Sunday, December 2, 2012

Call It Genocide: "The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War" by Halik Kochanski, Reviewed


In my work on the Brute Polak stereotype, I attempt to explain why so many otherwise Politically Correct people, who find stereotyping of African Americans, homosexuals, and women to be utterly beyond the pale, feel free to engage in the most egregious stereotyping of Poles. One justification for anti-Polish stereotyping: "Poles have not suffered." Others have suffered, and they must be shielded from verbal assault. Poles, on the other hand, have not suffered, and deserve no such protection.

Poles have not suffered: that anyone could say this, never mind as an excuse for stereotyping, demonstrates that Poles have not adequately communicated their story on college campuses, in literature, through museums or in the political arena. In addition, there are pressures against Poles speaking the truth. In 1939, a week before the Nazi blitzkrieg in Poland, Hitler stated, "I put ready my Death's Head units, with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language." I was once told that I could not include that quote in a scholarly work if I wished to see my work published. Referencing Polish suffering, I was told, would be interpreted as an attempt to minimize Jewish suffering.

According to the Harvard University Press webpage, in "'The Eagle Unbowed,' Halik Kochanski tells, for the first time, the story of Poland’s war in its entirety." It's been a long wait, but now that Kochanski's book is here, one thing is clear: if the word "genocide" cannot be applied to Poland during World War II, then the word "genocide" has no meaning.

The sadism and suffering recorded in these pages is overwhelming. Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia invaded Poland in September, 1939. Both intended to erase Poland. Both explicitly stated as much. Both Germany and Russia had, for hundreds of years, tried to erase Poland. Both performed genocidal acts, including mass murder of non-combatant civilians, mass murder of political, religions, cultural, and military leaders, targeting children for persecution, outlawing education, outlawing Polish language, focused attempts to erase Polish culture, mass deportations, enslavement, and resettlement of former Polish territory with non-Poles. Both had clear and plausible plans for the ultimate elimination of Poland and Polishness; the German was named Generalplan Ost.

Polish priests in Dachau concentration camp; Polish professors in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp; Polish military officers mass murdered by the Soviets in Katyn; Polish children kidnapped by Nazis; some to be raised as Nazis, some to be gassed; Polish children starved to death in the Soviet Gulag; Polish villages destroyed by the Nazis; Polish villagers massacred by Soviet partisans; Polish villagers massacred by Ukrainians; Polish museums, factories, forests, libraries, artworks, burned, bombed, despoiled, crated up and carted away; Poland abandoned and betrayed by her allies France, England, and America: If the word "genocide" cannot be applied to this, the word "genocide" has no meaning. It does not belittle others' suffering to state that Poland was a victim of genocide during World War II. It demeans humanity to refuse to say so.

We've read bits and pieces of this history in other volumes. If Harvard's advertising is correct, this is the first English-language overview of WW II in Poland. It is the first such book I have read. Even though I am familiar with this history, reading it all in one sitting is an emotional and spiritual challenge.

Kochanski's style is brisk and no-nonsense. She covers a massive amount of material – addressing diplomacy, military maneuvers, espionage, torture – in the most efficient manner possible. She does not linger over the heartbreaking aspect of her narrative. She does select quotes that do the work of bringing to brief life the emotional impact of massive human evil. These quotes flame out on the page, and, like lit matchsticks, go out quickly, as we return to the forced march through hell. At times, Kochanski's text can be dry. This is especially true of the opening chapters that hurry the reader through a necessary introduction to Polish history. Even when discussing highly contested material, such as the role of Polish non-Jews in the Nazi genocide of Jews, Kochanski is dispassionate and quick. This book will never be a bestseller, but anyone who has any interest in Poland owes it to himself to read it, indeed, to soldier through it.

I am not a historian, and I am not qualified to assess this massive amount of data. I have read professional reviews of "The Eagle Unbowed" and been positively impressed. I've also read two critical reviews of the book, one by Antony Polonsky, the other by John Connelly. Polonsky praises the book on its handling of military history and the Second Polish Republic. Polonsky cites errors of fact, errors that could easily be corrected in subsequent editions. Polonsky faults the book for not citing recent work by Barbara Engelking, Andrzej Zbikowski and Jan Grabowski, including work that depicts Polish-Jewish relations during World War II in a less favorable light.

In his December 3 review of "The Eagle Unbowed" in The Nation, John Connelly mimes a tone of forced befuddlement. He doesn't understand how Poles can be sometimes stereotyped as noble, and, at other times, as base scum. Connelly's befuddlement might end if he read "Bieganski, The Brute Polak Stereotype." Ironically, Connelly chastises Kochanski for not being aware of current scholarship. This current scholarship, Connelly writes, demonstrates that Poles, inspired by their own anti-Semitism, collaborated with Nazis in the Final Solution. He also criticizes Kochanski for citing anti-Communism as the cause of Polish hostility to Jews, for example, in territory often occupied by the Soviets. In sum, Connelly writes, Kochanski is to be faulted because the Polish viewpoint prevails in her book.

