An AL Unit and Its Attitude toward Jews: The Trial of Tadeusz Maj
The materials presented in this article from the trials of Tadeusz Maj and his subordinate Jan Kozieł, contradict the view that the murders committed in the Starachowice area of the Kielce region were unknown to the high command of the communist-led Armia Ludowa (AL) Polish underground. They illustrate the extent of antisemitism among AL soldiers, and that antisemitic attitudes, which are usually seen as tied to the post-Stalinist era, had divided Polish communists before then. The resonance of the archival materials dealing with murders of Jews carried out by members of the Świt unit, and subsequently the Second Kielce AL Brigade bearing the same name, is summed up in the words of one of the murderers. Jan Kozieł said, “Considering the executions that were carried out and the attitude of the command to these incidents, one can conclude that the attitude of the Świt unit toward the population of Jewish nationality was hostile.” The story of the trial of Tadeusz Maj, which has been reconstructed in this article as well as other investigations concerning murders of Jews that never came to trial, documents the tensions tearing apart the fabric of the communist power apparatus, which was unwilling to search for truth about the Holocaust. Investigations were launched in order to target political rivals, and because in the period immediately preceding Stalin’s death, the configuration of political forces kept changing, consequently the relevant cases were pursued tardily and inconsistently.