The chief of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Israel Katz quoted the words said in 1989 by the prime minister then Icchak Shamir. Polish anti-Semitism ‘sucked up with mother’s milk’ was to be legalized, because as Shamir said, his father had been killed by Poles.

The opinion on this issue was expressed by the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland. ‘Those words were unfair when they were said for the first time, in 1989, when Polish-Israeli relations had just begun to be rebuilt after a long night of communism’ – we read in a statement of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities.

Problem with history

The problem is that it is possible to question not only anti-Polish meaning of the words of deceased prime minister of Israel, but also their historical authenticity. It is not known how the father of Icchak Shamir, that is, Szlomo Jeziernicki died and who he was killed by. According to Israeli information, he was escaping lonely from transport towards Różana (Belarus now) and it was difficult to suppose that his oppressors would report against one another. It is not known whether those were Poles, Germans or Belarusians, communists or the Nazis. Let’s remind that Polish families from those areas after 17 September 1939 mostly ended in Siberia, and fathers – often in Katyń.

However, it is certain, according to Jewish sources that when there was German invasion, the father of Icchak Shamir was called up to Judenrat, that is, he was responsible for indicating and catching Jews.

Let’s remind here another story which is much better documented. It concerns the known scandal in the Polish Hotel at Długa 29 Street in Warsaw. During the Second World War there was a terrible and painful situation for the Jewish nation as two Jewish collaborators of Gestapo – Leon ‘Lolek’ Skosowski and Adam Żurawin were involved in the scandal of the Polish Hotel.

Jews were betraying their compatriots

According to attempts by diplomats from Switzerland and the USA, some Jews from the Warsaw ghetto were allowed to have passports to emigrate for South America. Poles from Switzerland were engaged in the issue of defrauding documents and saving Jews in this way.

However, some passports sent on the turn of 1942 and 1943 did not get to the hands of their owners but to the hands of Skosowski and Żurawin. These Jewish agents of Gestapo later sold them to hiding Jews for lots of money. There was no shortage of people willing to have them. Jews who managed to buy a passport were interned in the Polish Hotel. Certainly, all this took place under control of the Germans who also had benefits from that beneficial procedure. In spring 1943 they organized a raid on the Polish Hotel and nearly all Jews staying there were shot dead. Later that place was treated as a trap of the Warsaw Gestapo which was luring Jews from their hides in this way on the Aryan side, in order to murder them in death camps.

According to the Jewish Historic Institute, among over 2.5 thousand Jews who reported themselves on Długa street, only 260 people survived. The National Army took the control of ‘Lolek’ and his cruel activity. Leon Skosowski was killed on 1 November 1943 by soldiers of the counterintelligence of the Warsaw District of the National Army.

An important and necessary lesson

The example of the Polish Hotel shows very well how Polish National Army enters action to defend Jews from Jews. ‘In relation to recognizing this cruel procedure (the scandal of the Polish Hotel), the chief of the counterintelligence of the National Army of the Warsaw District – captian Bolesław Kozubowski got a consent from colonel Chruściel, the later commander of the Warsaw Uprising, for immediate liquidating whole gang, not awaiting a judicial verdict, in order to save as many candidates for transportation to death camps organized by Skosowski as possible’ – we read in memories of a lieutenant of the National Army Janusz Cywiński, pseudonym Janusz, who did extermination on Skosowski.

A few meters from the Polish Hotel in Warsaw there is a small street named Bohaterów Getta (Ghetto Heroes). There are often visitors from Israel here. Why aren’t they often by the Polish Hotel?

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 9/2019 (3 III 2019)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl