The Anonymous Leiter Writer: Now It's Poland's Defender
Anonymous letter writers are a dime a dozen. The mere fact that
they fail to give their right names is an indication that they are
motivated by their hatreds and prejudices rather than by a desire
to arrive at truth.
We have many of them: those involved in politics, the pro-
Communists, the racists, the power-seekers and many others.
Now we also have the apologists for Poland, and if they seek to
muddy the waters when they communicate with us they undoubtedly
also will try to get into other areas with their venom. One Pole asks
many questions, why Jews came to Poland, why they didn't stay in
Spain and in Germany (he knows a bit of history—that Jews came
to Poland after the Inquisition and the Crusades) and contends that
the Polish underground saved Jews.
Jews, especially, should know the facts, and they should not be
misled. Of course, the Jewish numbers grew in Poland from the hand-
ful who survived the persecutions in Poland and in Spain into the
three and a half million just before World War II. But as they grew,
so also had grown their contributions towards the Polish economy and
cultural life. Only in exceptional cases was their life secure, and in
the main they were the objects of horrible oppressions.
What about the underground during the last war, the battle for
survival, the struggle in the Warsaw Ghetto? Did the Polish under-
ground help provide aid to the Jews?
There were Poles who helped but they were a minority. Alex-
ander Donat, a survivor from the extermination camps who had
settled in this country and has risen to a high role as a creative
scientist, reviewed (in Midstream) an important book, "Ten Jest Z
Oj•zyzny Mojej" ("Polacy z pomoca Zydom 1939-1945) by Wladyslaw
Bartoszewski i Zofia Lewin, published in Krakow. Full credit is given
Bartoszewski as a Catholic highly qualified to discuss the question of
Polish assistance to Jews, since he was the organizer of the "Council
to Help the Jews." Donat gives full credit to Bartoszewski's description
of how Poles could risk their lives if they aided Jews; admits the
existence of anti-Semitism and contends that thousands of Jews were
rescued by Poles.
But Donat insists: "There were cases of the execution of Poles
kr hiding and helping Jews, but these were not numerous and the
information available is very scarce." And Donat reiterates these
In my memoir, "The Holocaust Kingdom," p. 109, I wrote: "A
handful of Poles were sympathetic, eager to fulfill their Christian
and patriotic duties, either from ideological, personal, or mone-
tary motives. But the great majority looked on indifferently.
They felt that the Germans were solving their 'Jewish problem'
for them. Though the Germans were doing it brutally, they said,
it was effective . . . Then there were the shmaltzovniks, the
blackmailers and professional trackers-down of Jews in hiding,
a fairly numerous and busy group drawn from the most vicious,
semicrlininal elements in the Polish population. Packs of these
jackals lay in wait at every gate hoping to catch someone leaving
the ghetto illegally, and when they did, they milked the victim
of everything he owned before turning him in to the Gestapo to
be murdered. In addition to the ordinary hoodlums, there were
a number of "ideological' anti-Semites who •informed or betrayed
for killed) out of conviction, out of hatred for Jews. Such anti-
Jewish dregs terrorized many decent Poles, making them ex-
ceedingly cautious in dealing with Jews . . ."
The Jews who were rescued by noble Poles, eagerly and
gratefully testified on their behalf, and Bartoszewski's book, con-
sists mostly of such testimonies. But the many Jews who were
betrayed, martyred, murdered in the cities, villages and forests
by their "Polish compatriots" will never testify. And certainly
their executioners will not do so. Had their victims been able
to testify, their terrible J'Accuse would shatter the world. The
writings of the Jewish survivors, the alleged "enemies of Poland,"
are true but they represent only an infinitesimal fraction of the
whole truth. To refute the murderous deeds by denying them,
by minimizing their scope to marginal "exceptions to the rule,"
and by attacking the reporters of the true facts, means protect-
ing the murderers and sharing responsibility with them.
