Polish firing squad of one
Mr. Paul Bonowicz staged a one-man protest against Churchill in South Ruislip, Middlesex. He denounced “the lies in British books about Winston Churchill. I am Polish and we know he betrayed Polish people.” He added: Churchill “knew about the Holocaust. He knew Jewish people were dying, but he didn’t help. After the war there was a deal between Churchill and Stalin, and the price was Poland. Part of my country went to the Soviets. It was Churchill who decided which part, not the Poles.” —Uxbridge Gazette.
Churchill did know about the Holocaust, and alone among allied leaders, he tried to do something about it. As to the alleged Polish betrayal…
Virtues and mistakes
In 1938, the Teschen District of Czechoslovakia was absorbed by the Poles, who happily took it, as a result of the Munich Agreement. In 1939 Polish parts not taken by Hitler went to the Soviets. Toward war’s end Churchill first protested, then acquiesced, and ultimately agonized over the shifting of Poland to the west. An eastern slice went to Russia and the Poles received part of Germany. In August 1945 Churchill told Parliament: “I think a mistake has been made, in which the Provisional (Communist) Government of Poland have been an ardent partner, by going far beyond what necessity or equity required.” (Churchill By Himself, 179). “There are few virtues that the Poles do not possess—and there are few mistakes they have ever avoided.”
The matter has ben raised more recently in the modern round of Churchill criticism. It is difficult to comprehend what Churchill, and Roosevelt for that matter, could have done abut the land shift. By 1945 the Red Army occupied all Polish territory. The Anglo-Americans hoped (forlornly) that Stalin would make good his promise of free elections. Some Poles have never forgiven them, although Churchill was first to predict Communism’s fall, thanks to patriots such as Lech Walesa.