettos and were trying to hide in the countryside, were in fact denounced, or even killed, by Polish peasants. They point out that there were police and firefighter formations consisting of ethnic Poles involved in such activities.

However, other scholars point out that the formations in question were under strict German rule and that those who evaded enlistment faced a death penalty. The same applied to the peasants who, together with their families, were threatened in the same way. These scholars say that no black and white situations were possible under the German reign of terror.

Wojciech Kozłowski from the Pilecki Institute prefers to stick to the hard historical fact that “the Holocaust was organised and orchestrated by Nazi Germany” with neither any Polish state participation, nor an “organised participation” similar to the way other governments and communities backed the Nazis.

To watch the full interview, click here.