What do you think about Morel's case? Was this justified?
The Guardian (UK)
January 25, 2003
Solzhenitsyn breaks last taboo of the revolution
Nobel laureate under fire for new book on the role of Jews in Soviet-era
Nick Paton Walsh in Moscow
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who first exposed the horrors of the Stalinist
gulag, is now attempting to tackle one of the most sensitive topics of his
writing career - the role of the Jews in the Bolshevik revolution and
Soviet purges. In his latest book Solzhenitsyn, 84, deals with one of the
last taboos of the communist revolution: that Jews were as much
perpetrators of the repression as its victims. Two Hundred Years Together -
a reference to the 1772 partial annexation of Poland and Russia which
greatly increased the Russian Jewish population - contains three chapters
discussing the Jewish role in the revolutionary genocide and secret police
purges of Soviet Russia.
But Jewish leaders and some historians have reacted furiously to the book,
and questioned Solzhenitsyn's motives in writing it, accusing him of
factual inaccuracies and of fanning the flames of anti-semitism in Russia.
Solzhenitsyn argues that some Jewish satire of the revolutionary period
"consciously or unconsciously descends on the Russians" as being behind the
genocide. But he states that all the nation's ethnic groups must share the
blame, and that people shy away from speaking the truth about the Jewish
In one remark which infuriated Russian Jews, he wrote: "If I would care to
generalise, and to say that the life of the Jews in the camps was
especially hard, I could, and would not face reproach for an unjust
national generalisation. But in the camps where I was kept, it was
different. The Jews whose experience I saw - their life was softer than
that of others."
Yet he added: "But it is impossible to find the answer to the eternal
question: who is to be blamed, who led us to our death? To explain the
actions of the Kiev cheka [secret police] only by the fact that two thirds
were Jews, is certainly incorrect."
Solzhenitsyn, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, spent much of
his life in Soviet prison camps, enduring persecution when he wrote about
his experiences. He is currently in frail health, but in an interview given
last month he said that Russia must come to terms with the Stalinist and
revolutionary genocides - and that its Jewish population should be as
offended at their own role in the purges as they are at the Soviet power
that also persecuted them.
"My book was directed to empathise with the thoughts, feelings and the
psychology of the Jews - their spiritual component," he said. "I have never
made general conclusions about a people. I will always differentiate
between layers of Jews. One layer rushed headfirst to the revolution.
Another, to the contrary, was trying to stand back. The Jewish subject for
a long time was considered prohibited. Zhabotinsky [a Jewish writer] once
said that the best service our Russian friends give to us is never to speak
aloud about us."
But Solzhenitsyn's book has caused controversy in Russia, where one Jewish
leader said it was "not of any merit".
"This is a mistake, but even geniuses make mistakes," said Yevgeny
Satanovsky, president of the Russian Jewish Congress. "Richard Wagner did
not like the Jews, but was a great composer. Dostoyevsky was a great
Russian writer, but had a very sceptical attitude towards the Jews.
"This is not a book about how the Jews and Russians lived together for 200
years, but one about how they lived apart after finding themselves on the
same territory. This book is a weak one professionally. Factually, it is so
bad as to be beyond criticism. As literature, it is not of any merit."
But DM Thomas, one of Solzhenitsyn's biographers, said that he did not
think the book was fuelled by anti-semitism. "I would not doubt his
sincerity. He says that he firmly supports the state of Israel. In his
fiction and factual writing there are Jewish characters that he writes
about who are bright, decent, anti-Stalinist people."
Professor Robert Service of Oxford University, an expert on 20th century
Russian history, said that from what he had read about the book,
Solzhenitsyn was "absolutely right".
Researching a book on Lenin, Prof Service came across details of how
Trotsky, who was of Jewish origin, asked the politburo in 1919 to ensure
that Jews were enrolled in the Red army. Trotsky said that Jews were
disproportionately represented in the Soviet civil bureaucracy, including
"Trotsky's idea was that the spread of anti-semitism was [partly down to]
objections about their entrance into the civil service. There is something
in this; that they were not just passive spectators of the revolution. They
were part-victims and part-perpetrators.
"It is not a question that anyone can write about without a huge amount of
bravery, and [it] needs doing in Russia because the Jews are quite often
written about by fanatics. Mr Solzhenitsyn's book seems much more measured
Yet others failed to see the need for Solzhenitsyn's pursuit of this
particular subject at present. Vassili Berezhkov, a retired KGB colonel and
historian of the secret services and the NKVD (the precursor of the KGB),
said: "The question of ethnicity did not have any importance either in the
revolution or the story of the NKVD. This was a social revolution and those
who served in the NKVD and cheka were serving ideas of social change.
