Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Russian Apology

From Deutsche Welle, Prime Minister Putin attended a ceremony to honor the 22,000 victims of the Soviets in the forests of Katyn, Poland, in 1940.

Until 1992, Russia's official stance had attributed responsibility of the massacre of Polish soldiers and officers to the Nazis. But it was Stalin, intent on creating a leadership vacuum in Poland to pave the way for Soviet domination, who ordered the killing, and Soviets who carried it out.

This is reminiscient of the recent Polish apology for the massacre at Jedwabne of over a thousand Jewish civilians. Jedwabne, a majority Jewish village, was wiped from the earth by its Polish neighbors. Like the Russians, Poland blamed the Nazis for instigating and overseeing the massacre. It wasn't until the publication of an explosive book, Jan Gross's Neighbors, that Poland acknowledged its culpability and removed a memorial at the site of the murders that claimed Nazi responsibility for the Jedwabne massacre.

The matter of Jedwabne is hardly settled; the Jedwabne that exists now is next to the original town, which was destroyed, and most of its inhabitants are recent arrivals. Since barely 100 of Jedwabne's inhabitants survived, Jedwabne as it was died with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment