Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rule?

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Piotr Kapuscinski.
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wm
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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by wm » 01 Sep 2021 00:30

Hitler believed that the strong, in their global fight for survival, had the right to conquer the weak so what was going on in Palestine was perfectly aligned with his ideas.
But the argument that Palestine enabled his conquests is rather weak. At that time the belief that noncivilized brown, yellow, black people were fair game was common. European countries protected by international law were excluded from that.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by Futurist » 07 Nov 2021 19:52

wm wrote:
01 Sep 2021 00:30
Hitler believed that the strong, in their global fight for survival, had the right to conquer the weak so what was going on in Palestine was perfectly aligned with his ideas.
But the argument that Palestine enabled his conquests is rather weak. At that time the belief that noncivilized brown, yellow, black people were fair game was common. European countries protected by international law were excluded from that.
Weren't the Japanese also yellow?

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by Futurist » 07 Nov 2021 19:53

wm wrote:
24 Aug 2021 12:14
The British conquered the territory and in a colonial manner handed it over to the Jews in exchange for their support in the Great War.
The ingenious population wasn't consulted (natives should be seen and not heard) although they were promised equal rights in the future state.

In the thirties, Poland actually tried to acquire the mandate over Palestine and constantly demanded more Palestinian certificates for Polish Jews.
And supported Jabotinsky and his Betar in their efforts to conquer Palestine by force. Betar actually almost entirely emulated Polish nationalism.
Question: How many Polish Jews were not Jewish nationalists or politically apathetic, but rather Polish nationalists? Similar to how some German Jews were German nationalists, for instance:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Associati ... ional_Jews

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by wm » 07 Nov 2021 22:20

The Jewish nationalists, Betar/Revisionists, were Polish patriots too, there is an entire book about it - "Jabotinsky's Children".

That thing about yellow Japanese, it wasn't about skin but economic backwardness of the colored people. If you were poor and weak you couldn't hang out with the "cool people."

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by Futurist » 07 Nov 2021 22:43

wm wrote:
07 Nov 2021 22:20
The Jewish nationalists, Betar/Revisionists, were Polish patriots too, there is an entire book about it - "Jabotinsky's Children".
Interesting. So, they wanted both a strong Poland and a strong Jewish state in Palestine?
That thing about yellow Japanese, it wasn't about skin but economic backwardness of the colored people. If you were poor and weak you couldn't hang out with the "cool people."
But the Japanese didn't count for this because they weren't economically backward in spite of them being yellow, right? So, they could indeed hang out with the cool white kids, right?

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by wm » 07 Nov 2021 23:09

They were fascinated by Polish nationalism and tried to emulate the Polish road to independence. Their main goal was of course Israel.

The Japanese were accepted into the old boys club when the first Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902) was signed. Britain simply needed an ally there. When they defeated Russia three years later it was proven they weren't a joke.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by Futurist » 08 Nov 2021 05:06

wm wrote:
07 Nov 2021 23:09
They were fascinated by Polish nationalism and tried to emulate the Polish road to independence. Their main goal was of course Israel.

The Japanese were accepted into the old boys club when the first Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902) was signed. Britain simply needed an ally there. When they defeated Russia three years later it was proven they weren't a joke.
Did they want Poland to be Israel's main foreign patron?

And Britain terminated its alliance with Japan in 1921.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by SloveneLiberal » 08 Nov 2021 08:20

Maybe this report from March 1940 written by Zionist dr. Moshe Kleinbaum-Sneh can shed some light on the matter concerning Jewish attitudes in Soviet occupied Poland:

For several weeks I had an opportunity to observe the Soviet occupation first-hand in three concentrations of Jewish population: Luck (capital of Volhynia), Lwow, and Vilna, from the first day (September 18), when the Red Army crossed to Polish border, until October 28, when Vilna was annexed and incorporated into Lithuania. I am therefore entitled to claim that my words express my personal opinion and the truth.

I witnessed the entry of the Red Army into the regional capital city of Luck. Tightly packed crowds stood along the entire length of the main road on which Soviet tanks, artillery and armed infantry moved. Most people looked on this spectacle out of curiosity. Ukrainian peasants from the neighboring villages showed up in force, as well as young Jewish communists, especially women, and greeted them with applause and shouts of encouragement. The number of these Jewish enthusiasts was not large, but their behavior that day was conspicuous and stood out in its clamor. One might mistakenly conclude that Jews were the most celebrating guests in the ceremony. The Polish population of Luck comprised–almost exclusively–government officials and military personnel. They and their families refrained from showing themselves in the streets on that memorable day. The reaction of the Jewish population (I spoke with Jewish store-owners, with a tailor, a cobbler, a teacher, a private clerk, an unemployed engineer, that is, with Jews from various social strata), which should not be confused with the ruckus made by a few dozen Jewish communists, was that, as usual, the Jews had found themselves between a rock and a hard place. Already on September 18 a joke made the rounds among the Jews: “we were condemned to death and now we are pardoned–life sentence.” At first the Nazi danger loomed large with its sentence of death against the Jews. Then the Red Army came, saved a millionand-a-half Jews from certain death, physical and civic death, but besides bare lives the Red Army didn’t save anything. For the Jewish population life under Soviet rule amounts to a life sentence: you live, but on black bread and water only, you cease to be a free human being. As you probably know, I am something of an expert on the proclivities and thoughts of the masses, and let us say that the public’s opinion is my profession [Kleinbaum was a physician – I. G.]. So here I announce that to the best of my knowledge at least 80% of the Jews are of this opinion and no other.

