February 24, 2011

Holocaust book branded ‘anti-Polish’

by Jan Harris

A new book, ‘Golden Harvest’ by Jan Tomasz Gross and his wife Irena Grudzinska-Gross is causing controversy even before it is published on 10 March.

The book, which is being published by Znak, Poland’s largest Catholic publishing house, tells how Poles betrayed Jews to the Nazis, took over their jobs and houses, and stole precious possessions from graves at the Treblinka and Belzec death camps.

The book also accuses Roman Catholic clergy of failing to speak out about the atrocities.

Znak says it is publishing the book to bring the facts into the public realm, and to try to understand the events against similar atrocities that were happening elsewhere in Europe.

However, the Roman Catholic church, which is often criticised for tolerating anti-semitism during and after the Second World War, believes that the book is unbalanced because it fails to recognise the many Poles who gave their lives defending Jews.

Catholic historian, Jan Zaryn, points out that Roman Catholic convents regularly protected Jews by giving them Shelter, which Polish bishops saved the lives of Jews by converting them to Christianity.

One of Znak’s most well-know authors has left the publisher because of its decision to publish the book.

To add balance to the debate, Poland’s Parliamentary Historical Club is planning an academic conference and an exhibition commemorating Poles who rescued Jews during the war, which will take place around the date of the book’s publication.

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