Monday, July 27, 2020

As If By Magic, Jurek Leder Appears in My Inbox, with a Virtuti Militari

Andzrej Stankiewicz provides this caption:
Józio, son of Artur, Jurek, son of Stach, my aunt Irena, Janek, younger brother of Jurek, and Seweryn Jan, my father. 

"Józef Piłsudski decorates officers with the Virtuti Militari cross for disarming the Germans in 1918"

Five years ago, on November 18, 2015, Piotr Rybak, a troublemaking buffoon, burned a Jew in effigy in Wroclaw, Poland.

As reported by the JTA: "Rybak's defense attorney reminded the court that the effigy — which included a black hat, beard, side curls and black clothing — was burnt during a demonstration against the taking in of Muslim refugees and not against the Jewish community. Rybak had previously told the court that the effigy was meant to represent philanthropist George Soros, an American Jewish billionaire."

The prosecuting attorney, Katarzyna Zagwojska, saw things differently. "For everyone living in Poland after World War II it is a clear statement of the terms 'burning' and 'a Jew.' This gesture should be read as a threat of annihilation, eg. by burning."

Rybak was sentenced to ten, then three months in prison. The judge, Robert Zdych, said, "It was a shameful act because he showed Poland in the eyes of the world as a country of xenophobes."

Rybak remains active, and he continues to commit crimes. See here.

When I heard about Rybak burning a Jew in effigy, I was distraught. I have no way of responding to powerful haters who makes headlines around the world. I have no way of reaching the Jews who were offended, frightened, and disgusted by Rybak's crime.

I just did not know what to do, but I knew I had to do something.

I posted about Rybak's hate crime, here.

I decided to post ten posts dedicated to Polish Jews. That series of posts begins here. I posted salutes to Jankiel, Queen Esterka, the Slovak Jew who saved my mother's life, Hayom Salomon, Abraham Prochownik, and Saul Wahl. I am very grateful to Michal Karski for his guest blog posts saluting to Marian Hemar, Adam Aston, and Henry Vars.

I also saluted Jurek Leder.

When I was doing the research for Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype, I encountered many remarkable stories that I could never reference in my work or share with anyone. They were destined to remain in my memory. As I wrote in 2015:

I was doing a massive amount of reading that would inform the book Bieganski. I read Polish history, Jewish history, Polish-Jewish history. I read about stereotypes. I read about the Holocaust and I read about other atrocities including the Rwandan and Cambodian genocides. I read memoirs, scholarly and newspaper articles and internet postings by average Joes. Thousands of pages. Authors long dead and very much alive and still punching. I eventually received emails or phone calls from many of the players in Polish-Jewish relations. I was swimming in an ocean of words so vast that I could not see dry land.

In all that verbiage, I have forgotten plenty of things. Sometimes I stumble across a book, think, "I should read this book," and realize that I'd read it, reviewed it, and quoted it.

There are passages that, for whatever reason, moved me so much I have never shaken them. One concerned Jurek Leder, mentioned in Mary Berg's Warsaw Diary. Mary Berg wrote:

Jurek Leder, my close friend, who now works for the Jewish police, is also a passionate Polish patriot. 'If only I could get out and join the partisans!' He says. 'At least I could fight for Poland then. I love my country and even if a hundred anti-Semites try to convince me that I am not a Pole I'll prove it with my fists if not my words.' Leder's father is a captain in the Polish army and is presently interned in Russia. [One must assume that Leder's father was murdered, along with other Polish military officers, at places like Katyn.]

There are many such Jews who would gladly sacrifice their lives for Poland who, at present, are working in the underground. There are many Jews who grit their teeth and keep silent, and blush with shame and humiliation when, as sometimes happens, a Pole throws a stone from the other side of the walls into the ghetto. Recently, on Chlodna Street, Poles passing by in trucks hurled stones at showcases and windows of private apartments, emitting wild cries of triumph as they rode by.

Some Jews are ashamed to admit that Poland is their fatherland, although they love it, because they remember how often their Polish co-citizens have said to them, 'Go back to Palestine, Jew,' or how, at the University, the Jewish students were assigned to the ghetto benches and were often attacked by many Gentiles students for no other crime than their Jewish faith. It is a fact that many Gentiles in Warsaw have been infected by Hitler's propaganda. Naturally, there are people who see the error of such ways, but they are afraid to say anything because they would at once be accused of having a Jewish grandfather or grandmother or even of having been bribed by the Jews.

