Monday, July 30, 2012

Roman Turski in "Secrets and Spies"

Otto Gross came across the excerpt, below, in the 1964 Reader's Digest book "Secrets and Spies: Behind the Scenes Stories of World War II."

Does anyone know anything more about this story, or the man, Roman Turski, telling it?

Thank you very much to Otto for bringing this otherwise obscure story to our attention. Otto's previous blog posts are here and here.

"The Evaders"

Roman Turski

I was born in Poland, where before the last war religious intolerance was not uncommon. In spite of my father's objection to my participation in anti-Semitic demonstrations in Warsaw, I often heaved stones at windows of stores owned by Jews. I had no qualms about my actions, and later it took months of hardship and persecution – and a Jew – to show me how to abide by the Biblical injunction: "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

When Hitler annexed Austria and war seemed imminent, I quit my job as instructor of a flying club in Lyons, France, and started for home. My plane developed engine trouble and I had to land at Vienna and stay there overnight to have it repaired.

The following morning, just as I stepped out of my hotel to buy a few souvenirs before checking out, a man who came running past the door bumped into me and sent me reeling. Outraged, I grabbed him and was about to give him a piece of my mind when I saw that his face was white with fear. Panting heavily, he tried to wrench himself from my grip and said, "Gestapo – Gestapo!" I knew only a little German but understood he was running from the dreaded German secret police.

I rushed him into the lobby and upstairs into my room, pointed to the foot of my bed and motioned him to lie down. I covered his slender, jack-knifed body with artfully draped blankets so that the tousled bed looked empty. Then I pulled off my jacket, tie, and collar so I could pretend I'd just got up if the Gestapo men came. In a few minutes they did. They examined my passport, returned it and shouted questions, to which I replied: "Ich verstehe es nicht – I don't understand," a phrase I knew by heart. They left without searching the room.

As soon as they had gone, I locked the door and lifted the blankets. The poor man let out a stream of rapid German. It was not necessary to understand a word to comprehend his gratitude.

I got out my flight chart and, by gesturing, and drawing pictures on the margin of the map, explained that I had a plane and could take him out of Austria. He pointed to Warsaw, and his expressive hands asked: "Would you take me there?" I shook my head and made him understand that I had to land for fuel in Cracow. I drew pictures of police and prison bars to illustrate that he would be arrested upon arrival at any airport, and made it clear that we would land in some meadow just over the Polish border and he could get off. He nodded with satisfaction, and his narrow face and dark-brown eyes again conveyed deep thanks.

The customs and immigration men at the airport waved us through when I told them my friend wanted to see me off. My plane was warmed up and ready for flight. We quickly climbed into it and took off. We crossed Czechoslovakia and soon saw the thin ribbon of the Vistula River and the City of Cracow. Landing in a large field by a wood near a country railroad station, I showed my companion where we were on the map, gave him most of my money and wished him luck. He took my hand and looked at me wordlessly, then walked rapidly into the woods.

When I arrived at the Cracow airport there was a detachment of police waiting beside the immigration inspector. One of the police said, "We have a warrant to search your plane – you have helped a man escape from Vienna."

"Go ahead and search it. Incidentally, what was the man wanted for?"

"He was a Jew!"

They searched my plane, and of course had to let me go for lack of evidence.

The war came, and after Poland's short and bloody struggle against the Germans, in which I served as a fighter pilot in the Polish Air Force, I joined the thousands of my countrymen who wanted to carry on the fight for freedom. We crossed the border in Rumania and were promptly caught and sent to concentration camps. I finally managed to escape and joined the French Air Force. After France collapsed I went to England and fought in the Battle of Britain. The following June I was wounded while on a fighter sweep across the English Channel, when the Luftwaffe hit us over Boulogne.

In those early offensive missions we were always outnumbered and outperformed by the Luftwaffe, and our only superiority was our morale.

As we started home I rammed a ME-109 and was hit by a piece of its sheared-off tail. I was half blinded with blood. My squadron covered my withdrawal across the Channel, but I was unconscious when my spitfire crash-landed in England. (I learned later that my skull had been fractured, and that I was so near death that the head surgeon of the hospital to which I was taken believed it would be almost useless to operate on me.)

When I returned to consciousness, I gradually realized that a narrow face with large brown eyes was looking down at me.

"Remember me?" their owner said. "You saved my life in Vienna." He spoke with only a trace of a German accent.

His words ended my confusion. I recalled this sensitive face and managed to say, "How did you find me?" I noticed his white smock. "Do you work here?"

"It's a long story," he replied. "After you dropped me off I made my way to Warsaw, where an old friend aided me. Just before the war I escaped and reached safety in Scotland. When one of your Polish squadrons distinguished itself in the Battle of Britain, I thought you might be in it, so I wrote to the Air Ministry and found you were."

"How did you know my name?"

"It was written on the margin of your map. I remembered it."

His long fingers felt cool on my wrist. "Yesterday I read the story in the newspapers about a Polish hero shooting down five enemy planes in one day and then crash-landing near this hospital. It said your condition was considered hopeless. I immediately asked the Royal Air Force at Edinburgh to fly me here. "


"I thought that at last I could do something to show my gratitude. You see, I am a brain surgeon – I operated on you this morning."

Bieganski on Imus in the Morning

On the morning of Monday, July 30, 2012, I was listening to Imus in the Morning, a very popular rush-hour radio program.

Imus' guest, if I heard correctly, was Carl Jeffers.

Here's a description of Carl Jeffers from his website:


He's Your...

Voice. Insight. Guidance.

Carl Jeffers is a nationally renowned and respected Speaker featured regularly on television networks such as CNN, MSNBC, and FOX as a political analyst, radio talk show host, lecturer and consultant. Jeffers' energy, keen insight, and engaging style has (sic) made him a “show favorite” throughout the networks. 

Jeffers is also an editorial contributor to both the HUFFINGTON POST, and he has been an editorial contributor to The Seattle Times. Jeffers is a political analyst for KIRO radio, one of the top rated stations in the Seattle market and the CBS affiliate for that market. In addition to providing political analysis and commentary on various formats and shows on the KIRO line-up, Jeffers now appears weekly in the “Week in Review” segment of the top rated Dave Ross show. Jeffers has also provided political analysis and commentary for radio stations KABC in Los Angeles and KLSD in San Diego, and has “guest hosted” on KABC, the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, one of the top two stations in the number two radio market in America today.

