Poland Has Risen Strong After World War II Because Of Their Christian Heritage: In today’s episode David discusses what he learned from his trip to Poland and shared the stories he heard from heroes and survivors of World War II. Tune in now to hear how Poland is largely a Christian nation, stories from survivors of Auschwitz, and heroes who saved Jews from the terrors of World War II.

Air Date: 04/13/2017


Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Welcome

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about these hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always looking at it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton the president of WallBuilders. And my name’s Rick Green.  I’m a former Texas state rep. Find out more about us at our websites WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.

David, Tim, I’m excited about today’s show. David, you just got back from an amazing trip that you and Cheryl took and I’m looking forward to hearing about it and I’m looking forward to our listeners hearing about it.

I can just tell from your Facebook post and the one phone conversation I had while you were over there that you were moved by what you saw in Poland.

Why Poland Was So Surreal

David:

Yeah, it was an amazing trip, an amazing opportunity. We were contacted and the foreign ministry of Poland asked us to come over and they took us to the nation for about five days.

It was a really cool group, a couple of them were ambassadors. One of them was an ambassador under Reagan, one was ambassador under George Bush 41. We had big time Hollywood producer who has done a dozen of these mega-movies in Hollywood. An inventor, an entrepreneur, a guy who’s got all these patents in technology. There were two TV station owners. It was a really cool group to be with and 14 of us went through.

What was particularly interesting is you have to understand Poland is really a Christian nation in the old school sense of the word. They’ve got all the other religions there too but they are very pro-life. Their policy is in Poland is abortion is still illegal .They’re a very hardworking country.

They’re like America was like in the 1950’s when you didn’t do welfare stuff and you helped only those in need. It was really your neighbors who helped you, it wasn’t the government who stepped in and helped you. And they are huge on the free market system and on government keeping their hands off of businesses, letting business be unfettered.

Rick:

You don’t think that when you say, “Poland.” I don’t think of that.

David:

No, you don’t. Poland’s business economy is so cool, is so good that they have doubled their GDP just in the last 25 years. The prosperity of the nation is skyrocketing. They have all the high tech companies. Amazon is over there and all these things. Rolex and all these companies that you think are high tech, yeah, they’re in Poland.

Poland is really known for hard workers and for high tech folks. But you don’t think of that. And a lot of that is because progressives don’t like religion and they don’t like conservative values.

So the progressive media in the United States always portrays Poland as kind of backward people. You’ve got the Polish jokes and all the stuff that. It’s the same way they treat Christians in America.

But when we were over there, Rick, I mean, I went from the biggest cities in Poland. There’s about what 30 to 33 million, somewhere in that vicinity. I went from the biggest cities of 2 million people, down to little goat paths that we had to walk, took four wheel drive to get back.

I did not, in the entire land Poland, find a single piece of trash anywhere. Not on the side of the road, not in any of the city squares, not in any of the streets, occasionally a cigarette butt laying around. But even most of those were picked up.

It was one of the cleanest places I’ve ever been in with some of the coolest people I’ve ever been around. I felt like it was the wholesome America of the 1950s. I don’t want to sound nostalgic, this is not what I’m trying to do, but it was it was the I Love Lucy days of Leave It to Beaver days, or whatever you want to say. Those days when you never locked your car. Everybody was a good neighbor. You don’t have crime, that’s not what goes on there. It was surreal.

Nazis Killed 6 Million Polish Christian And Jews

Rick:

We’re talking about a nation that was that was overrun. You would think it would have been harder for them to have what you’re describing coming back from being dominated.

David:

Part of the reason we went over there was not only to see what Poland is really like but also to look particularly at what Christians and Jews had done together in Poland. Because President Obama was over there and he made the comment about the Polish concentration camps. Woah Bubba, time out. There were no Polish concentration camps, there were Nazi concentration camps in Poland, and there’s a big difference.

Tim:

So it wasn’t Polish people running the concentration camps?

David:

No, as a matter of fact, I think at the time World War II there were about 21 million people in Poland somewhere in that vicinity. And the Nazis killed 6 million of them, 3 million Christians and 3 million Jews wiped out in Poland.

Tim:

That’s a huge percentage of the population.

David:

A huge percentage. As we drove from one end of Poland to the other we were never more than one and a half miles away from a mass burial site, if you can imagine that. Anywhere you go within a mile and a half is a mass burial site. They would execute 50,000, or 10,000, or 5,000 or when you got to Treblinka 800,000. Auschwitz 1.2 million.

You went through these places, there was never more than a mile and a half where someone had not been executed. And we met people across the nation who had lived through World War II, who had their family killed and who knew of had been killed.

