Comparing Koniuchy and Deir Yassin Massacres
Here are two reviews, one recently appearing at Amazon (the other long ago). Using the methodology used to prove that Deir Yassin was a massacre (and not inadvertent combat deaths of civilians), one can prove that the deaths of Poles at Koniuchy was also a massacre–even if one solely uses the information from this Jewish source (Kowalski).
Review of A Secret Press in Nazi Europe: The Story of a Jewish Partisan Organization by Isaac Kowalski. (1969, 1978). Shengold Publishers, New York. Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
The Koniuchy Massacre—Not Collateral Civilian Deaths—During the Jewish-Soviet Attack on This Polish Village
This work is centered on Jewish guerrilla life in the area of Vilna (Wilno,Vilnius). The covert press is decidedly subordinate. The Warsaw Ghetto fighters are honored, and described as consisting of 200 ZOB (Z.O.B) and (the oft-ignored) 400 ZZW (Z.Z.W)(p. 209). A helpful table is provided of the Jewish soldiers found in all the Allied armies. (p. 334). Poles and Lithuanians who aided the local fugitive Jews are also featured in some detail. ((pp. 157-166).
The author repeats reflexive accusations of the Polish Underground AK (A.K., or Armia Krajowa) of being “rabidly anti-Semitic” and out to kill Jews. (p. 291). But then he turns around, and points out that the AK condemned anti-Semitism and punished it. (p. 293). All along, however, he is silent about the openly Jewish members in the AK (including its top echelons), the need for the AK to protect Polish peasants from widespread Jewish banditry, and the massive collaboration of Jewish partisans with Soviet ones in their war to destroy the AK in the Vilna region.
Author Kowalski describes the 1943 Jewish-Soviet partisan attack on Koniuchy as follows: “Our detachment got the order to destroy everything that was moving and burn the village down to its roots. At the exact hour and minute all partisans from all four corners of the village started pouring rifle and machine-gun fire, with incendiary bullets, into the village. This caused the straw roofs of the houses to catch fire. The villagers and the German garrison answered back with heavy fire, but after two hours the village with the fortified shelter was completely destroyed. Our only casualties were two men who were lightly wounded. When, later, we had to go through Koniuchy, we did not encounter any sniper shots, because it was like crossing through a cemetery.” (p. 279).
Actually, there was no German garrison at Koniuchy. In fact, Kowalski’s testimony itself is self-refuting. Had there been one, and had it moreover enjoyed a “fortified shelter”, and had it moreover been capable of directing “heavy fire”, how likely is it that the attackers would have merely suffered “two men who were lightly wounded”? (Otherwise, the Koniuchy Poles may have requested and obtained a small number of weapons from the Germans, and may well have sometimes denounced and killed Jews, but all this was in self-defense from bandits, including Jewish bandits.).
As would later (1948) be alleged about Deir Yassin, the civilians killed in Koniuchy are implied to be collateral combat deaths. The high civilian death toll, in both instances, unmasks this falsehood. Guerrilla village combat itself, especially when using mainly portable firearms and mortars, usually isn’t lethal enough to cause a considerable number of civilian deaths (certainly not “like crossing through a cemetery.”). The low attacker casualty rate (“2 wounded”) and brevity of the combat (“two hours”), if accurate, only strengthen this fact. As a matter of fact, more than 20 civilian deaths in a moderate-sized village is a red flag, as is a low attacker casualty rate. [For details, see the Peczkis review of [Link] THE SAGA OF DEIR YASSIN]. Clearly, the Polish civilians of Koniuchy, like the Arab civilians of Deir Yassin, didn’t mainly fall in combat. They were killed deliberately by the Jewish attackers.
Ironic to the belittling of this book (e. g., “unknown author”), in recent years, no doubt because of its now-unwelcome mention of Koniuchy, it originally enjoyed the endorsement of prominent Jewish papers (posted on the inside cover). These included the:Hadassah Magazine,Jerusalem Post,Jewish Daily Forward,Jewish Digest,Jewish Spectator, and theNational Jewish Monthly. In any case, Jewish complicity in the tragedy at Koniuchy has recently been confirmed by an Israeli historian. [see [Link] THE FALL OF A SPARROW].
