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Diary from the Years of Occupation [Hardcover]

Zygmunt Klukowski


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Zygmunt Klukowski was a phsycian, surgeon and supervisor at Zamosc County Hospital in Szczebrzeszyn, Poland, when the Germans invaded his country. A veteran of World War I, the Russian Civil War, and the Polish-Russian War of 1920-21, he was also respected as a historian. From 1939 to 1944 he kept a detailed secret journal, making entries daily at first and then, near the end of the occupation, even more frequently. His observations range from matter-of-fact anticipation of war in 1939 to information about his own and other Poles' underground activities. As a whole, the entries reveal his growing recognition that the Nazis intended to destroy Polish culture and all those who had been its bearers. When originally published in Polish, the diary won a major award and soon went into a second edition. Here, translated by his son and edited by his grandchildren, Klukowski's diary provides a rare picture of how non-combatants coped with life in German-occupied eastern Poland.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent diary of a Polish citizen during WW2 17 Oct 2010
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
FIT THE BILL AS A DOCUMENT TELLING OF DAY TO DAY EXPERIENCES OF LOCAL DOCTOR IN TOWN IN SOUTH EASTERN POLAND DURING GERMAN OCCUPATION IN WW2. BOOK ARRIVED PROMPTLY AND WAS AS DESCRIBED , IN EXCELLENT CONDITION.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique book and one you will not find in a bookstore. 27 Aug 2010
By Jayne Nayman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Loved this book! First hand account of what it was like living in Poland under Nazi occupation during WWII. It doesn't get much more real than this! A unique book...not one you would likely find in a bookstore.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be back in print 24 April 2013
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is an abridgement of a diary kept by a Polish doctor, hospital administrator, and partisan during WW2. It gives the best picture of life under Nazi occupation I have yet encountered. It is a shame that this book is out of print. It deserves a wider audience.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Polish Conduct in Wartime Context: Correcting the Distortions of Jan T. Gross and Jan Grabowski 23 Jan 2009
By Jan Peczkis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This diary, centered on Szczebrzeszyn/Zamosc and environs, touches on daily life during the 1939 German-Soviet conquest of Poland, the German occupation, German preparations for Operation Barbarossa, Odilo Globocnik's de-Polonization project and Polish guerrilla resistance against it (e. g., pp. 229-233, 253-254), etc.

What about the Zydokomuna (Bolshevized Judaism)? During the 1939 Soviet/German transfer of territory, "Many Jews left Szczebrzeszyn with the Soviet army, especially those who were part of the Red militia." (p. 38).

The German occupation was characterized by: Confiscation of educational materials (p. 72, 106), mass murders--especially of the Polish intelligentsia (p. 140), the destruction of youth (p. 87), destruction of churches (p. 112), destruction of national culture (p. 140), mass deportations for forced labor (p. 137), promotion of alcoholism (p. 132), etc. For all the current emphasis on Jews and Poles being unequal victims, their experiences overlapped considerably: "It is legal for Germans to shoot Poles and Jews." (p. 101). "The Germans are beating the workers for no reason, Poles as well as Jews." (p. 121). "The Germans are taking good furniture, carpets, and paintings from private homes, not only Jewish but Polish also." (p. 125). "...the court building...a sign reading,`Jews and Poles Not Allowed'." (p. 134).

Klukowski's diary has been twisted by professional Polonophobe Jan T. Gross, and more recently by his colleague Jan Grabowski, into an indictment of Polish conduct against Jews. Ironically, Klukowski himself warned against this: "Yesterday, a general destruction and looting of the stores took place, Polish and Jewish. But since there are more Jewish establishments than Polish, the common statement was, `They are plundering the Jews'." (p. 28).

Did Poles have some kind of primitive drive to exploit and murder Jews? Hardly. It was a matter of severe wartime demoralization. Throughout this diary, there is frequent mention of mostly Pole-on-Pole robbery and banditry (including murder) (p.28,30,128,137,163,181,187,195,198, 201, 212, 216, 217, 244). In fact, "Approximately 30 robberies take place each day [at Zamosc]".(p. 199).

The following is a statement that has been taken out of context. It is now quoted with the proper context: "There are several Jews active with the bandits. The villages have turned against the Jews because of this and try to find them in the fields and forests. It is hard to believe but the attitude toward Jews is changing. There are many people who see the Jews not as human beings but as animals that must be destroyed." (p. 227). The rampant banditry is what explains eventual Polish anti-Jewish attitudes, not the Poles starting to imitate the Nazis by de-humanizing the Jews.

Now consider Pole-on-Pole denunciations:
(p. 57,77,85,87,89,110,136,205,232,249,256,257,258,335). These stemmed from such things as social de-moralization (p. 77), simple meanness (p. 87), etc. Klukowski's obvious inclination towards recording ignoble Pole-on-Pole conduct explains the frequency of his references to comparable ignoble Pole-on-Jew conduct. Finally, all the Polish misdeeds must be placed in proper geographical and numerical context, so as not to appear more common than they actually were. They occurred not in one small village, but over a large geographic area, out of a sampled population base of many thousands (if not tens of thousands) of Poles.

Neo-Stalinists Jan T. Gross and Jan Grabowski (in his JUDENJAGD, THE HUNT FOR THE JEWS) both misrepresent "our own gendarmes" and "Blue Police" killing Jews. (p. 219). Actually, the gendarmes and part of the "Blue Police" were Volksdeutsche (p. 222), and the ethnic Poles in the "Blue Police", usually not collaborators, were often forced by the Germans to perform collaborative deeds. Also, not mentioned is the fact that: "...the Jewish police are very active in hunting the Jews. They know the hiding places..." (p. 223). It is also forgotten that fugitive Jews turning themselves in was a "common occurrence". (pp. 225-226).

Poles hid and aided Jews. (p. 237,247,256). Ridicule of suffering Jews was true of SOME Poles (p. 102,197), as were expressions of sympathy by "the whole [Polish] population" (pp. 163-164) in other instances. The Gross-emphasized Polish "acquisitiveness" of post-Jewish properties was hardly aimed specifically at Jews. It was also true of German-abandoned properties. (pp. 161-162).

On another subject, mention is made of the local administrative and other privileges of Ukrainian collaborators (p. 83,106,114,159,269), their settling at the expense of Poles (p. 272), and of their assassinations by Poles (p. 273,293,304). The latter has been misrepresented by past and present OUN-UPA apologists as an ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians, and made into a pretext for the OUN-UPA genocide of Poles further east, and in the area. (p. 259,286,310,316-317).
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