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Betreff: Complaint / Reporting on Holocaust / Associated Press

Dear Mr. Heller, dear Mr. Federman,

I refer to my earlier email of February 20, 2016 (below) on the misleading and defamatory statement in your story from Jerusalem about the passing away of the last survivor of Treblinka uprising Mr. Samuel Willinberg (“Last survivor of Nazi death camp Treblinka dies in Israel” ). Associated Press stated that „Hundreds (Jews) fled, but most were shot and killed by Nazi troops in the surrounding mine fields or captured by Polish villagers who returned them to Treblinka”.

The claim that Polish villagers captured the Jews and returned them back to Treblinka distorts the history and is an assault on Poland’s good name. According to historical files, the overwhelming majority of Poles living in the surroundings of Treblinka were either frightened by the hunt for Jews by Germans and their Ukrainian helpers, and remained in their homes for fear of German violence or they helped Jews by offering shelter, food, medicaments, cloths or money for travel (like in the case of Mr. Willenberg). Many of them paid it with their life. According to the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw there are only 3 documented cases of denunciation of Jews by Poles after the uprising in Treblinka.

Associated Press asserts in its mission statement: “For more than a century and a half, men and women of The Associated Press have had the privilege of bringing truth to the world. That means we abhor inaccuracies, carelessness, bias or distortions.” http://www.ap.org/company/News-Values.

Unfortunatelly, you haven’t answered my email of February 20, 2016 so far, although such a grave error requires a correction and apology.
I ask you once again to look into the matter and to consider a dissemination in your international news services of a correction and apology. There are no people who don’t make mistakes, but it is a matter of personal ethical standards, integrity and civil courage and also of the AP’s mission to admit a mistake and to repair the damage.

I still believe in the good faith and high journalistic standards of Associated Press and just to remind you that the world is not black and white like in your news story about Mr. Willenberg I attach a compilation of selected books about the death camp in Treblinka with evidence of rescue of Jews by Poles (but also with other evidence, which is beyond black and white).

As a member of Polish Media Issues Group fighting for Poland’s good name I look forward to receiving your answer.

