The Participation of Poles in Crimes Against Jews
Yad Vashem Studies, Volume 35:1
Alina Skibińska and Jakub Petelewicz
The Participation of Poles in Crimes Against Jews in the Świętokrzyskie Region
This article undertakes a pioneering and disturbing study of the attitudes of rural Poles toward Jews during the Holocaust. Beginning with the question of whether the attitudes displayed toward Jews in the well-known case of Jedwabne were unique or symptomatic in rural Poland, the authors examine the rural area in the Šwiętokrzyski region in central Poland. The article is based primarily on an analysis of hitherto unused trial records related to the so-called August Decree of the PKWN (Polish Committee of National Liberation), which was the basis for indicting those suspected of committing crimes against Jews or complicity in such crimes. Additional sources include contemporary interviews with eyewitnesses of those events. The authors’ analysis leads to a suggestion for a typology of the acts committed, the perpetrators, the accomplices, and the eyewitnesses.