Monday, May 10, 2021

"My Father Was Beaten Up By Right-Wing Polish Extremists" Bieganski Interview # 18


Photo from a Washington Post article re: 
attacks on Jews in the US

While I was conducting my ethnographic research for "Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype," quite a few American Jews told me that their idea of Poland was a place where Polish Catholics beat up Jews regularly. These beatings, they told me, occurred especially when Poles got drunk, which they assumed was often, or during Easter and Christmas. 

I asked Roman Solecki, a Polish-Jewish professor who emigrated to the US after WW II, about this. 

He wrote back via email: 

There were cases of Jews being beaten on the streets of Polish cities by band of right-wing extremists from "Falanga", "ABC" etc (my father was beaten up by one such gang in 1938 (?). I don't think this had anything to do with Easter or that the participants were drunk.
My experiences are only limited to my hometown Lwow (Lviv, Lemberg), city of about 350,000 with population about equally divided among Polish Catholics, Polish Jews and Ukrainians. I know that there were individual cases of Jews being beaten on the streets and actually two Jewish students were murdered at the University (or maybe Polytechnic Institute) in Lwow.
But it would be, I think, a gross exaggeration to talk about widespread beating of Jews. After all I went to a state elementary school and then to a state "gimnazjum" (high school) and everything was OK there (except for a couple of anti- semitic bastards).

THE BACKGROUND on these interviews, that is, when they were conducted, who the informants were, and why I post them, see here.

 "To Chew Someone Down" Bieganski Interview #1

"Poles are Inherently Comic Janitors" Bieganski Interview # 2

"My Father Began to Conceal His Jewish Origins" Bieganski Interview # 3

They Worked Like Moles Their Whole Lives Bieganski Interview # 4

"She Never, and I Mean Never, Threw Anything Away" Bieganski Interview # 5

"They Always Kept One Token Jew" Bieganski Interview # 6

"White Privilege? I Laugh" Bieganski Interview # 7

"Stalin Died and I Was Set Free" #8

"The Jew is Clever. The Pole is Obnoxious, Loud, and Stupid." #9

"My Grandfather Let Anastasia Escape" #10

"I No Longer Practice Anything Except Reciting Yizkor and Lighting Yahrzeit Candles for My Parents"# 11

"I Have Always Been Afraid to Get Close to Any 'Real' Jews"# 12

Shiksa # 13

"Germans. I don't Like Hearing the Language" #14

"Those Shoes Kick My People to Death" #15

"Why Get Your Hopes Up?" # 16

"Goyim Sell Their Children for a Bottle of Whiskey" # 17

"My Father Was Beaten Up By Right-Wing Polish Extremists" # 18

1 comment:

  1. This is a common, one-sided memory of history. Fact is, in the 1930s, Communist violence against Jews was considerably greater than right-wing Polish violence against Jews. But of course you will never hear a about that.


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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