Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bieganski for a New Generation; Bieganski and "Generation War"

I am saddened when I encounter those voices in Polonia who insist that Bieganski, the Brute Polak stereotype will "die out" as "Poles become better educated and stop being peasants."

I am also saddened when I encounter Polonians who say, "Please read Tim Snyder's 'Bloodlands.' Once you realize how much we suffered at the hands of Hitler and Stalin, you won't stereotype us anymore."

Stereotypes don't work that way. There is no evidence in the ample scholarship on stereotyping to support either of the above conclusions.

Bieganski, the Brute Polak stereotype, as described in the book "Bieganski," is very much alive and well, and will continue to flourish in newspapers, school curricula, church sermons, and other cultural products for as long as Polonia chooses to refuse to address him in a strategic manner.

Dumb Polak jokes come and go, novels like "Sophie's Choice" rise and fall, media panics like that surrounding the publication of Jan Tomasz Gross' "Neighbors" flare up and die down, but Bieganski is the background source, and the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype is alive and well, and will continue to inspire new products.

One such new product is "Generation War," which was shown first on German television and now on the BBC.

In the Guardian newspaper discussion page devoted to this miniseries, one viewer wrote to protest,

"the demonisation of the Polish [Armia Krajowa or Home Army] partisans as anti-semites prepared to kill Jews, in contrast with the sympathetic portrayal of the [German, Nazi] central characters, none of whom express anti-semitic sentiments.

I understand that contemporary Germans might find it hard to accept that their own parents and grandparents committed mind-boggling war crimes, and would like a more sympathetic portrayal of innocent young people caught up in something they did not understand, and later could not get out of. However, this programme goes too far in distorting the truth. I am not Jewish or Polish, but feel insulted on their behalf."

Other viewers, though, insisted that Poland was an anti-Semitic country, and that anyone who complained about the depiction of Polish war heroes as rabid anti-Semites was just a "cry baby."

You can read more such comments here.

***

A Polish Home Army veteran is suing over "Generation War." Sadly, he and most of Poland is unaware of "Bieganski"; there is no Polish-language version of the book. It is being held up by a lack of funds for translation.

"Bieganski" is needed in Poland. It is needed in curricula in America. One poster, named "Deborah," who appears to be American, wrote in response to the furor over "Generation War,"

"Are you aware of the Warsaw ghetto uprising that occurred a year before the Warsaw uprising during which the aka refused to get involved or even supply any aid? Nobody disputes that the Holocaust was instituted by the Germans but there was a reason most of it took place in Poland – anti-semitism was so inbred that it was a fertile ground.

I am extremely grateful to those 6,000 + heroes who risked their lives but if I recall correctly the Polish population was about 60 million at the time and while I certainly understand why someone would not want to risk his life or the lives of his family, I can’t understand why someone would voluntarily turn in a jewish neighbor for a keg of beer."

Deborah's comment is full of historical errors. Her new name for the Armia Krajowa, or Home Army, as the "aka" will cause some to laugh. But her deployment of the Bieganski stereotype is condoned in American classrooms, media, and political decisions. Polonia, wake up. Educate people like Deborah.

Here is a snip from a Krakow Post article about the lawsuit:

A veteran of the Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army) has filed a civil case in the Krakow District Court against controversial German TV drama, Our Mothers, Our Fathers, which is set during World War II.

The former soldier, whose name has not been made public, joined forces with the World Association of Home Army Soldiers (Światowy Związek Żołnierzy Armii Krajowej) to file a case against the series’ producer, Nico Hofmann, on the grounds that it tarnishes the reputations of Poles who fought against Nazi occupation. Attorney Monika Brzozowska, with PDB, the law firm representing the complainants, confirmed the court’s civil department had received the summons.

The drama has caused considerable offence among many Poles for its depiction of Polish Home Army soldiers displaying anti-Semitic sentiments. It has also been accused of implicating Poles in the atrocities of the Holocaust and playing down German responsibility. In one scene, a Home Army soldier boasts: “We drown Jews like rats,” while his compatriots are shown refusing to help Jews bound for Auschwitz.

