What is the real story with Ronen Bergman’s Mother and his family murdered during the Holocaust?

Stanisław Janecki

from: wpolityce.pl

By Dor Malka (Ronen Bergman) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Many people from Poland posed questions to Ronen Bergman, who asked Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki about the punishment of individuals who recite their recollections of personal negative experiences concerning Poles during the Holocaust, what had happen to his Mother.

I haven’t noticed that anyone got a reply. Bergman himself said that his mother received an award from the Minister of Education in the 2nd Polish Republic (before WWII) for beautiful Polish language. In an entry made April 23rd 2017 at ynetnews.com the same Ronen Bergman reminisced “My mother, praised be her memory, had to bury her father under the snow so the ‘Nazis’ wouldn’t find them. She was five years old then“. If Bergman’s mother went to school before the war, she had to be born at the beginning of the 1930’s. But then in 1942/43 when most probably her father perished, she would have to be at least ten years old and not five. If around 1943 she was five years old, she would have been born in 1938, so the Minister of Education would rather not have had the opportunity to hear her Polish before the war or hear about her progress. Ronen Bergman was born in 1972 and was the third child of his parents, so his mother at the time of his birth was either about 40 years old or 34-35. Both one and the other version are probable. In Kiryat Bialik where Ronen Bergman grew up his mother was a teacher (his father was an accountant). Bergman wrote that she died early due to cancer but also because of terrible wounds of the heart and soul suffered in childhood. This is not to discredit Ronen Bergman, but to show that personal memories don’t always constitute precise knowledge – they can be unreliable and may lead to unfounded conclusions. What is important that Ronen Bergman’s mother survived, therefore someone in occupied Poland had to help her, most probably Poles and not the Germans. The Jews alone, without Polish support, could not manage to safeguard her and save her.

Someone also had to save the father of Ronen Bergman. In the same entry at wynetnews.com Bergman pointed out: “I am unable to hear the opinion of my deceased relatives including seven brothers and sisters of my grandfather Yaakov Bergman who were murdered in gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau“. Everything seems to point to the fact that this grandfather was Yaakov Bergman born in 1913 in Rejowiec. Yaakov Bergman was the son of Elijah Bergman and Rachel Malka Bergman and had seven siblings: sisters Hana, Mira, Tova, Tzivia and brothers Haim, Meir, and one of unknown name. They all perished but the father of Ronan had to survive, since Bergman carries the last name after him. During the war this father could have been either a teenager or a child and someone had to assist in his survival, most likely Poles. Ronen Bergman said in Munich that after the war, mainly after the denunciation of his family – his mother decided to never again speak Polish. But before Bergman’s mother made it to Israel she had to use Polish until the end of the war — because she survived somewhere and thanks to someone in Poland. In fact it is quite typical that those who were rescued from the Holocaust and had a negative experience with Poles, simultaneously owed their life to other Poles. Nothing here is black and white.

Ronae Bergman invoked his mother to show Poles in negative light. But this is only part of the truth since both the mother and father survived the Holocaust. Such persons can have negative recollections because this was an awful time and extreme experiences, yet in this story as in others of this type – there are many questions and ambiguities. At a time of this article Ronen Bergman has not clarified these indeterminate statements, despite questions from many people in Poland. It is important to know that Ronen Bergman is not just anybody, he is a well educated person, law graduate from the University of Haifa and international relations at the University of Cambridge, a Doctor of History, journalist on many editorial boards, author of many bestsellers, frequently very critical of Israeli authorities and especially of its secret forces operations. It’s hard to presume that somebody like this would have a problem with specifying the age of his mother during the war and the Holocaust. Since there are doubts as to such elementary issues, we must re-evaluate the purpose for which Bergman used the memory of his mother during the Munich conference with many important persons, including leaders of nations and prime world media. If the basic facts called on by Ronan Bergman don’t add up – the question about a hidden agenda is justified. Not for the purpose of looking for sensation or undermining what he said – but for the purpose of reconsidering his intentions in the wider context.



Categories: History of Poland, News, Recommended Articles, WWII

1 reply

  1. For the past one month I have been reading about the strained relations between Poland and Israel on account of the new law passed by the Polish Parliament. It pains me to read so much of hatred exhibited by the readers on both sides. (Including outsiders!) (I have filed more than 200 pages of articles on this topic and I know what I am writing about. I am not going to throw mud either on Israelis or on Poles.)

    I read (twice) Ronen Bergman’s op-ed in Ynetnews (titled, “In the name of my mother, the Holocaust survivor”) dated February 19. Let me reproduce a couple of sentences.

    “Two of the world’s youngest leaders were sitting on the stage at the main conference hall of Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.”

    “I listened to the Polish leader talk about economy, energy and other Polish-related issues. He spoke about everything, apart from the issue everyone wanted him to address: The legislation prescribing prison time and a fine for accusing Poland and the Poles of taking part in the Holocaust.”

    1. I do not know why he mentioned Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. (He has nothing to do with Polish legislation!)

    2. The pronoun ‘everyone’ in the second sentence in second paragraph intrigued me. How did Mr Bergman know that everyone in the conference hall wanted the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to address about the Polish legislation? When he says ‘everyone’ does he includes Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz? Did he speak to ‘everyone’ in the hall before Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki addressed the conference?

    The pronoun ‘everyone’ sounded a bit odd. I found out that he was born in 1972 (I’m not going to mention about his life or CV) and I asked myself the same questions – the questions the article asks!

    I had been to Poland many times. I visited major cities in Poland. I never hid my identity (I’m an Israeli with exotic appearance) from the Polish people.During my conversations with young Polish I discovered that they are more supportive, more sympathetic, and more friendly to Israel than, for example, Dutch or Danish, Finnish or Flemish, German or Greek, Slovak or Slovenian, Swiss or Swedish etc. With no hesitation I should say that Poland is the most friendly to Israel. One commentator said the following: “There is no Polish history without Jews, and no Jewish history without Poland.” They are linked. Poland suffered in the war. I recommend readers to read “The Black Book of Poland”, issued in 1942 by the Polish Ministry of Information.The book is nothing but horror!

    In spite of some unpleasant experiences (I experienced far more worse in other cities in the so called tolerant Europe than in Poland) during my stays in Poland I should say I prefer Poland (to spend my vacations) than any other European country or city. Of course, There are some anti-Semites in Poland but which European country or city is free from anti-Semites?

    I pray that this problem is solved amicably by both countries.