Saturday, September 29, 2012

Don't Walk on Fish! Soviet Safety Posters

"I was drunk at work."
From the looks of it, not just him, but the whole frat house! 
A little known method, pioneered by Soviet physicians, for treating bloody noses. 

"Don't walk on fish!"
I can't add anything to that. 
The somewhat harsh, Soviet version of "stripper working the pole." 

This worker is testing which has greater force: freight train cars, or his skull. 

Poster for the latest Soviet superhero film.
This one features Shadow man, who haunts steel mills and uses a cross of karate and disco moves
to neutralize his enemies. 

I thought Comrade Roskolnikov was trying to kill me. 

Poster for a lost Alfred Hitchcock classic in which the MacGuffin is a vengeful wrench.
Hitch's first draft actually used the word "wench" --
but a secretary added an "r" and the Master of Suspense just went with it. 

Doesn't he look like he should be singing a Cole Porter song? 

Is it my imagination or does this worker falling to his death bear some resemblance to Comrade Lenin? 

The End. 

See all the posters here.

Thanks to Mary Skinner for sharing these.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War by Halik Kochanski

The Economist
The Vivisection of Poland
Poland's wartime suffering was extraordinary. It has been greatly neglected by the rest of the world
Sep 29, 2012
The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War.
By Halik Kochanski.
Harvard University Press

Excerpts from the article:

The biggest gap in most histories of the second world war is what happened to Poland. By the war's end it had lost not only a fifth of its population but also its freedom—despite having fought from the first day to the last against the Germans.

Many histories deal with the greatest crime of the war years: the annihilation of Europe's Jews. That chiefly took place in occupied Poland, and the largest number of its victims were citizens of the pre-war republic. But these are books about the Holocaust, not about Poland. Books about Poland abound too. Some deal with the spectacular military events of the war: the Ghetto Uprising of 1943, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Others have highlighted the great neglected scandals of the war, such as the Soviet massacre of 20,000 captured Polish officers. A book called "Dark Side of the Moon" tried to alert the West to the Soviet deportation of hundreds of thousands of Polish civilians to privation and death. There are even books about Wojtek, a bear cub adopted by Polish soldiers, who drank beer, ate cigarettes, carried ammunition and died in a zoo in Scotland.

But until Halik Kochanski's "The Eagle Unbowed" nobody had written a comprehensive English-language history of Poland at war. A British-born historian whose own family's experiences dot her pages, she weaves together the political, military, diplomatic and human strands of the story. She ranges from the fatal weaknesses of pre-war Poland (divided, cash-strapped and isolated) to the humiliation of Britain's victory parade in 1946 when the organisers invited Fijians and Mexicans, but not Poles.

Readers reared on Western accounts of a war between good and evil may be shocked to learn that for Poles the war was three-sided. The Western allies were duplicitous and the Soviets for the most part as bad as the Nazis.

Read the full article here.
Purchase "The Eagle Unbowed" here.
Thanks to Sue Knight for alerting me to this story.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Remembering Europe's Touchy Issue of Expulsion" from Deutsche Welle

A group of Germans is pictured leaving their village in East Prussia in 1946 .Source
The above is the original caption. They aren't just "Germans," though. They are all women. 

"Remembering Europe's touchy issue of expulsion"
From Deutsche Welle
September 27, 2012


The idea for a documentation center where the fate of displaced people is told first came up 13 years ago. It was the end of the 1990s when Erika Steinbach, a conservative politician and president of the League of Expellees - an advocate group for Germans and their descendents who were expelled from eastern Europe after World War II, proposed her plans for a Center Against Expulsions. And her plan met with firm resistance.

Voices both in Germany and neighboring countries quickly pointed out that such an institution could present a lopsided view of history. In Poland, Steinbach was accused of labeling Germans as the victims in the aftermath of World War II, without adequately emphasizing that the fate of the ethnic Germans living in eastern Europe after the war was a consequence of the heinous crimes the Nazis had committed in Europe.