No doubt historians will debate whether or not Kochanski is too soft on, or underrepresents, Polish anti-Semitism, and whether or not the book is representational. I am not an historian, and I can only watch from the sidelines of such a debate. No matter the outcome, the book as it stands now is one that must be read by anyone who wants to talk about Poland during WW II.

37 comments:

  1. An interesting review, Dr. Goska. Has anyone ever told you that you write beautifully?

    I look forward to reading the book.

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  2. LR, Thank you so much for the positive feedback. I very much appreciate it.

    Reading this book was tough. The material is so overwhelmingly ugly. And it's a long book.

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    1. Yes, I'm finding it difficult even to read the review - not because its not well written - it is. As I have said before, you could or should be making your living as a reviewer.

      For example, you say: "In his December 3 review of "The Eagle Unbowed" in The Nation, John Connelly mimes a tone of forced befuddlement." Yes. I know that tone. Beautifully and concisely described. And "mimes" is perfect. I haven't read his review, and hardly need to now.

      But the material, the What Actually Happened, is so dreadful, so harrowing. But I will persevere - maybe even read the book one day - with strong doses of Christian teaching, especially Psalm 37.

      Once again, we are getting our story out there, against all the odds - wielding our plastic teaspoons against a tsunami of hatefulness. Thanks very much for this review.

      A harrowing read for you. So may I end with some beautiful comforting words from the Book of Revelation:

      “I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)

      As this wicked system of things on the earth writhes in its death throes, things get darker and darker. But the darkest hour is just before the dawn, and soon the bright morning star will rise up and we will have our "exquisite delight in the abundance of peace" right here on the earth.

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  3. I am currently reading this very powerful book. It is a pity that such a clear and factual relating of the Polish tragedy should once again get bogged down in the 'did they didn't they' discussion of anti-Semitism by some reviewers. I have not seen histories of other European countries judged on this one point, not histories of the USA. The world reeked of anti-Semitism in those days, from the highest to the lowest, and Poland was not immune. This does not detract from the documented bravery of the Poles, and their suffering at the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets. This is an excellent and fair review.

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  4. I have not yet been able to borrow and read a copy of THE EAGLE UNBOWED. However, there already exists a large base of literature on the long-ignored German genocide of the Poles. To read the list of self-reviewed books on the much-minimized Nazi German genocide of the Poles, especially the cream of Polish society, please click on my name in this specific posting.

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  5. Great text,Danusha :-)

    "not being aware of current scholarship"

    Of course not-Thank G-d.

    At one point "current scholarship" had "proofed" that f.e black people are less intelligent by nature.

    Hooray for everyone who dared to challenge the "current scholarship" of the past back than :-)

    One thing about Dachau-there is a (somewhat decaying) graveyard located at the outskirt of Dachau.

    Its kind of complicated-there are apparently two paths upward,one is closed (the one I took) due to being "dangerous" and the other one-how does you get there, anyway?

    Inside the graveyard you can see lots of grave,.."plaques" of people who often died several days after having been liberated- there are also two memorials.

    One, the bigger one, is a huge cross made of stone wrapped in a long tricolor (Italian) flag.

    The other one looks a little bit like a grave and has inscriptions in German and Polish-it feels me with a mixture of anxiety,anger and grief,also with a bit of nihilism.

    Why? Because there is s.th very ugly going on-on the one hand, Polish victims are not only not remembered, but in the here and now (doing so would be "chauvinism") be, apparently, the Holocaust is being instrumentalized in a very repulsive way

    (like demeaning Poles as "collaborators" lately because the Polish Constitutional court found ritual slaughter to be against animal welfare: Poland - These evil bogus animal lovers marched 4 million Jews to death camps God forgive them see:http://www.meattradenewsdaily.co.uk/default.aspx?Country=Poland)

    Plz feel free to read it-its hilarious in a sinister way.

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    1. Hello Hanno,
      This ban on ritual slaughter will not affect Polish-Jewish community. Wiele hałasu o nic (Much ado about nothing). There will be a new law allowing it.
      http://meattradenewsdaily.co.uk/news/011212/poland___government_will_do_a_u_turn_on_banning_halal_and_kosher_slaughter.aspx
      Jewish Poles reacted to this ban in a civilised manner. Poor people. Foreign Jews didin't helped them during the Holocaust. They are not helping them now.
      P.S. I've decided that "Jewish Poles" is a proper name for them. After so many centuries they deserve some respect.