The series was commissioned by German public broadcaster, ZDF, and broadcast in German and Austria (as Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter) in March, 2013, finding a large audience and critical acclaim. The three, 90-minute episodes were shown by Polish broadcaster TVP in June (as Nasze matki, nasi ojcowie). It achieved record ratings, but also provoked anger among Poles who regarded its depiction of Home Army combatants as grossly unfair.

You can read the entire article and the 89 comments that follow here.

18 comments:

  1. Nothing new here.

    The slander against the A. K. (Armia Krajowa), as a systematically anti-Semitic organization, goes back at least as far as Communist propaganda.

    The effort to shift the blame for the Holocaust away from the Germans--where it belongs--and unto Poles, whether part of some formal joint Jewish-German effort or not, is nothing new either.

    The reader may be interested in the testimony of a high-ranking, openly-Jewish member of the elite Kedyw unit in the A. K. He also testified that, unfortunately, the majority of Israeli Jews hold views similar to that portrayed in "Generation War". To see all this, please click on my name in this specific posting.

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    1. I was waiting for this review. Many thanks Mr. Peczkis.
      Stanisław Aronson not only visited Poland. He also reclaimed his polish citizenship. There is a documentary film about him titled "Golfista" ("The Golfist").
      http://www.citinet.net/ak/polska.php?Page=118&Lang=EN http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanis%C5%82aw_Aronson

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  2. Conformer with a CauseMay 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    I saw some of this series in Australia a few months ago. It was a bit silly with the five friends constantly bumping into each other all over Eastern Europe whilst Germany attacked the Soviet Union - abundant coincidences like this work in a comedy but not when the show is supposed to be taken seriously.

    The Polish AK was happy to take a German but not a Jew - somewhat odd. The AK was, as noted, absurdly anti-Semitic though their leader does end up relatively likeable despite this (other members have no redeeming qualities apart from their fighting abilities).

    One thing this show did show though, that I have never seen in Hollywood productions, was the wholesale murder of Polish civilians in reprisal for the AK's actions. So some credit here where credit is due.

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    1. wholesale murder of Polish civilians in reprisal for the AK's actions. So some credit here where credit is due.

      Well, not, not really. I can't agree with You-because through showing how vile and antisemitic the AK-as well as the Polish society "was", the murder of Polish civilians does Kind of seem like "well, they deserved it somehow". I know, it sounds batshit crazy, but trust me-human Psyche does work in such abnorm (or rather "normal") ways (check "just-world-bias" to see what I mean.....)

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    2. Not to mention the fact that Polish partisants are killed by the Germans after fellow Pole betrays them.

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    3. Lukasz thank you for that. Clearly, the bastard Polaks deserved what they had coming to them.

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    4. Felek your post about retribution strikes me as entirely correct.

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  3. Danusha, there is another problem-a very sad one. There are people, ultra-left-wingers who do not want Polish rescuers to be commemorated next to the Museum of Polish Jews (build by Polish Money,of course...): http://www.krytykapolityczna.pl/artykuly/opinie/20140327/nie-budujmy-pomnika-sprawiedliwych-obok-muzeum-historii-zydow-polskich

    These people Claim to represent "Jews and Jewish interests". Which is a scandalous assertment-because the true representative of Jewish Poles (Forum Zydow Polskich) wants the Monument to stand rigtht next to the museum.I have asked them via email, they told me that such people do not represent their views. These hating minority is, how could it be otherwise??? paid for by Polish tax payers Money. This is exactely why I have started to support the extreme right in Poland-they want to abolish funding for every organization not representing our national interest.

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    1. Felek thank you for alerting me to that letter.

      But please do not go over to the far right!

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    2. In my opinion it's a perfect place for such monument. Please note it's name. It's a Museum of History of Polish Jews. I America "it's history" means "it's over". In Poland history is very much alive. This museum is about living, about outlasting. It's about connection to this country. Monument of rescuers will symbolise that connection.
      And if anyone doesn't like it - there is a Museum of Death in New York.

