Bogdan Musiał (born 1960) is a Polish-German historian with Polish
background and dual citizenship. Born in Poland, Musiał arrived to
Germany as a political refugee in 1985 where he became a naturalized
citizen, and returned to
Poland in 2010. He specializes in the history
of World War II.
Bogdan Musiał was born in 1960 in Wielopole, Dąbrowa County, Poland.
He worked in Silesian mines and worked with the Polish Solidarność
movement. On account of the latter involvement, he was persecuted by
state security and in 1985 sought and received political asylum in the
Federal Republic of Germany; in 1992 he was naturalized. He worked as
a mechanic, and from 1990 to 1998 studied history, political science
and sociology at the
Leibniz University of Hannover
Leibniz University of Hannover and the University
of Manchester. In 1998 he graduated with a thesis on the treatment of
Jews in occupied Poland.
From 1991 to 1998, Musiał received a scholarship from Friedrich Ebert
Foundation. During that time he was one of the main critics of the
Wehrmachtsausstellung exhibition compiled by the Hamburg Institute for
Social Research, which eventually had to be seriously revised before
reopening to conform with his findings.
Since 1998 he served as scientific researcher at the German Historical
Institute in Warsaw where he has studied previously inaccessible
sources about crimes of the Soviet
NKVD during the Soviet retreat in
1941 which escalated violence.
In 2007, writing in
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Musiał said that
Zygmunt Bauman was a former agent for the Polish secret service
between 1945 and 1953 and that he had participated in political
cleansing of opponents. Bauman responded by saying that he would not
dignify Musiał with an answer as "I don't want to give weight or
importance to something which is [composed of] half-truths and 100%
lies. What is true in his article is not new, because everybody knew I
was a communist". Prior research by Piotr Gontarczyk showed
that Bauman was a political officer, and a secret informant of
communist authorities who was awarded for fighting Polish independence
In 2008 he published the book Kampfplatz Deutschland. Since 2010 he
Poland and works at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University
in Warsaw.
In 2008, Musiał published a controversial article in Rzeczpospolita,
alleging that Polish historian Włodzimierz Borodziej's, who had
advocated for new research into the Flight and expulsion of Germans
Poland during and after World War II, father had been an officer
Służba Bezpieczeństwa and arranged for his son position in the
German-Polish Textbook Commission, which per Musiał tarnish
Borodziej's credibility as a historian.
Musial is critical of work by the Holocaust writer Jan Gross, stating
that rather than being a historic research it a commercial work,
largely distorting history, according to Musial there are far more
credible serious scholarly works, and Gross should be ignored as it
only serves to give him publicity.
Musiał criticized the Polish Foreign Ministry for recommending the
book Inferno of Choices: Poles and the Holocaust, as a advancing a
""pedagogy of shame", that may have an irreparable effect on the
Polish image abroad. He has also criticized the Aftermath
film based on the events in the Jedwabne pogrom and its director
Władysław Pasikowski, saying that countries outside of
not put up with similar disdain.
Musial supports demanding war reparations from Germany for destruction
and loss of life
Poland endured from Nazi Germany which he views as
unpaid (Germany claims the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect
to Germany waived such claims).
Concerning the international outcry over the 2018 Amendment to
Poland's Act on the Institute of National Remembrance, Musiał says
that memory of the Holocaust serves Israel as a central motif of
national identity—as a foundation myth, a substitute religion that
has supplanted Judaism in an increasingly secularized world, and as an
element that integrates the Jewish diaspora, particularly in the
United States. Musiał states that it is hard to deny that Jews
suffered in an exceptional and special way that makes their experience
unique, especially in view of what he describes as the "horrific
scale" of the Nazi genocide. According to Musiał, the complicity of
Poles in the Holocaust has become part of this religion, and therefore
Israelis are outraged over the Polish Amendment on a basis of emotion
rather than of historical facts. Musiał, as a historian, disagrees
with attempts to show Poles as co-responsible for the
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Musiał's research of
Soviet partisans in Sowjetische Partisanen
1941-1944, was reviewed by
Karel C. Berkhoff who noted that the book
did not appear to contain printing errors, was easy to read, and will
likely remain a comprehensive description of partisan warfare in
Belarus due to its large source base. However, Berkhoff also describes
that the book has two key weaknesses. The first is not making the
protagonists, never pictured, come alive as individuals with the book
remaining too close to the sources, despite Musiał's great skill. The
second element criticized by Berkhoff is ascribing independent
partisans groups to "Soviet", questioning the use of "movement" to
describe the partisans, the rejection of anti-Semitism with regard to
the Polish Home Army units in Belarus which attack Jews, not exploring
the degree of loyalty to Stalin's state, the propaganda issued by the
groups, and lack of a comparison between the partisans described and
other partisans in Belarus, Ukraine, or western Europe.
