“That’s for harboring Jews!”

Post-Liberation Violence against Holocaust Rescuers in Poland

  • Alicja Podbielska Clark University
Keywords: Poland, rescue, antisemitism, postwar

Abstract

This article explores post-war violence against ethnic Poles who had assisted Jews during the Holocaust. Officially praised as representative of the entire nation’s compassionate and generous attitude, they faced ostracism, robbery, and murder by their home communities. Their neighbours envied them the ‘Jewish gold’ they had allegedly received for their assistance, while the right-wing, anti-communist armed underground considered them traitors who had impaired the nationalist ideal of a Poland without Jews. Drawing on early Jewish testimonies, letters sent by helpers to the Jewish Committees, and their testimonies from the 1960s, this article examines the consequences of their wartime actions that rescuers faced in the first years after liberation.

Published
2019-12-09