In November, 2007, Fox TV broadcast an episode of the Steven Levitan sitcom, "Back to You" that included this joke: "Bowling is in your Polish blood, like kielbasa, and collaborating with the Nazis."
response, I sent the letter, below, to Fox.
I will refer
to this letter in a future blog post. I'm posting the text here in order to
There is reaction to this letter at a Jewish
news site, Vos iz Neias, Yiddish for "What's News?" That reaction can
be found here.
These posts do not reflect the best in Polish-Jewish relations.
Dear Fox TV,
According to internet
reports, the November 14, 2007, episode of the Steven Levitan, Fox TV sitcom
"Back to You" contained a "joke" accusing Poles of
collaborating with the Nazis. If these reports are true, it is Fox TV's
responsibility to eliminate that "joke" from any further broadcasts
of that episode, and it is Fox TV's responsibility to publish a retraction.
A "joke" about Polish Nazi collaborators is
comparable to a "joke" about Jews orchestrating the September 11,
2001, World Trade Center attacks. It is comparable to a "joke" that
denies the reality of the Holocaust. It is no less.
are rumors and urban legends that do accuse Jews of orchestrating the 9-11
attacks. These rumors and urban legends are factually false. They have currency
because they are part of an invidious campaign of anti-Semitic bigotry and
hatred. Just so, there are understandings of Poles as Nazis. These
understandings, too, are factually false, and are part of vile and dangerous
campaigns of bigotry and hatred.
The facts: Poles fought
the Nazis first, fought the Nazis longest, and fought them, per capita, the
hardest. An abundance of statistics evidences Poles' heroism and sacrifice.
Poland had the largest underground resistance army during World War Two; Polish
soldiers fought, not just in Poland, but far afield, making significant
contributions, for example in the RAF during the Battle of Britain, and in
Italy at Monte Cassino. Poles were essential to one of the key factors in the
defeat of the Nazis and the Allies' victory, the breaking of the Enigma code.
More Poles than members of any other nation rescued Jews; count the trees
dedicated to Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem.
suffered worse, under the Nazis, than any other national group except for Jews
and Gypsies, reports historian Michael C. Steinlauf. Poles were gassed with
Zyklon B; Poles were tortured in concentration camps and a special school set
up to teach Nazis how to torture; Poles were shot down en masse by
Einsatzgruppen; Poles were deported in cattle cars, sterilized, burned alive.
Polish churches, museums, and historic monuments were methodically destroyed by
German soldiers, even as Germany was losing ground for lack of those soldiers
at the front. Poles were denied education; Poles, like the late Pope John Paul
II, studied secretly in "flying universities." Poles were executed
for crimes like owning a radio, or offering a glass of water to a Jew. Poles
were murdered merely to terrorize other Poles.
this history, one may ask why "jokes" about Polish collaborators
exist. This is why: these jokes are lies concocted to support an alternative
history that is no less heinous than Holocaust Denial.
and Britain did nothing after Jan Karski, a Polish agent, brought, firsthand,
eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust to the West. America and Britain betrayed
Poland at Yalta. Negative images of Poles assuage that guilt. The West has not
been able to confront, morally, the guilt of the Holocaust. Germany, the
world's most scientific nation, the world's most modern and secular nation,
using Darwinism and Scientific Racism as guides, descended to diabolical depths
of insane cruelty and destruction. We, modern, secular, scientific people
cannot accept that persons so like ourselves, operating under systems we value,
committed such crimes. So, we assign the guilt of that crime to persons unlike
ourselves - ethnically distant, and disempowered, Poles. Finally, there is a
push, typified by superstar scholars like James Carroll and Daniel Jonah
Goldhagen, to equate Nazism with Christianity, specifically, Catholicism.
Poland is a Catholic country, and it is the best target for this effort.
"Back to You"'s "joke" about Polish Nazi
collaborators is as funny as a "joke" about Jews planning 9-11, or a
"joke" that denies the reality of the Holocaust. It is a truly evil
fabrication with a disgusting intellectual history and a morally corrupt
Polish Americans and persons of conscience who
do not wish the truth of World War Two or the Nazi era to be erased by lies
demand that Fox TV eliminate this "joke" from any further broadcast
of the episode in question, and demand that Fox TV publish a retraction.
Further, we demand that Steven Levitan receive education in the true history of
World War Two.
V. Goska, PhD
Correction: In the past, I had read that that
Armia Krajowa, or Home Army, was the largest resistance army in Nazi occupied
estimates say that it was the second or third largest.