A Polish Historian's Accounting of the Holocaust Divides His Countrymen
Most academic historians labor in obscurity. But in Poland last year, a Princeton professor's slim volume of Holocaust history became a controversial best seller. The publisher, Znak, saw its e-mail addresses bombarded, its business threatened with a boycott, and the area by its office graffitied. At a news conference, the publisher's own executive director proclaimed herself opposed to the book's publication and apologized to offended readers.
Such is the radioactive celebrity of Jan T. Gross, whom one Polish critic has called "a vampire of historiography." Mr. Gross's latest book, just released in English by Oxford University Press, investigates a sensitive topic: how Poles colluded in the pillaging and murder of Jews "at the periphery of the Holocaust."
Its title, Golden Harvest, stems from a cover photograph that purportedly shows Polish peasants who have been digging through remains of victims killed at Treblinka, where 800,000 Jews were gassed and cremated, to find gold or valuable stones neglected by the Nazis.
From there, Mr. Gross narrates events beyond the barbed wire of Nazi death camps. He describes Poles hunting Jews down, extorting money from them, massacring them, and profiting by taking over their jobs and property. Some 3.3 million Jews lived in Poland before the war began, and about 90 percent had perished by its end....
comments powered by Disqus
- Hero Marine Dad Will Unleash Hell Itself If Daughter’s World History Class Says Muslims Are Real
- Historians Against the War joins peace activists in pressing Congress to support a diplomatic solutions to conflict with Iran over nukes
- Despite new hires, Yale history department retains vacancies
- African-American Professor: Reagan Did More To Help Black Education Than Obama
- Turning West, Historians Take a Wider View of Early America