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  6. Danusha, You are writting about this being Poles/Polonians fault, in part. I have to agree-a meak state that is not able to defend the basic dignity of itself and its people, how can it, in a dog-eat-dog world, blame others for hacking it into pieces?

    Here is another example- the Polish state, in its current, post-sovietic (or postcolonial) mode does not care. When a resolution was passed about the Wolyn Massacres (commited by the Ukrainian UPA) it was watered down to it being "events, that occured..."- the Sejm apparently did not have the guts to do s.th else as the Ukrainian ambassador was present.

    They did not want to offend.

    When a resolution was passed about the Akcja Wisla (although Polish-Ukrainian reconciliatiion had already taken place with regards to it) the Sejm did not have any problems to call it "genocidal".

    So demeaning oneself is ok, who cares about historical truth, about dignity-its the typical thinking of postcolonial "elits" powered by the complete lack of values (like truth,dignity) courtesy of postmodernism.

    Its the thinking of "if ill be nice the bad wolf will not eat me".

    Of: If I will not offend f.e the Germans, s.th good will come out of this-so, better not write on those memorial stones in any other language than Polish. Also, not write about "German" but about "nazis".

    Because-we want to be friends- whereas Germans continue to call Poles their "neighbours". Lately, the German foreign minister announced that Russia was "their neighbour".

    The question arose-are we the Generalgouvernement or the Kongresowka? Anyways-

    What did the Argentinian ambassador do? He wrote a polite letter of protest.

    This is stupid. The only thing -censored- understand is "you.me. in court.ridiciously high restitution sum!"

    What I want to say is- the problem is very deep (and virtually every post-soviet country has it)-if You are interested google R.Ziemkiewicz on Youtube (in Polish,but great).

    Organizing the Polonia alone will not cut it- therefore I would like to invite everyone from the Polonia to consider supporting f.e a conservative Polish think tank like the Sobieski Institute or the Fundacja Republikanska (or whichever organization You prefer) or any organization who is spreading Polish patriotism.

    Because, as long as the current situation in Poland will not change, as long as our "elites" will prefer "not offending anyone" or prefer being "Europeans" first and Poles last there will be no one to guard Polish dignity and humanity.

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  7. After posting this review I went for a walk and found my feet hitting the pavement with more vehemence than usual. I queried myself and discovered that I was carrying residual disgust and rage from the John Connelly piece. It was Danuta's comment that sparked it, or at least brought it to my conscious attention.

    Yes. Kochanski's exhaustive book, the fruit of many years' labor, is reduced, in Connelly's piece, to a chauvinist exercise, unworthy of the elevated name of "scholarship." He is a UC Berkeley professor, high status indeed, and what he says matters. What he says is that all you need to think about if you think about "The Eagle Unbowed," and / or Poland in WW II, is what scum the Poles are. Anti-Semites. Nazi collaborators.

    Again, it's Danuta's comment that brought this home to me. What other books, by what other authors, are put to that test?

    Let me say this -- whenever someone says anything about Jews that involves a comment like this, "And the Jews treat the Palestinians very badly," I always assume that person to be an Anti-Semite. If, every time you talk about Jews, you have to bring up bad treatment of the Palestinians, you're not really talking about bad treatment of the Palestinians. You're revealing your own bigotry against Jews.

    I don't know Connelly. I can say that it boggles my mind that he could read a book like this, detailing the crucifixion of an entire nation, and ALL he can talk about -- ALL he can talk about -- not the fate of the kidnapped CHILDREN brought up as Nazis, if found to be racially worthy, or gassed if found to be unworthy -- or the professors sent to a concentration camp -- or the people driven out of their homes and forced to leave flowers to greet the conquering Germans who would be taking over their homes -- ALL Connelly can talk about is what anti-Semitic scum the Poles are, and how this book really isn't worth it after all because it is a chauvinist tome.

    No, he doesn't say that in so many words.

    And I despair at Polonia. At Polonia's "leaders" who have done nothing with "Bieganski." Who sit by and do nothing while "Maus" is used to teach the Holocaust.

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  8. Another note. Antony Polonsky's critical review is not like Connelly's. Prof. Polonsky goes out of his way to say things that honor the book and the victims. I respect that. I respect his respectful, balanced tone.

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  9. I will give You one last example why Poland, as it is today, is a country unable to defend even its most basic interests.

    Have You heard about the movie “Poklosie” (aftermath)?
    This movie, also according to a friend of mine, is horrible in every way-the actors are weak, the screen play is more than absurd-its about two brothers, a small town, a dark secret (the town is s.th like Jedwabne).

    Now, this could in fact be an awesome movie if it would show the whole historical complexity of the event.

    But it does not do that-it basically is portraying the village people, all Poles,of course, as vile Catholic animals lusting for the blood of completely innocent Jews.

