World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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WWII Atrocities carried out by Poles

Atrocities and controversial actions carried out by Poles during and after the Second World War.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

Poles dug up death camp mass graves for gold claims Jan Gross in his new book Golden Harvest
A book that claims Poles profited from the persecution of the Jews by looting mass graves and turning people over to the Nazis has ignited an international outcry. "Golden Harvest" - by Jan Gross and Irena Grudzinska Gross - claims that Poles dug up human remains at the Treblinka death camp after the World War II in search of gold and diamonds that Nazi executioners might have missed.

Jan Gross' 2001 book "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland" forced a Polish government commission to admit that Poles - not the Nazis — massacred 1,600 Jewish villagers in Jedwabne. In addition, his 2006 book "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz" focused on the 1946 Kielce pogrom, in which up to 40 Jews, who had somehow managed to survive the Second World War, were killed by the local Polish population.


Polish gold-diggers robbed Jewish corpses at Treblinka after the war, claims a new book
A new book by historian Jan Tomasz Gross reveals how Polish relic hunters robbed Jewish corpses in Treblinka Nazi death camp after the war was over. "A Golden Harvest" could cause as much controversy as Gross's 2001 book "Neighbours" - which described a pogrom by Poles against Jews in Jedwabne (previously it had been thought that the Nazis had killed the Jews). A Golden Harvest is based on an article -- Gold Rush in Treblinka -- which describes how the Treblinka became a magnet for gold diggers.

Descendants of Nazi official awarded building he owned in Poland - Who owns buildings on area given from Third Reich to Poland?
A German family has laid claim to a building in Opole, which until 1945 was part of the Third Reich. The Polish tenants in the building have disputed the claim, resulting a bitter battle both in and out of the courts. The tenants have launched an appeal against a court decision to award German Max Merkel, whose family owned the building before parts of Germany were given to Poland in 1945.

Gustav Bekker sets up memorials to ethnic Germans killed by Poles
The wounds of World War II are still raw. One of those seeking to heal them is Gustav Bekker, a Polish-born German whose own history is a snapshot of the atrocious era. His father, an ethnic German shoemaker, was killed by Poland's communist security forces in 1945. Recently Bekker unveiled a memorial in Aleksandrow Kujawski to his father and other ethnic Germans killed there. He has already put up a similar memorial in Potulice, the site of a camp where he was kept as a child, and at Nieszawa where ethnic German civilians were drowned by Polish captors. Moves to commemorate German war victims are rare in Poland.

Polish investigators say partizan leader Tuvia Bielski may have massacred civilians
As Paramount Pictures gears up its ad campaign for movie "Defiance" - about a band of Jewish partizans who fought the Nazis - the Polish government report indicates that Tuvia Bielski and Bielski partizans may have took part in a massacre of civilians in the Polish town of Naliboki. The defaming of the Bielski partisans has angered people close to the group, of which some have also been involved with the production of the movie. Nechama Tec, author of the historical account of the Bielski partizans on which the film is based, said that accusations linking the partizans to the massacre were "total lies."

Poland suing historian of book on oppression of the Jews after Holocaust
The author of a book charging Poles of a campaign against the Jews after the Holocaust could face charges of defaming the Polish nation. Jan Gross has previously accused Poles of actively aiding the Nazis in oppressing Jews in World War II. In his book "Fear" - released in Polish on Friday - he writes that anti-semitism remained dominant in the years after the Holocaust. In an interview Gross rejected charges that his book was aimed against Poland: "I am convinced anti-semitism was one of the main poisons that were injected into the Polish identity." He blamed nationalist and Catholic circles. "Will these people be finally able to say mea culpa? We'll see."

Poland rejects call to return German artworks, cultural treasures
Poland has rejected calls to return a collection of German cultural treasures held in Polish archives since the end of World War II. "All... objects of German origin that found themselves on Polish territory ... were taken over by the Polish state on the basis of the appropriate legal acts." Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung criticized Poland for not returning treasures from the Prussian State Library. The Nazis transferred the Prussian collection from Berlin to 29 places to protect it from Allied bombing. 500 boxes were hidden at the Ksiaz Castle in the Sudety mountains, and later moved further south, ending up on Polish soil when the border was shifted west.

