Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Adam Zucker's New Film "The Return" in The Times of Israel. Bieganski, the Brute Polak is Dead ... Or Is He?

From Adam Zucker's new film "The Return" Source: Times of Israel
On October 24, 2014 the Times of Israel published "New Film Suggests a Bright Future for Polish Jews," about Adam Zucker's new film "The Return" about Jews in Poland today.

The interview is hopeful. Zucker rejects the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype of Poles as the world's worst anti-Semites.

Unfortunately, in the comments section, it's clear that many Jews cling to Bieganski. Examples below:

Samuel Emil Malul wrote, "'Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community of Jedwabne' by historian Jan T. Gross. An immaculately detailed book which shows how this horror occurred with practically no input by Germans, the delight of the Polish neighbors in torturing, pillaging, raping and killing. The execrable acts against the Jewish people in Poland during the war could never have taken place without the conscious intent of their Polish neighbors."

Tuvia Fogel wrote "As far as Jews are concerned, Poland is nothing but the biggest graveyard in the world. Who the hell would want to live in a cemetery?"

Daniel L. Remler wrote "Unfortunately the director, in the paragraph where he compares Germany and Poland, understates the amount of Polish anti-Jewish acts during the war. Yes, the Germans ran the show. Yes, the Germans did far far more. But anti-Semitic attacks on the part of Poles were not limited to just a a few 'incidents.'"

Eddie Belz wrote "When I was younger, I knew many survivors (including my Polish father) and they often spoke about how horribly anti-semitic their fellow Poles were."

elimhauser (sic) wrote "While anecdotal, the refugees from Poland I have met by and large affirmed that anti-semitism was a large part of being in Poland, as demonstrated by the various pogroms after the war as collaborating experience"

In the article, the director himself takes a very different position. An excerpt:

"By and large, anti-Semitism is really not a big deal in Poland. I mean, there are some events that take place and they’re usually caused by the same skinheads that are racist and homophobic and all those other things. What is more noticeable is the philo-Semitism, the love and fetishism of all things Jewish. You go to the JCC at Krakow, there’s no metal detector — anybody can walk in the doors. And that’s not the case at Jewish synagogues in France or Sweden or elsewhere. So, if you were to quantify anti-Semitism in Europe, which is in fact on the rise, Poland is definitely low on the totem pole."

Big, big dziękuję, thank you, and תודה לך to Liron Rubin, mother of the cutest baby I've ever seen, for sending me this link. With apologies to all other babies.

Read the full article here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Comment on My Hate Mail

A note about my hate mail.

I published my first article about Polish-Jewish relations over twenty years ago. Since then, I have been receiving a fairly steady stream of feedback from readers. Some of it is positive and I am grateful for that.

Some of it is negative and some of it is hate mail.

When I have received hate mail about what I write about Polish-Jewish relations, I have always seen it as somewhat understandable. After all, World War II and Nazism were hell on earth. The massive human suffering involved is incalculable. Though time marches on, there are still people alive today who were direct victims and survivors of Nazism and Stalinism.

How World War II is remembered has an impact on how Poles and other Christians, Jews, and capital A Atheists as well define themselves, and how the world defines them. Legacy is a big deal. I understand that passions can become inflamed.

I am a birdwatcher. I think of birdwatching as an innocent activity, and a stress-releaser.

Recently National Geographic published an article saying that birdwatching and birdwatchers are racist.

I was stunned by this. It makes no sense. When I want to birdwatch, I pick up my binoculars, that I bought for about a hundred bucks over twenty years ago, and I look at birds. No one stops me. No one asks me my nationality. How on earth could this activity be racist?

I mentioned the article briefly to other birdwatchers online. I said I found the article "off base." Hardly an inflammatory statement.

I received hate mail. Serious hate mail. "You are a horrible human being; I will never speak to you again" style hate mail.

How could anyone feel inspired to write hate mail about birdwatching??? What is at stake? Why get so worked up? Who died? Who was tortured? For heaven's sake!

This experience made me think again about the hate mail I get in relation to Polish-Jewish relations.

Maybe it doesn't make sense.

Maybe some people are just angry and use anything as an excuse to foam at the mouth and shout abuse at others. Maybe it really doesn't matter what the topic is.

Maybe it is inherently as possible to be sane, rational, honest, and courteous in relation to World War II as it is to be sane, rational, honest, and courteous in relation to birdwatching. And maybe, conversely, it is as possible to be hateful in relation to either topic.

Dunno. Still gathering data.

