Henryk Grynberg

I was born in the largest – three and a half million – and culturally oldest Jewish community, which was known worldwide as the “Polish Yishuv.” I am only thirty-two years old.

A year ago, when I left Poland, twenty-five thousand Jews were still living there. Today, as I am writing these words, half of those twenty- five thousand have left or are leaving.

How fast does history rush! […] For history, this is yet another exile. […] 1968 is the year of the expulsion of Jews from Poland; the year in which the phenomenon known as the Polish Jewry ended, and we need to be aware of it.

(Source: Henryk Grynberg, Wygnanie z Polski. In Adam Michnik, Przeciw antysemityzmowi: 1936-2009).

After the March pogrom, the University of Warsaw dismissed three young mathematicians, but when it turned out that the name of one of them was “purely” German, the error was quickly corrected.

In the Third Polish Republic, a political opponent is “accused” of hiding the name of a Jewish grandfather or grandmother, while the “truly” German name does not bother anyone. It is good that Germans are accepted, but why not Jews? Did they inflict so much more damage on the Poles?

Only one-tenth of Polish Jews survived the Holocaust; of them, only one-tenth – in Poland. After the Kielce pogrom and the mass flight there was only one-tenth left (communists, Polonophiles, Jews with Aryan documents and those who didn’t quite know who they were).

After the return of Gomułka and company, anyone who could packed their suitcases (and boxes, because they allowed you to take your furniture) and only one-tenth was left again.

After the March pogrom, again only one-tenth of these remained. This is, literally, what constitutes decimation; not just “thinning out” or “culling,” as the dictionaries would state.

In 1968, the one-hundred percent-true communists implemented the anti-Jewish program of the one-hundred-percent-true anticommunists of 1938.

Traditionally, in a European way, via humiliation – incapacitation – plunder – exile, with the addition of the Nuremberg criterion of origin (at least one grandfather or one grandmother). On a smaller scale, since after the Holocaust, but more shamefully, since after the Holocaust. […]

That March was a bastard of Hitlerism, though fortunately one that came too late. The Jews already had a small but effective asylum in the south and a gateway to the west, because after the shameless murder of several million defenseless people in the European salon, it was not appropriate to refuse several thousand visas March was a “dry pogrom” as Michnik aptly stated. Aptly, because the perpetrators remained high and dry.

Dozens of fatalities (suicides, heart attacks, strokes), thousands of serious wounds that have never healed, yet no one has been punished. No attempt was even made to hold anyone accountable for the worst racial persecution since the Nazi Reich, for the biggest Polish pogrom in which all – most all state and social institutions, workplaces, and universities participated.

Thirty years later, the President apologized for the crime, but punishment was not even mentioned. The government, now law-abiding, paid compensation to the citizens who were persecuted for their opposition activities, but not to those who were persecuted for nothing. Those who were deprived of their jobs, apartments and property; removed from the university; defamed publicly in the media; illegally imprisoned and forced to flee the country in which they had invested their lives.

(Henryk Grynberg, Monolog polsko-żydowski).