Friday, November 28, 2014

"I Would Curse This Miserable Country..."

It's always hard for me to explain to people what "Bieganski" is about. It's not a nationalistic rah rah Poland book. It's a book about stereotypes. 

People sometimes then ask, "Oh, so you are saying that there are no Polish anti-Semites or antisemitism?" 

And the answer is "No, of course not. Of course there are Polish anti-Semites and there is Polish antisemitism. Rather 'Bieganski' points out that stereotypes are used in discussions of Polish anti-Semites and Polish antisemitism in a way that is not helpful." 

I just stumbled across a fairly typical example on the web.

In May, 2014, the Jewish week published an article about someone who "scrawled" a swastika on a transformer in Bialystok. You can read the article here.

Such an event calls for rational discussion on how to combat antisemitism. 

In the comments section, one finds this: "I would curse this miserable country, but it already is. It is filled with Poles." And this, "Our only defense, our only solution....a strong and united Israel to serve as warning to anti-semitic people the world over that their time will not come again." And this "When will we Jews finally turn our backs on this poisonous little land?"

There's a degree of hate there that needs to be understood before we can move forward. 


  1. I have read the linked article and comments.

    What is more egregious--that some nobody in Poland would draw a Swastika, or that a respectable Jewish publication would post such vile, racist comments about Poles?

  2. I would submit that a key point curiously absent in Polish-Jewish dialogue is the corollary of the photo’s caption, i.e., antipolonism among Jews still exists at a level that’s unacceptable. While Polish antisemitism is based mostly on economic reasons, Jewish antipolonism is based mostly on the belief that Poles are inferior stock. Lipman’s article, together with Rabbi Schudrich’s statement, reinforces the latter notion and adds to the already difficult challenge of bridging the two sides together.

    So a kid paints a swastika on a transformer, the Bialystok prosecutor speaks unwisely, some rowdy soccer fans shout antisemitic slogans at each other, and Poles walk by antisemitic graffiti without stopping. By suggesting that these actions accurately reflect the opinion of mainstream Polish society, Lipman vilifies the entire country before a sizable Jewish-American readership that is likely unfamiliar with the history of Polish-Jewish relations and will likely accept the article as factual. The hate emanating from his flawed reasoning is truly appalling.

    I was unaware that, as Lipman alleges, a swastika appearing anywhere in Poland is uniquely an expression of anti-Semitism that must be investigated and prosecuted as a hate crime. I was also unaware that Polish law includes hate crime. Perhaps others on the blog can offer some insight.

    1. Gene,

      You wrote:

      "While Polish antisemitism is based mostly on economic reasons, Jewish antipolonism is based mostly on the belief that Poles are inferior stock."

      I'm afraid so. You may recall that Jews had, in the past, been accused of looking down on the GOYIM as beneath them. It is unfortunate that so many Jews act according to the worst caricatures of them--as exemplified by the linked article above and especially the comments underneath it.

    2. Gene you wrote: "Perhaps others on the blog can offer some insight."

      Gene I don't know if you have read "Bieganski," but I offer my answers to the questions you ask in that book.

  3. Jan Peczkis "It is unfortunate that so many Jews act according to the worst caricatures of them"

    Jan that is a horrible thing to say.

    1. But it is true.

      How many more examples do we need, and how much more egregious do these calumnies against Poland have to be?

  4. Jan Peczkis "It is unfortunate that so many Jews act according to the worst caricatures of them"

    Turn it around to see how wrong it is:

    "It is unfortunate that so many Poles act according to the worst caricatures of them"

    1. I rather think that it is quite obvious which side is the aggressor here. It is not the Poles.


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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