Profile for Jan Peczkis > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Jan Peczkis
Top Reviewer Ranking: 333,111
Helpful Votes: 44

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Jan Peczkis "Scholar and Thinker" (Chicago IL, USA)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw
Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw
by Norman Davies
Edition: Hardcover
20 used & new from CDN$ 6.78

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Allied Weaseling, Polish Heroism and Suffering, June 15 2004
This outstanding volume presents a great deal of information formerly unavailable in the English language. It is doubly ironic to hear criticisms that this volume does not place enough emphasis on the earlier (April 1943) Jewish Warsaw ghetto uprising in view of the fact that this book's title and main topic is the Polish Warsaw Uprising (August-October 1944). Moreover, owing to the Judeocentric approach to WWII prevalent in the west, the Jewish Uprising has been well publicized, while the Polish one is virtually unknown outside of Polish circles. For the same reason, practically no one knows about the fact that the Germans murdered 3 million non-Jewish Poles during WWII, including about half of all educated Poles. In 1941, Warsaw's Jews and Poles were each allotted a meager per capita daily ration of 184 calories (p. 90). Overall, Davies provides a good summary of the German-Soviet conquest and occupation of Poland, as well as the rarely told subsequent Soviet re-occupation.
Davies (p. 81) is perceptive in pointing out that prewar Polish-Jewish tensions were based primarily upon economic competition (Jewish dominance in commerce, at universities, etc.), not religious or racial reasons. In no sense were Polish Jews "On the Edge of Destruction". The experiences of Polish Jews under Polish rule and then under the Germans are unworthy of even a comparison. Professor Davies was denied tenure at Stanford University as a result of Jewish pressure because he was deemed to be "an apologist for Polish anti-Semitism". This book does not support this charge. For instance, Davies (p.108) criticizes prewar and interwar Poles for their generalizations of Jews as pro-Communist and anti-Polish in the same breath that he criticizes contemporary Jews for their generalizations of Poles as anti-Semites.
Davies points out that adequate prewar English-language accounts of Poland were readily available. Yet too many Britons and Americans preferred to live in ignorance and false stereotypes about Poles and Poland. Large numbers of westerners were conspicuously in denial about the nature of Communism and the fact of Communist atrocities. Throughout this book, Davies cites the prevalent "Stalin must not be offended" theme. Davies' (p. 337, 671-673) quotation of George Orwell is priceless. Orwell incisively chided British intellectuals for their slavish pro-Russian orientation.
In common with many other writers, Davies cites the allegedly insurmountable geopolitical advantage that the Soviets had acquired owing to the fact that they had done most of the land fighting against the Germans, while, as of mid-1944, the western Allies had barely achieved a toehold in Europe. This ignores essential facts. The western Allies had blunted the German attempts on England and Africa. Also, the Soviets had contributed very little to the air and naval war against Germany. Finally, the Soviets were very dependent on American Lend Lease Aid, which could have been judiciously dispensed to force the USSR to abandon its imperialistic designs on Eastern Europe.
Instead, as early as 1941, while the USSR was still on the ropes from the German attack, Molotov made it clear that the Soviets intended to keep all the territories that the USSR had conquered earlier with Germany, including eastern Poland. Churchill and Roosevelt feebly objected. Soon thereafter, one unilateral concession against Poland followed another. To add insult to injury, the Polish government in exile in London was repeatedly called intransigent, divisive of the Allied coalition, stubborn, etc., for refusing to go along with this illegal Allied weaseling. Stalin was emboldened through the western Allies' conspicuous lack of seriousness in their support of the Atlantic Charter and of Poland's rights as a sovereign nation, not to mention the First Ally of England.
While Churchill and Roosevelt were dilly-dallying with "Uncle Joe" Stalin, his minions were busy arresting, deporting, and often killing large numbers of patriotic Poles. No sooner had Polish Underground units (notably at AK units at Lwow, Wilno, and the 27th Volhynian Division) driven the Germans out in front of the Red Army, as part of Operation "Tempest", than they were "processed" by the dreaded Soviet NKVD. Members of the British government were skeptical about Polish reports despite the fact Polish intelligence had proven, throughout the war, to be very extensive and accurate. Moreover, as discussed by Davies, the British seldom sent their own intelligence units (SOE) to verify these sobering facts for themselves. As part of the Soviet agenda of enslaving Poland, the Red Army was halted outside Warsaw in order to give the Germans almost six months to crush the Uprising and to destroy Warsaw. Thanks to the west's cowardice, 250,000 Warsaw Poles needlessly perished, and Stalin had gotten his free hand for imposing a Communist puppet state on Poland.
Davies reminds us of the frightfully extent of German cruelty during the Uprising. Tens of thousands of Polish civilians were rounded up and systematically murdered. No sooner had Polish field hospitals been marked with a red cross than Germans began bombing them. After evacuating the German wounded, the Hun would set fire to other field hospitals, burning alive the critically wounded Poles within them. Polish priests and nuns, offering spiritual succor and other humane services, were especially tortured and murdered. Towards the end of the Uprising, the Germans did give the insurgents combatant status as POWs, no doubt in order to set a precedent for German guerilla warfare following Germany's increasingly certain defeat. Davies could have devoted more attention to the German barbarism that followed the Uprising. About 90% of Warsaw ended up being destroyed during the war, and 30% represented the destruction that had predated the Uprising. Whereas about 25% of Warsaw had been destroyed during the Uprising itself, the Germans destroyed almost the remaining 35% after the Uprising. The Hun blew up the Royal Castle and other historic buildings (Imagine a foreign occupier maliciously dynamiting the State of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, or Buckingham Palace). They burned all of Warsaw's libraries and archives, inflicting a cultural-genocidal loss of over 3 million volumes, of which about 500,000 were irreplaceable.

