Thanks to Philip Weiss for pointing out an interesting article in the current Newsweek about the Clinton campaign’s rather desperate and pathetic efforts to tar Obama as being soft on Israel. They’ve stooped to new lows in this one. The article notes that Ann Lewis, the veteran, otherwise shrewd Democratic campaign operative, complained that Zbignew Brzezinski, an alleged foe of Israel, was Obama’s chief foreign policy advisor. The claim is false. He is neither the chief foreign policy advisor nor is he anti-Israel:
Lewis energetically contrasted Clinton’s pro-Israel credentials with those of Barack Obama. To make her point, she said that Obama’s “chief foreign-policy adviser” is Zbigniew Brzezinski, says one participant who would talk about the call only if he were not identified.
Brzezinski—the former national-security adviser to Jimmy Carter—is not Obama’s “chief foreign-policy adviser.”
But it gets curiouser and curiouser. What are Clintonites doing quoting the sleazy Republican Jewish Coalition’s Matt Brooks in attacking Obama’s bona fides on Israel?
Daphna Ziman, a longtime friend of Hillary Clinton’s who has co-chaired several events for her, forwarded an e-mail from the Republican Jewish Coalition, a grass-roots GOP group, criticizing Obama for proposing a Muslim summit. In a Jan. 31 interview with Paris Match, Obama said he wanted “an honest discussion about ways to bridge the gap that grows between Muslims and the West.” Ziman, in her Feb. 2 e-mail, responded, “I am horrified at Mr. Obama’s point of view.” Her e-mail…contained a press release from RJC executive director Matt Brooks. “Nowhere in the Paris Match article does Senator Obama affirm Israel’s right to exist,” Brooks wrote. (Ziman says “the campaign had nothing to do with” her e-mail.)
Shouldn’t that be beyond treif? Do we Democrats need to resort to quoting the dreckiest among the Republican attack machine in order to cut our own down to size?
Finally, where does an official of the Clinton campaign get off quoting the extremist right-wing American Thinker shmate in attacking Obama’s Israel advisors (and Rob Malley, the victim, isn’t even a formal advisor to the campaign)?
Clinton finance official Annie Totah passed along a critical essay by Ed Lasky, a conservative blogger whose own anti-Obama e-mails have circulated in the U.S. Jewish community. Totah wrote: “Please read the attached important and very disturbing article on Barak Obama. Please vote wisely in the Primaries.” (She didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
Since when does this lying, scummy publication have any credibility in Democratic circles? Have we lost any standards? Have we lost all sense of decency?
Look, Hillary Clinton has a right to run as strong a campaign as she can mount against Obama. I don’t begrudge her that. But let’s have a campaign based on debate about real issues and critiques based on facts. Let’s get rid of the smearmongering. Obamaphobia, the irrational distrust and even hatred of Barack Obama based on his race or his purported softness toward Israel, has no place in this campaign. I call on the Clinton campaign to renounce this ugly feature of their campaign. I note with most severe censure that when the Newsweek journalists gave Howard Wolfson an opportunity to comment for the article he declined. A shande.
The Newsweek story quotes unnamed sources as claiming that some of the virulent anti-Obama smears are emanating from the Christian Zionists (groups like Christians United for Israel). It doesn’t note Gregory Levey’s TNR article in which he quotes an unnamed Obama staffer saying he believed that the e mail list for the Obama Muslim smear originated from “a Washington Jewish non-profit.” Which I assume is an oblique reference to AIPAC. Though AIPAC’s president has recently publicly said there is little difference between any of the presidential candidates on Israel and that all are pro-Israel, it wouldn’t surprise me if AIPAC pursued it’s own agenda behind the scenes. Part of such an agenda might include surreptitiously attempting to undermine Obama’s candidacy in the Jewish community.
If Malcolm Hoenlein, senior staffers at the American Jewish Committee, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon, Abe Foxman, and other prominent figures are attacking Obama, it’s not too far-fetched to think that AIPAC might be as well. All this must be monitored carefully. Not so much for Clinton’s sake as her candidacy is in its closing moments. But we’ve got to be prepared for November. McCain, the national Republican party and Jewish Republicans will be preparing the Jewish version of Swift-Boating for Obama without any doubt. It’s important that we go on the record against such behavior and that we call any Jewish leader who colludes or refuses to name it publicly for what it is.
