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My close friend, Marek Chodakiewicz, is a serious historian of World War II, the Holocaust, and the Nazi and Soviet occupations of his native land. He is an intelligent, balanced, and honest scholar, who does not indulge in nationalist myth-making, is willing to slay sacred cows, and is not devoid of appreciation for the moral complexity that faced the Jewish and Polish people under foreign occupiers. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)–a money grubbing supposed civil rights organization run by the morally challenged Morris Dees–has decided to attack him, as they have attacked so many others, for deviating from leftist orthodoxy in a ruthless campaign of censorship:

Many of Chodakiewicz’s controversial writings about Jews predate his appointment to the museum board. In a 2003 book, After the Holocaust: Polish Jewish Relations in the Wake of World War II, he argued that postwar violence directed at Jews in Poland was seldom due to anti-Semitism. Instead, he cited other factors: Poles’ resistance to Jewish communists; self-defense against Jews who wanted to murder Poles who had collaborated with the Nazis; and thwarting efforts by Jews to reclaim property seized by the Nazis and later taken by Poles.

Chodakiewicz also maintained in the book that 400 to 700 Jews were murdered in Poland after the war; other estimates place the toll at 1,500 or higher. And he argued that Jewish communists killed more Poles after the war than vice versa.

In an article about Chodakiewicz’s book for a newspaper in Israel, Laurence Weinbaum, a historian, one-time Fulbright scholar and executive director of the Jerusalem-based World Jewish Congress Research Institute and the Israel Council of Foreign Relations, wrote that Chodakiewicz and “like-minded historians … are hard at work explaining why the murdered — not the murderers — are guilty.” Chodakiewicz, Weinbaum added, is a historian with “twisted views.”

I have read the book. The scholarship is impeccable. It has hundreds of footnotes per chapter. It cites sources in Russian, English, Polish, Ukrainian, and even Hebrew. It literally researches and reports on each and every reported violent death in Poland from 1944-1947.

The Holocaust was a great crime not only against Jews, but also against Ukrainians, Poles, Czechs, Belarussians, and others. If the essence of the crime was mass murder of innocent civilians for ideological and racist reasons–which I think it was–then the mass murder of Polish Christians, often by Russian or Jewish communists in post-war Poland, is also a crime worth studying in a rigorous way. Such scholarship does not detract from or minimize the Holocaust against the Jewish people. Context is everything in history, including context necessary to understand the magnitude of the Nazi mass murder of Jews. But an event shorn of all context is not historical but mythological or religious: beyond discussion, beyond comparison, beyond understanding, beyond reason. This is not healthy. This is not history.

The real history of World War II has been eclipsed by a fairly recent focus in popular culture almost exclusively upon the Holocaust. This focus has come about through the exclusion of understanding of other Nazi crimes, Japanese crimes, Soviet crimes, and most other aspects of the war. The popular history of the Holocaust has been especially distorted to render the perpetrators beyond human and their victims beyond reproach, even when some of those same victims (or would-be victims) were also victimizers in the uniforms of the NKVD in Poland from 1944-1947. In the post-war milieu of Poland and Eastern Europe, no doubt there were many crimes perpetrated, whether by anti-semitic Polish nationalists, ordinary bandits, rape-addicted Red Army soldiers, or overly zealous Jewish “Avengers.” But this layered story, where the evil Europeans of the Holocaust were now victims is inconvenient, and it has been suppressed.

There is no excuse for mass murder of innocents. This should not be controversial. But to discuss these others victims is considered suspect, whether those innocents were Poles killed by German Nazis, Poles killed by Jews, Ukrainians killed by Poles, Poles killed by Ukrainians, Germans killed by Russians, or any of the other permutations of ideological mass murder that marked the middle of the 20th Century. It is a narrow ideological goal that takes one especially effective species of such mass murder–the Nazi mass murder of the Jews–to exclude, ignore, and downplay other instances of civilian genocide, not least that of the long-suffering Poles, who endured a situation where the erstwhile Jewish victims of the Nazis (in recently donned and also threadbare Soviet uniforms) were also in some cases the victimizers of the Poles–Poles who were themselves also victimized by the Nazis alongside the Jews simultaneously during 1939-1944.

Chodakiewicz’s crime is that he speaking the truth. And that truth threatens the agenda of a certain kind of leftist, a leftist that hates Christianity, hates America, hates Europe, and hates the white race. Such leftism needs the Holocaust to have primacy over all other history because this viewpoint renders the Nazis as uniquely diabolical in history, the apotheosis of the genetically evil Western World. It is the same leftism that defames the Catholic Church, the Spanish conquistadors, the soldiers of the Confederacy, and the brave knights of the Crusades. The leftism comes first; facts and context are secondary.

As a result of leftist dominance in academia and the media, an unnuanced series of concepts about the Holocaust have become etched in stone as conventional wisdom. The most central such myth is that of a completely perfect victim sacrificed by a completely evil and irrational perpetrator.  As such, the official Holocaust of the Left becomes the mirror-image of the Christian Passion story: the perfect and blameless Lamb (then Jesus, but now the Jews) slaughtered by the hateful Jewish mob (Christian Nazis) with the acquiesence of the amoral Romans (Polish, Russian, French, and other Christian Europeans who did not do enough to stop the mass murder). After all, what else was Hitler’s Pope or Hitler’s Willing Executioners all about?

Scholarship, such as Chodakiewicz’s, that shows the perpetrators too sometimes were victims of evil, and that Jews too were sometimes bystanders, and that their cousins in NKVD uniforms killed even more people than the Nazis did in the Ukraine and Poland and Russia, would pull down the entire edifice of leftism which depends upon a very particular and quasi-religious Holocaust story, as summarized above.

The SPLC and its allies seek to suppress and marginalize scholarship such as Chodakiewicz’s–rather than refute it–because his work teaches implicitly that all people everywhere may commit evil and mass murder in the name of modern ideology of one kind or another. In other words, his words may reveal that the Western World, far from being evil to the core, was in much better shape before it tasted modernism, ideology, secularism, and the various poisonous fruits of the Enlightenment.

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