The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation
The Cross and the Crescent: Christianity and Islam from Muhammad to the Reformation
by Richard Fletcher
Edition: Hardcover
23 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Presents Information Beyond the Stated Topic, June 14 2004
While this book is about Muslim-Christian relations, it also presents some unique information. In terms of specifics, the book tabulates the Biblical references to prayer (pp. 70-71). The postures of prayer include kneeling, standing, spreading out hands, etc. Parshall notes the irony of Muslim prayer habits often being "more Biblical" than the often casual manner that Christians pray. Although God is much more interested in the attitude of the heart than the position of the body, Parshall's analysis provides food for thought for all who would wish to re-evaluate their approach to prayer.

Death in the Forest: Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre
Death in the Forest: Story of the Katyn Forest Massacre
by J.K. Zawodny
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from CDN$ 54.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Anatomy of a Little-Known Atrocity, May 20 2004
This book, though now somewhat dated, provides a good summary of the murder of tens of thousands of Polish POW officers by the Soviet secret police (NKVD) in April 1940. These Poles, the flower of Polish society, had been captured by the Soviets after the joint Soviet-German conquest of Poland (September-October 1939). After Nazi Germany unexpectedly attacked its erstwhile Soviet ally in June 1941, the Soviets ostensibly had switched to the Polish side. Some, but by no means all, of Polish prisoners and exiles were released from Soviet prisons and gulags. The conspicuous absence of the previously captured Polish officers became obvious. The Polish government-in-exile at London never got a straight answer about their fate. In fact, Stalin made absurd lies about their whereabouts ("They must have all escaped to China"). The west never called Stalin for his transparent mendacity.
When the invading Germans brought the atrocity to light in 1943, the Polish-government-in-exile requested the Red Cross to investigate. At once, Stalin blamed the Germans and accused the Poles of having fallen for German propaganda. He then conveniently used this unexpected turn of events as an excuse for severing ties with the rightful Polish government-embodied in the government-in-exile-in favor of a puppet Communist government that Stalin had previously hand picked. All this time, Churchill and especially Roosevelt were not particularly interested in the truth about Katyn. To the contrary, blame was placed on the victims (Poles) for being too emotional, too unwise, too chauvinistic, etc., for pressing their case.
In the end, Poland was betrayed, and the truth about Katyn was suppressed in Communist-ruled Poland. Not until the fall of Communism did the truth finally come out. In 1990, the Soviet Union finally admitted its guilt for the crime of Katyn. Of course, Katyn is symbolic of Soviet conduct towards Poland. While there were tens of thousands of victims at Katyn and related sites of murder, the total number of Polish victims of Soviet aggression exceed one million. Unfortunately, very few westerners know about this, or of the two million Polish gentiles who fell victim to the Germans.

