Friday, August 19, 2016

Poland, the Holocaust, the Brute Polak Image, Jailers, and Storytellers

Otto, author of the blog post "Ripples of Sin," about being the son of a Nazi soldier, keeps sending me images from old issues of LIFE magazine.

I keep telling him that rather than sending me images and his thoughts about them, he should type them up for a blog entry.

He tells me he has no time.

So, I, the woman, must be the man's amanuensis.

Some of the pictures are below.

You get the idea. In the 1940s, while the war was going on, LIFE magazine and other American media acknowledged that Poland was being horribly victimized by the Nazis.

In more recent days, Poles and Poland are Bieganski, the Brute Polak, the dirty, primitive Catholic peasant, more responsible for the Holocaust than Hitler himself.

What's the solution?

The solution is easy. Poles and Polonians need to unite and support their scholars and storytellers. Buy and use Bieganski. Support other truth tellers like John Guzlowski.

Alas, Poles and Polonia don't do that. What are Poles and Polonia doing now? Passing laws to send anyone who uses the words "Polish concentration camp" to prison for three years.

Sad. Self-defeating. Self-parodying, even. This law will only increase the Bieganski image's power. This law positions Poland in the fascist camp, against free speech, fearful of the free flow of information, against the pillars of Western civilization.

This law announces, "We Poles are so afraid of our own inability to tell our own story that we must act like thugs to others who have better storytelling power than we believe ourselves to have."

Poles, when you shoot yourselves in the foot like this, you make people who love you weep.

Otto wrote:

"The caption of this photo reads 'Jews In Warsaw Must Wear Yellow Stars.'  

Now I can disseminate this and give people the impression, through nothing more than a factual quote, that Polish Jews were forced to wear Juden stars and people will think 'Ah hah, see I told you! Poles created the Holocaust!'

In reality that not all there was. It does say that but the real story is that this occurred in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Poles get tagged for abuse is because there is no consequence. Academic trolls get away with half-assed research. Regular people with an agenda gets a free ride to pull history, 'facts' and the stories they want to hear any which way. Morons who need to step on someone to feel taller get to make themselves feel good. It's all good because they feel safe to do so.

I remember when blacks had to ride in the back of the bus. Then push back. So I think, effective or not, the smartest thing Poland can do is to show teeth."

In a contest of storytelling, the "teeth" Poland, Poles, and Polonians need to show is support, not for their jailers, but for their storytellers.

Buy and use Bieganski, Echoes of Tattered Tongues, and other books by and about Poles.



John Guzlowski, a Polish American storyteller, just sent this in:

"Yes, you're right. I was at a Holocaust FB page yesterday, and all the talk was about how this new law is an attempt by Poles to cover up their complicity in the Nazi death camps. No arguing could dissuade the people saying this. Not mentioning the 5 million Polish Catholic civilians who died in the war, not mentioning the tens of thousands of Poles who were killed for helping Jews."

"Is the New Polish Law an Attempt to Whitewash Its Citizens' Role in the Holocaust?" Link here

Source of the photos is LIFE magazine here.

And TIME-LIFE here

This photo is from Smithsonian. The rest are from TIME - LIFE


  1. I have read the linked TIMES OF ISRAEL article, and the comments beneath it, in detail, and have a different take on it from the present blogspot.

    First of all, we should EXPECT the other side to howl and scream about censorship. And why not? It is their narrative, and their hegemony, that is finally being challenged. I just love the panic in their hysteria!

    As for the actual content of the linked TIMES OF ISRAEL article itself, I am encouraged by a the fair quotes related to the Polish side of this story, and especially by the inclusion of the quoted Polish Jew who defends Poland's new law. At least this journalist was honest enough to mention these.

    I am especially encouraged by many of the posted comments. Poles are finally throwing the rocks right back. Bravo! They are bringing up Jewish crimes, such those of the Judenraete, of the massacres of Poles at Naliboki and Koniuchy, of the heinous crimes of the Zydokomuna, and of the many Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

    And that is the strategy that all Poles should take. Whenever someone whines about censorship in reference to the new Polish law, Poles should bring up the REAL side that refuses to "come to terms with the past" with regards to "the dark chapters in its history".


    Equal Time for Jewish Crime!

    1. I just wish to express my disagreement with the tone and content of Jan's post.

    2. I'd like to know what on earth Israel's relations with Palestinians have to do with Poland?

    3. Good question.

      To this reader it looks like an ahistorical and racist smear of all Jews.

    4. I said before that Peczkis has an agenda. His rant here tends to prove it.

    5. "Racist", "smear", "agenda" and "rant" are all emotive terms, and they strike me as showing a lack of understanding of the attacks on Poland that are going on. Besides, I thought that attacking others personally is off limits on this forum. I could use similar terms with reference to some of Michal Karski's dubious statements, but I do not.

      "I'd like to know what on earth Israel's relations with Palestinians have to do with Poland?"

      Everything. Please reread my post for clarification. If it is still unclear, here it is again:

      Since Poles are supposed to "come to terms with the past", in a collective sense, for the (alleged) actions of a few Poles at Jedwabne, so also Jews should have to "come to terms with the past", in a collective sense, for the actions of a few Jews acting criminally against others, including the Palestinians.

      This single standard is common sense. It has nothing to do with "racism", "smears", agendas", "rants", or whatnot. So what is so difficult about that?

    6. "Howl"? "scream"? That was a rant, Mr P.

    7. Hello Michal and all - I saw Jan's post as making a point about the double standards. But we are caught in a neat Catch 22 here. If we do not protest this continual vilification - and the way Poland is being made responsible for Axis crimes - then it must be true, or we would protest it. But when we do protest it, then that "proves" it must be true, as it means we have an "agenda"...

