Perspectives on Poland: Coming to Terms with Anti-Semitism

Last night, the BBC broadcast a terrifying documentary swarming with images of Polish and Ukrainian football hooligans chanting anti-Semitic slogans, making Nazi salutes and abusing black players.

The impression given by Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate was that the tournament’s host nations are, at best, casually tolerant of far right extremism or, at worst, hotbeds of neo-Nazism.

Showing some of the more extreme footage to ex-England captain Sol Campbell, programme presenter Chris Rogers elicited the response that fans should stay away or risk “coming home in a box.”

I cannot speak for Ukraine, but I have lived in Poland for five years, and the image of this country portrayed in the documentary does not reflect the one I know.

Poland, like every nation, has its problems with extremists, but the idea that there are ranks of fanatical nationalists goose-stepping in and out of football stadiums is absurd and alarmist.

One serious problem with Stadiums of Hate was that is conflated two very different situations in two very different countries. Poland and Ukraine may be neighbours, and intimately linked historically, but they are far from the same.

Poland has experienced what is beginning to be recognised as an economic miracle over the past decade, while Ukraine, languishing on the wrong side of the EU’s borders, has suffered through stagnation and divisive revolution.

It’s not a simple equation, but the coincidence of nationalist violence with poverty and political upheaval is too frequent to dismiss. Poland is becoming more open and tolerant as it becomes richer and more stable, Ukraine isn’t.

Panorama technically distinguished between what they witnessed in Poland and what they witnessed in Ukraine, but the overall impact was that all the unpleasant incidents shown in the half-hour programme took place in a dangerous and primitive hinterland ‘over there.’ This is unfair and misleading.

At bottom, the evidence presented against Poland was that it tolerates anti-Semitism. This is both true and untrue. It touches on a very tangled confusion between what the West means by ‘anti-Semitic’ and what Poland means.

When British journalists hear fans chanting ‘Death to the Jews,’ their jaws drop. This kind of thing is at the furthest reaches of taboo from the perspective of the West. When locals tell them that these taunts aren’t about the ‘actual’ Jews at all, the tape recorders are running, but nothing registers. The explanation simply does not compute.

The horrible, but simple, truth is that, when Polish hooligans label their enemies ‘Jewish,’ they are doing pretty much the same thing that the average, middle-class Brit is doing when he calls his friend’s trousers ‘a bit gay.’

It’s not ‘harmless banter’ and the world would be a better place if human beings didn’t do this kind of thing, but Polish hooligan chants are not genuinely anti-Semitic for the simple reason that the average Polish hooligan has no idea what a Semite is.

In other words, and with a burning recognition that this is almost impossible for someone in the West to understand, the only thing on the mind of that red-faced fan screaming ‘anti-Semitic’ obscenities from the terraces, is hatred of his Catholic compatriot waving a different coloured scarf on the other side of the ground.

It’s a horrifying historical irony that Poland, a country that was once home to millions of Jewish people and witnessed the near-total extermination of this segment of its population, is today almost completely ignorant of Judaism.

Very few Polish people alive today have ever knowingly met a Jewish person, and still fewer have any memory of what Jewish communities in Poland were like. In fact, increasing numbers of young Poles are now discovering that they are themselves Jewish, this fact having been quietly ‘forgotten’ by previous generations living through more deadly times, and exploring what this means in a quite enthusiastic way.

When visiting journalists report what looks to them like genuine, Elders-of-Zion-inspired anti-Semitism in Poland, Poles throw up their hands in horror and rattle off the ranks of Polish names listed as Righteous among the Nations – and there are a lot of them.

From a Polish point of view, calling Poland anti-Semitic makes about as much sense as calling a man who’s had his legs amputated ‘anti-walking.’ The Jews who were murdered in Poland were Poles. Their loss was a blow that, arguably, the nation is still recovering from, and Poles are well aware of this.

There are genuine, bone-headed anti-Semites in Poland, just as there are in Tunbridge Wells, and some of them are football supporters. The casual use of anti-Semitic terms I have described is not okay and needs to be tackled, but, contrary to appearances, they are not evidence of an alarming neo-Nazi movement.

I suspect the international media will continue to take the line that an anti-Semitic slogan is an anti-Semitic slogan, regardless of the context. I have a lot of sympathy with this point of view, while recognising that it misses something important about Poland that results in unfair and misinformed finger pointing.

In an ideal world, this experience will force Poles to re-evaluate their sensitivities to language, just as Britain learned that Golliwogs may not have been the harmless idea we thought they were when I was a kid.

310 thoughts on “Perspectives on Poland: Coming to Terms with Anti-Semitism

  • May 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    As far as necessary, wanted to confirm your point of view. On top, being from Belgium and soccer-fan, quite often hearing anti-semitic chants in Belgian soccer stadiums as well. I personally disgust it and I can’t agree with this kind of insults being shouted, on the other hand, no it doesn’t mean all those fans are anti-semitic. They just have no idea. Which doesn’t pardon it.

    • October 30, 2013 at 8:46 am

      but dont you think that the very choice of the word “Jew” to use as an insult for your enemy, or for that matter, ‘Nigger” or “Towel Head” is a function of these soccor fans knowledge that there is this hated group. Just because they have never met a jew does not mean they dont hate jews. that is what judeoophobia is. for example, my mexican friend in california hates blacks, even though he has never had any personal dealings. he learned it from his culture. there is a lot of animosity towards blacks on the part of mexican americans and mexicans, its very strong. and there are almost no blacks in mexico and never have. (there are some on both coasts, but most mexicans never ever meet them.

  • May 29, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    The reason for this documentary is pretty simpe. ECONOMY and OLYMPICS.

    “Brits please do not travel to Poland but spend your money in London !”

    It is as obvious as it gets.

    • June 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

      If a football fan wants to come to Poland he will do. He isn’t going to go to the Olympics and there is no reason for a choice to be made.

      Suggesting that the program is about anything but Polish racism is a head in the sand attitude.

  • May 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Sorry Jamie, but I can’t agree with you when you make excuses like

    “The horrible, but simple, truth is that, when Polish hooligans label their enemies ‘Jewish,’ they are doing pretty much the same thing that the average, middle-class Brit is doing when he calls his friend’s trousers ‘a bit gay.’

    That’s not the truth, they use the term as an offensive one, not in joking terms. I’ve lived in Poland since 2002. I love the country and am very angry with the Panorama documentary, it tarred many decent Polish football fans with the same brush.

