Murder of the Jews in the Polish Press, 1942-1947
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume XXXIV
The Murder of the Jews by the Nazis as Perceived in the Polish Press, 1942-1947
The author examines which views on the Nazi murder of the Jews were present in the Polish press between 1942 and 1947. Overwhelmingly, the plight of the Jewish population was mentioned only when it was possible to relate it to the suffering of ethnic Poles as well. Meanwhile, Jews were not perceived to be part of the ethnically defined Polish national community toward which solidarity had to be exercised unconditionally. After the war, the (pro-) communist press took a very critical stance regarding the reaction of the Polish population to the Nazis’ anti-Jewish crimes. At the same time, the communists and their political allies propagated a specific “anti-antisemitism”. They also often withheld the truth that the Nazis’ victims were predominantly Jews and that there was actually no common martyrdom of Poles and Jews. The legal non-communist press stressed the help given by Poles to the persecuted Jews but was either unwilling or, because of government censorship, unable to act as a corrective. Meanwhile, the underground press repeatedly expressed a collective fear of “Judeo-Bolshevism” (Żydokomuna), which was projected onto a clandestine “foreign” (Jewish) enemy inside the country. The illegal groupings opined that Poles had reacted in an exemplary way towards the Holocaust and were chagrined by what they perceived as Jewish ingratitude.