Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
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24-02-2017, 02:42 AM
Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
Marek Łuszczyna book Little crime. Polish [post-war, communist] [work] concentration camps:

[Image: 14857826641821470-jpg-gallery.big-iext47927641.jpg]

made quite a ruckus in Poland. His story about post-war concentration camps using infrastructure of German ones made right wingers and nationalist first foam and then deny - it wasn't Poles who build them but communists. Or Jews. Or better yet communist Jews who after building said camps went to hunt little kids for matza.

As far as I can tell story is accurate and quite chilling, though when reading I had impression that author don't get that right after the war Germans weren't liked to put it lightly. Or perhaps he expected real Poles to act as idealized ones - as Christ from nationalist myth rather than people who lost everything and didn't care much about crimes committed in name of revenge.

Overall book as a first part of story of Polish concentration camps is good and it is even better at making noise about subject. I can only hope that this subject will be researched more in depth.

But reaction of audience is discouraging. Sure, not everyone decry it and not all reviews are bad, but browsing through blogs or reviews sites make me recoil from idiocy encountered there. So I wanted to ask how controversial books are viewed in your countries? Denial it is or maybe understanding that one history can't always be glorious?

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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24-02-2017, 05:01 AM
RE: Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
(24-02-2017 02:42 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  So I wanted to ask how controversial books are viewed in your countries? Denial it is or maybe understanding that one history can't always be glorious?

It very much depends on the controversy. For decades after the war we lived the legend of being Hitler's first victim. It led to a lot of controversy, mainly from the conservative side, when this legend got the first scratches. There's even more of a controvery surrounding the clero fascist regime between the years 1934 and '38. The conservatives still want to brush that subject under the rug.

But as a matter of fact, I only remember one real book controversy. It was about a cartoon collection on the life of Jesus by artist Gerhard Haderer. The church was outraged back then and so were the conservatives.
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24-02-2017, 05:15 AM
RE: Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
@Abaris

It's quite convenient myth so protests about dispeling it aren't surprising I would say. Other one also don't surprise me, pre war Poland atrocities also are downplayed I think.

As for books controversy I could mention Gross. Guess right wingers here don't like written word to be something else than praise.

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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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27-02-2017, 05:40 PM
RE: Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
Can you elaborate a bit on what the controversy is about? Is the book saying it wasn't your fault you had concentration camps or that it *is* your fault? And did you really use the German ones?

I was really stunned when I was in Sweden and some of my fellow students didn't know they had concentration camps in Soviet Russia.

There were quite a few articles and books about labour camps here after the fall of communism (and the books of Georgi Markov, he of the deadly umbrella fame) and I read quite a few (haven't in a long time; history makes me sad now. Well, that's way too simplified, but still...) The uncle of a friend of mine was sent to a labour camp (for having a bit more land than his neighbours. The horror!) and that was on an island in the middle of the Danube river. He told her that sometimes the island would get flooded and all the real criminals would be moved to the mainland... and the political ones would be left there and they had to climb trees in order not to drown.


When I was learning Portuguese, my teacher told me during the times of Franco they used to have labour camps in Cabo Verde (which is a place I really want to visit and kinda the reason why I decided to learn Portuguese in the first place, but don't let me digress ;-)). He told me they would force them to work during the hottest hours of the day.... so that when people died, they weren't technically killed, you know, it was the sun. I remember being struck by the difference between the German efficient cruelty and the cowardly cruelty of the Portuguese. Says a lot about the different mentalities of the two peoples. At least that's what I thought back then...

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28-02-2017, 02:04 AM (This post was last modified: 28-02-2017 02:21 AM by Szuchow.)
RE: Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
(27-02-2017 05:40 PM)Vera Wrote:  Can you elaborate a bit on what the controversy is about? Is the book saying it wasn't your fault you had concentration camps or that it *is* your fault? And did you really use the German ones?

I should be more specific in OP. Book is about post-war concentration camps on Polish soil and yes, it says that they were Poles fault, though not in such words. As one can guess this is the part that some of right wingers try to deny by saying that they were built by communists, Jews or NKWD.

Old German camps indeed were used, what I suppose was deemed sensible move by authorities. Why build new ones when old can be used? Also symbolism.

ETA: According to book in question between 1945 and 1950 there were 206 work and concentration camps in Poland; about 60 000 Germans, Ukrainians and Poles died in there.

Quote:I was really stunned when I was in Sweden and some of my fellow students didn't know they had concentration camps in Soviet Russia.

It's foolish hope but maybe it was problem with terminology? Like, III Reich had concentration camps, USSR had GULags?

Quote:There were quite a few articles and books about labour camps here after the fall of communism (and the books of Georgi Markov, he of the deadly umbrella fame) and I read quite a few (haven't in a long time; history makes me sad now. Well, that's way too simplified, but still...) The uncle of a friend of mine was sent to a labour camp (for having a bit more land than his neighbours. The horror!) and that was on an island in the middle of the Danube river. He told her that sometimes the island would get flooded and all the real criminals would be moved to the mainland... and the political ones would be left there and they had to climb trees in order not to drown.

There are some here too, for example Anne Applebaum GULAG: A History, or one about Yuogoslavian camps and regime Non cogito ergo sum. Arheologija neke šale by Bozidar Jezernik.

As for second part from what I know my family was both in German and Soviet camps. They never wanted to talk about this.


Quote:When I was learning Portuguese, my teacher told me during the times of Franco they used to have labour camps in Cabo Verde (which is a place I really want to visit and kinda the reason why I decided to learn Portuguese in the first place, but don't let me digress ;-)). He told me they would force them to work during the hottest hours of the day.... so that when people died, they weren't technically killed, you know, it was the sun. I remember being struck by the difference between the German efficient cruelty and the cowardly cruelty of the Portuguese. Says a lot about the different mentalities of the two peoples. At least that's what I thought back then...

Never read much about Franco. But labour camps are on top of the dictatorial checklist so no surprise there.

Also I wouldn't say that Germans were efficiently cruel - murder of Jews, Gypsies and Slavs while cruel was far from efficient. Shoah in no small part was just old school mast shooting, hunger and starvation even if it seems so modern thanks to images conjured by Treblinka or Auschwitz.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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28-02-2017, 03:46 AM
RE: Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
I've got Applebaum's book on the shelf, waiting its turn to be read. Good to have someone so informed to give it a recommendation -- I know it won't be wasted. Thanks.
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28-02-2017, 04:11 AM
RE: Polish post-war concentration camps and right wing denial.
(28-02-2017 03:46 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  I've got Applebaum's book on the shelf, waiting its turn to be read. Good to have someone so informed to give it a recommendation -- I know it won't be wasted. Thanks.

No problem. There is on more book of her's worth reading - "Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956".

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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