Norman Davies unveils how anti-Polish Holocaust narrative was initiated

November 14, 2019

Norman Davies described in his autobiography how Israeli historian was instructing British scholars to classify Poles as „bystanders” during Holocaust.

80-year-old historian Norman Davies described in his recently released 800-page autobiography the way professor Yehuda Bauer was teaching young British historians how to deal with the Holocaust. In 1974, prof. Bauer met with over 30 historians in Israeli embassy in London instructing them that the triad „perpetrators-victims-bystanders” should be used to describe people involved in the Holocaust. The term „bystanders” was reserved for the Poles. Any mention that the Polish nationals were also victims during WWII was denied.

 

„It was a closed meeting for professional historians. Yehuda Bauer, an Israeli historian, was the top speaker. It was supposed to be a workshop on how to teach about the Holocaust. The beginning of the large action to promote knowledge about the Holocaust in the world. The scheme presented by prof. Bauer was clear: there were perpetrators – Nazis (not Germans), victims – only the Jews and bystanders – Poles”, Professor Davies told the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily in an interview published on Monday.

Professor Davies said that the Poles were presented as bystanders and no mention of Polish victims and sufferings was allowed: „The supposed result of this meeting was to show that Poland was historically the centre of antisemitism and describing Poles as antisemites was justifiable. I was shouted down. I heard: „Sit down!” and „Polonofile!”.”

According to prof. Davies, Poland was inscribed in the scheme in a role of „bystander” and in the 1970s and 1980s it became a dominant narrative.

„Unfortunately this scheme was adopted in the West not just in universities but as common knowledge and it dominates in the WWII narrative,” said Norman Davies.

The Oxford-based historian also described how he was denied a position at Stanford University in unclear circumstances after being completing a selection procedure. After completing all the formalities, he was contacted by the University official and told that he would not get the job.

After a few weeks, I have been told that the case has to do with Jewish questions, namely with my writing about Polish-Jewish relations,” said Mr Davies.

Norman Davies, born in 1939 in Bolton, is the author of several books about European and Polish history, the best known of them is the „God’s Playground”, first released in 1981.

From the editor: 

Poland is the country that suffered the most during the WW2, in proportion to its population. We lost above 17 % of our citizens – around 6 million citizens, including up to three million Polish Jews murdered by the Germans. Poland still demands compensation from Germany for the terrible losses.

Poles constitute the largest national group within the Righteous Among the Nations recognised by Yad Vashem. 26.793 people has been recognised so far. More than 25% of which were Polish. More can be read at the official Yad Vashem website. We need to remember that throughout the German occupation of Poland, many Poles risked their own lives – and the lives of their families – to rescue Jews from the Germans. To date 6,992 Poles, mostly Christians, have been awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel, more than those of any other nation (to compare Germany just 616). Considering the harsh punishment that threatened rescuers, this is a most impressive number. Polish citizens were hampered by the most extreme conditions in all of German-occupied Europe. Occupied Poland was the only territory where the Germans decreed that any kind of help for Jews was punishable by death for the helper and their entire family. At least 50.000 Poles were executed by the Germans solely as a penalty for saving Jews.

Source: polandin.com/rb/km/rl/kb

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