WHEN THEY SLANDER US

WHEN THEY SLANDER US

Piotr Witakowski

When we hear the defamatory lies directed at Poland, moreover, from among our World War II allies, and we see increasingly pronounced anti-Polonism being spread by some Jewish circles, and when the campaign to disgrace Poland by rewriting history is becoming louder each day – it is no time to analyze and investigate the causes. It is time, however, to realize that Poland is under attack and the need to stand up to it – even if it means fighting and expense. It is necessary to remember the words of Józef Beck, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Second Republic of Poland in his speech delivered to the Sejm [Parliament] in May 1939:

“Peace is a precious and desirable state of being… But peace, like almost all things in this world has its price, high, but measurable. We in Poland do not know the concept of peace at all costs. There is only one thing in the lives of people, nations and countries that is priceless. That is honor.”

And it is high time to recall the basic Truths About Poles concerning the common history of Poles and Jews:

These truths allow for the Polish nation to look back on its past with its head raised high. It is time for these Truths to finally reach other nations, and above all the people of Israel.

1. Poland has been a hospitable country for Jews for 1,000 years.

Already in the 11th century, the first Jewish communities were established in Poland. A wooden synagogue had already been built In Kazimierz Dolny during that century. [1] Jews never encountered religious persecution in Poland nor did they experienced any difficulties in cultivating their religious practices. The pressure for the conversion of Jews as evident in other countries, was also unknown in Poland. As long as the Polish State existed, Jews felt safe despite their manifest religious and cultural distinctiveness. Also, the Jews living in Poland treated it as their homeland and (until the advent of communism) submitted evidence of loyalty to the Polish State to no lesser extent than ethnic Poles.

2. During the period of the First Republic of Poland, it’s been a paradise for Jews.

The First Republic of Poland was called a paradise for Jews [Latin: Paradisus Iudaeorum]. The 16th rabbi of Cracow, Moses ben Israel Isserles, emphasized that:

“if God had not given the Jews Poland as a shelter, the fate of Israel would indeed be unbearable.” [2]

It was to Poland that Jews from all European countries fled during the periods of persecution and expulsions. [3] As a result, in the middle of the 16th century, 80% of the world’s Jewish population lived on Polish territory. [4] The rapid development of Jewish culture and art on Polish lands made Poland the center of the Jewish world and its religious life, with Vilnius (Wilno) called the Jerusalem of the North.

Fig. 1: Expulsions of Jews from European countries and directions of their escape. [3]
Fig. 1: Expulsions of Jews from European countries and directions of their escape. [3]
3. During the time of the partitions of Poland, Jews fought to regain the independence of the country in all its uprisings.

As a result of the assault on Poland by its neighbors – Russia, Prussia and Austria – Poles were deprived of their own State. Poland disappeared from the map of the world as a State for the period from 1795 to 1918, just as the Jewish State disappeared from the map from the time of the Roman army’s invasion of Judea in 63 B.C. until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Poles and Jews living in Poland became subjects of the three partitioning powers. The Jews took part in the Kościuszko, November and January Uprisings in 1794 for regaining Polish independence. That year, during the Kościuszko Uprising, Berek Joselewicz created a Jewish sabre regiment, part of the insurgent Polish cavalry units. In 1831, during the November Uprising, the Jewish Town Guard took part in the fight to defend Warsaw against the Russian Army. A Jewish student, Michal Landy, became the symbol of the positive social attitude of Jewish society in the Kingdom of Poland when he died carrying a cross during a patriotic demonstration, which was bloodily suppressed by the Russian Army in Warsaw’s Castle Square on April 8, 1861. [5]

4. During World War I, Jews and Poles were called up to the armies of the partitioning powers, but the most patriotic segment of both groups fought in the Legions.