Bill Pearlman says
You have got to be kidding, Brezinski is has anti-Israel has they come. And is definitely a guy who would have been the first one to swing into action in Kielce, 1946. ( and if you don’t know what happened there you should )
Richard Silverstein says
Proof, Bill. You never provide any when you make such baseless charges. So you’ve accused him of being an anti-Semitic Polack w/o any evidence whatsoever. Very nice. Do you know the term motzi shem ra? If you don’t, you should. It’s what you’ve just done & it’s frowned upon in Jewish tradition which I take it you embrace.
Norman Weinstein says
My wife and I enthusiastically supported Hillary Clinton’s New York senatorial candidacy, contributed money, and of course voted for her. Since that time our junior senator has with remarkable consistency and efficacy worked to erode our trust in her to the point that now we consider her a kind of Joe Lieberman lite Democrat. She has consistently enabled our criminal regime in some of its most egregious efforts. Like other Democrats, alas, she voted in favor of the 2002 War Resolutions Act, this after not bothering to read the available 90-page intelligence report which offered some serious balance to the regime’s insistence on Iraqi WMD. Later asked about this vote, she categorically refused to apologize for it, claiming she had nothing to apologize for and then arrogantly added that if there are those who cannot accept her refusal then they’d just have to vote for someone else – and this they have done and are doing in large numbers. Believing, I suppose, that liberal Democrats, come November 2008, would simply have to vote for her as Democratic nominee, having nowhere else to turn, she thumbed her nose at us and voted for the Kyl-Lieberman bill. Then there was her co-sponsorship of the anti-flag-burning amendment, her contribution to a weakening of the 1st Amendment. She also refused to vote against the banning of cluster bombs, those marvelous military adjuncts so useful in killing civilians and especially noteworthy for ripping up children; by the way, used extensively by Israel in last year’s attack on Hezbollah in Lebanon. Yesterday I watched on a CNN video her appallingly mean, cynical attack on Obama’s message of hope. How arrogant this person is, frustrated in her failure to receive the Democratic coronation, and really how stupid in her denigration not only of what must be for her and her followers Obama’s unacceptably radical message of hope but then by extension the denigration of those countless thousands who have responded to that message. Time was not so long ago when I still clung to Hillary’s candidacy in stubborn opposition to the misogynists assailing her from every point of the compass, even expressing disgust via letter to Frank Rich’s cheap use of the cute pejorative, “Billary”. Then Candidate Clinton, this titan of practicality and experience, as her candidacy began steadily to rush downhill, her loads of money diminishing, began to go dirtier and dirtier. Thus that CNN moment when hope itself was tossed onto a manure heap, demonstrating her ultimate insensitivity and, yes, stupidity, in not realizing that a true leader sets visions and defines horizons and then, if honest and competent, hires those expert technocrats required to do the job, people like Hillary Clinton, for instance, if she were really as competent as she claims. Then we have this latest ploy of her and her technocrat handlers tarring Obama so that he might appear even blacker and more sinister in his attitude toward Israel. A really nifty bit of garbage that could hurt Obama, given the fact that Jews consistently do go to the polls in proportionately large numbers. Thus has Hillary turned her candidacy into a Rovian game plan, worthy of that filthy right-wing organization, the Republican Jewish Coalition, with its Limbaugh-type hate mongering and factual distortions. As my wife and I now view her, she is no longer worthy of our vote. It continues to amaze me the depths to which stupidity can plunge people, especially those who swear on the Bible their loyalty to that beleaguered little democracy, Israel, while doing all in their power to see to it that Israel continues on its essentially self-destructive path of land seizure, interminable war and militarism, and indifference to international law. These self-proclaimed friends are ultimately Israel’s worst enemies, handing it both the keys to the car and a bottle of Scotch. Now Hillary for her own particular reasons joins this dangerously foolish crowd. How very much my wife and I would like to vote for a woman as President, but not this one, a Margaret Thatcher look alike without that Iron Maiden’s honesty.
Re: Kielce Pogrom in 1946, going from Wikipedia:
On July 1, 1946, an eight-year old Polish boy, Henryk Błaszczyk, was reported missing by his father Walenty. Two days later, the boy, his father and one of their neighbors went to a local police station where Henryk falsely claimed that he had been kidnapped by Jews (years later, shortly before his death in 1990s, he said he was told to lie by his father and the men from the secret police)
A patrol of 14 uniformed and plainclothed policemen was dispatched to the Jewish house by the station’s new police chief Edmund Zagórski. On their way they were spreading rumours regarding the alleged kidnapping, and were joined by several groups of about 100 soldiers and officers from various units and formations (Polish People’s Army, Internal Security Corps, Main Directorate of Information) and some more policemen. The false news of the Jewish religious atrocities spread among the gentile civilians in Kielce, and resulted in a gathering at first some 120 people outside the Jewish residence in anticipation of a search for bodies of Christian children.