    At the end, one of the two brothers is crucified by them because he found out the towns dark secret-what a glorious criticism of Christianity,so “deep”.

    It can not get any more anti-Polish than that. Poles should be made to feel ashamed for their Polish identity.

    Left-wing “intellectuals” believe,the sooner we become “Europeans” (at the present moment this means: ultraliberals without any real values and identity, open for everything that comes along, respectful of every other culture a 100% and “diversified”) the better.

    Interestingly, this movie was co-financed by….Russia. I will not comment on that.

    The movie did very,very poorly at the box offices,thank G-d-the liberal “elite” gives it soaring reviews (I guess the love feeling soooo much better than the stupid Catholic villagers-You have such people in America, too, I believe) while Jewish-Polish intellectuals (such as Bielecki) are horrified and huge parts of society are boycotting it (after reviews by their friends)

    The producer, as it looks at the moment, is bankrupt.

    I hope he will not be bailed-out by the Polish state-probably exactly this will happen. Or he will be able to find “foreign sponsors”.

    I believe it would be very warmly received in the US f.e.

    Anyhow- The Polish film agency had 3,5 mio Zloty to spare for the slander of its own countries reputation.

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    1. Hello again,
      I have no intention of watching this movie. Producer deserves to go broke. I hope that he will go down like a Russian submarine.
      Anyway we Poles should not portray ourselves like that. It's enought that other nations do that for us. Watching some movies about Poland reminds me those old American westerns. Savage natives kill civilised settlers. When I was a small kid, I belived in such propaganda crap. "Little Big Man" was a real eye opener for me. Maybe it's time for us to make such movie?
      Let's make a movie about Leopold Kozłowski and Hanaczów.
      http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_Koz%C5%82owski
      http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obrona_Hanaczowa

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    2. This was supposed to be comments on Kochanski's book, Connelly's and Danusha's reviews... It turnes out it's more interesting (easier?) to talk about how "anti-Polish" Pokłosie is - 'cos it's Russian-sponsored. Here's about sponsors:
      Za produkcję obrazu odpowiadał Apple Film Production, koproducentami byli: Canal+ Polska[3], TVP, Attack Film ze Słowacji, Metrafilms z Rosji i Topkapi Films z Holandii
      So, Russian money was just part of the funding. But of course Dutch or Slovak money doesn't make it any better, does it?

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    3. sorry, forgot to sign my name (encouraging others to do the same...)
      Sebastian Rejak

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  10. Than,there are other projects like Historia Roja.

    This movie is about partisan solders of the NSZ (nationalist partisans, nevertheless,they had Jewish-Polish members,too) who fought for Polish independence after the war-a movie showing the braveness ,honor and humanity of Polish soldiers.

    After the movie was finished it turned out that the Polish Television had no money left to finish it (200 000 zl for the post-production).

    Now, the producers are trying to collect the rest from ordinary people through the internet in order to bring it to the big screen.

    The next project the Polish state “has no money left for” is a movie about Witold Pilecki (Projekt Pilecki).

    I can not wrap my head around why Hollywood does not make want about him…Again, money is collected through the internet. (Feel free to contribute,if You want to)

    Also, the Polish state has “no money left” for a Polish entry for the Eurovision contest next year.

    You probably realize the pattern here.

    The so-called “elites” are against their own people-because their “people” is “dumb,backward,Catholic, patriotic” and they want to be respected by the modern, enlightened big boys of the UE-so they are trying to “shame” Poles into becoming “Europeans”.

    Basically, Poland is one big Hollywood.

    But, there is hope-more and young people, especially in my age group, stopped to by this narrative-Still, it will take at least one generation and much basic work to get rid of the “elites”.And everyone of us can do a little s.th to contribute to that happening.

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  11. Otto found this on Amazon in a discussion of "The Eagle Unbowed" and sent it to me. If you want to see it on Amazon, a link is below.

    Obviously the poster is a "troll," someone who posts provocative material on the internet.

    But, in terms of substance, not style, are his comments much different from those of John Connelly and others like him?

    Begin quoted text from Amazon:

    As a nation, Pols were and continue to be a total fiasco. And as a country, Poland was always an illusion. The only element that sets Poles apart from other people is their obsessive and often demented antisemitism. So much so, that the Nazis decided to locate most extermination camps within Poland proper, rather than Germany, where they could count on the local population to help them carry out their holocaust program.

    Polish contribution to World War II was extremely modest, especially after the Blitzkrieg that disposed of their entire army in no time at all. Actually, the most important Polish contribution was playing the part of the fuse that detonated the war, just before the country itself disappeared from the map of Europe.

    This book is trying to create a fable that would make Poles happy and proud of themselves - even if infested by exaggerations at every turn, well in tune with the Polish style that is so well known to the most Europeans. All in all, a huge B.S.