The above activity commitments establish Carl Jeffers as someone very much “keyed in” to the pulse of the nation, and that connection and broad reach provides a voice and geographic perspective that provides significant commentary balance from both an ideological and geographical perspective.


This morning, Jeffers brought up the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He said, and this is a paraphrase of what I remember him saying, "At the time of the 1936 Olympics, there were a lot of pogroms in Eastern Europe, but the Holocaust had not begun yet."

This is an example of Bieganski: the transference of responsibility for the Holocaust from Nazi Germany to Eastern Europe in general, Poland in particular, and Polish, Catholic peasants in the extreme.

We must correct this, and a good place to start would be for us to consider the suggestions in the blog post on the Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Comment Moderation

Please DO posts comments. Comments contribute much to the blog. 

Comments are moderated.

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.

If you don't know about I-statements and You-statements, it is to your benefit to learn about them. You can visit this website or many others to learn about I-statements and You-statements and their importance in conflict resolution.

Your comment states a position based on facts, rather than on ad hominem material. What is ad hominem? Wikipedia offers an excellent discussion of ad hominem commentary here.

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.

You single out any and all Jews for blame. If an individual who happens to be Jewish engages in negative stereotyping, by all means please feel free to talk about that. But please refrain from posting messages that single out Jews as a group as responsible for Polonia's problems. This position is indefensible and it is abhorrent, and this blog has taken a stand against it. There is no need to continue to debate repeated posts that attempt to stir up anti-Semitism. Doing so is not to Polonia's benefit. To defeat Bieganski, we must stop blaming the Jews and start working on the matters outlined in the three-part blog post devoted to the Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision.

Thank you, and please do post comments.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nazi Chic in Asia, England, and Eastern Europe: Which is Scary?

"Bieganski" talks about why the repugnance an ethically normal person might be expected to feel in reaction to Nazi crimes is often directed, not at actual Nazis, but rather at Poles, specifically, Polish, Catholic, and other Eastern European, peasants. There are many posts on this blog addressing that question in small bites; the book addresses the question in full.

Readers of "Bieganski" will understand the significance of Nazi chic in Asia to the book's addressing of this question.

I thank blog reader Hanna for drawing our attention to the above two photos, just two examples of Asian Nazi chic.

The tendency to feel repugnance and panic in relation to Eastern Europeans, while remaining blind to other groups' dabbling in Nazi chic, is not limited to non-Poles. This past spring, on a web-based discussion forum for Polish-Americans, someone posted a link to a panicky article about those scary, primitive Eastern European Bieganskis who were all fired up Neo-Nazis. The article was Salon's "Eastern Europe's Hitler Nostalgia" by Michael Goldfarb, appearing on April 2, 2012.

I responded with a post that said, more or less, "Why is nostalgia for Hitler scarier in Eastern Europe than anywhere else?"

I don't think I received a reply.

Because, I would have to guess, even to the Polish-American who posted the link, alleged Eastern Europe "Hitler nostalgia" is inherently scarier than neo-Nazi trends elsewhere.

Back in December 2011, Otto Gross posted "Ripples of Sin," a blog post here about having grown up with a father who was a Nazi. Otto's dad beat him with a Nazi army belt. I wanted a picture to illustrate the blog post. I did a google search and found countless websites featuring close-up photos of Nazi belts … uniforms … insignia … sabers … all these websites actively staffed, monitored, visited, by rabid enthusiasts of Nazi paraphernalia. As far as I could tell, most of these Nazi-enthusiasts were American. Probably none of them were in Eastern Europe.

Again, the question is, why is the Polish Catholic, or the Latvian or other Eastern European peasant, more repugnant, more blameworthy, than the actual Nazi, or the American who has a basement full of authentic Nazi gear he buys on the web, or the British politician or member of the British royal family who is overt in his dabbling in Nazi chic?

My answer is in "Bieganski."

Prince Harry in Nazi gear. Not Eastern European; therefore, not scary. 
Recently Aidan Burley, a British politician, was exposed as dabbling in Nazi  gear. But it's okay. He's English, not Eastern European. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Prayer Request

Angel of Compassion by one of my favorite artists, Vie Dunn-Harr. Her webpage. 

This is a polite request that, if blog readers feel so moved, they pray for a miracle for me.

I won't go into details on the blog, but if you just shoot a prayer heavenward and say you are praying for a miracle for that Polish-American woman who can't shut up about Polish-Jewish relations, God will know exactly how to process your prayer.

Further: I ask that you consider directing your thoughts to Wiktoria Ulma, the martyred Polish woman from Markowa. As regular blog readers know, I was lucky enough to speak in Markowa last year. There's a blog entry about that visit here. I loved my trip to Markowa, and I prayed for the Ulmas, and I got a real special sense about Wiktoria. The Ulmas are candidates for sainthood and a miracle would help that process along.

Thank you in advance for your prayers.

PS: There may be a period when I am not able to blog as frequently. If you've ever considered posting a guest blog here, now would be a good time. Please feel free to email me with any proposals or essays, and please be patient with any delays. Thank you.

How to pray.

Monday, July 16, 2012

May the Poles Burn

I just read this in a facebook post.

I want to repost it, because it is such a succinct summary of one understanding of the Bieganski stereotype. Here it is:


"My father, who lost his entire family in Poland, told me: 'For a thousand years we lived there -- and still they turned us in. May they all burn.'

Racial policies against Jews were in place years before the German occupation. Limits on Jewish life was not a German invention. The Germans picked Poland for the location of the death camps because they knew that country was a fertile ground for Jew hatred.

What I find the most loathsome is the Polish idea of their own victimhood. OMG, at least hide your head in shame and shut up, hoping no one will notice.

And, incidentally, how do you explain the pogroms against Jews AFTER the poor muselmen came back from the ovens to their home towns? Who forced those on your poor Poles?"


My answer to this gentleman's concerns can be found in "Bieganski."