For the convenience of the reader, here is my earlier review of the following book to which I link–for the methodology of distinguishing village-combat civilian deaths from murderous ones:
Review of The Saga of Deir Yassin: Massacre, Revisionism, and Reality, by Daniel A. McGowan. 1999. Published by Deir Yassin Remembered. Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
The Undeniable Slaughter of Arab Civilians by Jewish Soldiers
By way of introduction, my interest in this subject was piqued by all the fuss surrounding it. Certain Jewish individuals and groups had dug up 60 year-old dirt on Poles in the form of the Jedwabne massacre, and then some Poles returned the favor by bringing up the Deir Yassin massacre.
But what actually happened at Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948? The ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) would have us believe that there had been no massacre and that all the civilian deaths had merely been the result of normal combat operations. Their revisionist tract, DEIR YASSIN: HISTORY OF A LIE, though featured positively in the American press (p. 3) is extensively refuted in this book.
In fact, the collateral-deaths-in-combat revisionist case falls apart almost immediately. To begin with, the low death toll of the Jewish attackers (Irgun and Lehi guerillas) proves that they encountered very little resistance at Deir Yassin: “As it occurred, we are told, when a force of 120 untested troops with insufficient ammunition and inadequate weaponry successfully managed to storm fortified stone houses but who miraculously suffered only 5 percent casualties.” (pp. 2-3; see also p. 29). Moreover, accounts of Arab soldiers fighting at Deir Yassin are entirely secondary in origin (p. 20, 28).
When civilians are unintentionally hit by combat crossfire, one normally expects many more wounded than dead. But at Deir Yassin, it was exactly the opposite: 20, perhaps up to 50, wounded against 110 dead (p. 25). The implications are stark: “A systematic slaughter is powerfully indicated by this remarkable statistic alone. We would otherwise have to believe a group of ill-trained and poorly equipped fighters repeatedly scored a miraculously high rate of lethal wounds on persons they say they did not intend to hit.” (p. 25).
The number of fatalities is also telling: “One hundred ten dead, predominantly civilians, in a single village battle is a huge red flag that there was deliberate killing. Ground combat in a peasant village, even with modern weapons, does not usually cause that high a number of civilian deaths…In Vietnam, a civilian death figure of about 20 in a rural village battle was considered `abnormally high,’ requiring investigation by a command-level officer…Deir Yassin’s death toll of 110 was thus as much as 5 times the number of civilian deaths considered disturbingly excessive in bloodier village combat (helicopter gunships, artillery barrages, search and destroy, etc.) where much greater firepower was typically brought to bear against flimsier dwellings.” (pp. 22-23). Such things as women fighting, men disguised as women, fake surrenders, etc., are timeless features of war and do not alter the foregoing conclusions (p. 27). To make the case even stronger, there is no evidence of mortar shells being used against Deir Yassin (p. 49) or of any especially-destructive weapons employed (p. 27).
Numerous Jewish eyewitnesses and Jewish investigators recognize the fact of the Deir Yassin massacre (p. 1, 3, 4, 13-14, 16, 18, 48, 73). In fact, the Jewish attackers themselves admitted committing the massacre (pp. 72-73) and, in a boast, inflated the death toll from 110 to the oft-quoted 254 (p. 65).
The Israeli government refuses to release photos of the Deir Yassin victims (p. 12). If they support a collateral-deaths-in-combat explanation, one wonders why.
