|I found this photo by doing a Google image search of the word "Skinhead." I'm afraid that for many people, this is the kind of image that enters their head when they hear the words "Pole" or "Polak" or "Poland." Source|
Recently I "met" a very nice man online. We met in an internet environment that has nothing to do with Polish-Jewish anything. In fact, it was devoted to appreciation of the natural world.
This man was very helpful to me, and a nice person, as well. He has a photo online and he looks like a lovely human being.
I noticed that he had what looked to me like a surname from the part of the world that my parents came from.
I sent him a post asking about this. I mentioned that my last name (formerly gąska) is Polish for "little goose." I mention that I write about Polish-Jewish relations.
He wrote back, "Well, we should talk offline sometime. It’s an interesting topic: My wife still has strongly-held beliefs, based on the history of Poles during WWII, that the majority of Polish citizens remain anti-Semites to this day. I have no evidence one way or the other and remain neutral on the matter. It would be interesting to find data or research you’ve uncovered."
I mention this very brief anecdote because this has happened to me dozens, or maybe even hundreds, of times. I meet a new person in an environment that has nothing to do with Eastern Europe, I mention my own ethnicity or my research, and without any pause at all, I am immediately told some variation of "Poles are all anti-Semites."
My point is that the Bieganski stereotype is very much alive, and it behooves Polonia to take action to change that.