Page 2, 12th April 1946

12th April 1946
Page 2
Page 2, 12th April 1946 — THE POLES IN SILESIA

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Snt,—Any judgment based on your recent treatment of the incidents in Silesia is in danger of

being unbalanced. since you omit factors indispensable You say there is plenty of evidence to the effect that Poles in Silesia have behaved abominably. But it must be remembeied that there is also evidence that Poles in the last six years have been subjected to the most aborninuble degradation. This being so it is not entirely surprising that many of them have become lawless. But since these crimes are consequent on long and terrible provocation, a comparison between Poles and Nazis is manifestly invidious.

Furthermore, the perpetrators of these crimes, the Polish Militia, are the instruments of evil powers, whose avowed purpose is to foment conflict among Catholics everywhere. Unless this fact is made quite cleat in public discussions, false comparisons between Poles and Nazis must inevitably follow, with consequent increase of hostility against the Polish nation as a whole Our sympathy for Poland should be increased and not lessened when we find that some of her people are being led or forced to do evil things.

A warped view of this situation only serves the enemy, The Anglo-Polish Catholic Association therefore protests not against your statements but against your omissions.


General Secretary, Anglo-Polish Catholic Association.

SIR,—The aiticle about " How Silesia Is being de-Germanised," printed in Tim CATHOLIC HERALD of March 22, surprised me as regards the way it tiles to show pity for the Germans. at the same time accusing the Catholic Poles of behaving abominably towards she Germans.

Stating as your report does " that the Poles who wield power to-day are mostly Bolsheviks," and citing. just behind this statement, Cardinal Hlond and Mgr. Adamski, the Bishop of Katowice, as of those who wield power and use it against the German Catholics—causes unfortunately the impression as if in the CATHOLIC HERALD'S opinion these two representatives of the Catholic Church in Poland were alsoBolsheviks. . . .

For many years nearly all Europe had had to suffer because of the Ger mans. Millions of people were and still are homeless.

The sufferings of the German people in Poland, and, of course, also of the German Catholics are the result of their oven behaviour towards the Poles. From my own experience I know that before the war in Western Poland German Catholics were often plus hitlerite que Hitler. Their attitude towards us and our country has always been very strong. They were rather more Germans than Catholics. After our very long experience these German Catholics in Western Poland are no less dangerous to Poland than any other non-Catholic Germans.

It has to bc remembered that the German population in the territories of the Oder-district are descendants of German invaders who, pressing towards the East, robbed Polish soil, bringing into a peaceful country death and destruction. Documents of the Saxon colonisation on Slavic territories in the Middle Ages quite often use the term eiectis Slavs. The methods of a feria ignique style used by the Saxon " crusaders " had been " improved " by the German Christians—Knights of the Cross. Hundreds of years later the term Slavos eicere had been altered into Bismarck's proclamation: Die Polen ausrotten.

The position of the German people and especially that of the German Catholics would have been certainly less sad, if these German Catholics would have behaved properly towards the Poles, in Poland before the war and in Germany and German-occupied Poland during the last war.

Unfortunately many of them—not all—for a long time forgot their duties as Catholics towards the Catholic Poles, If I am well Informed, there have been even German Catholic priests who found it necessary to hand over to the Gestapo Polish Catholics, including some Polish priests.

And another thing-did the German clergy really regard the many, many Polish priests, suffering in German concentration camps, as Catholic martyrs, or simply as " political criminals? " . . . Perhaps the victims of Dachau, Mathausen-Gusen, etc., could answer this question THE REV. KOWALKOWSKI. I, Princes Row, S.W.I.

Ste—Thank you very much for your editorial comment tinder Mr. Jan Balinski Jundzill's letter about Poland and the Germans. Your P.S. does explain and express the English characteristics and the English attitude towards the Polish people in the best way Mr. Balinski has rightly pointed out that the Potleh nation cannot in any way be held responsible for the Communist administration of Messrs. Bierut and Osubka Morawski, and that had the legal Polish Government ruled in Warsaw it would have behaved humanely towards the German population in Polish territory.

As an answer to that explanation you have had only the record from the Repensbury Diocesan News-sheet that Poles have behaved abominably and that they cannot understand how a Catholic people like the Poles can commit the Sallie or even worse atrocities

than the Nazis did You did not bother to inquire if those Poles were Poles at all or how long ago those Poles had " become " Poles, or if those Poles were not Stalin made, and alien to Catholicism as you are to Islam.

Nevertheless, I kindly beg you to believe me that your P.S. did not surprise me. It is quite usual to blame the weak and defenceless and to bow before the strong.

I. JONSON. London, E.CA.

MAUNDY SIR,—May I put in a plea for a wider use of the ancient Maundy Thursday custom of the washing by the principal cleric of the feet of twelve men or boys?

The cleric, of course, represents Our Lord, and the twelve, the apostles. What an object lesson of charity in personal service so much needed in these times.

The words used, too, are very appropriate. the keynote being given by the first words. "A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another." The chants are fairly easy. especially the beautiful UN caritas. said to have been sung in the catacombs. By the way, why not stick to the good old word " Maundy " when referring to that great Thursday? I believe it came from the first word " Mandatum," by which this small part of the Liturgy is often known,

J. E. S. Sterns 32. Ventnor Avenue, West Hartlepool,

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