Friday, August 24, 2012

From Lars: Poles Need to Shape Up

Just received a post from a blog reader named Lars. It's provocative. I welcome civil responses: 

Off topic or maybe not.. I have been travelling all over Central Europe on bike. 5 month/9000 Km. Also mountaineering/climbing/skiing/ice climbing. Lived and worked as craftsman in East Germany. My impression is there are huge differences between Central Europeans. The most kindly people was in Slovenia and Czech Republic. The most brutal in everydaylife situations was Croatian and then people in Poland. (like it or not..) In my home country Denmark we have a lot of workers from Poland. They have no good reputation. I have the impression they like to see them self as some sort of innocent victims and being as aggressive as many second generation immigrants from the Middle East. On a Mountain Chalet in Slovak Tatra i was hit very hard in my back. (I've trained boxing & martial art, making me familiar with sudden pain..) I turned around very upset and ready for anything, until I realised the one hitting me so stupidly was a man with whom I had spoken friendly and openminded up in the mountains! Now smiling and showing how satisfying it was to meet up again! -Guess which nationality..?! He's teenager daughter looked quite embarrassed. Another situation in a Polish chalet; a schoolteacher simply kicked his student in the back while being unsatisfied with a minor issue.

You have personal and on a larger scale issues to deal with in Poland. Start working with your own responsibility and stop blaming others for your hard time and tough history.

I still do travel a lot (sailor) and to be honest I still don't find much in Polish everyday character to be impressed of.

You should talk about and accept these issues from WWII. Lots of Jews were killed while they weren't accepted and had a great( sense of making business. (Greed and envy are strong feelings..) An honest shipsofficer and an established merchant (both from Poland) separately told me about this topic.

Czech people have an admirable attitude with lots of humour. Generally stoic and relaxed working their way through hard times. I wish Poland could learn of them ..


  1. The generalizations you have done makes you look stupid. Do not offend people because they belong to this or that nationality. I understand that you are angry for a certain reason, but real martial art schoolar suppose to now, how to control the emotions. Good luck with your next trip.

  2. Don't feed the troll

  3. Otto sent a webpage with a list of atrocities committed by Danish SS soldiers.

    1. Indeed. For a review of a book which talks about the Danish SS, please click on my name in this specific posting.

      Otherwise, I have heard different opinions about Poles among western Europeans. For instance, one western German suggested that Poles make better workers than eastern Germans. Poles more industrious than Germans--unbelievable!

  4. Brian Koralewski (Brian Lewski)August 24, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Lars, a message to you - you are a bigot, and an idiot.

  5. And we all know that the Danish king wore a star of David to protest Nazi mistreatment of Jews ...

    1. Denmark was under "softcore" occupation. That star of David was a sweet gesture, but what was the penalty for that?
      I like Czechs. But I don't respect them. Nice people, they make good beer, but Czech resistance is something like an oxymoron for me.
      As for that slap in the back, this is a common way of showing sympathy in Poland. In manly way. I do that. My relatives do that. And my buddies do that. But we don't do that to women. And now I will never do that do a Dane. What a wussy.
      I also don't liked that insinuation about Jews. Jewish population in Denmark was 7500. And they were assimilated. In Poland it was some 3500000 people. Mostly unassimilated. I think it tells much about polish tolerance. It's easy to accept neighbour who hides his Yiddishkeit. Yes, we had antisemitic excesses. But nothing what we did could have prepared Polish Jews for merciless slaughter that came from outside of Poland. There's a great difference between an axe and a gas chamber. And maybe our tolerance made it easier for the Nazis. Maybe we should have been like Western Europeans. "Adapt to us, or get the hell out".

    2. Lukasz, please read "Bieganski," and please read the link I posted about the Danish king and the star of David.


  6. Lars,

    It is a crying shame that the same Polish schoolteacher didn't give you a swift kick in the ass.

  7. Having read the comments, I can honestly say that there is nothing left to add. Are you a real person, Lars? Because you sound like a thousand other trolls that I have come across... I especially like the extreme vagueness and /or silliness of Lars' sociological observations (based on all of 2 people!) coupled with the strictness of his final admonition to a whole nation. I can appreciate how he tries to play on a sense of inferiority and uncertainty that many Polish people have, by dropping vague hints and hoping that the readers will fill in the nasty details themselves. Good troll. But not good enough.