For years, Poland has been a major opponent of the plan to build a Center Against Expulsions in Germany and the political elite in Poland has lobbied at the highest political level to prevent Steinbach from implementing her initiative….

The reconciliatory aim of the exhibition was captured in the slogan: "Remember expulsions - Respect expulsions - Deepen reconciliation and understanding."…

Ethnic cleansing in the Balkans is a major issue, according to the proposal. Millions of Muslims were forced from their homes as a result of the Serbian uprising against Ottoman rule in 1804, the Greek independence movement starting in 1821 and the Balkan Wars from 1912 to 1913. The Armenian genocide in Turkey in 1915 and 1916 is also to be touched upon.

The millions of people affected by Stalin's policies in the 1930s are another focus of the exhibition. "Forced labor, deportation, gulags, starvation and mass murder were part of the Stalinist terror," the proposal said…

See the full text of the article here.

Thanks to Otto Gross for alerting me to this article. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bieganski and Victoria's Secret Lingerie


Look, there's one thing we can all agree on. If there's one thing Bieganski the Blog needs more of, it's sexy photos of half nekkid wimmin. No?

Long story short: Victoria's Secret is reportedly self-censoring and banning sales of its own item, the above-pictured Sexy Little Geisha lingerie.

You know what I think when I look at that photo? What most women think, I'll bet: Geez, I wish I looked like her.

But somebody looked at that picture of that very sexy gal and that very cute lingerie and got all affronted. Because the lingerie is racist, doncha know.


I'll leave it to blog readers to point out, in the comments section, how asinine Victoria's Secret's self-censorship is. The girl is cute, the outfit is cute – life is short. Have some fun! What's not to like?

So some party pooper who apparently doesn't like pretty half nekkid grlz in cute lingerie posted a blog post protesting this outfit, and the outfit is pulled.


Polonia, do you know what I'm about to say?

Let's get serious here. My book, "Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype" and this blog, talk about newspaper articles, college courses, big-budget films, museum displays, etc, that rewrite immigration, Holocaust, and World War II history by exploiting a stereotype of Poles and other Bohunks. And Polonia has not been successful in countering that stereotype. The museum displays, university press books, and the authors who produce them are all going strong.

Check out this blog post.

And this one.

And this one.

While a blogger has the clout to ban something as trivial and harmless as pretty lingerie because it is deemed to be anti-Japanese.

On a more serious note, check out this blog post on how America embraced the Axis, including Japan, after World War II, and how a Hollywood movie, "A Majority of One," helped.

Polonia, we need to unite, support each other, organize, and act strategically, in order to exercise any cultural, political, and academic power.

Check out this blog post on that topic.


Related note: In the recent past, an American institution of higher learning published racist, anti-Polish material.

Polonia should have had the clout to demand that that institution of higher learning hire a scholar who works on stereotypes of Polaks and other low-status, blue-collar ethnics.

That has happened when other groups have been insulted. Other groups, including African Americans, women, and homosexuals have demanded, and been granted, academic hires. Poles and other Bohunks? We have not done this. When we have been stereotyped, we have griped about it among ourselves, but we have not demanded, nor have we received, academic hires, as other groups have.

I just applied for a job at this institution of higher learning.

Their ad said that they are committed to diversity, multiculturalism, and tolerance, and for that reason they wanted to hire women, members of underrepresented minorities, African Americans, feminists, queer theorists, and human rights and peace and justice scholars.

Will they look at my application, as a real life Bohunk and scholar of Bohunk stereotypes, and grant me credit as belonging to the above groups? No, they will not.

Look, in the eyes of this institution of higher learning, when they want to tell a Polak joke, or disseminate Polak-joke type humor via their publications, Bohunks are OTHER. We are their minority.

When a Bohunk who publishes on that kind of stereotyping applies for a job, we are not welcome.

Only Polonian activism can change that, and can change the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype.