    • May 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

      I do not see it as an ‘excuse.’ I mean that when a the term ‘Jew’ is used in this context, it does not mean ‘of Jewish ethnicity’ any more than the term ‘a bit gay’ means ‘practicing homosexual.’

      As I say in the next paragraph, I do not regard this as harmless or desirable.

  • May 30, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Watching “deeply concerned foreigners” debating about Polish-Jewish relations is like watching my 70yo neighbours debating about fights in my garden between my 8yo son and my 10yo daughter…

  • May 30, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I honestly do not think it’s just idiots being idiots. There definitely is some of that: it’s obvious that a slavering, ranting, never-quite-sober football fan waving a flare and making monkey noises or shouting garbage about Jews isn’t sorting out the mysteries of particle physics as part of their day job. Honestly can anyone grow up in Poland, never more than a few hundred kilometers from Auschwitz, and not know that shouting “death to Jews” is perhaps a tiny bit wrong? The answer is that no, it’s not possible. They know it’s wrong, they know it’s shocking – this is exactly why they do it and they think it’s all fun and games because no one ever calls them on it. The clubs, the refs, PZPN, everyone tolerates it.

    Quite frankly, everyone should be disgusted. It’s disgusting behavior, after all.

    • May 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

      You’re right, it is absolutely disgusting, its totally wrong and extremely embarrassing. But the people featured in this documentary are the dregs of society. They are a minority. They are angry, troubled youth. They more than likely don’t have jobs, come from troubled backgrounds and they are angry and violent purely for the sake of being angry and violent. It’s obviously a big and important issue, but it’s not an overall reflection of polish people. The government needs to address these people and help them integrate into the rest of society. And maybe right now is the time to do it. Poland has faced so many other issues as a nation post ww2 and communism, resources have been spent in rebuilding the country – not dealing with troubled minorities.
      These people obviously don’t even KNOW what the symbols and chants mean. Because if they did, there is no WAY a polish person would be chanting them. Because it’s not just about jews, but all of those symbols once meant death to ALL poles eventually, not just the ones with jewish faith. These people are idiots. Every country has them, but in most countries such offensive behavior is more tightly controlled. In Poland, it hasn’t been because resources have been spent in other ways while this has been an issue which was ignored.

      • May 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm

        Kasia, as I said – can anyone go to school in Poland for any real length of time and not taught the horrors of the holocaust? Are we trying to say that they’ve somehow missed all of that? It’d be like an American having never been exposed to McDonald’s; it’s just inconcevable.

        • May 31, 2012 at 2:22 am


          I think one of the points that Kasia was trying to make was that these racists probably were not very attentive students at school. How many white Americans still use the term “nigger”. Did Americas very egalitarian education system not teach them that this is wrong? I feel outraged about this given Americas shameful history of enslaving and murdering people of African descent.

          • June 8, 2012 at 11:43 pm

            Very few white Americans say “nigger” in public places. The word is used by younger African-Americans as a way of reclaiming the language for themselves, I think, but this use has not moved beyond their community. If a person yelled “nigger” in a stadium they would be ejected — not only for the nuisance of their racist speech, but for their own safety. Unlike Poland or the Ukraine, the United States has a large population of minorities; they attend sporting events, and they will not tolerate verbal abuse.

        • June 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm

          So Brad, what you’re saying is, that you refuse to accept the FACT that this video shows a minority? Are you trying to say that it is a reflection of all polish people to an extent?
          Because its not really anything like an American kid never being exposed to mcdonald’s (but I am sure they exist, ie the Amish). That’s a dramatic and silly comment to make. You’re comparing constant corporate advertising to history. If these people didn’t care about school in general – what makes you think that they specifically cared when the teacher taught them about the holocaust?

          PS, you buying into this stupid bbc ‘documentary’/propaganda so blindly reminds me of a time in history….
          It was obviously made to try and keep English tourists at home during the 2012 olympics.

          • June 4, 2012 at 8:55 am

            Kasia your comment “It was obviously made to try and keep English tourists at home during the 2012 olympics”

            Are you really that stupid ? The olympics doesn’t require any anti Euro2012 football propaganda to fill its stadiums. What panoraram does is expose to the public wrong doing wherever it finds it.
            The programme showed that some Polish and Ukranian Football hooligans are racist thugs and that cannot be denied.
            I’ve lived in London for many years and Poland for a few and I can say that there are racists hooligans in both countries the difference seems to me is Britian takes on and locks up their hooligans.

        • June 6, 2012 at 11:16 am

          Brad, seriously? I’m Polish, I have Jewish roots and I went to school both in Poland and in the States. Of course we learn about the Holocaust in Poland. Of course we learn about WW2 in America. How much do you think the farmers’ children in Nebraska remember from these classes? How much do they understand? Do you think they care? Well, troubled kids in some parts of Poland certainly don’t. And I can’t stress ‘SOME parts’ strongly enough.

          Even though I am deeply disgusted with any and all anti-Semitic remarks, I think you don’t fully understand the background of this situation. Which, btw, does not mean I approve of the use of this kind of language anywhere and under any circumstances.

          • June 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

            Sylvia, what do you mean by “the background to the situation”? It sounds to me that you’re trying to make some kind of excuse for this obnoxious behaviour without explaining it.

      • May 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm

        I am absolutely ashamed of our BBC braordcasting this total rubbish about racism in Poland, I have spent a lot of time in Poland and found the people very friendly towards the British people, never mind Racism I have never seen a policeman arresting anybody on the streets of Krakow, Maybe the BBC should turn its attentions towards our night life in London and Manchester where on a regular basis there are people being beaten up by drunken yobs, I can not believe the BBC have done this and maybe your Polish TV would like to do a documentary of our crimes rates being so high.
        I have friends in Poland and I met them in Poland we both have worked together on Holocaust Issues to remind people of the Nazi’s, we all know the Nazi’s used their propaganda to their own advantage and maybe the BBC have a hidden agenda.
        I am shocked, my friend in Krakow is shocked and am sure all the lovely hard working Polish people who pay into our eceonomy are equally shocked.
        Very soon I will be visiting Poland and once more I CERTAINLY will not have any worries for my safety, I will go to my usual Hotel I stay in, my usual bars to sit and chill out, I will use your transport again and I will enjoy walkig down your safe streets without listening to Police sirens all night like we have to do in UK every evening.
        I have 4 weeks ago complained to the BBC jounalist who put out more negative comments about Poland and Krakow, I also asked him in my complaint did he have a problem with Jews as he seemed to put an emphasis on the fact there are Jews in Krakow living there lives normally.
        I will finish with positive words about Poland and my favourite City Krakow, I love your history, your people are so friendly, I love your trains , Taxis, Buses I also think the best Kababs in the world you only get in Krakow and I eat one from the same take away every time I am there, I also plan one day to go and watch Krakow FC play as I am a big football fan and a supporter of Liverpool FC.
        It would be lovely to see Poaland in the final of the euro 2012.
        You are welcome to pass my words to the BBC.
        Best Wishes

