I Saw Poland Betrayed, by Arthur Bliss Lane. 1948

Reviewed by Jan Peczkis.
A True Friend of Poland. Postwar Housing Shortage (Why Poles Not Thrilled By Jewish Survivors). Kielce Pogrom No Spontaneous Anti-Semitic Riot. Poland Sold-Out by Churchill and Roosevelt

This seminal work is nothing less than a one-volume history of Poland from 1944-1947. It provides so much detail in just one book, and includes such things as pictures of then-General Eisenhower’s visit to war-ravaged Poland.

FASCIST! FASCIST! MANTRA OF COMMUNISTS (AND NOW OF LEWACTWO AND ANTIFA)

The author (p. 181) pointed out that the definition of a Fascist was often very elastic: “…that some well-informed persons had even gone so far as to define a Fascist as a person not in one hundred per cent agreement with Communism.” Left-wingers (including LEWAKS) had used the term Fascist in this manner since time immemorial.

Lane also includes a statement of Stalin saying that, whatever the negative American response to Soviet-made events in Poland, Americans will soon forget about it and move on to other things (p. 312). Ah, the more things change, the more they remain the same!

THE OCCASIONAL POLISH HOSTILITY TO RETURNING HOLOCAUST-SURVIVING JEWS CONTEXTUALIZED

Arthur Bliss Lane assesses the state of housing in postwar Poland, and how the Communists exploited it, as follows (p. 279): “We received reports from the larger cities–Krakow, Poznan, Gdansk, Katowice, and Lublin–that those persons who refused to sign the manifesto were told that they would probably lose their living quarters and their jobs unless they reconsidered their attitude. The housing shortage was critical all over the country, especially in cities such as Warsaw and Gdansk, where the destruction made it almost impossible to find shelter.”

Well, duh! Might not a “housing shortage…critical all over the country..” suffice as an explanation for many Poles not being exactly thrilled when Jews came back to reclaim their property, and even killing them on very rare occasions (300-600 killings out of some 300,000 returning Jews)?

Ambassador Lane goes even further. He gives the reader a taste of the devastation of Poland by the Germans and Russians and the destitution of the Poles (partly quantified: p. 317). He even includes a surreptitious photo that shows a large Russian convoy taking away looted Polish property, and also informs the reader that the Red Army had seized 200,000 tons of grain from Polish lands. Furthermore, Lane points out (p. 219) that Poland was undergoing a serious shortage of grain that could lead to famine.

KIELCE POGROM: NO SPONTANEOUS POLISH ANTI-SEMITIC RIOT

Lane provides some detail on the so-called Kielce Pogrom (pp. 246-251). He remarks: “But almost all sources agreed that the militia had been responsible to a great extent for the massacre, not only in failing to keep order but in the actual killing of the victims, for many had been shot or bayoneted to death…(p. 248). Yet no members of the militia had been brought to trial…the underlying cause of the pogrom was the growing anti-Semitism which, even our Jewish sources admitted, was caused by the great unpopularity of the Jews in key government positions. These men included Minc, Berman, Olszewski (whose real name was said to be Specht), Radkiewicz and Spychalski…It was known, furthermore, that both the U. B. and K. B. W. [Communist secret police] had, among their members, many Jews of Russian origin. (pp. 250-251).” Lane (p. 251) suspects that the “unbelievably inefficient” manner in which the militia and the U. B. (Bezpieka, or UB) had handled this situation points to at least some degree of conspiracy. Otherwise, Lane does not address the issue of whether or not those “mob” members clubbing the Jews were themselves planted Communist agents. He does point out that accusations of the “tardy response of the Church” (recently exhumed by Jan T. Gross) had been fueled by the coincidental absence of the Bishop of Kielce, Monsignor Kaczmarek (p. 249).

If indeed a staged Communist event, the so-called Kielce Pogrom certainly had the desired effect: “So, emphasis in the United States press was placed on the anti-Semitism still existing in Poland, rather than on the significance of the rigging of the referendum (p. 249).” In other words, the death of a few dozen Jews was deemed more newsworthy than the enslavement of 30 million Poles. What else is new?

THE ZYDOKOMUNA

In addressing Jewish Communism (Zydokomuna) as a factor, Lane (p. 252) quoted some Jewish relief officials who opined that not more than 5% of the repatriated Polish Jews were Communistic in their viewpoint. Considering the literacy and high intelligence of Jews, even 5% was a dangerously large percentage from which to recruit Communist leaders. [It is the leadership positions that count. More recent studies (e. g, Krzysztof Szwagrzyk) indicate that 37%-50% of the leadership of the hated Bezpieka was Jewish, while only 1% of Poland’s postwar population was Jewish.]

THE EARLIER STAB IN THE BACK, OF POLAND, AT TEHERAN (1943) AND YALTA (1945)

Lane devotes some detail to the double-dealing of Roosevelt behind the Poles’ backs. The sellout of Poland included President Roosevelt openly lying to Polish-American leader Charles Rozmarek, even using a prewar map of Poland as part of the deception (p. 96). Throughout his travels across Poland, Lane was keenly aware of the terror created by the Communist secret police (U. B., or UB). He was well aware of the fact that free elections were unimaginable under such circumstances, long before the farcical elections of January 17, 1947 that officially brought the Communists to power. Soon thereafter, Lane would not take it any more. He resigned his position as ambassador in order that he could freely speak to Americans about the crime of betrayal that had been done to Poland.

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