Tuesday, August 15, 2017

You Brute Polak, Let Me Educate You!



On August 10, 2017, a beloved Facebook friend shared a story he identified as one of "Degradation, humanity, survival and reunion. Read it."

I did read it. I discovered a bogus hoax that resorted to the Bieganski, Brute Polak Stereotype – exactly as described in my book of the same title.

You can read the entire story at the link below. Here's a summary: Polish women are invited by a Nazi to despoil Jews before those Jews are murdered. While despoiling the Jews in a brutal manner, one woman discovers a baby, which she raises with love and tenderness. The baby grows up, moves to Israel, and, sixty-two years after the start of World War II, after the 2001 Sbarro terror attack, meets her real father.

This much we know: the story is false. How do we know? There are only two possible sources for the story, both of them are dead, and the story depicts them in a very negative manner. How likely is it that a woman would tell a story depicting herself as an anti-Semitic monster? Not likely.

There's more. There are no facts in this story. No names. No dates. No numbers. If this really happened, would we not have at least one such fact? The name of the village? The name of the concentration camp or death camp? The name of any of the main characters?

Nazis kept the valuable property of conquered peoples for themselves. This is a widely-known fact. We have no reason to believe that Nazis would invite Polish women to take a fur coat, "gold jewelry, silver candlesticks and other heirlooms," or that Nazi guards would stand by passively as Polish women took these items. Everything we know about the Nazis tells us that this would never happen.

You can read about the Nazi's looting of conquered peoples' money and valuables here, here, here, and here.

The few facts mentioned beggar belief. The man at the end would have to be approximately ninety years old.

The Sbarro bombing received international attention. Would such an astounding and heartwarming story, if true, not have received international attention as well? And yet the only source for this story is Heroes of Faith, which is not a high-profile book. I wasn't able to find it, but I was able to find Heroes of Spirit, which may be the book the post cites. Titling it Heroes of Faith may have been an error. You can find Heroes of Spirit on Amazon, here.

For all these reasons, I have to assume that this story is invented, and that its inventor resorted to the Bieganski, brute Polak stereotype. Poles are the real bad guys of the Holocaust, not German Nazis, who simply stand around after inviting Poles to do horrible things to Jews.

I said so in my blog post on this topic, linked below. My blog post adheres to the facts at hand, and never veers into emotionality, though this hoax certainly might inspire outrage in a Polish reader.

A beloved Facebook friend responded. I would like to protect his anonymity, so I will call him "John Smith," meant to be a neutral pseudonym.

I like John Smith very much. He is, as his photos attest, handsome. He is very well educated. He is a professional, and, as such, he has a smooth public persona.

He is not the type to resort to all-caps or multiple-exclamation-point posting styles. He posts about substantial issues. He has numerous, vocal friends of a variety of viewpoints. He encourages them to express themselves on important matters in a civil fashion. All these aspects of his online presence attract me greatly.

After I posted about the above-summarized story, John posted on my page, "Danusha, at the risk of offending you on a subject you feel passionately about: During the Holocaust, some Poles looted and despoiled the Jews."

I assessed that comment as an insult.

John rejected my assessment. He attributed the problem in the conversation to me.

I wrote to John privately. I said, paraphrase, "Do you realize why what you said to me was so offensive? And, if not, may I please explain to you why what you said was so offensive?"

Let me break down John's comment.

"Danusha, at the risk…"

John opens by describing his talking to me as risky. Talking to a Polish woman apparently presents risks of which I am unaware. What does John fear I might do to him? I can only guess.

"…of offending you…"

Right. If a Jewish person mentions a historical fact to a Polish person that Polish person may become offended.

Yes, that assumption is offensive. Poles can handle facts. Facts don't automatically offend us. We are grownups. We have ethics. We don't live in denial.

"…on a subject you feel passionately about…"

Oooo boy.

I studied Polish-Jewish relations at the Jagiellonian University, the same university attended by Copernicus, Jan Sobieski, Malinowski, and Karol Wojtyla. I have an MA from UCB and a PhD from IUB. I published a prize-winning, well-reviewed book addressing the manipulation of stereotypes of Poles and Jews in retellings of the Holocaust narrative, the only, AFAIK, scholarly book expressly focused on that question. I've spoken about this topic in the US and Poland, at several different universities, including Brandeis and Georgetown.

But, to John, I am not a scholar. I am just about "feelings." "Passionate feelings."

By the way, John has not read my book.

Which is paramount in John's brain, I wonder? That I am just about "passionate feelings" because I am a Polak, because I am Catholic, because I am of peasant-descent, or because I am a woman?

Whereas he, the Jewish, professional man, is evidently not all about "passionate feelings."

In any case, please note that my original blog post, linked below, is not about feelings. Not even "passionate feelings." It's about facts. John addressed *none* of the facts.

John couldn't – with facts – defend the obscure, mistitled, and non-scholarly book that is the source of the anecdote. He could not defend the anecdote's absence of facts, or its contradiction of known historical facts.

No. He made no attempt to use any facts. He just attacked me, as an irrational creature of "passionate feelings."

"…During the Holocaust, some Poles looted and despoiled the Jews…"

This is the topper. It's lines like this that break my heart, anew, every time, and cause me to reflect that there may never be any serious long-term hope for Polish-Jewish reconciliation.

John and I have been Facebook friends for years. I genuinely like him. I have, I hope, been on good behavior with him. And yet he still looks at me, and sees Bieganski, the Brute Polak.

I am so stupid that I don't know that Poles did horrible things during World War II. And I need to be told this.

I am so venal that I can't confront, or don't care, that Poles did horrible things during World War II.

I am nothing more than a stereotype.

And John is flabbergasted, and completely clueless, why what he said to me was so offensive.

If this were just about John, that would be one thing. But it isn't just about John.

I can't count the number of times I've had this exact same experience. Poles are scary. It is risky to talk to Poles. Poles are "passionate" and can't address facts. Poles are in denial. Poles don't care about bad things Poles have done. Jews must educate Poles, but Poles are such brutes that education is impossible. Sigh. It's just so damn hard trying to talk to Poles.

I'm a real, living, breathing, flesh-and-blood human being, and John can't see me – because it serves him better to see the stereotype.

People ask me when the Brute Polak stereotype will fade. As I describe in my book, there is no reason to hope that it will fade as long as current cultural patterns continue. We are stereotyped for a reason, and those reasons still exist.


You can read the full text of the suspect story here

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Polish Rescuer and Martyr Henryk Slawik by Lukasz Klimek

Henryk Slawik with his daughter Krystyna 
Vac orphanage 

“It is not necessary to pursue life, it comes to a man by itself. But it is necessary to pay for life’s secrets with pain and tears.” – Henryk Sławik

"Henryk Sławik (1894 – 1944) was a Polish politician in the interwar period, social worker, activist, and diplomat, who during World War II helped save over 30,000 Polish refugees, including 5,000 Polish Jews in Budapest, Hungary by giving them false Polish passports with Catholic designation. He was executed with some of his fellow Polish activists on order of Reichsführer SS in concentration camp Gusen on 23 August 1944." – Wikipedia.

Lukasz Klimek shares more, below. Thank you to Lukasz for this guest blog post.

In 1939, Henryk Slawik he fought with distinction against German invaders. He did his patriotic duty. He showed physical courage.

But it was his moral courage that made him a hero.

In the Miskolc refugee camp in Hungary Sławik met József Antall, the representative of the Hungarian government, responsible for the organization of relief. The Pole’s attitude impressed Antall. "We don't need pity. It is necessary to establish conditions for labour, courses and schools for children and youth " - said Sławik. Antall proposed a cooperation and took him to Budapest.

Soon Sławik led the Civil Committee which was supposed to deal with the organisation of life of Polish refugees in Hungary.

He provided safe shelters in the countryside for refugees. He helped to transfer soldiers to France, where they joined the Polish army. For thousands of Jews he issued false documents, confirming their Polish identity. Jews could choose their new names. Hungarian police officers and border guards were puzzled by the fact that so many Poles are named “Mickiewicz” or “Sienkiewicz”. Soon Sławik was forced to prohibit this practice. For the sake of conspiracy.

“For us every Jewish refugee is the same kind of citizen as everyone else. We are divided however into good and bad Poles.” – Henryk Sławik

But the apple in Sławik’s eye was “Orphanage for Children of Polish Officers” in Vác. That name was a ruse. In reality it was a shelter for almost a hundred Jewish children, hidden amidst Christian ones. Children in that orphanage could attend a kindergarten and a school with Polish curriculum. However Jewish children were not deprived of their identity. After the official participation in the Holy Mass, they were secretly taught the Hebrew language and the Old Testament by their Jewish caretakers. They all survived the war.

