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The Jedwabne Matter
Did Gross Commit a Crime?

[The following is an unofficial translation by Peter K. Gessner and Wanda Sławińska of an article by Zbigniew Kusiak published in the Warsaw-based daily, Nasz Dziennik, on April 19, 2001 -- A large collections of Polish language articles published about Jedwabne by the Warsaw daily, Rzeczpospolita can be reached by clicking on the banner.]

The Editorial Board of the weekly Nasza Polska (Our Poland) has sent an open letter to the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General, Lech Kaczyński, in the matter of indictment of Jan Tomasz Grosz, the author of the book S±siedzi (Neighbors). The Editorial Board wrote in its letter that Gross's actions have the characteristic of a public insult of the Polish Nation and the Polish Republic.

Gross is faulted as having made the groundless accusation that all the Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne participated in the murder of the Jews.

The weekly's Editorial Board believes that Gross's doings are evidence of an action forbidden by Article 133 of the Criminal Code which reads "whoever publicly insults the Nation or the Polish Republic is subject to be deprived of liberty for a period of up to three years."

The Editorial Board requested a determination whether Gross possesses Polish citizenship which would result in a legal responsibility under Polish jurisdiction. In the event that he does possess it, the Editorial Board requests that the Prosecutor General's office initiate an investigation as to whether or not Gross has broken Article 133 of the Criminal Code.

In the opinion of the Editorial Board, Gross's book Sasiedzi (Neighbors) has an slanderous and anti-Polish character and is an attempt to blacken the reputation of the whole Polish Nation. The authors of the letter wrote that Gross's book has as its purpose the popularization of the thesis that the Polish population of Jedwabne allowed itself, of its own free will, to perpetrate a criminal act on the Jewish population of that town. "These accusations" - we read in the letter - "throw a shadow on the whole Polish Nation and have as their goal the forcing of collective responsibility upon all Poles and the identification of the whole Polish Nation as co-culpable for the Holocaust."

"The book 'S±siedzi' (Neighbors), and Gross's public statements are evidence" - conclude the authors of the letter = "that we are dealing here with purposeful manipulation of the facts, purposeful lack of verification of the evidence on the part of Gross in the process of gathering material for the book, and with premeditated activity having as its goal the slandering of Poland on the international arena."

The prosecutor's office in Sejny has refused . . .

[The following is an unofficial translation by Peter K. Gessner of an note published in the Warsaw-based electronic newsletter, Donosy, on April 24, 2001

The prosecutor's office in Sejny has refused to initiate proceedings against Jan Gross, the author of the book Neighbors about the crime in Jedwabne (the book Neighbors was published in Sejny.) The National Alliance, Leszek Bulba's Fellowship against Anti-polonism, and the Poznań magazine "Polskie Sprawy" accused Gross that he incites strife on the basis of nationalism and insults the Polish nation. The prosecutor for the Sejny district, in explaining the basis for the refusal to initiate proceedings, said that the substance of the book Neighbors does not have content insult the nation, is of a scholarly-journalistic nature, and as regard to the historical truth regarding Jedwabne that's something that specialists should occupy themselves with.

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