New York, N.Y. (4/09) .. The New York Times today reported on the poem Germany’s Gunter Grass wrote critical of Israel’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
In attempting to describe the theme of Grass’ 1959 Novel, “The Tin Drum,” a misrepresentation of Poland’s history was offered. The Downstate N.Y. Division of the Polish American Congress issued the following statement to the New York Times:
Writing about the outrage Gunter Grass’ poem ignited in Israel, reporters Bronner and Kulish described the novel, “The Tin Drum” Grass wrote in 1959 as an “exploration of the rise of Nazism in Germany and Poland.”
Polish Americans are justified in expressing their outrage that Poland, the first victim of Nazism, should now be portrayed as co-responsible with Germany for Nazism.
Shortly after Hitler came to power in 1933, Poland’s Marshal Pilsudski proposed that the French join him in a preventive war against Germany and eliminate Nazism at its inception. Paris turned down the idea.
Germany later tried to persuade the Poles to join the Axis and side with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. The Poles would not.
At the time other European nations were appeasing Hitler, the Poles stood firm and became the “First To Fight” the Nazis in World War II.
Rise of Nazism in Poland? Hardly.
Frank Milewski, Pres.
Polish American Congress
Downstate N.Y. Division
New York Times article mentions “the rise of Nazism in Germany and Poland” as if it were a German and Polish party.
Your Sunday, April 8 story, “Israel Bars German Laureate Grass Over Poem,” by Ethan Bonner and Nicholas Kulish makes a serious error in referring to “the rise of Nazism in Germany and Poland.” Nazism did not “rise” in Poland.
German tanks and the Wehrmacht’s blitzkrieg ran over Poland and wiped the country off the map for the next six years. During World War II, the Polish underground spent more time fighting against Nazism and German occupation than the people of any other country.
In fact, Poland was the only country occupied by Germany that did not establish a Quisling government to collaborate with the Nazis. As a result, the German army murdered six million Polish citizens, about half of whom were Jewish, the other half being Christian.
So please issue a correction to this absurd notion that Nazism somehow “rose” in Poland.
President & Executive Director
The Kosciuszko Foundation
This is the quote from the New York Times:
Mr. Grass’ best-known novel, published in 1959, is “The Tin Drum,” a stirring allegorical exploration of the rise of Nazism in Germany and Poland. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999; the Nobel committee described “The Tin Drum” as a new beginning for German literature “after decades of linguistic and moral destruction.”