    Link:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Polish-Fiasco/forum/Fx32PKKV2581IA/TxGTPLVBIM0QPP/1/ref=cm_cd_et_md_pl?_encoding=UTF8&asin=0674068149&cdMsgID=Mx22VGR00H1T5UR&cdMsgNo=1&cdSort=oldest#Mx22VGR00H1T5UR

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  12. Hahahah-have a look at his other reviews.Poor guy-he seems to have lots of issues---

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  13. Some very interesting comments above. Hanna, you say: "It can not get any more anti-Polish than that. Poles should be made to feel ashamed for their Polish identity."

    I am glad you said that Hanna, as that is exactly what I feel, that, to be accepted by "the world", I must make the required Stalinist denunciation of my dear aged father.

    Well... and I do understand that you don't share my religious beliefs - I look at it this way. My Creator, the God of Abraham, tells me that I should honour my parents. The world is telling me: Not if your parent is Polish you don't!

    So the pressure is on me to break God's law. But I love my Creator very much. I love my parents. And i want to be no part of "the world", as Jesus, the Word of God, taught.

    So, OK, I can look at this in a positive way. The world is making it easier for me to draw away from it; and Jehovah, by his loving kindness towards my parents, is drawing me closer to Him.

    And Jehovah has warned us that "the wisdom of the world" is foolishness with Him. I know there are many scholarly and sincere people within Academia, but its the system. For example, if you want a brilliant career within Academe, what would be the safe way to review this book?

    Wouldn't the temptation be towards the: Poles Are More Horrid Than Anyone Else in Time and Space AND They Shot Bambi's Mother!! approach?

    Actually, re this latest accusation, that we "invented the Ghetto", I am beginning to wonder. Perhaps we did shoot his mother after all... Better go off and do some studying. We are studying the Book of Jeremiah at the moment - trying to learn from his life and how we can cope with all the pressures from the world and our own imperfect natures and stay faithful to God, as he did.

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  14. Hello Otto, if you are aboard the Good Ship BBlog at the moment, and thanks for the info. I think "the world" would probably prefer the above put in a more scholarly way though. We aren't supposed to see that much of the iceberg. But the comment certainly harmonises with what Dr.G writes about in "Bieganski".

    One of the things that is going to happen as the system comes to its end is that, as the Bible puts it, each man's hand is going to come up against his brother. I am amazed and scared by the level of violence we have on the streets of England now.

    I can only beg us all to keep out of it, deal with it the right way, and trust in Jehovah, the true God, with all our hearts.

    The most wonderful rescue is imminent.

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    1. Sue, thank you for reading and commenting.
      It's good that those of us who care about this issue can connect via the internet. I appreciate your concern. You've been at this much longer than I have. And, yes,D's book "Bieganski" is a key text. Polonia is lucky to have her.
      I hope to see the day when justice for Poles - and others - will be automatic and not have to be fought over, begged for, but just a natural event.
      Speaking out is important, but speaking out together is better. I believe in a just God, here and in the after-life.

      Otto

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  15. Oh - and this almost made me laugh - "The book is trying to create a fable that would make Poles happy and proud of themselves".

    Happy! Not ashamed of being "unter"!! What a disgraceful book - in "the world" terms - but thanks so much to the author from me.

    I'm not sure though that any of us children of Adam are wise to be proud of ourselves. Isn't all we need enough confidence in our Creator and love for Him to be able to resist the pressures from the world and stay on that "strait and narrow road" that leads to life?

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  16. The fact that in 2012 people like John Connelly can, with a few paragraphs or so, make up the minds of millions of people without remotely addressing anything in the text he is reviewing, and then be considered an unbiased and objective figure on this matter, fills me with a combination of frustration, confusion, and anger.

    It's not just that, but it's the way he does it. With a non sequitur and appeal to authority. This isn't some random person on the street. This is an intellectual, a member of the elite.

    Has the situation really become this bad?

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  17. Another comment, as all the above is so interesting. Hanna, you say:

    "Its the thinking of "if ill be nice the bad wolf will not eat me".
    Of: If I will not offend f.e the Germans, s.th good will come out of this-so, better not write on those memorial stones in any other language than Polish. Also, not write about "German" but about "nazis". "

    I agree that there is no point in that kind of thinking. For one thing, in its recent history, Poland has been consistently betrayed by its allies, by those on whose side it has fought.

    But I hope we can consider looking at it this way. God's word says that: “If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men.” (Romans 12:18) So we are encouraged to be peaceable with “all men”, whether or not they are peaceable with us. Paul encouraged the Romans to make peace with others ‘as far as it depended upon them.’ Of course he wasn't asking us to ever compromise our beliefs for the sake of peace, but to approach others with peaceful intent. In harmony with this, Paul wrote: “Always pursue what is good toward one another and to all others.”—1 Thessalonians 5:15.