In March 1944 Nazis took control of Budapest and Gestapo started to look for him. He was hiding for almost three months. In June 1944 his wife was arrested. After some time in Gestapo prison she was taken to a concentration camp in Ravensbrück.

During the last meeting , organized under cover of the night, 14-year old Krysia asked her father: “Dad, why won’t we leave for Switzerland?

Sławik responded: “Daughter, but what would these children do without me?”

Soon after he was betrayed to the Germans by a fellow Pole.

The Gestapo arrested Sławik on July 16, 1944. They also arrested Antall. Sławik was maltreated and tortured. His wife was imprisoned in the same building. She had heard him scream. During the interrogation he took entire "fault" on himself, but it was clear that Nazis were very interested in blaming Antall. The two men saw each other for the last time in Gestapo’s prison truck. "In the darkness I sought out his hand, I touched it and I said: Thank You" - recalled Antall.

Antall was released, but he was in hiding for the rest of the war. After the war ended, he found and took care of Krystyna Sławik. Jadwiga Sławik has survived and, after liberation of Ravensbrück, reunited with her daughter.

Henryk Sławik was transported to Mauthausen concentration camp, where he was hanged with some of his associates on August 23, 1944. His body was either cremated or buried in unknown location.

The name of Henryk Sławik, erased by communists from history, unexpectedly appeared after March 1968, in the middle of anti-Semitic witch-hunt. In 1969 authorities revealed his story for a moment, just to show the ingratitude of Jews and to justify regime’s anti-Semitic policy. And once again, for a long time, the curtain of silence has fallen.

But someone hasn’t forgotten him.

At the end of 1988 a very curious announcement was published by the Cracov’s weekly “Przegląd”: "Henryk Zimmermann from Israel is seeking Mr. Sławik, Polish consul in Budapest in the years 1943-44, who assisted in rescuing many Poles and Jews".

This message was Mr. Zimmermann’s latest attempt to find his wartime associate. Earlier he sought him through Polish diplomatic posts and veterans institutions. No one had heard of Henryk Sławik. Or maybe people were afraid to speak? Poland didn't maintain diplomatic relations with Israel then. It was safer to simply brush some stubborn Jew off. But this time the answer came.

Sometime after that announcement Mr. Zimmermann was contacted by Sławik’s wife and daughter.

In the autumn of 1990 in Yad Vashem Krystyna Sławik-Kutermak accepted the medal of the Righteous on behalf of her late father. Henryk Zimmermann said then :"Nazi prisoner No. 68220, is testifying, that Henryk Sławik contributed to the rescue of thousands of Jews from certain death".

Twenty years later he was posthumously decorated with the Order of the White Eagle.

Now his story is becoming better known in Poland. Writers wrote books about him. Filmmakers made documentary movies. Schools were named after him. There are even twin monuments of Sławik and Antall in Warsaw and Budapest. His story was saved.

Thanks to one stubborn Jew who remembered.


“He paid for his noble conduct with his life. In his deeds and character we found support and hope in those fateful days of darkness and lawlessness. We teach our children and everyone on this earth, that there are good people, like Henryk Sławik, that there is a more beautiful world and a better future is awaiting us.” – Henryk Zwi Zimmermann

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nice Jews Please Stop Stereotyping Me: Bieganski and Israel 411

I came across the piece, below, on Facebook. It was attributed to the Facebook page Israel 411.

The Israel 411 Facebook page is here. Ironically, Israel 411 gives its mission as "Our goal is to shed some light, show the truth and expose the endless lies told about the State of Israel and the Jewish people."

My Facebook friend, who is Jewish, shared this story, endorsing it as heroic and inspirational.

In fact it paints an ugly picture of brutal, violent, greedy, callous Poles destroying Jews in Poland during WW II.

Here's the problem -- the woman so stereotyped is in fact a rescuer who saved a Jewish baby from death.

The story, far from commending her, depicts her as a monster.

Here's the second problem -- *no one* has any idea if this image is factual. There were no quotes from witnesses to the actions described.

The storyteller made up negative details about a dead Pole. And added them to a story about a Polish woman who saved a Jewish baby from death.

And people are now circulating this on Facebook, with no factual support, insisting it is an inspirational and heroic story.

