Saturday, April 13, 2019

One Reason (There Are Many) for the Bieganski, Brute Polak Stereotype

A man named Joseph Puder has published several anti-Polish articles recently. In response, a man calling himself "Bogdan the Aussie" wrote, "Mr Puder and other Jewish friends; what about directing some of your grudge towards the American Jewish Diaspora itself?" 

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.

Read it.


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. 


  1. Dear Danusha, a very beautiful and brave article. I haven't got opportunity to respond to it immediately because of a huge difference in time between America and Melbourne in Australia where I live. We shall continue our good fight on the pages of FPM and other blogs as it seems that the real anti Polish campaign is just only beginning and the anti Polish rhetoric heats up. The discussion in relation to the article written by Mr Puder is slowly dying but we shall meet again if you write your response to Mr Puder. However I'm also very active on other blogs like Breitbart or American Thinker and others from time to time so we will be in touch.
    Greetings from Australia - Bogdan

  2. DG - it was no computer glitch at FPM. Some of my most benign comments have been subjected to 'waiting to be approved' by FPM. They claim to be inviting an 'open discussion' yet censor views they don't approve of. I have not seen such a contentious issue as this Polish-Jew thing since David Horowitz and Radosh went to war with Diane West over 'American Betrayal' - and I was on West's side. IMO, it's been EU fascists and lib fascist Jews who are choosing to smear Poland with Holocaust complicity since it won't go along with the EU sponsored Islamic invasion of Europe which is meant to nations inert politically. Poland has my total support and should not give an inch on this issue because there's no satisfying the fascists.

    Though I haven't read it, thanks for your Bieganski book.

    1. Ginger Li thanks for reading and commenting. I look forward to your comments on the book.

  3. Brian Kelly's post contained an email address so I deleted it and am reposting his comment here without any email address attached

    I replied to you on Frontpage Mag regarding the deletion of your comment. As I said there, some of my best comments have been deleted on Frontpage Mag. One was restored when Raymond Ibrahim quoted on my comment in an article at FrontpageMag, and commented on its absence!!!!

    What happens between Jews and non-Jews around the world is what is known academically and historically as 'ethnic strife'. There are some on the Jewish side of this strife who will not abide it being analysed that way, simply because it helps their side in the strife in question not to allow it to be analysed this way. In other words, denying that this is ethnic strife is a chosen propaganda/psych-warfare tactic for fighting for one particular side in this ethnic strife.

    I suspect you've probably figured that out a long time ago.

    Regarding the disappearance of your comment on FrontpageMag. My own take on this is that the editors of FrontpageMag are themselves quite tolerant but live in fear of donors. Interestingly, the 'strife' context in which my own comments were deleted were not Jew/Gentile but Protestant/Catholic. I don't think FrontpageMag is particularly invested in that fight, and can only explain the removal of my comment as donor pressure, which is unfortunately always going to be a reality for nonprofits which rely on funding.

    We're not in a perfect world, and FrontpageMag must walk a pragmatic fine line, and it does. In any case, it contributes to progress, and it's a good magazine to contribute to. Well done with your article and may you continue in such work, at FrontpageMag and elsewhere.

    1. Hi Danusha, this is Brian. I had intentionally left my email address. It was (at) gmail dot com.

      Thanks, I probably should not have left it in literal form in case it was reaped for spamming by a bot!

    2. Brian I was very grateful for your comment. I spend a lot of time not being heard. I am not one of those chauvinistic Poles who insist that no Poles ever did anything wrong, and I'm not in the anti Polish camp, either. Your "good cop bad cop" post was such a blessing to me, because it seemed that you heard me. Such a blessing Thank you

    3. This is Brian. You're welcome, Danusha, and I was grateful for your underlying article, not as a Pole, but as a Gentile.

      *Some* Jews can and do admit to the psych-warfare operation I was discussing above, in which any advocacy of any kind for Gentiles in *any* Jew-Gentile ethnic strife situation is smeared as 'antisemitism'.

      Here is an article written recently by a Jew for Tablet Magazine (a Jewish publication) in which he admits:

      "It is now de rigueur to scold those of our adversaries who, we typically claim, mask their anti-Semitism in anti-Zionism. But what do we expect them to do, when we are the ones who engineered and marketed the conflation of the two for purposes of our own?"

      Just in case that paragraph disappears, I'll include for you the URL to a snapshot of the article on the Internet Archive which does contain that confessional paragraph:

      Keep up the good work, and, while being careful, don't let yourself be bullied either. I'm definitely on the lookout for your articles on FrontpageMag, and I may buy your book.

      Best regards,

    4. Brian I really hope that you read Bieganski. I know it is expensive but one can acquire a copy at the library

  4. Interesting, DG - I've wondered where the FPM attitude was coming from. In Puder's 'Poland's Two Faces' posting, even Daniel Greenfield, whom I have admired and who never graces the comments, responded to me in a condescending 'my relatives lost property' manner. My Lord - many hundreds of thousands of Poles, not including Jews, lost everything along with their lives.

