didn't happen," said the Executive Director of the World Jewish Congress on
60 Minutes in November
already 60 Minutes had found corroborating evidence for An Eye for an Eye. "We went to
Poland," said Correspondent Steve Kroft, "to conduct our own interviews with former prisoners at Swietochlowice,
sixteen in all, including eight we found independently of John Sack or the
German Federal Archives. And we heard the same stories over and over again."
wasn't all. According to Kroft,
There's evidence...beginning with this report of the British Foreign Office,
written in 1945, which says, "Prisoners at Swietochlowice who do not die of
starvation or aren't beaten to death are made to stand up to their necks, night
after night until they die, in cold water." A similar report
can be found in the U.S. Congressional Record from 1946.
In the attic of the town
hall of Swietochlowice, we found 1,580 death certificates for prisoners at the
camp, many of them signed by Commandant
Solomon Morel. And a Polish prosecutor...told us he's gathered enough information to charge Morel with beatings, physical
and moral persecution, and driving prisoners to commit suicide...
We found out
later that Morel...talked to the former Director of Archives at Yad Vashem, the pre-eminent
Holocaust archive in Israel. According to Dr. Shmuel Krakowski, Morel called and
wanted to be interviewed by Yad Vashem, saying that he was the commandant of a
prison camp after the war and that he killed Nazis for revenge.
then, the revelations in An Eye for an Eye have been corroborated by The
New York Times, by newspapers and newsmagazines in Germany, by
scholars in the United States and the United Kingdom, by the
archives of the Soviet secret police, in Moscow, and by the Commission for the
Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish Nation.
November 1994, the former foreign editor of The New York Times wrote
in a full-page story in the Times,
authorities are investigating murder charges against Solomon Morel, a former
secret police officer who served in the Communist resistance during the
war. In the spring of 1945 he was put in charge of what had been a Nazi
concentration camp at Swietochlowice, near Katowice.
Morel, who is Jewish, lost both parents and his two brothers during the
war. Witnesses at the camp he commanded after the war have charged that
he had hundreds of German civilians tortured and beaten to death, and killed
some with his own hands...
fled to Israel in 1993 and now lives in Tel Aviv.
Times carried interviews with two Swietochlowice survivors, with the
widow of a third survivor, and with John Sack.
the spring of 1995, when An Eye for an Eye became a best-seller in
and newsmagazines hired historians to go to the German Federal
Archives, in Koblenz, to double-check it. The book is
"watertight," wrote the historian for Sueddeutsche Zeitung. "The
facts stand," wrote the historian for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
scenes and dialog are at times outspokenly brutal. Nevertheless they are
true. Most of the scenes, as I myself was able to establish in Koblenz,
are cited word-for-word from the eyewitness reports in Koblenz.
dialog is not invented, as critics conjecture," wrote the historian for the
German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, who also double-checked in the Federal
six years, scholars in the United States have backed up An Eye for an Eye. In November 1993,
Antony Polonsky, Professor of East European Jewish History at Brandeis, wrote,
read this extremely gripping and compelling account of the appalling events
which accompanied the end of the war and the expulsion of the Germans...in one
go. It was impossible to put down...
my view, only two questions need to be raised. The first concerns the
motivation of the author, and here I am convinced that Mr. Sack has tried, as
he himself writes, to tell "something more than the story of Jewish
revenge: the story of Jewish redemption."
second is whether the story is true and what it is based on. Here, too,
I am satisfied that the author is a serious researcher...The book is in fact a
major contribution to our understanding.
February 1997, three days after John Sack was "disinvited"
to speak at the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Istvan Deak,
Distinguished Professor of History at Columbia, spoke at a conference at UCLA, a
conference co-sponsored by UCLA's Center for Jewish Studies. Deak called
the Office of State Security in Poland "a bastion of Jewish communists" and
were many Jews among the new leaders. [They] controlled the Ministry of
Interior and the dreaded Ministry of State Security, as well as nearly all
department[s] in this and other organs of state security...
misdeeds of the almost entirely Jewish-led Polish political police--torture,
murder, the forging of electoral results, deportations, etcetera--were
Deak cited An Eye for an Eye and said of it,
on the Jewish torture and murder of German civilians, including women and
children, in Polish concentration camps make for horrendous reading.
corroboration came from Professor John Micgiel of Columbia and Professor Arno
Mayer of Princeton, the author of Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?
revelations in An Eye for an Eye became an accepted part of European history in
May 1997, on the publication of Europe: a History by
Professor Norman E. Davies of Oxford. Davies wrote,
knowledge in [Poland] has always insisted that the notorious communist
Security Office (UB) contained a disproportionate number of Jews (or rather
ex-Jews), and that their crimes were heinous. But few hard facts were ever
published, and the stories were dismissed with distaste.
however, have broken the taboo. They are all the more convincing since they were
made by a Jewish investigator on evidence supplied by Jewish participants, and
in the spirit of Jewish redemption.
that in 1945...three-quarters of the local agents of
the UB were of Jewish origin; that ex-Nazi camps and prisons were refilled with
totally innocent civilians, especially Germans; and that torture, starvation,
sadistic beatings, and murder were routine. The number of deaths inflicted by
the communist regime on the German population is estimated at 60,000 to 80,000.
this light, it is difficult to justify the widespread practice whereby the
murderers, the victims, and the bystanders of wartime Poland are each neatly
identified with specific ethnic groups.
1998, scholars reported finding in the Russian Federal Archives, in Moscow,
a report from Lieutenant General Nikolai Sielivanovsky, the Russian secret
police adviser to the Ministry of State Security, in Warsaw, to Lavrenti Beria,
the chief of the Russian secret police, in Moscow. Sielivanovsky wrote, "In
the Ministry of State Security, Jews hold fifty percent of the leadership
didnít state if by "Ministry" he meant the Ministry in Warsaw or the
Ministry in all of Poland or if by "leadership positions" he meant the
top two leaders or the top two thousand leaders. In other contexts
"leadership positions" meant the directors in Warsaw, the directors
and their deputies in every department in Warsaw, and the directors and their
deputies in all of Polandís provinces. That would be fewer than one hundred
people and possibly fewer than fifty people.
Sack wrote in An Eye for an Eye that most Jews in the Office of State
Security listed themselves as Christians, not Jews. He also wrote that
Jews started leaving the Office "as early as June, 1945," that
"hundreds of Jews escaped from the Office" by September, 1945, and
that "all but a scattering of Jews returned to the Torah and Talmud and
fled from the Office by December, 1945." Sielivanovsky's report was dated
October 20, 1945.
May, 1995, after a six-year investigation, the Provincial Commission (in
Katowice) for the Investigation of Crimes Against the Polish Nation, reported on
the concentration camp at Swietoch
lowice, first reported in An
Eye for an Eye. The Commission said,
camp commander, Salomon Morel, was undoubtedly responsible for not preventing
the mass deaths of at least 1,583 people. No matter what they were detained
for, the use against them of methods resembling those used in the
concentration camps by the Nazis isnít acceptable. These were extermination
methods. For them, the full responsibility rests with Salomon Morel, who not
only didnít prevent them but who personally used them.
The district attorney for Katowice indicted Morel for crimes against the Polish
nation. He sent policemen to Shlomoís apartment, but Shlomo had fled to Tel
Aviv. In December, 1998, the district attorney asked the Minister
of Justice in Israel to extradite him, but the Minister replied that the statute
of limitations for Shlomoís crimes had expired in November, 1965. Interpol
issued an international warrant for Shlomo, and he must now be arrested if he
travels anywhere outside of Israel.