Return

Who Were the 5 Million?

Holocaust Pictures

Holocaust Survivors

Holocaust Books, Videos, Audio Cassettes & DVDs

Holocaust Rescuers

Auschwitz

Family Search Registry

About Poland

Your Letters

List of 700 Polish Rescuers Killed

Polish Version

Polska Versja

Newsletter

Martyrs of Charity - A Christian and Jewish Response to the Holocaust
by Dr. Waclaw Zajaczkowski

I would like to strongly recommend "Martyrs of Charity"
The book lists the names of 3,000 of the more than 50,000 Christian Poles killed by the Germans for assisting Jews during the Holocaust.
W. Twierdochlebow, Menlo Park, CA

Holocaust Photos

 

 

Non-Jewish Victims of the Holocaust · Six Million Polish Citizens Died · 3 Million Jewish· 3 Million Non-Jewish

POLAND'S HOLOCAUST: 6 MILLION CITIZENS DEAD
(3 MILLION CHRISTIANS and 3 MILLION JEWS)
by Edward Lucaire

The best-kept secret in the U.S. about the Holocaust is that Poland lost six million citizens or about one-fifth of its population: three million of the dead were Polish Christians, predominantly Catholic, and the other three million were Polish Jews. The second best-kept secret of the Holocaust is the greatest number of Gentile rescuers of Jews were Poles, despite the fact that only in Poland were people (and their loved ones) immediately executed if caught trying to save Jews. The Yad Vashem museum in Israel honors "the Righteous Among the Nations" and Poland ranks first among 40 nations with 5,503 men and women, almost one-third of the total, honored for their "compassion, courage and morality" and who "risked their lives to save the lives of Jews."

OVER 5,000 HOLOCAUST BOOKS IN PRINT AND ONLY A FEW MENTION THE NUMBER OF POLES KILLED

Why the Polish Holocaust is rarely recognized by American media and wire services or mentioned in Holocaust literature has baffled Polish Americans and Poles, especially since so many books and articles have been published about the Holocaust. Amazon.com currently lists over 5,000 books published (an average of a book a day!) about the Holocaust and only a few of them even mention the Polish victims. The Polish Christian losses are occasionally mentioned in general reference books, somewhat camouflaged in the country profile of Poland in the annual The World Almanac and Book of Facts. The relevant sentence reads, “During the war, some 6 million Polish citizens, half of them Jews, were killed by the Nazis.” But note the nuance of the wording -- it is as though the words “three million,” “Polish Christians,” and “dead” cannot be mentioned in the same sentence in anything written about the Holocaust. Even direct mail pieces from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum cannot acknowledge the Polish dead -- their annual direct mail piece reads, “You see, the Nazis tried to wipe out not only the Jews but also the physically and mentally handicapped, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Gypsies, Soviet POWs and people who didn’t agree politically.” No mention of three million dead Poles, as if they didn't even matter to the major Holocaust organization in the U.S.!

HATH NOT POLES EYES, HANDS, ORGANS...? IF POLES ARE POISONED, DO THEY NOT DIE?

When Holocaust Remembrance Week was approaching this year, the first news release ("Israel Re-Examines Holocaust Story" 4-29-00; 12:24 p.m. EDT) from the Associated Press read, "The new Yad Vashem museum will also deal with the persecution of other groups targeted by the Nazis, including Gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses and others." Again, there was no mention of three million dead Polish Christians who, by the way, vastly outnumbered the combined number of dead Jehovah’s Witnesses (2,000), Gypsies (400,000), homosexuals (10,000 at the most, according to Peter Novick in The Holocaust in American Life), handicapped, etc., usually cited in Holocaust literature. Are these three million Polish Christian souls not worthy of honor at Holocaust remembrance ceremonies and in Holocaust literature? Hath not Poles eyes? Hath not Poles hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? If Poles are poisoned, do they not die?

HITLER ANNOUNCED, "THE DESTRUCTION OF POLAND IS OUR PRIMARY TASK"

The historical record clearly indicates that Hitler had a specific master plan for Poles, whom he hated almost as much as he hated Jews. Poles were regarded as Untermenschen or subhumans and their land was slated to provide Germany with Lebensraum (living space). Before the Nazis invaded Poland, Hitler announced, “The destruction of Poland is our primary task.” He also commanded, “Kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space we need.” Hitler’s head of secret police, Heinrich Himmler, promised that “all Poles will disappear from the world.” Was this Nazi policy not a clear prescription for the genocide of an entire country?

DIRECTOR ROMAN POLANSKI’S MOTHER, A CHRISTIAN, DIED IN A GAS CHAMBER. HIS JEWISH FATHER SURVIVED MAUTHAUSEN.

