T Nation

'Aftermath' to Unearth Secrets of Lost Jews


On July 10, 1941, half the residents of Jedwabne, a Polish village 85 miles northeast of Warsaw, murdered the other half. The mob, led by the mayor, were Catholics; their 1,600 victims were Jewish, slaughtered over several nightmarish hours with bats, knives, rifles and other improvised weapons. Those who survived the massacre were then rounded up in a barn donated by a local farmer, which was then set ablaze. A plaque erected at the site blamed Nazis for the massacre, but, in fact, Nazis had only authorized it. Locals walked by the plaque for half a century, knowing the truth, but saying nothing.

Jedwabne's terrible secrets were at last laid bare in "Neighbors," an explosive account of the massacre by Princeton University historian Jan T. Gross. That 2001 book shattered carefully held myths, promulgated by Communist leaders, that Poles were only victims of World War II, not perpetrators. (Poles ---who unlike many European countries never officially collaborated with the Nazis --- lost close to 6 million citizens to the Nazis,, or about 17 percent of the population. Just over half of those were Jewish.) Now, 12 years later, comes "Aftermath" --- premiering stateside Nov. 1.


I am not sure I am going to see this. Most of my extended family was slaughtered by the Nazis or their fellow travelers in various countries in Germany, and I have a pretty serious case of paranoia already, such that I do weird things like hoard food and weaponry.


Did you watch Schindler's List?


For the interested reader:

This book catalogues the murderous environment of the lands from the Baltic to Ukraine between the Wars.
What would move Stalin to kill millions, and see Hitler as an ally at times, an enemy at others? The paranoid delusion--which Stalin held true for most of this time--was that his true enemies were the Japanese and the Poles, who were apparently intent on encircling him. So Poles in the Ukraine were murdered, Ukrainians were murdered, Poles and Belorussian were murdered--first by the Soviets, then the Nazis, then the Soviets again!

Jedwabne was just one such horror. Who knows the motivation of wholesale muderers? The usual Jew-hatred, salted by revenge against the Soviets, and coerced or abetted by the Nazis? The post-war pogroms continued even without Nazi permission, of course. I think Snyder chose the title of his book, "Bloodlands," with a view to the ineradicable history that settled on those countries.


Certainly one of the more important aspects of world war two that is not widely known today is just how virulently antisemitic the Poles were. A major reason why Hitler thought he could invade Poland without starting world war two is because Poland was run by another dictator who was just as antisemitic as the Nazis were.

Another thing most people don't know is even after the war the Poles participated in pogroms against returning Jews and slaughtered them. That is why after the war there were many displaced Jews who had nowhere else to go. That is why they went back to Israel.


I probably wouldn't then. There's no real need to exacerbate those feelings by learning more details of just how ugly people can be when you are already aware of the outer limit of it.


The mob couldn't have been real Catholics.

Definitely covert atheists masquerading as Catholics.


That describes most Christians regardless.


My Grandmother actually did one of the interviews for the movies research. She would never tell me about it so the only time I heard her stories was watching the interveiw. Some of the stuff still haunts me and really hurts my brain to think about. Statistically speaking I shouldnt exist.


Oh goodie, another Catholic/ Christian hate thread. Was that your intention Jewbacca?


You know me better than that, Pat.

The moving is just coming out tomorrow, and I am interested, yet also sick at my stomach.


It's a horrible tragic event showing the worst of humanity. The event makes me sick to my stomach to. That people would do that to each other. The people who did that, deserve the same fate as their victims.

Sadly, and it goes largely unnoticed, that this type of slaughter and mass torture of people still goes on particularly in Africa. For those assholes who gang rape babies, murder villages, disfigure women, make child soldiers, there is no hell hot enough in my opinion. I don't typically support the death penalty, but some people are simply to evil to be allowed to live, and those bastards are to evil to live. I suppose the least we could do is be aware.


Well I am glad you are here. We might not have met in real life, but I consider you and Jewbacca friends.