Monday, August 18, 2014

Poles are Complicit in the Holocaust - New Jersey. And Polonia is Doing What, Exactly?



Nasz Dziennik published an article alleging that in New Jersey students learn that Poles are complicit in the Holocaust. Of course Poles and Polonians are getting all upset. 

There is one scholarly book that addresses this stereotype of Poles as the world's worst anti-Semites. That book is "Bieganski." 

Polonia has not significantly supported the book. It is not used in courses, as far as I know. It has received few Amazon reviews and I regularly receive emails from Polonians telling me they don't want to buy it because they don't like the spend that much money on books, so why can't I give them a copy for free? 

I received one only invite from a Polish organization to talk about the book. I received more invitations from Jewish groups. 

I've repeatedly contacted Polish organizations and offered to speak. I've contacted the Kosciuszko Foundation. I get no replies. 

In short, there is a scholarly book that helps to explain and deconstruct the very stereotype that so troubles Poles and Polonians, and Poles and Polonians don't support that book, and get caught with their pants down and their hair on fire every time one of these scandals erupts. 

Frank Milewski responded to New Jersey educators. Does he mention the one scholarly book on the topic, a book that might help New Jersey educators to understand Polonia's position as something other than chauvinism? No, Mr. Milewski does not. 

A Polish publisher wants to publish "Bieganski" in Poland. He can't because he can't put together the few thousand dollars he would need for translation. 

Polonia, yes, people do associate you with Holocaust guilt. There's a book that addresses that. Read it. It might help. 

You can read about the latest of many similar kerfluffles here in Polish and here in English.

You will see Polonians going around and around, saying the same things they've said a million times, and making zero progress. God forbid they should study something, come to understand it better, and better equip themselves to fight it. 

And you can read more about how Polonia consistently shoots itself in the foot on these issues here.

***

Dear Polish American Congress,

I understand that the state of New Jersey is teaching that Poles are complicit in the Holocaust and that you are upset by that.

It may interest you to know that there is a prize-winning, scholarly book that addresses that very stereotype.

I am the book's author. I live in New Jersey. I am a teacher.

Why don't you make better use of the resources available to you, including my book and Polish American authors like me, John Guzlowski, Terese Pencak Schwartz and others who would be more than happy to have the opportunity to educate the public and refute stereotypes, if we received any support at all from Polonia?

Why don't you at the very least read "Bieganski" so that you can respond in an informed, sophisticated way to stereotyping?


Thank you. 

18 comments:

  1. Bull - the Germans, the Russians and, yes, the Israelis have struck a deal. Polish government's role is to be the potemkin village in all of this with it sole function being to police the Poles. With respect to Poles abroad, one way of policing is to control Polish organizations - by either denying funding (recently transferred from the sejm to the Foreign Ministry) or isolating any independent organizations (USOPAL). This is an official function of the Polish Foreign Ministry - the orders from Berlin/Moscow/TelAviv for Warsaw and therefore from Warsaw to Polonia are clear - keep quiet and be happy with what you have - you are in the EU, you are in NATO (sorta), you have the best you've had ever - so keep your heads down low and enjoy what you've been given. This is entirely consistent with what Chiraq said back in 2003. As to Israelis, if you want to console yourself, console yourself that they are probably the least involved in this scheme but they too recognize that, without America in the driver's seat, someone else will be - most likely Russians and Germans - so you deal with those.

    Poles are an object not a subject. They are not to be "actors". There are too many actors already and the rich of this world do not need more startups - they have their hands full of Latin dictators, Muslim caliphates in the making and the Rising China.

    The narrative is clear - everyone knows the truth but the narrative is helpful for all involved - the Russians get to be saviours of Jews from those barbarous Nazis. The Germans get to be just one of many constituent parts of the Nazi machine - in some ways more noble than others in Eastern Europe. And the Israelis teach their children that all of the Christians, goyim or what have you, were basically equally bad which means that the only way to be safe is to head to Israel and be a source of manpower for Israel's armed forces.

    Everyone is happy.

    Whatever you may have thought of Moskal, under the new leadership, the PAC is basically in a state of permanent lethargy and its head seems to be some sort of a clown (yes, so was Moskal but at least he seems to have had a will of his own) that smiles and salutes at various inane parades.

