Wednesday, January 31, 2018
"When Israel Ignorantly Blames the Holocaust on the Poles, It Boosts Their Illiberal Nationalists": Haaretz
"When Israel Ignorantly Blames the Holocaust on the Poles, It Boosts Their Illiberal Nationalists": Haaretz link
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Sunday, January 28, 2018
|Andrej Krauze source|
On Friday, January 26 2018, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day, the lower house of the Polish Parliament passed a law criminalizing speech about the Holocaust. Violators would face three years in prison or a fine, reports Radio Poland. "The new law would apply to both Polish citizens and foreigners 'regardless of the rules in force in the location where the act was committed,' according to the official wording."
Reuters' Marcin Goettig wrote that the bill criminalizes "statements suggesting Poland bears responsibility for crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany. The bill will also make it illegal to deny the murder of about 100,000 Poles by units in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during World War Two, a move likely to increase tensions with neighboring Ukraine…
"PiS is currently battling accusations from the opposition that the party’s nationalist-minded, eurosceptic focus was helping to reinvigorate the far right. The head of the Ukrainian national remembrance institute said on social media on Thursday that passing of the bill was likely to halt cooperation between Ukrainian and Polish historians, the PAP agency reported."
"Israel's President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement about the legislation that there were Polish people who aided the Nazis and those who fought against them. 'Only 73 years have passed since the gates of hell were flung open. Living Holocaust survivors are disappearing from the world and we still have to fight for the memory of the Holocaust as it was,' Rivlin said.
'The Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the entire world must ensure that the Holocaust is recognized for its horrors and atrocities. Also among the Polish people there were those who aided the Nazis in their crimes. Every crime, every offense, must be condemned. They must be examined and revealed. There were also others among them who fought and were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations,' Rivlin said.
Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, said in a statement issued Saturday night that it opposes the new legislation, saying it is 'liable to blur the historical truths regarding the assistance the Germans received from the Polish population during the Holocaust.'"
This law is a disaster. It will do nothing to improve Poland's reputation and only worsen Poland's reputation. This law, if passed, will place a mask of anti-free-speech fascism on Poland's face internationally. It will convince many that Poland must be guilty of the Holocaust; else why would Poland feel it necessary to pass a law to jail anyone who says that Poland is guilty?
Yes, Poland has been falsely accused of Holocaust crimes. That is the point of my book Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype. The answer to the problem of Poland's bad reputation is not to throw people in jail for their speech. The answer to speech one does not like is not less speech, but more speech.
Poles must learn to do as other stigmatized groups have done. Poles must learn to put aside their backstabbing and infighting, to unite, organize, and act strategically. For more on that, see this blog post, "The Crisis in Polonian Leadership, Organization and Vision." This blog post offers a plan of action.
For a different point of view on this new law, please see guest blog post, below, by Arno Lowi. Arno is of Polish-Jewish descent. We met in Poland years ago when we were both studying Polish-Jewish matters through the Kosciuszko Foundation at the Jagiellonian University.
Israeli officials including their Prime Minister Netanyahu are in the news due to their efforts to force the Polish government to rescind a draft Polish law which makes it illegal to implicate Poland in the Holocaust, or to refer to the Nazi death camps in Poland as "Polish death camps."
The Polish draft law squares with history; anyone who knows WW2 history knows that the Holocaust was a Nazi-German project, knows that Poles were arch enemies of the Nazis, and that the Nazis began WW2 with an invasion of Poland.
The Nazis built death camps in several countries. Since Poland had the largest concentration of Jews and Poles, and the Nazis had a notorious plan to exterminate Jews and to wipe Poland, and Polish culture off the face of the earth, building death camps in Poland was a mere *practical decision* to reduce the cost of transporting Jews and Poles to their deaths.
While Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu cautions Poland against *holocaust denial* it is the Israeli Prime Minister who is in denial; Poles knew the holocaust before anyone else did, as many millions of Catholic Poles perished in Nazi death camps on Polish soil. To quote The Holocaust Encyclopedia, "non-Jewish Poles constituted the majority of inmates in Poland-based Nazi concentration camps until March 1942".
