Friday, November 29, 2019

Poland, Land of Xenophobia and Conspiracy Theories: WNYC's Brooke Gladstone

Brooke Gladstone Source
Leah Feder Source
Picture illustrating WNYC's story Source

WNYC is the NPR affiliate in New York City. "On the Media" is a show on WNYC. 

WNYC is hyper liberal. White skin is bad. All black people in America are suffering horribly under the boot of racism. 

A few years back, WNYC broadcast "Q Is a Boy," that argued that a little girl from a broken home was actually a boy and anyone who said otherwise was an evil transphobe. 

On Flag Day, Arun Venugopal broadcast an attack on the American flag

It's not at all surprising that WNYC would broadcast an episode of "On the Media" that depicts Poles as uniquely hateful and irrational. 

Brooke Gladstone and Leah Feder entitle their episode "We Need to Talk about Poland." They take their title from a book about a child mass killer, "We Need to Talk about Kevin." Poland = Kevin. Childish and irrationally murderous. 

The music sets the mood. The broadcast begins with bizarre, Bohunkiana, accordion music. Then there is klezmer in the background. 

I've lived in Poland and spent plenty of time with Poles. I've never heard that kind of accordion music in Poland. You can hear the piece, "Taniec Kikimory," by OldNova, here

Poland is so exotic, so in the past. 

Fourteen minutes into the broadcast. Jan Tomasz Gross' book Neighbors and the Jedwabne massacre are invoked. Poles are too weak and venal to acknowledge that Poles have done bad things. You know the drill. 

Poles choose to imagine that Poles fought against the Nazis. This is a romantic Polish fantasy. 

Poles choose to imagine that Poles rescued Jews during the Holocaust. 

Anyone working on the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype needs to remember a few things. 

Thing one: stereotyping is often not about lies. It's often about twisting of truths. 

Thing two: you don't attack your enemy's weakness. You attack your enemy's strengths. 

"On the Media" is sure to highlight and emphasize the Jedwabne massacre. 

It's a fact. That massacre happened. Poles did do horrible things. 

It's also a fact that Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, and Bernard Madoff are all Jews. Want to stereotype Jews? Just emphasize these bad men's Jewish identity. And twist any facts that might cause your audience *not* to conclude that all Jews are bad men. 

"On the Media" attacks WW II era Poland's strengths. Poland was the only country under Nazi occupation that began a resistance group, Zegota, whose only purpose was to help Jews. "On the Media" does not mention Zegota, unless I missed it. 

Poland was the only occupied country where Poles, their families, neighbors, and friends were all murdered for any help offered to any Jew, including something so simple as a glass of water. And yet Poles make up the largest number of Righteous Non-Jews at Yad Vashem. 

"On the Media" does not mention that. 

But "On the Media" does not lie just by exclusion. It lies even more cleverly. It quotes a bizarre quote, one I've never heard, that Poles rescued a statistically impossible number of Jews. Clearly this number is made up by extremists. 

So. If you mention that Poles rescued Jews, "On the Media" implies, you are a crazy extremist. "On the Media" renders any talk of Poles rescuing Jews suspect. 

Clever, no? 

There is much discussion about the controversy over the Museum of the Second World War. Pawel Machcewicz, whose name Lean Feder repeatedly mispronounces, is quoted at length. 

Feder compares Polish efforts to educate the public about Polish resistance to the Nazis to Japanese refusal to confront war crimes against the Chinese. 

Poles = Jedwabne

Poles = a child mass killer, the incarnation of evil 

Poles = Japanese who committed mass war crimes against the Chinese and  others. 

Anne Applebaum alleges that Law and Justice "creates threats" like "Syrian refugees" and Law and justice "invented" stories of Muslims killing Christians. Well, I'm happy to learn that Muslims never kill Christians. The fatal stabbings and fake suicide vest on London Bridge yesterday were no doubt all part of a dispute over parking. 

Thank you, WNYC! 

Feder preaches on. "Poland is not unique" and Poland faces no threats. 

WNYC, the station that insists that gay and black and Muslim Americans writhe perpetually under the boot of oppressive American fascists, tells us that Poland is not unique and Poland faces no threats. 

WNYC calls on Fareed Zakaria, a Muslim from India, who lectures us about how Poland typifies the new threat to democracy. 

Leah says that is "value in reclaiming the Communist past." 

I don't have a problem with any of the facts presented here. I'm not a supporter of Law and Justice. I do support gay rights. I do think abortion has to be legal. I do not support the interweaving of Church and state. I reject conspiracy theories. I acknowledge that Poles have done bad things, including at Jedwabne.

