Monday, May 24, 2021

"You Never Know When the Ax Might Fall" Bieganski Interview # 24


I grew up in a middle class suburb of Chicago that was heavily Italian Catholic. I was the only Jew in the neighborhood.
I don't remember when I was first told by my peers that I "killed Jesus," but by the time I was four, that was a common refrain in my life. I had no friends throughout my grammar school years.


I guess every group likes to have at least one scapegoat; I just happened to fall into that category early on and become the group's permanent focus. Looking back now, I strongly suspect that if there had been a black or Hispanic student in my age-group, I would most likely have been over-looked. Probably never popular, but not THE ONE to be taunted and physically beaten up.


To this day, I still feel most Jewish when I hear Judaism being attacked.


At home, however, I got somewhat mixed signals about being Jewish. The tragedy of "The Six Million" (Jews who died in the Nazi Holocaust) always loomed large. I was told you could never really trust "the goyim" because look what happened to German Jews; they had felt themselves to be Germans first and Jews second. Big mistake.


And my memory, my parents never really practiced Judaism. Every Chanukah was filled with eight nights of presents (wonderful!) and every Passover we had a special family meal, complete with the four questions. But that was it. No Sabbath on Friday nights. No fasting on Yom Kipper. We were like Christians who were really Christian only on Christmas and Easter. About as assimilated as you could get.


It seemed that being Jewish was not a thing you practiced; it was a state of being---and a dangerous state at that. You never know when the ax might fall.


Informant was a female in her twenties.


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

"My Great Grandfather Was Attacked by Some Kids in Canada" # 19

"You Cannot Get That Job Unless You Are Jewish" # 20

"God Knew the Jews Were Going to Have a Pretty Interesting History." Bieganski Interview # 21

"Why Did You Bring This F---ing Jew Into My Store?" Bieganski Interview # 22

"That Jew B------ Raised the Rate" Bieganski interview # 23

"You Never Know When the Ax Might Fall" Bieganski interview # 24

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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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