You may recall that we’ve discussed once already the accusations against Solomon Morel, now 86 years old, and the Polish request to Israel to extradite him back to Poland to face war crimes and genocide charges. Morel is accused of having been responsible for the deaths of 1500 German soldiers in a camp after the war. When the accusations first surfaced in 1994, he left for Poland for Israel where he remains today. Israel has now officially refused for the second time the request for his extradition.

There are some steaming Poles. Ms. Ewa Koj, the Polish prosecutor on this matter, expressed her disappointment with Israel’s position, stating that all crimes against humanity should be tried. “There should be one measure for judging war criminals,” She said, “Irrespective whether they are German, Israeli or any other nationality.”

Allow me to repeat that. “German, Israeli or any other nationality.”

To put that quote in perspective, let’s quote from the letter Israel’s Justice Ministry wrote to the Poles in denying Morel’s extradition:

“In light of the facts, there appears to be no basis to charge Mr. Morel with serious crimes, let alone crimes of `genocide’ or `crimes against the Polish nation.’ If anything, it would seem to us that Mr. Morel and his family were clearly victims of crimes of genocide committed by the Nazis and the Polish collaborators.”

Jedwabne is what shames the Poles and lends credence to the guilt some of them feel about their treatment of the millions of Jews who lived in their midst. There, a massacre of Jews by Poles took place, and the story has surfaced again in recent years, not allowing a reinvigorated and hopeful post-Soviet-era Poland to forget a sorry chapter in their past. The desire to bring Morel to trial may be driven by just motives, but the giveaway sentence is the one placing the Israelis next to Germans on the list of war criminals. That, as they say, is the money quote.

About the author

themiddle

29 Comments

  • ok, so 2 things:
    1) I don’t think Ms. Koj meant to imply that Israelis are war criminals, simply that this guy should not be protected from prosecution because he now happens to be Israeli. And if the charges up against him are valid, he is a war criminal.
    2) T, what you wrote saddens me because you sound exactly like some narrow-minded terrorist. Just because you believe the germans did something to you does NOT allow you to kill off a bunch of german soldiers. Not everyone fighting in an army is fighting for their beliefs. 49% of americans did not elect george bush, so there is a good chance that a good portion of american soldiers do not believe in what they are doing. Hopefully that doesn’t mean that anyone with a grudge against america for what they are doing can kill them all off.

  • unfortunately jedwabne is not the only thing that shames their history and the 1000 years long history of jews in poland.
    but we shud never simplify saying poles or any other nation are just bad. there were many poles who are the great heros and helped jews.
    there is a great story about this woman who is actually still alive and who saved 2500 jewish kids. she still lives in warsaw.

    also go and check how many trees in yad vashem r planted by people frm poland.
    and i m really not saying that poland is so great for jews but which place really is? yes there is antisemitism in poland and what makes even sicker is that it s antisemitism w/o jews. the number of jews living in poland now is really so insignificant that that vast majority of poles has never met any jew in their life (not even w/o knowing it).
    but to say that this is just a polish disease wud be too much.

  • So what`s your point? That an Israeli or a Jew (because I is automatically exempted from any liability just because Jews had been killed at the hands of others? Do you extend this to other nationalities as well? Millions of Poles (and Frenchmen, Norwegians, Yugoslavs etc) were murdered by the Nazis – does that mean no Pole, Frenchman or Serb can ever be tried for genocide? Or are Jews in your view special in that respect?

  • Patty TM didn’t say that there shouldn’t be justice he questions their motives
    By comparing Jews to Nazis they are saying(Hey look we aren’t so bad Jews commit war crimes too) this is not motivated by justice

    and why should poland have the juristiction to prosecute Israelis for crimes supposedly commited against German soldiers

    I think everyone remembers the Durban conference zionism=nazism

    I was attacked in Melbourne and called a nazi because I was wearing a kippa 2 years ago

  • Patty-cake, we disagree about what she meant. This case is precisely about trying to take a Jew and equate his actions with those of Germans and Poles. Instead of saying that, she made a veiled comparison between Germans and Israelis. I mean, why not talk about Rwandans or Serbs?