"If Solzhenitsyn writes that there were many Jews in the NKVD, it will
increase the passions of anti-semitism, which has deep roots in Russian
history. I think it is better not to discuss such a question now."
JOHN SACK - "AN EYE FOR AN EYE"
Lola Potok. One month after escaping from Auschwitz, she wore a Luger and commanded a prison for 1,000 Germans. At first vicious, later she risked her life to save the Germans she hated.
Shlomo Morel. "I am a Jew," he told his German prisoners. "I was at Auschwitz and swore that I’d pay you Nazis back." He then beat the Germans to death with clubs, crowbars, stools and the Germans’ own crutches.
Adam Krawecki. Liberated from Auschwitz, he beat the Germans until they "confessed," then sent them to Shlomo’s concentration camp. "Our judges, I’m sure, will show mercy," he once told a German priest.
Barek Eisenstein (with his wife). "My blood is boiling," he thundered, becoming the first man from Auschwitz in the uniformed organization: the Office of State Security. To his surprise, three-fourths of the officers there were Jews.
Shlomo Singer (with his wife). A man who couldn't hurt a beetle, he still joined the Office of State Security. Then, at the risk of his life, he told the Jews who tortured the Germans, "This isn’t right. You must stop it."
Chaim Studniberg. The Director of Prisons for Silesia, he copied the SS’s evil eye and the SS’s twisted lip and, for the 5,000,000 Germans of Silesia, longed for the same solution that Hitler had had for the Jews.
Pinek Maka. At age 23, he was Secretary of State Security for Silesia. He told the Red Cross, which wanted to inspect his Silesian camps, "You didn’t help the Jews, and I won’t oblige you. Go to hell."
Jacob Berman. A doctor of philosophy, a man who wore tailored suits fit for Wall Street, he was the chief of the Office of State Security. In his custody from 60,000 to 80,000 Germans died.
SOURCE: The Toronto Star DATE: December 16, 1998
Israel's hypocrisy is indefensible
by Lubomyr Luciuk, Director of Research, UCCLA
Re: Extradition of Jew Refused (Dec.8).
Shlomo Morel was the brutally notorious commandant of the Schwientochlowitz Communist concentration camp in Poland. Thousands of innocent men and women were tortured, raped and murdered there by Morel and other members of the barbarous Office of State Security.
His war crimes and crimes against humanity, and those of his comrade killers, some of whom live in Canada, have been objectively documented by an American-Jewish journalist, John Sack, in his 1993 book, An Eye For An Eye.
That Israel would refuse to extradite Morel to Poland, there to stand trial for his murderous deeds, allowing him to instead hide behind the expiry of a statute of limitations, is indefensible.
How can organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center, or B'Nai Brith, or the World Jewish Congress, who have together orchestrated such a concerted demand for bringing alleged Nazi war criminals to justice, now allow such rank hypocrisy in Israel to go unchallenged?
Long before Hitler had emerged on the world stage, a young journalist who's name was Winston Churchill had written as follows in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, London, on the 08.02.1920:
"There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistic Jews. It is certainly a very great one. It probably outweighs all others. With the possible exception of Lenin, the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherine, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunachasski cannot be compared with the power (Petrograd) or of Krassin or Radek - all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more outstanding. And the foremost, if not indeed the principal part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases, by Jewesses."
* GENRIKH YAGODA
Alexander Solzhenitsyn is recognised as the "father of democracy" in Russia. In one of his books, the first volume of "Gulag Archipelago," he wrote about how the communists in Russia, who consisted of only the Jews and a tiny minority of Russian criminals, amoral opportunists, and welfare rabble were able to maintain their grip on all of Russia by keeping the Russian majority, which hated them, too frightened to resist.
Solzhenitsyn writes of the period in 1934 and 1935, when the Jewish commissar Genrikh Yagoda headed the Soviet secret police, and Yagoda's black vans went out every night in St. Petersburg, known then as Leningrad, to round up "class enemies": former members of the aristocracy, former civil servants, former businessmen, former teachers and professors and professional people, any Russian who had graduated from a university. A quarter of the population of the city was arrested and liquidated by Yagoda during this two-year period.
And Solzhenitsyn laments that the citizens of St. Petersburg cowered behind their doors when the black vans pulled up at their apartment houses night after night to arrest their neighbours. If only the decent Russians had fought back, Solzhenitsyn says, if only they had ambushed some of these secret police thugs in the hallways of their apartments with knives and pickaxes and hammers, if only they had spiked the tires of the police vans while the thugs were in the apartments dragging out their victims, they could easily have overwhelmed Yagoda's forces and forced an end to the mass arrests. But they didn't fight back, and the arrests and liquidations continued. And so, Solzhenitsyn concludes, because of their
cowardice and their selfishness the Russians deserved what the communists did to them.
