Monday, September 28, 2015

Bieganski in the Belfast Telegraph: Poles Responsible for Auschwitz

Michal Karski wrote in with a report of an anti-Polish letter appearing in the Belfast Telegraph. Michal's letter is below:


An unbelievable letter appeared on Sept 16th, entitled "Poles can't deny role in Auschwitz" (!!) The letter's author was a certain Dr Kevin McCarthy of County Cork.

Predictably, a storm of protest ensued, with many outraged comments posted. The last time I looked, I believe the number was approaching 140 comments. Some were reasoned, some were abusive, some were inarticulate. Several Polish websites featured the story, with at least one accusing the Belfast Telegraph of being a Jewish paper.

A few days ago, the comments miraculously vanished. Another letter appeared entitled "Dr Kevin McCarthy: a clarification". It seems there is more than one Dr McCarthy of Cork and the one who is at University College, Cork would like to make clear that he was not responsible for the contentious letter.

The Telegraph has allowed precisely four comments with the newest letter, but the original letter still stands. There has been no retraction or apology. I wrote in myself several times, but it's proving impossible to get comments or letters published. I believe even the Polish ambassador to the UK has commented on this issue.

Nevertheless I haven't seen anything in the mainstream Polish Press about this. Even the UK "Dziennik Polski" doesn't seem to have noticed this.

You might suppose this would come into your category of "Bieganski", but I actually think the Polish government ought to get their legal experts in - if the Belfast Telegraph continues on its present course - and maybe consider a case of defamation. I'd be interested to hear your opinion.


Michal provided the following links here, here, and here


Here is the text of the original letter:

Kaja Kazmierska is technically correct when she says "Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (was) in Nazi German-occupied Poland" and not under the control of a sovereign Polish government (Write Back, September 14).

However, the reason is straightforward: the Nazis knew that Poland, with its deeply entrenched anti-Semitism, was arguably the only place under its control that would accept such an extermination centre.

Indeed, Polish historical anti-Semitism was so ingrained that on July 4, 1946 - barely 16 months after the liberation of Auschwitz - an enraged Polish community in Kielce initiated a pogrom of brutal proportions.

This small town murdered nearly 50 Holocaust survivors.

This innate anti-Semitic world view was ultimately why the Nazis located extermination centres in Poland.

And, although this might be unpalatable for modern-day Poles, it cannot be denied.


Kinsale, Co Cork


  1. Hi, to the person who has twice sent in a post saying, in all caps, that "Jews chose to be gassed," i will not post that, so please stop sending it. Thank you.

  2. After several more exchanges in the Belfast Telegraph on the above topic, a columnist has just written a fairly reasonable assessment of the situation so far and the paper claims that the comments section gives everyone the right to have their say.

    This would be fine, except posting a comment at the Belfast Telegraph website (if you even manage to get that far), is like signing your name in the sand of Waikiki Beach: the comments are due to disappear by October 3. And the original offending letter is allowed to stand.

    The Telegraph would clearly like to draw a line under this controversy and most of the remarks made by Paul Connolly, the columnist mentioned above, are welcome, but that still leaves the matter of the absence of any proper refutation of the arguments put forward in Dr McCarthy's original letter, and the snub to the Polish ambassador.

  3. Stefan Komar managed to post some well-argued comments, and his anger reflects what a lot of us must feel . But his and other peoples' comments are going to be deleted today, apparently, because of maintenance work on the website.

    Meanwhile, Dr McCarthy, the writer of the letter which caused the firestorm, seems to be keeping his head firmly below the parapet.

  4. Michal thank you very much for updating us.

  5. Hello,
    I'm translating "Perceptions of Jews and Polish-Jewish relations". It will take some time before it's finished.
    In the meantime...

    I enjoyed reading this article, but not the comments below it.

  6. Hi Dr Goska. A little bit of controversy regarding history appear to have bubbled up. I was wondering if you would allow me to write something for a guest post in regards to the controversy. This is the controversy I am referring to.,Author-Olga-Tokarczuk-spurs-online-lynch-mob

    Chris Helinsky

    1. Chris send me whatever it is and let me see it and then I can let you know if I want to post it.


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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