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Washington Post
August 2006

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Sunday, August 13, 2006; Page BW12

The Jews of Poland

While in Poland some years ago, I observed that anti-Semitism was so much an ingrained part of the culture that its expression was truly invisible to most Poles. This was brought home once more in Polish Ambassador Janusz Reiter's letter (Book World, July 9) where, in responding to Elie Wiesel's review of Jan T. Gross's book Fear, the ambassador concludes with these lines: "Second, while probing history, we should strive to build a better future in the relations between Poles and Jews. I am convinced that this goal can and will be achieved, for the benefit of both nations."

Note the use of the word "nations." The discussion in Wiesel's piece was of Polish anti- Semitism, specifically directed against Polish citizens -- not foreigners -- who happened to be Jewish. One gets the feeling that the Poles, now as then, never considered the 3 million Polish Jews to be part of Poland.

Chevy Chase, Md.

Sunday, August 27, 2006; Page BW12

The Jews of Poland

The charge of Polish anti-Semitism brought by Howard Kaplan in his recent letter commenting on Elie Wiesel's review of Jan Gross's Fear (Book World, Letters, Aug. 13) is quite a stretch. The vast majority of Polish Jews before or during the war did not speak Polish and did not consider themselves to be Poles by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately, there have been anti-Semites in the world since time began, and unfortunately there still are. Poland is no more or no less anti-Semitic than any other country in the world today. Jewish anti-Polonism, however, is a fairly recent form of racism, bigotry and hatred of the worst type.

Hillsborough, N.J.
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