by Piotr Gontarczyk.
2023. Article in SIECI nr 20 [15-21.05.2023], pp. 64-67
Reviewed by Jan Peczkis
THE SCISSORS OF BARBARA ENGELKING is the title of this hard-hitting expose of the falsehoods of “Holocaust scholar” Barbara Engelking. It alludes to the fact that Engelking effortlessly uses metaphorical scissors to selectively cut out material facts that do not fit her narrative. She also falsifies facts entirely, as elaborated below.
[Historian Piotr Gontarczyk uses the term “scissors” to refer to the selective picking and choosing of facts: In my reviews, I use the term “Judeocentric contextual vacuum” for the same.]
DEFENDING STANDARD, POLE-DEMEANING HOLOCAUST NARRATIVES
Gontarczyk points out that, in the face of Engelking receiving some criticism from the Polish government for her false statements about Poland, hundreds of university professors have declared their support for her and made a hero-martyr out of her. He suggests that they did this out of ignorance. (p. 64).
A personal aside:
I believe that Gontarczyk is being too charitable. To begin with, why did these university professors, supposedly committed to economic integrity, fail to scrutinize Engelking and reject her false statements? Shouldn’t professors, at minimum, be a little more careful about what they endorse?
Is a professor that does not tell the truth supposed to be exempt from all consequences? Fine. If it does not matter whether a professor is telling truth or lies, then one lie is just as good as another. So, why not let outright Holocaust deniers become and remain professors?
The fact that university professors line up like sheep to support Jewish-serving, anti-Polish declarations, itself speaks volumes. It is out in the open. So, who needs conspiracy theories?
WHOSE ACADEMIC FREEDOM?
Let us take this further. The “persecution” of Engelking is framed in terms of an attack on freedom of speech and on academic freedom. This is nothing new. Certain Jews have previously done de-platforming and cancel culture on academics that were not in agreement with their thinking (for example, on Norman Davies, Norman Finkelstein, Krzysztof Jasiewicz, Ewa Kurek, etc.) Two can play this game. If certain Jews can do it, and get away with it, then so can the Polish government.
Is academic freedom absolute? If there was a professor in the State of Israel that wanted to teach Nazism as a serious and positive philosophy, would he be allowed to do so? Laugh. So why are lies about Jews unacceptable in academic Holocaust discourse while lies about Poles are acceptable? To ask this question is to answer it.
JUST WHO SPECIFICALLY IS BEHIND THESE NEWEST HOLOCAUST-RELATED ATTACKS ON POLAND?
Here is the list of the signees that defend Barbara Engelking and her lies:
Note that a large fraction of the signees are from Israeli institutions (e. g, Yad Vashem, Tel Aviv University) or are big-name Holocaust academics, both Jewish and non-Jewish. The list includes conspicuous Polonophobes such as Joanna B. Michlic as well as (surprise) Mark Weitzman of the WJRO (World Jewish Restitution Organization).
Lest there be any doubt who is behind all this, we have the answer in the light of subsequent developments. Barbara Engelking has recently been honored and glorified, for her mendacity and for the “persecution” she had earned, by none other than ex-Communist Aleksander Kwasniewski and by Tel Aviv University in Israel. These folks support their own. And, in order to make the anti-Polish political gesture even more in-your-face, Tel Aviv University has simultaneously awarded leftist Olga Tokarczuk, who is not even a Holocaust scholar, let alone a “persecuted” Holocaust scholar.
AUTOMATICALLY BELIEVING HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, AND DISCOUNTING EVERYBODY ELSE
Back to Gontarczyk. He calls out Engelking on her uncritical acceptance of Holocaust survivor testimonies. (In this respect, she is copying Jan T. Gross). Gontarczyk cites Holocaust survivor Samuel Gringauz (p. 64), who characterized Holocaust survivor testimony as “judeocentric, lococentric and egocentric”: “…most of the memoirs and reports are full of preposterous verbosity, graphomanic exaggeration, dramatic effects, overestimated self-inflation, dilettante philosophizing, would-be lyricism, unchecked rumors, bias, partisan attacks and apologies”. All this is completely lost on Engelking.