    Does this prevent us telling our own story, or trying to counter all the lies and propaganda? Not at all. It just affects how we do it, and I am certain it will make us more effective.

    And also I keep coming back to these words, in 1 Corinthians 13. In that perfect inspired definition of love, Paul tells us that love "does not keep account of the injury".

    How much better we - the human race - would be getting along with each other if we had only listened.

    The challenge is to obey God's word while living in a world that is going the opposite way. Isn't it like swimming upstream?

    But "the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever."

    I don't want to be swept away with "the world" at Armageddon. I want to live forever in Paradise. I want "unnumbered springs", and autumns, and sunrises and sunsets. And I want it for others too. We are all siblings, all descended from Adam and from Noah.

    And its chilling how well Satan has hidden that from us.

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  18. Hello, its me again. I have just read the John Connelly review, or at least as much of it as I can take without my blood pressure soaring to dangerous levels. It is very on-message, isn't it?

    Anyway, I am thinking of writing to the guy - and saying this - but would welcome any crit/advice. For instance, can you "extrapolate from" - is that a correct grammatical construction?

    Dear JC,

    I note this from your review of "The Eagle Unbowed":

    "These observations were so embarrassing that Karski kept them out of his reports for the Western allies."
    http://www.thenation.com/article/171262/noble-and-base-poland-and-holocaust?page=full

    But if the Allies were happy to ally themselves with Stalin, who had killed at least 7 million Ukrainians before WW2 even started (didn't he himself claim ten million?!), why should anything have bothered or embarrassed them? Don't they put up admiring memorials to the Red army to this day? So the mass rape it committed post WW2 doesn't seem to embarrass them either.

    Both sides did terrible, ungodly things during WW2, and followers of Christ stayed neutral - and suffered terribly for it.

    Poles and Polonians have had a powerful and painful lesson in neutrality, IF they wish to take it. Poland fought on the Allied side during WW2 and made a real contribution to the Allied victory. Their reward? A brutal betrayal the moment the war ended and vilification ever since.

    The countries that did manage to stay out of it and remain neutral didn't suffer the way Poland did, and they don't get constantly vilified either. Nor should they by the way - hasn't subsequent history shown they were right?

    Actually the countries that were part of the Axis don't come in for this constant vilification either and are treated with the same respect the neutral countries are. I'm not sure what lesson we are supposed to learn from that... rather a chilling one, if I extrapolate from it.

    However the lesson I choose to take from this is to continue to try to be "no part" of the world, as Jesus taught his followers, to remain neutral, and stay out of the world's cruel politics and wars. And to trust in my Creator for the rescue He promises.

    Have any one of His promises ever failed to come true?

    yours etc

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    1. Sue, yes. And not only were the Allies happy to ally themselves with mass murderer Stalin -- they also were quite happy to hurt Jews themselves.

      I know you are British so I apologize for mentioning that on the one British territory (afaik) that the Germans occupied, the Channel Islands, Brits cooperated with sending Jews to Auschwitz.

      In America, of course, Breckinridge Long make sure that the US adhered to the racist quote acts of 1924 & 1929, preventing all the Eastern Europeans, Jewish and non-Jewish, from seeking refuge in the US.

      And of course Walter Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize -- though he denied the Ukrainian Famine in the pages of the NYT.

      To be clear - I am NOT saying "The world is a mess and Polish anti-Semitism does not matter and should not be reported."

      Rather I am saying that you are making good points, Sue That the Poles were somehow more or less embarrassing during WWII is open to debate.

      And, for the record, Kochanski DOES report on Polish anti-Semitism. She DOES talk about Jedwabne and ZKS's shockingly anti-semitic call for aid to Jews. She does talk about the anti-Semitism in interwar Poland.

      She just doesn't talk about all these ENOUGH.

      How much is enough?

      Delete
    2. What is so terrible about the whole thing is this-

      Lets say, there would be a fair discussion, meaning acknowledging that anti-Semitism was rampant everywhere (also in f.e Japan with its, ehm, "huge" Jewish population), of course, also in Poland (although here the reasons were rather economical than rascist) and still so very many people were risking their lives, that even known anti-Semites (like ZKS) still acknowledged (Ive read her letter in Polish and yes, she is not very fond of Jews-the more I have regards for her,she kind of overcame her antipathy) the basic humanity of Jewish people (unlike the German nazis who wanted them dead).