Radical Right: Report on John Birch Society and Its Allies
Radical Right: Report on John Birch Society and Its Allies
by Benjamin R. Epstein
Edition: Hardcover
4 used & new from CDN$ 4.63

1.0 out of 5 stars A Timely Primer on Left-Wing Smear Tactics, May 20 2004
Reading this book is an exercise in déjà vu. Author Benjamin Epstein, in 1967, used exactly the same techniques to smear the John Birch Society (JBS) as today's left-wingers use to smear the Religious Right. One favorite technique is to call conservative groups extremist and un-American, and Epstein does not disappoint us in this regard. Then there is the usual attempt to associate conservative groups with the Nazis. In this regard, he has a whole chapter on "The John Birchers and Anti-Semitism". Using carefully selected anecdotes, he tries to impugn the entire organization. But facts are facts. The John Birch Society had many Jewish members, and never unilaterally condemned any racial or religious group. Epstein, and other left-wingers who think like him, should be ashamed of themselves for their innuendo against those with whom they disagree.

High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband
High Calling: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband
by Evelyn Husband
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Recounts the Columbia Tragedy Historically and Personally, May 18 2004
This book provides both an account of the Columbia breakup in February 2003 as well as Rick Husband's wife and childrens' reaction to the tragic loss of their husband and father. The book begins with the family expectantly waiting for Columbia to land, then sensing that something is wrong based on the behavior of the people near the landing site. We then learn of Rick's life, and how the family's faith in Jesus Christ had been so important in their lives. We also learn how Evelyn Husband had to tell her children that their father had tragically died.

The Hiding Place
The Hiding Place
by Corrie Ten Boom
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
191 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson in Christ's Unbounded Forgiveness, May 18 2004
This classic work touches on so many feelings and thoughts. For me, the most interesting part was the one where she came across the SS man who had been at Ravensbruck (p. 238). Hatred and revenge came to Corrie's heart. She could not bring herself to shake his hand. She realized that she could not forgive him in her own power, and so she prayerfully asked for the Lord's forgiveness to flow through her. At once, her hatred melted away and was replaced by overwhelming love. She realized that the Lord, who commands us to love our enemies, also gives us the means to do this.

Poland's Transformation: A Work in Progress
Poland's Transformation: A Work in Progress
by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 34.44