Only a few, and these are members of the working-class parties, speak up openly, and these, for the most part, are fighting in the partisan units. If all the Aryan Poles got together and tried to help the Jews in the ghetto, they could do a great deal for us. For instance, they could procure Aryan certificates for many Jews, give them shelter in their homes, facilitate their escape over the walls, and so on and so forth. But of course it's easier to throw stones into the ghetto."

My blog post saluting Jurek Leder contains further resources addressing Berg's charges about Poles not helping enough. You can see that here.

After I posted that blog post, Jurek Leder retreated back into my memory. He was a real person, not a fictional character, and he was not famous, so I never thought I'd ever encounter any mention of Jurek again. He would, of course, continue to live in my memory and my heart, as a Jew who faced Polish anti-Semitism and wanted to fight for Poland, a country he and I both love.

Imagine how surprised and moved I was late last year when I received an email, out of the blue, from Andrzej Stankiewicz, who is related to Jurek Leder. Andrzej was kind enough to send me photos, so I could put a face to the name, and a brief account of how Jurek passed. I asked Andrzej permission to share this material on the blog, and Andrzej kindly granted permission.

It's been seven months since we corresponded, and I'm only posting this material now. Why did it take me so long?

I knew I would get choked up. In fact I am holding back tears right now.

There has been so much suffering, and so much injustice, on planet Earth. I read about it for my dissertation. One of the most haunting sentences I read was about the Cambodian genocide. It appeared in the New York Times many years ago. Prisoners in the Tuol Sleng prison were tortured till they confessed to anything their captors wanted them to confess to. As at Auschwitz, the demons at Tuol Sleng kept detailed notes, and photographed their victims. The New York Times reported that there is so much documentation on the Cambodian genocide that no one will probably ever read all of it. In fact, my spell check underlines the words "Tuol Sleng" in red, as if I am misspelling them. That is how little attention has been paid to this prison, where over 18,000 people were tortured to death.

That sentence – about no one ever reading all the documentation on the Cambodian genocide – broke my heart. It's bad enough to be tortured and murdered by madmen. It's somehow worse, in my mind, never to have your story heard by any single other human being.

The least I could do is remember the name of one person, the story of one person, and I have tried to do that. Thus, I remember Jurek Leder. When Andrzej reached out to me with is actual photo and a bit more of his story, it moved me deeply.

Andrzej's photos and email text are below.

Here is the promised photograph of Jurek Leder and his cousins.

In the photograph, from left to right: Józio, son of Artur, Jurek, son of Stach, my aunt Irena, Janek, younger brother of Jurek, and Seweryn Jan, my father. The picture was taken shortly before the war. Of those five only my aunt and my father survived, because my grandmother decided to flee Łódź with her children in November 1939, on the very day when Jews were told to start wearing the yellow armbands. They went to the East and after an illegal night-crossing of the German-Soviet border they reunited with my grandfather who was already there. My great grandmother Ewa refused to go with them and perished in the Warsaw ghetto two or three years later.

In the other photograph you can see the grave of Jurek Leder at the Brodno cemetery in Warsaw. The headstone was funded by his father, Stach, who had survived the war and emigrated to Israel where he died in 1966.

Within the family, there are two versions of the circumstances of Jurek's death. One says that he was shot by the Germans during an action in the neighborhood of Plac Zbawiciela in Warsaw. The other says that he was captured by the Germans and committed suicide, in order not to disclose his comrades. He was posthumously distinguished with the Virtuti Militari cross.

About the Virtuti Militari cross awarded to Jurek Leder: "The War Order of Virtuti Militari (Latin: "For Military Virtue", Polish: Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari) is Poland's highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war. It was created in 1792 by Polish King Stanisław II August and is one of the oldest military decorations in the world still in use." (Wikipedia)

Marshal Józef Piłsudski decorates with the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari the banner of the 1st Krechowiecki Lancers Regiment, Tomaszów Lubelski, 20 March. Leonard Winterowski

Sunday, July 19, 2020

The New York Times and Anne Applebaum: The Scary, Bad People Are All on the Right

My book, Bieganski the Brute Polak, and this blog, focus on stereotypes of Poles and other "Bohunks" in Western media. 

My book doesn't have much to say about contemporary Polish politics, and neither does this blog. 