Only a few managed to survive Morel's rules.
"There is no extradition agreement between Israel and Poland. In spite of the fact that we have signed the European Agreement on Extradition, our law does not foresee the situation when after certain period of time the crime of genocide cannot be punished, " said ZW Michal Sobolman, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Poland.
The Germans are also interested in Morel's case. It is the District Attorney's Office in Dortmund which, by way of legal help, has passed to the Poles voluminous evidence material.
Several months ago our journalists located Salomon Morel. At first he agreed to be interviewed but then he refused.
Morel's case has lingered on since 1992 when the District Commitee for Researching Crimes Commited Against the Polish Nation, with headquarters in Katowice, began the interrogations on extermination of prisoners of Swietochlowice camp.
In 1997 the Attorney Bureau in Katowice issued an international warrant against Salomon Morel charging him with the crime of genocide. He himself murdered at least 1,538 prisoners.
After The Red Army entered Silesia, communist authorities decided to reactivate one of the death camps which had existed on that territory (trranslator: i.e. were established by the Germans) This was done in Swietochlowice.
The camp was first under Soviet NKVD then it was taken over by the Polish UB [Urzad Bezpieczenstwa - Internal Security Services]. It was Morel who became its commander.
From February do November 1945, that is to say until the camp was closed down, about 4 thousand prisoners were detained in the camp - half of which were either murdered or died.
Germans, Volksdeutsche [ethnic Germans] and opponents of the new regime were thrown into it. It was on orders of NKVD and UB that people were thrown into the camp - generally without any evidence whatever, it was enough when someone libellously claimed to have been guilty of some imaginary crime or offence. Epidemies of various contagious diseases (typhoid and dysentery) spread amongst the prisoners all the time until the end. About 20-30 prisoners died daily. The daily food ration was 125 g of bread or soup.
The Indepedent | December 29, 1998
An extradition request by Polish authorities for an alleged former commander of a Stalinist-era detention camp now living in Tel Aviv has been rejected by Israel.
Salomon Morel is wanted by the prosecutor's office in the southern Polish city of Katowice. He is charged with crimes against humanity while he was commander of the Swietochlowice camp where more than 3,000 prisoners, mainly Germans, but also including several citizens of allied and neutral nations, were held during 1945.
A reply sent to the Polish Justice Ministry from Israeli authorities said that Israel would not extradite Mr Morel. Officials said the crimes with which he is charged are not perceived in Israel as genocide, and so are subject to the statute of limitations, the Polish news agency PAP reported.
The demand by Polish authorities for Mr Morel's extradition is the second attempt this month to bring back former Communist officials. The Polish military prosecutor in Warsaw recently issued an arrest warrant for Helena Brus, formerly Wolinska, now married to an Oxford don.
During the 1950s Ms Wolinska worked as a military prosecutor in Warsaw, issuing arrest warrants. Many of those detained under her orders were later hanged. Both Mr Morel and Mrs Brus are Jewish.
Swietochlowice was set up by the Soviet NKVD - forerunner of the KGB - after the Red Army's liberation of southern Poland. The camp was later handed over to the Polish secret service, the notorious UB.
Stalin's policy was to put Jews in charge of camps. Their experiences during the Nazi Holocaust would mean that Germans and Poles held there could expect little mercy. More than half of the 3,000 prisoners at Swietochlowice were murdered or died there, according to PAP.
Dorota Boriczek, a camp survivor, remembers Salomon Morel as a barbaric and cruel man who, with his colleagues, was responsible for many killings of inmates. "I knew Morel in the camp. He was a very brutal man. He was young then. He would come in at night. We could hear the cries of the men then. They would beat them and throw the bodies out of the window," Mrs Boriczek, now 68 andliving in Ludswigberg, Germany, told The Independent.
"I was taken there when I was 14, with my mother. I still don't know why we were there and I still want to know. They told us when we arrived, 'You are here, and you are here to die, although nobody will shoot you, because ammunition is too expensive'."
Conditions in the camp were horrific, said Mrs Boriczek, who has begun a legal process in Katowice to try to find out why she was sent to the camp.
"There was nothing to eat, a hunger that you cannot imagine. We were lucky to have a piece of bread once a day, nothing else, and water. Both my mother and I had typhus. We were separated and I didn't know she was alive. I had a high fever and when I opened my eyes, I was sleeping next to a lady from Switzerland. I slept with her under one blanket. I was happy that she was dead, because that meant I could have her blanket."
Mr Morel, born in 1919, lost much of his family in the Holocaust before joining the partisans, in his case a Jewish military unit, according to John Sack, the American author of An Eye for An Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945.
In 1995, 50 years after her imprisonment at Swietochlowice, Mrs Boriczek saw Mr Morel in the Katowice prosecutor's office. She said she felt more pity than hatred.