Again, read the series of blog posts on the Crisis in Polonian Leadership, organization, and vision.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Polish Prisoners Tend Jewish Graves; How Even Something Beautiful Can Serve the Bieganski Stereotype

Photo: Służba Więzienna – Polish Prison Service

On September 18, 2012, The Krakow Post ran an article, "Reconstructing Attitudes to Judaism in Poland" by Nissan Tzur. The article describes a program that trains Polish prisoners to tend Jewish graves in Poland.

The project is entitled "The Tikkun Project." According to the article, it was proposed by Jewish leaders in Poland. Excerpts:

"Thousands of prisoners from all over Poland participate in the project…In Krakow alone there are over 1,500 prisoners taking part …The prisoners clean Jewish cemeteries and repair broken headstones. They also visit museums featuring Jewish exhibits, tour extermination camps and sites of Jewish heritage and eagerly watch plays and films about Jewish life in Poland. One prisoner, who helps at a museum in Chrzanów, has even compiled a list of the names of the 1,500 of the city’s Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

Wacławek is proud of his role in helping to organise the Tikkun Project together with the Jewish community. He argues that the programme has introduced inmates to a whole new world of tolerance and shown them how prejudice can lead to tragedy

Krzysztof is aware that Poland has a reputation for anti-Semitism in some quarters, and believes that this is because Poles do not know enough about Jewish culture. For this reason he encourages fellow prisoners to take part in the Tikkun Project."

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The Holocaust happened because Poles are in the past, and of the past; they are ignorant, they "do not know enough about Jewish culture." Poles need to be introduced, as the article states, to a whole new world of tolerance. They need to have their attitudes "reconstructed," as the headline states.

There is a book that analyzes this constant, ubiquitous, thoroughgoing rewriting of Holocaust history. It's called "Bieganski." It will be a good thing when Polonia wakes up and discovers that book and acts on the issues outlined in the series of blog posts on the Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization and Vision, accessible here.

Until that day comes, it will continue to be common knowledge that Polish identity, not Nazism, is responsible for the Holocaust. It will continue to be the case that even the most positive stories about Poles and Jews will be told in a way that communicates the Bieganski stereotype.

I thank Otto Gross for bringing this article to my attention. Otto's previous blog entry on Enigma can be found here.

The full text of the article cited above, about prisoners tending Jewish graves, can be read here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vandalism of Christian Sites in Israel


A blog reader sent in an article, excerpted below.

"Catholics call for Israeli hate-crime crackdown" Published September 20, 2012, at the RT website, link below.

According to the article, recently Christian sites have been vandalized in Israel. The vandals may be Jews; hateful graffiti was written in Hebrew. As comments below the article point out, a provocateur could have used Hebrew but not necessarily been Jewish.

Anti-Semitic websites love material like this. They will disseminate it emphatically and insist that it reveals the essential character of Jews. It does not. Vandalism is a cross-cultural phenomenon.

I wanted to post it here, though, as just another reminder that hostility between Christians and Jews is not exclusively the product of Christian anti-Semitism. 

Of course Christians and other non-Jews must take responsibility for the anti-Semitism expressed by members of their groups.

At the same time revisionist histories that depict Christianity as essentially anti-Semitic and the source of all intergroup hostility do more harm than good.

Full text of article here.
Last summer in Poland I encountered well-meaning individuals, educational materials, and institutions that were sending just that message, often quite overtly so, in so many words: Christians and Christianity were the sole source of hostility between Christians and Jews.

It was as if these modern, Westernizing Poles and their institutions were trying to replace the image of the Brute Polak as the hyper-Catholic, world's worst anti-Semite with the image of a New Age, Politically Correct Poland that threw Catholicism under the bus, gaining PC points thereby.

Just one example. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews is set to become an authoritative voice in Polish-Jewish relations. It features on its homepage an essay by Rabbi Joseph Polak that deploys the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. I respond to Polak's essay in the blog post entitled "Polish Scum Responds." You can read that response here.

