Reply of the Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago to an article by Mony Sue Weissmark in the Chicago Tribune.

February 14, 2018, Chicago Tribune

“ …My mother continued, matter of factly, “The Germans had to be taught to hate the Jews, but the Poles inherited their hatred for Jews from their mothers’ milk. Anti-Semitism was suckled with their mother’s milk…”

Odpowiedź Konsula Generalnego RP w Chicago na artykuł Mony Sue Weissmark w Chicago Tribune

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regards to Mona Sue Weissmarks’ article: “Can the world agree upon a ‘common memory’ of the Holocaust?” published in the Chicago Tribune yesterday. I am writing to add some context and clarification.

During the Second World War, after the attack of the Third Reich, when Poland was under German occupation – no one ever cooperated with the Nazis on behalf of the Polish state or nation. Although it is necessary to speak out and condemn the isolated cases when Poles collaborated with the Germans in the Holocaust, we can never agree for responsibility for the Holocaust to be attributed to Poland. That would be a blatant falsification of history.

In December 1942, the leadership of the underground state established a body specifically designed to help Jews: the Council for Aid to Jews, operating under the code name “Żegota”. It was the only such organization in occupied Europe. The Underground State of Poland applied the death penalty for anyone who denounced Jews to the Nazis.  The position of the Civil Resistance Directorate of March 18, 1943, read:

“Every Pole who cooperates with their murderous action, whether by blackmailing or denouncing Jews, exploiting their cruel position or participating in looting, commits a grave crime against the rights of the Republic of Poland and will be punished immediately.”

 In his book “Stop Them Now. The German Mass Murder of Jews in Poland from 1942”, Shmul Zygielbojm, the Secretary General of the Jewish Section of the Central Committee of Trade Unions and a member of the National Council of the Republic of Poland in London, wrote: “At this point, I must mention that the Polish people provide all possible help and compassion for the Jews. The solidarity of the Polish population has two aspects: firstly, there is mutual suffering, and secondly, a joint struggle against the inhuman invader. The fight against persecutors is continuous, persistent, in the resistance movement and is even taking place in the ghetto, in conditions so terrible and inhuman that they are difficult to describe or to imagine. (…) The Jewish and Polish population remains in constant contact, exchanging press, information and orders. The ghetto walls did not really separate the Jewish population from the Poles. Polish and Jewish society is still fighting together for a common goal, just as it fought for many years in the past. “

 In the book “Forgotten Holocaust. Poles under the German occupation of 1939-1944” the American researcher specializing in Polish affairs, Richard C. Lukas, states that the number of survivors ranges from about 40,000-50,000 up to 120,000. The Institute of National Remembrance reports that between 30,000 and 120,000 Jews survived in occupied Poland. Poles constitute one-quarter of all Righteous Among Nations. They are the largest group that is still growing steadily. This is despite the fact that – in contrast to Western European countries – assistance to Jews was punishable by death in Poland.

We find ourselves astonished by the claims of Mona Sue Weissmarks’ article that Poles inherited their hatred for Jews from their mothers’ milk. I am shocked by it. This is the biggest insult for one-quarter of all Righteous Among Nations and It is a great injustice for all Poles.


 Piotr Janicki
Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago
Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago
1530 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60610
ph: 1 (312) 337 8166, ext. 217