Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Offer to Speak

My standard offer to speak is below. 

I am writing to ask you to consider inviting me to speak about my book, "Bieganski, The Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture."

An African American woman at the UU Church of the Palisades told me that my talk there helped her to understand racism for the first time. Librarian Regina A. Bohn told me that patrons continued to give her positive feedback days after my talk. Prof. Jay Bergman, biographer of Andrei Sakharov, said, "My wife and I liked your talk immensely and learned a great deal from it. It took guts … the audience was as interested in what you had to say as I was. Your students are very fortunate to have you as a teacher!"

The hate the Holocaust engendered challenges the human mind and heart. "Bieganski" honors this challenge by addressing the foundational structures of hate. I have been invited to speak not just by Polish or Jewish groups, but also by other groups addressing hate, for example a Bruderhof and a PFLAG chapter.

I have spoken about "Bieganski' in Krakow's Galicia Jewish Museum as part of the world famous Jewish Culture Festival, and in American synagogues, churches, libraries and universities. I have also spoken in Markowa, Poland, as an invited guest of a researcher for the IPN, the Polish governmental body responsible for cataloguing Holocaust crimes, at the site of the Nazi murder of the righteous Ulma family. I've broadcast via WFIU, an NPR affiliate.

"Bieganski" won the 2010 PAHA Halecki Award. Published chapters have been well reviewed. The Shofar Journal of Jewish Studies called it "Groundbreaking." American Jewish History said that Bieganski points out that the Brute Polak stereotype "gives the illusion of absolving those who failed in their own test of humanity" during the Holocaust. The book has been the subject of cover stories in the highly respected "Tygodnik Powszechny" and the "Polish American Journal."

John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, said that ''Bieganski is a truly important book. Goska does a first-rate job. Let's hope that this book is widely read.''

James P. Leary, folklorist, University of Wisconsin, said that Bieganski is "A powerful, provocative, ultimately profound work of scholarship … for anyone wishing to fathom the interworkings of class and ethnicity in an America that has all too often fallen short of its promise."

US Holocaust Memorial Council member Father John T. Pawlikowski, award-winning poet John Guzlowski, who has documented his parents' experiences as Nazi slave laborers, and Rabbi Michael Herzbrun have also provided enthusiastic endorsements of "Bieganski."

My blog devoted to "Bieganksi" has been the springboard for protests against distortions of WW II and Holocaust history.

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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.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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