This scapegoating of Christianity and Christians as the sole source of hostility between Christians and Jews backpeddles from previous scholarship, some of it by Jews, that sees sources of hostility on both sides. Just one example among many, Eva Hoffman's popular book "Shtetl."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Witold Pilecki on Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac"

Witold Pilecki. Source: Wikipedia 

Thanks to the inestimable Terry Teznagian, Stefan Mucha, and Aquila Polonica, the Polish-World-War-II publisher, the story of Witold Pilecki is now available to the English-speaking world. Pilecki was supremely heroic, almost unbelievably heroic – gosh – I so wish I could convey how much I admire Witold Pilecki! Aquilla Polonica recently published his almost unbelievable story in the excellent book "Auschwitz Volunteer." My Amazon review of the book is visible here. Please go to Amazon and buy this book right now!

The publication of this book proves a point I'm always hammering away at – organized and effective people can change the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. We need intelligence. We need focus. We need a sophisticated knowledge of and approach to the wider culture. We need to use the media to our advantage. We need to unite, support each other, organize, and act strategically. A game plan for that is outlined at the series of blog posts linked here.

Thanks to Aquila Polonica, Witold Pilecki's story is getting out there. In fact, he is featured on today's version of Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac." Here is the text of their coverage, followed by a link to the "Writer's Almanac" website.

(Fans of Polish-American poet John Guzlowski will remember that "Writer's Almanac" featured a poem by John some years back. You can see that entry here. After you buy "Auschwitz Volunteer," buy a poetry book by John Guzlowski – supporting Polonian writers is the one of the best things you can do to fight stereotyping!)


From "Writer's Almanac":

On this date in 1940, Polish soldier Witold Pilecki allowed himself to be captured by the Nazis. He was a captain in the Polish resistance, and he wanted to find out what was going on near the town of Auschwitz. His superior officers believed it was just a German camp for prisoners of war, but Pilecki suspected that something else was happening there. He hounded his commanders until they finally gave him the go-ahead to join a crowd of Polish citizens who were being rounded up by Nazi soldiers. Pilecki, who left behind a wife and two young children, was taken to Auschwitz along with the others, just as he'd planned. He was given a number — 4859 — and soon realized the true purpose of the camp.

Pilecki remained there for nearly three years, during which time he smuggled out detailed reports of the atrocities with the camp's dirty laundry. His reports of gas chambers and ovens to dispose of human remains were so horrific that no one in the Polish underground believed him. And even though his reports made their way to the British and the Americans, suggesting ways to liberate the camp, still nothing was done. Meanwhile, he did what he could to arrange escapes for his fellow inmates.

Finally, in 1943, frustrated with the lack of action, Pilecki faked a case of typhus and escaped from the hospital. After the war, the Polish underground recruited him to spy on the country's new occupiers, the Soviets. But he was captured by the Polish Communist regime and executed for espionage, in 1948. His story was suppressed until after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.


The Writer's Almanac webpage is here.

As ever, I thank the German-American friend and supporter of Polonia, Otto Gross, for this tip. Otto's fascinating story is at this blog post, "Ripples of Sin."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

They Seized Three Year Old Children and Shot Them: Darkest Atrocities of the Nazis Laid Bare

Nazis lead Polish women to slaughter
Nazi machine gunner over a Polish city. They bragged of targeting mothers with strollers. 
"They Seized Three Year Old Children and Shot Them: Darkest atrocities of the Nazis laid bare in the secretly recorded conversations of German prisoners of war"

From the Daily Mail.

Bestselling German book to be published in English next week
Chilling insight into what turns an ordinary soldier into a monster
Dispels the idea that it was only a few who committed such horrors

By Allan Hall

16 September 2012

Some of the most brutal and horrifying atrocities of the Nazis at war are laid bare in secretly recorded conversations of captured German soldiers published in Britain for the first time today.

The prisoners, mostly ordinary soldiers, sailors and airmen as opposed to SS hardliners, are overheard bragging about shooting women and children for sport as well as raping and slaughtering innocent civilians.