The Germans intended for the Polish people to be their slaves. And so what they did was they went in and killed all the educated folks. Anybody that had leadership skills, anybody that was in public office, anybody that was a teacher, or anybody that was a preacher, anybody that’s an engineer, killed them all.

At the end of World War II, less than one half of 1 percent of the Polish population had a college degree. That’s how thoroughly they had exterminated those guys. So here is a nation that is back as a high tech nation but still has sound Biblical values and they’re not ashamed of that at all.

We met with the foreign minister, and the minister of finance, and prime minister, deputy prime, met all these different guys. And the first thing they want to talk about is being a Christian and about the values of the nation. I mean it was just it was a surreal time capsule.

Rick:

Not what you expected?

David:

No not at.

Rick:

Or certainly not what we would think of before going. I’m sure you got briefed. But I wouldn’t have thought that if you were saying, “Hey, here’s why I’m going to Poland.”

 

Let’s take a quick break, we’ll come right back and hear more about David’s trip to Poland. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

American History

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Many today wrongly claim that our Founding Fathers were largely atheists, agnostics, and deist.

Certainly, some Founders were less religious than others, but even they were not irreligious. Consider Benjamin Franklin, definitely one of the least religious among them, yet, when the delegates at the Constitutional Convention hit an impasse in their deliberations it was Franklin who called them to prayer, invoking numerous scriptures to make his point.

As he reminded them, “God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that, except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this.”

So, even the least religious of America’s Founders urged public prayer in dependence on God. For more information about the faith of the Founding Fathers go to WallBuilders.com.

Nazis Desecrated Anything That Was Jewish

Rick:

Well back to WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us! We’re getting a download from David on this amazing trip to Poland. David, you were talking about just this collaboration between Christians and Jews over there.

David:

It was it was really cool. I didn’t know what we were getting into when we went over. I just didn’t know. We weren’t told. “Come see, the foreign ministry is going to bring you over.”

We were with Johnny Daniels with a group called “From The Depths.” That’s a Jewish group.  His family was killed in Poland, Treblinka. He is one of the ones who is finding these mass murder sites trying to get good burials back for Jews.

These guys were so anti- Jewish that before World War II  there were about 14,000 Jewish cemeteries in Poland. Poland was a big percentage Jewish. About 14,000 Jewish cemeteries. After World War II there are only 30 Jewish cemeteries left.

Before World War II one of these cemeteries had 40,000 Jewish headstones in the cemetery. After the war, there are less than 30 thousand Jewish headstones anywhere in the nation.

What the Nazis did was they went and took the headstones and broke them into stones and made cobblestones out of them. They used them to pave the streets, used them for curbs and gutters etc. They just desecrated anything that was Jewish.

So you’re talking about a nation that was strongly Jewish. Christians and Jews living together. Great neighbors, which is what led to so many Christians being killed for trying to save Jews there in Poland.

The Garden Of The Righteous Among The Nations

But I didn’t know what we were getting into in any way, shape, fashion, or form. It’s just, “Let’s go to Poland and they want us to come see some things going on there” And we did. So we met with political leaders but it was really meeting the people that was so, so, so, very fascinating.

In Israel at Yad Vashem which is a memorial to the Holocaust. They have what’s called, “The Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations.” In Jewish culture, if someone dies you don’t put flowers on their grave because flowers are gone in a couple of days. You plant a tree for them which lasts for generations or you put a stone on their grave marker.  A stone is going to be there for forever. And so that’s how they honor the dead is with lasting memorials, not with temporary ones like we often do on the Christian side.

So the Righteous Among the Nations there in Israel, they plant a tree for all these various people that were non-Jews who risked their life to save Jews. So as part of what we did there, we met with several of the Righteous Among the Nations who are still alive in Poland.

Matter of fact, we sat down in an old kind of bomb shelter from the old part of Poland. When the Germans came into Poland they just bombed the city. I mean, they just tore it up. They destroyed 85 percent of the city of Warsaw. Bombed it out, took it over. Again, “We’re going to turn to the Polish people into slaves.”

So, we’re in one of these restaurants. It was really kind of underground and didn’t get totally bombed. We’re there with seven of these folks that are Righteous Among the Nations. So we’re sitting there with seven heroes, seven people who risked their own life.

The German policy was, “If you do anything to help a Jewish person you and your entire family will be shot on the spot.”

Smuggling Jews Out Of The Warsaw Ghetto

We went to a place called Markov. They have a memorial there to the Alma family. The Alma family tried to help some Jews.  They were a Polish Christian family trying to help some Jews. And the Alma family was the man and the wife, there were six children ranged from eight years old down to a year and a half old.

