Poland recently passed new legislation which was followed by controversial comments by Prime Minister Morwiecki of Poland and resulted in a dispute with Israel:

What did Mr Morawiecki say in Munich? He was responding to an Israeli journalist who asked if anyone who said there were Polish collaborators in the Holocaust would be considered a criminal in Poland under the new law. Mr Morawiecki said:

"It's extremely important to first understand that, of course, it's not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators - as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian.... not only German perpetrators."

What is the evidence of Jewish "perpetrators" in the Holocaust?

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    Related: skeptics.stackexchange.com/q/40693/43979
    – Darren
    Feb 19, 2018 at 9:21
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    We are all humans but we can't allow people to start attacking each other based on personal ideology or opinions. Provide facts backed by evidence. Keep your opinions of what happened in WWII to yourselves. If you can't take a detached stance on this matter, there are thousands of more questions here :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 20, 2018 at 10:24
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    I clarified the question. For anyone with doubts on "perpetrator": use the dictionary definition of "a person who carries out a harmful, illegal, or immoral act". Whether they were forced or not is scarcely relevant to the definition, but of course it's super relevant to the answer and it should totally be mentioned there. It's not a reason to close the question (so many claims are misleading, it's the job of an answer to clarify that confusion).
    – Sklivvz
    Feb 20, 2018 at 10:31

3 Answers 3


The paper Patterns of Cooperation, Collaboration and Betrayal: Jews, Germans and Poles in Occupied Poland during World War II offers many examples of Jewish participation for motives other avoiding punishment or execution:

Aside from the German police and the informers and extortionists, who were recruited from the dregs of the Christian Polish and Ukrainian population, it was the Jewish confidence men who represented the greatest threat to Jews living in hiding. Seduced by false hopes and promises, they frequently helped the Germans to track down fellow Jews who were hiding in the ‘Aryan’ sector.

Władysław Bartoszewski, Christian resister

What is so surprising about this? Robbing Jews was such an easy way to make a profit. In every nation one can find rogues. There were after all Jewish blackmailers too.

Irena Tarłowska, Jewish survivor

In spite of the fact that the streets of Warsaw were swarming with many informers, collaborators and stool-pigeons, both Polish and Jewish ones, the city always awakened in me feelings of admiration with regard to its general attitude to the occupiers.

Miriam Peleg-Mariańska, Jewish survivor and resister

We kept the names of the informers on prescription blanks which I kept hidden during the occupation. Virtually all of them perished at the hands of the Gestapo or Polish underground organizations.

Tadeusz Pankiewicz, Polish resister, recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem

Nobody in the ghetto knew or would ever suspect that Stella, moving freely in Krakow, would be a denouncer, nor the Jewish people hiding their identity in the free Aryan part of the city. On one occasion she met a school friend on the street. … She whispered to him that she was also hiding on Aryan papers and she assumed so was he. … She … proposed to meet him in the same café the next day. … He came on time, but Stella wasn’t there. Instead two Gestapos in civilian clothes suddenly appeared and took him away. Stella did this not once, but often, denouncing friends and mothers with children.

Samuel Honig, friend of "Stella," who survived the war unpunished

Although this shows that the claim that "there were Jewish perpetrators" is correct as stated, the question of whether Jews made up any substantial percentage of the perpetrators is extremely open. The author of this study cites Gunnar S. Paulsson's Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945 (2003), which offers a dissenting view.

[D]espite the existence of such copious evidence, historian Gunnar Paulsson, who has recently published an important study about Jews in wartime Warsaw, insists that the supposition that blackmailers included substantial numbers of Jewish turncoats is “quite mistaken.” Moreover, he maintains that he has not encountered in his research a single “concrete example” of a Jew betraying his Polish benefactor, even though such cases were already reported during the war and confirmed afterwards.

As this study is long enough to be a book and has not yet been reviewed by any academic source, I think the related question of whether this collaboration amounts to a significant "perpetration" of the Holocaust requires further historical debate.

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    I feel that a very important part of the quote is its equivalation between Jewish and Polish Collaborators, and I think that a note should be made about the difference in numbers and circumstances between the two populations.
    – SIMEL
    Feb 19, 2018 at 16:01
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    @SIMEL if people interpret that quote as so, I’m not sure I do when taken at face value. Sure, it’s easy to imagine that is the intent given the source, but with no context it’s basically saying “it wasn’t just Germans”. It even mentions Poles. Avery, thanks for this answer. I imagined (feared?) there would be examples of this kind of behaviour, but had never heard of it directly and couldn’t find much online. This is exactly the kind of thing I was asking about.
    – Darren
    Feb 19, 2018 at 18:21

Emanuel Ringleblum dedicated significant part of his journal (published as Kronika getta warszawskiego in Polish, English translation published as Notes From The Warsaw Ghetto). Many parts of his journal describes brutality of the Jewish Ghetto Police:

February 27th (...) a young Jew was killed by the Jewish Law and Order Service. He struck a Jewish policeman and was executed in the Jewish Council building.