During World War I, the attitude of the Jewish community towards the issue of Polish independence widely varied. Three attitudes were distinguished – cooperation with the given partitioning country, indifference and active involvement in regaining Poland’s independence. About 650 Jews served in the Polish Legions. [6]

5. During the 1920 Polish-Bolshevik War, Jews fought on both sides of the front.

Since the time of the Polish-Bolshevik War, there was a change of attitude of a large part of the Jews towards Polish independence. During that time, Jews living on the territory of Poland were subject to conscription to the army, on the same basis as all citizens regardless of their religion. [7] Many Jewish soldiers showed heroism on the battlefield, however, in the areas occupied by the Bolsheviks, Jews showed support for the invaders en masse. Not only did they actively participate in the creation of the Revkom, but in many cases they formed armed units fighting on the Bolsheviks’ side. Polish units often experienced the betrayal of soldiers and officers of Jewish descent and their transfer to the Bolshevik side. This led to a move by the Ministry of Military Affairs, fearing treason during the decisive Battle of Warsaw, to issue an order to withdraw all officers and soldiers of Jewish origin from the front units defending Warsaw and move them to the workers’ companies at the rear of the battlefront .[8]

6. During the period of the Second Polish Republic, Jews enjoyed full civil rights.

On September 1, 1939, there were 3,474,000 Jews living in Poland (77% lived in cities and 23% in villages), which constituted 9.9% of the total Polish population. During the 1937/1938 school year, there were 226 primary and 12 secondary schools in Poland with Yiddish or Hebrew as the language of instruction. The share of Jewish students at Polish universities soon reached 20-40 percent. Jewish political parties, such as Bund or Zionist right and left-wing groups were represented in local self-government and central structures. Jewish Members of Parliament and Senators sat in the Sejm and Senate of the Second Republic. In over 150 towns and cities, there were about 400 Jewish clubs (with about 50,000 members) exhibiting a diverse ideological profile and active in various fields of interest (from recreation to professional sports). [9] Jewish cultural life was developing dynamically. Some 160 newspaper and magazine titles with a daily circulation of 790,000 copies were published. [10] Authors writing in Yiddish (the best known – Isaac Bashevis Singer) gained international recognition (Singer received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978). Other Jewish authors, such as Bruno Schulz, Julian Tuwim, Jan Brzechwa or Bolesław Leśmian made significant contributions to the development of Polish literature in the early 20th century. Yiddish theatre was also developing – there were 15 theatres and theatre groups in Poland. The most outstanding Jewish theatre group – the Vilnius (Wilno) Troupe – was located in Warsaw. The Habima Theatre, established in 1912 in Białystok, is currently the Jewish National Theatre in Tel Aviv. In Poland, films in Yiddish were produced – for example, At chet, Der Dibuk, Freylikhe kabtsonim, Mamele. Many Jewish filmmakers also made films in Polish – for example, Aleksander Hertz, Aleksander Ford, Józef Lejtes. [2] In total, the intelligentsia of Jewish origin accounted for almost half of the entire intelligentsia before World War II. [11]

The Jewish community in Poland was the largest concentration of Jews in Europe at that time and the second largest in the world – after the USA. Polish Jews estimated their wealth at 10 billion zlotys, their share in trade at 52%, in industry and crafts at 42%, and they paid 28% of all income tax into the State budget. Among doctors, 33.5% were Jews and 53% were lawyers. [10]

The Jewish share in the economic, scientific and cultural life in pre-WW II Poland was several times greater than the percentage of the population and gave rise to some concern. At the end of the 1930s as anti-Semitic movements appeared demanding that the influence of Jews on social life be limited. In 1937, some universities adopted a 10% limit of Jewish students, consistent with the share of the Jewish population in the country (the so-called numerus claususus) [11], and on October 7, 1937 an anti-Semitic party called the Camp of National Unity (Pol.: Obóz Zjednoczenia Narodowego – OZN, abbreviated as “OZON”) was established in Poland, which demanded the limitation of Jewish influence. OZON organized boycotts of Jewish shops and assaults on representatives of the Jewish population. However, the basis of anti-Semitic movements was never religion, but only economic competition. Anti-Semitic movements in Poland had nothing to do with persecuting Jews on religious grounds. Nobody forced Jews to convert. The windows in shops were broken, not in the synagogues.

