Faye Schulman obituary

 

Sir, – In “Faye Schulman obituary:: Jewish photographer who debunked Nazi lies” (Obituary, June 3rd), a sentence reads: “At one point the Germans witlessly gave her film to develop that contained pictures they had taken of the three trenches into which they, their Lithuanian collaborators and the local Polish police had machine-gunned Lenin’s remaining Jews, including her parents, sisters and younger brother.”

I wish to emphasise that mention of Polish police is inaccurate and taken out of historical context.

First, in Soviet Occupied Poland from 1939 and 1941, one million Polish citizens were arrested, exiled to remote parts of Soviet Union and sent to gulag labour camps. Police officers and civil servants were arrested in the first wave. When Germany invaded Soviet Union in 1941 there were no Polish authorities in that region.

Second, in October 1939, the parts of German occupied Poland that weren’t annexed by Germany were called the General Governorate and were governed by Germans. General Governor Hans Frank ordered the mobilisation of the pre-war Polish police into the service of the German authorities. The policemen were to report for duty or face the death penalty. The Blue Police (name based on the colour of the uniforms) was subordinate to the German Order Police. The Blue Police was restricted only to General Governorate for the Occupied Polish Region. Therefore the town Lenin on the river Sluch (now in Belarus) was outside of this region. It was most likely under the jurisdiction of the Lithuanian Security Police (LSP), also known as Saugumas or Ukrainian Police division.

From August 1st, 1941, eastern parts of occupied Poland (Eastern Galicia now part of Ukraine) were no longer controlled by the ethnically Polish division of Polish police. Instead, the Ukrainian division was put in charge across some 600 precincts.

Based on historical research, 90 per cent of Polish police aided Polish resistance and often sabotaged German efforts. The publication is really hurtful to Polish citizens in the region described by the author. Polish citizens in that region were sent to Soviet gulags and the ones who managed to avoid arrests by the Soviets very often were sent to concentration camps by the Germans from 1941. In 1943, Germans killed 1,200 Poles and Belarusians in the town of Lenin for aiding the Polish resistance.

Not only does the article not mention the martyrdom of Poles in the region, it falsely pictures them as oppressors.

I want to believe that the phrase used in the article was an unfortunate mistake made by the reporter, yet an oversight thoroughly spotted by the Polish community in Ireland. – Yours, etc,

ANNA SOCHANSKA,

Ambassador,

Embassy of the

Republic of Poland,

Ballsbridge,

Dublin 4.