        • June 4, 2012 at 9:11 am

          John …. Panorama never suggested Polish people were racist. I also love Krakow and have spent alot of time their and never experienced and racism.
          The Panorama programme showed what went on at some polish football league matches and it was plain to anyone watching there was plenty of voilence.
          They also interviewed football fans who were proud to call themselves Nazi and happy to show off there hitler memorabilia.
          I live in a polish city and have seen people arrested on the street and heard plenty police sirens at night. This country while not having the cult of binge drinking seen weekly in the UK is no Utopian dreamland.

        • November 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm

          Thank you john for your comments, I too have lived in Poland with my son. We lived in Warsaw for three years. I had to come back to Autralia for personal reasons. When my son finishes Uni here in Australia we will be going back to Poland because he wants to study in Poland. Concerning the crime reate in Poland I too never witnessed any crime. Came back to Australia the Gold Coast and I here sirens, house robberies ect on a daily basis and this is a population of 350,000. In Australia rasism still exists.

    • May 30, 2012 at 9:07 am

      I wouldn’t argue that it isn’t wrong or shocking. My criticism is that the documentary didn’t adequately explain the fact that anti-Semitic terminology is used figuratively not literally in (most) Polish hooligan chants. No ultra actually believes that the guys on the other side of the pitch practice Judaism.

      I think this means that the prevalence of anti-Semitic terminology is the symptom of a lack of cultural sensitivity rather than of active, neo-Nazi beliefs.

      • May 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm

        Jamie, sure, but that’s the same as all curses and most derogatory insults. I don’t obviously believe that they eat excrement but that’s the insult I would be more than happy to label them with. No one would assume that I believe the sentiment is literally true, though.

        I don’t believe they think that everyone else is Jewish, merely that they think it is fine to be shouting that garbage. The fact that they are shouting it makes me (and the Panorama folks I guess) think, well, ipso facto. And, as I said, it’s not fine. That’s the issue and even if Panorama missed the forest for the trees, the fact that they highlighted the issue is better than if they hadn’t.

      • June 3, 2012 at 1:52 am

        how about the monkey noises? should the documentary have explained that when Pole make monkey noises at people of African descent that these monkey taunts are just some sort of dissociative, figurative jest that has no grounding in reality?

        in the United States there is a dying tradition of “dumb Polack” jokes (I think it is disappearing because Poland is largely off of the registry in the US, thus people don’t take the time to even crack jokes about Poles anymore). this is the reason that I know that “Polack” is a derogatory term. it is a reference to a supposed inferior and numb-skulled eastern European. it is a generic term also – encompassing all Poles. only a rare idiot would pretend that “Polack” is not a term used to deride and demean.

        this whole issue makes me remember the years I spent in Europe. Europe is the land of white people and Europeans carry themselves with the privilege that goes with that. there is no excuse for the type of behavior exposed by the documentary and being offended by such exposure is all too typical a European reaction – rather than confronting it and pushing for change, the Poles would rather take offense and pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

        • June 3, 2012 at 2:07 am

          Points very well taken “pwedz”. Racist behaviour towards Poles, Blacks, Jews or Jews in a public venue like a football stadium is inexcusable period. It should be punished by the strictest penalties the law allows. End of story.

  • May 30, 2012 at 1:58 am

    I have to agree with Simon that the way the term is used is definitely offensive. Also Jamie, where were you when ONR were swarming all over Kraków? These guys couldn’t be any closer to being neo-Nazi if they tried.

    Personally I am disgusted that such an organisation is allowed to exist in Poland and they’re allowed to get away with acting like this. My father fought on the Western Front during WW2, my uncles were used as slave labour and 2 of my aunts were nurses for the AK during the Warsaw Uprising. These people from ONR giving the Nazi salutes would have been shot as traitors by the AK during WW2 yet they have the cheek to steal the logo of the AK to display it amongst their hate symbols like the falanga and their celtic cross.

    It is on the football terraces that ONR do a lot of their recruiting, mirroring the recruitment tactics of the National Front and the British Movement who did the same in England and Wales in the 70s & 80s. Don’t get me wrong, I am as disgusted by the Panorama programme as any Pole because the problem isn’t as big as Panorama would have you believe but unfortunately you have to admit there is a problem and it will grow unless the authorities clamp down on it very hard. The BBC have gone looking for a story about racism and found enough evidence to make their piece of holier than thou propaganda and also the organisation Hope Not Hate have mocked up a photo of a crowd supposedly at a Polish national team game to suggest that displaying neo Nazi insignia is a common occurrence.

    I sincerely hope that the Polish public will show the world that we can hold a major event and that trouble will not occurr. Of course the BBC won’t report that but you know they will blow up even the smallest incident out of all proportion.

    • May 30, 2012 at 9:12 am

      I think we agree that the documentary exaggerated the problem, which is disappointing from the BBC.

      I acknowledge in this piece that there are genuine neo-Nazis in Poland. My criticism is that the footage did not establish that they are common or widespread.

      • June 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

        Could you eplain where exactly did Panorama exaggerate the problem ??

  • May 30, 2012 at 3:25 am

    I find your explanation a little naive and wishful. Let’s not kid ourselves. There is a lingering image of “Jews” as an anti-Polish archetype within the general society. The Kielce pogrom in 1946, the expulsion of Polish Jews after the so-called “March Events” in 1968 and even the publication of the notorious Warsaw calendar in 2012 (,anti-semitic-prewar-poster-promotes-warsaw/) emerged from somewhere. The footballers anti-Semitism, like Radio Maryja’s is merely a manifestation of that.