7. During the Second World War, the occupying forces murdered more Poles than Jews from Poland.

After the German assault on September 1st, 1939 followed by the Russian assault on Poland on September 17th, both of the occupying forces began by murdering ethnic Poles, introducing terror that was unprecedented in other occupied countries. The invaders knew how strong the striving for independence characterized the Poles. Poland was an exception among all the countries occupied by Germany – never in Poland did the Germans manage to form a collaborative government like the Vichy in France or Quisling in Norway. Also, no Polish military units cooperating with Germany were ever formed. Such units existed in all other European countries, and were usually incorporated into SS forces. [12] Poland was a unique phenomenon on a historical scale – apart from the army fighting alongside the Allies in Western Europe (249,000 troops) [13], in the occupied homeland, Poles created the Underground State with their own underground army (400,000 men and women), with a functioning administration, education and justice systems. And all this in conditions of unprecedented terror. Only in Poland, in order to intimidate its inhabitants, the Germans organized so-called “łapanki” [ round-ups ] on the city streets and Poles were publicly executed. In the years 1939-1945, over 10,000 Polish villages were affected by various forms of German repressions, out of which about 900 villages had several to several hundred of its inhabitants murdered. [14] During the massacre in Warsaw’s Wola district on August 5-7, 1944, between 30,000 and 65,000 Polish men, women and children were murdered. [15] As a result of unprecedented German crimes during the entire period of the German occupation in Poland (1939-1945) over 3,000,000 Poles [16] and about 2,700,000 [17] Polish citizens of Jewish origin lost their lives, setting the total number at around 6,000,000 Polish citizens lost. To this must be added the terrible material damage (Fig. 2) and looting of property. The estimated losses of the Polish population as a result of the activities of the Third Reich in the occupied territories are presented in Table 1.

Fig. 2. Warsaw in January 1945 - most of it was destroyed not as a result of the war, but as a result of deliberate destruction by German occupying forces. [18]
Fig. 2. Warsaw in January 1945 – most of it was destroyed not as a result of the war, but as a result of deliberate destruction by German occupying forces. [18]

Table 1: Estimated losses of Polish population as a result of the Third Reich’s activities in the occupied territories [19]
Table 1: Estimated losses of Polish population as a result of the Third Reich’s activities in the occupied territories [19]
It should be emphasized that from 1939 to 1942, mainly ethnic Poles (among them St. Maximilian Kolbe) were killed in German camps. The Jews were then held in the ghettos. German death camps, in which Jews were murdered en masse, began from the time of the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. [20] In total, about 1,300,000 to 1,500,000 Poles died in German camps in Poland. [16] The losses of the Polish population include 570,000 victims of the totalitarian Soviet system [21] and 234,000 victims of the Ukrainian genocide committed against Poles in Eastern Lesser Poland [Małopolska Wschodnia]. [22] Thus, not counting the Poles murdered on the territory of the Third Reich (and other countries) and Poles who died on all European fronts, no less than 3,800,000 Poles died on the territory of the Second Republic alone. Poland, compared to other countries occupied by the Third Reich, lost 220 people for every 1,000 citizens (the USA – 2.9, Belgium – 7, Great Britain – 8, France – 15, Holland – 22, and the USSR – 116 citizens). [23]
On Poland’s territory, the Germans murdered about 600,000-700,000 Jews in collective and individual executions, about 600,000 in ghettos and about 1,400,000 in death camps. This gives a total of 2,700,000 murdered Polish citizens of Jewish origin. [24, 25] Unlike the case in other countries, the Polish authorities and Polish institutions did not participate in this atrocious crime.
The situation was different in the countries of Western Europe, where thousands of Jews were deported to death camps located in occupied in Poland with the help of local authorities. Their deaths burdened not only the Germans, but also the authorities of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries collaborating with the Germans. This international action of killing Jews resulted in the total death of 4,000,000 Jews from all over Europe (out of the total number of 5,100,000 Jews murdered in death camps). [25]
About 500,000 survived the war, including only 100,000 Jews who survived under German occupation. [26]

Despite the unimaginable terror during the occupation, the Poles saved more Jews than any other nation from extermination during World War II, and the price for this help was the death of thousands of Poles

In conquered and divided Poland, according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, 61.2% of Polish Jews found themselves under German occupation, while 38.8% – under Soviet occupation. [27] If the attitude of both occupying forces towards Poles was identical and the extermination of the Polish intelligentsia started immediately, the situation of Jews in both zones was diametrically different. In the part occupied by the Germans, Jews started to be locked away in ghettos, while in the part occupied by the Russians, Jews became part of the repression apparatus and actively joined in the persecution of Poles. The report of the Government Delegation to Poland [Delegatura Rządu na Kraj] on the Jewish population in Lwów stated:

“They behaved provocatively towards the Poles, reminding at every step that Poland and the Poles are finished. The fact is that during the entrance of the Bolsheviks into Poland, they welcomed them with flowers and placed kisses on Soviet tanks. Many arrests and deportations took place as a result of their denunciations.” [28]