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  2. Some readers probably do not know about the following resource:

    I have now read and Amazon-reviewed over 600 books on Judaica (especially Poland's Judaica) out of my nearly 2,000 Amazon-reviewed items, and have here organized these Judaica reviews into 24 (so far) Amazon Listmania according to the following six chronological divisions:

    I. POLES AND JEWS BEFORE POLAND'S RE-ACQUIRED INDEPENDENCE (Pre-1918)
    II. POLISH-JEWISH RELATIONS IN THE SECOND REPUBLIC (1918-1939)
    III. POLES AND JEWS DURING THE GERMAN-MADE HOLOCAUST (1939-1944)
    IV. POLES AND JEWS UNDER SOVIET OCCUPATION (1944-1989)
    V. POLES AND JEWS TODAY
    VI. FLASH POINTS IN POLISH-JEWISH RELATIONS

    (Go to Amazon Listmania, and type-in the name of the indicated Listmania according to a specific topic area for further study):

    I. POLES AND JEWS BEFORE POLAND'S RE-ACQUIRED INDEPENDENCE (Pre-1918)

    Jews and Judaism in Tsarist Russia
    Jews and Judaism in Galicia (Poland, Ukraine)
    Judeopolonia: Fact, Myth, or In-Between?

    II. POLISH-JEWISH RELATIONS IN THE SECOND REPUBLIC (1918-1939)

    Polish-Jewish Relations: Julian Tuwim and the Skamander Poets
    Jewish Culture, Jewish History, Jewish Life, Jewish Religion
    Jewish Freethought in Pre-WWII Poland
    Jewish Political Parties and Politics in Pre-WWII Poland
    Pre-WWII Polish Jews Experiencing Little or No Anti-Semitism
    Polish Pogroms [Series of Three Listmania]

    III. POLES AND JEWS DURING WWII AND THE HOLOCAUST (1939-1944)

    Holocaust (Shoah) Misconceptions Corrected
    Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Myths Vs. Facts
    Righteous Among Nations: Polish Rescuers of Jews.........Betrayers Too
    The WWII Rescue of Danish Jews in Fact and in Myth
    Diaries from the Jewish Ghettos in German-Occupied Poland in WWII
    The Treblinka Holocaust Death Camp in German-Occupied Poland
    Trial of Adolf Eichmann, Hannah Arendt, and the Judenrat Controversy

    IV. POLES AND JEWS UNDER SOVIET OCCUPATION (1944-1989)

    Looting, Grave Robbery, Property Restitution--Not Only Poles From Jews
    Historian Marek Chodakiewicz and His Scholarly Works

    V. POLES AND JEWS TODAY (1989-on)

    Auschwitz (Oswiecim), Kolbe, & Auschwitz Carmelite Convent Controversy
    Jewish Landmarks in Post-WWII and Contemporary Poland

    VI. FLASH POINTS IN POLISH-JEWISH RELATIONS

    Understanding Polish Statesman Roman Dmowski and His National Movement
    Exposing Polonophobia: Anti-Polish Bias, as in Holocaust Materials

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  3. Further, if Doctor Goska wants to do something about this she should translate the book herself - it seems that she speaks Polish, right? I get that that is something someone else "should do" but why not do it herself in spare time?

    And how about lowering the price? You might sell more at 9.99 than at the current price.

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    1. Magdalena PaśnikowskaAugust 18, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      "Translate the book herself [...] in her spare time" - that is a very unhelpful remark. Dr Goska has already done the work (i.e., written a book) and it is rather obvious that being an author does not automatically equip one with professional translation skills. Also, I don't really know much about pricing, but I would guess it is the publisher, not the author, who dictates what a book should cost.

      Delete
    2. Magdalena Pasnikowska, thank you so very much for your apt and yet courteous response to the previous unfortunate couple of posts, which -- apparently without their author's awareness -- both prove my point and support the stereotype of Poles as contemptuous of scholarship, including scholarship that is in their own interest.

      What can one do but weep ... and continue trying to educate ...

      Delete
    3. Yes, the writer perhaps didn't realise that Dr.Goska is a teacher and I can't imagine she has any spare time for translating!

      I think a paperback edition and a different cover might help, but I believe it is also the publisher and not the author who decides these things. Authors don't seem to get much say until they become J.K.Rowling.

      So unless you are planning to write a series of books about a schoolboy wizard.., and anyway I hope you are not.

      But in the meantime, in the face of all this, we - us Poles/Polonians - are getting on with it and telling our story.

      And I can understand why some don't feel able to deal with this. I wouldn't myself if it weren't for the constant teaching I get through the Christian congregation.

      And is it such a bad thing if "the world" is showing us its true face?
      It all helps in being no part of it, which is vital.

      Delete
  4. Jan, I know you are a tireless worker in the field. Thanks. And Mario, yes, we are in a Catch 22 here. If we don't protest this campaign of vilification, then it must be true, or we would protest it. And if we do protest it, then that just shows how awful we are for protesting it.

    It is, to say the least, an interesting challenge. You define some of the politics of this very well. And I certainly can't change them. I don't even vote.

    It often feels like facing a tsunami with a plastic teaspoon. But, as long as I have my teaspoon, I will keep on having a go. And we need to remember that our Creator, the God of Abraham, does not ask us to take on the world, he asks us to be "no part" of it - to take no part in its divisive politics and cruel wars.


