(JTA) — According to new research done in Poland, two thirds of the local Jews who hid there from the Nazis did not survive the war, mostly because of the actions of their non-Jewish neighbors.
The figure comes from a two-volume work of 1,600 pages that historians from the Warsaw-based Center for Research on Holocaust of Jews have compiled over the past five years in nine out of Poland’s 13 regions, the Tok FM radio station reported Sunday.
Arriving amid a polarizing debate in Poland over a law that limits rhetoric on Polish complicity in the Holocaust, the study suggests Poles are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths by Jews in the Holocaust — a figure that is significantly higher than previous estimates.
The findings of the research, which were published earlier this year in a Polish-language book titled “The Fate of the Jews in Selected Regions of Occupied Poland,” pertain to the fate of more than a million Jews who went underground to avoid being killed in Operation Reinhard — Nazi Germany’s campaign of annihilation of 3.3 million Jews in occupied Poland.
The issue of Polish complicity in the Holocaust is highly controversial in Poland, where the Nazis killed three million non-Jews in addition to about four million Jews.