Andrzej Stasiuk on the controversial Golden Harvest

Polish writer Andrzej Stasiuk has written a compelling article about the interlinked history of the Polish and Jewish people  at the Central European Forum’s Salon site. It comes in response to the controversy arising out of the upcoming publication of the book Golden Harvest (Złote żniwa) by Jan Tomasz Gross and Irena-Grudzińska Gross, which was inspired by a photograph of Poles that lived near Treblinka digging among the ashes of concentration camp victims for valuables the Germans hadn’t found.

While Stasiuk doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time documenting the controversies Gross has ignited in Poland with this and his previous books such as Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, he does look deeper at the issue of a shared history and the legacy that Poles have been left with to an even greater degree than the Germans who killed them in the first place.

“The Germans got rid of the ashes, thereby ridding themselves of the guilt and cleansing themselves. We had lived with the Jews for centuries and now we live with their ashes, with their spirits, and this is how it will be until the end of the world. It is quite possible that we will never come to terms with it.”

The book is scheduled for publication in Poland on March 10 and in English by October 2011.

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