    • May 30, 2012 at 3:59 am

      The Kielce “pogrom” was instigated and carried out by Communist agents provocateurs and the 1968 expulsions were also carried out by the puppet Communist governemnt on the orders of the Kremlin supposedly in retaliation against the Israelis attacking Russia’s allies in the Middle East. As for the poster, I read many people commenting that Poland has never come to terms with its “anti Semitic past” (If Poland was THAT anti Semitic then why was Poland home to the largest population of Jewish people in Europe at that time) yet here we have a historic poster depicting an example of pre-war anti Semitism being included in a modern calendar and still there’s criticism. So what do you want Poland to do? Deal with these small pockets of anti Semitism of simply brush them under the carpet and pretend they aren’t there? You can’t have it both ways.

      • May 30, 2012 at 5:24 am

        Your statement that the Kielce Pogrom was carried out by Communist provocateurs is rubbish. Jan Tomasz Gross makes that abundantly clear in “Fear”. The true reason behind the Kielce Pogrom was a generalized fear among certain Poles fears that returning Jews would want to reclaim their abandoned property. The scapegoating of Jews in 1968 (the tiniest of minorities) could never have happened had there been a strong national consensus against the targeting of Jews as the objects of State sponsored slander. The reprinting of a grossly indecent and insanely anti-Semetic poster in a current publication displays either a profound lack of intelligence or good taste or something far more nefarious. The fact that millions of Jews lived in Poland before the war proves nothing about the dramatic rise of Polish anti-Semitism after the death of Pilsudski. Please Stan, give me better arguments than that!

        • May 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

          OK, dear Brits, now listen.

          You know NOTHING about Polish Jewish relations. Absolutely NOTHING. Just like my neighbour knows nothing about the relationship between my children.

          So please choose your words more carefully if you want to be taken seriously. Quoting sociologist Jan Tomasz Gross (an absolute joke in the eyes of most historians…like N.Davies for example) won’t make your statements better. Gross is trying to make money, that’s all. His books are like yellow press, nothing more.

          Poles and Jews lived for ~1000 yrs together. Millions of current Poles have Jewish genes/and vice versa. Poland was a paradise for the Jewish culture (food, music, arts) and religion (hasidism for example). It was Poland where most of prominent Jews came from. Also most of current Brits with Jewish roots. When the IIWW started, it was a Polish Jew Szpilman who played piano on the Polish radio in Warsaw. This is how “antisemitic” Poland was after Pilsudskis death. Too bad other european Nations (UK, USA, FR) were not as “antisemitic” as Poland and Poles (Jan Karski) back then. Too bad other nations did not create Maybe you do not know it dear Brits, but Jews learned in Poland how to fight against YOU . Because it was YOU who did not want a Jewish state, and forced many Jews to stay in Europe and die during the holocaust.

          And now all those western (colonioal) nations (with blood on their fingers) try to teach Poland how to behave . WHAT A JOKE !

          Here read, what a Polish Jew Eli Barbur thinks about You Brits, and your BBC documentary

          maybe then you will realize that you should not stick you nose in the Polish-Jewish realtions, because Poles and Jews are like brothers and sisters, they hate eachother very often, but they will NEVER hurt each other on purpose. And that’s whay in the history of Poland much much more Poles than Jews were killed by other Poles.

          • May 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

            And here is something about Poles and Blacks.

            “When he was leaving America after a visit in 1798 during which he collected back pay, Kościuszko wrote a last will, naming Thomas Jefferson the executor and leaving his property and money in America to be used to buy the freedom of black slaves, including Jefferson’s, and to educate them for independent life and work. Although he died in 1817, Jefferson refused to act.”


            “However, when the Poles realized that the campaign has very little to do with liberating and is actually about enslaving people fighting for their rights, they refused, deserted and in many cases joined the slave army.”


            Want more ?

            Poles fought against the Brits back then. And rightfully so. You, like the Germans were on the wrong side of the history.

          • May 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm

            Dear “Pole”

            You are all over the place and your references are not credible. Jan Tomasz Gross teaches at Princeton,, hardly the scholarly retreat for yellow journalists.

            Pre-war Poland was a cesspool of anti-Semitism after 1935, with a numerous clausus at every Polish university. Jews were required to stand at the back of the lecture halls, hardly the case at Oxford or Cambridge,. During the war, the szmalcowniki (those Poles who blackmailed Jews for money) operated across the national territory, Of course, there were brave, gallant Poles who protected and hid Jews at enormous risks to themselves and to their families. They were truly noble people whose memories shall never be forgotten. But they were surpassed by the overwhelming number of Poles who were at the very least indifferent, if not proactive in their support of Nazi style anti-Semitism. The greatest fear a Jew who survived on Polish territory during the war was not the Nazis (who didn’t have the slightest idea of what a Polish Jew looked like if he or she was not traditionally dressed) as muchas his fellow citizens who would gleefully denounce a Jew to the Germans for pleasure if not for money.
            Of course, you may think that Jedwabne was also a “Jewish plot” but then why did Polish President Komorowski beg forgiveness for this tragic event several years ago? I suppose you think that journalist Anna Bikont, the 2011 winner of the European Book Prize for “The Crime and the Silence” documenting other Polish crimes against Jews in the Jedwabne area is also a yellow journalist and a liar too.

            I guess all of Europe must be duped by the innate knowledge you have that non-Poles could never understand.

            My dear friend, spare us your passionate but grossly inaccurate lectures. Get your facts straight. And let’s have a broad, honest and open discussion about the Poles and anti-Semitism, before the war, during the war, after the war under the Communist regime and now in the post-Solidarity era including those fascio/skinhead monsters at the football pitch.

          • May 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm

            Eric Scott, Jan T Gross has an anti Polish agenda and distorts events for his own purposes. If Poland was such a cess pool of anti Semitism then why were Jews leaving Germany to come and live in Poland? Could it be they were denied entry into every other European country at the time? Also barred from entering the USA? Did Poland turn them away? No! Just like Poland was a refuge from English, French, Spanish pogroms throughout history and every other country that threw them out, Poland welcomed them.

            Oh yes, I knew you would bring out Jedwabne. Well none other than Alexander B. Rossino, historian at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C wrote in 2003 “During the initial investigation of 1964, German investigator Opitz in Ludwigsburg, Germany, concluded that Hauptsturmfuerer Hermann Schaper’s Einsatskommando conducted the mass execution of Jews in Jedwabne. The evidence collected by the West Germans, including the positive identification of [Hauptsturmfuehrer Herman] Schaper by witnesses from Łomża, Tykocin, and Radziłów, suggested that it was indeed Schaper’s men who carried out the killings in those locations. Investigators also suspected, based on the similarity of the methods used to destroy the Jewish communities of Radziłów, Tykocin, Rutki, Zambrów, Jedwabne, Piątnica, and Wizna between July and September 1941 that Schaper’s men were the perpetrators… The method used to kill the Jews of Jedwabne was exactly the same that had been employed by the Gestapo [Einsatsgrupen] to kill the Jews of Radzilow only three days earlier.”