After the recent election, I invited Polish friends to weigh in on my Facebook page. I did not voice an opinion because I do not have a right to an opinion. I live in the US, my Polish language skills are limited, and I don't read reams of material on internal Polish politics everyday. 

Half of my Polish Facebook friends appeared to be pro-Duda. Half of my Polish Facebook friends were anti-Duda. Some sharp words were exchanged. 

Here's the thing: I like both sets of friends. I think they both made good points. I'm in no position to determine which team is righteous in a way that cancels out the other team's righteousness. 

I do live in the US. I know Trump is a personality-disordered con artist and unfit to be president. I don't reject all Trump supporters, though. Some of them are very nice people. When asked, they give what they think are very good reasons for voting for Trump. One quick answer: they see the alternative as Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or Ilhan Omar, Democratic extremists. 

I disagree; the choice was never Trump v. Cortez. Trump supporters could, at any point, including right now, tap a moderate and sane Republican like Mitt Romney or John Kasich. I'd vote for either of those candidates. 

But their larger point is correct. The American left has gone too far left. The Democratic Party is now the party of "Goddamn America," rioting, looting, and tearing down statues of Hans Christian Heg, Ulysses S. Grant, and Abraham Lincoln. I don't like that party,  either. 

Anne Applebaum has come out with a new book, "Twilight of Democracy." The New York Times summarizes it with the subheading, "Why intellectuals support dictators." 

The book makes everything so easy for us. All the bad guys are on the right. Those rural, Christian, patriotic people who support two-parent families and working for a living are all bad and wrong. The gender-fluid urban elites with university degrees, kaffiyeh scarves and eyebrow piercings are all correct and  blameless. 

About the latter group. I remember seeing a post on the "Notes from Poland" facebook page. The page is very anti-Polish. A guy whose picture showed him with long, unkempt hair said that he was so happy that he could now purchase "Muslim sausage" in Warsaw. 

Now. Poland and neighboring Germany are both sausage hotbeds. It's really not that hard to find a wide variety of sausage in Poland. But this enlightened being celebrated because he could now purchase *Muslim* sausage. 

Really, Anne? Really, New York Times? Really, "Muslim sausage" lover? Is it really all that easy? Oh, to be rescued from thought, and from self-reflection, so easily. To be rescued from the information that confronts one when one looks in the mirror. 

What am I talking about? Here's what I'm talking about. The posts preceding this post on this  blog concern powerful African American celebrities voicing the most vile of anti-Semitic propaganda, propaganda that would cheer the black, infernal hearts of Julius Streicher and Joseph Goebbels .

"Hitler was right," one black celebrity said. "Jews control everything." "Jews stole our identity." And on and on.

Where is Anne Applebaum? Where is her shock and outrage? Where is the New York Times? Where are the protests?

If a  Polish, Catholic politician-farmer or politician-priest said what these black celebrities said, it would be on the front page of the New York Times. It would be an international incident. But black celebrities are saying these heinous things, so it's okay. 

From the Times review of Applebaum's new book bemoaning right-wingers destroying Democracy: "Resentment, envy and above all the belief that the ‘system’ is unfair — not just to the country, but to you — these are important sentiments among the nativist ideologues of the Polish right, so much so that it is not easy to pick apart their personal and political motives."

Well, it's good to know that no one on the left feels "resentment, envy, and that life is unfair." Phew. Dodged a bullet, there. 

Applebaum bemoans the loss of a "shared narrative." Interesting. In recent days, left-wingers in the US have been pursuing a cultural genocide, wiping out hundreds of years of American and world history and literature, as commemorated in statues -- Miguel de Cervantes, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Hans Christian Heg, -- have all been defaced or destroyed. Welcome to year zero. 

Thanks to the left's cultural genocide, an Orwell quote is now popping up repeatedly in comments section under Yahoo news articles: 

"Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped."

Applebaum writes, "As polarization increases, the employees of the state are invariably portrayed as having been ‘captured’ by their opponents. It is not an accident that the Law and Justice Party in Poland, the Brexiteers in Britain and the Trump administration in the United States have launched verbal assaults on civil servants and professional diplomats."

So, Duda = Trump = Brexit. 

Nothing like lumping people together. Some would call that arrogant and dismissive. 