      Lets say, there would be a broad perspective on matter of f.e Jedwabne. There were in fact many "Jedwabnes", not only in Poland (also in Lithuania,Romania,Belarus). Acts of violence against local Jewish populations only happened after Nazi Germany invaded territory before occupied by the Soviet Union.Why? The truth established by the IPN looks like this- When the Soviets invaded, they made use of the local hoodlums, especially form any minorities available f.e Jewish. These criminals became collaborators, helping the NKVD to murder Christian Polish inteligensja as well as, very often,people like the local rabbi ect.After Nazi Germany invaded these criminals fled alongside the NKVD (later,they often came back and became "state security" aparatniks). The Germans sensed the tensions and allowed criminals from the Christian side to reign freely.

      I really do not have any problem to acknowledge that not every Pole was a hero in shining armor, that some were in fact the very opposite-but I do have a huge problem with being told that Jedwabne (or Kielce) "proves" that Poles "inherit their anti-Semitism with their mothers milk" (thank G-d, I was bottle-fed XD).


      The world really is not black and white-but there are people/groups who have a white vest with relatively small dark stains.

      Still- if it were acknowledged that Poles,as a nation did, as a whole, more than any other nation to help people of Jewish faith (of whom not all were Poles) it would be very easy to discuss unapologetically the true amount and history of anti-Semitism in Poland.

      That would be really great and contribute to humanity.

      I am afraid, this will never happend.

      People seem to be idiots and the ones who are not (or who have no further agenda) do not have any power.

      Delete
    3. She just doesn't talk about all these ENOUGH.

      How much is enough?


      I dont know-how much was the restitution money again?

      As far as I know Poland is right now in the process of restituting Jewish property.

      Compared to the Czech Republic, you do not even have to still posess Polish citizenship to be able to apply, given you are the original owner or his/her direct descendent.

      This,unfortunately,takes time, like everwhere else.

      On a website connected to the World Jewish Council (or rather,American) Ive read that they would like Poland to do the following:

      1. estimate the worth of all assets owned by Polands original Jewish inhabitans (3 mio)

      2. transfer the worth of these assets to trust funds they will manage (to me, these are foreigners who want money for my compatriots of Jewish faith murdered by the Nazi German regime...)

      3. otherwise, old Holocaust survivors will die in poverty without having ever received compensation (it begs the question-what has happened to the huge amount Germany paid?)

      Of course, owners and their descendants must be recompensated. I also believe local Jewish congregations should get a huge helping hand from the state- but there is a line not to be crossed.

      Than, there is this: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Singer

      Quote:In 1996, the Reuters news agency reported that at a meeting of the WJC congress in Buenos Aires, Singer said "[m]ore than three million Jews died in Poland and the Polish people are not going to be the heirs of the Polish Jews. We are never going to allow this.... They're gonna hear from us until Poland freezes over again. If Poland does not satisfy Jewish claims it will be publicly attacked and humiliated."[2] This was perceived as another threat, but this time against Poland.

      Funny, but I cant help feeling that, given the crowing amount of anti-Polish sentiment, it does make sense. When the Polish government announced that it is not financially able to do that another hate-storm broke loose on Jewish websites and a Mr. Rosenszaft called on everyone to "avoid Poland, so as not to give them any money through tourism".

      This is getting ridicioulous. I dont want to live on this planet anymore.

      Delete
  19. Well, Connelly can survive in an environment that does not care about reality,truth ect-welcome to the wonderful world of postmodernism where the only thuth seems to be that there is non and that education should be about "affirmation" "self-realization" ect. (which should,of course, be a part-but basic,hard facts should come first). Antipolonism seems to be endemic at American universities,as endemic as anti-Semitism once had been, it seems-When I was doing some research for my master thesis topic Ive started to read a book from Cambridge University Press (I thought, this was a quality brand...) it was about "The roots of political extremism". And it contained an essay from Jan T.Gross about s.th that had COMPLETELY NOTHING to do with the topic itself.It was about the "deep roots of Polish anti-Semitism". (I swear, that was the only essay that had seriously nothing to do with the topic at all-how did it get there?). What I want to say is this-in my opinion, "university" seems to be less about education and more about indoctrination.Here a more humourous look at this problem:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUybMMYmpxo

    If this is "the best public university" in the US than I am not expecting anyone to ask Connelly to be impartial/deliver quality and than Thomas Sowell was right-America is doomed.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I sent Prof. Connelly an email inviting him to read the blog post and the response. I hope he does. I would love it if he responded to us here.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good Danusha. Let's hope he does. Although I won't be holding my breath while waiting.

    ReplyDelete
  22. All the recents posts complaining (rightfully so) about John Connelly pushing accusations of Polish anti-Semitism, even though largely irrelevant to THE EAGLE UNBOWED, seem to miss the point why this is so.