By 9 a.m., uniformed policemen and soldiers, as well as several mostly plainclothed officers of the Ministry of Public Security (UBP), broke down the doors and entered the building. They began to disarm the inhabitants, who had permits from the authorities to bear arms for self defense. One Jewish man, described by Henryk, was arrested and beaten by the police, while Dr. Seweryn Kahane, head of the local Jewish Committee, tried to convince them of their mistake, pointing out that the building had no basement. At this point the house was surrounded by security forces, with the civilian crowd standing about 100 m away, towards Piotrkowska street.
By 10 a.m. the first shot had been fired – it is unclear by whom: a policeman, a soldier, or one of the Jews. Violence broke out and in the confusion the servicemen began killing Jews. Dr. Kahane was shot in the back of head and killed while he was trying to call the authorities for help (survivors witnessed that he was shot by an officer of military intelligence). At least two and possibly three Poles, including a police officer, were killed as the Jews tried to defend themselves (according to the official version at the time, they were killed while trying to defend the Jews). After the attack inside the building, more Jews were then forced outside by the soldiers and attacked by the mob on the street. Some of the victimes were thrown out of windows, including one reportedly thrown on the risen bayonets.
By noon, the arrival of an estimated 600 to 1,000 workers (led by the members of the paramilitary ORMO reserve police and activists of the Polish Workers’ Party’s militia) from the nearby Ludwików steel mill marked the beginning of the next phase of the pogrom, during which about 20 Jews lost their lives killed in a cruel fashion, mostly by a steelworks tools. Neither the military and secret police commanders, nor the local political leaders from the Workers’ Party did anything to stop the workers from attacking Jews. A unit of cadets from the nearby police school joined in the looting and murdering of the Jews, which continued inside and outside the building.
OK – seems to me (a very biased observer by the by) that this was a communist government provocation. The “civilian” mob was very possibly ORMO reserve police force, UB agents through and through.
This was ordered from on high by the communist authorities and seemed like a well planned action, not a spontaneous mob action.
No excuses are offered by me, however, for the behaviour of the anybody participating in this atrocity!
Now – I frankly have my doubts that Mr. Brzezinski, whom I very much admire for being a realpolitik kinda guy (I also admire Kissinger for same qualities, so take it as you will) would have joined in the Kielce Pogrom.
Perhaps, like myself, and many, many others, Mr. Brzezinski is sick of the power of the pro Israel lobby in the United States.
Bill Pearlman says
Unique take on the Kielce pogrom. But perhaps now you can enlighten me has to the massacre at Jedwabne. Where the Polish half of the town couldn’t wait to kill their Jewish neighbors. Who was at fault there?
The thousands of Wikipedia editors will disagree with you, and I assure you, anything involving Jewish history is a fought over bloody battlefield before everybody settles on the least NPV post.
I do not think this is the place and time to discuss the Jedwabne massacre, but if you want to email me (its on my blog) and I will reply and tell you my take on it.
After all, this is a post about Clinton and I went waaaaay off topic with my Kielce Pogrom post.
Richard Silverstein says
American Goy: I’ll wager that Bill didn’t expect there would be an actual Pole reading this blog who is deeply conversant with Polish history (as I am not).
Bill: Poland was not the only place in which native inhabitants killed Jews after the war. I wrote up an Auschwitz survivor’s oral history and she vividly describes such things happening in Hungary after the war (“Jews–we didn’t get all of you but we will next time”). Her fellow Jews reported this graffiti to the local Soviet commander and the writers of the graffiti were never seen again. One way of dealing with genocidaires.
Bill Pearlman says
How do you this guy is a Pole, and further than that his reading of history is a little suspect, don’t you think. But let me throw this one at you, How come Polish Jewry had the lowest survival rate, by far. And how come when the people in the Warsaw ghetto begged for arms they were turned down. For every Jan Karski in Poland there were 10,000 guys like Brezinski. And you should know better.
Richard Silverstein says
I know he is because he told me so. I do actually know some of my readers personally believe it or not.
Do you want to argue that Poland was full of anti-Semitism? You won’t get much argument from me. But how do you quantify these things? More anti-Semitic than the Ukraine? Or Hungary? About survival rates, Hungary’s was extremely low. Very few returned fr. Auschwitz.
