Thursday, September 12, 2019

Talk of Stereotypes of Poles is Suspect and Only for Dumb Polaks

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A conference is scheduled to be held in Washington, DC, in November 18-20. The conference announces that it will address stereotypes of Poles, inter alia. 


You can read about the conference here

A Polish American poet asked about the conference on the PAHA Facebook page, here

AL, a Facebook poster, wrote, 

"My suspicions were immediately aroused by two of the program's 5 goals: 'Overcoming false stereotypes about Poland and Poles in the US, primarily in the context of World War II and its aftermath' and 'Publication and distribution of a conference book on the history of Poland, with corrections of the most prevalent and striking falsehoods' 
Anyone familiar with the issue will recognize the wording as reflecting the views and agenda of the current "patriotic" Polish government.
I also recognized a few of the names associated with the program (including Wojciech Jesman of the Polish American Congress, an outspoken supporter--as is much of the PAC--of PiS). Further online investigation confirms that most of the Polish speakers represent the views of the current Polish government.
In summary, this ostensibly academic/historical conference appears to be aimed at promoting the conservative (and, in many circles, controversial) agenda of the Polish government.
That is not to say the program has no merit, only that its agenda and presentations must be viewed critically, if not with suspicion."


I was troubled by this post. 

I don't know AL. I don't know his agenda. I don't even know if he is Polish-American. 

What troubles me is the assumption that discussion of stereotypes of Poles, as AL wrote, "must be viewed with suspicion."

Here's what I do know. Poles are stereotyped negatively. If one is Polish, one risks being stereotyped negatively. One way to avoid that stereotyping is to put distance between oneself and Polish identity.

I've seen Poles do this. I saw Poles do this all the time on the Notes from Poland page. 


"Oh, those primitive, peasant, Catholic Polaks. I'm not like them. I like African sausage." yes, I really did see a post that said that on the Notes from Poland page. 

I don't know if AL suffers from this self-hatred. 

I invited dialogue. I said, and this is my entire post, I'm not editing anything out, 

"'Overcoming false stereotypes about Poland and Poles in the US, primarily in the context of World War II and its aftermath'
It's not at all clear to me why this sentence would raise alarms.
There are false stereotypes about Poland and Poles in the US in the context of WW II and its aftermath."


AL, in response to my post, said that, unlike another poster whom he assessed favorably,  I did not "clearly understand the underlying issues and concerns."

So. I'm a Dumb Polak. Or maybe just a dumb woman. The other poster was male, obviously superior to me in understanding. 

The man with superior understanding told me to stop posting on the page. 

Thus, I am posting about the exchange here, since I am not allowed to post on that page. 

Note: all I did was say what I said above. "There are false stereotypes about Poland and Poles in the US in the context of WW II and its aftermath."

And I was told to stop posting. And dismissed as a Dumb Polak. By Polish men. On a Polish interest Facebook page. 

AL was allowed to continue to post on the page, referring to me as "Ms," not "Dr." And he insisted that I "completely missed" his point. 

No, I clearly got his point. Any discussion of stereotypes of Poles is taboo, because it might, just might, please someone in the current, right-wing, Polish government. 

There's a great meme out there. "Hitler drank water. So do you." 

Just because the current, right-wing Polish government talks about stereotypes, doesn't mean that talk of stereotypes is right-wing. That's a basic logical concept. 

AL missed that point. But understanding me and addressing what I was saying was not on his agenda. Putting down a Polish woman in public was on his agenda. Demonizing any discussion of stereotyping as a right-wing evil was on his agenda. 

Tell me we Poles don't sabotage ourselves. 

I invite the two men who found my posts objectionable to post in the comments section here. I will not censor any civil and pertinent posts, and I will respond to any civil, pertinent posts with respect. 

About the photo illustrating this post. It's from "The Women of Polish Independence." "They were organisers of underground education, diplomats, terrorists and soldiers disguised in men’s uniforms. During the era Poland was partitioned, these forgotten heroines fought a double war: for their country’s independence and their own empancipation."

Their fight is ongoing. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Muslim Arabs Beat Jews in Warsaw; Catholic Poles are Blamed. Bieganski Lives on Facebook



On September 8, Barak Kashpizky reported on Facebook that he was beaten up in Warsaw by what he describes as attackers who were probably Muslim Arabs. Kashpizky, those commenting on his post, and various press reports blame Poles, not the attackers, for this attack. 