The real news story here is Israeli anti-Polish-ism, and Israel interfering in Polish affairs. Israel has nothing to teach Poles about the Holocaust. Perhaps it is time Israel learned from the Poles.
The following is from the Holocaust Encyclopedia article "Polish Victims."
"The German occupation of Poland was exceptionally brutal. The Nazis considered Poles to be racially inferior. Following the military defeat of Poland by Germany in September 1939, the Germans launched a campaign of terror. German police units shot thousands of Polish civilians and required all Polish males to perform forced labor. The Nazis sought to destroy Polish culture by eliminating the Polish political, religious, and intellectual leadership. This was done in part because of German contempt for Polish culture and in part to prevent resistance against the occupation.
In May 1940, the German occupation authorities launched AB-Aktion, a plan to eliminate the Polish intelligentsia and leadership class. The aim was to kill Polish leaders with great speed, thus instilling fear in the general population and discouraging resistance. The Germans shot thousands of teachers, priests, and other intellectuals in mass killings in and around Warsaw, especially in the city's Pawiak prison. The Nazis sent thousands more to the newly built Auschwitz concentration camp, to Stutthof, and to other concentration camps in Germany where non-Jewish Poles constituted the majority of inmates until March 1942.
The Nazis conducted indiscriminate retaliatory measures against populations in areas where resistance was encountered. These policies included mass expulsions. In November 1942, the Germans expelled over 100,000 people from the Zamosc region; many were deported to the Auschwitz and Majdanek camps. Approximately 50,000 Polish children were taken from their families, transferred to the Reich, and subjected to "Germanization" policies.
Following the annexation of western Poland to Germany, Hitler ordered the "Germanization" of Polish territory. Nazi governors (such as Arthur Greiser in the Warthegau and Albert Forster in Danzig-West Prussia) expelled hundreds of thousands of Poles from their homes in the Generalgouvernement. More than 500,000 ethnic Germans were then settled in these areas.
A Polish government-in-exile, led by Wladyslaw Sikorski, was established in London. It was represented on Polish soil by the underground "Delegatura," whose primary function was to coordinate the activities of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa). The Polish resistance staged a violent mass uprising against the Germans in Warsaw in August 1944. The rebellion lasted two months but was eventually crushed by the Germans. More than 200,000 Poles were killed in the uprising.
Between 1939 and 1945, at least 1.5 million Polish citizens were deported to German territory for forced labor. Hundreds of thousands were also imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps.
It is estimated that the Germans killed at least 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians during World War II. In addition, the Germans murdered at least 3 million Jewish citizens of Poland."
- Arno Lowi
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Huffington Post ran a piece remembering "other victims" of the Holocaust. They left out Slavs like Russians and Poles who, numerically, are a larger group than any of the other groups they mention. Link here.
PS: Liron wrote in to inform me that the article mentions Poles. Fair enough but Poles are not one of the bullet points.
PS: Liron wrote in to inform me that the article mentions Poles. Fair enough but Poles are not one of the bullet points.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
|Dr Lukasz Niec and his wife. Source: Facebook|
On January 23, 2018, a post appeared on a Polish-themed Facebook page. Dr. Lukasz Niec of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was under arrest by ICE, pending deportation to Poland. Niec, when he was a toddler, had been brought to the US in 1979 by his parents. He had a green card. He became a physician. His sister, wife, and professional coworkers testified to what a fine man, husband, and father Niec is.
Apparently, he was going to be deported for minor brushes with the law, like speeding tickets. The record suggests that Niec is a bad driver. He is an American bad driver. He, simply, is American. He is not Polish. He doesn't speak Polish. His parents are dead. He has no family in Poland. He last lived in Poland when he was five years old. Further, the US has a doctor shortage. America benefits from this man's professional skill and service.
I hoped that Facebook comments on this link would address the above points.
Instead what I read was sickening.
Polonian after Polonian attacked Dr. Lukasz Niec, someone they'd previously never heard of and knew virtually nothing about.
"Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. He knew the risks involved in not resolving his citizenship status that he chose to ignore for all of these years. Sorry, it's sad and maybe a little unfair, but the bottom line is: HE GOT CAUGHT, enough said!"
"Here since age 3 and no one ever thought of becoming an American? Something smelly here. All I can say is OBEY OUR LAWS to the T or leave."
Many posters knew nothing about Dr. Niec, didn't want to learn anything about Dr. Niec, and took the opportunity of a post about Dr. Niec to
· Laugh at his predicament
· Besmirch his character as "something smelly" – with zero evidence to support their insinuations
· Refuse to learn more
· Attack immigrants as criminals out to destroy America
I posted about Dr. Niec's plight on this blog. Two posters submitted off-topic comments complaining about Jews.
They didn't want to talk about a Polish American facing an unjust and life-destroying deportation.
All they wanted to do was complain about Jews.
I wish I could say that this event is unique. It's not unique. I've been writing about Polish and Polonian matters for over a quarter century. In all that time, I've heard Polish Americans and other Polonians complain a lot. I've not seen Polonians unite and organize to accomplish any goal.
Polish American authors make slim to no appearances on school syllabi. Polish and Polonian history and culture make slim to no appearances in museums and popular culture.
What are Polonians doing? Fighting with each other, and complaining about Jews. Oh, and posting photos of themselves eating pierogies.
I cannot help but compare this with the strategic organization, mutual support, and camaraderie I often witness in other groups, from Hispanics to African Americans to Jews to environmentalists to feminists. Yes, all groups have in-fighting. But they also manage to unite and cooperate to accomplish goals.
I recently joined an ad hoc group formed to achieve a given environmental goal – saving a local park from development. A group of complete strangers met up via the internet. In no time we were friends, supporting each other, caring about each other, spending time together, visiting each others' houses.
We were nice, and friendly, and supportive. We didn't make snide remarks or start fights. And we achieved our goal. We saved the park. I've never seen Polonians manage to do the same thing, to achieve even the tiniest of goals. It's always snide remarks, petty squabbles, and ultimate surrender with nothing accomplished.
I am reminded of a statement from "Mary," one of the informants for my book, Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype.
"All of them came steerage...The only common theme [about life in Poland] was poverty, hunger, and no opportunity. My grandfather would get drunk and abuse people. There were black eyes. In the season when they castrate the animals my father was told he was going to be castrated. He had to run away and negotiate his return. He said if they ever said that again he'd figure out a way to kill them all. My father would be willing to hit a cow with a board until the board broke, or the cow died.
"It was not a culture of empowerment. Quite the reverse. The message was of disenfranchisement, of scraping on the edge of society. They used a divide-and-conquer method of power. My father's father was threatened by any aggregation of power or collaboration among his own children. Children were paired off against each other. Power was gained through intimidation. They used almost any means to an end. It was a culture of [lengthy pause] street rats. It was a very low class level of behavior that continues to this day. They would steal each other's property. Like tractors. The sheriff got tired of it. It was usually the result of a grudge. 'I borrowed your hayfork two years ago; I returned it. You asked to borrow my wheelbarrow; you didn't return it, so I got your tractor.' This was all said in an ugly tone.
"They had to nibble on the sides of society. There's not much ethics. You survive however you can. Raising a few cows, a few fruit trees, moonshining, making sausages, making other different kinds of food, logging, trapping, cutting wood, selling it, dealing in iron and metals, knowing metals, knowing which metals are in batteries, knowing what's valuable, hauling gravel, knowing how to build a building, knowing how to make bricks. It if took soldering, shoeing a horse – a tremendously opportunistic culture.
"'There ain't anything we can't do. If we can't do it, we'll steal it from somebody. If we can't steal it, we'll watch it, and learn how.' Can-do people. It's intimidating. I should know how to change a tire, the oil, rewire a house, fix windows. 'Why should you have to bring somebody in? You can trust no one. Everybody will rip you off. The world is full of predators and they will take advantage of you.'"
Monday, January 22, 2018
ICE has detained a Polish-American doctor, Lukasz Niec, who has been in the US for almost forty years. This is being widely covered in the press. One article is here.