And let’s forget that for a couple of centuries Poland was the cradle of European Jewish civilization.
Exactly how is American Goy’s relating of the Kielce massacre suspect? I found his account of the mass murder of the Jews of this village pretty harrowing. Could you point to specifics of his account that rub you the wrong way? Did you even read what he wrote (I tend to doubt it)?
We get it that you hate the Poles with some kind of deep, driving hatred, Mr. Pearlman. Brzezinski is of Polish heritage and thus he’s clearly suspect to you. Part of me wants to say you’re a sad pathetic little man, with, well, lets’s just say some rather severe mental debilitation thrown into the mix. I really don’t mean to be mean, but that is how you come across to the more intellectually/morally refined denizens of the blog. But who knows, maybe you’re at heart a reflective mensch and just give off the wrong impression.
I guess it’s unfortunate for you–even tragic–that Obama (with his evil advisor Brzezinski in tow) will likely be the next President of the United States. I feel your pain, bub. (–imagine high violin notes plaintively singing.)
“let me throw this one at you, How come Polish Jewry had the lowest survival rate, by far. And how come when the people in the Warsaw ghetto begged for arms they were turned down. For every Jan Karski in Poland there were 10,000 guys like Brezinski. And you should know better.”
I am so sorry but I feel obligated to respond to this…
A trip to Vad Yashem should dissuade you of this notion. Just try to pronounce all the loooooooooooong and complicated polish names written on it.
On a more serious note, the penalty for helping out a Jew was death. Villagers who hid a Jew or a whole Jewish family were taken out of the house and shot. Father, mother and their children. It took just one Gestapo informer to notice that such and such family bought too much food for itself, too much than others in the village/town – they must have Jews hiding there.
It took just one as*ho*e to report that so and so is probably hiding Jews for the Germans to come and massacre everyone in the house, if Jews were hiding there.
Other European countries, such as France, Denmark, Belgium, etc. did not have such a draconian law and people felt freer and bolder to oppose the anti Jewish actions done by the Germans.
And do not forget that Poland had a vibrant Volksdeutche community, which during WW2 decided to feel more German and Nazi than Polish, spoke perfect polish, and were the eyes and ears of the German occupation.
Polish Jews (perhaps?) had such a low survival rate because of this law. A mother and a father hiding a Jew were staring death in the face, and it took an extremely brave person to help out a Jew and keep one hidden somewhere. I do not think that I, personally, would be willing to risk my life, that of my wife and my child to help out a stranger.
Nothing ticks me off than the sanctimonious BS of some Jews who shout to all and sundry that the Poles hated the Jews and were anti semitic and if only they made a lazy effort many more Jews would be saved, as if the life in occupied Poland was such a paradise for gentiles.
Please read up on “Lapanka”:
“the Polish name for a German practice in World War II occupied Poland, whereby the SS, Wehrmacht and Gestapo rounded up civilians on the streets of Polish cities.
Most of these prisoners were taken to labour camps (Arbeitslager) in Germany. Some, particularly those without proper documents or carrying contraband, were transported to concentration and death camps; sometimes shot on the spot. Some women ended up in brothels to service German troops. The term was also used for the cordoning off of streets at night and the systematic searching of houses. Possession of an identity card (Ausweis) certifying that the holder was employed by a German company or government agency (for example the city utilities or the railways) was the only reliable defense for young men in their 20s and 30s against being taken. ”
“According to various estimates, between 1942 and 1944 there were approximately 400 victims of this practice daily in Warsaw alone, with numbers on some days reaching several thousand. For example, on 19 September 1942 close to 3000 men and women were transported by train to Germany, they had been caught in the massive round-ups all over Warsaw the previous two days”
This is why there were so many slave workers from Poland working in the German factories during WW2. The only defense was a German card as the article states, but really, it all depended on the say so and whim of the officer and soldiers doing the “lapanka”. If he was in a bad mood, no matter what you could be packed into a cattle car in a train going straight to a German slave factory or if you were really unlucky a concentration camp.
A “paradise” for both Jews and Gentiles indeed!
Re: the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and Polish attitude to it.