"I hated him all my life and then when I saw him I saw an old, fat man. I could see he was ill. I would even have given him my hand. I asked him why he did these crimes. He told me I was lying and everybody loved him."
Mr Morel refused to speak to The Independent. A man in Tel Aviv who identified himself as Mr Morel's son said his father did not talk to journalists
ANY PERSON WHO KNOWS SALOMON MOREL'S WHEREABOUTS IS ASKED TO COME FORWARD
Salomon Morel was the commandant of the death camp Auschwitz III in Shvientochlovitz from Feb. 2 through the end of November 1945. He and his Jewish camp crew murdered at least 1538 Christians - innocent civilians, most of them women and teenagers, priests and intelligentia.
The camp prisoners died of beating, inflicted injuries, shooting, immersing in icy water, freezing to death, starvation, malnutrition and exhaustion, deplorable conditions, and of unprevented typhus epidemy. Morel held thousands incarcerated without an arrest order. His and his Jewish crews' excesses terrorized the population and subjugated Silesia to the oppresive regime of the Jew Jakub Berman. Subsequently, he was the commandant of the concentration camp in Jaworzno, and state prison in Katowice, where he was responsible for unaccounted yet number of deaths and torture of political prisoners. In 1988, Morel retired as a colonel of SB (Sluzba Bezpieczenctwa), the secret police, and lived in Warsaw at the expense of the Polish state.
In 1993, had been alerted by communists that a criminal investigation against him is being conducted, he escaped to Israel, where he allegedly participated in violent police actions against incarcerated Palestinian patriots. In 1996, he lived in Tel Aviv in an apartment rented on the name of his sister. On March 4, 1997, the County Attorney in Katowice issued an arrest order through the Interpol indicating his place of stay in Israel.
The District Attorney in Tel Aviv, and the Israeli government pretend that they cannot find him. Morel is protected under the doctrine on "Holocaust survivors" although during the war he was hiding in the Lublin woods where he robbed, and allegedly murdered local peasants.
Any person who has witnessed Morel's criminal activity is asked to come forward with a testimony and contact any of the following authorities:
Criminal Department of the County Attorney in Katowice, Poland:
Prokuratura Wojewodzka Wydzial Karny, ul. Wita Stwosza 31, 40-042 Katowice,
phone: 32-511-354, 32-511-733, fax: 32-510-241
regarding case No. (Sygn. akt) V Ds 67/95/;
The Attorney General in Dortmund,Germany:
Oberstaatsanwaltschaft, Litten Str. 5, Postfach 102942, 44-029 Dortmund, Germany,
regarding case No. (Aktenzeichen) 7c Js 371/94;
or the closest Polish or German consulate.
The Labour Camp in ÿSwiêtoch³owice-Zgoda and its Commander
The activity of the apparatus of repression in Poland during the years 1944-1947 encompassed both opponents of the „people’s rule" and thousands of persons uninvolved in any undertakings aimed against the new authorities. In addition, in Upper Silesia, the repressions affected the majority of the local population, regarded as German, interned in the former sub-camps of KL Auschwitz, now taken over by the Security Office. The inmates were beaten, starved and employed in mines and metallurgical works. In this way, the system of terror supported production.
One of the harshest labour camps was the one in ¦wiêtoch³owice-Zgoda (February-November 1945). The camp was composed of seven wooden barracks, a brick building housing the camp authorities and economic outbuildings. The whole complex was encircled by a barbed wire fence, with guard towers situated in the corners. In July, the outbreak of a typhoid fever epidemic led to the death of more than 100 inmates daily. It is estimated that in the course of the 300 days-long existence of the camp 1 800-4 000 people perished as a result of beatings, starvation and illnesses.
The camp commander was Salomon Morel, who personally attacked and murdered the inmates, claiming that he was taking revenge on the Germans who killed his whole family in KL Auschwitz. This was not so: Morel came from a Jewish family in the village of Grabów (the Lublin region) and, together with his brother, was saved by the Poles. ( In November 1983, Józef Tkaczyk received the „Just among the Nations of the World" medal, awarded by the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem, for helping the Morel family to survive the occupation). After the liquidation of the camp, Morel continued to work in the prison system, and even wrote an M. A. thesis on Inmate Labour and its Significance, presented at Wroc³aw University. He ended his career in May 1968 as the head of a prison in Katowice. At the beginning of the 1990s, his criminal past was recollected by the inmates of ¦wiêtoch³owice-Zgoda , primarily Dorota Boreczek and the American journalist John Sack. In this situation, an inquiry was initiated by the Regional Commission for Research into Crimes against the Polish Nation in Katowice; Morel, however, managed to escape punishment and left for Israel.