Don’t blame the Poles for Nazi atrocities | Letters | World news

Kate Maltby’s piece (William and Kate have been duped into endorsing Poland’s ugly nationalism, 21 July) seeks to lay blame for the atrocities that happened in Poland squarely with the Poles, rather than the Nazis. This ignores the vast number of Polish people who risked and lost their lives trying to save Jews. It’s worth recognising that Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where there was death by decree for assisting Jews. Let me remind her that Poles have the highest number of people of all nations to be recognised as Righteous Among the Nations by Israel. My own grand-uncle, Jan Kawczynski, was brutally murdered along with his wife and young daughter by the Nazis for harbouring Jewish families on his farm. The only reason the uprising was “doomed to fail from the start” was because of Stalin’s unwillingness to assist, and his desire for it to fail. Let me assure Kate Maltby, the spirit and courage of the soldiers who fought in 1944 to free Warsaw is the pride and joy of all Varsovians, Poles as well as all other people of goodwill.
Daniel Kawczynski MP
Conservative, Shrewsbury and Atcham

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Family of Swede who vanished after saving Jews sue Russian state | World news

The family of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the second world war before disappearing when Hungary came under under Soviet rule, are suing Russia’s security service for access to its files, their lawyer said Thursday.

“The relatives of Wallenberg filed the lawsuit at the Meshchansky court in the Russian capital on Wednesday,” their lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, told AFP.

The Wallenberg family “wants to force the FSB [the successor to the KGB] to give it access to the originals of the documents” that concern Wallenberg’s fate, Pavlov said.

He said Wallenberg’s relatives have made many attempts to gain access to the FSB archives dating back to the Soviet era. These were either rejected or the documents they received were incomplete, Pavlov said.

“This case isn’t just about the possibility of restoring the memory of a remarkable person. It is also yet another attempt to fight the inaccessibility of the FSB archives,” he said.

As a special envoy in Nazi-controlled Hungary, Wallenberg issued Swedish identity papers to tens of thousands of Jews, allowing them to flee Nazi-occupied Hungary and likely death.

But when the Soviets entered Budapest in January 1945 – months before the war ended – they summoned Wallenberg to their headquarters. After that he disappeared, aged 32.

In 1957, the Soviet Union released a document saying Wallenberg had been jailed in the Lubyanka prison, the notorious building where the KGB security services were headquartered, and that he died of heart failure on 17 July 1947.

But his family refused to accept that version of events, and for decades have been trying to establish what happened to him.

They specifically want to know if Wallenberg was “Prisoner number 7” who, according to records, was interrogated on 23 July 1947 – six days after Wallenberg’s alleged death.

The family learned of the mysterious prisoner from two historians who said they had been told by FSB archivists the prisoner was likely to have been Wallenberg.

“The majority of our questions revolve around this prisoner,” Wallenberg’s niece, Marie Dupuy, told AFP.

“Every time, they [the Russian authorities] tell us that they are not able to answer. But we are sure they know.”

In 2000, the head of a Russian investigative commission conceded that Wallenberg had been shot and killed by KGB agents in Lubyanka in 1947 for political reasons, but declined to be more specific or to cite hard evidence.

Last year Sweden officially declared Wallenberg dead, but his body has never been returned to his family.

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Europe’s border shifts and citizenship denial | World news

I too have been denied German citizenship (Letters, 17 June) because my mother and grandfather, both victims of Nazism, have been determined not to be German. This ruling ignores the historical context of fluid nations and borders. My mother came to England in 1939 on the Kindertransport. She was born in Berlin in 1925 to a German mother, whose German family is documented for three generations. But my grandfather came from Kolomyja. When he was born, Kolomyja was in the Austro-Hungarian empire. But at the end of both world wars, nations and their boundaries were redrawn. In 1919 Kolomyja found itself part of the newly created Polish republic. In 1945 it was transferred to Ukraine. My grandfather served in the German army in the first world war, spoke German and lived and worked in Berlin for 20 years until he was deported in 1938 by the Nazis. He was murdered in a forced labour camp. I do not know what he would have considered his nationality to be or if the concept had any meaning for him. I do know that he was murdered in the Holocaust because he was a Jew who lived in Germany.
Christina Craig
Bath

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