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Poland Moves to Strip Jewish Holocaust Scholar of Award

Polish-born Princeton University history professor Jan Tomasz Gross was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 1996 for his extensive work documenting the fate of Polish Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland. His acclaimed 2001 book Neighbors examined the massacre of 1,500 Jews from Jedwabne and concluded that it was the Poles, not the Nazis, who committed the atrocity. Polish nationalists have been critical of the book as well as the excellent, recent, Polish movie Aftermath which dramatizes the responsibility of local residents for the massacres of Jews during the Holocaust.

The immediate cause for efforts to strip Gross of his award is his explanation of Poland’s wariness to accept Syrian immigrants: “The Poles, for example, were indeed rightfully proud of their society’s resistance against the Nazis but, in fact, did kill more Jews than Germans during the war.”

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