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    3. It is curious that a people who self-identify as not being Polish get to have a say as to what buildings or monuments are built in the Polish capital. That said, this faux controversy is entirely irrelevant to Poles. What Poles should be asking is not whether they can put a "rescuers" monument next to the Jewish Museum (why should today's Poles care about that? What do they have to prove with that kind of a monument?). You cannot have this conversations be defined by others. Let Jewish organizations vie to tell us how they contributed to the welfare of our people. In the meantime, what Poles should ask instead is why there is no Museum of the Polish Nation in Poland - about Poles themselves. One might say this (the Jewish Museum) is a museum and there are no more Jews left in Poland - but that is certainly not true as Jewish life is awakening all over Eastern Europe. Oh, I know, there are various "national" museums. However, none of these museums talk about what brings us, Poles (Slavs more generally) together as a people. None of them talk about our traditions, our history, our struggles. Not the "national" museum in Warsaw, not any other museum that I am aware of. I am talking about a people that it is almost certain now, traveled from the East to the Balkans, Croatia, Serbia, then up through the Carpathians to make a new home in Eastern Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus. The history of a people is not a history of its rulers but of its own Gods (not the pirated Hebrew import) and the blood bond that endures.

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  4. Allow me to jot down some thoughts about the whole Bieganski-thing from the view of a Pole who has travelled a lot and is very interested in history,culture and politics.
    Danusha, You are 100% spot-on: Stereotypes do not die, if this were true there would not be people blaming-again!-the Jews for (again) financial catastrophes and (this is new) for the “pushing of multiculturalism, aka anti-white-American-European genocide”. The truth is, that-AGAIN-an Israeli was beaten to pulp by “Germans of foreign origin” in Berlin,Frenchmen were roaming the streets of Paris on the “jour du colere” and chanting “Jews out of France” (youtube “France anti-Semitism”)-things unthinkable in Poland. But yeah, we “must” be anti-semites, because they are “from the West”,they are “white” while as we are “uncivilized negoes who just seem to be white”.Welcome to the world of neo-colonialism.
    Personally, I do have some hopes for the future of Poland. Paradoxically, because the same thing that Germans,Swedes,Belgians,English fell so tremendously smug about (“being progressive,multicultural”) will be their downfall. Do you seriously thing people such as these: http://polpix.sueddeutsche.com/bild/1.1787486.1380901958/860x860/fluechtlingsboote-lampedusa.jpg will be interested in blaming Poland for “anti-Semitism”? (such ships are arriving nearly daily on the shores of Europe. They do not want to go to Poland-their goals are the social-benefit-rich countries). Believe me- most of them are Muslims and of these 99% despise Jews and the state of Israel. Most of them are at least partly analphabets and, with f.e in Italy 50% of young people being unable to find a job, they will probably never hold any. Italy gives them some money and sends them on their way (to UK,Germany and Sweden). They do not want to stay in Italy, the benefits are meager, there is no work and Italian catholic national culture is tolerant, but does not cater to Islamic exceptionalism.
    My second hope, apart from “progressive” countries becoming huge Little Latinovilles and Little Meccas, is the fact that cultural Marxism (like the “thought” that cultures are all equally deserving of praise,no matter how they treat women, homosexuals,non-believers ect) has not really reached countries such as Poland,Hungary,Russia ect. In these countries, although “state” media (or some private media outlets) is trying its best, people know exactly why they don’t want to end like the “progressive” countries,they know that taking in “refugees” will not make their country wealthy,no. They want Poles kidnapped by Stalin to Siberia to come back first, want money to be spend firstmost on Polish families. Polish youngsters (especially after having been to “progressive” countries) are becoming more and more right-wing (meaning their values,as Polish nationalism does not know the concept of being “racially Polish”). It makes me hope that, after having seen the downfall of Poland (lately the years after 1989), after having seen what might be in store for us (f.e being a destroyed country used by rich EU countries as a dumping ground for unwanted “refugees”) and after the impending downfall of the global economy people will be p…off enough to do the right thing: Abolish the III “Polish” republic and re-establish a truly (culturally) Polish state caring for its national interests and its people. Personally, I have started to support the right-wing although holding several distinctly left ideas. We must abolish this tragedy called the “republic of the round table”.

    I do have one fear-that we will repeat past mistakes, f.e taking in, massively, people whos alien culture will confine them into gettos, instead of helping them integrate into our society. We have been through such a thing (Israel is experiencing the same problem with the Haredim, who want to life off the state but not really offer anything in return…), now we, apparently, must apologize to everyone for everything. Why on earth repeat that? Just take in small amount of people willing to assimilate.