After the German attack on Russia in June 1941, all of the Republic of Poland was under German occupation, and in 1942 the Germans began their program of deportations and the extermination of the Jews in death camps – without limiting mass murders of Poles during that period.
The only salvation for the Jews at that time was to escape from the ghetto to the “Aryan side” and obtain help from the Poles. The Germans were aware that centuries of cohabitation had created strong ties between Jews and Poles, and that Poles as Christians would feel obliged to help their fellow citizens, so that after any escape they could count on help from many Poles. In order to block this help, on October 15, 1941, General Governor Hans Frank signed the “Third Restriction Order for Residents in the General Government”, which stipulated that: “Jews who leave their designated district without authorization are subject to the death penalty. Persons who knowingly give such Jews a hiding place are subject to the same punishment.” At the same time, it was announced that “Instigators and helpers are subject to the same punishment as the perpetrators, and an attempted act will be punished as if it had been completed.” [29, 30] The aim of this regulation was to discourage Jews from seeking rescue outside the ghetto and to discourage the Polish population from providing them with any help. [31] According to the German occupation law, even the slightest help provided to Jews, such as supplying food or even trading with them, was punishable by death.
Among all the occupied countries, Poland was an exception in several respects:

1. Only Poland never formed a collaborative government, as was the case in other German-occupied countries.
2. Only on the territory of occupied Poland, any help offered/provided to the Jews was punishable by death.
3. Only on the territory of occupied Poland was there an underground organization -“Żegota” (Council to Aid Jews as an office of the Government of Poland for the Homeland – Rada Pomocy Żydom przy Delegaturze Rządu RP na Kraj) on the authority of the Polish Government-in-exile, whose task was to organize help for the Jews in ghettos and outside them [32]
4. Only in occupied Poland did the Underground State punish individuals by death for any extortioner/blackmailer of Jews (szmalcownik) who were in hiding. [33] The Polish Underground State administered the death penalty – this was by the way quite understandable, because by denouncing a Jew, the “blackmailer” denounced at the same time the Poles who were hiding him/her, and thus also sentenced them to death.
5. Out of all the countries, only the Polish Government- in- exile collected and documented information about the extermination of Jews (Witold Pilecki, Jan Karski) as well as undertook diplomatic actions appealing to the Allies for help in saving them [34] – Fig. 3.

Fig. 3. "Mass extermination of Jews in German-occupied Poland" - a brochure of the Polish Government-in-exile from December 1942.
Fig. 3. “Mass extermination of Jews in German-occupied Poland” – a brochure of the Polish Government-in-exile from December 1942.

Despite the unprecedented terror against the Polish population and the total lack of help from the Allies, and the Allies’ indifference to the tragedy of the Jews, the Poles managed to save many thousands of Jews from extermination.
Historians estimate that between 40,000-50,000 and 100-120,000 Jews survived the German occupation on Polish lands in hiding. [35] According to Gunnar S. Paulsson, in Warsaw alone, about 28,000 Jews were hiding at different time intervals, out of which nearly 11,500 managed to survive the war. [36] Irena Sendler alone, the head of Żegota’s children’s section, in cooperation with the Catholic nun Matylda Getter, Mother provincial of CSFFM [Latin: Congregatio Sororum Franciscalium Familiae Mariae) – Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary in Warsaw, saved 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. [37, 38]
According to Leo Kantor, 250,000 Jews survived the Holocaust in Poland, of which over 100,000 settled in Lower Silesia after the war – over 90,000 in 40 towns and 17,000 in Wrocław alone. [39]

After the end of the Nazi occupation, Poland found itself entirely under the Russian occupation and it was in Poland’s best interest at the time to minimize and conceal Polish aid to Jews. Those who survived the hell of the German occupation thought only about their liberation and usually did not remember those to whom they owed their lives, and yet none of them would survive without the help of the Poles.

Helping the Jews in Poland required true heroism, because it threatened the lives of entire families (for example, the Ulma family who were all killed for helping Jews), but there were hundreds of thousands of such heroes in Poland. According to Jan Żaryn [40], the number of Poles participating directly or indirectly in the action of rescuing Jews could reach even a million, and according to Richard Lukas – at least from 800,000 to 1,200,000. [35] Poles paid an enormous price for this help. Anna Poray-Wybranowska in her work entitled: “Those Who Risked Their Lives” (Chicago, April 2008) included the names of over 5,000 victims [41], but it is known that this does not exhaust the list of victims who died for helping the Jews.