  8. Hello Lars, I am sure the Czechs are very nice people. We had a lovely holiday in Prague just after the Berlin wall came down. Beautiful city, lovely people. Re your comments about Poles - as am a Polonian - well, I have heard them all before. I am always hearing them from America's media and its academe. And while it isn't usual to blame the victim of the Nazis for what happened to them, it seems quite PC to do so where Poles are concerned. We (my husband and I) lived and worked in a strict Muslim county in the Middle East for 25 years, and, if I wanted to, I could post a load of negatives about that country, or about any country that I had lived and worked in. But why would I do that, unless I wanted to hurt people and cause trouble? So I always try to dwell on what is positive and upbuilding, and there is always plenty of that too. For example, when working in the Middle East, I would happily take our dog, Shadow the Golden Retriever, out for a walk late at night, down dark alleys that I would not dare to venture down here in the UK, at any time, under any circumstances. Once, at the height of our "troubles" (caused by world politics), I was out walking Shadow, and a police car stopped by us and called me over. I felt a bit nervous as things were very tense at that time. The local policeman said: "Maam, I just want to tell you what a lovely dog you have". I have many lovely memories of my time there, and its those positive things that I choose to dwell on and publish. Other people make other choices. Its up to them. But don't we all, every one of us, need the true God, the God of Abraham, to take a positive view of us, if we are to have life "to time indefinite" in the restored earthly Paradise? Shouldn't we therefore take a positive view of others?

  9. Otto sent this reply and asked me to post it for him:

    I’m finding myself having an allergic reaction to stupid people today so feel to let me know if I cross the line. I’m discounting the fact English is not his first language but I’m still sitting here reading his post and shaking my head.

    I’m at a loss on how to explain to this man where he’s gone wrong. Maybe the Poles were suspicious of this “unemployed wandering bum.” Maybe a Dane hit me in the back, ipso facto, Danes aren’t that great. Or I could think it’s what guys do everywhere on the planet. And no sooner than we land on Mars, the first two male astronauts will do it there also – It will be the first thing they do after the “One giant step… speech”. This would be followed with “pull my finger…” only because the Wet Willy doesn’t work with space helmets.

    There’s a long list of man-isms so my answer to that one is “get over it.”

    I want to point out how some cultures mesh and some are more challenging. Koreans are the German Lutherans of Asia and I fit in my first day there. I consider Korea home away from home. Light happy people might not find it so endearing.

    So this guy bumps into people and has some good experiences and some not so good. What can I say? Get over it and don’t make yourself out to be a victim… oh yeah, that’s his point. Well, I’ll borrow it for a minute.

    The point, Lars, is that stuff happens in life. Your story sounds like you selectively filter the good and the bad that’s happened on the road. All I’m saying is that kind of convenient filtering leads people to make stupid assumptions and that filtering can have bigger consequences. Fairness – we all seek it and we all deserve it. What starts out as an assumption about Jews and money or about the ability of Danes to keep a job (see how easy it is for that kind of leap to happen), I think all I hope for is that you replay the situations in your head and see if there are times when the slap on the back might be just as annoying or welcomed from an American, a German, a Czech, a Dane.

    About the rest of the story… I hope you can stick around and think about those stories and why you drew the conclusions you came to.

    The topic isn’t Polish-ness or Polish victimization so much as it is about fairness and honesty, an accurate accounting of history, the elimination of stupid, tainted, self-serving, useless assumptions.

    Let’s make it something relatable to your history Lars. During World War 2 there were Danish SS divisions. You're rightfully proud of your country during WW 2 no doubt and may even have a relative who served in the Danish Free Corp.

    How would you feel if people only discussed the Danish SS angle? It’s good reading. It’s true. Because there are many stories within the story and I spend endless hours trying to dig out the truth. Because it wouldn’t be honest to tell the half of the story that makes me feel good or makes me money.

    Lots of reasons… and you can learn them by reading this blog.

    I hope you come again and learn where you went wrong. It’s not the kind of thing you might learn anywhere else and it might make for better times on the road.


  10. Unfriendly Poles?
    Perhaps because one of you Danes did not pay them for their work? ;-)
    Apart from that-Lars seems to have a build-in filter through which he is experiencing stuff.I could elaborate on that, but I will leave it at this article here:
    About: You have personal and on a larger scale issues to deal with in Poland. Start working with your own responsibility and stop blaming others for your hard time and tough history.
    Well,Lars,what responsibility? Germans and Russians gave us "a hard time",because they had major issues with moral and humanity.Personally, I think its a SHAME that Russia did not take over the whole of Europe-then the posh Western Europeans would be probably whining even louder and blaming the "bad Udssr" for, I dont know, killing their elites and making them poor.It would have two major advantages,though-1. You would not be so arrogant to lecture the rest of Europe 2.Common suffering would have lead to common understanding-a major step in bringing Europeans together.
    Also, else completely-Lars is Danish? Most Danish people I have met,even younger/older ones, have,through constant watching of subtitled TV, a way higher level of English than this text here-I am kind of sceptical, this might be a baiting move.

    1. Hanna, thank you for the link to that article about Danes not being scrupulous in paying Polish workers.

  11. Ups, forgotten the link:

    Basically,no matter,what we do, the "West" is ALWAYS better-especially when simple statistics tell clearly that this is not true at all.

    1. Hanna, thanks for the link to that article about Western press treatment of Ukraine

  12. And maybe our tolerance made it easier for the Nazis. Maybe we should have been like Western Europeans. "Adapt to us, or get the hell out".