In summarizing how the civilians of Deir Yassin died, the authors conclude: “Most were killed by close range gunfire, some by stabbing, a few in combat, and some while fleeing. Most of the victims of the massacre, as the burial chief later lamented, were old men, women, and children, who died with no weapon in their hands. There was not combat chaos or circumstances necessitating their deaths, despite the early fighting. They were intentionally murdered.” (p. 64). McGowan and Hogan also have some choice words: “Describing the Deir Yassin massacre as false, exaggerated, or in dispute, is to engage in the same impudence as Holocaust Revisionism. The same applies to alleging a false origin of the reports of massacre.” (pp. 72-73). “The slaughter is as immune to historical doubt as are such atrocities as the My Laimassacre, the Bataan Death March, and the Holocaust.” (p. 2).
McGowan and Hogan believe that the Deir Yassin massacre was motivated by the desire for collective revenge against Arabs for earlier massacres of Jews (p. 37, 48). (The informed reader who wants to compare Deir Yassin and Jedwabne may recount the fact that Polish participation in the Jedwabne massacre, to the extent that it was consensual under German command, had been motivated by the desire for collective revenge against Jews for the earlier Jewish-Soviet collaboration against Poles).
Koniuchy: Israeli Scholar Admits Jewish Crime Against Poles
Here is my review, recently appearing at Amazon. While this historian doesn’t admit that a massacre of Poles by Jewish and Soviet partisans took place in Koniuchy, she does acknowledge that the village was burned by the attackers.
Review of The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner, by Dina Porat. (2010).StandordUniversityPress,Stanford,California. Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
Israeli Historian Admits the Jewish Atrocity Against the Poles of Koniuchy
This book covers Kovner’s life in pre-WWII Vilna (Wilno, Vilnius), the Soviet and German occupations, the German-Nazi shootings of Jews at Ponary and the later destruction of the Vilna Ghetto, Kovner’s partisan organization and its affiliations and actions, the postwar gatherings of Holocaust survivors, and the decades of Kovner’s postwar life in Israel. Interestingly, Kovner was part of an immediate-postwar revenge plot which, if successful, would have led to the deaths of millions of Germans. (pp. 234-236).
The Soviets invading Vilna in 1939 were welcomed by Jews as “saviors from the Germans”. (p. 17). Then historian Porat implicitly undercuts this stereotyped exculpation when she alludes to the fact that the local Jews were not then particularly afraid of the Nazis: “Among themselves, [Hashomer Hatzair] members noted the fact that Hitler had been in power inGermanyfor six years and that nothing terrible had happened to the Jews there.” (pp. 24-25). Furthermore, “The Jewish movements and leaders made no similar effort to understand Nazism and to read the works of its founders, although the Jewish people were a main issue, standing at its very center.” (pp. 26-27).
For a time, Kovner and some of his fellow Jews hid from the Nazis among Catholic nuns near Vilna—“a strange alliance…between leftist atheists and Catholics.” (pp. 45-53). Local Poles aided Jews in other contexts. (p. 56).
Unfortunately, Porat repeats standard Polonophobic slurs against the Polish Underground AK (A. K., or Armia Krajowa), accusing it of being anti-Semitic and out to kill fugitive Jews. (pp. 98-99; see also p, 167, 178). Porat, a historian, should know better. [For the truth, see the following work by the historian Chodakiewicz: [link] BETWEEN NAZIS AND SOVIETS].
However, Polish suspicions of the broad scope of the Zydokomuna (Bolshevized Judaism), and specifically the AK’s characterization of Kovner’s movement being essentially Communist (p. 98) were well-founded, as tacitly noted by Porat: “The Jewish leftists in the Zionist movement and the public at large, in Eretz Israel and in Europe, delved into Soviet ideology with a will, investing most of their efforts therein at a time when the leadership of the Soviet Union turned a deaf ear to Zionist and Jewry was but one of a thousand issues facing it.” (pp. 26-27; for details on the Kovner-Communist connection, see especially p. 78-on, 124, 146, etc.).