Historian Richard C. Lukas (The Forgotten Holocaust) observed that “So many Poles were sent to concentration camps that virtually every Polish family had someone close to them who had been tortured or murdered there.” A cursory look at the lives of prominent Poles through the years corroborates this phenomenon. Former Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Rakowski’s father was executed by a Nazi firing squad. Tadeusz Mazowiecki, another prime minister of Poland, lost his brother in a Nazi concentration camp. Former premier Josef Cyrankiewicz spent a total of four years in prison. And Lech Walesa’s father barely survived his internment in a Nazi prison camp, was released in bad health, and died eighteen months later. Of course, there were military casualties too. Film and theater director Andrzej Wajda’s father, a career cavalry officer, was killed in combat at Katyn (admittedly by the Russians, but dead nonetheless). And movie director Roman Polanski’s mother, part Christian, died in a gas chamber. (His Jewish father, by the way, survived Mauthausen.) Most of the three million dead Christians, of course, were ordinary citizenry, not just “Polish intellectuals,” “political dissidents,” priests, etc., as the Polish dead are usually described by the media and by authors.

The conspicuous silence about the millions of Christian deaths has also troubled writer William Styron, who extensively studied Holocaust literature before he wrote his powerful novel Sophie’s Choice. Styron, whose wife is Jewish, said in an interview when asked about the deaths at Auschwitz, “... if you are talking about the non-Jews who died in exactly the same way as the Jews, in the gas chambers, two and one half million Jews and about one million non-Jews.” Styron added, “All this is on the historical record.” About other non-Jewish deaths, he noted that they “were dying in their own particular way... they were slaves who were being starved to death, and they died just as verifiably as those who went to the gas chamber.”

EARLY PRISONERS AT AUSCHWITZ WERE MOSTLY POLES

In the early years, most prisoners at Auschwitz were Poles, not Jews. As historian Martin Gilbert pointed out, of the first 611 people who died at Auschwitz, 591 were Poles and 20 were Jews. In the vast body of Holocaust literature little sympathy is ever extended to those 591 victims, and the subsequent 2,999,409 Poles who followed them to their graves. Polish Nobel Prize-winner Czeslaw Milosz expressed his concern about the forgotten victims, lamenting, “when the meaning of the word Holocaust undergoes gradual modifications, so that the word begins to belong to the history of the Jews exclusively, as if among the victims there were not also millions of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and prisoners of other nationalities.” Echoing the sentiment, William Styron warned, “To ignore the existence of these victims -- even if it is certain that Jews suffered more than the others -- is to minimize the Nazi horror. It is to underestimate dangerously its totalitarian dimension.”

WERE THE LIVES OF THREE MILLION POLISH GENTILES WORTH LESS THAN THE LIVES OF THREE MILLION POLISH JEWS?

When Poland lost six million people it was, according to Professor Lukas, “the highest ratio of losses to population of any country in Europe.” The country was devastated and almost destroyed. Poland, in effect, became a Holocaust survivor -- a pathetic skeleton of a country, soon to be further ravaged by the Communists. Why are the media and Holocaust organizations afraid to recognize Poland’s losses? Were the lives of three million Polish Gentiles worth less than the lives of three million Polish Jews? Holocaust literature and news coverage to date sadly seem to indicate so.

©1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 Edward Lucaire - All Rights Reserved

Edward Lucaire, a freelance writer, was researching a book about the Holocaust’s effect on Poland and its Christian and Jewish citizenry before he passed away in 2002. An earlier version of this article previously appeared in Zgoda, the official publication of the Polish National Alliance of North America. Lucaire encouraged readers to send copies of this article (and any other similar ones) to local school officials and local media to ensure that annual Holocaust remembrance events acknowledge Poland's losses, Christian and Jewish. A graduate of Amherst College, Lucaire served in the U.S. Army with the United Nations Command in Seoul, Korea.

Google

Click to review
Holocaust Forgotten
The Paperback

A Concise Overview of the 5 Million Forgotten Victims of the Nazis

eBook Version

Search for Family - FREE

Jan Karski - One man who tried to stop the Holocaust

Irek - Warsaw Ghetto Underground Fighter

Dutch Teenager - Three years hard labor for listening to a radio station.

Eva Pencak - Forced Laborer for the Third Reich

American Citizen in Poland  
Faced the Germans Twice - First in the Polish Army and then in the American Army

Mittelbau Dora in Nordhausen French survivor describes his months of hell in concentration camp

Number 1067 - Diary   Cold and Naked They Stood

Washington Post Artist and Non-Jewish Survivor of 5 Concentration Camps

Wiktor - The Art of Survival "Opening the envelope, Julian Siminski felt a chill."

Kidnaped and Deported   - They kidnaped young men and women in the street, in the marketplace, and in front of churches on Sundays.

 

About Poland | Your Letters | List of 700 Rescuers Polish Killed | Personal Stories | Polish Version | Polska Versja | Auschwitz | Newsletter