According to Joanna Michlic, Musiał belongs to an ethno-nationalist
school of thought in
Poland that also includes Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
and Tomasz Strzembosz. According to Michlic this groups treats
the notion of
Żydokomuna (Judeo-Communism) not as an antisemitic
canard but rather an image rooted in historical reality, in which Jews
were pro-Soviet and anti-Polish, basing their claims on primary
wartime sources of various origins.
Per Anders Rudling, reviewing “Konterrevolutionäre Elemente sind zu
erschießen”: Die Brutalisieung des deutsch-sowjetischen Krieges im
Sommer 1941. (“Counter-revolutionary Elements are to be Shot”: The
Brutalization of the German-Soviet War in the Summer of 1941), wrote
that book was not very well received by German Holocaust historians,
receiving sharp criticism. Rudling notes that Musiał predicted in his
introduction that "German liberal intellectuals are not going to like
his book for political reasons. In his eyes, the sensitiveness
surrounding the subject of the Holocaust and the National Socialist
past has often worked as a block to a scholarly approach to the
subject". Musiał places responsibility for the outbreak of World War
II both on Germany and on the Soviet Union, with
Poland and Poles
being the primary victims. Rudling criticizes Musiał for not
describing how and why
Poland ended up possession of Western Ukraine
Western Belorussia (east of the Curzon Line) as a result of the
use of force in the
Polish–Soviet War in violation of the principles
of national self-determination set up by Wilson. Musiał fails to
comment on possible reasons some members of the minorities in the east
may have had to take revenge of their former Polish masters following
the Soviet invasion of
Poland in 1939. According to Rudling Musiał
makes use of " controversial statistics, aimed at pointing out that
Poles were singled out and subjected to uniquely harsh terror under
Stalin, often at the hands of Jews. However, the statistics Musial
relies on to back his claim seem somewhat exaggerated". Rudling
concludes by saying that "By focusing on these tragic events, the book
has stirred up a debate. It is a debate with unpleasant undertones of
nationalism and ethnic hatred, and perhaps not at the level at which
we may want to see academic debates conducted, but it is still a
debate". Noting that the book in no way measures up to Jan T. Gross's
Revolution from abroad, which stands unrivaled as the most complete
study of the tragic events in 1939-41 in
Western Ukraine and Western
Belarus. However, despite its limitations, Musiał's book does add
knowledge to the subject area.
Wolfram Wette wrote that the book
is full of contradictions and confuses perpetrators and victims.
According to Wette the parts of the books describing the Soviet
occupation of Eastern
Poland contain interesting information, however
Musiał's assertion that "Between 1939 and 1941 ... Soviet terror in
Poland was comparable to Nazi terror in German-occupied
Poland, if not worse." anticipates his findings that are affected by a
"specifically Polish anti-Sovietism" attitude.
Alexander B. Rossino from Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, states that
Musial research is detailed and has resulted in a more nuanced
understanding of Jewish involvement with Soviet occupation forces.
Rossino underlines that while Musiał has been criticized for claiming
that Jews in eastern
Poland were over represented in Soviet
institutions, examination of witness reports discovered many cases
Jewish militia members directly participated in mass arrests and
deportation actions. Rossino writes that other scholars of the final
solution in the occupied Soviet Union have corroborated Musiał's
findings. He names among them Yitzhak Arad who wrote that Jews played
a relatively large role in the Communist Party that was behind actions
in occupied Poland.Other scholars include Dov Levin who wrote "the
labeling of the Soviet administration as a 'Jewish regime' became
widespread when Jewish militiamen helped
NKVD agents send local Poles
into exile.Rossino names also Jan Gross who according to him wrote in
1983 that "Jewish collaboration" with the Soviet authorities was
behind the sudden upsurge of anti-Semitism among the non-Jewish
population in eastern Poland.
"Aktion Reinhardt". Der Völkermord an den Juden im
Generalgouvernement 1941-1944 (The Origins of “Operation
Reinhard”: The Decision-Making Process for the Mass Murder of the
Jews in the General Government) Osnabrück 2004
Sowjetische Partisanen in Weißrußland. Innenansichten aus dem Gebiet
Baranovici 1941-1944. Eine Dokumentation (Soviets partisans in
Belarus). Oldenbourg Verlag, München 2004,
“The Origins of ‘Operation Reinhard’: The Decision-Making
Process for the Mass Murder of the Jews in the Generalgouvernment.”
Yad Vashem Studies 28 (2000): 113-153.
Deutsche Zivilverwaltung und Judenverfolgung im Generalgouvernement.
Eine Fallstudie zum Distrikt Lublin 1939-1944. Harrassowitz Verlag,
Wiesbaden 1999, ISBN 3-447-04208-7.
Kampfplatz Deutschland, Stalins Kriegspläne gegen den Westen
(Battle-ground Germany, Stalin's plans of war against the West).
Propyläen, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-549-07335-3.
Sowjetische Partisanen 1941–1944: Mythos und Wirklichkeit (Soviet
partisans. Myth and Reality), Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag,
2009; 592 pages. ISBN 978-3-506-76687-8.