For a long time, the Jewish massacres of Poles at places such as Naliboki and Koniuchy had been dismissed as “Polish nationalist” or “obscure Jewish” notions. Now Jewish historian Porat admits arson but not murder: “Sometimes the partisans took revenge on villages that were particularly hostile and had caused them loss of life of were the home base of the murderers of Jews in Vilna. For example, about twenty partisans, Jewish and non-Jewish, razed and then set fire to thevillage ofKonyuchi[Koniuchy], having received orders from partisan headquarters in Rudniki to destroy it. The Germans photographed the ruins of the village with the intention of showing the world the true face of the partisans, ‘the red bandits’. Kovner mustered his men, announced the operation had been successful, and praised the fighters who had distinguished themselves.” (p. 159).
But just a few paragraphs earlier, Porat makes it obvious why Poles would sometimes kill and denounce Jews: The Jews were engaged in banditry. Although, according to Porat, this banditry was to be constrained by need, it went beyond that: “Because it was hard to resist temptation, especially if the farm belonged to a Pole or German, and because there was no way to monitor them, often the Jewish partisans did not follow orders, no matter how much Kovner preached.” (pp. 158-159). [If so, what happened to military discipline? In any case, the reader should not forget that Poles also had to eat to live.]
Whether it was arson or arson/murder, the perceptive reader will realize that the Jewish atrocity at Koniuchy partook of collective revenge. No attempt was made to distinguish those Poles who may have harmed Jews in self-defense from those who did it out of malice; still less those Poles (notably children) who were totally uninvolved in anti-Jewish actions. Recall that, in the wake of Jan T. Gross and the Jedwabne “revelation”, Poles were excoriated for taking collective revenge against Jews for their earlier Jewish-Soviet collaboration. [Will the media now raise the same hullaballoo over Jews-Koniuchy as it did over Poles-Jedwabne? Maybe in some other universe.]
ADDENDUM: The fact that not only collective arson of Polish properties but also a collective mass murder of Polish civilians, by Jews, took place in the village of Koniuchy, is acknowledged in other Jewish sources:
Lazar, Chaim. 1985. Destruction and Resistance: A History of the Partisan Movement of Vilna, pp. 174-175.
Kowalski, Isaac. 1969. A Secret Press in NaziEurope: The Story of a Jewish United Partisan Organization, pp. 333-334.
I thank historian Mark Paul for locating this information.
Jewish Non-Help to Poles; Koniuchy Massacre of Poles Further Confirmed
Here is my review, recently posted at Amazon. For all the attention given to Poles supposedly not doing enough to help fugitive Jews during the German occupation, we see an interesting reversal: Jews refusing to help fugitive Poles. My review of this book adds to those of the two other Jewish-authored books, linked from the review below, and whose reviews of mine were distributed last week. They all confirm the Jewish massacre of Poles at Koniuchy.
Review of Destruction and Resistance, by Chaim Lazar. (1950, 1985). Shengold Publishers, Inc. The Museum of Combatants and Partisans in Israel. Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
Mass Murder of the Poles of Koniuchy, by Jewish-Soviet Bands, in Reprisal for Defending Themselves Against Jewish Banditry
The author came from Vilna (Wilno,Vilnius) and survived the mass shootings of Jews at Ponary. (pp. 30-31). For a time, [as in the Warsaw Ghetto], fugitive Poles sought shelter from Germans among the Jews of the Vilna Ghetto. (pp. 92-93). He writes: “It was feared that some Poles would want to infiltrate the ghetto to hide there. The ghetto entrances were sealed off to prevent provocation by the Poles, which could end in disaster for the Jews.” (p. 92). [Poles engaged in similar self-protection. Many likewise chose not to risk their lives by aiding fugitive Jews. After the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, they sometimes denounced Jewish escapees in Aryan Warsaw out of fear of draconian German reprisals.]
Later, while forming a Jewish partisan group, Lazar encountered reluctance from the Betar, in part because of political differences, and because the Betar didn’t want to support those having dubious military skills. (p. 87). [Not mentioned is the fact that the Polish Underground’s unwillingness to fully support Jewish resistance owed to the same reasons–which Lazar summarily dismissed as “Polish hatred”. (p. 51).]
