July 10 - 1941 - The Jedwabne Pogrom

When Nazi Germany took over eastern Poland from the Soviet Union after Operation Barbarossa, a series of attacks against Jews happened across Poland. In Jedwabne, Poland, citizens of the town, influenced and directed by members of the Gestapo and the Ordnungspolizei, rounded up all the Jewish men in the town, marched them to a barn, and burned the barn to the ground. What made the pogrom in Jedwabne different from all the others was the way it would be remembered in history. Under Communist control, a group of Polish men were labeled collaborators and traitors, but the chief blame for the pogrom fell on the Nazis. In West Germany, specific Nazi leaders were blamed. Both investigations had serious issues. Then in 2000 and 2001, new research and investigations picked up the debate over where the blame for the pogrom should be placed. While some people said the Polish Catholic citizens are chiefly responsible and other still want to put responsibility on Nazis, what is clear is that a variety of very specific factors, most especially the Nazi invasion, contributed to one of the worst instances of anti-semitic violence in World War II.

William Floyd