German Property Lawsuit Raises Fears in Polish Town
Millions of Germans were forced from their homes by the advancing Red army or later by Polish security forces, often brutally. The property and land they left was seized. At the time, the land loss was seen as a fair payback for the bloody Nazi occupation of Poland. The regions, which had been German for centuries, make up around a third of modern Poland. In a opinion poll, a quarter of Germans consider that the former territories are still German and 40% regret their loss. The property claims are seen by many in Poland as part of a wider bid by Germans to portray themselves as victims of World War II.

Death camp survivors press Poland for restitution of property seized
Holocaust survivors from around the world pressed Poland to compensate them for property confiscated by the former communist regime. Poland, the biggest post-communist EU member, is the only country from Eastern Europe besides Belarus that has not enacted a program for the restitution of WWII property seized. Attempts to solve the issue after the collapse of communism have failed, due to concern over the likely cost. Poland had Europe’s biggest Jewish community until World War II, when the Nazis killed nearly 90% of them. The post-war communist rulers seized their property.

Poland Youth gave Nazi salutes, burned swastikas - roots in 1920s
A Polish political party LPF is breaking up all ties with its youth wing after members burned swastika torches and given Nazi-style salutes. Promotion of fascism is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison in Poland which suffered heavily at the hands of the Nazi Germany in World War II. All Poland Youth’s roots go back to the 1920s when its members attacked Jewish students and called for them to be banned from public universities.

After the Nazi defeat, Polish citizens started pogroms
Professor Jan T. Gross has written a book, "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz", it shows in detail how Polish citizens of all classes set upon the remaining Jews in their communities and murdered them outright. During the 1946 Kielce pogrom, soldiers who were called to the scene to restore order instead tossed women out of windows. Townspeople finished off those not yet dead. He supplies witnesses, court testimony (most of the killers got off), letters, diaries, films. All tell the same story: Anti-Semitism was so embedded in Poland that even the outrages of Auschwitz did not dissuade Polish population from the murderous project.

Last pogrom, in 1946 by Polish, still casts dark shadow
Air-raid sirens echoed across the small town of Kielce to mark the 4 July, 1946, when a mob armed with firearms and angered by rumours a child had been kidnapped, attacked a building housing Jewish refugees. When the violence ended, 40 persons, many of them Holocaust survivors, lay dead. The bloodletting in Kielce prompted thousands to flee Poland, with an estimated 60,000 leaving in the 3 months. A book, Fear, by professor Jan Gross, examines racism in Poland in the months following the end of the WWII, concludes that the reasons lay in a vicious Polish hatred of Jews. He claims that up to 1,500 died in related violence in Poland during this period.

Polish henchmen to lose pension - 1500 German PoWs killed   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Polish Minister of Defence announced steps to deprive perpetrators of the gravest communist period crimes of their pensions, which are five times higher than regular. The action mostly embraces high military intelligence officers. Salomon Morel, the commandant of the camp for German POWs on whose orders over 1500 prisoners perished after the war. Helena Wolinska who passed the death sentence on general August Fieldorf, one of the legends of the anti-Nazi resistance. Witold Kochan, responsible for bestial torture of hundreds of members of the Home Army fighting against the Nazis during World War Two.

Polish-born Jew accused of war crimes against Germans in WWII
Israel has refused to extradite a Polish-born Jew accused of war crimes against Germans in World War II. Solomon Morel is said to be responsible for the deaths of up to 1,500 prisoners. Mr Morel commanded a Russian-run camp where Germans were held after the Soviets occupied Poland in 1945. A prosecutor at Poland's Institute for National Remembrance criticised the decision, alluding to Israel's support of the prosecution of elderly people accused of genocide against Jews during the war. "There should be one measure for judging war criminals, whether they are German, Israeli or any other nationality."