      How to tackle it? Its an interesting challenge, to say the least. The reasons I keep on wading through this swampy area filled with the crocodiles of PC - all of them pointing at me it seems! - are twofold.

      Firstly, I want to make it clear that I am not going to make the Stalinist denunciation of my dear aged father that "the world" seems to require. I am not going to be made to feel ashamed that my father was Polish. I love love love our Creator's command that we should honour our parents - not despise and denounce them. I loved both my parents very much and wish to honour them both.

      And, secondly, it has given me many occasions for a witness. So i shouldn't really complain about it all too much.

      By the way, I usually highlight the double standards by pointing out that the Stalin regime killed millions in Eastern Europe before WW2 even began. Didn't Stalin himself claim 10 million? He and Hitler were allies as WW2 started, when they invaded and carved up Poland between them- and Stalin's killing machinery was up and running long after the war ended. There was no army coming to rescue of his victims.

      But that in no way prevents him from being a "Goodie" in the official narrative of the war. Nor are Russians constantly untered and vilified in the way Poles are.

      Its not that I am wanting them -or anyone - to be, by the way. Jehovah's standards, that we should treat everyone with the kindness and respect we would wish for ourselves, and that love "does not keep account of the injury" seem perfect to me. And a shining contrast to the world.

      But I note the blatant double standards.

    8. Thank you for your attempt at mediation, Sue. I find it difficult to discuss anything with someone with such an "us" and "them" mentality. Best wishes.

    9. Hello Michal - Jan is a valiant fighter in such a difficult arena - up against the most powerful media and academe in the world. I have seen him tackling this in various venues, and getting a lot of abuse in return.

      This is such a difficult issue as we have been placed on the "unter" page in The Handbook of Political Correctness, and are therefore going to be wrong whatever.

      My feeling is that we should tackle this by continuing to tell our own story against the odds; by refusing to give in to the pressure to make the required Stalinist denunciation of our parents and continuing to honour them; by highlighting the blatant double standards which underline the politics going on here; and above all by keeping calm and staying on the narrow road that leads to life.

      These are the sort of pressures that could push us right off it, if we are not careful.

      But how do you feel we should best tackle this?

    10. Continue to tell our own stories, yes. But, unlike J Peczkis, you don't have to try to discredit an entire group in the process.

      You'll forgive me if I don't engage in a lengthy discussion with you here, Sue. Things to do. Places to go.

  2. So, thanks for posting that D.

    I'd like to say that I think there's a middle ground in the spectrum between stepped-on and thug-like.

    And I don't see anyone suggesting that this would be a tool for stopping factual content. That would be counter-productive.

    But equally counter-productive is to have go in the other direction and smile and take it. It encourages bullies.

    That is what I was trying to convey. The middle ground is to expect that people will treat you with the same dignity they expect. I see this law acting towards that.

  3. To illustrate the difficulties, though I know the writer and readers of Bieganski are well aware of them, this is a bit of "untering" from the online Guardian today.

    "As we bedded down, ripping and flattening the scavenged boxes, they told me what we had to watch out for. No 1, a “Polish attack” by drunken labourers who “Gypsy bash” in the London night. No 2, an “Arab attack” by coke-fuelled rich kids from the Gulf states on their way back to Mayfair. As long as we didn’t get woken up by either of those, they said, we’d sleep just fine."

    And this is from an otherwise excellent biography of that wonderful writer Shirley Jackson:

    Private Demons Judy Oppenheimer

    Fawcett Columbine 1988

    "Joanne was aware of disappointing Shirley on another level as well... and she was the Polack on this beautiful family tree."

    A little drop of poison, carefully inserted. Poles are "unter", you would not want them on your family tree!

    Both authors took time out to vilify Poles...

    So I am sort of expanding/explaining my previous question: what is the best way to deal with this when the waters have been so poisoned? Personally, I have to stay out of politics, so I can't consider any political solutions, assuming there are any. I tend to think not for those of us on the Unter page.

    Left to myself i would probably just say: "Yes, I couldn't agree more. Us Poles/Polonians are more horrid than anyone else in time and space AND we shot Bambi's mother" and stomp crossly off and get on with my life (which clearly consists of pulling the wings off shtetls while eating venison sandwiches).

    But what helps me, once again, is the perfect guidance in the Inspired Scriptures, which set everything straight, if we listen to them.

    They say, of Jesus: "When he was being insulted, he did not insult in return. When he was suffering, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the One who judges righteously."- 1 Peter 2:23

    So we can deal with this without letting it shape us. All we have to do is to trust in Jehovah, the God of Abraham, with all our heart, and follow closely in Jesus' footsteps.

  4. Hello,

    Municipal Culture Centre in Łańcut made a documentary-feature movie about Ulmas and other families that hid Jews from Germans. It's titled "Chleba naszego powszedniego" ("Our daily bread").
    Trailer below.


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.
This blog welcomes comments from readers that address those themes. Off-topic and anti-Semitic posts are likely to be deleted.
Your comment is more likely to be posted if:
Your comment includes a real first and last name.
Your comment uses Standard English spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Your comment uses I-statements rather than You-statements.
Your comment states a position based on facts, rather than on ad hominem material.
Your comment includes readily verifiable factual material, rather than speculation that veers wildly away from established facts.
T'he full meaning of your comment is clear to the comment moderator the first time he or she glances over it.
You comment is less likely to be posted if:
You do not include a first and last name.
Your comment is not in Standard English, with enough errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar to make the comment's meaning difficult to discern.
Your comment includes ad hominem statements, or You-statements.
You have previously posted, or attempted to post, in an inappropriate manner.
You keep repeating the same things over and over and over again.