I think everything said here is important and needs to be addressed. I attempt to address it in the book. Perhaps this gentleman will read it and report back how confronting another point of view has affected his conclusion that all Poles should burn.

A follow up added after the author of the above post responded in the comments section, below:

Yori, I'm fascinated by your initial post because it is so short and yet it sums up so very much of the Bieganski stereotype. My book addresses your every point, and I hope you read it.

What you say, Yori, MANY people say, and believe. Not just Jews. Regular readers of this blog know that I have reproduced material even from Catholic publications that support these anti-Polish views. I have met college professors and average Americans who are not Jewish who are 100% invested in the very view you express here.

The Bieganski stereotype is very powerful and very widespread and I hope Polonia will join me in combatting it.

What I understand as your points, in sum, is below. Obviously this is my paraphrase of your main points:


Poles are essentially guilty of unspeakable atrocities and therefore they deserve our hate and they deserve to suffer.

We are righteous to hate them and to wish Poles ill.

I can say this because I am a victim of Poles' hate. My suffering justifies my position.

There was a teleological inevitability of the Holocaust. Even with a thousand years of history, it was inevitable that Poles would kill off all the Jews.

Poles are so essentially guilty that any according of sympathy to them for their suffering is itself an obscenity. Poles must be denied victim status at all costs.

Poles are so very bad that they are the only nation on earth that killed Jews after the Holocaust.


Indeed, every one of these powerful assertions is debated head-on in "Bieganski." I hope you will read it and get back to the blog and tell us what you think.


Yori, thank you for following up with a post in the comments section.

You and I have a lot in common.

You are deeply invested in your Jewish ancestry.

I am deeply invested in my Polish and Slovak ancestry, and my Catholic faith.

You have a grudge against Poles.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have a grudge against Germans. If I had had the power, after World War II, I would have used nuclear weapons against Germany. I would not have done that out of any just or strategic reason. I would have done that out of hatred of Germans and Germany.

Otto, a contributor to this blog, slightly nudged my mind on my hatred of Germans, in his blog post "Ripples of Sin."

I know what it is to feel what you feel, Yori.

Yori, you wrote, "My hatred is not based on stereotypes."

I will politely disagree.

Yori, you wrote, "All I have is a black hole where my family used to be." Please accept my human condolences for your human sorrow. We are both human and we both know what it is to grieve and we both know what it is to care and we both know what it is to make amends and to work for a better future. We can do all these together, both as individuals and as peoples.

Yori, you wrote: "I pray for a fire that will start at the Ural Mountains and sweep across the plains and burn down your cursed Europe where our Jewish shadows are roaming in the night air."

I can certainly understand that righteous anger.

I will say, though, that as I read these words, I feel concern for your eternal soul.

God did say, in Deuteronomy, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay."

We are not God. It is not ours to avenge in the manner you recommend.

It is ours to understand, and to seek forgiveness where possible, and to find humanity in our fellow humans.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Poles Organizing??? A Guest Post and a Response

A guest blog entry by Mietek de Woldan

For sure, the Bieganski stereotype surfaces from time to time outside North America. Examples: recently in Argentina a minister speaking about ‘stupid Polish farmers’; in Germany the media from time to time reporting on the ‘thieving nature of Poles’; in the UK some of the media seeing Poles (among others) as the ‘source of social problems’ through their drinking and rowdy behaviour; some of the Israeli press seizing every opportunity to imply to the world the ‘anti-Semitism inherent in all Poles’; the assertions by the UK’s BBC before the Euro 2012 football about ‘extreme racism’ in Poland. But, since there is no consistency of perception that applies across all of these countries, each 'incident' has to be addressed 'on its merits' as it arises.

Add to that the existence of specific local problems. Examples: Lithuania and Belarus - where the very identity of Polish minorities, their culture and organisations are under threat; Holland - where there is a powerful anti-Polish (anti-immigrant generally) ‘hate’ campaign instigated by a political party; Germany - where Polish children are being ‘germanised’ if taken into the care of the state. These are vital issues that need action ‘today’ - and local Polonian organisations are fully engaged in addressing them. Within resource constraints it is difficult to expect these same organisations to also address the more general matter of ‘defending Poland’s good name’ as their top priority.

The UK situation is different. When the 1944/46 uproar against recent allies - now called ‘Polish fascists’ - subsided, the British establishment on the surface ignored these embarrassing reminders of betrayal - yet discrimination was real but covert. Organisations that once reminded the world about Poland’s right to freedom, now offer support to the influx of Poles seeking work in the UK. ‘Defending Poland’s good name’ is perhaps lower priority against these urgent practical demands.

And then, some might contend, there are anti-Polish elements in Poland itself. Is the German Historical Institute simply a tool of German policy to enmesh Poles in 'joint responsibility' for the holocaust? Paradoxically, why do some people see the activities of the Jewish Historical Institute as having a similar effect? Why are some publications of the IPN (Institute of National Remembrance) thought to be motivated more by political expediency and less by the search for impartially verifiable facts? If this is the reality who, other than the authorities in Poland, can possibly deal with it?

Against this background, Bieganski the blog recommends that we must become activists. But, who are 'we' precisely? Outside North America, apart from well-known exceptions, the Polish diaspora consists of several waves of migration from 1939 onwards. For each new wave, the 'patriotic' basis has been weaker and the 'material incentive' greater, such that latest arrivals have little appetite for 'political activity'. In any case, even those with more 'patriotic' leanings found that securing basic needs took most of their time and energy - few had the means to be 'politically active'. In my view 'we' - who now have the means - are now aged 50 to 60+ (possibly 40 to 50). This is a narrow and thinly spread group.

The vision of Bieganski the blog then recommends that activists must 'organise'. Indeed, we have the example of 'organiczna praca' of the 19th century positivist movement as our inspiration. But are we really suffering from a lack of 'organisation'? It is sufficient to access the website of Wspolnota Polska to see there is no shortage - every major country has at least one, and the list does not include more 'informal' or 'specialist' networks or internet communities. For interest, the "Rada Polonii Świata" (World Polish Council, domiciled in Chicago) appears to be defunct; the "Europejska Unia Wspólnot Polonijnych" (Union of Polish Communities in Europe, domiciled in London – has anyone ever heard of them?) has a 'Commission to Defend Poland's Standing' (it also has Commissions for Education, Media etc). So, perhaps the issue is that some need waking up from their slumbers or others need to convert from being a 'talking shop' into a spearhead for action? Bieganski the blog has the answer - an umbrella organisation of paid specialists to make 'the case for Poland' on the world stage. But excuse me for my presumption in suggesting it exists already - it is the Polish government with its worldwide network of embassies and consulates, whose staff might tackle anti-Polish issues … but then they do that already, albeit in a more limited manner than some of us may prefer.