"Stalins Beutezug. Die Plünderung Deutschlands und der Aufstieg der
Sowjetunion zur Weltmacht" (Stalin's plundering raid. The plundering
of Germany and the rise of the Soviet Union to a
Superpower),Propyläen, Berlin 2010. ISBN 978-3-549-07370-4.
^ a b Bogdan Musial, Konterrevolutionäre Elemente sind zu
erschießen. Die Brutalisierung des deutsch-sowjetischen Krieges im
Sommer 1941, Propyläen Verlag, Berlin 2000, ISBN 3-549-07126-4.
^ Bogdan Musial (ed), Sowjetische Partisanen in Weißrußland by Marek
Jan Chodakiewicz. Archived 2012-07-18 at the Wayback Machine. The
Sarmatian Review, April 2006 Issue.
^ "Crimes of the German Wehrmacht: Dimensions of a War of Annihilation
1941-1944" (PDF). Press releases, January to November 2000. Hamburg
Institute for Social Research: 9–13. Archived from the original
(PDF) on November 24, 2015. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
^ Professor with a past, Guardian, Aida Edemariam, 2007
^ The Sociology of Zygmunt Bauman: Challenges and Critique, Michael
Hviid Jacobsen, page 6, 2008
^ Zygmunt Bauman: Why Good People Do Bad Things, Shaun Best, page 12,
^ Piotr Gontarczyk, Towarzysz Semjon. Nieznany życiorys Zygmunta
Baumana, „Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej”, nr 6 (65),
czerwiec 2006, dok. 2.
Poland – Contested Pasts and Future Identities, Ewa
Ochman, page 172
^ Innocent Stalin and bad Poles, Rzeczpospolita, May 2008, Bogdan
^ How did the Institute of National Remembrance arrange for prof.
Borodziej, Wyborcza, September 2008
^ The truth in black and white, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 10 Aug 2012
^ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes a book about Polish
anti-Semitism, RP, 7 Aug 2012
^ Professor Bogdan Musiał: Harmful image of an anti-Semite Pole in
the book "Inferno of Choices, wpolityce, 2012
^ The legacy of anti-Semites, Spiegel, 16 Jan 2013
^ Our interview: "Aftermath" reproduces historical falsity,
Niezależna.pl, 14 Nov 2012
^ Striving for Historical Justice, 16 Jan 2018, Harvard Political
^ The Dark Return of Polish Anti-Semitism, Commentary magazine, Ben
Cohen, 16 Feb 2018
The Holocaust as a "substitute religion".
Bogdan Musiał in "Sieci":
It is not about historical facts, but about faith. So it's hard to be
surprised by Israel's reaction, wpolityce, 2018
^ "Holocaust a substitute religion for Judaism." Professor Bogdan
Musiał about the hysteria of the Israelis, Pch24, 9 Feb 2018
^ Reviewed by Karel Berkhoff (October 2010). "Bogdan Musial.
Sowjetische Partisanen 1941-1944: Mythos und Wirklichkeit. Paderborn:
Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag, 2009. 592 S. ISBN 978-3-506-76687-8".
Published on H-Soz-u-Kult.
^ Bringing the Dark Past to Light: The Reception of the Holocaust in
Postcommunist Europe, edited by John-Paul Himka, Joanna Beata Michlic,
^ Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-occupied
Poland, edited by Elazar Barkan, Elizabeth A. Cole, Kai Struve, page
^ Shared History, Divided Memory: Jews and Others in Soviet-occupied
Poland, edited by Elazar Barkan, Elizabeth A. Cole, Kai Struve, page
^ Rudling, Per Anders. "Bogdan Musial and the Question of Jewish
Responsibility for the Pogroms in Lviv in the Summer of 1941." East
European Jewish Affairs 35.1 (2005): 69-89.
^ Bogdan Musial: Konterrevolutionäre Elemente sind zu erschießen.
Die Brutalisierung des deutsch-sowjetischen Krieges im Sommer 1941
(review), Wolfram Wette
^ Polish "Neighbors" and German Invaders: Contextualizing Anti-Jewish
Violence in the Białystok District during the Opening Weeks of
Operation Barbarossa, Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 16 (2003)
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (January 23, 2005). "Review of Bogdan Musial,
Sowjetische Partisanen in Weißrußland: Innenansichten aus dem Gebiet
Baranoviči, 1941-1944". "The myth exposed." Scholarly book review.
Washington, DC: The Institute of World Politics. Retrieved 29 February
^ Karel Berkhoff (October 2010). "Review of Musial, Bogdan,
Sowjetische Partisanen 1941-1944: Mythos und Wirklichkeit". Scholarly
review published by H-Net Reviews. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
Paweł Paliwoda (February 2, 2001),
Bogdan Musiał interviewed by
Paweł Paliwoda. Życie, Internet Archive.
ISNI: 0000 0003 8345 7921