Applebaum goes on. She says that right-wingers fantasize a world "where universities teach people to hate their country, where victims are more celebrated than heroes, where older values have been discarded." 

Let me be frank. Part of how Applebaum makes her case is by lying. She bemoans that right wingers fantasize that universities teach people to hate their country. Anne, it's true. Anne, read this. Anne, denying basic truths does not strengthen your case. 

Ya know,  we all hate Hitler and we all hate Nazism. But that hate doesn't prevent anyone from looking at the Versailles Treaty, the Depression, and the rise of the Soviet Union as factors that helped push Germany over the edge. This reassessment of past "benevolent" extremism is so consequential that it inspired the Marshall Plan. Allies defeated Germany in WW I and rubbed Germany's nose in dirt. Allies defeated Germany in WW II and, in spite of Germany's pure evil in WW II, sent Germany buckets of cash.

Anne, Duda and Trump and Brexit are every bit an expression of the left as they are an expression of the right. Sir Isaac Newton had something to say about this. To each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Don't want the world to go too far right? Don't push it too far left. 

Neither the left nor the right has any monopoly on virtue today. Both have dirty hands. Both need a mirror. You too, Anne. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Ice Cube Doubles Down on Black Anti-Semitism after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Condemns It

Rapper Ice Cube has doubled down on expressions of black anti-Semitism after Kareem Abdul Jabbar criticized it. Story here

The Bieganski chapter on black anti-Semitism would be helpful to anyone attempting to understand it. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

American Celebrity Nick Cannon Spreads Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories; Blacks Are the "Real Jews."

Forbes reports that the American celebrity Nick Cannon is spreading the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Blacks are the "real Jews" and that Jewish people "stole" their identity from black people. Read more here. This conspiracy theory is not isolated. It has some purchase among some African Americans. It was the belief of the African Americans who committed terrorist acts against Jews in Jersey City, NJ late last year. 

The chapter in Bieganski the Brute Polak that focuses on Black-Jewish conflict is helpful in understanding this conflict. 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

"Jewish Group Slams Polish Public TV for 'Hateful' Role in Presidential Race": Reuters

WARSAW (Reuters) - A leading Jewish group criticised Poland's public broadcaster on Friday for its "hateful" role in a tight presidential election race that pits the conservative incumbent against the liberal mayor of Warsaw.

AJC Central Europe, an advocacy group, pointed to a report on public broadcaster TVP's flagship news show on Thursday that asked if opposition candidate Rafal Trzaskowski would "comply with Jewish demands", touching on the sensitive issue of Jewish property restitution.

Home to one of the world's largest Jewish communities before World War Two, Poland is the only European Union country that has not legislated on restoring property to pre-war Jewish owners or their descendants, despite U.S. pressure.

"What's wrong with Polish public TV?... Yesterday it again warned against 'satisfying Jewish demands'. Is that b/c you assume this hateful campaign would speak to many Poles? Think abt what message that sends," the AJC tweeted...

Full story here

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Robert E. Lee does not equal Hitler. Slavery does not equal the Holocaust. A plantation does not equal Auschwitz. Our hearts and minds can respect both slavery and the Holocaust without entering into a distasteful Suffering Olympics.


Robert E. Lee does not equal Hitler. Slavery does not equal the Holocaust. A plantation does not equal Auschwitz. Our hearts and minds can respect both slavery and the Holocaust without entering into a distasteful Suffering Olympics.

I devote one chapter of Bieganski, the Brute Polak Stereotype to a discussion of how the mainstream press treated accounts of conflict between African Americans and Jews. I did this as a control. I argue in the book that the mainstream press does not accurately depict conflict between Poles and Jews. To argue that point, a control group was helpful.

One aspect of both black-Jewish and Polish-Jewish conflict is what is sometimes labeled the Suffering Olympics. The Suffering Olympics is a distasteful exercise. Participants display their wounds, in a competition for compassion, legitimacy, and whatever other benefits accrue to those who can prove that they have suffered.

The Suffering Olympics play a role in Polish-Jewish relations, and that is regrettable. It is not helpful to compare what happened to Polish Jews to what happened to Polish non-Jews. Some individual Poles went through every horror that individual Jews went through, from round-ups to concentration camps to mass murder. A larger percentage of Poles survived.