You can see Mr Kaspizky's post here

You can see a sample of press coverage, blaming Poles and Poland, here

From the Facebook provided English translation of this post: "If you were wondering, not one of the hundreds of polish polish who were in the place went to offer help, none of the polish invited police. Even the club security that was called for help did not reach out...reality is repeated. Polish people stand by watching, while people "not from their nation" hit until the loss of recognition of Jews ... There is not even one representative from the state of Israel that came to assist...

Lucky for him, and lucky for us, stand next to him and took care of him all along the college of director, head of delegation and his deputy. Dedication that the embassy Israel is not educated to do.

I'm telling the story because I want Israelis to know. Israelis be careful. It seems that this story doesn't interest the ministry of foreign affairs, but I'm sure you're with Israel is very interesting. My brother was lucky, who knows what will happen next."

The post is being rapidly shared on Facebook. As of this writing, it has almost two thousand shares, but that number is increasing by the minute. 

The post has been responded to over 700 times, but, again, that number is increasing. 

Sample Facebook post in response, below: 

Daniel Rosenzweig:

"I just love how all the Polacks here are acting all innocent and clueless, as if all the antisemitism in Poland started only after the Krauts invaded. My great grandmother escaped to America before the nazis came into power because of you people, and she refused to be remembered as Polish. It was an insult to her then as much as it is to my entire family today. 

Poland can suck a fat one for all I care. Also, if you weren't as antosemitic as you claim, you wouldn't have tried to cover this incident up. At least modern day Germans show some guilt and responsibility for what their ancestors did to us."

You can see Daniel Rosenzweig's Facebook page here

Again, from Facebook: "boycott Poland and do not let it earn from the Israel government "

Another post, translated by Facebook, reads, " those crab are running there. They will still throw the polish out of their country. And may they succeed. Damn Anti-Semitic."

And "With stupid we are. The Polish people were worse than the mhnʼẕym. May this country burn all the time the rest of the elite that is no longer among life today. And they were right!!!! Poland is an anti-Anti-Anti-country of generations. Stupid who his foot is walking on the ground, blood is out there. May this country burn in memory of the six million."

And "Thank God we took advantage of these injustice, maybe if we stop driving there they will understand that they are the only ones who will lose because they will not have a living from the tourists.. we have to make an end to it immediately"

And, "The land there is seen in Jewish blood. But Israelis - because it's cheap there - are ready to sell their souls to Satan and return with a reality from zara that cost them half price...Continue to support the polish people and don't be surprised by their kindness for the appearance of the lynch in the Jew."

And, "Unfortunately it is also not surprising that the mental polish bet without helping and discover to get involved in the help of the other sure it is not them, they were bad in the past and so also now, they hate everyone who is not polish see it from their government and in the residents, lucky your brother came out only with such damage"

A comment under the above-linked press article reads, "The Poles stood around and did nothing- so yeah they deserve blame. Europeans have been degrading, murdering and torturing us Jews for thousands of years. Soneday- G-d willing  someday soon- Europeans will pay big time for it."

another post mentions " the complicity of many Poles in the slaughter of defenceless Jews."

Another post reads " the ghosts of the pogroms in Poland are not very much alive and continue to flourish freely above the surface in society in Poland?


Just read the pathetic excuses from the Polish trolls here who have no reason to even comment here. I wonder how cocky they would be if they met us at the seawall in Tel Aviv..?  For them, ETZEL lives!"

***

Please note. I did not have to dig to find Bieganski comments. There are there, big as life, over and over and over and over. 

The Polaks are scum. We must boycott Poland. May Poland burn. Shalom. 

Now more than ever, buy, read, review, and share Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype.

In the midst of all the crazy yelling and screaming, there are more thoughtful posts, including this one:



And this one:


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Trump Skipped Poland's WW II Commemoration to Play Golf

US President Donald Trump skipped Poland's WW II 80th anniversary commemoration, as he said, to address Hurricane Dorian. Trump spent the time at a golf course. See story here

BBC Used Music to Contact Polish Underground During WW II

"A new archive has revealed the BBC's role in secret activities during World War Two, including sending coded messages to European resistance groups.

Documents and interviews, released by BBC History, include plans to replace Big Ben's chimes with a recorded version in the event of an air attack.

This would ensure the Germans did not know their planes were over Westminster.

BBC programmers would also play music to contact Polish freedom fighters.

Using the codename "Peter Peterkin", a government representative would provide staff with a particular piece that would be broadcast following the Polish news service."

