According to a US State Department report from 1946, which was obtained by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, anti-Semitism in Poland was a major part of the local political life before the Nazi occupation and “[t]here is evidence that Poles persecuted the Jews as vigorously as did the Germans during the occupation.”
Auschwitz Photo Credit: Ehud Amiton/TPS
A US State Department report from 1946, which was declassified in the 1980s, states that Poland was highly anti-Semitic before the Nazi occupation during the Second World War. The report was obtained by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and released on Thursday, the same day that the controversial Polish Holocaust Law went into effect.
The report explains that anti-Semitism in Poland is deeply rooted in the country’s history. “Polish anti-Semitism was preached by political parties and church heads and practiced by officials high and low. By 1939, it was one of the distinguishing factors of the country’s political, social and economic life,” the document states.
According to the report, Hitler’s rise to power in neighboring Germany resulted in an escalation of the anti-Semitic elements in Poland’s political sector. “The anti-Semitic overtones in pre-war Polish politics predisposed many Poles to the acceptance of Nazi racial theories, and there is evidence that Poles persecuted the Jews as vigorously as did the Germans during the occupation,” the report explains.
The document also goes into detail about the condition of the Jewish Holocaust survivors in Poland. One observer was cited in the report as saying that the condition of the Jewish children who survived the Holocaust was so grave that there were “almost no healthy Jewish children in Poland.”
The document states that one of the factors that contribute to the problem of the survivors is that “probably no single Polish Jewish family remains intact.”
The State Department concluded in the report that due to the strong anti-Semitic foundation in Poland, anti-Semitism in the European nation “is unlikely to diminish.”