I love Leonard Pitts and often agree with every word. As to his March 1 column on Muslims, Jews and great American responses to bigotry, I appreciate the heart and ethical content, but knowledge of stark differences between Polish “witness” and ours is lacking.

A child of Final Solution survivors from Poland, and a scholar of those times, I harbor no illusions about what some Poles did to Jews. But because a few, from peasant woman to pimp, nun and doctor, aided my lone surviving mother, I am here.

Poland suffered beyond scope from a Nazi occupation much in love with death.

I wholly thank the Muslim community for its aid to vandalized Jewish cemeteries. They, too, bear bigotry in this land, but no official entity will destroy them for helping Jews, which was a capital offense in captive Poland. Nazis would as readily have killed a Pole as a Jew; it just wasn’t total policy. My mother would say that “Poland was a desperate country,” mass killings and torture everywhere. Some killed Jews. Some benefited from Jewish absence. Some saved Jews. Most, for good reason, kept their heads down.

“What kind of witness shall we be?” Pitts asks. There’s a lineage to murder and mayhem, and we stop it where it starts. It was often too late for Poland in an era of aggressive external enemies, but it is not that late for us.


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