Friday, September 19, 2014

Bieganski Lives; A Facebook Encounter

I recently had a "Bieganski Lives" experience.

"Rob," a man, wrote to me to compliment my writing. I responded with a brief thank you. He read more of my writing and discovered that I am a Christian and Polish American. He wrote again, and his subsequent emails were insulting rather than complimentary.

He sent me lengthy emails attempting to "educate" me about how bad Christianity is, and what bad things Poles did to Jews.

Here's a cut and paste example:

"My grand parents, aunts, uncles and father told me from first hand experience that there was a lot [of antisemitism in Poland].

Chmielnicki was Ukrainian and a Cossack but didnt he get a lot of help from Polish Cossacks in the Polish army?

Wasnt he himself in the Polish army and speaking Polish?

Didnt he get a lot of help from local Poles?"

My point is not about historical facts, though Rob's "facts" are sketchy. Chmielnicki can hardly be depicted with any accuracy, as Rob so wanted to depict him, as a Polish Catholic carrying out Polish Catholic ends in murdering Jews. 

Chmielnicki lead an uprising against Poles that is widely credited with ending the golden age of Polish history. Thousands of Poles were murdered in gruesome ways. Rob, in short, doesn't know what he's talking about. But that is not my point. 

My point is that it's more than a little odd for a complete stranger to begin sending lengthy emails to a woman he doesn't know berating her faith, Christianity, and her ethnicity, Polish-American, especially since his initial emails were complimentary.

This is yet further proof that Bieganski lives. If you announce in a public setting in the West that you are Polish, chances are you will confront a similar experience. You will be asked to prove that you aren't an antisemite like all the rest.

You can read a more detailed experience of Rob's emails at the blog post linked here


  1. I have read your link to this blog.

    I, too, have ancountered quite a few people like "Rob". They have an amazing ability to effortlessly make bold statements about things that they know absolutely nothing about.

  2. I’d like to share a few encounters that are a variation on this theme. Occasionally, the subject of World War II comes up in conversations with acquaintances and, when I mention that my father survived the Gross-Rosen, Dachau, Natzweiler-Struthof, and Neuengamme concentration camps, I’m invariably asked if I’m Jewish. In addition to the familiar ignorance of Polish history and culture among Americans, I think this goes to Danusha’s point of a mythical Poland in which, as she notes in Bieganski, “…Poles and Poland are not victims of Nazi crimes, but, rather, are either their perpetrators or approving witnesses.”

    1. Gene if you ever want to write about your father's experience for the blog I would like to see it. Thank you.

  3. Danusha, Thanks very much -- I'm considering it.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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