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Kolbe & Anti-Semitism

In response to:

Life Saving from the February 17, 1983 issue

To the Editors:

There is an implication in John Gross’ review of my book A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe, Saint of Auschwitz, in the Eyes of Those Who Knew Him [NYR, February 17] that Diana Dewar’s forthcoming work on the new Franciscan saint validates charges that Kolbe was, at least to some extent, anti-Semitic.

Having read Dewar’s work in manuscript form, I think in fact she points out, as I do—although Gross chose to ignore this—Kolbe’s lack of anti-Semitism. What she treats in her interpretive biography that was beyond the scope of my eyewitness documentary is the anti-Semitism of Polish society and those around Kolbe and the difficulties this sometimes caused him.

Patricia Treece

Calabasas, California

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