Then here I am, faced with: a multiplicity of disconnected anti-Polish phenomena across the world; nationally based Polonian organisations that have vital matters needing their attention, including their Polonia's continued existence; some Polonian umbrella organisations that need to be strengthened by more dynamic leadership from the Polish government. I do what any activist should do - along with like minded people, select and 'freeze' an issue and work on it until it 'disappears'. So please don't berate or lecture me on seeking correction of 'Polish concentration camps' - it is one of the issues that requires focus. And, as an aside, it is not a 'chauvinistic' activity but a straightforward defence of the truth against a creeping tide of disinformation.

I am aware that my analysis is incomplete - it is impossible to comment on every country where Poles reside, even if I knew their situation. In particular I have avoided saying anything about North America. Why? Because it is a context in a category of its own due to its history and ethnic mix. I especially do not wish to challenge Danusha's Bieganski analysis, since there is no reason to doubt it. But I do suggest that the analysis and solutions put forward in the blog are more relevant to North America than elsewhere.

One of the many points where Bieganski the blog and I meet is on the need for a dynamic 'worldwide' organisation. I suggest that Danusha and colleagues should summarise the "Bieganski concept" in a booklet on four sides of A4 in Polish, for every member of the Polish Sejm and Senate to get a copy, and then to be lobbied incessantly until they take full responsibility for the mission to inject leadership and funds to tackle the particular issue(s) pertinent to different countries.

Mietek de Woldan


I'm very grateful for the above guest blog post.

I will politely and briefly disagree with a few points.

My own work, such as it is, is focused on the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. Many readers won't know what that is, because many blog readers have yet to purchase and read "Bieganski."

Again and again, I see posts on internet sites devoted to negative stereotyping of Poles. These posts all say the same thing. "Golly, gee, where did this stereotype of Poles come from? Why does it exist? Why do people engage in it? What can we do about it?"

In the absence of answers, posters are encouraged -- and yes I see these posts repeatedly -- to blame the Jews. I even recently saw a post in which a poster said she was reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in an effort to better understand stereotyping.

Polonians frequently write to me to complain about the cost of "Bieganski." The most recent Polonian to do so was a journalist with a Polish publication. What does it say about our priorities that even a Polish journalist for a Polish publication resists the purchase of a book on a Polish topic?

I ask you -- how much MORE expensive is it to fill one's mind with the poison of a book like the Protocols?

After blaming the Jews, posters are encouraged to feel powerless. "That lobby is so powerful. We can't do anything. We can just write our little emails to this or that publication that says something we don't like."

Yes. I see these posts repeatedly. It is only my own discretion that prevents me from giving names, dates, and websites where Polonians repeat these canards over and over.

It is not to Polonia's benefit to continue re-asking the same questions over and over, and never to avail itself of the one scholarly book that addresses those questions.

It is not to Polonia's benefit to, in its own self-imposed ignorance, blame an ethnic group that is not responsible for the problem.

It is not to Polonia's benefit to tell itself it is powerless.

It is not to Polonia's benefit to stumble in the dark.

Our guest poster inadvertently trivializes the work of this blog in the phrase, "Defending Poland’s good name." Such a narcissistic, chauvinist, and trivial enterprise has ever been what this blog is about. One would have only to read it to discover that.

Our guest poster writes, "Bieganski the blog recommends that we must become activists. But, who are 'we' precisely? Outside North America, apart from well-known exceptions, the Polish diaspora consists of several waves of migration from 1939 [sic] onwards."

EVERY group faces the exact same diversity. There is no monolithic group of Blacks or Jews or Italians or Women or Homosexuals. And yet Blacks and Jews and Italians and Women and Homosexuals manage to organize effectively across generations, borders, and incomes. I know because I've been involved in groups focused around all these identities and more.

It's time for Polonia to stop making excuses like this, to stop blaming others (primarily Jews, but, lately, as in a couple of recent books, Jews and Leftists). It's time for Polonia to overcome its own resistance to organization and effective action.

But all of this has been said before. The best response to the above guest blog entry is the three-part blog post, "The Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Not Once on the Verge of Losing My Cool ... " Guest Post by Joanna Pietruszewski

By Joanna Pietruszewski

My personal general observation: when I read some Polish responses to vile writings of Debbie Schlussel and the likes, I am wondering whether many Poles think.

Some of the respondents seem to be swept by emotions to such a degree that their responses sound as vile if not more than the original offensive posts of the anti-Polonistic writers. Sometimes insults thrown by Poles are so violent, I am ashamed.

In the result, people who we address use our rage against us. Again. We come across as thugs, not as victims.

Perhaps we need to come to a collective Polish agreement to take a deep collective breath.

Many of those insults against our history and our dignity are primitive provocations. We don't need to react to every single idiocy thrown at us. If we decide to respond it should be with reason and class. I think perhaps we should cool down a bit. I am the first one in line to do this because, despite efforts, not once was I on the verge of losing my cool.


Thank you to Joanna Pietruszewski for allowing me to post this here.

Regular readers will know exactly how I will respond to Joanna's eloquent, timely and important post, above.

I beg of you, Polonia. Read, and act on, the blog post entitled "The Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Brits Bombing Warsaw? Info Sought, Please!

Loran diagram. source

Otto Gross, who contributed two previous guest posts to this blog, one about his Nazi father, one about Enigma, writes in with a question. Can one of the many highly intelligent and informed Bieganski-the-Blog readers help? Please post any information or leads you may have on this question to the comments section of the blog. Thanks!

Otto writes:

I'm reading a book called "Scientists Against Time," published in 1946, about the NDRC/OSRD. In the chapter on radar and the development of the navigation tool called LORAN, the author has a line that puzzled me.