    John Connelly has been called a neo-Stalinist. [Recall that a neo-Stalinist, used in this sense, is typically a neo-Marxist or postmodernist who imitates the Stalinist attacks on Polish patriotic and religious traditions by such things as incessant and one-sided accusations of Polish anti-Semitism.] If this characterization of Connelly is even partly accurate, it completely explains why Connelly has found a way to drag Polish anti-Semitism into his review. To a neo-Stalinist, everything disliked about Poland reduces to essentially one thing--anti-Semitism.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I really hope Connelly takes up the offer. At any rate it is so depressing to see what is happening in Poland today in the "ashamed to be Polish" business.

    Sorry I know its an unrelated continent away, but I can't help but compare it to an oddity of movies here in Korea, where portrayals of South Korean soldiers, in any movie made since the 1990's, invariably portray SK soldiers as bumbling at best, if not downright worthless as soldiers. Meanwhile every single such Korean movie has a lead North Korean officer character who is a handsome, bearded-manly, misunderstood intellectual who is also a competent soldier. Toss in a Joan of Arc style beautiful and brave North Korean female soldier and its a set. Koreans are generally a patriotic lot, as are Poles and they even share a similar history of foreign occupation and enslavement, yet these are the only war era event movies produced here. Maybe Hanna is up to date: has Poland made a movie yet where the hero is an AL guy, or if post-war an ORMO, SBek or something?

    MB

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  24. From Sue Knight:

    Yes, I do know about what happened on the Channel Isles during Nazi occupation. Apparently one lady even went to Germany and worked as a concentration camp guard.

    And I realise that, had she been Polish, that would have been proof positive that "all Poles shot Bambi's mother", and the subject of many a Professor Jan Gross trilogy. As she was a Channel Islander, it is what it is - one of the many horrors of a world war.

    But thanks for seeing the validity of my question. If the Allies were not, and are not, embarrassed by Joseph Stalin and his Red Army, what would embarrass them, frankly?


    love Sue

    ReplyDelete
  25. To Anon:
    Are You Korean? Personally, I think the Koreans to be the „Poles of Asia“ :-D and Korea is one of the countries I follow on the news-I hope it will get reunited soon. And that there will be no “Round Table Talks” for this northern barbarians (the communist party leaders,that is).
    When I hear things like “why didn’t anyone do s.th about the Nazi German concentration camps” I smirk laconically-the very same thing is happening right now in the northern part of Korea (courtesy of this evil neo-feudalistic regime of terror) and only few people give a damn.
    We have on-tape confessions of a former head-overseer testifying to the existence of gas chambers,horrific medical experimentation on humans and the likes.We have on-tape confessions of former guards.We have videos from inside NK showing the hunger and the dilapidation of everything,all on Youtube.Like with the genocide in Rwanda, the world,again, does not care.
    About Polish movies-ok,after the war every movie portrayed AK solders as nationalistic,chauvinistic,anti-Semitic bum and the communist partisants as shining heros.Of course.
    After the “liberation” of 1989-hmm, hard to tell. I know what You are thinking about…its this: yeah, but we also need to understand the other side, they had a difficult childhood/the circumstances/whatever-kind of thinking.
    Portraying a SB guard as a nice guy…not that I am aware of.But, some movies, like a movie about the trial of Rotmistrz Witold Pilecki had been criticized for portraying the SB side (back then, called MBP) not harshly enough, of kind of whitewashing them
    Than, we have productions like the TV series Czas Honoru which follows thelot of several Polish youngsters during the occupation and after.The new season just started (after 1945). Many people are afraid a whitewashing will take place, but we will have to see.
    Can You tell me WHY on earth South Korean producers seem to look down on SK soldiers? Is this a case of oikophobia?

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  26. Its not oikophobia for sure. It seems just to be a kind of typical elitist Leftist sentiment that you can see in "Hollywoods" everywhere. I would assume its the case in Germany too, if not even worse, as after all the BRD had volunteer Communist spies running around all over the place while the Wall stood right there. Some of those now near retirement age guys still sit in the EU parliament and are active in German politics, right? So, Korea is not unique in its odd behavior. I am not Korean, I'm Polish-American, emphasis on the Polish more it seems, living in Korea.

    I am pessimistic on unification given China's border with NK and all the investment they have made there. Plus taking it over, even if China allowed it, is thought to be an even costlier deal than German unification. I'd like to see Czas Honoru too, to see how its handled.

    MB

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  27. I have now reviewed THE EAGLE UNBOWED on Amazon. To see my review, please click on my name in this specific posting.

    The author has good points, and provides good information. Unfortunately, she also makes a number of errors, some of which I discuss in my review.

    ReplyDelete
  28. FTR, I did hear back from John Connelly. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he is an important scholar and we are not worthy of his time.

    It goes without saying that if he were to change his mind at any time he could post his comment here.

    ReplyDelete

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