Thursday, April 23, 2020

Barbara Engelking Quote

There's been some back and forth in the comments section re: a quote by Barbara Engelking, a leading Polish Holocaust scholar. 

Lukasz submitted the video below, and this transcription of the quote, 

"Dla Polaków to była po prostu kwestia biologiczna, naturalna – śmierć jak śmierć, a dla Żydów to była tragedia, to było dramatyczne doświadczenie, to była metafizyka, to było spotkanie z Najwyższym," 

and this translation, 

"For Poles it was simply a biological, natural issue - death like death, and for Jews it was a tragedy, it was a dramatic experience, it was metaphysics, it was a meeting with the Highest." 


  1. Lukasz, thank you for the video. Hanna, sorry I gave you a hard time.

  2. Hi Goska, no problem. And- You did not give me a hard time, its always a pleasure to talk to you/debate with you :-)

    To be honest- When I first heared about this quote my first thought was: She MUST be quoting someone else. The next sentence will be: "Yeah, can you believe that anyone actually said something like that?". Ive watched the whole broadcast.She was not quoting anyone. How can anyone say something like this and on national television? Apparently, she does not deem us to be living human beings on par with herself.

    About my claim that this behaviour might be intentionally: Pamela Geller and the mayor of Jersey city both come to mind.

    Step 1. post/say/imply that Poles are brutes/antisemites/quasi nazis. Step 2. Wait for the backlash
    Step 3. point at some nasty comments and pose as a victim.
    Step 4.---
    Step 5. Profit! (see Southparks basic explanation of capitalism)
    The profit there being: closing the ranks, fueling Jewish ethnic pride, keeping young Jews from assimilating.

    I think this explanation is way more humane than assuming, that Jews are out to destroy Goy societies and other wingnut crazy conspiracy theories.

    Lets just say that such a behaviour does not endear anyone to anyone else, on the contrary. I will tell you a secret: When around Jewish people, I am actually afraid to tell anyone Im Polish, for fear of being vilified. This situation is not ok. Unfortunately, as Poles are better villains for the pristine Western people than clean-cut sexy nazis, she gets a lot of one-sided attention, as does Gross.

    Than again, I have high hopes that this whole mess will,eventually, die down. Why? Well, the "new Europeans" (Muslim/African migrants) dont care about Jews or even, actually despise them. And as far as Ive heard, Latino migrants to the US would rather see their ethnic talking points adressed than anything else. The only thing left will be a bitter aftertaste.

  3. Engelking and Grabowski have been sued because they had falsely accused Edward Malinowski. They probably described two people, one of whom collaborated and the other one helped Jews. The research was financed partially by the government and questions if the results were reviewed are not answered. I have asked Professor Rychard and got no answer even if the institute is oblidged to send public informations. Engelking and Grabowski are being attacked by anti-Semites and radical nationalists, but they still should be academic.

    1. Hello Mr. Pankiewicz,

      No. It's one and the same person. Edward Malinowski, provost of Malinowo village. After the war falsely accused of collaborating with the Germans. Arrested by UB and put on trial. He was acquitted thanks to the testimonies of the Jews.

      Engelking and Grabowski were selectively quoting Jewish testimonies, omitting those parts about helping without receiving any financial benefits.

      A half-truth is a whole lie (Jewish proverb).

  4. Barbara Engelking's statement is the height of racism. It makes Poles into virtual animals whose lives are not as worthy as that of the Jews.

    That such a statement could seriously even be made speaks volumes about the state of Holocaust scholarship today.

    1. I can offer the following explanation for such vile behaviour: imagine you were told, since forever, that you are "special", "chosen" "Nr. one". This implies, that other people are below you, automatically. They should let you know, that you are absolutely right to treat you like lesser people. But, lo and behold, people let you know that they will not tolerate you belitteling them. How dare they! Unfortunately, you are weak, so you can only retaliate by snarky comments, being passive-agressive, supporting destructive causes (like communism, the Islamic state, fighting national identity), playing the blame-game, provoke those who "wrong you" by treating everyone else.

      We should fight ideologies that trigger such destructive, collective ideologies. Lets say no to racism, ethnic exclusivism and religious exclusivism.

    2. Not all Jews feel that way. Not all Jewish teaching inculcates these ideas. And plenty of non Jews feel that way. Ex Muslims tell of being taught just what you describe, etc.

    3. Not all Jews feel that way. Not all Jewish teaching inculcates these ideas.

      This is probably true. Unfortunately, we dont hear those Jews speaking up. Also, we dont see Muslims protesting en masse on the streets and cursing fundamentalism. Its sad, and probably also the reason we cant have nice things here on earth.Its hard to trust a group if it does not show the goods. It really makes me bonkers. Nethertheless, I have come to the conclusion that any idea/religion/philosophical/political idea that claims exclusivity will, in the end, lead to some groups of people being treated worse. Have you heard about the plight of Yezidi women who have been raped by is terrorists and conceived their children? They were, after much discussion, taken back by the Yezidi society. But not the children, because they do not belong to the exclusive Yezidi religion. The mothers are told to get rid of them (by giving them up for adoption, that is). As a Christian, one would most propably want to take care of them, take them into the fold, just because they are innocent. Yezidizm is strictly tribal, while Christianity is not, that makes the difference.Yezidizm views non-Yezidis as lesser people, especially not worth of marriage (which often leads to honour killings,unfortunately).

    4. Hanna, I'll have to disagree with you about Jews not speaking up. In fact many Jews have spoken up about the Hasidim who don't obey distancing guidelines.

    5. Dear Danusha, I mean, in way to many cases.Those, who do speak up, also do not get a prominent place in the debate. About the Hasidim: I wish they would get punished. So that everyone could see that Jews are treated equally. Instead, Mr. De Blasio was inundated with Twitter posts depicting him as...literally a nazi. I really pity the normal Jews who want to get along with other people. BTW, we have the same problem with some muslim quarters in European cities.And again, the same hurtful behaviour from our politicians- look the other way, instead of enforcing equal standarts for everyone.


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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