Lazar makes other unsubstantiated allegations against Poles. For instance, he came across the decomposing remains of Jews in an underground shelter. “They had been murdered by the Poles.” (p. 164). Since the bodies were decomposed–moreover slowly under the wintertime conditions–the killings had occurred a long time ago. So how could he possibly know the nationality of the killers?
Otherwise, Lazar faults many nationalities. During the Holocaust itself, certainly the Lithuanians and Ukrainians were by far the main non-German killers of Jews. While in the field, one of the Russians he met, Misha, was a Gestapo spy. (p. 119). Soviet partisans were known to rob and kill fugitive Jews. (pp. 121-122).
Instead of the selective outrage, as by Jan T. Gross, regarding the Polish “acquisitiveness” of post-Jewish properties, Lazar also recounts how the Jewish police “…pillaged the property and jewelry of the Jews.” (p. 46). Later, Judenrat leaders betrayed Jews, who were engaged in resistance action, to the Gestapo. (pp. 78-79, 84). After the Vilna ghetto had been liquidated, one of the Jewish Gestapo agents, Dessler, was known to be working for the Germans against the Poles. (p. 108).
Referring to his forest life, Lazar describes events essentially corroborated by Polish sources. At times, Jewish-peasant relations were friendly. (p. 148, 165, 177). However, Jewish bands, unable to feed themselves solely by buying food from peasants, made forays (read: mass banditry) against them. (p. 134-on). (The reader should remember that Poles also had to live, and that wartime banditry is usually a capital crime.) Moreover, this was no petty larceny: The confiscated booty, accomplished by force or threats of force and taking of peasant hostages (p. 135), amounted to several wagonloads of goods per raid (p. 134, 163), and was certainly known to impoverish the peasants. (pp. 172-173). Not surprisingly, Polish guerrillas (presumably the AK, or A.K) pursued and destroyed, or attempted to destroy, Jewish bands engaged in banditry. (pp. 163-on). Also not surprisingly, the rural Poles sought protection by requesting and sometimes obtaining weapons from the Germans for self-defense, and perhaps also by denouncing fugitive Jews and Jewish bands to the Germans. (pp. 135-136).
If one is capable of overlooking his colorful embellishments (e. g., “nest of bands”, “center of intrigues”, “well-armed”, “villainy”, “leading every attack on the partisans”, etc.), Lazar essentially admits that the Jewish-Soviet attack on Koniuchy was a cold-blooded massacre of Polish farmers–a collective reprisal for their self-defense against earlier Jewish banditry. He writes: “For some time it had been known that the village Koniuchy was a nest of bands and the center of intrigues against the partisans. Its residents, known for their villainy, were organizing people in the area, distributing arms among them which they received from the Germans, and leading every attack on the partisans.” Lazar then describes the massacre itself: “One evening a hundred and twenty [attackers]…There were about 50 Jews among them, headed by Yaakov Prenner…The order was not to leave any one alive…The mission was accomplished within a short while. Sixty households, numbering about 300 people, were destroyed, with no survivors.” (pp. 174-175).
Now compare this with other Jewish sources. See Peczkis review of The Fall of a Sparrow: The Life and Times of Abba Kovner (Stanford Studies in Jewish History) and the Peczkis review of A Secret Press in Nazi Europe. Contrary to THE LIFE AND TIMES…, authored by the Israeli historian Porat, Koniuchy was mass murder (300 victims) and not just mass arson. Otherwise, Lazar repeats A SECRET PRESS on its myth of a German garrison being stationed at Koniuchy.
This book was originally written in Hebrew in 1950. Ironic to those who now belittle its “obscure author”, undoubtedly because of its now-unwelcome information about Koniuchy, it has stood the test of time, being deemed worthy enough to be translated into English in 1985. [Was the author candid about Koniuchy because he had figured that its readership would remain small, and essentially limited to Hebrew readers?]