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MAUS intends to mislead reader about Poles during WWII.
am 7. Dezember 1998
At first, MAUS may seem like an innocent comic book that illustrates the Holocaust in a new way. The idea is quite unique and it would have been fine if that was the only objective. However, this book has a less than honorable second motive that tends to go unnoticed by the average reader: to create a historically inaccurate negative representation of Poles.
This anti-Polish propaganda is very subtle...but that is what makes it so effective and disturbing. For example, the book represents Jews as mice, Germans as cats, and Poles as pigs. Portraying Poles as pigs does two things. First, it is a negative slur for obvious reasons. Second, it gives the impression that only Jews were victims of the Germans and that Poles were bystanders or accomplices since cats eat mice instead of pigs. In addition, the Polish characters either don't help Jews or turn them in. Finally, the author omits important historical facts (obtained from sources below) about Poland during WWII to help support his propaganda such as:
* Out of 6 million Polish citizens murdered by the Germans, 3 million were not Jewish. * Poland was the only occupied country for which Hitler imposed a penalty of death to an entire family for aiding a Jew. One of the main reasons the death penalty was imposed was because many Poles actively helped Jews. * For the first two years of operation, Aushwitz was primarily used for the killing of Poles and not Jews. * "All Poles will disappear from the world...It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles." -Heinrich Himmler. * The Polish government heavily funded Zegota --an underground organization formed in Poland to assist Jews during WWII. * "More recent research on the subject suggests that 1,000,000 Poles were involved in sheltering Jews, but some authors are inclined to go as high as 3,000,000". -Forgotten Holocaust
After reading MAUS, an uninformed reader will get a false impression that only Jews were murdered by the Germans in concentration camps during WWII. One can get the impression that not a single Pole is killed by the Germans and that Poles either didn't care what was happening to the Jews or actively turned them in. MAUS does a great historical injustice to Poles which were also tortured and murdered like the Jews in the millions. Thousands of Poles were executed for helping Jews...but an average person reading MAUS would never learn that. The only impression MAUS leaves with the reader regarding Poles is of pigs. I find this highly repulsive and bigoted.
The following well documented books provide much more information on the subject: "Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944" by Richard C. Lukas. "Your Life is Worth Mine: How Polish Nuns Saved Hundreds of Jewish Children in German-Occupied Poland, 1939-1945" by Ewa Kurek, Jan Karski. "The Jews and the Poles in World War II" by Stefan Korbonski.