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“Them” and “Us”: In Reply to Professor Tomasz Strzembosz
This article is a response to an article by Prof. Strzembosz on Jedwabne that was published in Poland and appears in this volume. Gutman rejects Strzembosz’s assertions regarding commonplace Jewish collaboration with the Soviet regime and the NKVD during the period of Soviet occupation. There were collaborators both among the Jews and among the Poles, but these were a minority. In any event, whoever sees only Jews suffers from a one-sided perspective. With regard to the Jews’ warm welcome of the Soviet army, it is understandable, given the Nazi alternative that posed a terrible danger to the Jews. Gutman recalls Strzembosz’s writing on the war period, on the Jewish underground and the Warsaw ghetto uprising, and on the Żegota aid organization and the genuine cooperation between these and the Polish underground. It is time, argues Gutman, to free ourselves of the “Us” and “Them” divide and to confront the truth without compromise.
Richard I. Cohen