Poland and the Holocaust

 

Sir, – A letter by Oliver Sears (Letters, June 30th) includes particular statements mocking the Polish. He claims Poland “(…) promotes a mythic and heroic narrative where Poles risked their lives to protect their Jewish neighbours against Nazi persecution”.

There is nothing mythical about Poles saving Jews from the Holocaust. Statements from Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, prove that Poles saving Jews are not a myth: “Poles constitute the largest national group within the Righteous Among the Nations recognised by Yad Vashem. Considering the harsh punishment that threatened rescuers, this is a most impressive number.”

Poland, as the first victim of the Nazi Germany, stood firm against denial and minimisation of the crimes of the Holocaust. Moreover, during the second World War Polish government-in-exile (first in Paris then London) and the Polish resistance operating in German-occupied territories were the first to alert the Western allies about the extermination of Jews by Nazi Germany.

I strongly believe the word heroic is well in place to describe people who risked their own lives and the lives of their families to save Jews from the Holocaust.

Poles kept on fighting in the face of unimaginable horror.

A Pole caught hiding Jews was punished not only by losing their own life, but their entire family’s lives as well.

As per Yad Vashem: “At liberation, around 50,000 Jewish survivors were on Polish soil. It is estimated that about 30,000 to 35,000 Jews, around one percent of all of Polish Jewry, were saved with the help of Poles.”

– Yours, etc,

ANNA SOCHANSKA

Ambassador of the

Republic of Poland to Ireland

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.