Galed, on the History of the Jews in Poland vol. 4-5 (1978), pp. 561-562.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by gebhk » 08 Nov 2021 11:08

Hi WM
But the argument that Palestine enabled his conquests is rather weak.
I am obviously missing something. Has anyone made that claim?
If you were poor and weak you couldn't hang out with the "cool people.
It would appear that if you were rich and powerful (like, allegedly, 'the Jews') then you couldn't either :P. I find that trying to find a logical frame for Hitler's thinking just gives me a headache :roll: . As I may have mentioned in another thread, I do wonder if he had suffered a brain injury earlier in his life - his thought processes seem to manifest uncannily like those of a dear friend of ours who had.

But we stray very far from the matter in hand.

Sloveneliberal - Kleinbaum-Sneh's account seems to chime very well with the gist of conversations I had as a child with emigree Polish Jews from the region. It is probably worth noting that while undobtedly many Jews were saved from immediate death by the Soviet occupation, their death and deportation rates were still higher than the average under the Soviets. It is also the case that the 'clamorous' pro-Soviet Jewish minority that K-S describes, made a disproportionate impression which, most unfairly, rebounded onto the entire Jewish population during and after the war.

This also brings me back to the earlier point that opinion in this matter changed over time, with the most important turning point for most being personal conrtact with the reality of Soviet rule rather than the fairy tale. A joke (although it may have had some basis in reality) that made the rounds was of an old Ukrainian woman who, after September 1939, was 'invited' to make a 'spontaneous' laudation on front of an 'altar' with Comrade Stalin's photograph (? for the cameras). She said: "Indeed Comrade Stain you are a genius. That Pildudzki and his minions tried to make Poles of us for 18 years to no effect. You've only been here 6 months and already we are all Poles".

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by wm » 08 Nov 2021 21:00

Futurist wrote:
08 Nov 2021 05:06
Did they want Poland to be Israel's main foreign patron?
I think they didn't plan that far. It was all done in secret - with open Polish participation it would be after all an act of aggression.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by wm » 08 Nov 2021 21:05

SloveneLiberal wrote:
08 Nov 2021 08:20
Maybe this report from March 1940 written by Zionist dr. Moshe Kleinbaum-Sneh can shed some light on the matter concerning Jewish attitudes in Soviet occupied Poland:
I suppose the report was rewritten later, the Jewish enthusiasm for the Soviet rule is minimized, but more importantly "we were condemned to death" didn't correspond to reality.
Although atrocities happened they were rare and not that known anyway. Polish Jews in the GG lived a more or less "normal" life.
See the post "Let's make quick money" for a more realistic picture of the occupation.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by SloveneLiberal » 09 Nov 2021 11:42

Maybe more educated and wise Jews like dr. Kleinbaum realized what would Nazi regime do with Jews even before organized killings started in 1941? Hatred was speaking for itself in a way... Also it is not literary that all Jews were under life sentence in prison under Stalin, they were without basic freedoms and many were arrested and deported. So language used is not neccessary completely in literal sense here.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by SloveneLiberal » 09 Nov 2021 12:24

WM you are probably familiar also with Polish professor Tomasz Strzembosz who tried to point out that Jewish enthusiasm and collaboration with Soviets in period 1939-1941 was much bigger issue than it is recognized. He wrote about some examples in smaller towns in the east. Dr. Kleinbaum on the other hand is talking about big eastern cities in his report.

We can say that professor Strzembosz reports contain a bias against Jews since their collaboration with Soviets and NKVD is obviously to much generalized. But still we can see even here that it was a minority of Jews witch were enthusiastic about Soviet occupation.

For example from Polish testimony used by professor Strzembosz, her family was victim of collaboration between Jewish militia and the Soviets:

The events and mood in Krzemieniec were vividly captured in the memoirs of Janina Sulkowska, the daughter of the county secretary, Jan Sulkowski.