See full story here

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Poland and WW II



Today is the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland. This invasion is said to have begun WW II (although the Japanese had already invaded China.)

It is difficult to communicate what WW II did to Poles and Poland. "Crucifixion" is not too strong a word.

The Nazi goal was to eliminate Poles and Poland and retain a tiny remnant population as slaves.

We were subhuman to them.

In my book "Bieganski," I try to present, in a few brief paragraphs, what WW II meant to Poland.

Note: many of the numbers I cite change. Historians continue to work on accurate estimates.

From Bieganski:

Poles and Poland were victims of the Nazis. Historian Michael C. Steinlauf, the son of Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors, wrote that Poles, "after the Jews and the Gypsies [were] the most relentlessly tormented national group in Hitler's Europe" (x). Auschwitz was built in order to destroy anyone in Poland who could lead Polish people, for example, teachers and activists. For almost the first two years of its existence, most of its inmates were arrested and detained as Poles.

The best estimates of non-Jewish Poles killed by Nazis run between one and a half to two million. Approximately three million Polish Jews were murdered; their vital presence in Polish life was all but erased. One estimate of non-Jewish Poles enslaved by the Nazis puts that number at two million (Meier). Polish slave laborers in Germany had to wear a patch emblazoned with the letter "P."

By one estimate, 200,000 Polish children were taken from their parents and relocated to Germany, to be raised as Germans, because their allegedly German traits revealed German ancestry (Lukaszewski). Nazis killed almost twenty percent of Polish priests. Nazis erased Polish villages. Men were killed, leaders sent to concentration camps, houses burned. An incomplete post-war count put the number of such villages at two hundred and ninety-nine (Davies Playground II 455).

In accord with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the Soviets invaded from the east as the Nazis invaded from the west. By some measures, the initial phase of the Soviet invasion was worse. "Very conservative estimates show that [between 1939 and 1941] the Soviets killed or drove to their deaths three or four times as many people as the Nazis from a population half the size of that under German jurisdiction" (Gross Revolution 229).

The Armia Krajowa or Home Army is described as the third largest underground army in Europe. The AK played a vital role in communicating to Britain and the United States the reality of the Holocaust. AK intelligence provided the Allies with the location of Nazi V-1 bomb development and V-2 rocket development.

Captured V-2 rockets were delivered to London. Poles made the first and necessary contributions to the decoding of Enigma, and the breaking of Nazi encoded messages. The Allies' ability to read Nazi messages has been cited as central to victory (Wrobel). In addition to the over six thousand Polish rescuers honored at Yad Vashem, the largest of any national group, more Poles than will ever be counted rescued Jews from Nazis, under the most challenging conditions in Europe.

In spite of the above-cited facts, in many, high-impact, folk and popular culture, Holocaust narratives, Poles and Poland are not victims of Nazi crimes, but, rather, are either their perpetrators or approving witnesses. This motif remains popular in spite of constant protest and attempts at correction by prominent historians and activists, Polish, Jewish, and other (see, e.g., National Polish American ­ Jewish American Council).

James Carroll's Constantine's Sword won the 2001 National Jewish Book Award; Beliefnet named it the best spiritual book of the year. In his back cover comments, scholar Garry Wills called the book "searingly honest;" scholar Eugene Kennedy identified it as "an astonishing work of historical research." Poland is essential to Carroll and his book; Carroll announced that he would "remain" "at the foot of the cross at Auschwitz" "throughout the telling of this story," the story of Catholic anti-Semitism.

The cross is appropriate because "Polish Catholicism is particularly inclined to define itself around the idea of its victimhood." Jews, in Carroll's text, are not "inclined to define themselves around the idea of victimhood," in Carroll's book, Jews really do suffer. In order to support his use of a cross erected at Auschwitz as central symbol for his entire book about the genuine horrors of Catholic anti-Semitism, Carroll played with the facts of Polish history, Polish self-definition – presenting a skewed reading of the Polish Messiah image (60) – and Polish suffering.

Through verbal legerdemain, Carroll lead his readers to believe that only one hundred and fifty Poles died at Auschwitz, compared to a million and a half Jews who died there (230). In fact, between 140,000 and 150,000 Poles were imprisoned in Auschwitz, of whom 70,000 to 75,000 were killed. 960,000 Jews were killed at Auschwitz.