5.0 out of 5 stars A Broad overview of Recent Polish History, May 14 2004
In this anthology, Roszkowski recounts how former US President Reagan had been a friend of freedom and friend of Poland. How diametrically opposite was Reagan from Roosevelt, who habitually dismissed the Poles as an irritating nuisance and who cultivated a hear-no-evil-see-no-evil mindset towards the Soviets! Radzilowski reviews the "Polish Revolution" that began with the election of John Paul II, as well as the under appreciated Polish entrepreneurial acumen that circumvented the stifling Communist policies, and subsequently expanded after 1989. One of the ironies of the Soviet yoke had been the "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work" economic farce.
In looking towards the future, Radzilowski (pp. 216-217) stresses the need for all Soviet archives to be opened, all Soviet mass graves to be identified, and all artwork stolen from Poland to be returned. Radzilowski makes a perceptive point about the role reversal that took place between the early 17th and late 20th centuries: During the former, it was "superpower" Poland versus weak Russia. Were it that way today! Today's talk among Russians about Russia being "between empires" isn't exactly encouraging.
While Poland's EU membership is considered (Howard), Polish fears of being bought out by wealthier neighbors are compared with westerners' fears of cheap Polish labor. This parallelism is dubious, as western nations have much greater capabilities for dealing with cheap Polish labor ("The Mexicans of Europe"?) than Poles have for resisting buy-outs. In fact, Western European nations are now reluctant to hire cheap Polish labor.
In common with others, Holzer justifies Poland's EU membership by claiming that, without it, Poland would be isolated. I beg to differ. Poland can always form political, economic, and cultural relationships with other nations of the world-on her own terms, not that of some bureaucrat in Brussels or Berlin. Holzer paints the EU as an organization whose power is diffused, whose values are pluralistic, and (unlike the situation that would exist if Poland wasn't a member) where Poland has a voice. The reality is rather different. Power in the EU is disproportionately German, secularist, and left wing. What good is it that Poland "has a voice" when this voice can so easily be drowned out or disregarded by powerful political and economic interests? And what realistic options does Poland have to leave the EU if her membership proves excessively corrosive to her sovereignty?
The question of property settlements, raised by Chodakiewicz and Currell, needs to be expanded and analyzed in the context of Poland's EU membership. For the longest time, Holocaust films have painted such a uniformly inaccurate negative portrayal of Polish wartime conduct that many Poles have concluded that there is an agenda to sway uninformed western public opinion through the blackening of Poland's reputation. As also pointed out by the courageous Jewish author Norman Finkelstein, the real issue is money. There are Jewish groups going as far as attempting to eventually force Poland to pay for everything that once belonged to Polish Jews, even though, by law, private property passes to the state when there are no heirs, and German Holocaust reparations payments are supposed to cover Jewish property losses as well as, symbolically, the incalculable loss of Jewish lives. To what extent can these, and other groups with similar intentions, use the EU as leverage against Poland?
Some authors touch on the role of Germany. Why was Germany one of the main "shakers and movers" in getting Poland into the EU? To what degree will Germany's pre-eminent position in the EU enable her to gradually impose her will on Poland? It is said that German revanchism was and is a marginal phenomenon. But will it always be thus? The revival of interest in "Expellees" is not an encouraging sign. Neither is what looks like the recent attempt by Germans to transform their grandparents from the perpetrators to the victims of Nazism. The re-emergence of German sorrow over losses from Allied bombing is disturbingly reminiscent of the German selective memory and self-pity directed at the Versailles accords. Eventually, selective memory and self-pity changed to vindictiveness, and vindictiveness became expressed as renewed aggression.
Left-wing ideologues have always relied on a top-down approach to impose their will upon the people. In the US, this has taken the form of unelected judges abandoning their constitutional role of interpreting the Constitution in favor of ruling from the bench and disregarding established rights (e. g. private gun ownership) while inventing new "human rights" out of thin air. International organizations (e. g. the UN) have also been used for this purpose. I do not share the Pope's optimism about Poland being able to "Christianize" the EU. Much more likely, the reverse will happen. What is to prevent the secularists that dominate the EU from using Poland's membership to force her to legalize all prenatal infanticide (abortion) and same-sex marriage, and to silence traditionalist voices such as Radio Maria? Commonly repeated Orwellian language could always be used as a cover ("evolving standards of internationally-recognized human rights", "reproductive rights", "sexual minorities", "protecting the vulnerable from hate speech", etc.). The final question to ponder in the light of topics covered by this book is the following: To what extent is Poland's membership in the EU a new Targowica, wherein current Polish leaders have sold Polish sovereignty in exchange for personal benefit?
Chodakiewicz, in one of his articles, provides an excellent summary of Polish history from 1918 to the present. It is interesting to learn that, during the first years of Soviet-imposed and western-acquiesced Communist rule (1944-1956), Polish history ignored the contributions of the AK and NSZ (pp. 236-238). Reminiscent of the approach that later became virtually universal in the western world, Jewish actions under the Nazis were glorified while non-Communist Polish ones were either denigrated or more commonly swept under the rug. In this light, it is doubly ironic to hear complaints about current Polish education being excessively Polonocentric.

Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland 1919-1939
Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland 1919-1939
by Joseph Marcus
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 201.31
16 used & new from CDN$ 188.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Rational Analysis of Prewar Polish Anti-Semitism, May 7 2004
Jewish scholar Joseph Marcus eschews the knee-jerk anti-Polish generalizations that typify material on this subject in favor of a thorough examination of the Jewish situation prior to Polish independence (1870-1918) and in preWWII Poland (1918-1939). It soon becomes obvious that all the indignities and injustices that Polish Jews experienced occurred within the broader context of overall Polish tolerance in the face of considerable development of Jewish economic life. Ironically, Polish anti-Semitism festered and grew primarily because Polish Jews had been so successful in the first place-actually and perceptively at Polish expense.
Marcus notes that Poland, under foreign rule, had missed the Industrial Revolution. He claims that what little industrial infrastructure Poland had acquired by the late 19th century had been almost entirely established and owned by Jews. Pointedly, Marcus (p. 94) recognizes its slight benefits for Poland right up to WWI. Jewish entrepreneurship tended to stay within extended families (pp. 92-93), thus reinforcing its self-perpetuating, Pole-disenfranchising, monopolistic character. Early industrialization tended to be very exploitive of working people, so there were minimal "trickle down" benefits for individual Poles. The sugar industry had been almost entirely Jewish until 1914 (p. 87). Jews, who constituted only 10% of Poland's population, accounted for 70% of licenses (p. 327) to perform business in industry and commerce (early 1920's, central Poland). Jews controlled about 40% of industry and commerce (p. 327) in the Polish urban economy (1926-1934). In 1935, most of Warsaw's 48 banks were Jewish (p. 109). Just before the outbreak of WWII (1938-1939), 55% of the Poland's chemical industry was Jewish-owned (p. 115), as were 70% of the textile and food industries (p. 113, 116). The garment and shoe industries remained entirely Jewish. In Polish universities (1929), Jews constituted 42% of its graduates (p. 67). Finally, although there was wide disparity between rich and poor Jews, the overall Jewish per capita income was more than 40% greater than that of Poles (1929; p. 41).
One can comprehend how Poles came to think that "Jews are the real rulers of Poland" and that "Jews are getting rich on the backs of Poles". Moreover, the bulk of preWWI manufactured products went to Russia (p. 13, 100) and other foreign rulers, contributing to the impression of a Jewish-foreign bond acting against Polish interests. The rather tepid Jewish support for Polish independence in 1918, a fact not mentioned by Markus, further reinforced this notion. However, Polish anti-Semitism was more words than substance, as it NEVER developed to the point of seriously challenging the Jews' dominant status. (For example, most Polish consumers disregarded calls to boycott Jewish traders; p. 245).

The Jews have a long history of commercial activity, and undoubtedly the entrepreneurial spirit had developed much earlier and more strongly among Jews than Poles. However, Marcus' portrayal of Jewish economic dominance as the default outcome of Polish ineptitude ("a static, feudal society disinterested in modernization", p. 95, 97) overlooks essential facts. The most active members of Polish society, those most capable of rivaling the pioneering Jewish entrepreneurs, had been killed, imprisoned, and exiled in the wake of the failed insurrections of 1830 and 1863 against Russian rule. (In fact, exiled Poles played a significant role in the early industrialization of parts of Siberia, the New World, etc.) Marcus' quotations of Poles hostile to progress ignore the fact that such attitudes were also common in societies that no one would consider stagnant. For instance, Victorian England, the very leader of the Industrial Revolution, had its own "nostalgic medievalism" as well as the Luddite and similar movements. The dislike of railroads by Polish farmers paralleled that of cowboys and ranchers in the American West. Marcus states that Polish aristocrats despised economic activity, but often became very successful businessmen after emigration (p. 6). Polish petty traders, "disdainful of trade", actually increased in numbers in the 1930's at a rate greater than the disappearance of Jewish ones (pp. 62-63). Clearly, the mythical "Polish distaste for commerce" had largely been a displaced hostility actually directed at the overwhelming preoccupation of Poland's economical niche by Jews.
Unlike the US, Poland never claimed to be a pluralistic society, and the needs of the majority took precedence over that of minorities in the event of conflicting interests. Having just recovered their independence after 123 years, the Poles were especially sensitive to such conflicts. The positions of Dmowski and the Endeks, professedly upholding Polish interests rather than resisting minorities' rights per se, must be understood in this light.
In the US, affirmative action is framed in terms of the expansion of opportunities for nonwhites rather than racist discrimination against whites. In Poland, affirmative action (using modern parlance) was likewise framed in terms of the expansion of opportunities for Poles in Jewish-dominated institutions rather than anti-Semitic discrimination against Jews. Interestingly, some influential Jews (Grunbaum, Jabotinsky; p. 230) accepted this nuance. Poland's affirmative action took several forms, including taxation, hiring of Polish government workers, and the much-maligned numerus clausus at universities. Significantly, in the 1920's, there were no pogroms (p. 355), and there was no political pressure for Jews to emigrate (p. 391). All this changed in the 1930's, in the wake of the Great Depression. It is patently incorrect to speak of economic growth equalizing opportunities for Poles, as the Jews, owing to their previously acquired advantages, got the lion's share of further economic growth. Furthermore, after the Great Depression, the "economic pie" actually shrunk, reversing earlier economic growth.
Marcus finds fault in both sides: "The Poles refused to accept the Jews, but the Jews did not want to be fully accepted (p. 327)" He criticizes Jewish leaders for deepening Polish-Jewish conflicts (p. 302), and for not forging a closer relationship with the philosemitic Pilsudski regime (p. 327). He faults American Jews for not even minimally supporting Polish Jews, notably in regards to significant emigration to Palestine. The "fantastic" Beck-Jabotinsky plan, for this reason, had no change of even a minimal degree if success (pp. 398-401).

