Page 22 THE VILLADOM TIMES IV • May 20, 2009 healthy educated males. They killed them. The first episode shows Soviet executioners shooting Polish prisoners at Kharkov Prison. A Russian death squad commander, in a talking-head interview made in recent times, regrets the fact that his own NKVD killers were so demoralized that they later committed suicide or went crazy. Killing brave men in cold blood does that to people, unless they are insane when they start. The NKVD is also shown torturing Polish women at Lvov, once part of Austria-Hungary. When the Germans invaded the eastern half of Poland during the war with Russia, most of the Lvov survivors were shot to prevent them from testifying. The Nazi propaganda team had a field day making films about how the “Soviet beasts” had tortured and murdering innocent people. They were telling the truth, as they did about other Stalinist atrocities. They did the same thing, which leaves them without any moral legs to stand on, but does not invalidate the similar Stalinist atrocities. Where did the Western allies stand on all this? Churchill hated Bolshevism, but he was so committed to saving the British Empire from Hitler – who would have let him keep it in return for a free hand in Eastern Europe – that he signed up with Stalin, who also wanted Eastern Europe and, eventually, the world. Churchill said, after the Germans unearthed the murdered Polish officers at Katyn, that he suspected the Russians were guilty but that there was no point in morbidly poking around the three-year-old graves at Smolensk. FDR and his underlings lied like it was going out of style. The Red Cross, a group of American P.O.W. officers and a commission of physicians from Nazioccupied countries all testified that Katyn was a Soviet atrocity, but FDR dismissed them all. He could handle Stalin, he told his supporters. In “handling” him, he handed him Poland, the country Britain had gone to war to defend, and the part of Germany that was home to the professional officers who made several offers to depose or assassinate Hitler if they could sign a separate peace with the United States and Britain. Lost in all this were the victims of Hitler’s obsessive Holocaust, the Jews of Eastern Europe. German and Polish sympathizers had been telling the British and the Americans about death factories designed to destroy whole populations since 1942. Nothing happened. At one point, Jewish sympathizers ransomed 10,000 Jews for all the gold and jewelry they could gather, and the SS kept its word and dropped the Jews off alive in Switzerland. The plan to rescue a million Jews for 10,000 trucks was dropped because Stalin might have been offended. The plan to bomb the railroad tracks taking deportees to death at Auschwitz was also dropped. The harrowing picture of World War II is that the most influential leaders on the Allied side did not care how many Jews Hitler murdered or how many Poles Stalin murdered. They just wanted to win the war for political and economic, rather than moral or humanitarian, reasons. I don’t know if “Behind Closed Doors” will cover this aspect of the odd politics of World War II, but some of the most ardent isolationists – Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa, Senator Ed Johnson of Colorado, and Representative Hamilton Fish of Dutchess County, New York, FDR’s own congressman – were the strongest advocates of going public with the Holocaust rumors and warning the Nazi administrators that they would be held responsible after the war. The New Dealers vetoed and undermined the attempt and FDR lumped Gillette and Fish together with far more plausible candidates such as Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh as “Nazi sympathizers” after they tried to save the Jews while FDR ignored them. I don’t get it. Valuable in terms of eminent production quality and of new disclosures, “Behind Closed Doors” offers a startling look at a U.S. ally who killed twice as many people as Hitler and still got to be TIME magazine’s Man of the Year for 1942. The subtitles may put some people off, but every American who cares about this country should see this series. Let’s hope nothing like it ever happens again. Let’s not be too sure that it won’t. Last week, I switched on “Behind Closed Doors” on PBS. The series started with the first two broadcasts, but I could have stayed up all night and watched all six of them. “Behind Closed Doors” tells the story of the interaction between two of the worse tyrants in history, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, and of the interaction between Stalin and two of the people generally esteemed to be great heroes of Western civilization: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Nothing in the world is going to rehabilitate either Hitler or Stalin, two of the worst monsters ever to stalk the Earth. But there is a lot of information in “Behind Closed Doors” that not only puts Hitler and Stalin on just about the same level, but also contaminates both FDR and Churchill as people who looked the other way while Stalin was torturing and murdering the people they were pledged to save. Much of this has been told before in hard copy, but the superb documentary by Laurence Rees of the BBC makes it all almost palpable. The series is done with a mixture of historical reenactment by skilled actors who look like the heroes or villains they portray interspersed with black-and-white movies and stills. The whole thing fits together in a compelling narrative. The one thing American audiences may find a little disconcerting is that the reenactment scenes, which comprised about two-thirds of the shows, take place with English narration, but with the appropriate conversations in Russian, German, or Polish. I know this era reasonably well, but there were a few shockers even for me. Most people who know history at all know that the Hitler-Stalin Pact paved the way for the last and most brutal partition of Poland, the one that led to the deaths of millions of Polish Jews by Nazi and collaborator forces and millions of other Poles, some by the Germans and some by the Russians. But who knew that Stalin had pledged to make an attack on the West if Hitler couldn’t handle Britain, France, and Poland by himself? Here is a pledge from Stalin to Hitler that I saw here for the first time anywhere. Stalin: “If, against all expectation, Germany finds itself in a difficult situation then she can be sure that the Soviet people will come to Germany’s aid and will not allow Germany to be strangled. The Soviet Union wants to see a strong Germany and we will not allow Germany to be thrown to the ground.” Shortly, Hitler and Stalin each began to destroy those segments of the Polish population they regarded as their natural enemies. Hitler began to re-concentrate, and eventually exterminate, the Jews while the NKVD, ancestor of the KGB, began to round up those Poles they thought might give them trouble: known patriots and intellectuals, priests, and the Polish officer corps. Polish laws made it mandatory that all Polish college graduates become reserve officers, and when the Russians rounded up the Polish Army, they had their hands on most of the Can ‘Behind Closed Doors’ open up some closed minds? Mahwah Recently, the Mahwah Fire Department participated in Baskin Robbins 31 cent scoop night. The national event brings together 2 great American icons, Ice cream and firefighters. The event raised funds for the National Volunteer Fire Council’s National Junior Firefighter Program. The Mahwah Fire Department showed off their equipment Fire Department cools off community and had give-aways for the children. There was a vehicle extrication demo and Sparky was on hand to greet the crowds. The night was a huge success and the fire department would like to thank everyone who came out to support such a worthy cause. Pictured above: Danica Potter (age 2) is thrilled to meet Sparky.