Shame. Shame on every last person who shares this bigoted piece of hate mongering, racist propaganda.

Alert me if you have evidence that this story is true. I find no names of places, no dates, and the  only named person is a Rabbi.

Israel 411, you want to clear up lies about Jews. And you spread lies about Poles.

Israel 411Like Page
August 6 at 2:34am ·
The Most Amazing Story....

When a train filled with a large transport of Jewish prisoners arrived at one of the Nazi killing centers, many Polish gentiles came out to watch the latest group as they were taken away. As the disoriented Jews were gathering their possessions to take with them into the camp, a Nazi officer in charge called out to the villagers standing nearby, "Anything these Jews leave behind you may take for yourselves, because for sure they will not be coming back to collect them!"

Two Polish women who were standing nearby saw a woman towards the back of the group, wearing a large, heavy, expensive coat. Not waiting for someone else to take the coat before them, they ran to the Jewish woman and knocked her to the ground, grabbed her coat and scurried away.

Moving out of sight of the others, they quickly laid the coat down on the ground to divide the spoils of what was hiding inside. Rummaging through the pockets, they giddily discovered gold jewelry, silver candlesticks and other heirlooms. They were thrilled with their find, but as they lifted the coat again, it still seemed heavier than it should. Upon further inspection, they found a secret pocket, and hidden inside the coat was .... a tiny baby girl!

Shocked at their discovery, one woman took pity and insisted to the other, "I don't have any children, and I'm too old to give birth now. You take the gold and silver and let me have the baby." The Polish woman took her new "daughter" home to her delighted husband. They raised the Jewish girl as their own, treating her very well, but never telling her anything about her history. The girl excelled in her studies and even became a doctor, working as a pediatrician in a hospital in Poland.

When her "Mother" passed away many years later, a visitor came to pay her respects. An old woman invited herself in and said to the daughter, "I want you to know that the woman that passed away last week was not your real mother ..." and she proceeded to tell her the whole story. She did not believe her at first, but the old woman insisted.

"When we found you, you were wearing a beautiful gold pendant with strange writing on it, which must be Hebrew.

I am sure that your mother kept the necklace. Go and see for yourself." Indeed, the woman went into her deceased mother's jewelry box and found the necklace just as the elderly lady had described. She was shocked. It was hard to fathom that she had been of Jewish descent, but the proof was right there in her hand. As this was her only link to a previous life, she cherished the necklace. She had it enlarged to fit her neck and wore it every day, although she thought nothing more of her Jewish roots.

Some time later, she went on holiday abroad and came across two Jewish boys standing on a main street, trying to interest Jewish passersby to wrap Tefillin on their arms (for males) or accept Shabbos candles to light on Friday afternoon (for females). Seizing the opportunity, she told them her entire story and showed them the necklace. The boys confirmed that a Jewish name was inscribed on the necklace but did not know about her status. They recommended that she write a letter to their mentor, the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L, explaining everything. If anyone would know what to do, it would be him.

She took their advice and sent off a letter that very same day. She received a speedy reply saying that it is clear from the facts that she is a Jewish girl and perhaps she would consider using her medical skills in Israel where talented pediatricians were needed. Her curiosity was piqued and she traveled to Israel where she consulted a Rabbinical Court (Beis Din) who declared her Jewish. Soon she was accepted into a hospital to work, and eventually met her husband and raised a family.
In August 2001, a terrorist blew up the Sbarro cafe in the center of Jerusalem. The injured were rushed to the hospital where this woman worked. One patient was brought in, an elderly man in a state of shock. He was searching everywhere for his granddaughter who had become separated from him.

Asking how she could recognize her, the frantic grandfather gave a description of a gold necklace that she was wearing.

Eventually, they finally found her among the injured patients.

At the sight of this necklace, the pediatrician froze. She turned to the old man and said, "Where did you buy this necklace?"

"You can't buy such a necklace," he responded, "I am a goldsmith and I made this necklace. Actually I made two identical pieces for each of my daughters. This is my granddaughter from one of them, and my other daughter did not survive the war."

And this is the story of how a Jewish girl, brutally torn away from her Mother on a Nazi camp platform almost sixty years ago, was reunited with her Father.

Text Via Cindy Greenstein Vaughn
Pic Israel 411, source Yad Vashem.