Talking about the creation and use of the Sky Synchronized (SS) type of LORAN. "A modification, using the reflected sky wave at night to synchronize the master and slave stations, proved so accurate that the British used it for blind bombing as far east as Warsaw."

It goes on to mention it being used for 22,000 bombing missions, though I'm sure that's throughout the theater and not just Poland.

The time reference would have been somewhere between October 1942 and 1944.

I was unfamiliar with the Brits bombing Warsaw. Ever hear of this or know a Polish historian who might know details or point me to a reliable source?


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bieganski at Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University. Source
In 2006 I read "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism" a then-new book by the then-Salon writer Michelle Goldberg. The book is a paranoid, hate-mongering lie. I posted a one-star review on Amazon. The full text of that review is below.

Goldberg fans responded negatively, posting nasty messages under my review accusing me of being exactly the kind of scary, evil Christian Michelle Goldberg was warning her readers against.

On August 9, 2010, an Amazon poster identifying himself as Alan Altman responded to my review. His response, cut and pasted, in full:

"Ah yes, Eastern European ( am I guessing correctly, Danusha?), anti semitism is still alive and well in the heartland."

In his Amazon bio, this poster identifies himself as Dr. Alan S. Altman, "Professor of Music, Fine Art, in the Interdisciplinary Arts Program of the Graduate School of Education @ Nova Southeastern University. Former Trumpet student of: Eugene E. Blee, Armando Ghitalla, Gilbert Johnson, Leon Rapier. Former conducting student of: Max Rudolf Professor of Film and Aesthetics."

There's nothing anti-Semitic in my review. The full text is below.

But I have an obviously "Eastern European" name.

So I am an anti-Semite.

Dr. Alan S. Altman is a professor.

Do you think Dr. Altman treated applications to his program from applicants with "Eastern European" names in the same manner as he treated applications from prospective students who did not have "Eastern European" names?

Do you think Dr. Altman treated applications for funding from scholars with "Eastern European" names in the same manner as he treated applicants seeking funding who were not burdened by "Eastern European" names?

How did Dr. Altman decide what constituted an "Eastern European" name? Too many consonants? S-k-i endings?


I'm mentioning Dr. Altman's sick bigotry because it came to mind after the July Fourth post. I googled the man with whom I had that encounter. It turns out he is a prominent lawyer employed by the state. His work has been covered in the New York Times.

"Ray" decided that I was an anti-Semite after five seconds. All he knew about me was my name, which I told him when we met at a Fourth of July picnic.

Do you think that "Ray" treats defendants whose "Eastern European" names indicate that their "grandparents beat up" Jews the same as defendants not saddled with "Eastern European" names?

I would not feel comfortable revealing Ray's real name here. I invited him to visit the blog, read the post, and respond to feedback. I have not heard back. But Dr. Altman did reveal his real name. It's sobering. A university professor who uses the presumed ethnicity of last names to decide to judge people he does not know.


What is Polonia doing about this? Nothing.

It's time that we got to work on the tasks described in the blog post on the Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision.


Here is the full text of my review of Michelle Goldberg's book:

Michelle Goldberg does not like Christians. Michelle Goldberg thinks that Christians smell bad. Michelle Goldberg gets an icky feeling when she stands next to a Christian, and, later, Michelle Goldberg is sure that Christian cooties crawl up and down her body. Ew. Michelle Goldberg needs to take a long, hot shower.

All is not lost. Michelle Goldberg is a liberal. A progressive. A multiculturalist. Michelle Goldberg celebrates diversity.

So, Michelle Goldberg met with Christians, and they were nice to her. She realized then that her prejudice was incorrect. Christians confided their deepest concerns. Like her, she discovered, Christians want a healthy, happy, safe America, where children thrive, the truth is proclaimed, and freedom and justice prevail. They may disagree on how to achieve these ends, but Michelle Goldberg realized that we all have to live with people with whom we disagree, and that the challenge is to find that way of coexisting with diverse neighbors that makes America great, and our democracy, not only strong, but possible.

The final paragraph, above, is, of course, wishful thinking.

"Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism," is the most hateful book I've ever read, and I study hate and have read classics in the genre. What makes this book so painful is that when other hate mongers were plying their trade, they had some wound that the reader could understand as exacerbating their hatred. What happened in Goldberg's short, privileged life to make her hate so much?

The book jacket, in its colors, fonts, and design, is meant to evoke a propaganda poster of Nazis giving the "sieg heil" salute. This one, hate-mongering lie alone is cheap and malicious enough to render Goldberg radioactive to any ethical person.

In this case, you *can* tell a book by its cover. Goldberg equates or associates Christianity with Nazism throughout her short, mean, ugly text (eg: pp 10, 22, 33, 54, 73, 153, 179, 188). When Goldberg is not equating Christians with Nazis, she is equating Christians with Muslims - not dimple-cheeked, multiculti Muslim poster children, but, specifically, Islamic terrorists (eg: p 22, 31, 39, 207-210).

For good measure, Goldberg compares American malls to Stalinist architecture. As someone who lived in the Soviet empire, I just have to say, in her architectural criticism, no less than in her hate-mongering, Goldberg comes across as a hyperbolic chucklehead. I can just imagine the kind of restaurant reviews this chick would pump out. They'd be a weight lose bonanza.

Haters must invent their Other of Choice. Otherwise, they'd see that human beings are all brothers and sisters. Goldberg invents her other of choice in a group that she admits, right up front, that she herself made up: "Christian Nationalists." She provides the manifesto for this group, a document that she, as she readily admits, made up (6-8). In this, Goldberg is very like the authors of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a book to which this book, for all the right reasons, is frequently compared. (Do the Google search, and get back to me.)

I know I've got only a thousand words here and should not be repeating myself, but did you get that, Gentle Reader? Goldberg, in a book published by a mainstream publishing house, *invented* a *fictitious* group of Christians, and their fictitious manifesto, which she penned *herself.* By her own admission. Is this bugging you as much as it bugged me? Jeez, I hope so.

Let's cut to the chase here. How would you feel about a book that invented a name and a manifesto for a random collection of otherwise unconnected Jews who supported the war in Iraq? And claimed that they were involved in an unproved and unprovable conspiracy to take over the US? A conspiracy so scary that the sane, decent person's only recourse is, as Goldberg insists is the only recourse to "Christian Nationalism," to "keep your passport handy and your bags packed"? (Where is Goldberg planning to go? She doesn't say.) How would you feel if someone grouped together all Homosexuals or all Jehovah's Witnesses or all musical comedy ticket buyers in the US, persons otherwise unconnected, slapped some spooky moniker on them, made a bunch of cheap comparisons between them and the Nazis or the Stalinists or Boris Badenoff and Natasha, used some cut-and- paste "conspiracy theory central" word processing program to create their manifesto and claimed that they were about to take over the country?

Yes, there are Christians who do some of the things Goldberg accuses Christians of doing: they lobby government officials; they attend Town Hall meetings; they publish Op Ed pieces; they join the PTA; they learn debate skills. Goldberg wants us to believe that these very behaviors aren't the backbone of a multicultural democracy, but are some noxious virus that threatens your life. Goldberg has no evidence of Christians doing any of the following: stockpiling weapons, planning to blow up buildings, planning, in fact, to harm anyone.

Yes, many Christians, as Goldberg claims, are uncomfortable with promiscuity among schoolchildren, homosexuality, and abortion. To read this book, you'd think that Christians are the only ones who object to these things. Goldberg is wrong. Atheist Bill Maher couldn't get through a stand-up routine without homophobic "jokes." Demonizing Christians does nothing to help gay people. And plenty of non-Christians have a problem with abortion. Demonizing Christians won't advance women's right to choose, or reconcile that right with the vexing questions abortion entails.

On the East Coast, the West, and in the heartland, I've worked on feminist, gay rights, and peace issues. I've marched, canvassed, and broadcast, often shoulder-to-shoulder with Evangelical Christians. In Red State Indiana, my greatest inspirations and support in gay rights struggles were born again Christians. Just thinking of them, right now, within the context of this vile book, I am, frankly, on the verge of tears.


Before posting this blog entry, I googled Goldberg to see what she was up to. Comparing Ann Romney to Hitler, apparently. See story here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bieganski at the Fourth of July Picnic


Wednesday, July 4th, 2012, I was invited to a picnic. I was a bit nervous because I knew hardly anyone at the picnic, and it took place in a rather ritzy neighborhood. I've never gotten over my earliest trips to ritzy neighborhoods. My mother, an immigrant, a brilliant woman and a natural writer, cleaned houses. When I got sick as a child and could not go to school, she would sometimes take me with her. These visits saddened me more than I can say.

When I attend social events in ritzy neighborhoods, I always feel as if I am under a microscope, and my social betters are watching for that one mistake that can serve as an excuse to toss me back to where I belong.

I know this isn't a correct assumption. I know that I'll never overcome it.

I also know that it is a widely shared anxiety. I know this because there are so many scenes in movies that dramatize this very scenario.

In the 1990 film, "White Palace," Susan Sarandon, fast food waitress, falls for James Spader, rich boy nerd (his perpetual role). Sarandon shows up at his family's Thanksgiving dinner. The patriarch makes a condescending speech about the working class. Sarandon informs him, "Mister, I am the working class." Ouch.

That's a scene you cheer for. A scene so painful I literally had to stop watching. In the 1959 British film "Room at the Top," working class Joe Lampton visits his rich girlfriend's private club. Her peers are contemptuous of Joe – for some reason they insist that "Lampton" is a funny last name. After they are done with him, Joe is nothing but sliced up ribbons on the floor.

But back to my Fourth of July. 2012. New Jersey, USA.

There was a pool; heaven; I love to swim. There were hot dogs, hamburgers, and buns, none of which I'd eat; too nervous. There was beer which I wouldn't drink; ditto. There was pasta salad and chips. Nibbled but never felt satisfied. Ate after I left, when I got home.

I swam and enjoyed that, but thought I ought to at least try to mingle. I stood, a bit frozen, hoping someone would catch my eye and smile and start up a conversation.

A man approached me. He was wearing a t-shirt that identified him as completing a rigorous athletic event. Aha! A ready-made conversation starter. "Did you really do that?" I asked, gesturing to his t-shirt. Yes, he had, he said. I immediately liked this guy. In my own way, I try to keep fit. Fitness: We could talk about that.

He told me his first name – let's call him "Ray." I told him my first name.

"Danusha? What kind of name is that?"


"Oh," he said, never missing a beat. "That means that your grandparents beat up my grandparents." He was Jewish, he said. And I'm Polish. I'm a pogromist. He is a victim. That's what our Fourth of July picnic encounter would prove and seal.

It's a good thing I hadn't had any of the beer. It's a good thing that the cutlery was all plastic. Breaking my arm has put a crimp in my fencing.

I had a good time at this party. This moment will be the moment I'll remember.

As "Bieganski" shows, this moment didn't teach me anything that I don't already know.

I just feel like stopping typing right now. I feel like retreating to a cave high in the Himalaya. As I trek off, uphill, I call back over my shoulder, "Talk amongst yourselves. Send a message by runner if you ever sort this all out."


After my grandfather immigrated to America, he was put to work in coal mines by racist exploiters who would chant, "Get me a Hunky; I need a donkey."

Clarence Darrow said of coal miners like my grandfather, "I've seen men so bad off you could use their spit for ink."

My grandfather had to pay back the man who smuggled him from Poland to America. My grandfather was physically small, but very strong. You can see that in the one photo I have of him, his wedding picture. I'm certainly taller than my grandfather was. But the hands at the ends of those sleeves – shovels.

The man who invested in my grandfather's trip across the water made my grandfather fight. This man would skim profits from these fights. "See that little Polak there? I bet he could beat you," the man would say to the "Johnny Bulls," the "English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh."

One night men beaten by the "little Polak" ambushed him. Boards with nails.

My father, an 11-year-old, fatherless, tried to support the family after that. My illiterate peasant grandmother became a moonshiner. Years of hunger, of living in "Skunk Hollow," so called because richer people dumped their waste in that Bohunk enclave. Finally, still underage, under false papers, my dad joined the army and served, first as "Stanley," then as "Tony." He was with MacArthur in the Philippines. Years later, his men would pronounce my father "The best damn first sergeant in the Pacific theater."