When the Germans found that they’re trying to help the Jews.  They went in and shot every kid. Started with the year and a half old all the way up to the mother and father, killed every one of them.

So that’s the penalty. And the law also said, “If you have the intent to help a Jew, if you even mention to someone, ‘I would sure like to help those people.’ You’re going to be executed right there.”

So as we were going through, I was asking them, which I had to do through a translator. And we were talking to a 98 year old guy who was there. Man was he articulate, and strong, he looked like he might have been 65 or 70.

We were talking to him and said, “How many Jews did you save?” He said, “Well, I saved 54.”

“Fifty-Four?”

He said, “Yeah. You know, the Gestapo was really corrupt back then. I found that I could buy a Jew for one kilo of gold.”

So he would go around to collect jewelry, necklaces, whatever. And for 2.2 pounds of gold, he could redeem one Jew. So he bought 20 Jews to make sure that they did not die. Bought them from the Gestapo who was putting them in death camps.

Then another thirty Jews he went into what was called The Warsaw Ghetto and smuggled them out from under the nose of the Nazis and put them to work in his factory and gave them different names.

You know, he kidded and said, “And one of them was so pretty I just married her, that’s how I saved her.”

Rick:

Did he really?

David:

Yeah.

Hiding Jews In Cupboards

So we go down and we talk to another woman who was 87 year old who had saved nine Jews. At the start of the war, when the Germans bombed the city, killed her father and so it was left with her.  She was nine years old, her sister was six, and left with her mother. The three of them in the apartment.

And they moved nine Jews into the apartment and hid them in the cupboards, hid them in the cabinets, and kept them there for nearly four years. So whenever the Germans would come by they had these hiding places they would put them in. She still owns one of the cupboards where they hid Jews in that period of time. So, she saved nine.

You’ve got to be pretty brave. The Germans coming around it’s a death penalty if they find anything.

We got to a 96 year old woman and she said, “Well, I wasn’t very brave. I was really, really scared. I saw my friends executed for helping Jews. I was standing in the ghetto one day and somebody very kindly threw a piece of bread to a Jewish child and when the Jewish child bent over and picked up the bread the German Nazis shot the child right there on the spot. I watched them kill. I was scared to death.” And yet, she saved Jews.

Knowing what she knew and what she saw. It’s really kind of interesting, she’s 96 years old and she lives on an upper floor in her apartment. And since World War II she has never used an elevator, at all.

Tim:

Wow!

David:

Because in World War II they told her, “Don’t use the elevators because the Nazi forces can shut the power off. You’ll be trapped in the elevator and they can kill you.”

Rick:

To this day-

David:

She just got in the habit of not using the elevator. She’s 96 years old and there was a 90-year-old. I mean we’re just talking to these and getting their stories, and you’re going, “You guys are unbelievable.”

Rick:

Another quick break, David. We’ll be right back in just a second. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

DVD On Common Core

David:

Hi, friends! This is David Barton of WallBuilders. The current condition of education in America is abysmal. Not only is educational achievement plummeting, but every year, some 19 percent of high school seniors who graduate is completely illiterate. They can’t read at all but it was not always this way.

For generations, we taught students how to think. But after the progressives took over education in the early 20th century, things began to radically change. Education shifted from thinking to learning, which made the emphasis on the teachers rather than the students. And that elevated indoctrination above knowledge.

At that time, progressives also made massive changes in the way we tested students. They extended school from 8 to 12 years. They introduced graded education and they added compulsory education. Statistics prove that these changes have harmed education rather than helped it. And now the progressives are pushing common core.

In our new DVD on common core, we give you eight reasons why this current approach is so dangerous to our kids and our culture. We also show you an amazing history of education. So get this new DVD at WallBuilders.com.

Buying Jewish Lives Back From The Nazis

Rick:
We’re back on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. Getting the report from David on this amazing trip to Poland. David, you talked about some of these incredible people. What did you say,  96 and 98, the two stories you told us so far?

David:

Yeah, 98, 96, 87 year old woman who saved nine, a 90 year old woman who is still is working to this day. It’s just unbelievable people. You just start asking their story and it’s  unreal. The whole culture was so dangerous at that time because Poland is really where your biggest death camps were. They’re not concentration camps, they were extermination camps, they are literally called extermination. Auschwitz, everybody knows about Auschwitz. The big extermination camp, that’s in Poland.

