The Killing After the Killing
The Killing After the Killing
After the Holocaust ended in 1945, Poland’s surviving Jews still faced hatred from their fellow citizens.

Reviewed by Elie Wiesel
Sunday, June 25, 2006; Page BW03

FEAR

Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz

Mourners at the burial of victims of the Kielce pogrom, Poland, July 1946
Mourners at the burial of victims of the Kielce pogrom, Poland, July 1946
Chapter One

By Jan T. Gross

Random House. 304 pp. $25.95

In 1996, Poland’s Prime Minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, invited a Jewish American writer to speak at a commemoration marking the 50th anniversary of the Kielce pogrom. The speaker reminded his listeners that if Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek and Sobibor were German initiatives, the killers this time on the ground were Polish, their language Polish and their hatred entirely Polish. He took advantage of the occasion to demand that the Polish government remove the crosses and other religious symbols that, by chance, he had seen a few years before strewn in the ashes at Birkenau, where almost all the burned dead had been Jews. The next day, virulent, deplorable — essentially antisemitic — attacks appeared throughout the Polish press.