An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945
An Eye For An Eye (book cover) by John Sack (1993).jpg
AuthorJohn Sack
PublisherBasic Books
Publication date
October 1993
Media typePrint (Hardcover)

An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945 is a 1993 book by John Sack, in which Sack states that some Jews in Eastern Europe took revenge on their former captors while overseeing over 1,000 concentration camps in Poland for German civilians. Sack provides details of the imprisonment of 200,000 Germans "many of them starved, beaten and tortured" and estimates that "more than 60,000 died at the hands of a largely Jewish-run security organisation." A professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, Antony Polonsky, said that his "research appears to be sound",[1] but he and other reviewers have questioned the "extent of Jewish persecution of Germans", in Sack's book.[2][3][4]

Polish historians including Tadeusz Wolsza from the Polish Academy of Sciences and Krzysztof Szwagrzyk from the Institute of National Remembrance inform that in 1945–1950 there were between 206 and 500 internment camps set up mostly by the Soviet NKVD at the former Nazi slave-labor camps in Greater Poland and across Silesia, but the numbers reaching or ever exceeding 1,000 have no grounds in reality.[5][6]


According to Holocaust writer Daniel Goldhagen's review of the book in The New Republic, most of the people working in these camps were not Jewish and Goldhagen argued Sack did his best to conceal this.[7] Goldhagen cited a November 1945 report that only 1.7% of the members of the Office of State Security were Jews as refutation of Sack's figure of 75%.[7] Sack responded that he had stated his figure for officers in Kattowitz in February, not all members in November, and that he had also written that hundreds of Jews left OSS during the year.[8] Sack said that he attempted to publish a response in a letter to the editor of The New Republic but the magazine refused it. Sack said that The New Republic agreed to publish his reply as an advertisement, but later reversed its position.[8]

Sack has responded to American critics of the book who say that it is "sensational and its charges inadequately attributed to source" by replying that his extensive research left little doubt that Jews ran the Swietochlowice camp "from the bottom to the top", he added "It pains me as a Jew to report this".[9]

Sack expressed surprise at criticisms denying the accuracy of his claims, asserting that the main points have been repeatedly confirmed by others, the TV programme 60 Minutes and The New York Times[9] among them.[10]

In 1995, the German publisher Piper Verlag pulled the book after printing it, apparently in response to a review by Eike Geisel that called it "antisemitic fodder".[2] According to Sack, Geisel claimed to quote a passage that doesn't exist in the book,[11] it was published by another German publisher instead.[11][12]


  1. ^ Crittenden, Jules (13 December 1993). Book claiming Jewish revenge vs. Germans creates dispute, Boston Herald
  2. ^ a b Streitfeld, David. (15 February 1995). Book on Jewish-Run `Revenge' Camps Is Pulled, The Washington Post ("A German publisher has abruptly canceled a book that investigates the Jewish role in running internment camps in Poland after World War II, saying the work otherwise could be "cause for some misunderstanding."")
  3. ^ Kevles, Bettyann (23 December 1993). A Post-Holocaust Search for Revenge, Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ Streitfeld, David (7 February 1997). `Revenge' Talk Scratched; Holocaust Museum Disinvites Author, The Washington Post ("Sack's talk was an outgrowth of An Eye for an Eye, his controversial 1993 book about "a second atrocity" after the Holocaust.")
  5. ^ Wolsza, Tadeusz (2010). "Obozy i inne miejsca odosobnienia na ziemiach polskich w latach 1944–1958" [Internment camps on Polish soil in 1944–1958]. Klub Historyczny im. gen. Stefana Roweckiego. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  6. ^ Szwagrzyk, Krzysztof (2005). "Aparat Bezpieczenstwa w Polsce. Kadra kierownicza. Tom I: 1944–1956 (The Security Service in Poland. Directorate. Volume One: 1944–1956)" (PDF). Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), Warsaw. pp. 25, 59, 62, 535. ISBN 83-89078-94-5. Archived from the original (PDF direct download: 3.63 MB) on January 4, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2013. A report written by the Soviet NKVD General Nikołaj Seliwanowski dated 20 October 1945 stated that 18,7% of the field operatives in the Ministry of Public Security (Poland) were Jewish, including 50% of its departmental directors. Notably, all directors of the critical Department One were Jewish with no exception. Szwagrzyk himself used the existing records declassified after the collapse of the Soviet empire to estimate that in 1944-54 the real percentage of Jewish directors was 37.1% decreasing to 34.5% in 1954-56, before the end of Stalinism in Poland. – Szwagrzyk, p. 59.
  7. ^ a b Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah (27 December 1993). False Witness, The New Republic
  8. ^ a b Sack, An Eye for an Eye, 4th edition 2000, pp. 174–175
  9. ^ a b Whitney, Craig R. (1 November 1994). "Poles Review Postwar Treatment of Germans". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
  10. ^ Stewart, James. John Sack Archived April 16, 2004, at the Wayback Machine, in Dictionary of Literary Biography, Retrieved May 7, 2012
  11. ^ a b Sack, An Eye for an Eye, 4th edition 2000, pp. 175, 236.
  12. ^ John Sack (1995). Auge um Auge. Die Geschichte von Juden, die Rache für den Holocaust suchten. Kabel Verlag. ISBN 978-3822503393.

See also[edit]