Read up the section on Wiki support:
“In the first day of uprising 19 April 1943 three units of AK under command kpt. Józef Pszenny tried to breach the Ghetto walls with anti-tank mines but the Germans defeated this action. AK engaged the Germans between April 19 and April 23 at different locations outside the ghetto walls, in a futile attempt to breach them”
“Participation of the Polish underground in the uprising was confirmed by a report of the German commander Jürgen Stroop. He wrote that German soldiers were “…permanently under gun fire behind the ghetto. It means from the Aryan side”… “When we invaded the Ghetto for the first time, the Jews and the Polish bandits succeeded in repelling the participating units, including tanks and armored cars, by a well-prepared concentration of fire”. He described Iwański’s action: “The main Jewish battle group, mixed with Polish bandits, had already retired during the first and second day to the so-called Muranowski Square. There, it was reinforced by a considerable number of Polish bandits”.”
Perhaps in the world of Rambo (I actually enjoyed the latest Rambo movie, I blush and admit…) and Schwarzenegger’s “Commando” film, some people view reality as somewhat distorted. It would be so easy for the Poles to just stand up and take on the Germans Rambo style and mow them down….right?
And every Jew living in Poland should have been hidden and spirited away by the Poles….right? It is so EASY to do, the ONLY reason why so many died in Poland was because Poles were anti-semitic…right? I am sure YOU would be hiding 100 Jews in your house, while being in the street with your gigantic machine gun in one hand mowing 100 Germans down daily, Rambo style….right?
Right, Mr. Walter Mitty?
It irks me that some yahoo can just write a few sentences and to refute that tons of electrons need to be wasted in replys 😉
Perhaps one fact that many Jews today seem to be missing is that Poland had THE LARGEST Jewish population in Europe. One of the oldest, continuesly speaking:
Warsaw Jews administered the Polish mint. Many coins had Hebrew inscriptions.
Jews allowed to own land in Galicia.
Casmir the Great issued a series of Charters protecting Jews.
Jews were granted autonomy in their communal affairs.
Grand Duke Vitovt grants privileges to Jews and protects them.”
Of course there is also this:
First persecution of Jews in Poland.
Anti-Jewish riots in Cracow.
Jews restricted to a suburb of Cracow in the first Jewish ghetto, Kazimierz.”
Were many Poles anti-Jewish?
This is no defense, but European nations at that time were much MORE anti-Jewish. Ukrainians for example were some of the most feared concentration camp guards, and they actively helped Germans in rounding up the Jews (they also killed abuot 100,000 Poles in the Volhynia conflict during WW2, but that is another story…).
The unoccupied Vichy part of France – its own police rounded up Jews with no help from the Germans.
Romania had its own version of the SS, called the Iron Guard – speak to Romanian Jews from the WW2 generation and you will see REAL fear in their eyes, still.
Poland was no better nor worse than other European countries in its anti-semitism (in my personal opinion). What was different was that it had the largest pre-War Jewish population by far.
It is also where the GERMANS decided to place the concentration camps (mainly – many were in Germany), which also leads to (perhaps unwitting) association of Poles as if they were a prosecutor of the Jewish Holocaust, and not the victims.
Finally, let me close with a review of a film “Shtetl” by NYTimes which run on PBS Frontline (one of my favorite programs).
What does the following quote from the article about the movie tell you, if you think about it:
“For centuries, Bransk was a mostly Jewish town, a shtetl. No matter how many generations they had lived in Poland, Jews were set apart not only by religion and custom but also by their trades as the buyers and sellers of the Polish farmers’ produce. They were the money lenders, too: never a popular occupation among borrowers.
Several of the Poles interviewed here still speak of the Jews’ wealth, their cunning, their tendency to stick together. “All the businesses were in Jewish hands,” one says veh’mently. “From the smallest to the biggest.” And some townsfolk suspect recent Jewish visitors of plotting to get back the property their families lost in the Holocaust. ”
Does it tell you that Poles were (perhaps are?) anti semitic? Think about this. Re-read it.
“For centuries, Bransk was a mostly Jewish town, a shtetl (…). Several of the Poles interviewed here still speak of the Jews’ wealth, their cunning, their tendency to stick together. “All the businesses were in Jewish hands,” one says veh’mently. “From the smallest to the biggest.””
What does this tell me?
Simply that the Jews were mighty successful in Bransk, which the NYTimes, quoting the polish witness who is saying that “all business was in Jewish hands” somehow becomes an anti-semitic rant.
Well, that’s it.
Since I wrote so much here, I might just go ahead and do a history of Polish-Jewish relations on my blog.
What the he**, right?
Oh and the NYTimes article link:
One last thing.
Mr. Zbigniew [Zbyszek] Romaniuk, the hero of the film Shtetl, correspondence to Marian Marzynski, the film’s director.
Well worth a read.
” February 14, 1996
Thank you for the film you sent me. I watched it 3 times. Here are my remarks (they do not refer to the entire narration).
