Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking, two eminent scholars of the Holocaust, co-authors of the book “Night Without End. Fates of Jews in Selected Counties of Occupied Poland”, are facing a civil lawsuit in a Polish court. The plaintiff – a cousin of a village elder accused of blackmailing the Jews – argues that her uncle was innocent of the charge.
This case is of great importance to Jews and that’s why we, as a Jewish organization, decided to speak out. The case has broader implications. According to the official “history policy” and to the heroic myth, Poles saved Jews. This belief is shared by more than the voters of the Law and Justice party. The fact that the Poles under the German occupation acted as other nations – some saved Jews, but much more numerous betrayed them – needs still to reach Polish minds and Polish souls.
The sentence in this particular case will set a precedent and it will be treated as such. We do not want to exert any pressure on an independent court and on independent judges. Quite to the contrary: we want them to hand down an independent sentence.
On behalf of the Polish branch of the B’nai B’rith
Andrzej Friedman and Sergiusz Kowalski