Adapted from the book "Heroes of Faith

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jewish Jokes and Jewish Stereotypes


If I were still working on my book Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype, I would certainly include this joke. Bieganski talks about how we stereotype ourselves and each other. This joke, in addition to being a good, funny joke, encapsulates how Jews often stereotype themselves.

I am cutting and pasting this from an observant Jewish friend's internet transmission: 


A fleeing Jihadist, desperate for water, was plodding through the desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he hurried toward the oasis, only to find a little old Jewish man at a small stand, selling ties.

The Jihadist asked, “Do you have water?”

The Jewish man replied, “I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5.”

The Jihadist shouted, “Idiot! I do not need an over-priced tie. I need water! I should kill you, but I must find water first!”

“OK,” said the old Jewish man, “It does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie and that you hate me. I will show you that I am bigger than that. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a lovely restaurant. It has all the ice cold water you need. Shalom.” Cursing, the Jihadist staggered away over the hill.

Several hours later he staggered back, almost dead and said, “Your brother won’t let me in without a tie!”

Julius Kuhl Should Be As Well Known As Schindler; Polish Jewish Rescuer



The Globe and Mail features an article about Julius Kuhl, a Polish Jewish rescuer who worked for the Polish legation in Bern, Switzerland during WW II. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"The Exception" 2016 Yet Another Sexy Nazi Movie


In my book Bieganski: The  Brute Polak Stereotype I address the question of how the West apportions guilt for the Holocaust, and for all hate. I argue that Polish Catholic peasants are targeted by the West in a way that Nazis are not, for complicated reasons. Please read the book to discover more. 

One of the features of this Bieganski phenomenon is sexy Nazi movies. I've talked about other sexy Nazi movies on this blog. You can see a sampling here.

"The Exception" stars Lily James, a curvaceous young woman who has no reservations about taking off her clothing and simulating sex in various positions. Her waist is tiny, her boobs are firm, and her butt is like two pears. It also stars Jai Courtney, who appears fully naked, head to foot. Yes, the whole package. Seeing his private parts did not enhance the movie for me. It took me right out of the movie. My reaction was, "Oh, my, is that his ___? Yes, yes it is. Boy. Full frontal male nudity. That's not something you see in many films."

The plot: the female walks into a room with a man she's never met before. He orders, "Take off your clothes."

She immediately does, lifting her dress over her head. Unlike any woman I've ever met, she has nothing on under her dress. No slip, no bra, no underpants, nothing. She immediately bends over a table. He immediately begins to penetrate her from behind.

The movie is described as "romantic."

He's a Nazi. He marches about in jodhpurs and knee high leather boots. Somehow we don't see him removing the boots before sex. At least not in the first half hour. I had to stop watching. There is only so much I can do for Poland. 


Oh, did I mention that he is a Nazi? And guess what she is. You got it. Jewish. Didn't you know that WW II was just one big German-Jewish orgy? Yes, I want to vomit, too.

He's a good guy. A great guy. A great, sexy Nazi.

You will alert me, will you not, when anyone produces a movie about sexy Polish Catholic peasants.

Rotten Tomatoes likes it. Here's their summary: 


A riveting World War II thriller that is filled with espionage and romance in equal measure, The Exception follows German soldier Stefan Brandt (Jai Courtney) as he goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II (Christopher Plummer). The Kaiser lives in a secluded mansion in The Netherlands, and as Germany is taking over Holland, the country's authorities are concerned that Dutch spies may be watching the Kaiser. As Brandt begins to infiltrate the Kaiser's life in search of clues, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with Mieke (Lily James), one of the Kaiser's maids whom Brandt soon discovers is secretly Jewish. When Heinrich Himmler (Eddie Marsan), Head of the SS, decides to come for an unexpected visit with a large platoon of Nazis in tow, the stage is set for a breathtaking showdown, as secrets are revealed, allegiances are tested, and Brandt is forced to make the ultimate choice between honoring his country and following his heart.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

"The Holocaust" = "What Happened to the Jews in Poland."

Source: Heeb magazine 
I was listening to NPR today and I think I heard an NPR commentator identify the Holocaust as "What happened to the Jews in Poland." 

Polonia, please buy, read, and circulate Bieganski. It is the only scholarly book that addresses the equation of Poland with the Holocaust, and offers insight into how to defeat that equation. And please invite me to speak to your group. 

You can listen to the NPR broadcast here. Story headline: Former NBA Star Ray Allen Visits Holocaust History In Auschwitz.