Criticizm of "Uprising" regarding presentation of history.

This criticizm of "Uprising" is based upon the advertisments and the content of part 1, (this was written after part 1 was shown, but before part 2.) This was written as a letter to "The Wisconsin State Journal" in Madison; Dr. Szybalski is a Professor of Oncology at Wisconsin State.

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Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 11:55:34 -0600

From: "Szybalski, Waclaw" <>

To the Wisconsin State Journal:

Dear Mr. Still

Would you be so kind to publish the following Letter to Editor:

We read read the article by Hal Boedeker in Saturday, November 3 issue of The Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) entitled: "'Uprising' Fails to Overcome Casting, Editing Flaws. - The NBC Miniseries Falters in Presentation". We have watched the first part of this presentation on Sunday, Nov. 4, and we fully agree with this withering criticism. Also in spots (and in real life in 1943) I was inspired by the heroism of the members of Z'OB. Some young Polish Jews, like other Poles, were very heroic in fighting Nazis.

We believe that the main reasons for the failure of 'Uprising' is that the writers and producers were not familiar enough with subject and their political agenda was less about the true heroic history of the events, but rather more about diminishing the role the role of Polish brethren and to and criticize them.

It is hard to understand why the 'Uprising' exudes so much anti-Polish propaganda, whereas I personally was the witness to the major Polish effort to help our Polish-Jewish brethren in Warsaw: together with my father we were personally and repeatedly delivered anti-typhus vaccine [made in the laboratory of Prof. Weigl in Lwow], to the Warsaw Ghetto, though there was a death penalty for such activities (most often shooting on the spot).

In addition to the criticism in Saturday's WSJ, I have read criticism of The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and of several Polish-American, Canadian and Polish media and Web pages.  This was summarized as follows:

CPC's Preliminary Report on the NBC miniseries "Uprising" (based on episode broadcast on November 4, 2001)

All references to Poles are uniformly negative:

It is falsely claimed that Poland surrendered to Germany after less than a month of fighting (the September 1939 campaign lasted 36 days with the last major battle of Kock ending October 6, when Hitler announced the end of the campaign against Poland in the Reichstag)

A preview of the next episode has a German officer saying that the Jews have held off the German longer than the entire country of Poland (this is demonstrably false-the ghetto revolt lasted 20-28 days, and the events are not at all comparable in magnitude).  Moreover, Poland was attacked in September, 1939, by two totalitarian power: Soviet Union from the East and Nazi Germany from the West

A Polish woman points out a Jew to the Germans in a German bread line (recall that, at that time, in the Soviet zone, many pro-communist Jews were fingering, capturing and guarding Polish officials, officers and soldiers and handing them over to the Soviet invaders)

A Polish guide betrays one of the main characters (Anielewicz?), who tries to cross over to Romania(?) -he is captured and tortured but manages to escape, Between Poland an Romania there was a river Dniester, rather than high mountains.

23 Jewish hostages are taken and shot because a Polish police officer was roughed up-they were executed for crimes against the Polish people (the suggestion being that Germans were protecting Polish interests when they were not)

Jewish girls have to go over to the Polish Aryan side in order to earn money as prostitutes (no such known account exists)

Polish blackmailers are shown on the Aryan side, whereas it is ignored that Jewish agents and denouncers were just as dangerous.

Some episodes are obviously and falsely concocted-an exercise in myth-building:

There is a scene showing Jewish ghetto fighter shooting Germans in the ghetto before the great deportation (this allegedly occurs when some Jewish musicians are forced to play their musical instruments for some German soldiers)

During the great deportation, when some 265,000 Jews are deported to Treblinka in the summer of 1942, the Jewish police are conspicuously absent even though they played a major role in the round-up of the Jews (this a well-documented fact has recently been acknowledged by Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer in his study, Rethinking the Holocaust)

Janusz Korczak, the famed educator, received an offer of rescue from his Polish colleagues, which he heroically turned down, whereas in the film a German officer is shown as trying to prevent him from boarding a train headed for Treblinka.

There is no mention that the fledgling Jewish ghetto organization was decimated because of denunciations by Jewish Gestapo agents during the great deportation news about Treblinka is shown as being gathered by a Jewish scout (in fact that information had been conveyed earlier by Polish railway men)

The Z'OB organization announces it will send a map of Treblinka to England via one of its couriers on the Aryan side (Wiesia Sawicka)-it is implied that this is a Jewish courier (in fact all messages from the ghetto to the West were conveyed by Polish couriers who were part of the Home Army or answered directly to the Delegate of the Polish government in exile in London-as historian Walter Laqueur points out, the Jews didn't manage to construct even one radio receiver in the ghetto)

After the great deportation, but before the January 1943 assault on the ghetto, Z'OB members are shown as killing Germans in a cafe on the Aryan side and seizing their weapons, and also attacking an amunitions depot (no such exploits ever occurred)

In the process of preparing for a revolt, there is no indication whatsoever of Polish Home Army assistance for the ZOB organization in gathering weapons, smuggling them into the ghetto, providing instructions on how to manufacture bombs, hand grenades, and incendiary bottles (the film claims that a Jew who worked in a

hospital knew the method), providing military training (the film claims that the young Z=99OB members were versed in military tactics)

There is no mention of the activities of the other Jewish underground group, the Jewish Military Organization (ZZW), which had close contacts with members of the Home Army during the January 1943 assault on the ghetto, the Jewish fighters are shown using and seizing automatic weapons, but it is known that they did not have any automatic weapons even during the April 1943 revolt.

Dr. Waclaw Szybalski, Professor of Oncology

University of Wisconsin Medical School