Here’s what already in 2000 told Halina Popelek:
“I didn’t see how the heads were cut off or how the Jews were stabbed to death with sharp stakes. I know this from the neighbors. I didn’t even see how they ordered young Jewish women to drown themselves in the pond. My mother’s sister saw it. Her face was all filled with tears when she came to tell us about it. I saw how young Jewish guys were ordered to demolish the monument to Lenin, ordered to drag it and shout “War because of us!” I saw how they were beaten with rubber belts. I saw how the Jews were tortured in the prayer room and how the tortured Levinyuk, who was still breathing, was buried alive … They drove everyone into the barn. They poured kerosene on all four sides. And it lasted all two minutes, but this scream … I can still hear it. “
And there are dozens of such descriptions in Gross’s book. But, as he himself believes, “after July 10, the Poles could no longer kill Jews in Jedwabna at their own discretion, and several of the survivors even returned to the city. For a while they wandered around the neighborhood, several people worked at the gendarmerie post, until they were finally driven into the omжеa ghetto. Only fifteen people survived the war, seven of whom were hidden in Yanchev by the Vyzhikovskys. ” And How convinced Gross, “If Jedwabne had not been occupied by the Germans, in other words – if it had not been for Hitler’s invasion of Poland, then the Jews of Scarcity would not have been killed by their own neighbors.”
There is no doubt that only a few Jews in Jedwabne survived World War II, but it is hardly true that Gross’s assertion that on July 10, almost the entire Jewish population of Jedwabne, more than 1600 people (70% of the total population of the town), was exterminated. Here, more credible are the results of the IPN investigation, which determine the number of victims of the pogrom in the range from 340 to 450 people.
Most importantly, neither Janusz Gross nor the IPN investigation established a motive for why, on July 10, the Polish residents of Jedwabne and surrounding villages decided to destroy either all, or a significant part of their Jewish neighbors, with whom they lived quite peacefully until the beginning of World War II. war. After all, German troops entered Jedwabne on June 23, 1941, but the tragedy only happened on July 10. Gross quite convincingly exposes the existing myths that the pogrom was allegedly provoked by the fact that during the Soviet occupation of the Bialystok region in 1939-1941, local Jews held leadership positions and gave the NKVD fighters of the Polish Resistance movement (the future Home Army). The historian proves that all the representatives of the Soviet government in Yedvabne had nothing to do with the local population, but were sent from Eastern Belarus and, most likely, were not Jews at all. A year before the German invasion, in June 1940, the Chekists really defeated an armed detachment of the Polish underground in the forests near Jedwabne, but the leaders of the Resistance did not have any suspicions that it had been betrayed by the Jews, if only because there was not a single Jew in the detachment. It was.