Historian Sönke Neitzel's 2001 book 'Soldiers; diaries of fighting, killing and dying', caused a sensation when it was published in Germany last year. And next week it will be published in English for the first time.

It shows the impact of war on…40 per cent of German men between the years of 1939 and 1945 - the nearly 20 million who donned a uniform for their Fuehrer.

Both the ordinary German soldier, and the self-regarding officer corps, are condemned in their own words in the secret recordings, shattering the myth that excesses in wartime were the responsibility of a few fanatical party members.

One man, Hartigs was speaking of the targets he liked to go for - unarmed civilians - when the microphones were switched on one day in January 1945.

'I used to shoot at everything,' he said laconically, 'certainly not just military targets. We liked to go for women pushing prams, often with children at their sides. It was a kind of sport really.....'

Or this from another unnamed Oberleutnant of the Luftwaffe, captured on July 17 1940 after baling out from his aircraft over Kent; 'It became a need in me to drop bombs. It tingles me, gives me a fine feeling. Just as beautiful, in fact, as shooting at someone.'

This banishment of morality, of ethical behaviour, is apparent in transcript after transcript. Hitler had boasted in the early days of the regime of turning the youth of Nazi Germany into 'magnificent beasts of prey.' But even wild beasts never killed for sport, like radio operator Eberhard Kehrle and infantryman Franz Kneipp.

Kehrle; 'In the Caucasus, when one us went down, we didn't need a lieutenant giving the orders, telling us what to do. Pistols out, women and children, everything you saw...cleansed.'

Kneipp; 'With us, one time, a partisan band had overrun a convoy of our wounded. They offed everyone. Half an hour later they were caught near Novgorod. They were brought into a sandpit and then, from all sides, we let rip with the machine guns and the pistols....'

Kehrle; 'That was too good for them. They deserved to die slowly, not to be killed by shooting!'

In WW2, in a pre-Internet age, pre mobile-phone age - a time when a German soldier could be executed for taking a camera into combat - they were, by and large, confident that their excesses would never be detected.....rape being one of them.

Germany has long castigated the leadership of the Red Army and Stalin himself for turning a blind eye to the mass rapes carried out by the conquering armies of Zhukov and Rossokovsky when they hit German territory in 1945. But, in reality, it was payback on a massive scale for crimes carried out by men like Sgt. Mueller.

'When I was in Kharkov,' he said dreamily, clearly remembering happier times, 'everything in the old town was destroyed. It was a wonderful town with wonderful memories. All the people spoke a little German that they had learned in school.

'Also in Taganrog, wonderful cinemas and beautiful beach cafes. I went everywhere in the car. You saw nothing but women.'

His friend Fausst says; 'Oh, you bastard!'

Mueller went on; 'They were working to repair things, these deadly beautiful girls. We simply drove by them, tore them into the car, lay them down, and then chucked them out when we had finished. Man, did they fly!'

Indoctrinated since their childhood by Nazi propaganda into believing they were supermen who could take what they wanted, defeat and capture had clearly not tilted their world view one bit.

One junior officer boasted of what he and his men did to a woman they thought was a Russian spy: 'We beat her on the tits with a stick, clobbered her on the arse with a pistol, then all eight of us had her, then we threw her out and as she lay there, we threw grenades at her.

'She didn't half scream when they went off!' Even one fellow German officer, Reimbold, was sickened by the telling of the tale and said; 'Gentlemen, this is too much to bear.'

Aside from the depravity of individuals, the transcripts reveal that which the war generation, and in many ways the one that followed it, tried to deny: direct knowledge of the extermination programme of the Jews...

Entire article visible here

Friday, September 14, 2012

Help with German Documents


A German company named Metascriptum contacted me to ask if they could mention their services on Bieganski the Blog. I agreed to let them do so. I know some amateur genealogists and others seeking keys to their ancestors' pasts sometimes have old documents in the languages of Poland's colonizers, including Russian and German. I cannot recommend this company, because I have never worked with them, but this blog post provides information for those who would like to explore their services. And so, from Metascriptum, the following: 

Old German Script Need Not Fade

Old German script is difficult if not impossible for younger generations to read. However, this does not mean that old documents need to fade away into nonexistence or misunderstanding. There are many ways that you can keep history alive.

