Nor­man Davies descri­bed in his auto­bio­gra­phy how Isra­eli histo­rian was instruc­ting Bri­tish scho­lars to clas­si­fy Poles as „bystan­ders” during Holocaust.

80-year-old histo­rian Nor­man Davies descri­bed in his recen­tly rele­ased 800-page auto­bio­gra­phy the way pro­fes­sor Yehu­da Bau­er was teaching young Bri­tish histo­rians how to deal with the Holo­caust. In 1974, prof. Bau­er met with over 30 histo­rians in Isra­eli embas­sy in Lon­don instruc­ting them that the triad „per­pe­tra­tors-vic­tims-bystan­ders” sho­uld be used to descri­be people invo­lved in the Holo­caust. The term „bystan­ders” was rese­rved for the Poles. Any men­tion that the Polish natio­nals were also vic­tims during WWII was denied.

„It was a clo­sed meeting for pro­fes­sio­nal histo­rians. Yehu­da Bau­er, an Isra­eli histo­rian, was the top spe­aker. It was sup­po­sed to be a work­shop on how to teach abo­ut the Holo­caust. The begin­ning of the lar­ge action to pro­mo­te know­led­ge abo­ut the Holo­caust in the world. The sche­me pre­sen­ted by prof. Bau­er was cle­ar: the­re were per­pe­tra­tors – Nazis (not Ger­mans), vic­tims – only the Jews and bystan­ders — Poles”, Pro­fes­sor Davies told the Dzien­nik Gaze­ta Praw­na daily in an inte­rview publi­shed on Monday.

Pro­fes­sor Davies said that the Poles were pre­sen­ted as bystan­ders and no men­tion of Polish vic­tims and suf­fe­rings was allo­wed: „The sup­po­sed result of this meeting was to show that Poland was histo­ri­cal­ly the cen­ter of anti­se­mi­tism and descri­bing Poles as anti­se­mi­tes was justi­fia­ble. I was sho­uted down. I heard: „Sit down!” and „Polo­no­fi­le!”.”


Accor­ding to prof. Davies, Poland was inscri­bed in the sche­me in a role of „bystan­der” and in the 1970s and 1980s it beca­me a domi­nant narrative.