***

Later in the book I include various personal stories. Here is the introduction of just one Polish American:

John Guzlowski's Polish Catholic grandmother, aunt, and cousin were murdered by Nazis and Ukrainians. They raped John's Aunt Sophie and broke her teeth; they stomped his cousin to death. With his bayonet, a Nazi sexually mutilated John's Aunt Genia. John's parents were Nazi slave laborers; his father was in Buchenwald. John was born in a displaced persons camp after World War II; his family immigrated to America.

80th Anniversary of Nazi and Soviet Invasion of Poland










note: Soviets invaded on September 17

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

64 Year Old Rabbi Attacked in NYC Park.

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source

A 64 year old Rabbi was attacked in a Crown Heights park in NYC. The assailant threw a brick at him and knocked out his teeth. Rabbi Avraham Gopin required stitches. This attack is part of a surge in attacks on Jews in recent years in NYC. Attackers are often young men of color and media acknowledge that reporting these stories is difficult for media because they do not fit the profile of what media promote as a "hate crime." They would rather report on white supremacists attacking people of color. See full story of attack here

Monday, August 26, 2019

Need a Place for One Night In Washington, DC

I've been invited to speak at a conference in Washington, DC, in November, 2019. The conference concerns how Poland's role in WW II is misrepresented in media. 

If I am to honor this request to speak, I will need a place to stay for one night in or near Washington DC. Anywhere that's on the DC public transportation system would work, so a place in northern Virginia or Maryland would work. 

If you know of anyone who could put me up in a clean, quiet, safe place for one night, please pm me. 

I'm clean and quiet. I just need a place to sleep and shower. I won't cook or ask for dinner wherever I stay. 

Needless to say, I'd like to stay with people with some social media profile. If I get an invite from a strange, single man with no public profile, I would not be able to accept. I'm sure you understand. 

Also, if anyone reading this would like to contribute toward a hotel room, that would be great, too. 

Thanks. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Poles Struggle to Revive Music "Murdered" By the Nazi Invasion.



You can read the transcript here

Krystyna Danko July 9, 1917 - August 6, 2019

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Source

Krystyna Dańko née Chłond (9 July 1917 – 6 August 2019[1]), was a Polish orphan from the town of Otwock, daughter of Karol Chłond – a respected city official in prewar Poland – was awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1998, for saving the lives of Polish Jews during the Holocaust while risking her own life at the time of Nazi German occupation of Poland.[2][3]

Krystyna Dańko received her medal at the request of Maryna (Maria) Bartoń née Kokoszko, whom she "smuggled" into a safer place from Otwock to Warsaw, where Maryna's extended family could take care of her. Unafraid of endangering her own life, Krystyna helped her Jewish friends by giving them food she bought, clothing as well as money, and by fulfilling their heartfelt requests.[4]

Several years before the outbreak of World War II, Krystyna Dańko established a close friendship with Lusia, the eldest daughter of the Kokoszko family, who was her high school classmate. Krystyna spent a great deal of time in their home. Once the Holocaust began, she did everything in her power to help the family survive the Nazis. "I was never afraid of anything", she said.[5]

After Kokoszko's successful escape from the ghetto, Krystyna helped to hide them, including father, mother and Helena (Lusia), in a secret location at a nearby village. She took the youngest daughter, age 6, on a train to the capital, where the girl was placed in a Polish orphanage in Warsaw under an assumed name.[2]

Krystyna became the liaison between the family and their youngest child, delivering messages and information back and forth. Krystyna asked nothing in return for her heroic effort, stating that helping others was her moral obligation as a human being.[2] Otwock Ghetto was liquidated on September 19, 1942, when 75% of its Jewish population numbering around 8,000, was assembled at a layover yard in Otwock and shipped to Treblinka death camp.[6] Jews who remained were summarily shot on Reymonta Street thereafter.[7]

In 1951 Krystyna Dańko née Chłond married Mieczysław Dańko, social activist from Otwock persecuted by the Stalinist regime. He died in 1982.[8] Krystyna was honoured in Jerusalem as Righteous Among the Nations on 13 December 1998 for helping to save the lives of Eugenia, Helena, Maria, and dr. Michał Kokoszko who settled in Warsaw after the war. The eyewitness testimony came from the youngest daughter of the Kokoszko family, Maria Kokoszko-Barton who submitted her deposition to Yad Vashem.[2]

Two other members of Dańko family were awarded their medals posthumously on 16 December 2008: Jadwiga Dańko née Wojciechowska (1904 – 1968) and husband Mieczysław Dańko (1905 – 1982) who separately saved the Weczer family in Otwock.[3] 

The above text is from Wikipedia, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krystyna_Da%C5%84ko 


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

American Czestochowa in Doylestown Pennsylvania

Daria Sockey, author of The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, recently traveled with me to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in order that we might visit the "American Czestochowa," that is The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

I had never been there before and I was in awe of the place. 