Rick:

When you hear that you think that it’s in Germany. Atrocities of World War II and Auschwitz and those kind of places. But that’s in Poland. And these people that you’re talking about saving, the Jews, these are, I grew up reading the Hiding Place. These are those kind of stories where they’re literally saving the lives of these Jews by hiding them from the Nazis. Or in that guy’s case, actually buying their lives back.

David:

Buying their lives back. Redeeming their lives, literally, is what that word would be, to redeem them. It’s not only Auschwitz, but there was also Treblinka. Auschwitz about 1.2 million killed and about 800,000 in Treblinka. Then you have Sobibor, another massive extermination camp.

Auschwitz Gas Shower Chambers

Treblinka is a good example of how this worked. In Treblinka, you had Treblinka camp 1 and Treblinka camp 2. Treblinka camp 1 was the labor camp, that’s where they put all these Jews over there and they were workers. They were chopping wood, sawing wood, and making firewood.

Well, they kept that camp pretty distant from Treblinka 2. Because Treblinka 2 was the extermination camp. All these guys chopping wood over in camp one they used that wood to incinerate all the bodies over in camp two.

And so you had some labor camps. And the guys chopping wood had no clue that that wood is being used to burn their own families and burn their neighbors and-

Rick:

You got to slow down a second. For us to even comprehend that. They were literally chopping wood that would burn, incinerate, the bodies- and even to comprehend the numbers. We hear the numbers thrown out, six million or 12 million. I mean millions and millions of lives. To try to imagine the number of bodies coming through Auschwitz and the number of bodies that these people are dealing with. I mean it’s  unfathomable. I know a lot of people may have seen some of the videos that are out there, you can still see some of the clips and things on YouTube even now. But this is kind of hard to even comprehend.

David:

It is hard, even the tactics. Auschwitz started out as a place where they were killing Polish people. That was where they were killing the ones they thought would be leaders. The educators, the professors, and the preachers, that’s where they sent them.

And then they said, “No, let’s convert this.” Hitler said, “Let’s convert this to an extermination camp for Jews.” And so when they would bring the trains in, the train car is supposed to hold about 40 people in a car. They’d put 150 people in a car and they’d leave them there for several days and then they’d send them to Auschwitz.

When then they got them off they’d use these whips to beat them. What they found was if you have a car load, or if you have a train with 15 cars and you got 150 people in each car, you get 2,000 people getting off the train and you start beating them, they go into a frenzy and they spread in every direction. You can’t corral them, you can’t do it.

So they put the whips away and started using kindness. And so as the Jews would get off the trains in Auschwitz they would say, “Oh, you’ve had a hard time. We’re so sorry. Listen, we want to relocate you to a different place. Take your bags, put your bags over here on the side. Make sure you put your names on the bags and make sure you get a bag receipt for your bag. Because after you go through the processing center we want you to come back and get your bags to take to your new home.

Tim:

So they are essentially disarming them emotionally. Major deception and major lies so they don’t feel like this is a threatening place. Therefore, they embrace whatever’s happening, it’s not a big deal, and what happened was ultimately, death.

David:

What happened was then they would take you to the next step and say, “You know, it’s been a long, hard journey. I’ll tell you what, before we send you over to new homes why don’t you go in here and take a shower? We’ve got clothes for you and robes.”

So, where you go to take the shower that’s the gas chambers. And so you willingly walk into the gas chambers and take a bath because you’re going to get out and get your new home and you go back and get your bags.

Tim:

I would even say, “willingly” is relative. Because they still were compelling them to go in, but it wasn’t the same emotional distress there could have been.

David: That’s right.

Tim:

However, looking, even in those gas chambers, they were forcing people to get fully nude with hundreds of others because they said, “We don’t have to deal with their clothes being gassed.” So it still was not a comfortable position, even in the Jew’s mind thinking, “This is weird, I don’t want to do this.” But it wasn’t as threatening as if there were to be machine guns and these dogs biting and machetes or whatever it is. So, ultimately, it was this major deception to lead them to their death.

How This Young Boy’s Life Was Saved

Mengele, who is the butcher of them all. There’s a 13 year old kid I was talking to who’s now quite old, but when he got off the train with his mother his mother- and they were Jewish folks helping there.

They were compelled to help. And went to one of the Jewish folks and said, “What’s happening?” And the guy just couldn’t handle it, he turned and ran. Couldn’t even talk to her.  Went to the second Jewish folk and said, “What is this?” He said, “Get your son out of here, now.” 13 year old kid. Went to the third Jewish inmate and said, “What’s happening.” She said, “Get your son out now!”