The Jewish presence in Poland was wiped out. It was a true genocide. There were too many Polish non-Jews for the Nazis to commit an equal genocide against them. There are too many other factors to mention here, but all factors considered, it is not helpful to engage in a Suffering Olympics event. Both sides should learn to respect what happened to the other.

The folly of Suffering Olympics is brought home to me when I think of something George Taliaferro said during a meeting with me and others in Bloomington, Indiana, years ago. He did not approve of anti-discrimination funding going to women or homosexuals because neither group suffered as black people did. He wanted the funding to go to African Americans on the IU campus. He mentioned bad things that happened to black people that don't happen to homosexuals or women. One could easily mention lynching, typically an atrocity that is committed against black people, but not against women or homosexuals. If you stop with that comparison, though, you are missing a big part of the story. Gay people and women have their own story to tell.

In recent days, conflict between blacks and Jews has flared up again. See posts here and here. NFL player DeSean Jackson posted that "Hitler was right." Former NBA player Stephen Jackson overtly cited Suffering Olympics tropes. "Your races pain doesn't hurt more than the next races pain. Don't act like your hardships or more devastating than ours" (sic).

In mainstream media and social media, Black Lives Matter proponents have justified the iconoclastic purge sweeping the land by saying, paraphrase, "You wouldn't want to go to Germany and see statues to Hitler. So you shouldn't want to see statues to Robert E. Lee."

This comparison is not helpful. One can respect the horrors of the slave trade without insisting that those horrors were identical to the Holocaust.

388,000 slaves were brought directly from Africa to the US, according to PBS. Wikipedia reports that more were brought into the US from the Caribbean, bringing the total to approximately 600,000.

By 1860, the black population of the US was 4.4 million. The population grew from c. 600,000 to 4.4 million by natural increase, that is, slaves having children who survived to adulthood to have children of their own. Source

In 1939, there were 9.5 million Jews in Europe.

In 1945, there were 3.8 million Jews in Europe. Source

Had the Allies lost, the Nazis would have succeeded in their goal of wiping out every Jew in Europe.

It's not just numbers that differentiate slavery from the Holocaust. Read accounts of life as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Europe. Read Elie Wiesel's Night or Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz. Read accounts by non-Jewish Poles, like The Auschwitz Volunteer about Witold Pilecki, and Taduesz Borowski's This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen.

The last book contains an unforgettable passage. Borowski describes himself and other prisoners playing soccer during an arrival of Jews who are swiftly erased. "Between two throw-ins in a soccer game, right behind my back, three thousand people had been put to death." In 1951, when he was 28 years old, a few days after his daughter was born, Borowski put his head into an oven, breathed in gas, and died.

Compare these accounts of concentration camps to any given slave narrative, including those collected by the WPA. They clearly describe very different experiences.

Again, the Suffering Olympics obscure rather than clarify. The plantation was not the concentration camp, but the word "holocaust" does apply to slavery's overall impact on Africa and Africans.

To understand what the slave trade did to Africa as a continent, one must factor in the mass death of the Muslim Slave Trade. John Azumah says, "While the mortality rate of the slaves being transported across the Atlantic was as high as 10%, the percentage of the slaves dying in transit in the Tran-Saharan and East African slave market was a staggering 80 to 90% … While most slaves who went to the Americas could marry and have families, most of the male slaves destined for the Middle East were castrated, and most of the children born to the women were killed at birth … However, a minimum of 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East. Since at least 80% of those captured by the Muslim slave traders were calculated to have died before reaching the slave markets, it is believed that the death toll from 1,400 years of Arab and Muslim slave raids into Africa could have been as high as 112 million."

When you factor in those numbers, and the numbers of dead on the Middle Passage, yes, the word "Holocaust" is entirely apt. But that still does not make the American plantation Auschwitz, and it does not make Robert E. Lee Hitler. It makes the American plantation its own species of bad, and trying to make it Auschwitz doesn't help.

Former NBA Stephen Jackson Doubles Down with Anti-Semitism

"You know that for a fact? You know who the Rothschilds are? They own all the banks. ...

“I haven’t said one thing that’s untrue yet.