            So when you want to talk about facts come back when you have an open mind. Your comment “But they were surpassed by the overwhelming number of Poles who were at the very least indifferent, if not proactive in their support of Nazi style anti-Semitism” condemns you for the anti Polish bigot you are.

          • May 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm

            My dear unnamed “Pole”,

            Strange that you will not reveal your name? What are you scared of? It’s an easy and cheap shot to call me an anti-Polish bigot which I most definitely am not, although it appears to give you great comfort to say so and to think so.

            Bottom line, I guess Polish President Kwasniewski was hoodwinked too along with all the other gullible people in the West who believed that the SS perpetrated the massacres in Jedwabne. He must have been a terrible fool to apologize in the name of Poland and Poles for a massacre that Poles did not commit. I guess Anna Bikont was lying outright as well when she wrote her book and was awarded the European Book prize in 2011 detailing local Polish involvement in the massacre at Radzilow. I guess all those witnesses were lying too when they told Ms. Bikont that they saw with their own eyes how local villagers murdered their Jewish neighbours. You seem to find defamers and liars everywhere don’t you, my dear anonymous “Pole”. It’s all a terrible conspiracy isn’t it against the “Jesus of nations”?

            Strange that you confuse the true nobility of Kazimiersz welcoming the Jews to Poland with the abominable behaviour of Polish authorities at Zabszyn in 1938. In October 1938 Nazi Germany decided to expel those German Jews who did not hold German citizenship or had it taken away, and who originally hailed from Poland. The Nazis were reacting to a Polish decree which was to take away the Polish citizenship of Jews living outside the country, including those in Germany. (I wonder why?) A few days before that decree was to come into force, 17,000 German Jews that were or could be considered to be citizens of Poland were rounded up and unceremoniously dumped on the Polish border at Zbąszyń and other border towns. The Polish government in turn refused to admit those of them who did not hold valid Polish passports. I guess this is wonderful example of Poland’s pre-Word War II ( post Pilsudski) philo-Semitism, generosity and decency you’re talking about.

            Please my friend, spare me the coverups, the illogical conclusions if not the outright distortions of the facts, although obviously you get great comfort from them.

            Perhaps what bugs you the most is that I truly don’t hate Poland or Poles in the least. Twice I’ve been an invited guest to your country. I find Poland, its culture and its people to be most hospitable, talented and charming, aside from idiots like you who seek every kind of avenue, no matter how distorted it may be, to escape the truth of Poland’s past and its uncomfortable echos in the present.

          • May 31, 2012 at 3:44 am

            Eric Scott, Gross is not a scholar by any scientific standards. You might want to question your judgment on Polish-Jewish relations if all you can source is that “scholar”, who is vehemently anti-Polish to begin with. Take a jog down to your local library for your own sake and perhaps delve into some books that have a more straightened agenda. If you quote Gross in any academic circles you will undoubtedly be laughed at.

          • May 31, 2012 at 4:36 am

            Dear Brian, Your characterization of JT Gross as being “anti Polish” is obscene, laughable and pathetic. Princeton University, Gross’s academic affiliation belongs among the most prestigious scholarly institutions of the world. It was the former host of Albert Einstein. What exactly does a “straightened agenda” mean? Why can’t you argue substantively?

        • January 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm

          Eric…I’m quite moved by all that you have to say. You are obviously knowledgeable and educated on the subject of the Jewish experience in Poland. My own studies have led me to the same conclusions as have yours. Please contact me so that we may discuss some of this further.

          • January 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm

            Emory, kindly get in touch with me through the editor of the Krakow Post. For obvious reasons, I prefer not to publicize my coordinates on this web site.

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  • May 30, 2012 at 5:31 am

    “The… truth is that, when Polish hooligans label their enemies ‘Jewish,’ they are doing pretty much the same thing that the average, middle-class Brit is doing when he calls his friend’s trousers ‘a bit gay.'”

    Um, yeah… maybe if you just substitute the phrase “pretty much” with “not at all”. And not that using ‘gay’ as an insult is even OK… but I think the first scenario you mention might be better compared to a militant crowd of “average middle-class Brits” angrily shouting violent anti-gay slogans at their opponents…

    I think the documentary deals with very real and important issues, which I admire them for having had the courage to document. I can see how you feel they may have exaggerated the problem, but that’s far better than ignoring or downplaying it. I hope the film achieves its goal of pushing authorities and organizers to take a zero-tolerance stance towards racism at the matches.

    • May 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

      Nothing in the documentary was untrue, but I do think it used the material in an alarmist and misleading way. Stadium Out of Control would have been a more accurate, if less catchy, title.

      • May 30, 2012 at 10:49 am

        It was a sensationalist report Jamie. I agree with you. Nonetheless I find it bizarre in the extreme that such powerful anti-Semitic imagery and archetypes find a place in a country that is essentially empty of Jews.

        • May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

          I think that’s the critical point. As I said, modern Poland has very little understanding of Jewish culture because there isn’t any (bar tiny exceptions such as the JCC in Krakow). The idea of the ‘Jew’ has become an abstract symbol from the past that the people who use this terminology do not think of as real.

          • May 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm

            Jamie, in 1968 Poland underwent the so called “March Events”. I won’t go into details here but you can easily check it out. Essentially Poland’s prewar Jewish population was approximately 3.4 million. By the time 1968 rolled around, less than 100,000 Jews remained in the country. However, the Communist government at the time (again for reasons I will not describe here) launched an anti-Semitic campaign blaming Poland’s ills on “the Jews”. The government forced the migration of approximately 75,000 Jews after dismissing them from their jobs, their places at the universities. They were forced into exile and their property was seized by the state. A Jew was as much an “abstract symbol” in 1968 as today. The point is that this “abstract symbol” is as potent as it ever was in some quarters. Google “Radio Maryja” if you think I am wrong.

