Why is it that every truth voiced by Russian President Vladimir Putin has to be labeled a lie? The recent rumpus over Mr. Putin’s recent comments about Poland’s role in World War II is a perfect example of history modification. What should be facts easy for anyone to discern, have now been transformed into an alternative history that defies truth and logic.
Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki is losing his cool over President Putin’s assertions that Poland bore some responsibility for the outbreak of the second world war. Morawiecki accuses Russia’s president of being a liar, but the proof Mr. Putin backed up his statement with, reverses the tables on Poland’s PM.
Back in 2018, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced a controversial Holocaust bill that would make certain discussions and statements of Poland’s role in the holocaust a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. The law, according to the author of this story at The Atlantic, “endangers an honest reckoning with a complex past.” The truth of the matter here is that the nationalists in Poland are trying to paint the Soviets and modern Russians like the Nazis, and Poland’s legacy as the forlorn patriots who saved the Jews from the gas chambers. But history is just not so simple.
At the center of this latest history revision, are comments by Mr. Putin that Poland’s political leadership at the outbreak of WW II was anti-Semitic and that Jozef Lipski, the Polish ambassador to Germany until 1939, was “a bastard, an anti-Semitic pig.” The wartime ambassador reportedly promised Hitler a memorial in Warsaw for the deportation of Jews. Poland’s PM seems willing to just accuse Putin willy-nilly, because any review of the known facts from the time show Mr. Putin was NOT lying.
Polish officials and even normal citizens were taking advantage of the whole “Jew” situation from since before the Germans marched into their country. A section from The Atlantic story affirms some of what Russia’s president as saying:
“Prior to World War II, anti-Semitism was an increasingly visible factor in Polish society, and government authorities took formal measures to exclude Jews from key sectors of public life. The modern country of Poland was a new one established in the aftermath of the First World War, and during the 1920s and 30s, it was still struggling to define its ideological footing and identity. A nationalism deeply rooted in Catholicism was central to that struggle.”
Polish people who collaborated with the Nazis did horrendous things. But missing from the Polish government’s rhetoric is any mention of something called the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934, which was a bit of backstabbing and dirty dealing brought about by this Józef Lipski, Mr. Putin referred to as a scumbag. It turns out, the Poles were probably trying to orchestrate a pincher movement with France against Hitler’s Germany years before the Nazis crossed their borders to start the Second World War. According to one story, the Polish Embassy told reporters of a so-called “preventive war” plan given to France and Belgium in 1933, to be waged against Germany. France did not approve the plan, and the Poles kowtowed to Berlin to sign the aforementioned non-aggression pact.
So, on Mr. Putin’s assertion that Poland bore some responsibility for setting up World War II, there can be no doubt that side switching and backstabbing played some role. Think about it, wheeling and dealing to kill off Hitler before he even began, what leader in the world today would operate objectively after a regime change effort like that? Hitler, villainous as he was, played Poland the same as Poland played him. Now as to Mr. Jozef Lipsk and his position on the Jews, this is a bit more difficult to determine. Wikipedia already has an entry, which was added by someone just before I type what you are reading here, containing a statement by the Chief Rabbi of Poland saying Lipski was not an anti-Semite. But was he? Let’s take a retrospective look.
Józef Lipsk was instrumental in the monumental failures that ended up in the world’s biggest cataclysm ever. The aforementioned backstabbing notwithstanding, his statements about building Hitler a monument in Warsaw if he could solve the “Jewish situation” are actually being defended by the same kinds of people who murdered 6 million Jews. Let me elaborate on the rampant anti-Semitism in Europe during those times, as evidence Mr. Putin was absolutely right in calling this man a pig.
Józef Lipski was not just trying to get the French and Belgians to invade Germany to stave off Hitler, he was in deliberations with the worst anti-Semite of all – the British, French, and Poles advocating resettle European Jews to Africa. Stop and think for just one minute. This Polish official was central to both the British Uganda Scheme and the Franco-Polish Madagascar Plan. In the former, those idealistic Brits made a plan where Jews would be transported to their new homelands in either the cool, temperate highlands of the Uasin Gishu region in the middle of nowhere Kenya. My, how “white” of those British and French to think of shipping European Jews from their hearths in and homes to a New Judea a world away in Colonial Africa. As if they were a problem, insects, cattle, or some other commodity nobody wanted. I know some of you already get my drift here.
As for the Madagascar Plan, Mr. Lipski was involved with, this came under the purview of the famous Nazi Adolf Eichmann, who released a memorandum on 15 August 1940 calling for the resettlement of a million Jews per year for four years. Under his wise relocation to the new Garden of Eden, the Jews would live on a paradise island being governed as a police state under the SS. I am reminded of a piece of a conversation between Ribbentrop’s deputy, Ernst von Weizsäcker and Józef Lipski I found. According to the source, Lipski complained about the “discomfort” Poland would suffer if fifty thousand stateless, formerly Polish, Jews were sent back to Warsaw by the Germans. This was some time before Hitler’s forces marched into Poland. And as for what Lipski actually said about building Hitler a monument, the following is from the note he sent to Warsaw after meeting with Hitler:
“He has in his mind an idea for settling the Jewish problem by emigration to the colonies (Madagascar) in accordance with an understanding with Poland, Hungary, and possibly also Romania (at which point I told him that if he finds such a solution we will erect a beautiful monument to him in Warsaw).”
This leaves little room for historic revision and speculation by Rabbis that the Polish government at the time was wanting to get rid of the Jews almost as bad as Hitler. Look at the wording. It’s a message to superiors concerning the “Jewish problem” and makes no derogatory comment on putting them on an island with the SS in charge. The guy’s a pig, just like Mr. Putin said. Thereby we’ve shown the current Polish administration bias. Now for the coup de gras.
Nowhere in the narrative against President Putin is there a mention of the shenanigans the British had going on in the late 1930s. And the real reasons Germany invaded Poland cannot be understood without studying something known as the Anti-Comintern Pact. You see, Józef Lipsk was also instrumental in Poland’s refusal to join Nazi Germany, Italy, Japan, and other powers in an anti-Soviet alliance which eventually became the Axis. However, it was not because of any long-lost love for Moscovites that the Poles refused to join the alliance. It was because of the British government’s influence the Polish did not align directly with Hitler. This can be sensed in all the communications between Józef Lipski, his superiors, and the Germans. There’s not a hint of animosity or disagreement in his words or his tone.
I do not have in my hands the documents Vladimir Putin was holding when he addressed the audience the other day. I am fairly certain he would not have brought along blank pieces of paper to jog his memory of the events before, during, and after World War II. I am also sure that Putin’s family suffering at the hands of the Nazis, may have played some role in his ire toward Lipski. It would be nice to see the Russian documents on such things. What would also be nice, would be for the Polish leadership to do more than shake a fist at the Russian president over his claims. It would also be more “democratic” if Poland did not make it a penitentiary offense to address the whole “Jewish question.”
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”