Dear Editor: This is the answer to Dennis Sadowski’s “Brooklyn Pilgrims Learn History at Auschwitz” (July 30).
Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, and the Poles became the first people in Europe to experience the Holocaust. Hitler made clear even before the German invasion of Poland that: “The destruction of Poland is our primary task. The aim is… the annihilation of living forces. Be merciless! Be brutal! The war is to be a war of annihilation.”
Heinrich Himmler, who implemented the German war on Poland and other Slavs said, “All Poles will disappear from the world… It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles.”
As a group, Poles were considered racially alien and were in the same category as Jews, Gypsies, Belorussians and Ukrainians.
“The first non-German prisoners of Auschwitz were Poles, who constituted the largest number of inmates there until 1942, when the Jews became the largest group.”
The first killing by prison gas at Auschwitz involved 300 Poles and 700 Soviet prisoners of war. As a result of almost six years of war, Poland lost 6,028,000 of its citizens, which was 22 percent of the Polish population – the highest ratio of losses to population of any country in Europe.
About 50 percent of these victims were Polish Christians and 50 percent were Polish Jews.
Yet, in the article, Poles were not even mentioned as victims. Furthermore, the author made it seem that Poles were behind Auschwitz.
In Auschwitz, a Polish priest, St. Maximilian Kolbe, whose relics recently visited our diocese, gave his life willingly for the life of another Polish prisoner Franciszek Gajowniczek. Such a triumph! Such an example of evangelical love! Such a victory of Catholicism in his hellish place!
Polish heritage is 1050 years of Christianity that Poland is celebrating this year. Did it not deserve even a mention?