    Dear Łukasz, witaj!
    Maybe-a bit easier,but not much,not at all.Over 75% of all Jewish Dutchmen were murdered,the Germans employed s.c "Judenrate" (some members of which were in for their personal benefit),there was a Dutch SS- with regards to Poland-NO ONE IS BLAMING THE DUTCH FOR THIS.AT ALL! Or even talking loudly about this national disgrace (apart from a certain MP named Wilders who demanded that the Netherlands start confronting itself with its past).There are great books written about Dutch collaboration-guess what? They have NOT been translated into,f.e English: Sytze van der Zee: ,,
    Vogelvrij - De jacht op de Joodse onderduiker'' Amsterdam 2010 Van der Zee is very brave-in his books he is also talking about Jewish collaboration with the Nazis (because,after all, we are all humans,and in every group of people a certain amount is antisocially inclined (check R.Ohares books for more info on this topic)),about collaboration of Dutch citizens-I repeat:His books,studies of a serious historian, have still not been translated.Dutch Jews were were very much assimilated (a look at their names is telling),as were f.e Italian Jews (btw, Im using "Jews" the same way I would use "Catholics") or German,Austrian,French Jews-it did virtually not help them,at all.The German side also had some help with sorting these sorry Jewish Europeans out-gogle "IBM and the holocaust",so wether they were assimilated or not, it did not count for anything.

    Still, I think its time to STOP,as Poles, with our complexes that not each and every Pole was a saint.So what?! still, Poles were the greatest nation during WW2,hight time to speak very loud and clearly about people like Pilecki,the members of Zegota,Sendler,Korczak,the Ulma family.Proudly,and with our heads held up hight. why should we feel inferior to nations that had no shame to suport Nazi Germany with troups? Just wondering.Thats what I am doing-If every Pole would be an ambasador of Poland,G-d knows what we could achieve...


  13. I can only second the comments of Hanna and Łukasz. The language errors employed by Lars sounded fake, not to mention all the stupid and anecdotal things he said.

    Poland continues to make a good target. Looking for things Polish on line I have found entire chat rooms dedicated to anti-Polish comments. Amazing long strings of idiocy directed at the ether of the internet. I won't waste time with a paste.


  14. MB, I want to understand and teach about stereotypes. To do that, one must expose oneself to stereotypes. I'd like to know more about the chat rooms you mention. Please inform me and others reading here.

    And I hope anyone who is interested in the only scholarly book to treat this topic will buy, read, review, and recommend "Bieganski."

  15. Hello MB, yes, an extraordinary amount of venom has been and is directed at Poles - and in a Politically Correct world too. So I assume it is all politics. Dr.G has some interesting, and chilling, things to say about that in her book about the stereotype.

    For me, as a Polonian, I use it as a constant reminder to be "no part" of the current world system. And I do also try to use it as an occasion to witness. So I always have a comforting silver lining - though only thanks to the God of Abraham.

    And I agree with you that Lars sounds like a fake - perhaps what is called a "troll", But, on the other hand, if I were writing in a foreign language, I would sound very odd too. So who knows? I assume he was being deliberately provocative for whatever reason, but not in a serious or adult way. There are many many criticisms that can be levelled against Poles and Poland, as we are the fatally flawed children of Adam - just like everybody else. But meeting a few people that you don't like when you are on holiday doesn't seem to justify all the venom and scorn.

  16. "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

    Let's agree also in it that this right is a basic human right of all of us: Pole, Polonian, Jew, Protestant, Buddhist, White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Left, Right, Atheist, Pope, Palikot, Kaczynski, Danish, Spanish or German. As well of non-native English speakers/writers - no matter if they come from the West or the South of the Baltic Sea!

    Living as Pomeranian (German) in Pomerania (PL) I would have told Lars: be careful with generalising a la "the (read: every)..... is so and so" - though you had close contact with locals over 5 months (9000km by bike - not by car, train or plane!). I e.g. could name you dozens of very polite, cultivated, heartly, open-minded in a very humanic and liberal way and self-ironic Poles I do know personally, some of them are my close friends (as I am their's).

    But (almost) all comments posted above blame "Poles" as unable to provide any exchange of controverse opinions - if this is the way already rather cultivated Poles provide controversity abroad probably not that many poeple, reading this, get attracted to raise their opinion about Poles or to meet Jan Kowalski in Bialystok. If they would be able to read Polish comments in Polish language on Polish websites regarding opinions of other (non-conform) Poles with its often rude expressions of aggression they wouldn't for sure. As you all know very well: a link collection of it would break up this blog.

    Beyond all is telling Lars that it's better that a Polish teacher kicks a Polish kid in the back than one of his Danish SS-anchestors or it's more ethic to kill by free will your neighbour yourself by an axe than by a state murder gang which occupied total power of your poeple a decade before (after never achieving more than 33% in free elections) in a gas chamber. In small addition: great statesmen, such as Churchill, Roosevelt, Pilsudski, expressed their respect and admirance to the chief of this gang in 1930s, the same as they did later to Stalin or Benesch.

    Yes, you are right: I do have Bigos only in my stomache (not in my blood), I was the 4th assessin (& Merkel, Putin, Tusk) and Copernicus is my elder POLISH sister.


    p.s.: klasa wyglada inaczej


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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