  • May 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    That documentary sparked a lot´s of emotions through the world wide web. Anyway, what is scary it is not Polad but Ukraine. Poland is getting more and more civilised by the time. And, hooligans are hooligans. Even british hooligans went through the different “levels” of socializations. And it takes few years and few dead on football stadiums in UK. But Ukraine is different cup of cofee. Tha was .. rough. But, I ´ve had feeling, that everything looked so well timed. Especially, when the journalist was standing between fans on Metal stadium. Then, exactly in same place fight begun and so on. Probably, Iam just too paranoic … wasn´t there also another issue goes behind? To harm image of Ukraine, rulling politics – that they are not able to “clean up” mess ?? I don´t know .. probably it is bullshit, but don´t forget, Ukraine election is in october 2012, and wilde election campaing already going on..

    • May 30, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      So according to Tomas Poland is getting “more and more civilised”. More and more civilised compared to the epicentre of civilisation that is England? Should I mention the recent riots which showed just how civilised England is. Having grown up in one of Englands colonies (Sydney, Australia) and spent the last 4 Summers in Krakow I can definitely tell you that I felt much safer walking through the streets of Krakow than Oxford Street in Sydney on a Saturday night. The majority of drunks that I saw on the streets in Krakow were actually British tourists.

      Having seen parts of the BBC documentary I definitely feel proud of Australias public broadcaster the ABC. I am very sure that the sort of tabloid trash that appeared on the BBC would not be shown on the ABC.

      The fact is that these hooligans are a minority and do not represent the beliefs of the vast majority of Polish citizens. The fact that Poland has not taken them seriously enough may have something to do with the fact that there were other objectives such as modernising the economy, health, education after 50 years of Russian occupation.

      Perhaps the country does not have as guilty a conscience as other European countries with regards to its treatment of Jewish people. Given their history you would expect countries such as Germany, Switzerland or France to be very vigilant towards anti-semitism just as you would expect England to be very vigilant against ant-african sentiment.

      I hear that Russia is hosting a big football tournament in the near future. I look forward to a BBC documentary on that country. Or is Britain too dependent on Russian oil?

      • June 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        UK isn’t dependant on Russian oil at all.

  • May 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    We’ve been hearing about Eastern Europe xenophobia for decades now, similar to stuff we saw in Western Europe in the 1970s and 80s. Obviously they have not evolved yet. All that racism and hatred against blacks and Asians in countries where there are virtually no colored immigrants walking in the streets. But then again there is all this hatred against Jews, and there are no jews. And the writer still comes with excuses. Put yourself on the shoes of those black people or Indian students shown in the program for once. It’s disgusting and outrageous.

    • May 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      “Put yourself on the shoes of those black people or Indian students shown in the program for once. It’s disgusting and outrageous.”

      Poles do not owe Blacks and Indians ANYTHING. Poles did not enslave and kill them centuries ago like the Brits. And poles still respect them and help them if necessary. For example with cheap education…ask Richard Mbewe for example.

      And here check this out

      brilliant summary.

      • May 30, 2012 at 7:26 pm

        Poles owe everyone the same basic human rights that they themselves have and hold dear. If you are Catholic (or Christian in general), there’s quite a lot your holy book says about treating your fellow man but I don’t think that hurling verbal abuse or beating the hell out of them for being the wrong skin colour is anywhere in it.

        Oh and BTW: the “you’re a foreigner so you can’t understand” rhetoric is old, tired, and lazy. At what point do us foreigners get to voice our opinions? When we pay taxes? When we have visas from the Polish government? When we have Polish citizenship?

        On the flip-side: do you feel that Poles in the UK shouldn’t be allowed to speak out about the ills of British society?

        • May 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm

          No it is not “old, tired, and lazy”.

          What You dear Anglo Saxons show way too often is a missionarian attitude/reflex towards countries like Poland.

          You leave your beautyful Island, go to an other country and try to teach local people how to behave and what to think about themselves. And you do it since centuries.

          Please be a little bit more curious and less bossy. Poland is a little bit more complicated, than a J.T.Gross book and a graffiti on a wall. And the Polish history is also a little bit more complicated than a James Bond “from Russia with Love” movie.

          And last but not least, please talk about facts and not about stereotypes. Please show us how % many foreigners and non catholic were insulted, hurt or killed in Poland compared to other countries. And show us a prominent Pole doing this

          and this

          You won’t find any. And do you know why ? because Polish families met a German Nazi not only in a cinema….

        • May 31, 2012 at 12:30 am

          I think if Brad knew a little more about European history he would realise that Poland has been a haven for people of all races for centuries. If the Poles were such racists why did it have the biggest proportion of Jews and Gypsies in Europe,
          because the Poles have always been more accepting of other cultures than virtually any other European society.

          Was it not the USA that turned back boatloads of Jewish refugees from Europe before WW2? Lets have a look at the treatment of Arabs in America today or the treatment of Palestinians by Israel?

          The fact that Poland is 99% Polish (probably quite a bit of Jewish roots in there as well) is hardly an indication of racism. It is due to the fact that most minorities were wiped out by those civilised western Europeans – the Germans and the others were expelled or murdered by the Soviets. The Poland that I saw after 25 years of absence is trying its best to put its tragic recent past behind and build a tolerant society. A task at which by most accounts (read UN HDI) it is doing very well at. Do not forget that the Germans and Russians killed as many if not more Catholic Poles as Jewish Poles.

          I ask all those concerned “westerners” to please take a look at your own societies. I think you will find that you have a LOT more to be ashamed of than a bunch of lunatic football holligans.


          • May 31, 2012 at 1:52 am

            You’re simplifying matters way too much Matthew. Poland’s virtual disappearance from the European map led to ethnic nationalism of the most virulent kind in the late 19th and 20th century, leading up to the Second World War.

            The Endecja movement (Narodowa Demokracja) and the Liga Narodowa fervently embraced anti-Semitism and turned against all other ethnic minorities including Gypsies residing in Polish lands..Simultaneously the ND aimed at excluding Jews from Polish social and economic life and ultimately at pushing them to emigrate from Poland (Zydi do Palestina) Antisemitic actions and incidents – boycotts, demonstrations, even attacks – organized or inspired by National Democrats occurred during the 1930s. The most notorious actions were taken by a splinter group of radical young former NDs who formed the fascist-inspired National Radical Camp (Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny).