Of course, one way to decipher these documents is to learn the old script that was used prior to 1941. However, this is a tedious task, made more difficult by the fact that the script is no longer taught in traditional schools. Yet, you can still learn what your past family has left behind. All you need to do is find someone that can transcribe or translate the documents for you.

Family History Regained

One of the biggest reasons people have documents written in old German script is to regain pieces of family history and lore. It is entirely possible that there may be stories in your families past that have been lost because no one can remember them. However, if those stories can come out in past personal letters, diaries, journals, and memoirs, you can regain your family history and a sense of your own self.

There are many different types of documents that may be found in the personal belongings of family members past. Personal letters, journals and diaries, or manuscripts may be found. It is entirely possible that you don’t even know what you have because you cannot read the old German script. Descriptions of property owned, business transactions, or personal encounters may all be discovered by having these documents translated.

Discovering New Insights

Since the old German script was faded out during the Second World War, there are many things you may discover in your family’s old papers. If you had ancestors that fought in the war, you may gain new insight to military life in the Nazi regime. You could also learn about your ancestor’s feelings about the war and about the German government of the time. It could give you a fresh outlook on the war itself and on your family’s part in it. This can give one satisfaction or disappointment, but it is important to the history of your family and the world nonetheless.

If you are so inclined, you could use the research gained from having old documents transcribed to write a book about the time period. Or, you could simply use the information to fill in gaps in your family history. Passing down stories about your family to your children becomes much easier when you have a full understanding of those stories from the perspective of those who actually lived in those times.

Of course, the old German script was used long before the Nazi regime as well, so you could uncover a wealth of family history and information by transcribing documents that you find. You could learn about marriages and births in the family, which could lead you in a totally new direction in your quest for family history and genealogy. All in all, it can be very rewarding and informative to have documents written in old German script transcribed for current and future generations.

We at Metascriptum provide professional support for deciphering your documents written in old German script and are happy to help you assist you in your research process.

The Metascriptum website is here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bieganski at the University of Wisconsin-Madison



The University of Wisconsin-Madison and its Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies will be hosting a talk by me about the Bieganski, Brute Polak Stereotype on Thursday, October 18, 2012, at four p.m., in the Marquee at Union South.

Nowadays, of course, more than ever, I add the postscript: "God willing."

I am personally grateful to the University, to the Mosse/Weinstein Center, and to the very wonderful scholar and mensch James P. Leary, an Irish-American who has contributed greatly to Polonia through his scholarship, for this invitation.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sexy Nazis in England: "Everyone enjoys it" Jews could "Pretend to be persecuted"

Please note that the above photos are from three different articles covering three different events at which Englishmen dressed up as Nazis. 
You can access the articles by clicking on the links. 

At three recent events, World War II enthusiasts in England have been criticized for their zeal in the public wearing of authentic Nazi uniforms. According to the Manchester Evening News, "In June, wartime re-enactors in Ramsbottom sparked outrage by dressing up as Nazis and suggesting a Jewish couple put on a Star of David and pretend to be persecuted."

Readers of "Bieganski" will understand the appeal of Sexy Nazis to discussion of stereotypes of Brute Polaks. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bieganski in the Jewish Journal: A Polish Jew is Shocked, Shocked! to Discover Stereotyping of Poles

Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault in the 1942 film, Casablanca.
Renault is "shocked, shocked" to discover gambling in Rick's Cafe. In fact, he's known this all along. 
To "reinvent the wheel" is an English expression. 

On July 25th, 2012, the online Jewish Journal published an article by a self-identified Polish Jew, Klaudia Klimek. Klimek is shocked, shocked to discover negative stereotypes of Poles.

The article states many points with which I partially or wholly agree.

I should rejoice for the article then, no?


It's just more reinvention of the wheel.