What I'm objecting to here is this.

WNYC doesn't broadcast representational material about Poles or Poland. I listen to WNYC and NPR all day every day. I know.

This show is all about the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype. Poles are scary. Fareed Zakaria will explain to you why. And if you ask why the son of a Muslim scholar from India has a right to judge Poland, while not critiquing the Hindu caste system or gender apartheid in Islam, you are an Islamophobe.

If you'd like to hear that narrative, click here


  1. Hello Dr Goska,

    You mentioned the London Bridge attack. Apparently some "bloody Pole" was involved in that incident. Link below.

  2. Hello again,

    Some time ago ADL declared that Poland is the most anti-semitic country in the world. Survey was financed by Volkswagen company.
    Muslim countries were not included.

    Attacks on synagogues - Zero
    Attacks on Jews - Zero
    Legal manifestations of neo-nazis - Zero
    Chance to get killed by a muslim extemist - Zero

    Poland is so lagging behind the civilised world.

  3. Professor Żbikowski about punishing of helpers Texts of German laws has been published by Professor Bogdan Musiał. I believe that the book should be translated into English.

    1. Professor Bogdan Musiał took part in "Poland First to Fight" conference. His presentation is not yet available on YouTube, but hopefully it soon will be.

      His book is titled "Kto dopomoże Żydowi..." ("Who helps a Jew..."). The book is written in comprehensible manner, but it's still a scientific work. I doubt that it will be of interest to a wider public.
      On other hand, translating that book into English is a good idea. Some scholars could learn something from it.

  4. Canadian award-winning writer Carol Matas has published a number of books about Jewish children in Poland during the Holocaust "After the war", "Daniel's Story" . Has anyone verified the books? "Daniel's Story" informs about Łódź in Poland. The city was called however "Litzmannstadt" and so was the ghetto. The city was situated in Reich, in Wartheland. A map in the book (Europe 1938-1939) shows pre-war Poland. Very strange. Fictious Daniel was deported to Auschwitz. The majority of Lodz Jews went to Kulmhof (Chelmno) and died there in truck gas chambers.

    1. Jerzy, 74,000 Jews in the Lodz Ghetto (including my great grandparents) were sent to Auschwitz.

      This is from the Jewish Virtual Library:

      "On August 4, 1944, a final liquidation transport of 74,000 Jews from Lodz was sent out from the ghetto on its way to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Though a few remaining workers were retained by the Nazis to finish confiscating materials and valuables out of the ghetto, everyone else living in the ghetto had been deported. Even Rumkowski and his family were included in these last transports to Auschwitz."

    2. Liron, you are right regarding the last groups. I have checked and the book mentions Chelmno, but the map shows Chelmno (a town in the North) instead of Chelmno nad Nerem (a village and death camp in the West). The name Chelmno was not used by Germans, it was Kulmhof. The author had to send the boy to Auschwitz, to allow him to survive, only few Jews run away from Kulmhof.

    3. Hello,

      Number of people that went through Litzmannstadt ghetto was about 200,000. Most were send to Vernichtungslager (extermination camp) Kulmhof and killed using gas vans.
      Rest was send to Auschwitz-Birkenau when the ghetto was liquidated.

      Both Liron and Mr. Pankiewicz are correct.

    4. The book has been commanded by the USHNN, so the Museum was partially responsible for the erroneous map.The USHMM has now a correct map

  5. Those good all times are gone with the wind, no more "Polish death camps". "death camps in Poland (which used to be called simply Polish death camps"

  6. Today is the 77th anniversary of the massacre in Stary Ciepielów and Rekówka.
    On December 6, 1942 German Gerdarmerie killed 31 Poles for the "crime of helping" two Jewish fugitives. Both Jewish men were also murdered.

    None of the German perpetrators was ever brought to justice.

  7. Bad book "Powrot do Jedwabnego". The book is biased, sometimes anti-Semitic. Unfortunately Polish Jewish organisations hindered meetings with authors, making the book a forbidden fruit, hidden truth. The book answers some errors and bias of "Neighbours" by JT Gross. The only rational way would be a new ivestigation, but some IPN people may be biased and the world (NYT, WP, Haaretz) will attack the investigation as antisemitic. So instaed of verified docements we obtain rumors.

  8. The Auschwitz Museum allegedly attacks Jews. The president of the Museum has been hated by Polish anti-Semites.


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.
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