The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and Its Aftermath
The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and Its Aftermath
by István Deák
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 37.52
28 used & new from CDN$ 25.00

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Combines Facts and Gross Mischaracterizations, April 26 2004
Mention of the killings of Jews in postwar Hungary (Judt, p. 321) needs further elaboration, as it refutes the common claim that this happened only in postwar Poland. The two articles by Jan Thomas Gross detract considerably from the remaining ones. The title of this review has an intentional double meaning, as Gross shows us the depths of convoluted reasoning that Polonophobes willingly go through to unfairly blame Poles for not aiding more Jews. More Poles are honored at Yad Vashem for saving Jews than any other nationality. Paulsson (SECRET CITY) has shown that, at least for Warsaw's Jews, the limiting factor in Jewish survival was the infrequency of Jews fleeing the ghettoes. It was NOT Polish "inaction". Nor was it the rate of Polish betrayal of fugitive Jews. Had more Jews sought Polish help, more Jews would have been saved.
Gross cites some indicators of the "diffuse hostility of Poles to Jews' and then, without any evidence, jumps to the conclusion that this made Poles disinclined to help Jews. In fact, the acknowledged anti-Semitic beliefs of many Polish rescuers of Jews argue for the opposite. The long history of considerable Jewish disloyalty to Poland, the most recent instance of which was the large-scale Jewish-Soviet collaboration against Poles (Gross' attempts to minimize it notwithstanding) was a major cause of Polish hostility to Jews.
Gross would have us believe that, since Poles already defied the German-imposed death penalty in numerous ways, they could just as easily have defied it by saving many more Jews--had they only wanted to. But his equating of various risky behaviors carrying the death penalty is transparently ridiculous, and he, being from Poland, should know better (unless, of course, he has discarded all semblance of objectivity). Gross disingenuously cites Polish incurrence of the death penalty through considerable "black marketeering". Common sense teaches that it is incomparably easier to hide contraband food than to hide (and feed) a living fugitive Jewish human being. The same holds for livestock slaughtered without German authorization, firearms, radios, and other verboten objects. Assuredly, the Germans directed far greater attention to fugitive Jews than to Polish "black marketers". Also, Gross overlooks the fact that German officials could often be bribed to spare from death a Pole who was caught "black marketeering", etc., but seldom for helping a Jew.
Gross also falsely conflates the risk of Polish participation in the Underground with that of hiding Jews. In actuality, successful participation in the Underground required one to live an inconspicuous double life that was in some ways the opposite of the overt risky behaviors necessary to save Jews. Numerous Polish guerillas nevertheless fell into German hands. Gross also exaggerates the significance of Poles covering up for each other. Contrary to Gross' selectively quoted anecdotes, membership in the Underground was a closely-guarded secret. Even close neighbors often had no inkling of each other's involvement in the Underground until they both came out in open warfare during Operation Burza (Tempest) during the closing months of the German occupation.
Despite significant efforts by the Underground to hide them, some 50% of all educated Poles were found and murdered by the Germans. Hiding a fugitive Jew from the Germans was far harder than hiding a fugitive Pole, as most Polish Jews had easily recognizable characteristics, and didn't blend readily into Polish society. Gross also ignores the fact that all Polish Underground activity was carefully weighed for maximum military benefit for the cost in terms of German reprisals. More extensive assistance to Jews would have triggered commensurate German action against Poles, and excessive incitement of German terror, resulting from any Underground action(s), would have discredited the Underground in the eyes of the Polish population.
Gross engages in blatant circular reasoning when he (selectively) cites some Polish rescuers of Jews who claim not to have been intimidated by the death penalty in order to "prove" its unimportance in the rescue of Jews. That's like going to a convention of blue-car owners, and, examining the cars parked there, arguing that all US cars are blue. Most absurd of all is Gross' mention of the Warsaw Uprising as evidence of the irrelevance of the death penalty in informing Polish conduct. In actuality, the Uprising was planned to eject the Germans within a few days, with minimal casualties, just prior to the arrival of the Red Army. No one could have foreseen the Soviet betrayal and ensuing 63-day agony, the deaths by combat and murder of a quarter million Poles, and subsequent destruction of Warsaw by vindictive Germans.