Racism. Fascism. My father put his life on the line, for years, fighting against them.

Somehow, in all that, running from czars, from bigoted Americans, liberating the Pacific, cleaning houses, coughing up their lungs … somehow my people managed not to find the time to beat up the grandparents of this man I met at the Fourth of July party.

After talking about the poverty and struggle my parents endured, I am supposed to cap off with an account of how I have made it in America. My siblings have. They cast off the Bohunk identity. Their children, my nominal nieces and nephews, know nothing, and care even less, about the peasants they are separated from by one generation. They don't know any of these stories. Not about the chicken thieves, white witches, dissidents, Red Army rape survivors, fire-breathing communists and devout Catholics in their family tree. They have American identity, and comfort, American names, and money.

Me? Regular blog readers know my story. I'm a Bohunk in the Ivory Tower. Partly because attitudes like those expressed by "Ray" are so pervasive, I'll never get the title, the income, the health insurance, the job security, for which my performance, and my professional evaluations, qualify me.

"Ray." The Fourth of July party. Hot dogs, hamburgers, swimming pool. He was a handsome guy. Nice. We could have been friends.

He was with a woman, also very nice, attractive. When introducing herself, she mentioned that she works for UMDNJ. UMDNJ has been involved in notorious scandals in recent years. One involved misuse of cadaver body parts. I was tempted to ask Ray's date, "So, do you sell human body parts? Like your coworkers?" But I refrained.


C'mon. It's not that big of a deal.

You're right. People make these kinds of comments associating some posited Polish essence with atrocity – that is, Bieganski – regularly.

But in typing all this up, I realize it hurt me and angered me more than I at first realized.

I think I need to go for a long walk.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Kitchen in Which Stereotypes are Prepared

The blog post linked here doesn't talk about Poles at all. It talks about elite Catholics and whom they stereotype and why. As ever, we need to stop blaming the Jews. Catholics are just as ready to stereotype, and to support stereotyping, as are members of any other group, for all the same reasons. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Under German Beds: Polish Cleaning Woman Reveals All

Polonia will not reach maturity until it devotes as much energy to positively acknowledging Polish cleaning women as it devotes to celebrating Chopin, Kosciuszko and Pilsudski. Polish cleaning women are a big part of who we are, and they deserve our attention, respect, and care.

The local free paper lists ads for local companies, contractors, and workers. There are at least five ads that specify that the cleaning woman who placed the ad is a POLISH cleaning woman. The other mechanics, garbage haulers, dog-sitters, roofers, etc, do not specify their ethnicity. Who cares if a dog walker is Irish or not? But people in my area, not at all one of remarkable Polish settlement -- not Chicago, not the black dirt / onion country of Pine Island -- care that their  cleaning women be POLISH.

Meanwhile, one Polish cleaning woman has published a tell-all book.

'Devious, tight-fisted and dirty': A Polish cleaning lady reveals the filthy little secrets of her German clientele


UPDATED: 12:07 EST, 11 January 2011

Germans are squirming over a tell-all book by a Polish cleaning lady which exposes her employers as tight-fisted, filthy homeowners who set traps to check work is completed.

‘Under German Beds; A Cleaning Lady Reveals All,’ by Justyna Polanska, is climbing the non-fiction charts after its release this month as Polanska reveals the dirty little secrets of the hypocrites she worked for.

She tells of the judge who kept cannabis plants confiscated by the police that she had to dust.

Or there is the policeman who stormed a building site to arrest moonlighting workers and insisted she work for him on the black market.

And numerous other employers - every one of whom did not want her to declare her earnings.

For 11 years she kept her silence, but now Germany’s dirty laundry is being well and truly aired in public.

Justyna - a pseudonym - came to Germany to earn money and was shocked by what she saw. 'I thought everything was above board and so orderly, but nothing could be further from the truth when you look under peoples’ beds,' she said.

The things she saw included the mummified remains of a missing hamster, half a roast chicken, dog mess, two freshly pulled teeth and rotting milk cartons a year old.

One woman rubbed the lenses of her glasses regularly with excrement to check up on whether or not she cleaned them. A judge stuck single strands of human hair across his desk drawers to find out whether or not she nosed around in them.

Germany, which has taken on the role of Europe‘s headmaster of late to tell Greeks to pay their taxes and the Irish to live within their means, has the reputation of being above board in most things.

But all of her employers told her to keep mum about what they were paying her because to declare it would mean they would be hit with contributions towards her medical and social security expenses.

'No-one but no-one employed me legally,' she said. 'I picked up around two grand a month in the hand, a sum I could never have got in Poland.'

If anyone saw her cleaning she was always told to say she was a friend helping out.

She said single men were the tidiest clients and single females 'by far the most chaotic'.

She went on: 'The best people to work for were those who had worked hard themselves and had achieved their goals. The worst were the new rich; no words of hello, no glass of water on a boiling hot day.

'One such family sat down on their sofa with glasses of chilled lemonade on a hot day to watch me washing their windows as if I was some fascinating animal in the zoo.'

Some people tried to give her Christmas presents of food was past its sell-by date - or of stolen bathroom mats, napkins and toiletries from old hotel stays.

Kinky men were another job hazard. 'Do you wear red underwear and possess a large bosom?" enquired one who offered her 30 euros for five minutes cleaning in high heels, stockings and a red basque. Others sent her naked pictures of themselves.

She added: 'I thought Germans would show me more respect. But I was truly amazed at the things I saw and experienced.'

The full text of this article is here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Revolution that is For Something Rather than Against Something

A Polish family, in Poland, with the food they'll eat in one week. Source.


Going through old files this morning and came across a couple of quotes.

The first quote is from Che Guevara's 1966 Message to the Tri-continental Conference in Havana:

“Hatred as the central element of our struggle! Hatred that is intransigent…hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold-blooded killing machine …We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow … The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas [Americans] are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”

The second quote is from Adam Michnik, in conversation with NY Times columnist Roger Cohen:

“Anyone who has suffered that humiliation, at some level, wants revenge. I know all the lies. I saw people being killed. But I also know that revanchism is never ending. And my obsession has been that we should have a revolution that does not resemble the French or Russian, but rather the American, in the sense that it be for something, not against something. A revolution for a constitution, not a paradise. An anti-utopian revolution. Because utopias lead to the guillotine and the gulag.”