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    1. Polish nationalism knows what it means to be "racially Polish" - a Pole is someone who has a Polish father or mother. That someone is Polish 100% and that is the end of that. This is whether he or she (erroneously) believes that joshua of nazareth, jahwe or allah is his/her god. Such people have fallen into the universalist trap - into another imported non-Polish religion. OTOH someone who does not have Polish ancestry is not Polish. No matter how many flags he/she wraps themselves under. And that is the end of that as well. The people you brand "Muslims" and their culture are relevant only inasmuch as they are not of Polish Blood. Their religion is no more or less Polish than the yahwist religion brought to the Slavs by the Germans and Byzantines (whose people are not to blame either since their Christianity was introduced to them much as it was later introduced to the Poles - with fire and sword - indeed if there is something to blame for, at least, Christianity, it is that Damascus road). It is therefore incorrect to discuss them as Muslims - they are mostly blacks, Arabs, Bedouins, Berbers, etc - or, really, non-Poles. In that they are not different than the Latins of America or the Japanese. Their religion is of no import and, indeed, even if they were Catholics out of Lebanon willing to embrace all that is Polish, that would not make them Polish. Terms like "cultural Marxism" or "Little Meccas" belong on the Rush Limbaugh show (or Mark Levin show) not in any discussion of this issue on Polish websites - by bringing such terms into discussion you reveal yourself as a neoconservative - indeed once you reject Polishness you have nothing to offer - what is a truly (culturally) Polish state? What, a Catholic Church based state? What is Polish about that? Worshipping a Bedouin on a cross in the bizzarre belief that he snuck out of his tomb? Christianity had served its purpose (which was to allow for a biological survival of the Nation). There is no purpose to it now - Polish culture is the culture of our fathers and mothers - Christianity with is bizzarre virgin and emasculated, frequently homosexual or pedophile clergy will not protect the Polish Nation against the biological domination of North Africans. If you think otherwise, there are a few bridges that I can sell you.

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    2. I have to dissagree with You, Bozhi. Polish mother or father does not make anyone a Pole. There is no such thing like "pure Pole". When Germans created SS they checked each candidate's ancestry back to 1750. In Poland such organisation could never exist. I bet, that on every family tree there is a Pole-by-choice. Or several of them.
      One Polish poet once said: "I am a Pole, because it pleases me". Another one wrote: "My pride is, that I am a volountary Pole".
      Chopin was half-French. Matejko was half-Czech. Polishness is not in genes. It's a matter of feelings. Moje serce bije po polsku.
      Take Debbie Schlussel for example. Slavic blonde with blue eyes. Obviously some polish postman made contribution to her DNA. It's also obvious that she hates us. Not that I care. From my window I can see Janusz Korczak's Elementary School. Who needs Debbie?
      And since You started about religion.
      There is no return to paganism. It didin't disapeared without reason. Have fun on Wet Monday, it's all that is left. Good riddance.
      As for islam.
      Muslims will never be Poles. Not because islam is an imported religion. It's because it infects people with Arab culture. That culture cannot be reconciled with polishness. The fact that "there is no mead or beer in muslim lands" is just a tip of an iceberg. Their "Allah" is a demon, their "prophet" is a monster. I prefer to worship Jewish carpenter who was nailed to a cross, than Arab pedophile who raped 9-year old child. Once a Pole becomes a muslim, he/she is no longer polish.

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    3. This statement is filled with some many issues, I can only address a few:

      "There is no such thing like "pure Pole"." - Yes, there is - one who has a Polish father or mother, I think I said that before.

      "When Germans created SS they checked each candidate's ancestry back to 1750."

      Na... und? Your point?

      "One Polish poet once said: "I am a Pole, because it pleases me". Another one wrote: "My pride is, that I am a volountary Pole"."

      That's interesting but aside from your misspeling "voluntary" what does that mean? Can I say, I am African American because it pleases me? Can a cat say I am a horse because it pleases me? I mean obviously one can say that but just because one says that green is yellow, it don't make it so, so to speak.

      "Polishness is not in genes. It's a matter of feelings. Moje serce bije po polsku."

      What feelings are those? Can you clarify? How does you heart beat "Polish"? Is it on the right side of your chest cavity? Does it beat faster than the heart of another homo sapiens? I'd be interested to know - these revelations may be important to science!