Exploitation of the noble deeds of the small contingent of
the righteous cannot serve as an alibi for a nation in its entirety.
The fact is that even now, with less than 25,000 Jews remaining
in Poland, anti-Semitism is rampant. Bartoszewski is an exception
to the rule, but even his efforts are being negated by bigots who
adhere to the anti-Semitic Polish policies. The Polish tragedy is
Propaganda . . . Prejudices .. . Facts
Soon the Sirhan Sirhan case will provide a platform for bigots
who so frequently emerge to capitalize on a public issue, who grab
at anything to make political capital out of a national tragedy, who
find excuses for hating Jews when a murderer makes a Jewish issue
out of his act.
While even Sirhan's family and leading Arab potentates at the
outset were horrified by the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy,
many now are adopting new tactics. These began with letters to im-
portant newspapers by the head of the so-called Action Committee
on American-Arab Relations, Mohammed T. Mehdi, who had the
audacity to state:
"It was morally wrong on the part of Senator Kennedy to submit
to the pressure of the Zionists and promise the sending of 50 jet fighters
to Israel so that more Israeli Jews might kill more of Sirhan's people
and occupy more of Sirhan's homeland . . . The Senator was morally
wrong; Sirhan was legally wrong . . . But Sirhan's act is not an ordin-
ary case of murder: It is a political act and a political assassination.
Hence traditional legal devices and legal remedies cannot adequately
provide proper defense for the accused."
Coming from an anti-Israel propagandist, this letter might be
viewed as understandable, even in its indecency, were it not for the
fact that he gained adherents. Thus, a lady from Oneonta, N.Y.
(Julia B. Carson), wrote to the New York Times:
Prejudices Galore: Over TV, in the
United Nations, on International Ar-
ena, Among Those Who Forget Nazism
causes were: the unstable, over-emotional, paranoid temperament of Sirhan, the
killer; the lack of adequate police protection; and possibly to some small de-
gree the atmosphere of violence and toleration of violence abroad in the land.
Sirhan will be punished for his illegal, immoral act. But the fact that he
was expressing Arab resentment.—rightful resentment—must be taken into ac-
count,. both for the sake of justice for Sirhan and for the clarification of the
American attitude toward the acts of aggressive powers.
Fortunately, it was challenged. Maggie Nunley of Cambridge,
Mass., replied and the N.Y. Times published this statement:
The implication in the July I letter headed "Arab Resentment" that Robert
Kennedy was somehow endangering his life by supporting Israel, could be dis-
missed as simply laughable. But its illogic renders it vulnerable to a dramatic
comparison, which may serve as relevation to some (but doubtless not to your
correspondent, Julia B. Carson). That is, can even the foggiest thinker con-
elude that foes of the late Senator Kennedy would have committed a rash act if ;
he had expressed Arab sympathies instead?
The Israelis as well as the Arabs harbor "deep and powerful emotions." Yet
nobody expects Israel to rush around murdering Americans who disagree with
The reason is clear, and it explains why the Israelis attract the support of
responsible, compassionate mea like Robert Kennedy: like is drawn to like,
and a man who considered it his duty to leave the world better than he found
it came quite naturally to admire a people who made deserts flower and
built a nation in a land laid waste by hate and division.
As for your correspondent's implication that the Arab resentment cannot
be settled by "mere words spoken over a conference table," all I can say is,
if I may be pardoned the paraphrase, "By Gad, they'd better."
For no nation can stay its hand indefinitely against any group dedicated
only to a diffuse destructiveness—as we here seem to be belatedly learning—
and the same it true of a community of nations.
Not only Israel's tolerance but also international tolerance of the Arabs'
institutionalization of paranoia will inevitably come to an end.
