I believe I saw this in one of historian Sir Martin Gilbert's books but I have not seen it elsewhere nor do I know which book of Gilbert's it was. Note that I am not talking about SS but what I recall is that it was regular German army. Maybe it was only non-nazis among the army observing a brutal attack by civilians and not only not participating but even saying, Hey, maybe you want to tone it down? Does anyone have any information on this?

EDIT: The title should be "is there any evidence..." because I am really wondering whether it happened or not. It is not possible that it happened if we know that it did not in fact happen. Gilbert mentions it having happened and I am looking for more information on this.

  • I guess, if they had really attempted to prevent this than they would have succeeded. It's only known that german regular troops were near but not what they actually did. – Matt Sep 21 '15 at 9:45
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    The first Google hit on "Martin Gilger Jedwabne" returns a page called "www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org" with the following quote: "According to Jan Gross's book, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland, the Nazis tried to persuade the Poles to keep at least one Jewish family from each profession, but the Poles responded, "We have enough of our own craftsmen, we have to destroy all the Jews, none should stay alive.". So I think somebody would have to track down Gross's book and see what context is given. – user3769 Sep 21 '15 at 10:34
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    This seems matter of some debate - it was assumed that the massacre was committed by German forces until Jan Gross claimed that the polish denizens of Jewabnde killed their neighbours. The polish Instytut Pamięci Narodowej basically confirmed this. Later Polish historians (Strzembosz et al), critized Gross's book as a misrepresentation of history and claimed Germans at least participated. While this is a very interesting question answers to this are informed to some extent by ideology. Not sure SO is better at finding an objective answer than the esteemed historians that have already tried. – user3769 Sep 21 '15 at 19:24
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    I recommend the wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedwabne_pogrom . The IPN findings were "The perpetrators of the crime sensu stricto were Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne and its environs; responsibility for the crime sensu largo could be ascribed to the Germans." – Virgo Sep 22 '15 at 18:18
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    I have now read Sir Martin Gilberts "Holocaust" from 1985 (mainly because that's the first hit that turns up when you search for "Martin Gilbert Jedwabne") and there Gilbert claims that the murders have been commited by SS forces (of course he was quite a prolific writer so he might have corrected that later on). – user3769 Sep 24 '15 at 7:09

The notion that Germans would protect Jews from Poles is preposterous on its face.

Contrary to what the media says, the IPN is not the last word on the subject of Jedwabne. There are Jewish sources that point to the Germans, and not the Poles, as the main killers of Jedwabne's Jews. For instance, click on the following, read it, and then click on the links within the review and comment, and read them:


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    Not so preposterous: there are several incidents throughout the war when the Wehrmacht clashed with the SS over these sorts of issues. Such clashes took place primarily earlier on (1939-1940, before the SS was given jurisdiction over the Generalgouvernement), but some high-ranking officers in the army continued to complain even after that point. Antisemitism was deeply ingrained within the German army, but many officers nonetheless baulked at what they saw as violent crimes against a civilian population. – Shimon bM Jan 4 '17 at 23:45
  1. These so-called "multiple government investigations" echoed the IPN, and, contrary to what the media says, it did NOT establish who burned the Jews of Jedwabne in the barn. Allow me to quote the English-language part of WOKOL JEDWABNEGO, the Proceedings volume--specifically the statement of investigator Pawel Machcewicz:

    "Another controversy surrounds the role of the Germans who were present at Jedwabne on July 10, 1941. The available sources show that there was a total of between ten and twenty German (gendarmes and Gestapo) functionaries. Violence may have been used against the Polish residents, but at the same time, many of the sources suggest it was relatively easy to avoid the role that was being forced on them. The testimonies varied and none of the participants or witnesses could have included all of what had occurred. AS A RESULT, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DETERMINE CONCLUSIVELY JUST WHAT THE GERMAN ROLE ACTUALLY WAS IN THAT LAST, MOST TRAGIC PHASE--THE BURNING ALIVE OF JEDWABNE'S JEWISH RESIDENTS IN THE BARN. The sources present contradictory and imprecise descriptions of the Germans' behavior, and historians' assessments also vary greatly." (Volume 1, p. 491; emphasis added. For elaboration, see also Vol. 1, pp. 48-49).

    There. That should make it clear.

    In addition, the Jewish sources that I had cited cannot be ignored.

  2. The history of pogroms, going back even to the 17th century (!), is irrelevant. It's like saying that, since Jews killed Canaanites over 3500 years ago, Jews therefore killed those people they are accused of killing today.

  3. It does not follow that, just because some Germans were Jewish, they acted to save Jews. In fact, some German Jews in these units actually participated in the Holocaust themselves.

    Otherwise, the fact that Jews and half-Jews served in the Wehrmacht and SS hardly establishes credence that German units (as opposed to isolated German individuals) protected the Jews. Individual Germans had to follow the orders given their units, and could only act in accordance with such orders, which certainly would not call for the rescue of Jews!

  • You can also edit an answer an add information, no need to have multiple answers. – mart Feb 25 '16 at 9:21
  • SS had absolutely zero "known" "mixed-race" let alone full-Jews. Very stringent requirements to join SS and the only way a Jew could have gotten in was by proving that their apparent ancestors were not in fact their forebears by showing that they were illegitimate. I think mixed-race soldiers in the regular German army did exist. But the idea that one had to be Jewish to interfere with a brutal riot is offensive to Germans -- could there have not been good German soldiers in the army? Harder to believe the same of SS. Look: some Poles behaved badly towards Jews before, during & after WW2. – Jeff Feb 25 '16 at 23:46
  • @Jeff, have you heard about the Azeri SS Volunteer Formations or Ukrainian SS Galizien? – Tomasz Kania Feb 26 '16 at 10:13
  • @Jeff, Emil Maurice is another good example. – Tomasz Kania Feb 26 '16 at 11:30
  • and so? he was extremely unusually made an honorary aryan. what does this have to do with Jedwabne? – Jeff Feb 26 '16 at 21:24

I'm not allowed to comment so I'll add this here.


Key points:

  1. Multiple government investigations have confirmed that it was primarily the Poles genociding Jews, with the SS possibly participating as well

  2. There is historical precedent for this; Jews have been lynched in Eastern Europe for centuries during peasant revolts, wars, or unrest. Examples include various pogroms in Russia and the Tartar conquest of the Ukraine in 1648 in which many Jews were killed.


  1. Enormous numbers of Jews and half-Jews served in the Wermacht and SS. If the Holocaust happened, then that almost certainly means there must have been cases of either Jewish German soldiers helping Jews to escape.


In conclusion, there is ample reason to believe that Polish antisemites were willing and able to lynch Jews, and given the large numbers of Jewish soldiers and leaders in the German military, it would make sense if not all of them wanted this to happen.

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    This seems unlikely: "and given the large numbers of Jewish soldiers and leaders in the German military". Please reconcile with known ant-Semitic attitude of Nazi Germany. – Pieter Geerkens Feb 27 '16 at 0:03
  • It's a cited fact. – D J Sims Feb 27 '16 at 0:05
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    That's a controversial thesis, which seems to be intentionally confusing terminology as used by the Nazis for sensationalist effect. Hardly a "cited fact". – Pieter Geerkens Feb 27 '16 at 0:10
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    @Mustang saying something is a "cited fact" does not prove it's cited. That's why you need to provide the actual citation – sangil Feb 28 '16 at 14:59
  • I did. ......... – D J Sims Feb 28 '16 at 15:03

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