February 21, 2018




Szmul Zygielbojm (dob) was a Jewish-Polish socialist politician, leader of the Bund, and a member of the National Council of the Polish Government in Exile. He committed suicide to protest the indifference of the Allied governments in the face of the Holocaust.  He submitted a long, detailed "suicide letter", addressed to Polish president Władysław Raczkiewicz and Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski,  Zygielbojm stated that while the Nazis were responsible for the murder of the Polish Jews, the Allies were also culpable (for their inaction).  Here is an excerpt of his letter: "The responsibility for the crime of the murder of the whole Jewish nationality in Poland rests first of all on those who are carrying it out, but indirectly it falls also upon the whole of humanity, on the peoples of the Allied nations and on their governments, who up to this day have not taken any real steps to halt this crime. By looking on passively upon this murder of defenseless millions tortured children, women and men they have become partners to the responsibility.  I am obliged to state that although the Polish Government contributed largely to the arousing of public opinion in the world, it still did not do enough. It did not do anything that was not routine, that might have been appropriate to the dimensions of the tragedy taking place in Poland....  I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. My comrades in the Warsaw Ghetto fell with arms in their hands in the last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave. By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people........"


Camp of National Unity (OZN)  was founded by the leadership in the Sanacja movement after the death of Pilsudski. The aim of OZN was to improve Poland's national defense and to safeguard the April 1935 Constitution. OZN was strongly pro-military, and its politicians sought to portray Marshal Rydz-Śmigły as successor to Marshal Józef Piłsudski. The OZN adopted 13 theses on the Jewish question. Modeled after the Nuremberg laws, they labelled Jews as a foreign element that should be deprived of all civil rights and ultimately expelled altogether.


Nazi Germany enacted a barrage of anti-semitic legislation, and  forced Jews to hand over any personal valuable items. Jewish businesses and bank accounts were expropriated. It was Nazi-legalized robbery on a massive scale.  After the Nuremberg Legislation and during 1938  "worse than total expropriation was to follow - economic harassment quickly escalated to violence forcing the Jews to flee the Reich or the newly annexed Austria. Within the second phase 1938 was the fateful turning point." Among the decrees was the decertification of all Jewish physicians, who were no longer allowed to treat German patients; Jewish children were forbidden to attend public school;  Jews were forbidden to attend concerts, theatre or opera, or even have a garden.


Churchill advised Stalin that the Polish Government-in-Exile was ready to accept the Curzon Line as a basis for talks and assured him that by the time they resumed diplomatic relations with the Soviets, their government would only consist of members willing to co-operate with Moscow. Stalin remained unconvinced.  (Note: The Polish Government in Exile never accepted the Curzon Line, and were not willing to "co-operate' with Moscow.)

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