Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Good. The Bad, and Bieganski, by Michal Karski



The Good, the Bad and Bieganski

Michal Karski

BLONDIE: Hey, Tuco. What’s happening with the Nazi Gold Train? You got any answers for me, amigo?

TUCO: What are you after, you sly son of a bitch? I know your sort. Who sent you? The Fat Man? You self-righteous Polonistas drive me up the wall. Always complaining about something.

BLONDIE: You planning on teaming up with Angel Eyes? You remember what happened in 1934?

TUCO: Yeah, I remember what happened in 1934 and how he double-crossed me back in Nazi-occupied Poland. I wouldn’t team up with Angel Eyes if you made me president of the US of A. Now what do you want from me, Kowalski.? I’m a busy man, you know. I’m a journalist these days. Respectable. You can’t pin anything on me. I pay my taxes.

BLONDIE: Wrong film, Tuco. I ain’t Kowalski. And what’s that you just said about Poland? Did I hear you right? Did you hear that, Angel Eyes, or was I dreaming?

ANGEL EYES: Big mistake, Tuco. You are one ignorant hombre and you’re gonna pay for that. Everyone knows you should have said ‘German-Nazi-occupied Poland’.

BLONDIE: Both completely off the mark. ‘Cause Poland wasn’t occupied until 1939. I’m gonna make life hell for the both of you.

TUCO: Look – anybody can make a mistake. Gimme a break.

BLONDIE: I’m gonna have to give you and your journo friends some history books.

TUCO: History books? We don’t need no stinkin’ history books. We know everything there is to know.

BLONDIE: Do you really? Who was president of Poland in 1934?

TUCO: Er – Frederic Chopin?

BLONDIE: Try again.

TUCO: Was it Arch Stanton?

BLONDIE: Not even close.

ANGEL EYES: Paderewski?

BLONDIE: Getting warmer…

TUCO: I know. It was that guy with the moustache.

BLONDIE: Which guy with the moustache?

ANGEL EYES: I know. He means Pilsudski.

BLONDIE: And was Poland under Nazi-German occupation at the time of Pilsudski?

ANGEL EYES: Er…

BLONDIE: Not only was Poland not occupied in 1934 but Pilsudski wanted to crush the German Nazis before they got too powerful. He had his critics of course but how many people know that he wanted a preventive war to stop Hitler back in 1933? If he had persuaded the Brits and the French to go along, we’d be calling him a hero today instead of accusing him of being a dictator. Read this.

ANGEL EYES: I didn’t know that, Blondie. Don’t shoot, amigo. I’ll take those history books…

TUCO: Blondie, old friend. I always knew Pilsudski was a good anti-Nazi president.

BLONDIE: Wrong again, Tuco.

TUCO: B-b-but what do you mean? Isn’t that right?

BLONDIE: Pilsudski wasn’t the president. He may have been the power behind the throne but the actual president was Ignacy Moscicki.

TUCO: That’s what I said. Mos Stanton. I mispronounced it a little…

***

Explanation:

Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype describes a stereotype of Poles and other Eastern Europeans as the world's worst anti-Semites. That stereotype is so powerful that it often supersedes, in people's imaginations, the reality of Nazi Germany.

People giving greater weight to the stereotype of Poles as quintessential anti-Semites and not attending to the reality of Nazi Germany is demonstrated frequently in classrooms, Holocaust education curricula, and in a recent news article that referred to 1934 Poland as a Nazi state.

The facts, as covered in Bieganski. Nazism was a German product, and a product of wider Western trends. You can read more about that at "Nazism's Foundations and Inspirations," here.

Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany in September, 1939. It was also invaded by Soviet Russia.

Nazis committed horrible crimes in wartime, occupied Poland, 1939-1945. To attribute those crimes committed against both Polish non-Jews and Polish Jews to Poland is inaccurate, to say the least.

Michal Karski, author of the above blog, writes:

A week or so ago, UK news outlet Yahoo News managed to describe Poland of 1934 – unbelievably -  as “Nazi Poland”. After immediate protests from Poles and Polonians, some of whom (unfortunately) insisted on the change to “Nazi-occupied Poland”, the article was amended in line with the complaints. The wording of the corrected version now made it seem that Poland was occupied by the Nazis in 1934. After more complaints, the editors of the article finally got it right

Is this material for satire? You be the judge… If we don’t laugh at the astounding ignorance of some of our western journalists, we’d only end up despairing.



5 comments:

  1. "Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype describes a stereotype of Poles and other Eastern Europeans as the world's worst anti-Semites. That stereotype is so powerful that it often supersedes, in people's imaginations, the reality of Nazi Germany."

    That's just it!

    We should not, on this blog, be arguing, as we did earlier, about what Catherine the Great had said about the Poles. It is completely irrelevant. Today's Holocaust-related Polonophobia is what is relevant--in fact, supremely relevant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Danusha's book shows that the brute Polak stereotype predates Nazi propaganda. In fact, Jan, you yourself brought up Bismarck's views about the Poles if I remember rightly in one of your comments, so there is a historical continuity about all this.

      In my opinion, what is most damaging is the level of ignorance about things Polish and Polish history on the part of influential Western opinion formers - usually, I'm sorry to say, journalists. Which is the point of the above piece.

      As a matter of fact, since you bring up Catherine, the perception of her as an enlightened despot is a product of how propagandists such as Voltaire have transformed a person largely responsible for dismembering Poland into a heroine of the Enlightenment. If she was "great", as some people would have it, then - so the reasoning seems to go - she must have been justified in partitioning the recalcitrant and anarchic Poles. I recommend an essay by Joseph Conrad entitled "The Crime of Partition".

      Delete
    2. M Karski, yes, and everyone should read Larry Wolf's book on the Enlightenment inventing Eastern Europe.

      Delete
    3. There's a book about Piłsudski. It's titled "Unvanquished: Joseph Pilsudski, Resurrected Poland, and the Struggle for Eastern Europe" (thanks for review Mr. Peczkis). Written by an American. A man who admits that he's enamored in Polish history.
      He's not a Pole. He's not a Polonian. And he wrote a book about one of our greatest heroes.
      A Pole or a Polonian should have wrote such book long time ago.

      Delete
    4. Lukasz and other Polonians should have invited him to speak.

      As I get older, and closer to death, nothing can salve my heartbreak at how Poles and Polonians don't champion their scholars, thinkers, and writers.

      Delete

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