Code Name: Żegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945: The Most Dangerous Conspiracy in Wartime Europe

Code Name: Żegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945: The Most Dangerous Conspiracy in Wartime Europe

Code Name: Żegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945: The Most Dangerous Conspiracy in Wartime Europe

Code Name: Żegota: Rescuing Jews in Occupied Poland, 1942-1945: The Most Dangerous Conspiracy in Wartime Europe

Synopsis

More than a thousand people in Nazi-occupied Poland were executed for helping Jews: men and women, young and old, grandparents, teenagers, and school children. What inspired courage such as that demonstrated by the Zegota member who reasoned, "To save a Jew could cost you your life. So for the same life, why not save ten?"

Excerpt

Although the main facts about the German-perpetrated Holocaust have been established beyond all reasonable doubt, the circumstances surrounding the genocide are often the subject of misunderstandings and manipulation. Six million European Jews were murdered between 1941 and 1945 in a state-run program of executions, gas chambers, and extermination camps established and managed by the Nazi SS. The greater part of the killing was not undertaken in Germany itself, but in German-occupied Poland, where all Polish institutions had been abolished and where the German military and SS enjoyed a free hand to act without restraint, and to a large extent without fear of discovery. Unlike Vichy France, for example, which was subject to German occupation but which was allowed to keep its own Government and internal administration, the so-called General Government established in 1939, and the military districts further to the east, which came into being in 1941, were spheres where the local population was totally excluded from all decisions.

The stark contrast between the type of regime that Nazi Germany created in Eastern Europe and the far milder arrangements pertaining in the West was the direct product of the Nazis’ abhorrent racial ideology. The Nazis had no plans to reconstruct the national or ethnic composition of the population in France, Britain, Scandinavia, or the Low Countries. But, as laid out very clearly in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, they always saw the lands to the east of Germany as a happy huntingground for their Lebensraum (living space); and they made very thorough preparations to Germanize the whole population of an enormous area, larger than the rest of the Reich put together. They started . . .

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