Grabowski-Hunt-Critique-3.doc

Grabowski-Hunt-Critique-3.doc - December 2017(REVISED...

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December 2017 (REVISED) Another Look at Polish-Jewish Relations in Dąbrowa Tarnowska County A Much Needed Corrective to Jan Grabowski’s Hunt for the Jews CONTENTS Introduction … 1 The Catholic Church and Clergy – Some Observations on Grabowski’s Methodology … 3 Clergy Assistance Overlooked …11 Polish Attitudes and the Risks Associated with Rescue …15 Problematic Approach to Testimonies …22 The Extent of Rescue …26 Rescue Overlooked, Rescue Covered Up …36 Poles Put to Death for Helping Jews …43 Paid Rescue …46 Polish Police, Jewish Police – Shifting the Blame …52 Robbery and Banditry – The Cover-Up …57 Conclusion …60 Tables …61 I. Poles from Dąbrowa Tarnowska County Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations …62 II. Other Polish Rescuers from Dąbrowa Tarnowska County …72 III. Jews Who Reported to the Żabno Office of the Central Committee of Polish Jews …100 IV. Jews Who Survived the War Hidden in Dąbrowa Tarnowska County …101 Appendix: Rescue Accounts of Poles Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations …104 Introduction Given the very narrow focus of Jan Grabowski’s book Hunt for the Jews 1 – Polish-Jewish relations during the Second World War in Dąbrowa Tarnowska, a rural county in Kraków voivodship in southern Poland with a population of some 70,000, one would have expected a thorough and scholarly treatment of this topic. Instead, what we get is a book that is less than reliable in many respects. It is characterized by selectivity, unsubstantiated generalizations, frequent digressions and unnecessary polemics. At least one-quarter of the book is drawn from events and examples from outside the county (often from distant parts of Poland). The book is also marred by inadequate research. Grabowski is unable to identify most of the documented cases of rescue of Jews in Dąbrowa Tarnowska county, and matters that are said to crucial for our understanding of the topic, such as the role of the Catholic Church, are dealt with in a cursory and even shoddy manner. Sadly, even Grabowski’s information cannot be taken at face value 1 Jan Grabowski, Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2013). 1
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without examining the sources he relies on. Yet, reviewers (with no expertise in local conditions) showered accolades on Grabowski’s book for his “exemplary” scholarship and “meticulous” research, 2 and Grabowski was awarded the 2014 Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research. Moreover, as we shall see, Grabowski’s findings are relied on as authoritative by prominent Holocaust historians. Jan Grabowski is associated with the Polish Center for Holocaust Research (Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów), a state-funded institution, and his research benefited greatly from the input of historians from that circle. As such, his book can be treated as fairly representative of their scholarship. Before the publication of the English version of his book Hunt for the Jews in 2013,
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