The menacing fact remains that the haters will be on the ram-
page again, that there are people who will utilize the Sirhan crime
as means of attacking Israel, Zionism, Jews. The injection of these
factors in the court case would place a strain on the record of Amer-.
ican jurisprudence. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is
providing the defense for Sirhan, is being tried by this case by the
challenge whether its attorneys can prevent injection of false propa-
ganda and prejudices in a criminal act that was based on hatred
An Abuse of Communications Privileges
A retired University of Michigan archaeologist has done some
digging and has managed to emerge with so much bias and such
shocking abuse of the privilege accorded him to present "facti"
regarding the Middle East, that he has harmed the good name of our
It stands to reason that a university is not obligated to be a censor
and that freedom of expression is a vital obligation in our democracy.
But when a man who claims to know the Middle East brazenly propa-
gates hatred for one of the nations of that area, he renders harm to
world peace and to the good name of those who gave him a platform
to express himself.
Many protests have been uttered against the series of television
programs sponsored by the University of Michigan over a local station,
and one of them deserves to be emphasized. In his condemnation of
the vile, even if veiled, attacks on Israel by ex-Prof. Clarke Hopkins,
Charles E. Feinberg wrote to the U-M Television Office:
"On July 28 I tuned in to a program, "After Eden," given by
a Mr. Clarke Hopkins.
"I must protest his vicious misstatements and insidious pro-
gram of hate against the people of Jewish faith.
"In speaking of the victory of Generals Wavell and Mont-
gomery at Tobruk, Mr. Hopkins said the Israelis were conspicuous
by their absence. This is the big lie. The official fact is that over
12,000 Jews were in the Jewish contingents from Palestine on the
war fronts of the Allies.
"Jewish non-combatant battalions were mentioned in the dis-
patches of Gen. O'Connor, who stated that the capture of Tobruk
would have been impossible without the help of these pioneers.'
Gen Wavell's report of them was most favorable . . . 'they showed
remarkable courage and a splendid spirit of self-sacrifice.'
"On the other hand, the Arabs of Syria and Iraq, opposed
the Allies. The Syrians, whose virtues Mr. Hopkins extolled, on
French-mandated territory, endorsed the pullout of the Vichy
government while Iraq staged a pro-Nazi coup in 1941.
"Another part of the program showed drawings of the incident
at Deir Yassin. What Arab propaganda office furnished the draw-
ings that Mr. Hopkins used in his pro-Arab slanted program?
"I protest against any continuation of this spewing of hate
program and protest the propriety of the University of Michigan
Television being used for this purpose."
Mr. Feinberg could have expanded on his theme—to indicate that
the Arabs collaborated with the Nazis; that the former Grand Mufti
of Jerusalem plotted the extermination of the Jews, including all of
the Palestinian residents, with Adolf Eichmann; that only when the
Allies had gained near total victory did some Arabs come forth with
aid against the Hitler hordes; that Israel considers the Deir Yassin
tragedy its own and a blot on its otherwise clean record, but that
there are so many atrocities to the credit of the Arabs Prof. Hopkins
is defending, that the Hopkins story emerges as a disgrace.
Equal time has been asked by Mr. Feinberg for a reply to the
bigoted remarks of the retired university archaeologist. First there
must come forth an apology for the harm that has been done.
them, as Israel Ambassador to UN
Yosef Tekoah has shown, were in
existence prior to June of 1967. All
kinds of charges have been made
against Israel including the one
about "concentration camps" for
Arabs in presently held Israeli ter-
ritory. This has been demolished,
and the fact is that it is only in
Israel that all Arabs are free to
travel at will; that Israel permits
them to visit Jordan; that to coun-
teract such humanitarian practices
Jordan now bars visitors from Is-
rael, even those who desire to
visit their relatives and friends
in Jordanian areas.
U Thant's attitude does not help
the cause of peace. It does not con-
tribute to good will. It is one sided
and. gives credence to the view
that he may be motivated by in-
* * *
Suitable for Joking
The power of suggestion is too
strong to be ignored, and rational
people must be careful not to re'
sort to anything that either in
spires prejudice or creates sus-,
The late Martin Luther King's
brother, the Rev. A. D. King,
committed a sad blunder. A- re-
grettable, jocular remark to a
plane hostess at Atlanta caused
the unfortunate incident.
