Post Eagle Newspaper


Nov 30, 2023

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Gross Accusation Is Unambiguous

A release from Wiesenthal Center, published in the Washington Post on 11/4/16 through the agency of Vanessa Gera: Title – Poland’s Treatment of Holocaust Scholar Tests Speech Freedom

My published comment:  G.B.

Professor Gross’s September 2015 assertion that “Poles killed more Jews than [they did] Germans” is what philosophers since Bertrand Russell would call an indefinite description, impossible to count as true or false until the terms of the proposition are settled unambiguously. Which Jews, which Poles, which Germans, when and where? But the attitude of accusation is unambiguous. That is his point.

If his numbers do not hold, then his accusation is reckless, and unjust. In a note added to his Sept. 13 Project Syndicate article, Gross draws an estimate of 200,000-250,000 Jews who tried to hide, with about 40,000 surviving. “The bulk…perished either directly, killed by the Poles (or Ukrainians) among whom they were hiding, or by being betrayed and delivered to German police outposts by the local population.” The Germans in the outposts were keeping warm and writing letters home? He calls this brisk subtraction “rather straightforward,” while inserting a fourth term, the Ukrainians, who in fact were allied with the Germans and killing both Jews and Poles.

He appeals to authors of studies offering “rigorous documentation.” Are these studies unchallenged? Further, why not calculate how many Poles assisted the 40,000 survivors?

If Prof. Gross wants confidence in his ability with numbers, he could begin by correcting his mythic figure of 1600 victims for the 1941 massacre at Jedwabne. He has known, since 2003, as have all informed parties, that the official investigation found the remains of about 340 victims. But his book and his publicized remarks continue to sell the iconic figure of 1600. The professor’s extravagance exploits the victims. Whether or not Poland is being insulted, what of the Jewish dead?

Gordon Black, Chair
Committee for Education
The Polish American Congress
Northern California Division