Inscribed in Professor Gutman’s Diary
This article is a response to Professor Israel Gutman’s article that appeared in Więż (April 2001) and in the book, Thou Shalt Not Kill: Poles on Jedwabne, in which he claims that any cases of anti-Polish revolts carried out by armed Jewish youth and poor inhabitants of the Polish Eastern borderlands in September 1939 are only unconfirmed rumors and generalized accusations. However, there are historical sources that confirm the claim that such rebellions took place in at least sixteen localities in the northeastern districts of the prewar Polish state. In addition, some pro- Soviet “partisan” units and “militias”, in which Polish Jews fought, operated at that time in the same territory. Part of the Jewish community of the territories supported the Soviet invasion of September 17, 1939 and helped the Soviets take over. Some Jews (sometimes numerous and visible) welcomed the Red Army troops with joy, cooperating with the new regime quite eagerly during the following months. They joined the Soviet militia, the NKVD, and provisional administration institutions helping the Soviet regime implement its policies, which also included severe persecution of Polish citizens who had been tied to institutions of the Polish state before the outbreak of the war.