The 38-year-old reverend, who
was released by the Federal Bu-
reau of Investigation after having
been taken off the plane and taken
into custody, explained:
"I made the remark jokingly to
a stewardess, 'What are the pro-
cedures for hijacking a planer
She took it very seriously. Then
the captain asked me off. I ex-
plained to them it was in jest and
I regretted it was misunderstood."
Everybody regrets misunder-
standings, but everybody must also
avoid jesting about serious mat-
ters. Hijacking has become an in-
ternational crime and will not be
condoned. One must be careful in
.jesting: the nasty power of sug-
gestion can cause trouble: it did
for Rev. King. -
The Bigot at NYU
Must Be Deposed
It is especially be c ause the new
New York, University department
is known as the Martin Luther
King Junior Afro-American Stu-
rdent Center that selection of a
man of prejudice to direct it
should be resented more by the
non-Jews — blacks as well as
whites—than by Jews.
The selectee had uttered such
astonishingly bigoted views on
Jews that he should have been
eliminated for consideration when
the appointment was being made.
The martyred Negro leader
whose name is honored in the new
,center would undoubtedly have
been the first to reject a man who
only recently acted the vilest role,
of an anti-Semite.
Is it true that the only consid-
eration in selecting a pedagogue
is his professional skill? Doesn't
prejudice and a bigoted mind
negate other qualities a man may
possess? If we are to strive to
correct the errors in dealing with
'blacks are we to condone bias in
relation to whites, with emphasis
on added hatred when it is the
`Jew who can be hated? These
'were not the ideals of Martir
Luther King Jr., yet New York .
University authorities have fall&
victims to the vilest type of pre
udice that defiles their halls of
: Incidentally, it would be sense-.
less to charge Jews who demand .
the firing of the anti-Semite with
being over-sensitive. Once there
is hesitation in condemning bigo-
try, the bigots will have a heyday.
U Thant's Newest Prejudicial Attitude
A question had been posed in May of 1967 whether U Thant was
anti-Israel and prejudiced against Jews. He was vigorously defended
by Israelis and Jewish leaders, and the withdrawal of the UNEF was
credited to bad judgment.
Now, by his refusal to probe into Arab governments' discrimina-
tion against Jews while pressing for an investigation of the status of
Arabs in territories occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War, he gives
cause for renewal of challenges involving his neutrality.
In a recent column in which, writing from the Gaza area, he
exposed vast smuggling operations that had been conducted for years
by Egypt, involving $1,000,000 a week, thereby benefiting from a black
market while continuing to ask and receive hundreds of millions of
dollars in food relief, Victor Riesel charged: "U Thant, whom I heard
applaud one of Nasser's anti-Jewish speeches in Cairo not too long ago,
apparently could not care less . .."
I hope that many readers saw the June 19 letter of M. T. Mehdi, secretary
But Thant seems to care that the plight of the Jews in Moslem
general, the Action Committee on American-Arab Relations, in The Times.
It seems to be difficult for Americans to understand what deep and power- countries should be ignored while an issue should be made over false
ful emotions have been generated in the Arab peoples by the Zionist Jewish charges leveled at Israel by Arab propagandists.
take-over of the Arab homeland. There are still many who believe that the
There are many hate-inspiring accusations that have called for
seething trouble in the Middle East can be settled by mere words spoken over
a conference table.
refutations by Israel's spokesmen. There were charges that Israel was
Mr. Mehdi has performed a service by pointing out that Senator Kennedy's "colonizing" conquered areas. As a matter of fact, instead of 35 Nahal
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
support of the Zionist position•—which many but not all Americans also uphold
—played its part as one of the causes of his sad and untimely death. Other settlements of which Israel was accused, there are only 14 and most of 2—Friday, August 9, 1968