You can read my response to National Geographic at the American Thinker website here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Haaretz: Turks Watch ISIS Menace Kurds in Kobani Just as Soviets Watched Nazis Destroy Warsaw, 1944

From Haaretz:

"If Turkey allows Kobani to be put to the sword, it will be one of the great defaults by a NATO country. The inaction of the Turks calls to mind Warsaw in 1944, when tanks of the Red Army stood in their tracks on the east side of the Vistula, their guns silent, while the Free Polish Army rose up and fought the Nazis until the Nazis destroyed Free Poland’s hope. That’s how the Soviets came to seize what was left of Poland."

Friday, October 3, 2014 "Nazi Poland"

Erica Morris, managing editor of, entitled a recent page "Famous Picture: Observing Yom Kippur in Nazi Poland." You can see that Bieganski headline at the following link, unless Morris has changed it by the time you get there. Link

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jewish Journal: Poland Safest Place for European Jews. JJ Readers: Are You Kidding?

Severyn Ashkenazy is a Holocaust survivor who was born in Poland. In a recent article in the Jewish Journal he insists that Poland is the safest place in Europe today for Jews. This isn't a hard statement to make; given mass Muslim immigration, Western Europe is becoming a much less safe place for Jews, so much so that many Western European Jews hide any sign of Jewish identity in public. This past summer saw mobs in the streets of Western European capitals, mobs shouting "Death to the Jews" and "Jews to the gas."

Ashkenazy's article is marred by anti-Catholic hatred. It is a shame that the Jewish Journal did nothing to edit that.

There is a discussion beneath the article. In the discussion, Daniel S. Toma wrote, "the Poles went out of their way to turn Jews over. It was way beyond 'being forced to do so by the Nazis'… You're asking when I last heard of an attack on Jews in Poland? When was the last time a Jew was attacked (for being Jewish) in Iraq or Syria? Nothing recently, right? That's because Jewish people aren't nutty enough to live there."

A couple of other posters, including Marcin Kaczorowski and Leszek Strzelecki, politely attempt to educate Mr. Toma.

Perhaps some Bieganski the Blog regulars would like to join in that effort.

You can read Ashkenazy's article proclaiming Poland as a good place for Jews to live here.

Thanks to Bozena Brzeczek Masters for sending in this link.

Facebook Page: "Let's Teach Glenn Beck Some History"

Polonians have started a Facebook page called "Let's Teach Glenn Beck Some History." Apparently they think that Glenn Beck is the problem.

The background to the current Glenn Beck controversy is here.

The Facebook page devoted to remonstrating with Glenn Beck is sad, misguided, and futile.

Glenn Beck is not the problem.

Glenn Beck does not hate Polish people.

Glenn Beck did not invent Bieganski.

Getting an apology from Glenn Beck will not solve anything.

Oh, Polonia, you make me cry with your miniscule, ADHD crusades.

You get all worked up about the latest Bieganski eruption, you send out a flurry of huffy, outraged, emails and letters, you spurt a spate of new Facebook pages and websites, and then you quit.

Long term organizing and funding of scholarship and culture is the only thing that is going to challenge Bieganski.

Until you do that, Polonia, you are just spinning your wheels.

The Facebook page devoted to Glenn Beck is here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Glenn Beck Deploys Bieganski and Polonians are Shocked, Shocked

Glenn Beck recently deployed Bieganski and Polonians are shocked, shocked.

Why are Polonians shocked, shocked? Bieganski is real. He is deeply entrenched in Western Culture. Bieganski is not going anywhere, because Polonia has failed to address him adequately. 

Here's Glenn Beck's money quote that has Polonia all adither: "You know what we're turning into? We're turning into the Poles. The smoke is billowing out of the chimney and we're like, 'Geez, have you seen the potholes...?' They're burning Jews right down the street!"

Beck is arguing that Poles did nothing to help Jews during WW II, and that Poles were themselves NOT victims of the Nazis. In short, that Poles are exemplars of the worst of humanity. That is pretty much one of the main thrusts of the book "Bieganski." 

What is the solution here? Organization, vision, leadership, scholarship, books, publication, public talks, art, museums: all things Polonia significantly declines to organize behind or support financially. Yes, there are heroic people working individually here and there doing this and that small thing. But there is no critical mass. That's why Bieganski thrives. 

Bieganski will continue to thrive unless and until Polonia takes on the challenge of this blog post: The Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization, and Vision

You can read Glenn Beck's Bieganski reference here