    It’s true that he lives in Israel now, and I guess that may be the reason she’s saying Israelis, but this is the Polish government trying to extradite a man who lived in Poland for 74 years. You would think they would refer to him as a Pole, if that was her objective.

    But at the end of the day, what I read is a cynical prosecutor from Poland disagreeing with the Israel Justice Ministry and in the process equating Israelis and Germans in terms of war crimes.

    Second, with respect to sounding like a terrorist, I have to differ again. While I don’t condone what Morel ALLEGEDLY did (and the Israel Justice Ministry now officially claims there is no evidence that he did), I understand a man who has lost his entire family running a camp for ex-soldiers where the quality of life stinks and some die. But having said that, as I point out in the original discussion, Tel Aviv University’s antisemitism project (they essentially track numerous countries on an annual basis and assess antisemitic acts), the Poles have not gone after non-Jewish camp commanders in this fashion. Since presumably 80,000 Germans died after the war in these camps, you’d think there would be other cases and not just Morel’s. This combination of facts leads me to strongly suspect that this is a political indictment…and the prosecutor’s money quote tips the balance and convinces me.

    Oh, one more thing. Terrorists target innocent civilians, and as I understand it, the alleged victims here of Morel’s alleged actions – now officially denied by a government ministry in Israel – were ex-soldiers.

    Ybocher, you are right that there are many righteous Poles and I hope my comments don’t suggest I hold all Poles responsible. There were many who were involved in supporting the Nazis, and there were many who weren’t. My comment about Jedwabne relates to a collective sense, however, that there is clear evidence some Poles were actively involved in harming Jews and that this evidence indirectly implicates all Poles – after all, we’re talking war crimes and genocide here. The number of Jews murdered at Jedwabne is oddly similar to the number of Germans allegedly killed by Morel’s behavior, which is also telling.

    So to conclude, my post doesn’t indict all Poles and does not even discuss something with which I completely agree, which is that there were many good Poles who risked their lives and took moral decisions that saved the lives of many Jews.

  • Szwed, just saw your comment. Can you point to where I say that an Israeli or Jew is automatically exempted from charges of genocide?

    I can understand how someone who had his entire family exterminated would not be overly concerned with the quality of life of Nazis after that war, but should he start killing all ex-Nazi soldiers indiscriminately? Of course not.

    Everything I’ve read about this particular story suggests that this isn’t the case here and that the Morel charges are a witch-hunt. Read again the Justice Ministry’s comment which unequivocally exonerates him.

    So therefore, no, I don’t extend the courtesy of absolving anybody of any faith or nation from being responsible for any murderous actions, especially genocidal ones.

  • Patty’s second was directed at Telavivrulez’s comment-not TM’s post. Just saying…

  • I don’t know anything about international law, but I figure the guy should just be extradited. And I suppose while they’re at it, they should try to track down some of those involved in jedwabne, if that’s even possible.

  • International law states that Israel has no extradition treaty with Poland. Why should Israel allow another country to act against a Jew in a way that the country won’t act against non-Jews? Why would they do this specifically on a matter related to the genocide of Jews?

    Nah.

  • TM, sorry about the confusion about the second point, I don’t think you sound like a narrow-minded terrorist 🙂 The thing is, I feel like you are too quick at jumping the gun on this one. Though you are not the only to think this way, judging by my discussion with Tiff this morning :). I don’t know if Ms. Koj was trying to make some snide remark trying to shed a negative light on Israelis. The thing is, she could have mentioned Rwandans or Serbs, but the subject matter here was about germans and poles and the israeli government (to her eyes) protecting a (now) Israeli man who has committed war crimes.

  • A certain element within Poland is obsessed, just obsessed, with Jewish complicity with the Communists, both before and after the war.

    It is something the Jewish community has not, to my knowledge, saw fit it address.

    Perhaps we should.

  • TM, sorry to be nitpicky, but I read the original article, and the people he is accused to starving to death and torturing in camps were not all soldiers but mostly german “civilians deemed threats to the state”.

