On May 24, 2021, on the Ander­son Cooper show, Uni­ted Sta­tes Con­gres­sman Ste­phen Cohen from Tenes­see made the fol­lo­wing outra­ge­ous, and hate­ful, anti-Polish sta­te­ment that sug­ge­sts fal­se­ly that Poland was respon­si­ble for Auschwitz and Bir­ke­nau con­cen­tra­tion camps during the Holocaust:

Well, it’s sad to see that Mem­bers of Con­gress have got­ten to this low level. They don’t under­stand histo­ry. They don’t under­stand the Holo­caust. You know, it was not just Nazi Ger­ma­ny; it was Poland whe­re some of this more seve­re, serio­us con­cen­tra­tion camps were — Auschwitz and Birkenau.
She doesn’t under­stand and she­’s not — she obvio­usly — the com­ments she made abo­ut lasers star­ting the Cali­for­nia wild­fi­res, she has got a real pro­blem with Jewish people. I think she­’s play­ing to her base.

On May 25, 2021, the Kosciusz­ko Foun­da­tion wro­te a let­ter to Con­gres­sman Cohen, deman­ding that he apo­lo­gi­ze. The let­ter poin­ted out that Auschwitz was a Ger­man camp, run by Ger­man guards with Ger­man she­pherds and hung the Ger­man words “Arbe­it Macht Frei” Work Will Make You Free, over the entrance.

Poland, during World War II lost six mil­lion men, women and chil­dren, half of them Jewish, due to Ger­man geno­ci­dal acti­vi­ties desi­gned to com­ple­te­ly anni­hi­la­te Jews and Poles, con­si­de­red by Ger­ma­ny to be “sub human” and unwor­thy of life. Poles were in fact the first pri­so­ners sent to Auschwitz, and the second lar­gest gro­up that peri­shed the­re, for NO OTHER REASON THAN BEING POLISH! Polish inma­tes at Auschwitz cre­ated a resi­stan­ce in the camp, and sent out infor­ma­tion to the Polish Under­gro­und to inform on what was occur­ring the­re, and were the first to report on the indu­strial sca­le mass mur­der of the Jews. The Polish Under­gro­und, tur­ned this infor­ma­tion over to the Polish govern­ment-in ‑exi­le, which imme­dia­te­ly infor­med the world, and gave spe­ci­fic actions requ­ested by the inma­tes to slow the kil­ling, such as bom­bing the rail­ro­ad tracks or gas cham­bers. The world did nothing. It could have!

Poles rebuf­fed ear­ly over­tu­res by Hitler to join in an allian­ce with Ger­ma­ny aga­inst the Soviet Union, only to be inva­ded by both Ger­ma­ny and the Soviet Union, who were allies for two years after. Poles were the first to stand up to Nazi Ger­ma­ny, refu­sed to cre­ate a col­la­bo­ra­ti­ve govern­ment, fiel­ded the lar­gest resi­stan­ce move­ment in occu­pied Euro­pe; had the fourth lar­gest allied mili­ta­ry for­ce figh­ting out­si­de of occu­pied Poland aga­inst Ger­ma­ny. Polish for­ces took part in the Bat­tle of Bri­ta­in, and bat­tles in North Afri­ca, Nor­way, Fran­ce, Bel­gium, Ita­ly, Rus­sia, and even in Ber­lin. The Polish navy and Mer­chant mari­nes assi­sted the allies on the seas and oce­ans, with a Polish navy ship being the first to enga­ge the Bismarck prior to it being destroy­ed. Polish mathe­ma­ti­cians were the first to bre­ak the Ger­man enig­ma code and pas­sed this infor­ma­tion to the Bri­tish prior to the start of the war. The Polish Under­gro­und loca­ted the pro­duc­tion plants of the new modern V roc­kets that could have hel­ped Nazi Ger­ma­ny win the war, which lead to the plants being destroy­ed in tar­ge­ted bom­bings. The Polish Under­gro­und even pro­vi­ded one of the roc­kets that failed to explo­de on a testing gro­und to the Bri­tish. The capi­tal of Poland, War­saw, was the only city that rebel­led twi­ce aga­inst Ger­man rule, in 1943 and 1944, to be tho­ro­ugh­ly destroy­ed so as it resem­bled Naga­sa­ki after the ato­mic bomb. Pre­ci­se­ly becau­se of this total Polish defian­ce of Nazi Ger­ma­ny, even aga­inst all odds, often with no hope of suc­cess, and out of PURE PRINCIPLE, Poles suf­fe­red the most bru­tal and har­shest repri­sals at the hands of the Ger­man Nazis.

In spi­te of the abo­ve, Poland ended up under Soviet occu­pa­tion under which non Com­mu­nist Polish hero­es, con­si­de­red thre­ats to the Soviet take­over, were cal­led “Nazis”, arre­sted, tor­tu­red, sent to the gulag, blac­kli­sted, convic­ted in mock trials and/or kil­led as the US press glo­ri­fied Sta­lin, refer­ring to him as “Unc­le Joe”. Soviet and Com­mu­nist pro­pa­gan­da vili­fied non Com­mu­nist Poles, leve­ling all sorts of fal­se accu­sa­tions at them that Poland is now attemp­ting to correct.

We belie­ve that Poles paid a ste­ep pri­ce in blo­od not to have the memo­ry of the­ir loved ones tar­ni­shed, inten­tio­nal­ly or not, even in the most sub­tle way, by a hate­ful, igno­rant US Con­gres­sman who is spe­wing misin­for­ma­tion that serves to poten­tial­ly weaken not only the Polish Ame­ri­can allian­ce, but also Polish Isra­eli and Polish Jewish relations.

For the Polish people, inc­lu­ding Polish Ame­ri­cans, such a sta­te­ment by Con­gres­sman Cohen is high­ly hurt­ful and infu­ria­ting. Most people can agree that such eth­nic hatred has no pla­ce in the Uni­ted Sta­tes Con­gress. The Polish com­mu­ni­ty in the Uni­ted Sta­tes has eve­ry right to expect con­dem­na­tion of Con­gres­sman Cohen by his peers. As of May 27th the­re has been no out­cry by any of the col­le­agu­es of the sub­ject Con­gres­sman from Ten­nes­see in either cham­ber of the Con­gress, aga­inst the unpro­vo­ked disre­spect shown to Polish vic­tims of Ger­man per­pe­tra­ted genocide.

It sho­uld be noted that Con­gres­sman Cohen once made sta­te­ments that were roun­dly con­dem­ned as using the Holo­caust to make a par­ti­san poli­ti­cal point that tri­via­li­zed the Holo­caust. He even­tu­al­ly expres­sed his regrets for doing so, after ini­tial­ly refu­sing to do so. Repu­bli­cans just rebu­ked one of the­ir own mem­bers for inap­pro­pria­te com­ments invo­lving the Holo­caust. We expect Tom Suoz­zi to public­ly and open­ly con­demn his own par­ty col­le­ague on behalf of the Polish Ame­ri­cans he repre­sents, such as myself.

Eth­nic hatred aga­inst any gro­up is hatred aga­inst all gro­ups. Hate is allo­wed to flo­urish when good people do nothing to stop it.

I expect Tom Suoz­zi to do the right thing .….


Ste­fan Komar,
Son of Witold Komar,
mem­ber of the WW II
Polish Under­gro­und unit Zośka,
famo­us, amongst other things,
for saving 350 Jews from German
custo­dy in 1944.
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