So I just read a statement that the Philadelphia Eagles posted regarding DeSean Jackson’s comments. He was trying to educate himself, educate people, and he’s speaking the truth, right? He’s speaking the truth. You know he don’t hate nobody, but he’s speaking the truth of the facts that he knows and trying to educate others. But y’all don’t want us to educate ourselves. If it’s talking about the Black race, y’all ain’t saying nothing about it. They killing us. Police killing us and treating us like s—. Racism at an all-time high. But ain’t none of you NFL owners spoke up on that. Ain’t none of you teams spoke up on that. But the same team had a receiver that  said the word, to say n— publicly! And they gave him an extension! I play for the Big3. We have a Jewish owner. He understands where we stand and some of the things we say, but it’s not directed to him. It’s the way we’ve been treated.

With all this I be saying, and all these facts I be saying too, I try to make everything understandable for y’all, how it ain’t rocket science, how it’s simple, right? And it is people that’s on the side with us. It is people that understand what we saying and not hearing to respond or not hearing to debate what we’re saying. It’s a lot of people that’s listening to us that understanding what we’re saying is right and understanding, we’re not saying that to demean another race. We’re saying it to educate people and understand why we’re hurt, why we want equality. And a lot of people know what’s been done to us. They just ain’t never had the conversation and ain’t never had the guts to admit it. I want to salute Steve Kerr for reaching out. I want to salute the coach from Minnesota for reaching out. I want to salute Mark Cuban for reaching out. I want to salute Adam Silver for reaching out. Because they understand. It ain’t about hate. We just want equality.

Let me say this, too, to finish that last message. I don’t give a f— who I offend. Ain’t nobody gave a f—about offending us all this time. Ain’t nobody standing up when people are saying s—, racist s—, about us. So, no. I don’t give a f—about offending nobody. And that’s just what it is. If you know me, you know I love everybody the same way. But what I’m standing for now – if you don’t understand it, then you never knew me. You was just around me for the wrong reasons. Love for all who have love for all. It’s that simple. If you don’t love everybody, then so be it. That’s on you. But I’m looking to offend you. I’m looking to piss you off. The days of you being comfortable and treating people like s—is over. Big facts.

Source of the above quotes and another source here

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

American Football Player Desean Jackson Posts Anti-Semitic Text, Praise of Hitler


American football player DeSean Jackson has posted anti-Semitic material that echoes ideas that have some purchase among black anti-Semites. The idea is that Jews are faking it, and black people are the real descendants of the authors and main characters of the Bible. 

These ideas were held by the terrorists who carried out a terror attack against Jews in Jersey City, NJ, in late 2019. Read more on that attack here

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Poland Stubbornly Continues to Refuse to Accept Responsibility for Nazism: The Forward

Author Joel Swanson 
A state-run Polish television network closely linked to President Duda recently claimed that his opponent wants to provide compensation to Jewish Holocaust survivors and their descendants for property stolen during the war. "Experts are certain," the TV presenter warned. "The stream of money that is flowing from the state budget into the pockets of Polish families will dry up if Trzaskowski, after a potential victory in the presidential election, seeks to satisfy Jewish claims."

President Duda's refusal to acknowledge any Polish complicity in the extermination of Poland's Jews reflects a distinction historian Deborah Lipstadt draws between "hard" and "soft" Holocaust denial. If "hard" denial means openly denying the existence of the gas chambers and death camps, "soft" denial is something harder to identify and, in many ways, more pernicious.

It means blaming the Germans for the murder of every single Jew who died during the war, allowing all other nations to evade responsibility. It means claiming all Poles suffered equally during the German occupation, thereby erasing the specificity of Jewish suffering.

The German occupiers were unable to distinguish between Polish Jews and non-Jews on their own, and so turned to Polish police officers to identify the Jews in their midst. Grabowski concludes that "without the Polish police, the Germans would not have succeeded in their plan."That's the history President Duda does not want Poles to accept, because then they might have to accept responsibility for making restitution today. Far easier to portray the Poles as passive victims of the Germans.

Something similar is happening in the United States, where Vice President Mike Pence recently refused to say "Black lives matter," instead insisting, "all lives matter." Pence's refusal is not actually about affirming the universal value of human life, but about denying that the United States has a long history of anti-Blackness, institutionalized through federal government policy, which requires specifically pro-Black policies to address its effects today.let's condemn Duda's anti-Semitism, and his refusal to accept Polish responsibility for the Holocaust. 

Joel Swanson is a contributing columnist for the Forward and a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago, studying modern Jewish intellectual history and the philosophy of religions. Find him on Twitter @jh_swanson.

Read full article here. Excerpts above. 

Thanks to Hanna for sending this in.