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A National Institute for Polish and Polish American Affairs

Analysis of Elie Wiesel's Review of FEAR
Wiesel's review appeared in the "Washington Post" on June 25th, 2006

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Eli Wiesel’s review is a cri de coeur against injury, violence, humiliation and murder inflected on innocent Jewish survivors of the Holocaust after the war. It is real and deeply felt. In his grief, however, he creates new myths as he denounces the old anti-Semitic ones which may have helped to fuel the outrages. His view is very narrow. He does not see that these terrible events took place in a world that was as devastated and bleak for gentiles as it was for Jews and for many almost as hopeless. It was a society undergoing a brutal new occupation – not a liberation as Wiesel describes it – in which tens of thousands were killed and many more arrested, tortured, imprisoned and deported to gulags. Violent Jewish deaths made up about 2% of those killed during that period.

Wiesel also does not recognize or credit the support and understanding Jews received from within Polish society exemplified by the writings and activities of the Catholic circles around Tygodnik Powszechny and the statements of Bishop Kubina of Czestochowa.

Wiesel continues to repeat the exaggerated 1,600 figure for victims of Jedwabne which indicates he has not kept up with the latest research on the Jedwabne affair. It has been several years since the research of the IPN reduced the number to three to four hundred victims.

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