  • i do feel bit strange now. i agree w/ u , u agreew/me… maybe i stopped reading u carefully enough. 🙂 and i dont dare argue w/muffti b/c his comments r much longer then yrs.

    ofcourse this is a witch-hunt and poles wud bring any incident to argue back instead of saying – yeah we did that and this is attrocity. not all poles though. the polish president kwasiniewski has spoken on numerous occasions trying to appologize for things that happened. this obviously got him to earn label that his is probably jewish himself (aka stoltzman) and i was actually told off the record by one (jewish) reuters reporter that the president is jewish. ironically it ll be better for poles if he was polish so they can have another decent guy among them.
    th u shud know that jedwabne is not the only but rather the latest “rediscovery” of incidents like this. there was infamous pogrom in july 1946 in kielce and there are actually pictures (and motion picture) taken during parts of the pogrom. so as u called it … there more historical facts that lend the credence to the guilt. but anytime they come to the surface instead of dealing w/them we hear about jewish communists.
    btw what is the jewish complicity with the communism b/f the war? i hear polish claims for after the war but now i see we did smth wrong b/f the war too.

    szwed! to ty?

  • this guy should be given an award. put yourself in his position, if you suffered like he and is people had, im sure that you would want totake revenge. he’s a hero

  • You are not being nit-picky. I read “threats to the state” in 1946 to mean people who were participants in the war on the wrong side.

    Am I too quick to jump the gun? I dunno, my views were similar in the last discussion about this. Blame it on paranoia, or blame it on hundreds of years of Jews living in Eastern Europe under less than ideal conditions.

    David, how do you propose that Jews address that some were Communists? Should we bring up that Communism was one way for Jews to find equality in a society that treated them poorly for hundreds of years? Didn’t Hitler use the same excuse against the Jews in his time at the same time that he was berating Jewish financiers?

    The obsession is their problem and trying to address it leads nowhere – those who want to see a Jewish conspiracy will see it no matter how much you try to prove them wrong.

  • that was very good and nolw cud u address Jewish complicity with the scientologists, both before and after the war (of the worlds).

  • To themiddle and ybocher,

    I am not equivicating – but there is a real resentment about Jewish communist activity both before and after the war.

    If you feel that whatever – absolutely whatever – Jews did to help the communists was defensible because communism would help “Jews find equality”, then we have the crux of the issue, don’t we?

    Hitler’s accusation about Jewish radicalism would not have resonated so well if there were no truth to it – see Eisen’s (a berlin Jew) ill-fated coup to “liberate” Bavaria.

    I am saying, looking back, perhaps we were not Poles or Germans, but unwanted guests, and should have been behaving in less than a revolutionary manner.

    If you disagree, and feel we are indeed Poles or Germans, and Communism was in fact a great way to participate fully in “our” society, then by all means feel free to go back there to your ancient homeland and build the workers paradise with your people.

    If not, let us agree that attempting to lead non-Jewish nations into radicalism (and we had a disproportionate share of them, though most Jews were certainly NOT communists) was a bad idea, and did not help our cause.

    But for me, Poland and Germany are over – now let us concentrate on making the U.S. a third world (open immigration with amnesty for all illegals) paradise dedicated to the Zionist (read Democracy for all Arabs)cause at the expense, both monetary and in hatred incurred, of the welfare of this nation.

  • Also, ybucher – fo you really consider Jewish imvolvement with Communism as absurd as your comment about scientologists?

    I realize that History in the yeshiva is not a priority – but it is simply not a conspiracy to say there were a disproportionate amount of Jewish communists, particularly at the top.

    I guess they don’t talk about this stuff in the Artschroll editions, where everyone was a frumme yid.

  • David, sorry to hear about your pain and suffering for being Jewish ,but I have little sympathy for your cause. Simply put, you are full of crap.

    The Poles had a problem with Communism? Tough shit, it wasn’t a Jewish ideology. They had a problem with Communist superpowers that put them under their thumb? Tough shit, they were run by the non-Jews Lenin and Stalin before, during and after the war. They had a problem with Communism before the war? Tough shit, it was one of a number of new ideologies in that era and they can rest assured that fascism was worse.

    Oh wait, they know that already.

    In other words, if you want to get into the whole Jews and Communism crap, go over to Stormfront where they regurgitate it day and night. It won’t buy you any interest here. There were lots of Communists, and some Jews who participated – yes, even in leadership roles – and they were a very small minority of Jews. Furthermore, the Communist movement was a political, secular movement populated by a vast majority of non-Jews and those Jews who participated had rejected their Judaism in the first place.