With best regards
Dr. Marek Blazejak
Hamburg

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SELECTED BOOKS ON THE EXTERMINATION CAMP TREBLINKA

“Dam im imie na wieki” (in English: “I will give them a name forever”).
By Edward Kopówka (Director of the Treblinka’s Death Camp Museum) and Pawel Rytel-Andrianik (the speaker of the the Episcopate of the Polish Church)
According to this book, 44 Polish citizens from the surroundings of Treblinka were killed by Nazis for helping the Jews (before and after the uprising of Jews in the death camp). Yad Vashem doesn’t take into account, according to its criteria, the people who were killed like these 44 victims. Nevertheless, it recognized 91 Poles from the county, where Treblinka death camp was located (20 further persons are being considered for recognition).
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Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience
by Gitta Sereny
Gitta Sereny was a British journalist who had attended Franz Stangl’s trial in 1970 (Strangl was the head of the death camp Treblinka), and she had interviewed him in prison in Düsseldorf in 1971. Sereny interviewed also other Nazis such as Franz Suchomel, Jewish escapees from Treblinka, and a member of the Polish Underground. She stated among others:
Ukrainian collaborators played a central role in the operation of Sobibor (p. 122, 124) and Treblinka (e. g., p. 148, 166; see especially p. 224). Lithuanians (p. 155) and Russians (p. 164) were also involved. So were Jewish Kapos (p. 123, 158-159)–the depravity of some of whom rivaled that of the Germans and Ukrainians (p. 188).
Treblinka-escapee Berek Rojzman commented: “We got to know from people around that the Germans were sending Ukrainians who pretended to be partisans, into the woods to look for Jews.” (p. 243). How often was the “Polish” participation in German posses, “Polish” killings of fugitive Jews in forests, etc., actually the work of Polish-speaking Ukrainian collaborators (not only around Treblinka, but also elsewhere in otherwise Ukrainian-free regions of Poland)?
Sereny examines the planned extermination of Slavs: “Historical records in the public domain prove beyond any doubt that the Nazi extermination of the Jews, and concurrently of large numbers of Gypsies, was intended as only the first step in a gigantic programme of genocide of all so-called `inferior races’ of Europe. A beginning was made both in Russia…and in Poland…” (p. 93). Treblinka-escapee Richard Glazer adds: “This is something, you know, the world has never understood; how perfect the machine was. It was only lack of transport because of the Germans’ war requirements that prevented them from dealing with far vaster numbers than they did; Treblinka alone could have dealt with the 6,000,000 Jews and more besides. Given adequate rail transport, the German extermination camps in Poland could have killed all the Poles, Russians, and other East Europeans the Nazis planned eventually to kill.” (p. 214).
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Extermination Camp Treblinka
by Witold Chrostowski
One unique feature of this book is discussion of the seldom-mentioned aid, by the Polish Underground guerillas (AK), to the Jews who had fled Treblinka after their heroic revolt: “A large group of the freed Jews went into the forests and crossed the River Bug in the vicinity of Glina village. As it turned out they were covered and helped during the crossing by an AK detachment under the command of Stanislaw Siwek, whose pseudonym was Sliwa.” (p. 92)
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Treblinka
by Janusz Gumkowski
The Germans shot any Pole who got too close to a Jew-filled death train
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A Jump for Life: A Survivor’s Journal from Nazi-occupied Poland Hardcover – March 17, 1997
by Ruth Altbeker Cyprys
Originally written in 1946, Cyprys’ account is remarkably free of the Judeocentric, German-whitewashing, anti-Christian, and anti-Polish tendencies of today. She devotes almost as much attention to German crimes against Poles as to those against Jews. Furthermore, Cyprys makes it clear that the Germans regarded the Poles as having no more inherent right to live than the Jews. Consider what happened when two Poles were mistakenly herded with Jews into a Treblinka-bound train: “Two gentiles in our wagon tried to explain to the Germans that they did not fit into this society and tried to show their documents. All to no avail. `Even if you are not a Jew, you are a damned Pole’, yelled the German, and slapped the older woman’s face, barking `Polish swine’ and with his rifle butt drove her to the wagon.” (p. 95).
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No Common Place: The Holocaust Testimony of Alina Bacall-Zwirn Paperback – August 1, 2000
by Alina Bacall-Zwirn
Alina Bacall-Zwirn understands the fact that much of the so-called Polish police, in the service of the Germans, actually consisted of ethnic Germans. She comments: “That was the Volksdeutsche, working for Gestapo. That was the Polish police.” (p. 40).

She lived in the Warsaw ghetto, and was shipped to Treblinka. She managed to jump from the train, and was aided by a Pole who brought her food (p. 35). She then made it back to Warsaw.
…………………………………………………………
Martyrs of Charity
by Waclaw Zajaczkowski

Jews and Poles falling into German hands were frequently tortured to force them to identify other Polish benefactors and/or hidden Jews (e. g., p. 159).

As for the numerous but very limited number of deserving Poles honored at Yad Vashem, Zajaczkowski comments: “There are tens of thousands of similar cases in which Jews saved by the sacrifices of their Christian brothers in Poland, respond with contempt and denigration.” (p. 272)
………………………………………………..

Deliverance: The Diary of Michael Maik, a True Story Paperback – 2004
by Michael Maik
Banditry was a common feature of wartime, with Jews both victims and victimizers. Maik recounts how Jews who fled the ghettos, or Treblinka itself, were often robbed by bands of Poles or Russians (e. g., p. 117, 155). Gangs of Christians and Jews robbed the villages (p. 159). Later, Maik himself was part of an armed band of Jews who, impersonating Polish guerillas, robbed rural Poles at gunpoint. (pp. 212-213)
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Treblinka Survivor: The Life and Death of Hershl Sperling
By Mark S. Smith
In all fairness to Smith, the author, he at least goes beyond the common “most Poles were indifferent” insinuation, and realizes the true cause of most Poles not acting on behalf of Jews, as after the Treblinka revolt: “However, most [Poles] did nothing and remained in their homes for fear of German violence.” (p. 140). The author indirectly also touches on the causes of Poles blackmailing fugitive Jews: “Meanwhile, most Warsaw Poles had been reduced to poverty. Records reveal that Warsaw residents received the lowest food rations anywhere in German-occupied Europe and correspondingly the city became an enormous centre for illegal commerce.” (p. 146). The author mentions Polish farmers sometimes approaching the trains nearing Treblinka and warning Jews of their fate (p. 74), but does not repeat the accusation of Poles being gleeful.