I loved it ... but ... I could not help but notice how much love, time, patience, devotion, money, patriotism went into creating and goes into maintaining this place. And yet Polonia has such minor impact on American cultural and political life. You have to wonder why. If Polonians can create an enclave like this, why can't they have a larger impact on school curricula, public debates about WW II and Holocaust history, and publishing decisions? 

I was also struck by how Polish the place is, and how much more it could be doing to make the shrine accessible to Americans who don't speak Polish and don't know much about Polish history. Too much at the shrine struck me as Polonians talking to other Polonians and not inviting non-Polonians into the conversation. 

Below are some photos of our visit. Obviously I am not a professional photographer and my camera is tiny and basic. But you can find many superior photos on the web. 



















Friday, July 26, 2019

Polish Court Bans Anti-Gay Sticker from Sale: BBC

Source

The BBC reports that a Polish court has banned sale of Gazeta Polska's anti-gay stickers. See full story here

In related news, 4,000 homophobic thugs threw rocks, bottles, and fireworks at 1,000 peaceful gay rights marchers in Bialystok. See more here

Homophobic thugs will be exploited by those who support Bieganski, the Brute Polak stereotype. 

If I were in Poland, I would have been honored to march in Bialystok's gay pride parade. My family came from the Bialystok area. 

Gay people are just like straight people -- with one difference -- they are gay. Ignorant and fearful people hate and persecute gay people. A civilized and truly Christian society does not allow such persecution. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Polish Scholar Banned at Middlebury College



Polish scholar Ryszard Legutko was banned from a previously scheduled talk at Middlebury College. Students felt he was too right wing to be allowed on campus. Legutko wrote about the ban in an article in First Things. 

Quotes from the article:

"Both communism and liberal democracy aim to politicize the whole of society, interpreting every aspect of social life—culture, art, intellectual pursuits, religion, family (and in liberal democracy, even sex and toilets)—in light of a power struggle, and insisting that the struggle be resolved in accordance with one political ideology. In the communist system, everything had to be communist; in a liberal democracy, everything has to be liberal and democratic."

"The communist system generated thoughtcrimes, but liberal ­democracy has generated far more, and it generates still more every year. The result is that the space in which the human mind may safely roam gets smaller and smaller. One is constantly in danger of crossing the red line. More and more topics are dangerous territory. A reflection, an insight, a clarification, or an argument may be taken for a criticism—which is not allowed."

"the aim of this language is to reverse the meanings of words. “Marginalized people” are not people who are marginalized, but people who set the college’s agenda and can get away with just about anything, including physically assaulting their professors. “Respectful and non-disruptive counter-space” means subjecting a lecturer to insults and humiliations. “Inclusivity” is the systemic censuring of people and ideas."

You can, and should, read the entire article here

Monday, June 24, 2019

Concentration Camps, again. From the Jerusalem Post.

Very excellent Jerusalem Post piece here about the misuse of the term "concentration camp." 

Leftwingers on social media are posting hundreds if not thousands of posts a day insisting that the US is running concentration camps. 

They always invoke Hitler ... never Stalin, never the Gulag. 

They always say, "It's just like Nazi Germany. It's just like a concentration camp."

Why don't they ever say, "It's just like the plantation. It's just like slavery"?

Because they hate Jews and they are Holocaust deniers.

Because they curry favor with African Americans. Because they would never step on African Americans' toes in that way. Because they assess African Americans as being on board with their larger anti-Western project in a way that Jews are not.

And because they know that African Americans would come down on them like a box of rocks if they dared to appropriate African American symbols and history as they do Jewish symbols and history.

They know, given the background level of antisemitism, that they can get away with bullying Jews in a way that they could never get away with bullying blacks.

And now you know why the "concentration camp" metaphor, but never, ever, the "black slavery in the American south" metaphor.


"Honyock:" Another Word for Bohunks



I was reading the comments section under the new New York Magazine article about E Jean Carroll's accusation that Donald Trump raped her. 

Someone named Morton Watts kept referring to posters as "morons" and "honyak." I googled the word "honyak." What I found is below. 

Apparently it is a portmanteau word, a combination of "Hunky" and "Polak." 