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    4. To continue:

      "Chopin was half-French" - as I said, a Pole is someone who has a Polish mother or father....so that would make Szopen Polish. Same for Matejko. How is it that you think that what you wrote is inconsistent with what I said? (aside from the fact that Polishness is really about being a Slav - so Matejko can be seen as having a Slav mother and father).

      Debbie Schlussel is a provocateur. Further, I do not see why you need to insult her parentage by referring to a Polish postman. I am pretty certain that she is a fake blond and I don't know if her eyes are blue or just the contacts she wears. Put differently, I don't know if she is Polish - she claims she isnt't - maybe someone will prove otherwise at some point but frankly I could not care less. "Winning her" to the Tribe is not relevant given her general disposition.

      "There is no return to paganism. It didin't disapeared without reason. Have fun on Wet Monday, it's all that is left. Good riddance."

      It is Christianity that is "pagan" to me. I assume that you meant that "it did disappear for a reason" - that is correct - the reason is because the Polish elites succumbed to a Christian New Age religion much like they now are succumbing to a European religion of secularism. It disappeared because of the murder of the Polish and Slavic priest cast and the persecution of old believers in the Slav lands. No real Pole or Slav can be a Christian - it is a sickness of the mind. I hope you are cured at some point. I will never say "Good riddance" to the religion of my Forefathers and Foremothers. I hope one day you will be ashamed for writing what you wrote here.

      "Muslims will never be Poles. Not because islam is an imported religion. It's because it infects people with Arab culture..."

      I don't know what cutlure that is. However, using words like "infects" shows your contempt for a people that is based on what exactly? Curious, what is it that you don't like about Arab culture - lack of beer? That is rich. If that is the tip of the iceberg, please tell me what is the actual "iceberg"? "Their Allah is a demon" - I am not sure how to even address that statement. As opposed to what? Your Jahwe or Jesus? And you know that how? By consorting with demons? Maybe their prophet was a pedophile - I am guessing there are plenty of those in the Catholic Church nowadays - either way that is none of my business until they make it such.

      I still have not heard you say anything about your Polish culture and what makes that better than an Arab culture - about which you seem to know just as little except that you can't drink "mead or beer" within it.

      To help you, for more information about Polish culture and religion I suggest you look at sites such "bogowiepolscy".

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    5. We lived and worked in a fundamentalist Muslim country for decades - very happily. And I don't want to forget that I never came across a Muslim who spoke disrespectfully or nastily of my father because he was Polish.

      I did find some Americans who did. Only some though. Overall I liked the Americans we worked with.

      I found Muslims to be people much the same as everybody else, mostly wanting to get peacefully on with their lives. And, as a Christian, I believe that we are all the children of Adam, with an even closer common ancestor in Noah. We are all caught in the same trap, and all in need of the same rescue.

      Tribalism is not the way to go. Though I am no fan of one-world government either! That delivers such power to a few. The government I long for is the incoming Kingdom of God, the heavenly government - the government whose coming we pray for when we say The Lord's Prayer.

      I have no idea if Debbie Schlussel is Polish or not. Not, presumably, if she doesn't identify herself as such. And, yes, she does seem to loathe us Poles/Polonians (we have had a brief correspondence, I was polite), but on the other hand given her views, wouldn't it be worrying if she did like us?

      Having said that, I have to admit I agree with much of what she has to say about the product of Hollywood in her movie reviews. I try to avoid Hollywood as much as possible, for fear of poisoning my brain.

      I certainly don't think Polish culture is any better or any worse than Arab culture, or any other culture. All have their good points and bad points. And I know that if someone lived and worked as an expat in Poland for many years, I would want them to dwell on the positives, not the negatives.

      So, in line with the Golden Rule, that is what I try to do when talking about my expat years in Arabia. Not difficult, as there are plenty of good things to dwell on.

      And, on a trivial level, talking of the pluses and the minuses, I love Arabic food - but don't like the fact i can't have a glass of wine with my meal.

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  5. I turned comment moderation off on the blog to make it easier for Vivian to reply to my question for her ... she has not replied and probably won't. I turned comment moderation back on.

    Please use real first and last names and please keep it civil and fact-based rather than insult-based.

    Thanks.

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