This blog is dedicated to "Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype," and the difficult topic of Polish-Jewish relations.
One of the most frequently visited issues in Polish-Jewish relations is the question of whether or not Jews felt Polish.
It's a difficult topic that can't be adequately addressed in a short blog post. Read the book!
For now I can say this. I have a couple of lovely Jewish Facebook friends. They are great folks, good friends, and they contribute much to my life.
They say, spontaneously, that their ancestors came from Poland, but they don't feel Polish at all. When they speak of Polish identity they speak of Polish identity as something low, beneath them, undesirable, a stain.
They say, paraphrase, "We are Jewish and only Jewish. We have nothing to do with Polish identity."
When I urge them to reconsider, if they respond at all, they say something like "Poles were rapists and pogromists and I want nothing to do with them."
No, this is not all Jewish people's attitude. But it is one I encounter in day to day life and that I encountered when researching the book, as you can see from reading the book.
On the other hand, there were many Jews who felt loyal to Poland and who fought and risked their lives, or died to defend Poland. They were proud to be Polish. These people include historical heroes like Michal Landy, Roman Solecki, who fought in the Home Army and was dedicated to the Polish cause throughout his life in the US, and Jurek Leder, about whom I've written a few times on this blog.
I thought of this question while watching Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, speak. His passion for his homeland is obvious.