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Leftists Have Always Lied about Auschwitz. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Rhetorical Strategy Descends from Stalin Himself.



Leftists Have Always Lied about Auschwitz
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Rhetorical Strategy Descends from Stalin Himself

On Monday, June 17, and again on Tuesday, June 18, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated that the "authoritarian and fascist" Trump administration "has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying." "Concentration camps are an institutionalized practice in the home of the free … a presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist."

I was a teenager the first time I visited Auschwitz. I grew up with one foot in New Jersey, and with one foot, through my parents' heartfelt stories, songs, recipes and reminiscences, in Poland and Slovakia. I met anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resisters, victims of torture and rape, all members of my own family, when I was fifteen. I sat around the table and watched my strong, resilient, subsistence farmer aunts' and uncles' faces melt with shame and terror as they recounted Nazi, and then Soviet, occupation. I watched my mother, a monument to strength and stoicism, cry when she heard, firsthand, of the fate of her beloved Jewish neighbor who had saved her from drowning in the River Nitra. She had long known he was among the millions. She had read of his fate in letters. Now back in her village for the first time since her departure as a child, she just couldn't take it when they told her to her face, as she stood in front of what used to be his home.

After the visit to Auschwitz, I met both survivors of the camp and Polish citizens who had hidden Jews in their homes. These rescuers radiated a quality I can't quite capture in words but I can say that sitting in front of them and listening to them speak was comparable, for me, to sitting in front of Yosemite's Half Dome. These Poles, senior citizens in Soviet-era rumpled clothing, who spoke few and humble words, not lush vocabulary out of any epic saga but rather monosyllabic words focused on how to dispose of human waste without detection or how to manage to cadge enough calories while living under a genocidal occupation, conveyed the aura of massive natural wonders. These rescuers' souls seemed to have outgrown their human flesh and have already transcended to the ageless, the mythic.

It's the hardest country I've ever visited, but I kept going back to Poland, both in the flesh and in my publications. Several people whose parents had been in concentration camps became part of my day-to-day life. Some of these children of camp survivors are Jews, some are Poles, and some are Ukrainian. Another close friend is the son of a Nazi soldier who fought in North Africa with Rommel as well as on the Eastern Front, winning two Iron Crosses. Please forgive what I am about to say. People whose parents were in concentration camps are not easy. There is a raft of symptoms that all these friends, including the son of the Nazi, display. Touchiness. Paranoia. Outrage. Tilting at windmills. Self-sabotage. A terrible loneliness that can never be slaked. I love these people, I owe them much, and my life would not be the same without them. But they are not easy people.

All the survivors, rescuers, witnesses and children of survivors I know care about the suffering of immigrants. They care because they were all immigrants, of one kind or another, themselves. They all know hunger, bruises, humiliations, frustrations, and exclusion. They all, also, know hope and working hard toward a better future for the next generation.

I grew up a child of immigrants, and, inevitably, I went on to be an immigrant myself, living and working in Africa, Asia, and Europe. I held my mother's hand as she died, seventy-two years after her forced migration to America, and I can say that she never got over the trauma of that passage. She told me about walking to school along railroad ties because the ties hurt her bare feet less than the gravel between the tracks. She was barefoot so the "cardboard" shoes she received from the "Poor Board" would not disintegrate in her walk to school. She told me about being beaten by a nun who spoke Slovak but wouldn't speak it to her because it was her job, as a child immigrant, to sink or swim. She told me about the first time she ate that most American of foods, peanut butter, out of a half empty jar encountered while foraging in a garbage dump.

"Get me a Hunky; I need a donkey," was the refrain my father heard when showing up to be selected to tunnel his child's body into the narrowest passages of coal mines. "Hunky" was the word for immigrants like him. Beatings? Discrimination? Abuse? Tuberculosis? Unjust incarceration? Yes, all of those were part of my father's life, before he turned fifteen. Death? He witnessed death. His own father's death. I won't tell that story here; it's too hard, and it belongs to my cousins as well as to me, and I don't want to violate their memories. Let's just say that things were so bad, and his family was so hungry, that he joined the Army under someone else's papers when he was still underage. He fought in the Philippines and New Guinea and insisted that America was "the greatest country in the world."

