Warsaw has accomplished something few other World War II games
have done – reflect upon the horrors the Nazis inflicted on those who aren’t Jewish. In this case, it’s the Poles.
Intellectually, I know of the pain, the deaths, and the other crimes the Nazis perpetrated on the Polish people. Jews weren’t the only ones in the hellscapes of Auschwitz or Treblinka. Historians estimate 5 million Poles were in the camps, and yes, and the Nazis killed them, too. One source said that 3 million of those Poles died in the camps. And while many of these people were Jewish, some Polish nationals that the Nazis killed in these camps weren’t.
Now, Warsaw isn’t about the camps. It’s about fighting the Germans as members of the Polish Resistance. This riff on Darkest Dungeon comes from Pixelated Milk, a Polish studio, and instead of going from room to room in a dungeon, you’re moving around an occupied Warsaw. You’re looking for mission encounters while avoiding troop positions, and it results in a tense experience.
But as I played, I found myself wondering more about the Polish experience in World War II. And the more I read, the more I consider the fate of the Poles in that brutal conflict. While I had known Poles had both hurt and helped Jews during the Nazi occupation (anti-Semitism was on the rise in Poland at the time, and some Poles turned in Jews to the Nazis and collaborated in the Holocaust), I hadn’t realized that some Polish fighters and everyday people had saved Jews. More Poles – 6,992
– are among the Righteous Among the Nations
(those who saved Jews from the Holocaust) than those from any other nation. Learning of such bravery and selflessness left me feeling ignorant and ashamed.
As I write this, it’s the end of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. We spend the day reflecting on our actions, particularly our sins, from the past year. I spent some of this time thinking about what Poles did to save Jews during the Holocaust and how ignorant I was of their heroism.
For the next set of Holocaust memorial days, I’ll think about those Poles who lost their lives fighting the Nazis.
–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor