Jan Peczkis wrote today:
Here is my review, recently appearing at Amazon. Naliboki has gotten some attention because of the massacre of Poles by a combination of Soviet and Jewish bands. This book, though not particularly well written in my opinion, provides the English-speaking reader with some background on this massacre, but unfortunately does not clarify the role of Jews in this crime.
Review of The Last Day of Naliboki, by Mieczyslaw Klimowicz. 2009. American Literary Press, Baltimore, Maryland. Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
Life and Death in the Mixed Polish-Byelorussian Region of WWII NE Poland
This work is about much more than the title implies: It provides many details, especially biographical ones, about life in that geographic region before and during WWII. There are many references to Biblical themes and detailed allusions to previous chapters in Polish history. (The editing of this book could have been better.) There are some photos and many sketched illustrations. At times, Klimowicz (born 1929) expresses extreme—even bizarre—opinions about various pre-WWII Polish political leaders.
Prewar Polish-Jewish relations are described as good (pp. 16-17). Jewish economic dominance was evidently so extreme that there was only one local spoldzielnia (cooperative) owned by a Pole. (p. 37). Klimowicz repudiates the blood libel, realizing that Jewish law abhors the very notion of the consumption of blood. (p. 181). The local Jews, some mentioned by name (pp. 177-181), were later systematically murdered by the Germans. (pp. 177-181, 189). They were shot by the SS and buried in mass graves. So were many Poles, as described throughout this work.
No sooner had the Soviets invaded eastern Poland in 1939 than they deprived the Nalibokians of their livestock and other goods. (p. 111). The local NKVD commissioner was Jewish. (p. 165). Naliboki political prisoners held at Baranowicze, having endured many tortures, were not murdered by the retreating Soviets, in the wake of the June 1941 Nazi invasion, only because German bombing had enabled their escape. (p. 163).
During the German occupation, Klimowicz relates: “At this particular time in the Wilderness of Naliboki was spread an onslaught of the Polish people by the Soviet partisans. Many families had been plundered, murdered, and burned alive. The German ascendancy over this territory had been reluctant to keep law and order to deal with the Soviet partisans in their midst.” (p. 189). In time, however, having been thinned out by reversals on the front, the Germans did allow the establishment of an armed defensive unit at Naliboki, even providing some arms to the Poles. (pp. 200-201). The Soviet partisans arrogated themselves the “right” to pass through Naliboki (pp. 210-211) which, being of course refused, prompted them to threaten a mass attack which was eventually carried out.
The deaths of Naliboki’s civilians have at times been excused as an unavoidable collateral event to the guerilla combat. This is false: They were two separate events. The Soviets had neutralized the defensive resistance and only LATER begun a systematic mass-murder of the now-defenseless civilians. (p. 217).
Klimowicz does not identify the ethnic composition of the Soviet attackers. However, he does mention an indirect acquaintance, a tall Jewish woman, who was among the killers of unarmed Polish civilians. (p. 214, 217).
This work alludes to the AK and its guerilla warfare. (e. g., p. 199, 230). A few months after the Soviet massacre of Poles at Naliboki, the Germans, as part of their new anti-Polish-guerilla sweep of the area, destroyed most of the remainder of Naliboki and deported the civilians to Germany for forced labor.
The Teheran-Yalta sellout of Poland left this region in the hands of the Soviet Union. Naliboki itself did not cease to exist. A few Poles stayed behind, and, joined by other now-USSR Poles, rebuilt some of the buildings. After the collapse of the USSR and, thanks to the financial aid of Nalibokians from all over the world, they managed to rebuild one of the churches in 1994. (pp. 250-251).