Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bieganski on Fox TV Sitcom, "Back to You"

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."

In 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 link back.

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.

There 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.

Poles 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.

Given 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.

America 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 agenda.

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.

Thank you,

Danusha 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 Europe. New estimates say that it was the second or third largest.


  1. Reviewing the comments you noted about the reaction to his letter, one writer compared the Danish situation to the Polish situation. Not at all the same, and one is surprised to see a presumably educated person even making such a comparison.

    The treatment of Nordics in the occupied countries was far gentler than that of the Slavs.

    Denmark was not remarkable for its fighting resistance to the Nazis, so not surprisingly, the Nazis were not as stringent with the Danes.

    Compare for example, what happened to the Dutch who hid the (Anne) Frank family, when they were caught, another example of the difference in the war in the East.


  2. The Slavophobia you noted, using as its pretext and excuse World War 2/Holocaust, is not harmless. It is the validated and approved for upper class elites variety of xenophobia that we have seen for centuries.

    It explains the various types of litmus testing that Slavs must undergo when attempting to access the higher level of opportunities that America claims it offers equally to all.

    You can feel it when they say something, stupid, provocative and/or inflammatory, to goad you, and see if you bite. If you do, they take that as evidence of your being less than - (less than themselves of course -- they have this need to think they are special in some way).


  3. and by the way, if you fail that litmus test, then all the invisible doors that are magically open for others, that are always there for them -- close -- for you.


  4. I have noticed that over the years, the Slav casualties in various battles and exterminations have been revised downward by various media and academic types, fulfilling Orwell's prediction of how the persons controlling the information medium get to rewrite history to their own advantage, effectively disappearing all those dead.


  5. you might find this of interest


  6. Referring to the provocateurs in the second comment above, and those who distort, or selectively tell and teach, history, in the service of Slavophobia --- these are not people who are illiterate or uneducated, as they will often tell you, often tell you, often tell you. Thus, the spreading of falsehoods makes them more, not less, blameworthy.


  7. A good example of the targeting of the disempowered Slav was the execution of Eddie Slovik in WW2, shot for desertion. As a lower class Slav, he was a natural target for treatment that was "less than". WW2 was rife with desertions, the others not shot.

    Worse than Slovik was the desertion of some bomber crews, who flew planes to Switzerland or Sweden for asylum. Yossarian in the movie "Catch 22" was an understatement. These guys didn't paddle away, they flew away, taking away valuable war materiel. And there weren't shot, and they are not talked much about either. But then they were officers, and probably came from among the advantaged elites of their time.

    According to a Robt McNamara interview, Curtis LeMay had to lean very hard on air force crews to not turn back due to various technical issues, which apparently a fair proportion of were specious.

    Now the bomber crews had a particulary dangerous task, being obligated to stick to fixed predictable flight paths (making them great targets) to deliver their bombs on target. But then others, any infantry making an attack over open ground, faced similar hazards.

    Slavophobia is a deeply embedded, socially approved, and encouraged reflex that is strangely more common among the tolerant and enlightened, than among those without such pretensions.


  8. Good point about Slovik Nemo. I had forgotten about that, but it surely deserves re-reading.

    Dear Danusha,

    A Bieganski-like set of accusations has recently been seen in Poland, reported and commented on in various Polish media outlets. The 11 November Independence March has become a touch stone for criticism within Poland and from outside groups of self-professed Leftists and "anti-fascist fighters" (whatever that is). A lot of the criticism comes straight from the Bieganski template, not that unusual from non-Polish groups but insidious when coming from Polish sources, including Adam Michnik's market leading newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza. Gazeta can't help labeling the march and its participants anti-Semitic and consistently referring to the march's protesters as "anti-fascists". Polish Newsweek also uses the "anti-fascist" moniker as the primary descriptive of the protesters, foreign and domestic. The foreign element of the protests brings Poland into an EU reality as hundreds and likely over 1000, German Leftists and Anarchists came to Poland by the bus load and joined Poles who also "protested" Polish Independence celebrations. Polish newspapers are loaded with accounts of the lack of police action to control and separate the semi-pro German protesters from the Polish Independence marchers.

    Its not a controversy that will die soon. A key element is the effective and repetitive use of the Bieganski stereotype in Polish main stream media towards the pro Independence celebration marchers. When you call one side of an argument "anti-fascists" its additionally pretty obvious to the casual reader what the other side must be.

    It shows how difficult it is to fight Bieganski stereotypes in the US or Israel when the same tactics are used in Poland, among Poles. Some Poles even invited foreigners, the German semi-pro Leftist protesters, to help them fight the "bad" Poles in the Bieganski narrative. It seems to be such a tempting tool in a political fight that its hard for the Left not to use it and the Brute Polak idea gains new life.


    Here are two original article links: line),niemcy-bija-polakow.html

    Marsz w cieniu manipulacji
    Dzięki „Wyborczej” udało się przed 11 listopada wytworzyć chorą atmosferę i poszczuć na siebie ludzi, którzy w innych okolicznościach mogliby zapewne iść razem w jednym pochodzie. A przynajmniej nie patrzeć na siebie wilkiem. Bo nie uważam bynajmniej, że wszyscy, którzy wybrali Kolorową Niepodległą, to fanatyczni lewacy. Wielu uległo po prostu manipulacji i propagandzie – pisze Łukasz Warzecha na salonie 24 w tekście „Na jakim marszu byłem”.


    Above is an English language article link that summarizes some of the recent 11 November events in Poland.

  10. MB, thank you VERY MUCH for posting this material. Posting it here, more people can see it than if you just send it to me.


  11. I think Slovik probably was victimized because he was from a group that didn't have clout.

    Solution? We need to acknowledge these realities and develop clout. Watch this space for an upcoming three part blog post on this very question.

    After I post those posts, I'm going into hiding, because if anyone reads them, their very first reaction is going to be becoming angry at me.

  12. Hello MB,

    thanks for remembering Slovik with me. It seems that a striking %age of those who are so consistently Slavophobic are always drawn from our most "cosmopolitan" multi-culti fans, all the while having their own very well protected, socially protected, politically protected, legally protected, economicall protected, and culturally protected identities, countries, homelands, and lives.


  13. Hi Danusha,

    where did you read that the AK is considered the second largest resistance movement? Wikipedia only tells me that the Soviet resistance was similar in size. To be historically truthful, one cannot accurately describe the USSR as 'occupied' in the same way that Poland and nations like France and the Netherlands were.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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