    And further, to one poster (Gee) who threw Poland in with Hungary in a comparison manner, I responded: "Then why did you lump the two countries together? Was this an effort to create a moral equivalence between the two of them? Hungary was clearly a Nazi ally. Poland was not - never." Unbelievably, it was promptly put on hold.

    It couldn't have been the content - it was historically accurate. FPM knows me and knows I'm Polish from the ID. Flakmusic says Greenfield has a problem with Poles. Whatever the case, I now understand the vested interest FPM has in maintaining the Polish anti-Jew smear campaign.

    I'm looking forward to reading your book.

    1. I met Daniel Greenfield once, briefly, and he was very nice to me, so I can't believe he's anti Polish. I don't know what else is going on.

      yes about Poland and Hungary.

      I wanted to say many things that were simply historically accurate but after two of my comments were deleted I just threw in the towel.

    2. Yes, I did politely point out that Poland and Hungary were on different sides in WW2. My comment was up - the last time i looked!

    3. Let's hope it is still up, and good for you.

  5. Russian occupation did not occur simultaneously wit german. Russians invaded eastern Poland on 17th of September, when Poland was already defeated. In Soviet Union -occupied zone many Jews were deported but still survived. Those Jews who ran form german-to russian occupied Poland were lucky. In addition, it's not likely soviet union stood a chance if all Poland was under germans. Russians deported poles, killed some( I don't know the number and don't think there is an accurate one) but to say that it was as horrific as german treatment of Jews is highly misleading. Jews were the only group in human history sentenced to death by virtue of only being born, wherever germans found Jews, they murdered them, all, without exception.

    1. If you post here again, post under a real first and last name, or your post will not appear.

      Yes, Russia and Germany did invade Poland at the same time. 9/17 v 9/1 is trivial nitpicking and a waste of time so please be serious.

      "but to say that it was as horrific as german treatment of Jews is highly misleading"

      This is what I wrote "The Russian Soviet deportations of Poles were every bit as horrific as the eventual Nazi deportations of Jews. "

      I base this statement on reading both accounts of Jews deported by Germans and Poles deported by Russians. You, evidently, have not read such accounts, and you don't know what you are talking about.

  6. The Soviet Union wouldn't have stood a chance if all of Poland was under the Germans? Why not? What difference did it make to the USSR if all of Poland or only half of Poland was under the Germans? Poland stopped existing as a sovereign state in either scenario. I don't understand Rudie's argument.

    He might like to look at my response to his comments here:

    1. Hello Mr. Karski,

      I think that Rudie is repeating claims made by soviet propaganda.
      Communists tried to justify Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact by claiming that Soviets needed a "buffer zone" to protect themselves from the Germans. In reality Stalin was planning to invade the Third Reich. Hitler was simply faster.

      That "buffer zone" didn't help Soviets much. Germans took it over in no time and with little resistance. They rode russian behinds from the border to the Moscow.

      Ironically, German tanks were running on russian fuel. Flow of natural resources from USSR to Germany lasted till 22nd June 1941.

  7. Rudie's reasoning would only have made sense if the Soviets had come to the aid of the Polish army in 1939. His is the kind of backward logic which manages to ignore the first two years of the war, as if Stalin had preserved the neutrality which he had signed up to during those years. It would not have been inevitable that Poland would have been overwhelmed by the Germans anyway. The armies might have held out a bit longer. The Western Allies might have moved against Hitler. All this is supposition, of course, but the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ensured that Poland was wiped from the map of Europe yet again.

    The Grudzinski book I refer to at Front Page details the horrific conditions in the camps, whose victims, of course, included Soviet citizens. Whereas Hitler wanted to exterminate his enemies because of racial theories, Stalin wanted to destroy his according to theories of class. The result in both cases was human suffering on an unimaginable scale.

    1. Jews were running from German zone to the Soviet zone and from Soviet zone to the German zone. When one group would see the other they would "greet" each other with specific gesture - by tapping one's forehead with one's forefinger.

      When Jews were running from Soviet part of Przemyśl to the German part of that city one German officer yelled: "Jews! Are You crazy?! We will kill You!"

      Apparently not all Jews considered Germans to be the greater evil. It is after all a matter of one's perspective.

    2. Hello again Mr. Karski,

      "The Western Allies might have moved against Hitler"

      At the conference in Abbeville on 12th September 1939 our French and British "allies" decided not to help Poland in war with Germany.
      By the way, in September 1944, Abbeville was liberated by the Polish 1st Armoured Division.

      Some Polish historians claim that it would have been better for Poland to make an alliance with Germany.
      They claim that it would have spared us both the genocidal occupation and the Holocaust.
      After all Bulgaria was allied with the Germans and yet saved it's Jews. Allies can say "no".

      Even in case of German defeat we would not have been treated worse than we were. Let's face it, Germany's allies were treated better than Poland.

      You may call it backward reasoning. I won't argue.

    3. The Polish historians you mention are indulging in alternative history. I doubt if Hitler would have been deflected from trying to annihilate the Jews not only from Germany but also from Poland, because Poland, unlike Bulgaria, was projected to be a part of greater Germany. Any accord with Germany would have meant appeasement over the Gdansk question. Whatever the faults of Beck, he did not cave into Hitler's demands and the country paid the price.


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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