            True, 3 million Polish Catholics died under the Nazi occupation as did 3 million Jews. But you fail to make the distinction that EVERY Polish Jew was a Nazi target for extermination while this was not the case for EVERY Pole. Indeed the Germans’ propaganda department played upon Polish anti-Semitism as a means to make inroads within the Polish general population.
            Professor Jan Grabowski researched this specific topic in depth (

            Whether or not Western societies have a lot to be ashamed of is immaterial. This is not the subject at hand. Ethonocentric, xenophobic anti-Semitic elements within Polish society today is what we are talking about. Radio Maryja a station that claims it has “millions of listeners”; is actually listened to 1.2 million people daily or well over 10% of adults in Poland. Critics argue that the station is vehemently anti-Semitic, homophobic, xenophobic and generally anti-Republican.( In most Western countries a radio station of this ilk would not be allowed to exist!

            Matthew, the hate on the football pitch did not emerge from a vacuum. Perhaps we should try to understand the phenomenon instead of defensively telling Westerners to look into their own dark closets.

  • May 31, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Dear “Pole”

    You are all over the place and your references are not credible. Jan Tomasz Gross teaches at Princeton,, hardly the scholarly retreat for yellow journalists.


    Dear Eric Scott

    Jan Tomasz Gross teaches at Princeton as a SOCIOLOGIST.

    Some sociologists paint landscapes, others write fairytales or rock songs and Jan Gross writes so called “history” books. If you like them, fine, but they have zero value (ask Norman Davies) and should not be used in serious debates about historic facts. Gross writes them to make money, that’s all. And Polish politicians could not care less about it, that’s why they do not protest. Poland has(had) more important things to do than arguing about Jedwabne, Gross, or some British bigots who have no clue about this country.

    • May 31, 2012 at 3:09 am

      My dear “Pole”,

      Sadly you reveal yourself as an ignoramus. A simple check of the Princeton University website will show you that Professor Jan Tomasz Gross is the Tomlinson Professor of History ( not sociology as you incorrectly state. Again, I wonder why former Polish
      President Kwasniecki found time in his busy schedule to come to Jedwabne
      and make a speech to apologize for the behaviour of his fellow countrymen.

      I guess the former president of Poland thought a little differently than you and found the matter of Jedwabne important enough to address it squarely.
      Pity that all you can do is call me a British bigot when (once again showing your profound ignorance) I am neither.

      Oh, I’m sorry. I guess only people who think like you have a clue about Poland. Forgive me.

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  • May 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    If you were looking for a professional footballer to give a level-headed assessment of the risks, Sol Campbell would NOT be the person you would turn to. He is a highly emotional person who almost certainly suffered a mantal breakdown in recent years. He’s not quite David Icke, but you see where I am going with this….

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  • June 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

    The fella who they interviewed in Ukraine did himself no favours by saying that the fans doing the hitler salute were merely pointing in the direction of the opposing fans…didnt really look like that on CAMERA. He also stated that there were no problems in their stadiums, even after being shown footage of fans beating their own supporters (Indians) in the stadium during a game, and no-one stopped this.
    You dont see this kind of behaviour in English stadiums anymore, if you do, the fan/s are quickly ejected/arrested and banned, so I can appreciate that many people will be shocked to see this kind of stuff happening.

  • June 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for your concern regarding the country of Poland.
    You have not quite stated your origins so I will hazard a guess that they are American or British.
    In which case I will show my concern about the racial history of both nations.
    Poland you see is a democracy like the US purports to be, thus people have a right to express opinions no matter how distasteful they might be. Radio Maryja are a bunch of religious crackpots, are they any bigger xenophobes than some elements of American society? Did they defend South Africas Apartheid system like Britan did? Has Poland expelled the Jews like the English prior to WW2? Did Poland turn back boatloads of desperate Jewish refugees like America? Have I mentioned the Ku Klux Klan. Is that organisation not legal? Was the KKK not lynching African Americans as recently as the 1970’s? What about the centuries of persecution of the Irish and other Celtic peoples by the Anglo Saxon English. Have the English not been successful in nearly wiping out the Gaelic language. How may Irish citizens speak their native tongue? I don’t think we should forget the attempted genocide by the English of the Irish people. In Australia where the Celts represent 30-40% of the population it was only in the 1990’s that an Irish Catholic was first elected as Prime Minister, such has been the entrenched racism shown in the country towards people of Irish descent.

    The fact is that anyone from an Anglo/ English/ American background has as much right to lecture Poland on their history of racial tolerance as an alcoholic has on abstinence. Polands record of racial tolerance is far ahead of that of America or Britain. It was Kosciuszko when fighting in the American war of independence who let his abhorrence of Slavery in America be known. He in fact gave up his American Estate to help free the African slaves. Jefferson ofcourse would have none of that because Americas wealth has been built on the subjugation of non-European people.

    David Frumm a prominent Jewish American is outraged for what he sees as a sin against history. The popular misconception since WWII, he argues, is that life for Jews in Poland before the Nazis was harsh and oppressive. That’s not entirely true, says Frum, who is Jewish and whose family emigrated from Poland before the war.
    “Polish Jews owned factories, shops and country houses. There were Jewish chaplains in the Polish Army. (The head chaplain was murdered by the Soviets in the Katyn Forest, alongside his brother officers.) That story needs to be rediscovered too, and since 1989, it has been,” Frum wrote.

  • June 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm


    You are not addressing the issue at hand. The point is that every nation has dark chapters in its past. Any discussion of moral equivalency is absurd. No nation can change its past. But we can change what we do today. Whether or not Radio Maryja is run by religious crackpots is also besides the point. The fact is that it is a radio station operating under license from the Polish government that has ultimate control over what gets transmitted over the airwaves. In any civilized progressive country, preaching ethnic or religious or ethnic intolerance over the air is considered to be a hate crime and is explicitly forbidden.. Unfortunately this is not the case in Poland. On top of that, the station draws a rather large audience and professes itself to speak in the name of the Catholic church. This is problematic as leads the Church open to charges of bigotry.

    I will not argue with you about David Frumm’s rosy history of Jewish life in Poland, especially during the last century. That too is beyond the context of this discussion.

    What we are talking about are blatant, deeply offensive, xenophobic, racist anti-Semitic manifestations at public football games in Poland that State authorities have done little to suppress. I guarantee you that were such openly and overtly obnoxious, racist chants and banners displayed on a continuous basis in any other OECD country which includes North America and the European Union, local authorities would do everything in their power to assure that the situation would not continue.

