I responded. My response rapidly disappeared. I don't know why. It may be a computer glitch, an internet glitch, or perhaps someone deleted my post.
I will post my response here. I hope Bogdan can find it.
There are many reasons for the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. If you want the full answer, read the book.
One of the reasons is mentioned by Bogdan the Aussie in his post.
No, American Jews were not and are not responsible for the Holocaust. German Nazis are. But, that fact does not eliminate psychological pain and guilt feelings.
Below is an excerpt from my book, "Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype."
In 1983, "Indicting AmericanJews" by Lucy Dawidowicz caused great controversy. In this article, and in the outpouring of letters that followed, one finds the same rhetorical devices used against American Jews that would later be used against Poles. American Jews, some alleged, were passive and uninterested during the Holocaust. They could have helped, and they didn't. Books with similar themes followed: Haskel Lookstein's 1985 Were We Our Brother's Keepers? The Public Response of American Jews to the Holocaust and Rafael Medoff's 1987 The Deafening Silence: American Jewish Leaders and the Holocaust, for example. The pain these accounts communicated is suggested by Elie Wiesel.
While Mordecai Anielewicz and his comrades fought their lonely battle in the blazing ghetto under siege … a large New York synagogue invited its members to a banquet featuring a well-known comedian … The factories of Treblinka, Belzec, Maidanek and Auschwitz were operating at top capacity, while on the other side, Jewish social and intellectual life was flourishing, Jewish leaders met, threw up their arms in gestures of helplessness, shed a pious tear or two and went on with their lives: speeches, travels, quarrels, banquets, toasts, honors … If our brothers had shown more compassion, more initiative, more daring … if a million Jews had demonstrated in front of the White house … if Jewish notables had started a hunger strike … who knows, the enemy might have desisted. (Novick 30)
Even more devastating was a 1943 appeal to American Jews from their coreligionists in the Warsaw ghetto. "Brothers! The remnants of the Jews in Poland live in the knowledge that in the darkest hour of our history you did not help us. Say something. This is our final appeal to you" (Polonsky, Brother's 152). Novick argued that American Jews paid more attention to the Holocaust in 1993 than they had in 1943 (37). Holocaust survivor and novelist Jerzy Kosinski expressed bitterness about this. He wrote in 1990, "Almost as if trying to make up for their inaction toward the slaughter of European Jewry during World War Two, the Jews of North America turned to the canonization of the Holocaust long after the cannons of that war went silent." One American rabbi did protest. Arthur Hertzberg's father preached this Yom Kippur sermon in 1940. "If we had any Jewish dignity, we would picket the White House. You hesitate because your sons and daughters have jobs in the New Deal and you are afraid that you are going to rock the boat." Within an hour of the end of the Yom Kippur fast, the rabbi was fired (PBS America and the Holocaust). For some Jews, the sense of blame is pressingly intimate. "My boy, why are you leaving me?" a Jewish mother wept as her son left Poland for Palestine. He never saw her again. She died in Treblinka (Segev 492).
The point. Constantly keeping the Brute Polak stereotype alive is a psychological defense mechanism. It defends the stereotyper from confronting any guilt feelings.
Again, Jews are not responsible for the Holocaust; German Nazis are. And pointing out that a stereotype exists is not to say that Poles never did any bad things, or that anti-Semitism has never been a part of Polish culture. Poles did do bad things, and anti-Semitism is a part of Polish culture, as it is a part of world culture. And decent Poles have addressed it in the past, and are addressing it now. The stereotype insists that Poles are racially inferior and incapable of addressing their own sins. Not true.
By the way, from the comments section under Joseph Puder's most recent article
"The backwater Poles out in the country have big time inferiority complexes that are part of their cultural upbringing(Peasant Mentality) . No one hates & despises those who they feel are lower than themselves,....they laugh at them. It is feelings of Jewish superiority,however false those feelings really are,that illicit [sic] fear which leads to hate!"
"antisemitic Poles don’t consider Jews funny, just immoral, sinister, ugly creatures, who are receptacles of all vices. Kind of like Germans did, and Germans didn’t laugh either."
It's really hard for me to read comments like this. They are false, provably false, scholarship proves them false ... and they are contemptuous, especially contemptuous of Polish peasants.
Which is why I wrote my book.
Another response I typed at Front Page. Reposting it here.
Brian Kelly, I want to respond to what you wrote about the nature of ethnic strife per se, no matter who is involved.
And I want to talk about how historians discuss this strife re: Poland.
In 1939, Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia at the same time. These are two of the most overwhelming, evil, genocidal powers on the face of the earth. See Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands" and "The Eagle Unbowed" by Halik Kochanski.
Quoting my own book here: "In accord with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the Soviets invaded from the east as the Nazis invaded from the west. By some measures, the initial phase of the Soviet invasion was worse. “Very conservative estimates show that [between 1939 and 1941] the Soviets killed or drove to their deaths three or four times as many people as the Nazis from a population half the size of that under German jurisdiction” (Gross Revolution 229)."
The Russian Soviet deportations of Poles were every bit as horrific as the eventual Nazi deportations of Jews. Poles were roused from bed in the middle of the night, packed into cattle cars without heat or bathrooms, and sent to Siberian gulags.
My colleague John Guzlowski gave me an account of how his family experienced occupation, not by Soviets, but by Nazis and Ukrainian collaborators. Again, quoting my book. "John Guzlowski's Polish Catholic grandmother, aunt, and cousin were murdered by Nazis and Ukrainians. They raped John's Aunt Sophie and broke her teeth; they stomped his cousin to death. With his bayonet, a Nazi sexually mutilated John's Aunt Genia. John's parents were Nazi slave laborers; his father was in Buchenwald. John was born in a displaced persons camp after World War II; his family immigrated to America."
We know that under these horrific conditions of occupation, by both Soviets and Nazis, some Jews did collaborate and some Jews did denounce Poles to occupiers who arrested, tortured, imprisoned, and in some places killed them.
How do serious historians address this Jewish collaboration? They point out, accurately, that Jews felt resentment towards Poles for the interwar period, that Jews felt powerless, etc.
How do too many address Polish collaboration? Poles are monsters.
There is the stereotype at work. The same act: collaborating with a genocidal invader in a way that results in the arrest, imprisonment, torture and murder of a neighbor, is treated differently depending on the ethnicity of the collaborator.
Again, none of this is to say that Poles did not do bad things. Poles did do bad things, anti-Semitism is a part of Polish culture, as it is a part of world culture, and decent Poles have addressed this problem in the past, and they are addressing it today.