The “200,000 Fugitive Jews Killed by Poles” Myth

Owing to the brutal Nazi-German occupation, no Pole or Jew ever did any census related to these matters. We have no idea how many fugitive Jews there were, how many died, how many died because of Polish (as opposed to German) actions, and how many died from justified Polish actions (e. g., protection from singular and organized banditry). We are convinced that allegations, made by some scholars like Jan Grabowski and by mainstream media, of 200,000 fugitive Jews killed by Poles, are unjustified. Such false allegations are in our opinion purposefully spread to lash out at Poland as a country and to falsely accuse her of collaborating with Nazi Germany. But Poland as a country never did collaborate–the misbehavior of  a tiny fraction of the Polish population living under unimaginably brutal conditions–notwithstanding.

“Complicity in the Holocaust” is a widely-used but undefined term. What if 1,000 (or 100) American POWs, in German captivity, had switched sides, and had actively joined the Germans in the murder of Jews? Would this now make the USA “complicit in the Holocaust” – especially if there was a political motive for saying so?

As for the conjectured numbers of fugitive Jews in German-occupied Poland, guesstimates by Holocaust scholars are quite contradictory:

Total Jewish Fugitives Surviving Jewish
Fugitive Jewish
Survival Rate
All Polish Caused
Fugitive-Jewish Deaths
Unjustified Polish Caused Fugitive Jewish Deaths Holocaust Scholar Investigator
100,000 50,000 50% ? ? Gunnar S. Paulsson
80,000-120,000 40,000-60,000 50% ? ? Teresa Prekerowa
80,000-120,000 40,000-60,000 50% ? ? Ewa Koziminski-Frejlak
>200,000 100,000 <50% ? ? Szymon Datner
160,000-240,000 40,000-60,000 16%–25% ? ? Jan Grabowski

Note: Underlined Figures are Author-Guesstimated Ones; Non-Underlined Ones are Those Computed From the Underlined Figures

Note: The ‘Fugitives’ Encompass Only Those Polish Jews Who Avoided, or Fled, the German-Made Ghettos. They do not include those Polish Jews Who Survived in German camps or in the USSR.

For Further Study:


Berendt, Grzegorz. Zbiegowie z gett i obozów dla Żydów na terenie Polski w latach 1942–1944 [Jewish fugitives from the ghettos and camps on Polish territory in 1942-1944.] Biuletyn IPN Nr. 6, (139), Czerwiec 2017, 55-64.

Datner, Szymon. Zbrodnie HItlerowskie na Zydach zbieglych z get. [Hitlerite Crimes on Jews Who Had Fled the Ghettos.] Biulytyn Zydowskiego Institutu Historycznego, Lipiec-Wrzesien 1970, Nr. 75, pp. 9-29.

Grabowski, Jan.  Hunt For the Jews. 2013.

Koziminska-Frejlak, Ewa, in Tych and Adamczyk-Garbowska (eds.). Jewish Presence in Absence, 2014.

Paulsson, Gunnar. The rescue of Jews by non-Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland. Journal of Holocaust Education 7(1-2)19-44, 1998.

Prekerowa, Teresa, in Polonsky (ed.) My Brother’s Keeper, 1990, 2014.


Image: Jewish ghetto in the city of Radom (occupied Poland).