End of March (...) The avarice of the Jewish police is such that they take 20 groschen from smuggler boys for every loaf of smuggled bread.—

May 11th (...) The Jewish police uses the principle of collective responsibility, imitating the Germans. They close the gates of courtyards because all the tenants have not paid the police tax—30 groschen per capita. They take members of the House Committee as hostages if one of the tenants in a particular courtyard doesn’t present himself for forced labor service at a camp.

July 11th (...)Another factor in keeping the populace in check is the Jewish police who have learned how to beat up people, how to “keep order,” how to send folk to work camps.

especially during the liquidation of the Ghetto:

The Jewish police had a very bad name even before the resettlement. The Polish police didn’t take part in the forced work press gangs, but the Jewish police engaged in that ugly business. Jewish policemen also distinguished themselves with their fearful corruption and immorality. But they reached the height of viciousness during the resettlement. They said not a single word of protest against this revolting assignment to lead their own brothers to the slaughter. The police were psychologically prepared for the dirty work and executed it thoroughly.

How could Jews have dragged women and children, the old and the sick, to the wagons—knowing they were all being driven to the slaughter?

In the presence of such nihilism, apparent in the whole gamut of our society, from the highest to the lowest, it is no surprise that the Jewish police executed the German resettlement orders with the greatest of zeal. And yet the fact remains that most of the time during the resettlement operation the Jewish police exceeded their daily quotas. That meant they were preparing a reserve for the next day. No sign of sorrow or pain appeared on the faces of the policemen. On the contrary, one saw satisfied and happy individuals, well fed, loaded with the loot they carried off in company with the Ukrainian guards.

Very often, the cruelty of the Jewish police exceeded that of the Germans, Ukrainians, and Letts. They uncovered more than one hiding place, aiming to be plus catholique que le pope and so curry favor with the Occupying Power. Victims who succeeded in escaping the German eye were picked up by the Jewish police.

Beside the police, another group of organizations shared in the resettlement operation. Gancwajch’s redcapped Special Ambulance Service was the worst. (...) Besides, a Special Service uniform enabled its wearer to perpetrate a variety of swindles and blackmail associated with sanitation (informing on typhus cases, disinfection steam baths, and the like). It was this pretty gang that now voluntarily reported for the assignment of sending Jews to the hereafter—and they distinguished themselves with their brutality and inhumanity. Their caps were covered with the bloodstains of the Jewish people.

The officials of the Jewish Council also cooperated in the "operation", as did the Service of the K.A.M.—City Aid Committee.

He also comments on activity of Abraham Gancwajch and the Group 13, and overall corruption, extortion and blackmail.

The history of The Łódź Ghetto (the second-largest ghetto (...) after the Warsaw Ghetto), with it head of Council, Chaim Rumkowski, described by Ringleblum:

Lodz, Chaim, or, as he is called, “King Chaim,” Rumkowski, an old man of seventy, extraordinarily ambitious and pretty nutty. He recited the marvels of his Ghetto. He has a Jewish kingdom there, with 400 policemen, three jails. He has a foreign ministry, and all the other ministries, too. When asked why, if things were so good there, the mortality is so high, he did not answer. He considers himself God’s anointed.

Rumkowski, were actively involved in extortion, sending his opponents to concentration camps ans sexual abuse and ultimately died of hands of Jewish Sonderkommando inmates who beat him to death as revenge for his role in the Holocaust.

While his role in the Holocaust is a matter of dispute, it is worth noting that Łódź Ghetto survived almost two significantly longer than any other ghetto, although Ringleblum note:

In connection with the visit of Rumkowsla, it is worth noting that three-quarters of a year ago, when a German commission visited Lodz, he represented the Lodz Ghetto as a paradise. This was said to have influenced the establishment of ghettos in other cities of the Government General of Poland. That is to say, Rumkowski proved that the Ghetto experiment was a success.

is likely an exaggeration.

All quotes from Notes From The Warsaw Ghetto: The Journal Of Emmanuel Ringelblum, Pickle Partners Publishing, 2015.


Was PM asking about perpetrators of holocaust or perpetrators in general during WW II?

If the latter than here is an example:

Salomon Morel, a Jewish Stalinist official and later, an accused war criminal. He was the commander of the Zgoda labor camp during the Soviet occupation of Poland in 1945. He was accused of being responsible for the killing of 2000 people including children. Morel fled to Israel after the fall of communism. The inmates in the Zgoda labor camp were systematically maltreated and tortured by the guards including by Morel himself, who used to make pyramids of beaten prisoners (up to six layers high) causing suffocation.

If the former, also plenty of examples including Żagiew a Nazi-collaborationist Jewish organization or Group-13

There were Jewish perpetrators.


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