Gontarczyk could have made his case stronger. More recent Holocaust scholars also soundly reject Engelking’s automatic belief in Holocaust survivor testimonies. For instance, see:
ENGELKING’S SUPER SCISSORS IN ACTION
One example of Engelking using scissors is by selectively focusing on Polish denouncers, while cutting away the fact that these Jews survived because of Polish benefactors. Gontarczyk sagely compares this Engelking-scissors approach to trying to separate one side of a medal from the other. (p. 65).
Barbara Engelking bad-mouths the Poles for betraying Jews, and her magnificent scissors come to her rescue as they cut-away all mention of Jews betrayed by other Jews, and of Jews harmed by the Judenrat. (p. 65). In fact, according to Gontarczyk, Jews sometimes relied more on Polish villagers, for their safety, than on the Judenrat. (p. 65).
MALIGNING POLAND AT ANY COST: HOW ENGELKING FALSIFIES THE FACTS
Engelking goes beyond just distorting material facts. She tells outright lies. She calls attention to some “Polish schutzmannschaften” (Mikolaj Gonty and Wlodzimierz Nuaumiak) and their killings of Jews. There is only one little problem. They were Byelorussian, not Polish. (p. 65).
She brings up the Hryc brothers yet again, repeating the accusation that they killed Jews. Fact is, the Hryc brothers were acquitted of this charge in a postwar trial. So flimsy was the case against the Hryc brothers that the prosecutor did not even bother to appeal the decision. (p. 66). For more on the false accusations involving the Hryc brothers, see:
Not done yet, Barbara Engelking tells the reader that Poles voluntarily betrayed Jews. That is a flat lie. Village Poles were under strict German orders to report any fugitive Jews. (p. 65).
In Bochnia in 1943, according to Engelking, those big, bad Poles rousted out some Jews in hiding. In actuality, it was the Jewish Order Police (OD) that did this. (p. 67). Oops.
Engelking bends over backwards to avoid giving Polish rescuers any credit. She repeats Grabowski’s frivolous accusation that Polish rescuers were motivated by greed. (p. 66). Better yet, she describes some fugitive Jews “hiding in a pigsty”, as if they just magically found it, and without even mentioning the Polish owner that allowed them to hide there. (p. 66).
“HERO-MARTYR” ENGELKING AND HER MASTERFUL BLAMING OF POLES FOR GERMAN ACTS
But wait, it gets even better. The Grabowski-Engelking-Gross team have long been experts at blaming Poles for German crimes, and Engelking does not disappoint.
Historian Piotr Gontarczyk does a side-by-side comparison (copied page shown by Gontarczyk) of what Engelking writes in her DALEJ JEST NOC (NIGHT WITHOUT END) and the original source that she quotes (copied page shown by Gontarczyk) of KSIEGA PAMIECI ZYDOW BIELSKA PODLASKIEGO.
This is priceless!
Both versions describe the early stages of the German occupation in which Jews were forced to move away from Poles. In the original, it says, “Germans were not interested whether Jews had a place to live.” But, according to Engelking’s mendacious version, “They were not interested whether Jews had a place to live”. (p. 67). Who is “they”? The Poles, of course! Once again, the Germans have disappeared, and the Poles have become the new Holocaust villains.
To make the anti-Polish lie even more convincing, Engelking entirely cuts-away the following material statement found in the original: The Germans wanted the Jews to be crowded practically to the point of suffocation. (p. 67). Engelking’s super scissors are in action once again.
Some “Holocaust scholarship” on the part of “Hero-Martyr” Engelking! Then again, if it serves the purposes of Holocaust-related Jewish Polonophobia, why not?