It's just more "shocked, shocked."

"To reinvent the wheel" is an English expression. Wikipedia defines it thus, "To reinvent the wheel is to duplicate a basic method that has already previously been created or optimized by others."

"Shocked, shocked" is a phrase from the 1942 Hollywood film "Casablanca." We use the expression to describe moments when someone "discovers" something that has been very obvious for some time.

Poland is stereotyped as the world's worst anti-Semitic nation. Blame for the Holocaust, which properly belongs to Nazism, is placed on Poles and Poland.

This has all been said already. Thousands of times.

It's been said in a prize-winning, scholarly book, "Bieganski."

On this blog, we've argued for action in the face of this stereotype, most specifically in this three-part blog post on the Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision.

Poles, Polonians, and others who are concerned about the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype need to get past the "shocked, shocked" phase. We need to get past the reinvention of the wheel phase.

We need to move on to significant action.

We need to unite, support each other, organize, and act strategically.

More on that, here.


Excerpts from Klaudia Klimek's "shocked, shocked" article:

Among Jews, Poland is stereotyped as "the most anti-Semitic country in Europe − the Jewish cemetery, the place of bad memories. That was, unfortunately, the attitude of many conference participants from all over the world. Their negative feelings towards Poland are born out of bad memories of their grandparents or parents. All that, additionally seasoned with a visit to Auschwitz, colored almost every conversation and discussion."

Klimek is incorrect, here. The Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype predates the Holocaust, and those who deploy it often have no parents or grandparents with bad memories.

"As a Jew from Poland or a Polish woman of Jewish origin (anyway they classify me) I do not have such an attitude towards Poland and the Poles."

"The Poles are, were and will be evil. What is more, characterised by innate stupidity, they would never invent Holocaust. Nevertheless, they are extremely grateful to the Germans that they liberated them from the Jews. And they, of course, helped them willingly! The Pole had to wait over seven hundred years for a charismatic leader in the person of Hitler who would help them murder almost one third of their own citizens."

"Bieganski" makes clear that the dumb Polak stereotype is an inextricable part of the anti-Semitic Polak stereotype. This stereotype is used to rewrite history and to distort the twentieth century's most profound ethical questions. Everyone should care about this stereotype, not just Poles.

Klimek continues, "Heroes like Irena Sendlerowa should be remembered and praised, and the youth should be educated to never forget about them."

Poles and Polonians have not been the first, nor the most effective, in communicating Irena Sendler's value to the world. Others have.

Sendler was more or less forgotten by the world until a group of Kansas students brought her story to wider attention in 1999. Yad Vashem honored Sendler in 1965, long before organized Polish groups honored her.

Only when Poles and Polonians begin to organize will we be able to have any impact on whether or not people remember Irena Sendler. Meanwhile, it's not justifiable for us to complain about others not effectively honoring our heroes and heroines when we don't do it ourselves, and others do it for us, but not to the degree that we demand.

Klimek writes, "I am angry with Poland that She does so little to publicise the good deeds of the Poles, their participation in combat missions, the help during the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto or in Auschwitz. Instead, She stands open to the Jewish trips like a forgotten cemetery. She does not add to their education anything from herself, not changing, thus, the discourse and accepting the current status quo."

Well, yeah. That's what this blog has been saying since day one. Hmm. Hmm. Maybe we should … I don't know … unite? Support each other? Organize? Act strategically?

"The Jew won’t spend the Jewish money in Poland. Full stop. The Pole did not deserve, what is more they still earn much on other tourist visiting the death camps. Camps such as Auschwitz seem to be bonanzas for Poland."

"The problem, however, disappears when the Jew goes to Berlin, Hamburg or Munich. One can relax there well, enjoy civilisation and top level art… How did it happen that the Jew does not burn with hatred towards the Germans?"

Yup. "Bieganski," a book Klimek has never heard of and will probably never read – addresses this matter of Germans being cleared of guilt by the Bieganski stereotype.

The full text of Klimek's article can be found here.