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    1. Sue,
      Very good to read that you will be continuing to "have a go"! I would like to offer here a bit of a nuance on how we can get involved in the "debates" on these topics. Further to your reference to the God of Abraham:

      Jesus Christ taught in Matthew 5:

      14. "You are the light of the world. A city that is built on an hill cannot be hidden.
      15. Neither does anyone light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.
      16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

      And the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

      So, we are exhorted to definitely be "In the world" (active, as good examples, as well as illuminators of bad things) but not "of the world" (not to let the world press us into its "worldly" mold).

      So, we should "speak out", with our voice, our vote, our internet connections, our purchasing power, whatever is available to us.

      If we see ourselves only as pawns without a vote, that is how the world will treat us. Yes, many politicians exhibit corrupt behaviour - but we need to keep shining our lights on this, to slowly but surely improve this behaviour.

      Delete
    2. Dan, agreeing strongly with everything you wrote. Thank you. Keep up the good work! :-)

      Delete
    3. Hello Dan, yes, indeed we must speak out. Christians have been entrusted with the good new of the incoming Kingdom of God, and we must tell people about it.

      As you know we, Jehovah's Witnesses, go door to door, we have bookstands in public places, we have a wonderful internet site. And I do take the opportunity that tackling Polish media issues sometimes gives me to give a witness

      For example, when we see how the truth about WW2 (insofar as we can get to the truth these days!) is being turned on its head, within living memory of the events, can it help us to strengthen our faith in the Biblical warning that "the father of the lie" is in charge of the current system of things?

      And the more "the world" lets us see its true face, the eaiser it should be for us to be "no part" of it.

      And, yes, I do agree that Christians must be in the world speaking out. Jesus and his followers did not isolate themselves, they were out there, preaching. And we try to do that as much as each one of us can.

      But yes, we must not let the world's attitudes shape us. And we must stay out of its divisive politics and cruel wars.

      Delete
  5. Although Mario (not, by any chance, also Waclaw Horzy or Milos Forman?) gives the impression of being a rather rude conspiracy theorist, nevertheless there's something in what he says about Poland being an "object". History has indeed been written by the victors. Russia, despite the current Ukraine situation, is still seen in the West as the power which ultimately defeated the Nazis and liberated the camps. Little is ever mentioned about the two year Nazi-Soviet co-operation which resulted in the dismemberment of the Polish state. The old pre-war multi-cultural and multi-ethnic nation is extinct and lives only in the memories of a generation who are themselves fading away. The Poles who fought the Nazis (the fourth largest army in the Allied camp!) are in danger of being entirely forgotten, their achievements overshadowed and obliterated. Anyone who writes about these issues in English - such as Halik Kochanski and Danusha Goska - deserves every encouragement and support from fellow Poles and Polonians.

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    1. Michal "Although Mario (not, by any chance, also Waclaw Horzy or Milos Forman?)"

      I know. It's all so silly.

      I've never posted on the internet under a fake name. I've never published anything under a fake name.

      Posting under your real name is just the foundation of integrity.

      And thank you Michal for your kind words. They are much appreciated.

      Signed, the Masked Marauder.

      Delete
  6. To the person posting as Mario Schultz. If you have something substantive to say, please write that up and send it in and I will post it.

    I will not post your recent posts which are a series of insults directed at me.

    I'm sure you can find someplace else on the web to post that.

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  7. I'll take this opportunity to say again ... there are all too many Poles and Polonians out there who devote whatever time and energy they have for Polish matters to attacking other Poles online. Insulting, fighting, destroying, spreading rumor and gossip.

    And not devoting that time and energy to building up.

    And not devoting that time and energy to supporting Polish and Polonian writers, scholars, authors, artists, activists.

    Unless and until Polonia addresses its own internal problems, it's never going to be an effective strategist.

    Other groups can and do influence school curricula, media coverage, arts programs, how tax dollars are spent, how schools education children, museum displays ...

    Poles and Polonians do not.

    It breaks my heart. That sniping and corrosiveness within Polonia, dedicated to Polonians hurting Polonians ... that utter waste of energy ... breaks my heart.

    I can only hope that at least one of these bitter Polonians will just once look in the mirror before devoting his or her time and energy to the tearing down of their fellow Poles and Polonians.

    And I again thank Magdalena and Michal for standing up for me in this thread. Obviously it isn't just about me. It's about us.

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  8. We are always glad for more hands on deck at Polish Media Issues - on facebook.

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  9. Danusha,
    Thank you for being a "voice in the Polonia wilderness"! I applaud all that you are saying, and as one of those seeking to "right the wrongs" that are published (especially online these days) about Poles and Poland, I will actually now prioritise my time so that I can read your Beganski book that I bought two years ago! The other Poland books will have to wait a bit longer.....

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    Replies
    1. Dan, thank you for your positive feedback! I look forward to your reaction to "Bieganski"! :-)

      Delete
  10. I received no reply from the Polish American Congress in response to my email to them, copied in the blog post, above.

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