Salomon Morel


Salomon Morel

Salomon (Solomon or Shlomo) Morel (November 15 1919 in Grabowo, Poland – February 14 2007 in Tel Aviv) was a Jew born in Poland. He was a Holocaust survivor who, between February and November 1945, was a member of the Urząd Bezpieczeństwa (State Security) and the commandant of the Stalinist-era concentration camp Zgoda in Świętochłowice, Poland. The camp held political prisoners, German nationals and Poles from Silesia. Most of the inmates were civilians, including women and some children . Up to 1,695 people (out of 6,000 inmates who had passed through the camp during this period) died, most due to ill treatment and outright torture and murder. Morel was accused of causing these deaths by deliberately giving low food rations, systematically torturing and mistreating prisoners, and failing to take sanitary precautions. In 1992, he fled to Israel from Katowice, Poland after the Polish media had begun to publicize his case. He refused to return to Poland, where he was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, for his trial which began in 1996. Israel rejected several Polish requests for extradition, the last one in July 2005.

During the war

Morel was the son of a baker. As the family business turned sour, he moved to live with his aunt in Łódź where he worked as a salesman. After the war started, he returned to live with his parents. He hid along with his family in order to avoid being deported to a ghetto. During the war, he and his family were hidden by Józef Tkaczyk. (In 1983 Józef Tkaczyk was designated as one of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for saving Morel’s life.)

At this point, there are somewhat divergent accounts of Morel's activities. According to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), in charge of prosecuting war criminals and the initiator of the extradition request, at the beginning of 1942 he and his brother organised a criminal band and robbed local people. The IPN claims their criminal activity ended when during one of their robberies they were captured by members of the Polish People's Army. According to the IPN, to avoid punishment Morel placed all the blame on his brother, and then joined the communist partisans, where he worked as a janitor and a guide through the forests. [http://www.ipn.gov.pl/eng/eng_swietoch_sm.html]

The Israeli letter rejecting extradition states that Morel joined the partisans of the Red Army in 1942, and was in the forests when his parents, sister-in-law, and brother were killed by Polish Blue Police officers; the next year, his brother was killed by a Polish fascist. According to a number of sources, including the "Montreal Gazette", Morel claimed that he was at one point an inmate in Auschwitz and over 30 of his relatives were killed in the Holocaust.The IPN report claims they Morel was never imprisoned at Auschwitz.

Zgoda camp

Zgoda camp was set up by the Soviet NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB, after the Red Army entered southern Poland. The camp was later handed over to the Communist Polish secret service, the notorious Urząd Bezpieczeństwa. On March 15, 1945, Morel became a chief of the labor camp. According to Jonathan Sack:

On the first night at Swietochlowice, when the first contingent of Germans arrived, at about 10 o'clock at night he walked into one of the barracks and he said to the Germans, 'My name is Morel. I am a Jew. My mother and father, my family, I think they're all dead, and I swore that if I got out alive, I was going to get back at you Nazis. And now you're going to pay for what you did.'

As early as 1945 Salomon Morel’s superiors from the Ministry of Public Security's Prison System Department affirmed his responsibility for the spread of epidemics and penalized him by placing him under house arrest for three days.

Some current research shows that 1,695 prisoners died due to the epidemic of dysentery, typhus and typhoid fever which resulted from hunger and bad sanitary conditions in the camp, and that Morel not only did nothing to prevent the spread of their diseases but in fact created conditions to facilitate their spread. He was charged with creating unbearable life conditions threatening of biological annihilation, specifically starvation, torture and physical and psychological abuse. Israeli officials dispute the figure of 1,695 prisoners, asserting that the camp only had 600 prisoners during the time Morel was Commander. [Shoshana Olidort. Poland Gives Up Campaign To Extradite Israeli Citizen. [http://www.forward.com/articles/2461/ "The Jewish Daily Forward".] Jul 29, 2005.]

Extradition controversy

In 1998, an extradition request for Morel was rejected by Israel. A reply sent to the Polish Justice Ministry from Israeli authorities said that Israel would not extradite Mr Morel as the statute of limitations had expired on war crimes.

In April 2004, Poland filed another extradition order against Morel, this time with fresh evidence, upgrading the case to "crimes against humanity." In July 2005 this request was again formally refused. The response rejected the more serious charges as being false, and again rejected extradition on the grounds that the statute of limitations against Morel had run out, and that Morel was in bad health. Ewa Koj, a prosecutor with the Polish government-run Institute of National Remembrance, criticized the decision saying::How can a statute of limitations run out on crimes against humanity? There should be one measure for judging war criminals, irrespective whether they are German, Israeli, or any other nationality. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/596757.html] .

The IPN prosecutor also said that the case could not be "swept under the carpet" and added: "The Israelis are extremely efficient in pursuing people they have accused of such crimes - and they must accept that other nations want to do the same. Morel himself stated that he was innocent of any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as an anti-semitic plot.

The Israeli Justice Ministry said it had carried out a full investigation of the charges. In a letter to the Polish government, the Ministry wrote there was "no basis to charge Mr. Morel with serious crimes, let alone crimes of ‘genocide’ or ‘crimes against the Polish nation’" and added that the case “raises many questions concerning the events of the era immediately following World War II, during which approximately 1,000 Jews were murdered by Polish citizens in Poland." [Shoshana Olidort. Poland Gives Up Campaign To Extradite Israeli Citizen. [http://www.forward.com/articles/2461/ "The Jewish Daily Forward".] Jul 29, 2005.]

ee also

*Czesław Gęborski

References

ources

* John Sack, "", John Sack, 4th rev. edition, April 2000, ISBN 0-9675691-0-9

External links

* [http://www.ipn.gov.pl/portal.php?serwis=en&dzial=2&id=71&search=10599 Response by the State of Israel to the application for the extradition of Salomon Morel and a report by Dr. Adam Dziurok and Prosecutor Andrzej Majcher on the subject of Salomon Morel and the history and operation of the camp at Świętochłowice-Zgoda.]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4659985.stm War crime suspect stays in Israel, BBC News, 7 July, 2005]
* [http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/05/01/Morel_2005.html 'Elderly Jewish man accused of postwar revenge rampage', The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, January 3, 2005] , hosted on David Irving's website
* [http://www.polandembassy.org/News/Biuletyny_news/News_2004/p2004-04-30.htm An official news from 2004.04.30 mentioning Salomon Morel case on the homepage of Polish Embassy]
* [http://www.ipn.gov.pl/eng/eng_news_high_morel.html 2003 Statement by Prosecutor Ewa Koj, Head of Divisional Commission, for Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation]
* [http://www.ipn.gov.pl/eng/eng_swietoch_sm.html About Salomon Morel, The Institute of National Memory, Poland]


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