The Poles watched the Soviet invaders with a mixture of revulsion and fear. Not a few of us cried. But as disconcerting was the emergence of a local Jewish militia which was friendly to the Red Army and had made its appearance even before the enemy had marched in. Armed and organized its first task was to arrest the students and Boy Scouts who had been posted as guards and who carried old carbines in some cases taller than them. The Jews roughed up the shocked youngsters who had considered their captors as friends and classmates, before turning them over to the Soviets from whom they had prior directions. What was the fate of those young Poles? In many cases torture and death. This Jewish militia would help carry out the Soviet's dirty work during their occupation. My family would fall victim to them.


Children Turned In Their Teachers In town, Jews and Ukrainians were cheering and ingratiating themselves with the Soviets. I recognized many neighbours and acquaintances among those who were now jostling Poles and eyeing their property for future theft. Jewish men offered gifts to the Russians while their wives and daughters kissed their tanks.


Among this rabble were criminals released from jail by the Soviets to create mayhem. They were all emboldened by posters that had suddenly appeared urging various groups to attack Poles with axes and scythes. And the Soviet officers indicated they would not stand in the way of slaughter which was already turning the countryside red with the blood of the Polish minority outnumbered by Ukrainians and Jews. On that day I had my first encounter with a swaggering group of traitors attired in leather jackets, red armbands or sashes, stolen pistols, and hatred in their eyes. I beheld a number of classmates among them, including girlfriends. These mostly young Jews, often well-educated and from rich or religious families, now addressed everyone as "comrade". One of them gestured a slash across the throat at me. Their love for communism and Joseph Stalin would know no bounds—especially human sacrifice. ' They were much worse than the blackmailers and denouncers, who emerged in great numbers among the Jews and who were interested in the goods and jobs of their Polish victims.



Starting as communist sympathizers who flocked to the militia or acted as informers, these political types would soon graduate into "agitators", administrators and even sadistic interrogators for the Soviets as they filled positions in the new order. A knowledge of the language and the local scene, combined with their fanaticism, would be essential to the NKVD's reign of terror; they eagerly compiled lists and arrested Poles—and Jews, whom they considered to be enemies of the state. They were the ones who on horseback would chase my father down the main street like an animal, to act as interpreter for their torture victims.


A sizable minority of Polish Jews from all levels collaborated, usually passively but often actively, with the Soviet occupiers in their liquidation of Poles in eastern Poland in 1939–1941. For many, including my kin, the last sight they had of Poland or of their loved ones, was a cattle train bound for Siberia - and a Jew or a Ukrainian, or both, with a rifle on every wagon.


So mrs. Sulkowska is sometimes in her testimony talking about Jews in general, but on the other hand she concludes that it was still a minority of Jews, that they were mostly young and warmed up for communism in an unexpected manner. Also they were arresting both Poles and Jews for the Soviets.

Testimony is from the article “Przemilczana Kolaboracja'' ( or Silent collaboration ) written by professor Tomasz Strzembosz in 2001, published in Rzeczpospolita.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by wm » 09 Nov 2021 16:40

Communism penetrated deeply into the Polish Borderlands. The abjectly poor peasants were highly susceptible to it and, as usual, the intellectuals - there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them (George Orwell).
Communism was a very efficient parasite of the mind, because of its simplicity and "it's all for your own good" rhetorics.
Only religion and nationalism had some stopping power against it - and just barely as they themselves were under attack.

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Re: Did the Lithuanians, Belarusians, Volhynian Ukrainians, and Jews under Polish rule prefer Polish rule to Russian rul

Post by SloveneLiberal » 09 Nov 2021 18:54

Hm. Before WW2 there were at max. 10.000 Jews in Poland which were members of communist party according to dr. Joanna Michlic. The majority of Jews however were supporters of Sanacja government.

But maybe after Soviet invasion and occupation some warmed up in an unexpected manner for communism. Before i mentioned testimony of mrs. Sulkowska who was a victim of such collaboration between Soviets and some Jews. These mostly young Jews, often well-educated and from rich or religious families, became fanatical supporters of Stalin, she said.

Professor Tomasz Strzembosz is writting also about some other curious cases. For example certain Ajzik a Jewish trader from the area of village of Brzostowica Mala, near Grodno is said to led a pro-Soviet armed group.

Militia was operating under the command of communist Zak Motyl, a Jew who headed the "revolutionary committee" - composed of Jews and Belorussians - in Brzostowica Wielka. They were responsible for quite some killings. The victims included Count Antoni Wolkowicki and his wife Ludwika, his brother-in-law Zygmunt Woynicz-Sianozecki, the county reeve and his secretary, the accountant, the mailman, and the local teacher.
Ajzik was later made the president of the local cooperative despite he was before a so called capitalist.

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