I met Lech Walesa in the late 1990s or early 2000s. I asked him, "How did you do it? You unleashed a great deal of human passion. It didn't end like the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. There was no bloody purge, no chaos."

He replied, and I wish I had had a tape recorder going, but I didn't, so I can only report, here, a paraphrase of my memory of his reply, "We used the Judeo-Christian tradition as our guide. That is the foundation of Poland." Did he really say "Judeo-Christian tradition"? I don't know. I do know I asked him about Polish-Jewish relations, and in that reply he did emphasize the kinship of Christians and Jews, that, as John Paul II, inspired by Adam Mickiewicz, said, "Jews are Christians' older brothers in the faith." But I can say that Lech Walesa, unprompted by me, did emphasize the biblical foundation of the Solidarity Revolution, and he did cite that as the reason it worked out as it did.

I include the photo, above, of a Polish family and their weekly food stuffs exactly because it is so bourgeois, so common. I could go on and on here about the fiery purity radicals yearn for, or I could just say that there's a lot to be said for a revolution that cares about how we pray, what we are allowed to think, and what we can eat.

The article in which the Adam Michnik quote appeared is "The Glory of Poland" by Roger Cohen. New York Times. April 12, 2010. Full text is here.


Have never seen this Catholic electrician on a t-shirt. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Olympic Myths

The article, below, blasts several myths and offers food for thought on several fronts.

Some argue that if Poles perform well, that will deflate the Bieganski stereotype. This article suggests that high-level performance by African Americans did not deflate Scientific Racist theories that supported Nazism.

The article tells us that, yet again, all too many Americans supported the Scientific Racist ideas that Nazis took to extremes.

Some argue that cozying up to those who hold heinous ideas will tame both those who embrace heinous ideas and those who hold them. One thinks of those who argue that we can befriend and thus tame the Muslim Brotherhood. This article suggests that that policy has a dubious history.

August 8, 2011
The Games the Nazis Played
Bozeman, Mont.

FEW Olympics are as famous as the 1936 Berlin Games, whose 75th anniversary falls this month. The publicity that accompanied the competition, held under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler, supposedly tamed the Nazi regime, if only temporarily — a story that has since justified awarding the Games to places like Soviet Moscow, Beijing and Sochi, Russia, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

But much of that story is myth. Indeed, the Olympics gave the Nazis a lesson in how to hide their vicious racism and anti-Semitism, and should offer today’s International Olympic Committee a cautionary tale when considering the location of future events.

When the committee awarded the Olympics to Berlin in 1931, Hitler was not yet in power. But by 1936 there was little question that anti-Semitism and racism lay at the heart of the Nazi ideology: the so-called Nuremberg Laws, which codified policies to isolate Jews and other minorities from German life, had been approved the year before.

The committee soon came under pressure from Jewish and leftist groups, which threatened to boycott the Games if they remained in Germany. The committee held firm, but promised that the Games would “open up” the Third Reich, that international attention would force it to tone down its repressive measures.

While it’s clear that the Games failed to “open up” the Third Reich, it remains widely believed that, to placate visitors, Hitler’s government cut back its persecution of Jews during the summer — in other words, that the Games achieved some of what the committee promised.

But the truth is more nuanced. Although the regime did discourage open anti-Semitism, this directive pertained only to Berlin. Outside the capital, the Nuremberg Laws remained in full effect.

The Games were even counterproductive in this respect: not only did such cosmetic steps assuage criticism of the Nazis, but they taught the regime how easy it was to mislead the global public.

Perhaps the most famous myth involves Jesse Owens, the black American track-and-field athlete. In popular mythology, the impressive performances of America’s blacks, especially Owens, so infuriated Hitler that he refused to shake Owens’s hand after his victory in the 100-meter dash.

It’s a good story, and one widely disseminated at the time to show that the Olympic spirit had triumphed over Nazi racism. The problem is, it never happened. Before Owens even stepped onto the track, the Olympic committee president, Henri de Baillet-Latour, had told Hitler to stop congratulating victors in the stadium, something he had been doing repeatedly, unless he congratulated every winner. Fearing that Owens might be one of those winners, and determined never to press the flesh with a black man, Hitler stopped inviting athletes to his box for a public handshake.

But Owens didn’t mind — he claimed that Hitler, whom he called “a man of dignity,” treated him to a friendly wave. In fact, Owens said it was not Hitler but President Franklin D. Roosevelt who had snubbed him by neglecting to send him a congratulatory telegram.

Of more lasting importance than the Owens fable is the contention, still widely propagated today, that the African-American victories in 1936 forced people everywhere to rethink their assumptions about black inferiority in high-level track-and-field athletics. Supposedly even German commentators conceded the superiority of America’s “black auxiliaries” on the athletic field.

In reality, the publicity surrounding black athletes’ success simply taught the Nazis how to refine existing stereotypes. Instead of arguing that those athletes were physically inferior, they disparaged them as freaks who, because of their “jungle inheritance,” were able to jump high and run fast.

But it was not just the Nazis who held such views. Many American commentators put forth similar explanations. While certain “inherited physical advantages” might make blacks good sprinters and jumpers, the thinking went, they could never compete successfully with whites in disciplines requiring strategy, teamwork or stamina. Thus, the experts assured America, blacks could never play quarterback, or excel in sports like long-distance running or basketball.

The truth behind the 1936 Games casts a harsh light on the notion that the Olympics can have a salutary effect on repressive regimes. Indeed, there is little evidence so far that the 2008 Beijing Olympics did anything but show the Chinese government how to maintain its clamp on freedom while supposedly opening its doors to the world.

This is not to say that the Games should be held only in politically “clean” countries. But instead of blindly celebrating the alleged openness of repressive regimes that host the event, the international community should use it as an opportunity to hold them to the values that the Olympics claim to represent.

David Clay Large, a professor of history at Montana State University, is the author of “Nazi Games” and the forthcoming “Munich 1972.”