“Le Monde” is one of the world’s most important dailies and that is why its review of Andrzej Wajda’s film “Katyń” has astonished me and prompted the following thoughts.
The French critic writes that “Wajda places the burden of responsibility for the pillage and destruction of
For the French critic historical facts of the period from September 1939 to July 1941 are lies and an abuse of history. What shocking ignorance! The territory of the Polish state was divided between two totalitarian powers which, at the time, were allies.
Both parts of occupied
In May 1943, when the Germans dug
out the remains of Polish officers in the forest near Katyń, the “Information Bulletin”, Underground
Poland’s most authoritative journal, carried the following salient editorial
commentary: “We are fully aware of the bestiality of Soviet occupation in the
Eastern regions of our country. (…) We
are astonished at German impudence: are the graves of Palmiry, Wawer, Auschwitz,
Majdanek and hundreds of Polish villages, not enough to stop them from
revealing atrocities committed near
This was Underground Poland’s
comment on the Katyń massacre which, in turn, was the culmination of the
Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. After the war
the Katyń massacre was not talked about or it was lied about. This hypocritical
silence was a great victory for Stalin and his propaganda. In Central and
Eastern Europe the silence was enforced by terror; in
The Polish artist has broken the
conspiratorial silence. “Katyń” is the first film about the Soviet crimes and
its aggression against
This is not the only dogma of left-wing hypocrisy. The other one is the conviction that all Poles have soaked up anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk and that Jews were the only victims of the German occupation. I learned from “Le Monde” that “Wajda presents a strange confusion of the Katyń crime with the extermination of the Jews”. And by contrast, the film “includes scenes of hunting and persecution of Polish officers presenting them as if they were deportations of Jews to death camps”.
But that is not all: “Future victims of the massacre show deep emotional attachment to a mascot - a stuffed teddy bear which, according to Yad Vashem, is the symbol of martyrdom of the Jewish people - the extermination of Jewish children.”
And as if that were not enough, we are told that in this film “everything relates to the Holocaust even though the word itself is never uttered. The film is simply devoid of Jews. It is as if it were the Poles who were the victims of World War II.”
I would like to believe that the
nonsense quoted above is based on ignorance rather than on ill will. Obviously,
Andrzej Wajda’s film is not about the Holocaust, it is about the Katyń
massacre. True, the film does not show any Jews in the streets of
I am writing these words in indignation: there is still a dearth of films about Stalin’s crimes even though they were just as brutal and affected as many millions as those of Hitler. For decades these crimes have been buried in conspiratorial silence. Andrzej Wajda - and let me be quite emphatic about this - is not and never has been a closet ‘Holocaust denier’. Wajda made three films about the extermination of the Jews: “Samson”, “Korczak” and “The Holy Week”. To accuse this artist, of all people, of “fobbing off” the audience with the massacre of Katyń is an insinuation that lacks any justification.
Wajda’s film “Katyń” depicts, with
great realism, the detention and persecution of Poles, stuck between two
murderous totalitarian colossuses. Sadly, this was
It is high time for the French critic to accept these banal facts. The critic in question concludes his analysis by claiming that “Polish cinema has been ambiguous about the Jewish problem”. But Polish cinema consists of a great number of personalities, points of view and styles. The French critic’s generalization is as absurd as the claim that Andrzej Wajda has Polonized the Jewish stuffed teddy bear.
Sadly, stupidity is just as international as it is incurable.
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