And so she got the message that this is bad stuff. So she turned to her son in front of some strangers there and said, “I hate you. I never wanted you. I never wanted to see you. I don’t want to see you again, get away from me as long as I live.” And she shoved him into the arms of these strangers. She’d figured out what was going on but she didn’t want him to know.

So he gets over there and he thought, “I never want to see my mother again, ever. I can’t believe she did this to me in front of these people.” Then Mengel came up to the guy and stroked him on the side of his face and said, “Oh what a cute young boy you are. You are so nice. How old are you?”

The boy said, for whatever reason, that he’s 13. If he’d been 13 he would have been killed on the spot. He didn’t know that they killed all children. He said, “I’m 16.” And a guy behind him said, “Yeah, he’s my son and we are Polish artisans, we do mosaics.”

And so Mengele looked at them and said, “We’ve got use for you.” And he put them over in the line that saved their life.

And so that kid about two hours later said, “That nice man who met me on the track-” Mengele, didn’t know who he was. “ That nice man, I lied to him. I told him I was 16, I am just 13. I need to go back and tell him I’m only 13.” And so he started to go back-

Tim:

So his conscience convicted him having no idea it would cost him his life.

David:

And he went back and one of the Jewish inmate’s guards grabbed him and said, “What are you doing?”

He said, “I’m going back to tell that nice man I lied to him.”

Tim:

One of the inmates or one of the guard?

David:

Well, it’s not a Jewish guard, it’s a Jewish inmate. They were kind of forced to. And so he said, “I’m going to go back and tell that nice man that I’m only 13.” He said, “Stupid!” And he shoved him back and he saved his life. He later found out who Mengele was.

But the Germans use such deception, such niceness to come across. And now you’ve got a kid who says, “Now I understand my mother, why she did that.” She saved my life. Mengele was not this nice guy. So that Auschwitz camp and that’s what they learned to do to kill millions, millions, millions of people.

Rick:

And this is the guy, he’s the one that did all the medical experiments.

David:

With no anesthetics and used them as guinea pigs-

This Proves Good Things Are Christian, Bad Things Are Pagan

Rick:

I’ve got to ask you because we’ve got about two minutes left here. In seeing all that, how much did that drive you to the question of, “There is evil in the world.  How do we stop it? How do we prevent that from happening?”

David:

That’s never been a question for me. From studying history you see that every evil that’s ever appeared in the world also occurs in every generation. History teaches you that what you have to deal with is human nature. Not technology, technology changes all the time.

Look how fast it’s changed in our lifetime. We’re dealing with the same human issues the Founding Fathers dealt with, the same human issues that Moses dealt, with the same human issues that Noah dealt with, and the same human issues that Adam and Eve dealt with.

It does not change ever. The evil that’s there, it still works in the same deceptive means today. It still has that nice smiling face. “A homosexual lifestyle, it’s such a wonderful lifestyle.” Yeah? Why don’t you look at the medical stats and see if that’s really true?

So it always disguises itself in different ways. It comes through different means. We see it all the time. So, what I learned is, what I already knew, and that is, human nature does not change. And if you don’t have the impact of religion to change a heart you will end up like the Nazis. These are guys who had no conscience and that comes from not fearing God. We know that from our scriptures.

But there were so many impacted. I mean, we literally saw a couple of the actual hiding places where they hid these Jews. One of the guys who actually had Jews in their place took us way back in the mountains where he hid the Jews.

It was just so cool. One of the guys, actually still is friends with some of the people he saved. So we get to go eat lunch with both the savior and the saved. It was unbelievable stuff.

So you see the good stuff of human nature because the Christians were saving the Jews.  Jews and Christians working together. And then the pagans, the Nazis, you see what happens when you have a secular, God-free society.

It goes back to what FDR said, “When we declare war against Germany it proves that there is not adequate living room in the world for both Hitler and God.” Hitler’s pagan religion is to replace the cross of Christ with the swastika on the naked sword and replace the Bible with Mein Kampf.

I mean, even FDR saw this as a combat between paganism and Christianity. And that’s what Poland proves is the good stuff is Bible based, Jews and Christians. The bad stuff is secular pagan.

Rick:

Incredibly powerful! Folks, by the way, go to WallBuilders.com and watch the videos. You’ll see some videos of our library where David and Tim are going through some of the posters from World War II that tell this very story.

The quote that he just gave you by FDR and some incredible things that you need to be teaching your kids and your grandkids so that we can keep from repeating that evil. Let’s keep God in America and not let ourselves ever go down that road.

Thanks for sharing your story David. Thanks for just a powerful experience to be shared with our listeners. Thanks for listening today folks.  You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!