"The Holocaust in German-occupied Poland and the Soviet Union would not have been possible without the cooperation of parts of Polish and Soviet society." Critically appraise this statement, referencing facts and arguments from Grabowski’s Hunt for the Jews (you may also draw on Bergen’s War and Genocide and excerpts from the Black Book).

Without the cooperation of parts of Polish and Soviet society, the Nazis could not have achieved the same level of mass killings during the Holocaust. As Elie Wiesel notes in Night, the Hungarian police were as brutal as the Nazis and the "first oppressors.” Grabowski quotes a Polish schoolteacher who witnessed the seeming enthusiasm with which local farmers participated in "the Jew hunt" and also recounts trials of Poles who acted against Jews, some by committing brutal acts.

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The Holocaust in German-occupied Poland and the Soviet Union would not have been as horrendous or murdered as many people without the cooperation of parts of Polish and Soviet society. As Elie Wiesel points out in his memoir Night , his first point of contact with the Holocaust and the...

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The Holocaust in German-occupied Poland and the Soviet Union would not have been as horrendous or murdered as many people without the cooperation of parts of Polish and Soviet society. As Elie Wiesel points out in his memoir Night, his first point of contact with the Holocaust and the Nazi exterminators was the local police who were complicit in helping the Nazis round up Jews and deport them for their final destination of the death camps. The police were as brutal as the Nazis themselves. Wiesel writes of the Hungarian police,

“Faster! Faster! Move, you lazy good-for-nothings!" the Hungarian police were screaming. That was when I began to hate them, and my hatred remains our only link today. They were our first oppressors. They were the first faces of hell and death.”

It was not only local police that assisted in these round ups, it was also often the local population. At times, their participation was unwilling and done because they feared for their own personal safety or the safety of their families. However, there were many times when they helped the Nazis willingly because of virulent anti-Semitic sentiment that was often rampant in these places. For example, in his book Hunt for the Jews, Jan Grabowski quotes the diary entry of a Polish schoolteacher from a small rural village:

“I drive through the village of Siedliska. I enter the local community store. The peasants are buying scythes. The sales lady tells us ‘the scythes will come [in] handy for today's hunt.’ ‘What hunt?’ I ask. ‘The Jew hunt,’ they tell me.”

Grabowski also recounts several trials of Poles who acted against Jews and notes stories of certain local farmers and peasants who committed brutal acts with apparent enthusiasm, using axes or scythes to chop people's heads off. It is important to remember, however, that some local people tried to help the Jews, sometimes even in small ways. The Yad Vashem organization tries to chronicle the stories of people who tried to help.

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