Out of 51 nationalities honored with the Righteous Among the Nations medal, awarded by the Institute for the Remembrance of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Yad Vashem, Poles constitute the largest number – over 25%. [42] They differ from the other Righteous – those others were threatened with a fine for helping Jews, not the death of the whole family.

9. During the Russian occupation and the anti-communist uprising after World War II, 100 times more Poles than Jews died in Poland.

The Russian occupation of Poland after the German army had been driven out brought new terror and persecution to the Polish population. During the anti-communist uprising and repressions against those fighting for independence, between 30,000 and 200,000 people died (including about 18,000 on the communist side). [43] The apparatus of repression, which initially was made up of Russians (NKVD), was gradually replaced by nominally Polish formations – Urząd Bezpieczeństwa [Security Service Office], Informacja Wojskowa [Military Information], Korpus Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego [Internal Security Corps], Milicja Obywatelska [People’s Militia], the judiciary and the prison service. In the management of all these formations, a disproportionate percentage of Jews – 37.1% – served in the Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego [Ministry of Public Security (MBP)]. [44] The scale of post-war repressions against the Polish population was not comparable with any other European country. Regardless of the fighting against the armed underground, persecution affected all those who were suspected by the occupying authorities of an unfavorable attitude towards the new regime. Thousands of Poles were deported to Russia. Thousands of others were held not only in prisons, but also in 300 concentration and forced labor camps [43], which were a faithful copy of the Nazi camps. In all these persecutions, a significant participation of Jewish functionaries was noted.

Based on extremely repressive law, in the years 1944-1956, over 8,000 death sentences were executed in Poland. As many as 5,650 of these sentences were imposed before military courts (half of the executions were carried out – 2,810). It is estimated that nearly half of those convicted belonged to the Polish independence underground, and the number of murdered – shot and hanged – activists of the independence underground after the war had ended, was several times higher than the number of Nazi war criminals executed in Poland. [45] Apart from judicial murders, about 10,000 Poles died in extra-judicial executions or as a result of torture during interrogations. The names of the most cruel torturers from the Security Service Office (Berman, Różański, Mietkowski, Romkowski) and judges guilty of judicial murders (Stefan Michnik) on the greatest Polish patriots (Witold Pilecki, Emil Fieldorf and many others) have been preserved in Polish national memory.
Public opinion placed the burden of these crimes in large part on the Jews by coining the term “Żydokomuna”, or “Judeo-Communist”. These executioners were never punished, and in 1968 left Poland in glory, allegedly persecuted for their Jewish origin.

According to all available data, in the years 1944-1947, between 400 and 700 Jews and people of Jewish origin died in Poland. [43] Among them, 42 were victims of the murder of July 4, 1946 in Kielce, which was the result of the communist authorities’ provocation used for political purposes. The period after the end of the Second World War also abounded in numerous criminal events, which had nothing to do with the struggle of the independence underground, as a result of which hundreds of people died. Attacks by thugs and various degenerates mostly led to the death of Poles, but the victims of these attacks were also Jews. For example, the data for the period between July 1, 1945 and February 1, 1946 from the Kielce province indicate that during 840 thug attacks, 135 people were killed, including 5 Jews. [43] Among those mentioned 400 – 700 Jews who died after the war including those from the hands of Polish insurgents, Ukrainian partisans, local crowds, thugs, Polish communists and Soviets – a large part of them were officers of the repression apparatus. They died as a result of their fighting against the independence underground, not because of their origin. The Jewish victims constituted only a fraction of 1 to 2% of the total number of victims resulting from the introduction of Soviet power in Poland. Moreover, at the same time, 258 to 580 Poles were killed directly by the hands of the Jews or as a result of their actions, and 3,128 to 6,238 Poles were denounced by Jews. [46]

March 1968 was a traumatic experience for some 40,000 Polish Jews who remained in the country. The “anti-Zionist” press campaign, launched by the communist authorities on the order of the Russian “anti-Zionist” campaign, was aimed at the removal of people of Jewish origin from the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) and managerial positions. The March 1968 events led to the departure of several thousand Jews from Poland, causing many human dramas, career breaks, broken friendships and interruption of interpersonal contacts. It is, however, an abuse to describe this situation as persecution like the pogroms from the tsarist times or the fascist occupation. Throughout the entire “anti-Zionist” campaign, there has not been a single case of death, physical assault or arrest due to Jewish origin. The only arrests and beatings took place among young students, not for defending Jewish culture, but for defending Polish culture (“Dziady” [Forefathers’ Eve]) by Adam Mickiewicz.