Gross takes a cheap shot at Polish heroism by falsely asserting that the absence of a collaborationist government in Poland was only due to Germans unwillingness. In actuality, Prince Janusz Radziwill and several other semi-prominent Poles were approached by the Germans as prospective Quislings for a (...) Polish puppet state, but they all refused (Lukas. 1986. THE FORGOTTEN HOLOCAUST, pp. 111-113). (Nor is it correct that Poles eschewed organized collaboration because of the brutality of German conduct against them. Other Slavic untermenschen were treated little better, yet some of them formed organized collaborationist units).
Ironically and unwittingly, Gross undermines two canons of conventional Holocaust thinking: The one that belittles Polish suffering (e. g. "collateral damage"), and the one that insinuates that Poles implicitly led quasi-normal lives ("spectators" of the Jewish catastrophe). According to Gross, Poles could never have survived on the meager food rations allowed by the Germans (pp. 118-119; whence the Polish "black marketeering"). Moreover, German killing of Poles was so indiscriminate and widespread that Poles obedient to German dictates were little safer than violators. Sounds like Polish and Jewish victimization, on a per capita basis, was much less different than commonly portrayed! In any case, how can Poles be blamed for not saving more Jews when Poles themselves faced a desperate shortage of food, and were otherwise necessarily preoccupied with their OWN physical survival under the German occupation?

The New Sugar Busters!(r)
The New Sugar Busters!(r)
by H. Leighton Steward
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
116 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of Value, But Atkins is Much More Systematic, April 21 2004
This book focuses on the problems caused by excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar. A graph shows the steep increase in the western consumption of refined sugar in recent decades. There are other helpful graphs and data also included. The Pima Indians are cited. Their rate of diabetes increased by some 50% when they switched from the native fiber-rich corn to the modern refined fiber-free corn.
Unlike Atkins, the authors suggest that a large-scale reduction in carbohydrate intake is not necessary to cause weight loss, so long as the carbohydrates have a low glycemic impact. In my case, this was true. I lost 56 pounds on the Atkins diet without ever formally going into Atkin's Induction Phase (less than 20 grams of ANY type of metabolizeable carbohydrate intake per day). My addiction to sugary junk foods broke relatively easily. I found that, in my case, I could usually lose 1-3 pounds per week just by eliminating all refined carb products and cutting down on metabolizeable carb products to below about 40 grams per day. But the Atkins approach may be necessary for some people. Their metabolism may not switch from glycolysis to lipolysis without cutting back on metabolizeable carb products to below 20 grams daily, or even less. In addition, some people may not be able to break their cravings for sugary products without going into Induction for at least a while. Therefore, one can conclude that this Sugar Busters book may work for some people but not others. Atkins is clearly more detailed and systematic in his approach than this book.
After the initial weight loss, the Atkins approach and the Sugar Busters approach agree. Whatever carbohydrates consumed should be of the low-glycemic, high-fiber type. Emphasis should be placed on low-glycemic vegetables, nuts, and whole-grain products.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5