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A National Institute for Polish and Polish American Affairs

Analysis of David Kinchen's Review of FEAR
Kinchen's review appeard in West Virginia's "Huntington News" on July 31st, 2006

Link to PDF of Article

  1. Kinchen, as do other reviewers referencing Jan Gross’s previous work Neighbors, continues to repeat the no longer accepted figure of 1,600 Jews killed at Jedwabne.  The government commission that Kinchen refers to indeed confirmed that a massacre of Jews by some of their Gentile neighbors did take place, but it found that the best evidence available points to 300 – 400 victims and about 60 perpetrators.  It found that similar events took place (at a less severe level) in 15 – 20 other of the 15,000 villages in Poland .  They all took place in the same region within a few weeks of each other with some involvement of the Nazis.
  2. Kinchen uses the review to make a case for Goldhagen’s work on German anti-Semitism and on the Catholic Church even as he notes rightly that Goldhagen’s work is not treated with respect by fellow scholars who specialize in the Holocaust.  The dean of Holocaust studies, Raul Hilberg, has termed Goldhagen’s tendentious, racialist work on Hitler’s “willing executioners” as “worthless.” Furthermore, no respected scholar of Catholic history has taken Goldhagen’s Moral Reckoning, with its many elementary historical errors and sweeping, undocumented conclusions, seriously as a work of history. 
  3. As Kinchen points out, Professor Gross himself does not find much of relevance in Goldhagen’s work.
  4. Kinchen asserts that Poland “resonates today as an anti-Semitic country” despite the fact that recent studies have shown Poland ranks among the countries with the lowest levels of anti-Semitism in Europe and its foreign policy is among the most pro-Israeli in the world, with Israeli journalists going so far as to describe Poland as Israel’s “new best friend.”
  5. Kinchen cites a number of Professor Gross’s conclusions such as that “complicitous Poles” deflected their own guilt over having contributed to the triumph of communism by blaming Jews for being communists without noting that these assertions were made by Professor Gross without any serious documentary support.


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