The Committee for Education of the Polish American Congress, Northern California Division, calls for the University of California Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ISEES) to disassociate itself explicitly from inaccuracies in the publicity attending the marketing campaign for the book by Anna Bikont, The Crime and the Silence, and instead reaffirm the scholarly standard.

This office is concerned for application of California State Education Code for instruction, activities, and materials under sections prohibiting (1) inaccuracy and (2) adverse reflection. These are described in Education Code Sections 51500, 51501, and 60044.

We object to two claims in the UC ISEEES events calendar for the presentation at the Graduate Theological Union. The iconic figure of 1600 victims at Jedwabne is inaccurate and unacceptable in academic exposition. Also, the unqualified claim that the victims were massacred “by their non-Jewish neighbors” suggests no German involvement whatever, hence is inaccurate and adverse.

Further, the advertised claim that the book received “the highest praise” from The Tablet, The New York Times Book Review, and the New York Review of Books is questionable. None of the three reviewers is an historian, nor specialist in criminal investigation. The problem is one of mistaking marketing claims for scholarship.

Gordon Black, Chair
Committee for Education
The Polish American Congress
Northern California Division

Categories: Expert Analyses