So, yes, those of us familiar, even though handed-down stories from our elders about the Nazis, are also familiar with the burdens of immigration. This much we know. A decent person does not steal the vocabulary of one horror to discuss the discomforts and inconveniences, or even the heartbreaks and tragedies, of the other. As horrific as the black lung, the police chases, the incarceration, and the death all were, they were not those horrors as lived in Auschwitz, which was an experience so cursed you don't use the same vocabulary when speaking of the one about the other. You just do not do that.  

The term "concentration camp" existed before the Holocaust, and pre-Holocaust governments have set up what were called, at the time, concentration camps. During the 1899-1902 Boer War between Boers, or Dutch-speaking South Africans and the British Empire, the Empire drove Boers into concentration camps. Approximately 28,000 Boers, that is 25%, of Boers in these camps, and 10% of the overall Boer population, died of hunger and disease. Twenty thousand black South Africans also died.

No one objects to the use of the term "concentration camp" for discussion of the Boer War, or other pre-Holocaust atrocities. Why, then, do we express such revulsion when Ocasio-Cortez claims "concentration camp" to discuss facilities to house illegal immigrants?

The answer is obvious. The answer is history. In the same way that the word "apple" is heard differently in the post-Steve-Jobs world, the term "concentration camp" is heard differently in the post-Auschwitz world. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous. And to pretend otherwise is to camouflage a very real leftist agenda.

The left itself has a doctrine that should, if followed, obviate this lie. It's the doctrine of cultural appropriation. You do not take the cultural inheritance of another group and claim it as your own. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez knows about this doctrine. She was blasted for violating it on April 5, 2019, when giving a speech to Al Sharpton's National Action Network. Ocasio-Cortez, in an attempt to curry favor with her mostly African American audience, adopted a faux Ebonics rhythm and syntax. All leftist cultural appropriation stories are ridiculous; it's difficult to pick which is most exemplary of the trend. Perhaps Lena Dunham fretting over Oberlin college students' sushi consumption. Perhaps the height, or depth of cultural appropriation sermonizing took place after Keziah Daum, a Utah high school student, wore a Chinese-style dress to her prom and posted the photo on social media. In a frequently retweeted twitter post, Jeremy Lam accused 18-year-old Keziah Daum of colonizing Asians.

Since leftists preach against cultural appropriation, why are leftists now trying to appropriate the term "concentration camp" to talk about immigration? One of the most disturbing, and obvious, trends in today's Democratic Party is anti-Semitism. Not all Democrats are anti-Semites, but Congressional Democrats surrendered to the anti-Semites in their midst when, on March 7, 2019, they failed to sanction freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her frequent and egregious expressions of anti-Semitism. Ocasio-Cortez made it a point to support Omar in the midst of that controversy. Ocasio-Cortez was also happy to mouth anti-Semitic tropes, tropes she clearly did not understand and could not support when exposed to questioning. In a July 17, 2018 appearance on PBS's Firing Line, Ocasio-Cortez said she objects to "the occupation of Palestine" and a "humanitarian crisis." When questioned what she meant by these terms, she collapsed, laughing, acknowledging, "I am not the expert on geopolitics … Middle Eastern politics was not exactly at my kitchen table every night." Why the Democratic Party is currying favor with anti-Semites is a topic for another piece, but that toadying is on display for all to see. Ocasio-Cortez's attempt to claim the term "concentration camp" for her very own is part of that agenda.

And there's more. Leftists have always lied about the Holocaust. I saw those lies firsthand, during my visit to Auschwitz. In those Soviet days, visitors were shown a film. I watched the Polish language version of the film. I listened for the word "Jew" – "Zyd." I never heard it. What I do remember hearing, over and over, was the term "victims of fascism." I recognized that I was being propagandized. I wondered how many viewing this film would not recognize that. "After the war internal politics led the Soviet leadership to erase the Holocaust from historical memory," writes historian John Klier in "The Holocaust and the Soviet Union." Soviet Russia and its satellite states systematically lied about the Holocaust from the end of the war till its toppling in 1989. Communists inflated the numbers of those killed at Auschwitz. They did so in order to minimize the number of Jews murdered there. Soviet Russians called Auschwitz "the ultimate capitalist factory where the workers were dispensable." "One of the least appealing aspects of the Soviet analysis of Auschwitz, now and later, was the downplaying of the scale of suffering endured by Jews." This downplaying constituted "a rift in historical interpretation between East and West concerning the operation of the camps that would not be resolved until the fall of Communism," writes Laurence Rees in Auschwitz: A New History. This downplaying of Jewish suffering occurred throughout the Soviet Empire. Thomas Haury writes that East Germany, "emphasized the workers, the party, and the Soviet population as having suffered most from National Socialism. The genocide of the European Jews was only one crime among many, to which the GDR hardly paid attention." Jews were also accused of crimes said to be "just as bad as the Holocaust." "Not only Holocaust deniers but also communists used Holocaust Equivalence early, aiming at Jews. In 1953, the Soviet Union's daily Pravda published alleged information about a conspiracy of mainly Jewish doctors to kill communist leaders through wrong diagnoses and sabotage in treatment," writes Georg von Rauch. Romanian textbooks emphasized Romanian suffering and downplayed Jewish deaths. People often criticize Poles for their apparent lack of awareness of Holocaust history. After all, Poland was the site of many concentration and death camps. But Poles, too, were taught a Holocaust history consciously distorted by Communism, and it is only post-1989 that Polish historians have been able to tell their own country's story without that distortion dominating their work. When perusing a Soviet-era history book about WW II, or watching a Soviet-era film about the liberation of Auschwitz, or listening to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's justifications for using the term "concentration camp," one must remember this core principle: "The truth is that which serves the party."