10. Poland helped the Jews more than any other country in establishing the State of Israel

The 1917 declaration of the British Minister Balfour in support of the creation of an independent Jewish State was without any chance of becoming a reality during the interwar period. This was hindered by the current interests of the United Kingdom, which had a League of Nations mandate over Palestine and scrupulously blocked Jewish immigration to that destination. The ongoing clashes in Palestine between Jews and Arabs were proof that the Jews would have to fight for Israel’s independence with their armies, just like the Poles after years of captivity. No one understood this better than the Poles. Therefore, in 1936, an agreement was concluded between the Polish authorities and the Betar Jewish organization led by Vladimir Żabotyński (Ze’ev Jabotinsky). Betar received a never repaid financial loan and comprehensive assistance in armaments and military training. The aim of the Betharians was to create a Jewish State in Palestine on both sides of the Jordan by mass immigration of Jews and an armed struggle against Arabs and the British administration. The Betar organization in the period of its greatest splendor in Poland, had 50,000 members. Moreover, its activity enjoyed the sympathy of Marshal Józef Piłsudski himself, and the fruit of that sympathy was the possibility for the Betharians to train with the Polish Army. The Polish Army conducted training preparing members of Betar for the armed struggle for the independence of Israel. The authorities of the Republic of Poland facilitated and discreetly financed the purchase of weapons and their expedition to Israel. The trainings were held until the outbreak of WW II. Trained groups of Betharians were equipped with weapons and transported to Palestine, where they shared their acquired skills with hundreds of soldiers in Palestine. At the same time, Irgun units commanded by Abraham Stern came to Poland for training from Palestine. In Palestine, the Irgun was the armed wing of Żabotyński’s Zionists. It was modelled on the Polish independence movement. The basis for the functioning of the Irgun, was reinforced by conspiratorial publications, like the Piłsudski underground had done during the time of the partitions. The Irgun also received thousands of weapons from the Polish government. [47]
Until the outbreak of the Arab uprising in 1936, Palestine received over 100,000 people from Poland. When the British closed their mandate territories, the only chance to get from Poland to Haifa or Tel Aviv was provided by the smuggling route, the center of which was the Romanian port in Constanța. Illegal emigration, supported and co-financed by the Polish Government, was conducted under the guise of tourist traffic. The demand for “holidays” in Palestine was so great that the Polish State Railways (PKP) maintained regular rail connections of major Polish cities with Constanța. The liner “Polonia”, owned by the Gdynia shipowner, where the needs of its passengers were met with kosher cuisine, provided a permanent connection between Constanța and Haifa. After boarding, many emigrants destroyed their Polish passports to avoid deportation in case of an accident. In 1937, the sea route was supplemented by LOT Polish Airlines with an air connection to Haifa. Until the outbreak of the war, over 13,000 people were smuggled from Poland to Palestine under the eye of the English. Before the Nazis entered Poland, the Irgun fighters still managed to smuggle thousands of weapons, which were very useful in the fight for Israel via the Constanța port from Poland to Palestine. [48]
The Jewish armed forces in Palestine were complemented by the Second Polish Corps of General Władysław Anders. It’s ranks were supplemented with about 6,000 Polish Jews rescued from Siberian prisons and gulags. Among them was the later Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin. During the time when the Second Polish Corps was present in the British mandate of Palestine, 67% (2,972) of the Jewish soldiers deserted and joined the ranks of the Irgun. [2] The authorities of the Corps decided not to pursue the deserters in order to strengthen the Jewish forces with well-trained personnel in the fight for the independence of Israel. The ranks trained and equipped by Poland were the basis of the armed force, which allowed the State of Israel to emerge and defend itself. Unfortunately, there has never been any evidence of gratitude from the State of Israel for the military assistance it was provided with.


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[45] Krzysztof Szwagrzyk “Przeciw niepodległej”, opublikowany w “Zbrojne podziemie niepodległościowe po 1945 roku. Żołnierze wolnej Polski”, s. 11. Dodatek IPN do Gościa Niedzielnego z 7 marca 2010 r.
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