The Germans murdered the Jews. And the Poles? They robbed whatever was left of them
In the name of the loftiest divine and human slogans, we urge you fellow countrymen not to humiliate yourselves to the role of jackals - appealed on September 18, 1942, by the editors of the "Information Bulletin", the press body of the Home Army. Few listened to her. The inhabitants of the towns and villages made the best of the opportunity. They robbed the corpses of everything that was left of those deported from the ghettos and murdered Jews.
In his latest book, a historian from the University of Warsaw, Dr. Marcin Zaremba discovers the shameful and underestimated card of the history of Poland during the occupation. What were ordinary Poles doing when the Germans ruthlessly deported Jews to the slaughter? Of course, some tried to help neighbors of other faiths. They even risked their own lives. However, there were many more who saw in the Holocaust an excellent opportunity to get rich. There is no doubt that the plunder of Jewish property was in Opole Poland, it passed like a wave through the territory of the General Government, it also took place in Eastern Lesser Poland - emphasizes Zaremba in "Great fear". There are many examples.
The Home Army "Biuletyn Informacyjny" described the situation in Otwock, Rembertów and Miedzeszyn in the summer of 1942:
On the memorable day of the liquidation of the Otwock ghetto, a few hours after this barbaric fact, [the population] ran carts at night and began plundering the remaining Jewish property. Everything that fell under the arm was taken away , doors and windows, shelves, floorboards were broken, not to mention furniture, clothes and underwear, which were the first victims of robbery.
Varsovians robbed whatever they could from the ruins of the ghetto ... It was similar in the provinces
The situation in the Warsaw ghetto was similar. It was described in another periodical of the Polish Underground State - "Press Agency" (issue of October 7, 1942):
As soon as the tenement houses in the Warsaw ghetto were deserted, they set off behind those ghastly walls - clusters of jackals to steal without memory a bloody, with a smell of corpse, steeped in possessions. (...) [The policemen] are followed by social scum, plundering and stealing whatever they can. (...) Groups of teenagers, even 12-14-year-old boys, who without embarrassment trade in stolen items are now roaming the streets of Warsaw. Particularly disturbing is the fact that the general public doesn't react to this abomination (...). It is a shame to say that property plunder is stained not only by the little ones, people of low mental level, but also by individuals with birthmarks, or at least with the aspirations of intelligence (...). About similar cases of collective lack or decay of honesty and sense of humanity we are told from different parts of the country.
Szaber square in Wrocław. Any looted goods could be liquidated in such places immediately after the war.