Jews Acquired Polish Properties

Review of The Lemberg Mosaic, by Jakob Weiss. 2010. Alderbrook Press, New York.
Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
Jews & Polish Statehood. Limited Pre-1918 anti-Semitism. Jews Get Post-Polish Properties, Jews in Armia Krajowa
Jakob Weiss begins with a history of Austrian-ruled Lwow (Lviv, Lemberg). Considering especially the fact that the city in question was not called Lemberg during most of his life, why does he title his book with the German-language name of this Polish city?
The author touches on pre-WWII Jewish life, the 1939 war, the Soviet and Nazi occupations, the unfolding Holocaust, his flight to Warsaw, etc. Unfortunately, he repeats the bogus charges of massive 1918-era pogroms, nearly all of which decisively had been discredited by the investigatory commission of Wilson-sent American Jew Henry Morgenthau. Weiss condemns Morgenthau as essentially a traitor, without presenting any evidence showing that Morgenthau was supposedly incorrect or untruthful. (pp. 382-383). He also repeats the 1939 myths of Polish cavalry charging German tanks, and the Polish Air Force largely destroyed on the ground. (p. 124).
Although Weiss frequently refers to Polish anti-Semitism, he notes that he did not experience anti-Semitism in his early years. He comments, (quote) My memories are of a mixed neighborhood where Polish Catholics lived together with Orthodox Jews side-by-side, peacefully, and without incident. (unquote)(p. 15).
In an Afterward by Dr. Berthold Zarwyn, whose father had been murdered by the Germans at Janowska camp, he presents an atypically objective view of Polish anti-Semitism. Zarwyn thus writes, (quote) It appears to me that two main factors led to anti-Semitism in Poland. The monopolization of commerce by Jews forced into this area by exclusive regulations, and the lack of cultural interaction based mostly on religious ignorance. The attitudes of Catholic clergy on the one-side and of Orthodox Jewry on the other did not stimulate a normal understanding and intermingling. (unquote).
Poles (not only Endeks) had long complained that Poland’s Jews, in general, were out of touch with Polish national aspirations. Jakob Weiss essentially confirms this fact, even as late as around 1918, as he comments, (quote) With the majority of eastern Galicia staunch adherents of one religious sect or another, most were apathetic about who controlled the territory…And as such, the KAHAL made this very clear during the regional struggle when it presented written declarations of neutrality to all sides. (unquote)(p. 29).
Weiss misrepresents the Zydokomuna [Bolshevized Judaism] as implying that most Jews supported Communism (which was untrue), when it actually referred to the fact that Communists were very disproportionately Jewish (which was true). In doing so, Weiss again makes it obvious that, whatever the attitudes of Galician Jews to Communism, they in general were aloof from the Polish cause. He writes, (quote) Parenthetically, I would note that based on my own observations, most of the Jews I knew in Lemberg were either Austrophiles still patriotic to the late emperor, or politically apathetic; few were actual Bolsheviks or Mensheviks, especially the orthodox who paradoxically always seemed to be the first victims. (unquote)(p. 30).
Jan T. Gross and other neo-Stalinists have made much of the fact that Poles acquired post-Jewish properties during and after the German-made Holocaust, and that greed was what supposedly animated the Poles. In actuality, acquisition of the properties of the departed was a standard, long-term practice that knew no ethnicity. For instance, Jews acquired the properties of Poles that had been deported to Siberia after the defeated January 1863 Insurrection, and again after the Soviet conquest of the eastern half of Poland in 1939. In fact, Weiss himself was the recipient of post-Polish property, as he described in an apparently jocular manner, (quote) These generous accommodations were provided to us complements of the Soviets, or, more accurately the former landlord, an unfortunate member of the “bourgeois”, who at that moment, was most likely, living like a Khanty Eskimo, netting sardines at an ice hole in some gulag under the midnight sun of the Arctic. (unquote)(p. 143).
Weiss describes the Nazi murder of the Polish professors at Lwow, as well as similar murders of Polish intellectuals at places such as Zloczow. (p. 273). The author then describes the unfolding Holocaust: The mass murders of Jews by Ukrainians, Ukrainian collaborationists, and Germans, the death camps at Janowska and Belzec, etc. Weiss also proves extreme detail on how the Polish Underground made exquisite forged identification cards so that Weiss and other fugitive Jews could be “paper Aryans”. (pp. 198-199). He also verbalizes the fact that Polish aid was crucial to the survival of fugitive Jews (p. 299), and mentions the activities of Zegota. (p. 340).
The author, and some of his named relatives, became Jewish members of the A. K. (Armia Krajowa). (p. 201, 203). In time, he and some of these relatives trekked to Warsaw. Lorenc, one of them, was caught by the Germans and imprisoned in the infamous Pawiak. The Gestapo tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to get him to divulge the identities of Underground members as well as those of fugitive Jews. In describing the latter, Jakob Weiss wrote, (quote) But Lorenc also knew the names and addresses of hundreds of Jews still living in Warsaw for whom he had forged false documents to corroborate their Aryan identities. The Gestapo was anxious to have this information as well. (unquote)(p. 350). The reader can well imagine the number of fugitive Jews that would have been doomed had Lorenc “sung” under Gestapo tortures. This experience reminds us that the Germans had various methods of unmasking and apprehending fugitive Jews. One should not assume, as neo-Stalinists do, that the low survival rate of fugitive Jews owed primarily to the acts of Polish denouncers, or that Polish denouncers were numerous.
Having spent time in both cities, Weiss contrasts the populations of szmalcowniki (mostly-Polish blackmailers/denouncers of fugitive Jews) of Warsaw and Lwow. He comments, (quote) In Lemberg, we didn’t use the term, and the collaborators weren’t nearly as vicious or pervasive, except for the few dozen that roamed the Central Train Station. (unquote)(p. 414). This experience teaches us that one should not assume that, just because szmalcowniki were relatively common in some parts of German-occupied Poland, that they therefore were common everywhere in Poland. Clearly, each location should be studied on a case-by-case basis.

By piotrbein