Czeslawa (ches WAV ah) Kwoka was a 14 year old Polish Catholic girl. She was murdered in Auschwitz. Wilhelm Brasse, as his name suggests, had some Germanic ancestry. But he was born in Poland and he self-identified as Polish. After the Nazis invaded, the SS "invited" Brasse to identify as German. He declined, and he was sent to Auschwitz, where he was forced to photograph prisoners. Later he was ordered to destroy those photos. Through subterfuge, he saved many of the photos.

Brasse took the photograph we have of Czeslawa Kwoka. He described the process to an interviewer, who said that Brasse trembled while speaking. "She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn't understand why she was there and she couldn't understand what was being said to her. So this woman Kapo took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn't interfere. It would have been fatal for me. You could never say anything."

I do not begrudge anyone the compassion they feel for immigrants. I do not begrudge anyone for actually extending aid to immigrants. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her leftist allies are not expression compassion, and they are not helping anyone, by appropriating the term "concentration camp." Rather, they are appropriating cultural material that does not belong to them, and that no decent person would want. They are doing this as part of the left's current and growing anti-Semitic program. Stalin, we are told, said that one death was a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic. If the deaths of the eleven million leave Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies cold, I ask them to look into the face of Czeslawa Kwoka, who was murdered at 14 because she was the wrong ethnicity.



This piece appears at Front Page Magazine here

"It's Necessary to Bring Jewish Communism into Full View" Ruth Wisse in Mosaic

Harvard scholar Ruth Wisse argues that it is necessary to bring Jewish communism into full view. She says that Jewish communists betrayed their faith before they betrayed others. She talks about how communists recruited Yiddish writers and how that besmirched the Yiddish language. She acknowledges that anti-Semites use those Jews who were communists as an excuse for anti-Semitism, but says that an accounting is necessary nonetheless. Read the full article here

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and American Leftists Want the Words "Concentration Camp"



If you follow American political news, you know that new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who gets a lot of attention because she is pretty, young, and Hispanic, has appropriated the term "concentration camp" to describe US housing of illegal immigrants. 

Leftists are all atingle, excited that they can now use the term "concentration camp" to talk about the US. 

Because they are largely anti-Semitic, and Holocaust deniers, and applying this term to US centers advances their cause in two ways: they are robbing Jews of their history, and they are bashing the US. 

This is all more disgusting than I can address here. There has been much coverage in the American press. One excellent treatment is here. Of course logic and facts will not reach leftists. 

The photo above is of Czeslawa Kwoka, a 14 year old Polish Catholic girl murdered in Auschwitz. 

Her photographer was Wilhelm Brasse, a Polish man forced by the Nazis to photograph prisoners. He was ordered to destroy his photos but he saved many of them. As you can see from his name, he had some Germanic ancestry. The SS offered him the chance to identify as German. He declined. He was imprisoned. 

Of the photo of Czeslawa, Brasse later said, 

She was so young and so terrified. The girl didn't understand why she was there and she couldn't understand what was being said to her.

So this woman Kapo (a prisoner overseer) took a stick and beat her about the face. This German woman was just taking out her anger on the girl. Such a beautiful young girl, so innocent. She cried but she could do nothing.

Before the photograph was taken, the girl dried her tears and the blood from the cut on her lip. To tell you the truth, I felt as if I was being hit myself but I couldn't interfere. It would have been fatal for me. You could never say anything