Jan Tomasz Gross: Holocaust Plunder Book by U.S. Historian Stirs Polish Passions

Source: Bloomberg, 4-12-11

"Golden Harvest"

The cover jacket of the U.S. edition of “Golden Harvest” by Jan Tomasz Gross, due to be published in March 2012. The author claims ordinary Poles plundered the graves of concentration camp victims after World War II in search of gold and other valuables. Source: Oxford University Press via Bloomberg

The cover jacket of the Polish-language edition of “Golden Harvest” by Jan Tomasz Gross, due to be published in March 2012. The author claims ordinary Poles plundered the graves of concentration camp victims after World War II in search of gold and other valuables. Source: Oxford University Press via Bloomberg

"Golden Harvest"

A book by a Princeton professor that says ordinary Poles plundered graves near Nazi death camps is stirring debate in Poland, with critics saying it is fiction designed to cast the Polish as predatory anti-Semites.

“Golden Harvest,” by Poland-born historian Jan Tomasz Gross, is scheduled to be published in the U.S. and U.K. next year. After it came out in Poland, the book entered the chart of the top 10 bestsellers at Empik Media & Fashion SA, which operates stores across the country.

Gross takes as his starting point a photo of what, at first glance, appears to be a line of smiling agricultural workers at the end of a day’s work. At the bottom of the picture is a line of skulls. The photo was taken in 1945 or 1946 near Treblinka, the site of a death camp in which at least 800,000 people were murdered, Gross writes. He says the people were searching for valuables overlooked by the Nazis….READ MORE

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1 Comment

  1. paul hacker

     /  July 9, 2011

    Gross’s book discusses much more than the plunder of Jewish mass graves by Poles. It also includes extensive documentation of Polish collaboration in rounding up Jews during World War II, especially by the Blue Police — a collaborationist police force that operated under Nazi orders. He claims that several hundred thousand Jewish deaths are directly connected to Polish complicity in these crimes, which he attributes to the lust for Jewish possessions, from “vacated” apartments, down to items of personal clothing. His view is in direct contradiction to the predominant Polish self-image of victims of Naziism. While this is certainly not to deny the terrible sufferings of the Poles under Nazi rule, the fact that victims could also be perpetrators — a line he takes in his two earlier books on similar themes — is one guaranteed to stir up emotions in his native country.

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