Study: Polish norms helped Nazis wipe out local Jewry
Large parts of the Polish population during the Holocaust believed that helping Jews went against their local norms, a new study from the Polish Academy of Sciences shows.
The academy, a state-run institution, focused on a period beginning in 1942 that saw an intense effort on the part of the Nazi occupiers to wipe out Jewish ghettos across Poland.
The study compares the fates of Jews who managed to escape the ghettos during that period and reveals that those who tried to seek shelter in urban areas were less likely to survive, compared to Jews who escaped to the country, who had a much better chance of staying alive.
According to the scholars, this can be explained by the norms that were prevalent among Poles in urban areas.
“Poles who chose to save Jews were essentially violating the unwritten norms of their community,” the scholars wrote.