    For those Jews who did participate, it was not a Jewish ideology or bent that made them view Communism as an important ideology, it was the significant physical and economic ostracism and violence many Jews endured under the hands of Poles, Russians et al over centuries that probably led those Jews who joined view this movement as an equalizer. Do all of those Germans, Poles and others also kick themselves for their atrocious behavior to Jews in the centuries leading to Communism? Or do they just conveniently ignore the non-Jewish Communist majority and their own histories in making some Jews desperately cling to the hope of equality?

    The same is done today. In certain quarters, “Jewish neo-Cons” are blamed for the war in Iraq while the non-Jewish President, Vice President, Secretary of Defense, Pentagon leadership, and CIA leadership who called for the war, launched it and continue to run it are depicted as Jewish dupes. How incredible! It is no different than the red herring of blaming Communism in Eastern Europe on Jews.

    You know what it is? It’s another aspect of finding a way to differentiate and attack Jews. It was done a few centuries earlier when they were blamed for the Plague, because by living in ghettos, they were less hard hit than non-Jews. It was done when they were forced to become money-lenders and then made to suffer for their “usury.” It was done when they were blamed for christ-killing. It was done last century when they were blamed for this movement, that movement, this problem and that problem. It’s done now when they are blamed for those insane Muslims who blow up innocent people.

    See a pattern with respect to unwanted guests? See a pattern with respect to Jews? Sometimes, it’s not the fault of the different, unwanted guests, but the ugly aspects of the society in which they live and particularly when that society goes through tough economic times.

    If you want to buy into the Jew-hating industry, have fun with it and go to town (you already seem to be doing so), but don’t expect much in the way of agreement with me. Your last paragraph is the most telling. Your comment about Zionism and how it’s the reason the US is taking certain steps with respect to Arabs is unbelievable. I mean, it’s stupid, but you’re not a stupid person, so we’ll just call it misguidedly incredible. Your suggestion that somehow Jews are now taking steps to harm the US is even more unbelievable. The Jews have something to do with Bush’s idiotic amnesty plan for immigrants?! Where did you get that, Stormfront?

    You want to talk about the welfare of this nation and Jews? Take a look at the benefits in medicine, science, arts, business, media, civil rights, etc. that Jews have contributed. Those are actual benefits, where you can show a direct link between cause and effect; where you can point to Einstein, or Louis B. Mayer, or Gershwin, or Salk, or Brandeis, or Kahn, or Bellow, or the NY Times, etc., etc., etc.

    These are not nebulous bullshit accusations for which you have your conspiracy theories, these are tangible and actual contributions Jews have made and continue to make – and I haven’t even scratched the surface of how we have contributed to America. Companies like American Apparel employs 5000 people, mostly non-Jews and keeps them employed here, not in China. Sandisk creates incredible flash memory technology and grows into a multi-billion dollar powerhouse. Intel conquers the world of chips. Applied Materials. Dell. Qualcomm. Microsoft as well. And the lists go on and on. Are they harming the economic welfare of this country?

    And don’t make us into “others.” In this democratic and open society which is what makes this country the great society that it is, Jews can be and are Americans, just like any other Americans, with differing political views, a broad range of interests, income levels, geographic areas of concentration, etc. Blame the Poles for Poland and its flaws and leave the Jews out of it.

    Oh, and next time you’re defending a misguided position, how about you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater?

  • To themiddle: it is very noble of you to acknowledge that not ALL Poles were Jew-hating murderers. As a Pole I feel very reassured now.

    As for Jedwabne and other cases of attrocities against the Jewish population of Poland I honestly fail to understand what this has to do with Morel. The perpetrators of these crimes were convicted punished (or would have been were they alive today). And even if some of these criminals weren`t punished as they should have been(for various reasons, including the post-war situation which I am willing to discuss with you), there is no doubt that attrocities like Jedwabne or Kielce are condemned by any decent Pole (me certainly included).

