The National Polish American - Jewish American Council's Statement on NBC's Film "Uprising"
November 29, 2001...Washington, D.C.: For over two decades, The National Polish American - Jewish American Council (the Council) has been bringing together Polish American and Jewish American leaders to enhance cooperation between the two communities.
The Council commends the filmmakers of NBC's two-part mini-series "Uprising," which was aired the week of November 5th, for exposing to a wide audience the heroic Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. This is a notable effort to correct a prevailing view that all Jews went to their deaths without a fight.
As a fictionalized version of a momentous historical event, "Uprising" appropriately focuses on telling the story of Jewish resistance to Nazi atrocities. Nevertheless, the Council regrets that NBC's promotional materials make an unfavorable and unnecessary comparison between Jewish resistance and Poland's struggle against Nazi occupation, in the statement: "...they hold off the German army longer than the entire country of Poland." This comparison diminishes Poland's historical role in fighting the German occupation and the Soviet invasion during World War II. The Council believes that beyond the heroic story of the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, the Polish resistance's irrefutable role in fighting the Nazi occupation-in Poland and on many fronts during the entire war-has yet to be fully told.
Resolving competing historical narratives is outside the Council's mission or capacity. However, we believe it is important to consider, with respect, the comments of Marek Edelman, the last surviving ommander of the Jewish uprising. In a 1989 interview he said: "We idn't get adequate help from the Poles, but without their help we couldn't have started the uprising. You have to remember that the Poles hemselves were short of arms. The guilty party is Nazism, fascism-not the Poles." Additionally, there were some Catholic institutions and eligious orders that did in fact aid Jewish resistance efforts at the time of the uprising.
The National Polish American - Jewish American Council's mission remains focused on promoting understanding and cooperation between the two communities. We are committed to preserving the memory of the extraordinary trauma inflicted on Jews and Poles in Poland by the Nazis during World War II. We encourage the promoters of the film, "Uprising," to tell the heroic stories of both Polish and
Jewish resistance. The Council will continue to advocate that more should be done to educate the general population about the heroism of Poles and Jews who fought against Nazi tyranny.