1/ In part one there are too many Poles-murderers. At least one statement by a person who rescued Jews is missing. You could include such a scene (with, for example, Golebiecki or pharmacist Woinska), instead of the lengthy scene with Yaffa Eliah.
2/ The old woman (the vodka-peddler) is not credible, she is false. Her son killed and robbed a priest in 1945 in Bransk, his mother later helped him transport a pistol for more violent attacks in the Olsztyn region. The morality of this woman is low.
3/ You are promoting the idea “5 Germans- 6,000 Poles.” This is not fair. It appears from your reasoning that the problem amounted to those 5 Germans. So why didn’t the Jews kill them? Would it put an end to their problems? You know very well how this machinery worked and what the collective responsibility meant. For killing of the commandant of the labor camp in Bransk in 1943, 118 people were killed in Bialystok. In Bransk, in 1942, a man was killed because he owned a radio. Lately I discovered a file showing that in July 1943, Germans killed a priest from Bransk, Henryk Opiatowski, who worked for AK as a chaplain, for helping the Jews and the Soviet war prisoners-escapees from military prison camps. I was talking about 5 German zandarms but there were more Germans in Bransk: amstkomisarz and his deputy the head of the local work camp and his deputy, two postal workers, a construction manager and perhaps some others — a total of a dozen or more people.
4/ One factual element is missing in the film: Between 1939 and 1941, the Jews had an anti-Polish attitude and collaborated with the Soviets. Then, Poles were removed from their jobs and replaced by White Russians and Jews. For example, a pharmacy was managed by a Jewish small drugstore owner. 50% of the police force was Jewish. Many Poles were deported to Siberia because the Jews sought revenge for the events from 1936-38. For example, one of my cousins was deported for “narodowka.” All those facts had a colossal influence on later attitudes of some Poles.
5/ Bransk is a bad example for discussing indifference and cruelty of Poles. Out of over 300 Jews who escaped from the ghetto, 76 survived. With the exception of Bialystok, more Jews survived in Bransk than in all other small towns in the region. Three Poles lost their lives while rescuing the Jews, 2 went to camps, two farms were burned down. Do these victims and the medals their families received, testify to the indifference? You reduce the problem of Polish help to “good will,” which is too simplistic and does not take into account the reality of the war and of the occupation.
6/The history of the Jews in Bransk encompasses approximately 60 years (1880-1942), when they were the majority in the town. Your movie creates an impression that Jews were dominating for 500 years. Sometimes you’ve got wrong numbers: between 1897 and 1921 there was 58% of Jews (the highest number was 58%). Later on this percentage diminished to reach 50% in 1939. At the end of the movie, when we talk in the conference room: 65%!!!
7/ The statement I made when we stand near the monument about this monument being “Catholic and Polish,” had nothing to do with the Jews, I meant something completely different.
8/ There is definitely not enough about heroic rescuing and too much about murdering. Lately I summed it all up and it appeared that there were more Poles who helped then those who betrayed the Jews. In the film, with the exception of Jack Rubin, you have only glimpses and your scene at Yad Vashem only lasts seconds. You talk about atrocious people and keep quiet about heroism.
9/ Why no one in the film asks the Jews, if in a reversed situation, they would help the Poles? I have asked such a question and nobody said “definitely yes.” Some said: “probably not.”
This film is your vision of events, with which I cannot fully agree. I am sorry about these remarks. I just would like this film to reflect a modern view of these matters. It is too bad that the subject of “Shtetl” was mainly reduced to the Holocaust as executed by the Poles. The picture gained expression, but it is too “bloody.” I know that you won’t make changes, it is too late now. And the music improved the whole thing.
I am reminding you about the talmudic commentaries you promised to send me along with materials about the Association of Jews from Bransk in the United States. It is very important to me. In my writing I will acknowledge your help. Also, I would greatly appreciate any promotional materials about the film. Will I be able to show the film in Bransk? Would you come to Bransk yourself and see the reaction of the people? Eva Hoffman wrote to me. She is coming to Bransk for a few days.
Thank you for your kind and “warm” words about me in your last letter, but I am not convinced that everyone will perceive me this way after seeing the film. I count on our future contacts and information about the plight of the film, festivals, television showings, etc. Thank you for everything you have done for me until now.
Original letter from Zbigniew [Zbyszek] Romaniuk ”
The key sentence damning the film is this:
“You reduce the problem of Polish help to “good will,” which is too simplistic and does not take into account the reality of the war and of the occupation.”