Smith mentions the Battle of Mokra in the 1939 war. He also discusses the German genocidal destruction of Poland’s intelligentsia (p. 66) as well as eventual genocidal plans against Slavs as a whole. (p. 65). He also mentions the fact that the Nazis murdered 10,000 Poles at labor-camp Treblinka. (p. 79).
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The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Memoir Hardcover – February 15, 2011
by Chil Rajchman
Rajchman writes: “Treblinka is guarded by 144 Ukrainians and about a hundred SS men.” (p. 111). The gassing of a train transport of several thousand people could be finished within an hour. (p. 36). Any Jews working not quickly enough, or not moving fast enough to the gas chambers, were savagely whipped by Germans and Ukrainians.
After fleeing Treblinka during the prisoner revolt, Rajchman encountered Poles who closed the door when he approached them for help, and one who suggested denouncing him. (The reader may not realize that the Germans imposed draconian terror upon the Poles, freely using the death penalty for not only the slightest aid to the Treblinka escapees, but also destroying entire Polish villages for such acts. Besides, the Germans randomly killed Poles in order to terrorize other ones into telling them anything that they knew about the Jewish escapes. Finally, Germans put up posters depicting the Jewish escapees as typhus-bearing Jewish bandits that should be denounced or liquidated. Owing to the fact that fugitive Jews often engaged in banditry against the near-starving rural Polish population, this German propaganda did resonate among part of the Polish peasantry.)

In spite of all the difficulties and mortal dangers involved, a succession of Poles aided Rajchman following his escape from Treblinka. (pp. 133-138). In particular, his Polish friend, Jarosz, helped him extensively, and provided him Aryan papers, which Rajchman successively used for over a year to outlast the German occupation. (pp. 137-138).
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Escaping Hell In Treblinka
by Israel Cymlich, Oscar Strawczynski
Srul escaped in April 1943, just before he was due to be transferred to and murdered in the Treblinka II extermination camp. Oskar Stawczynski’s memoir is one of the earliest written eyewitness accounts of the August 2, 1943 uprising in Treblinka. Strawczynski tells of Jewish camp officials’ cruel treatment of their fellow Jewish prisoners; the viciousness of the German staff; preparations for the uprising, and life after the mass escape of the camp. Both men owed their survival and the opportunity to write their stories to their own daring and initiative as well as to the assistance they received from a variety of people, including Polish rescuers.

The deaths of Jews who had successfully escaped Treblinka were caused not only by betrayers, but also by fugitive Jews who turned themselves in to the Germans. (p. 43). Treblinka escapees were aided by Poles. The Polish Kobos family aided Cymlich (p. 66), and the Roguszewski family aided Strawczynski (p. 188). Both were nominated as Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem.
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Trap with a Green Fence: Survival in Treblinka
By Richard Glazar
When Richard Glazer actually escaped from Treblinka, he spent much time traversing the Polish countryside. He describes his peregrinations and the help he received from Poles. He passed by a long series of Polish villages, including Ostrow (p. 149), Wiszkow, Radzymin (p. 150), Rembertow, Solejuwky (p. 151), “…Piaseczno, Gora Kalwaria, Grojec, Mogielnica–those are the exotic-sounding names of towns passed through, more or less without incident.” (p. 153). He had to evade a column of Germans. Yet not once did he indicate any threat from Polish blackmailers or denouncers. And, when he was finally caught, it was not by a Pole but by a Volksdeutsche. (p. 153)
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For those I loved
By Martin Gray
Polish peasants sometimes denounced or killed Jews known or suspected of thievery. Gray sometimes sought Polish help, while at other times he simply stole from Poles during his treks in the countryside (e. g., p. 158, 183, 184).

nypdpulaski

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