    Contrary to what you might think, there is ample evidence of Jews (Polish Jews, that is) committing crimes against the local population during the war. I`ll be more than happy to give you specific facts provided you`ll be so kind as to substantiate your claims concerning the alleged anti-semitism in modern Poland or those concerning the alleged policy of the Polish authorities as regards not prosecuting Communist-era officials who were not Jewish. The latter claim is simply not true, as you would well know if you`d only cared to find out more about the subject.

    As for Morel – I don`t think it`s accurate to consider him an Israeli since at the time of his activities as head of the camp he was a Polish citizen and (as far as I know) was one until his escape to Israeli (with which unfortunately Poland does not have an extradition treaty). Therefore, yes, Polish courts do have jurisdiction in this case.

    Next point – the German victims of that particular camp (and most other camps in Poland at that time) were women, children and the elderly. German POWs were kept elsewhere.

    You seem to think that the Israeli Ministry of Justice has the G-d – given right to decide the guilt or innocence of any Jew (“read the Justice Ministry`s comment that unequivocally exonerates him”). Yes, the Justice Ministry has the power to block his extradition to Poland where he should stand trial for his guilt or innocence to be determined. But don`t tell me that said Ministry can exonerate Morel of anything – in a democratic society justice is a thing of the judiciary and not of the executive branch of government. I believe this is also the case in Israel.

  • SZWED,

    What are you talking about? The criminals of Jebwabne were never punished. How do you not know this?

    The Middle- I am talking about foreign policy – don’t lecture me on the contributions of the Jews domestically and in trade.

    Do you really want to tell me that Zionist interests and lobbies don’t affect our foreign policy? If tht’s true, let’s dispand AIPAC right now, since according to you, they don’t do anything – it’s all a Stormfront fantasy, right TM?

  • Mr Kelsey: you`re (partly) right – a major part of those responsible were never tried, also because in the case of a massacre committed by a blood-thirsty mob it is never easy to establish who was and who was not responsible.

    That notwithstanding, 23 inhabitants of Jedwabne were put on trial in 1949 and 1953 and convicted for their participation in the massacre. Evidence against them was given, among others, by a handful of survivors (most notably Shmul Wasserstein). The Jewish Historical Institute (ZIH) in Warsaw assisted the prosecution in collecting and recording this evidence for the purpose of these trials.

    The trials received very little coverage in the Polish press, but they did take place and the sentences were carried out. It appears therefore that justice was served at least as regards those particular individuals. As for the others involved – like I said, I believe that they would have been held accountable but for the attitude of the Polish authorities of that era, which was to downplay Polish involvement in Nazi crimes and to generally blame the Nazis for everything that happened during the war.

  • Szwed,

    Were not the actual sentences of most of these “convictions” a slap on the wrist? If so, justice was hardly served, so let’s not pretend it was even in the majority of these 23 cases.

    Having said that, I do agree with your assesment that the motivation was at least in part to “downplay Polish involvement in Nazi crimes.”

  • dear david kelsey all can tell u is u r naive so easily getting deceived by my nickname. i know more that u can imagine and i ve seen more that i wanted to see including the exhumation in jedwabne few years ago. where i spend hours saying tehilim. and no i did use artscroll edition of tehilim.
    szwed, i m glad u r one of the decent poles and i hope that were many more of guy like u but the truth is justice was not done to all jews killed by poles “before and after the war” and kielce is just an example where the soviets are blamed for provocating the mob. it s always some other reason – never just a fact that jews were hated for being jews. what about the jewish partizans during the war being killed by ak? that also was jews fault.
    as far as communism there is no need to add much to what tm wrote (that’s terrible i agree w/u tm again!? what is happening to me?!) just that was always easier for polish people to find jews among polish communists than among polish writers, composers etc.
    poles and jews had a long and rich history living together and i am always ready to fight all the cliches about poles but if u want to really know how jews are loved in poland buy yrself a kippah and go walk thru a polish town, see how it feels.

  • Finally Israel doing something normal.

    Hnd over a Jew to the poles?! After what they did to us?! Are some of the commenters here out of their minds!?
    Unless some of them are not Jewish and would love to see us lynched.

    We should never hand anyone over to any country -because they will be lynched -there will be no fair trial.

    We have learnt the bitter way.

    Never Again!

  • David
    74% of american Jews voted for Kerry and Jews are being blamed for the war give me a break

Leave a Comment