  • June 1, 2012 at 3:26 pm


    The reason why I am raising the issue of Radio Maryja here is because I believe that hate does not appear out of a vacuum. When there’s radio station operating under license by the Polish government spewing anti-Semitic venom to a significant number of listeners, this is an issue that should be addressed. By the State allowing the station to encourage anti-Semitic hate, this could only encourage the overtly anti-Semetic behaviours on the football pitch.

  • June 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    beautiful British propaganda in the Soviet style. As for me, the message is clear do not fly to the euro in 2012, spend money at the Olympics in London, where it is safer not have bombings and riots in the streets where residents set fire to their own city and rob their neighbors.. BTW 500 000 British visit Poland every year not even one have reported a racist incident in Poland… 43,426 incidents of racism were recorded in 2009 in United Kingdom where in the same year in Poland 209 cases of race related crimes were recorded…..

  • June 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    You are entirely missing the point entirely. The subject at hand is not urban violence in British cities versus in Polish cities. The UK is a multi-racial and multi-cultural society. Poland is not. Indeed many, many thousands of Poles have opted join multi-racial and multi-ethnic Britain, mainly to seek work. It has not been the other way around. Poland remains an ethnically monolithic society. There are virtually no large groups of racial or ethnic minorities residing in Poland. Poland’s Jews, once 10% of the population (3.5 million of them) have been reduced to less than 20,000.

    But let me not digress. The subject at hand is public anti-Semitic demonstrations at Polish football pitches and what Polish authorities are doing or not doing about it.

    • June 1, 2012 at 7:32 pm

      Poland is ethnically monolithic thanks to Britain’s friend Stalin who changed our borders and expelled everyone who wasn’t Polish. Poland was once one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world but all that changed once britain betrayed Poland and handed us over to one of our most hated enemies who then kept us isolated from the rest of the world for another 45 years.

      This multi-racial and multi-ethnic Britain you talk of, is this the one with the racist EDL who protest on the streets of Britain protected by the police every weekend? Why do your police not stop these overt displays of racial hatred from occuring? Is this some kind of state protected racist and religious bigotry?

      Could you please tell me about the absence of anti-Semitism in the UK because one of your main newspapers seems to think you have a bit of a problem.

      People in glass houses should not throw stones.

    • June 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      I agree with your points but basis of racism is hatred, if it is no different between 2 football fans or different cultures it is all hatred in its make up, Liverpool FC and Manchester United fans sing songs relating to Past history like the death of Bill Shankly who was one of the best managers in football history but not respected by Manchester united fans, then we have Liverpool FC fans singing about the Manchester united air disaster in Munich 1958, before these songs and the beginning of the matches at home and away, BOTH clubs put out over the loud speakers informing the fans Racism will not be tolerated in a persons Race, Sexual orientation, or religious beliefs then minutes later at kick off both fans hurl verbal insults at each other referring to Bill Shankly’s death and the lives lost at Munich 1958.
      All this is still hatred, hurtful with intent to insult with total disrespect, then one can go into Manchester city or Liverpool and people are assaulted after drinking to much in the after match celebrations.
      I think the whole world has not learned enough from the Holocaust, not many practice what we all should preach.
      Will it ever change?
      John UK

  • June 1, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    You’re being a little disingenuous here, my friend. Poland’s expulsion of Germans from lands that were German for centuries if not a millennium and Poland’s expulsion of its Ukrainian minority had nothing to do with Stalin. This ethic cleansing had a lot to do with a desire for revenge against the Germans and a resentment against Poland’s Ukrainian minority. Anyway, we digress and are going off topic.

    However distasteful I may find it, I have no objection against skinheads, EDLs, KKKs, Nazis or ethnocentric nationalists of any nationality parading in public streets, as long as they obey the law, which prevents the use of incitement through hate speech or more importantly overt violence. I believe in free speech and the right to express one’s opinion, however disgusted I may be with the ideas expressed.

    I do have a problem when idiots of this ilk take their evil passions to a public venue like a football stadium, essentially a private/public venue open to anyone willing to pay the price of admission, spew their venom and physically threaten any individual’s personal security.

    To a large extent, the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents within the UK can be attributed to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and to Muslim supporters of the Palestinians, a significant population in today’s multi-ethnic Britain. Such virulent anti-Israel sentiments are also present in Poland, most significantly among some members of Poland’s intelligentsia. Alas, there are no Muslim emigrant communities in Poland, so there is no echo of the same anti-Israel phenomenon coming from that quarter, Instead we have people who come organized to football pitches with banners proclaiming “Death to the Hooked Noses” with caricatures that would do Julius Streicher and “Der Stürmer” proud. They threaten physical violence and the Polish authorities do nothing about it, It’s not quite the same thing and you know it.

    • June 1, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      You miss my point, EDUCATION is the key to it all, Humanity just has not and will not learn from our sad history especially in the Holocaust and Isreal and Palastine, if people where educated we would not have to make paying into a football match to spew out hatred an option, as this evil would not excist, because we can all have an education from our chozen peaceful beliefs if at all possible but we could try!

    • June 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      “In one incident in Salford, three Jewish school pupils were walking home from school when two white men drove past. The driver of the car shouted, “Dirty Jew” and the passenger threw a lit firework at the group.”

      “Poland’s expulsion of Germans from lands that were German for centuries if not a millennium and Poland’s expulsion of its Ukrainian minority had nothing to do with Stalin.” Really? So the expulsion of Poles from Kresy was at whose instigation? The man in the moon? Who was it that changed the Polish borders? Who was it that rubber stamped these changes? Like I said before, your anti Polish bigotry is shining through loud and clear every time you post and I don’t care how many times you are invited to Poland in whatever imaginary capacity you claim, your statements here prove what you are.

      Me being disingenuous? So you think groups of “British patriots” chanting “Allah is a paedo”, burning the Koran and dressing up likes pigs in towns with large Muslim populations is not “incitement through hate speech or more importantly overt violence.” And what more of a public place is there than a town centre street where they “spew their venom and physically threaten any individual’s personal security.” because you know and I know that if the police were not present then these idiots would cause mayhem every time they congregated.

      Get your own house in order before you comment on someone else’s.

      • June 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        “Get your own house in order before you comment on someone else’s.”

        Why? there is no connection with the UK.

        • June 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

          Peter, you are presenting an argument for censorship or for self-censorship. Do you believe that the response criticism of any nation’s policies should be “Get your own house in order”? I don’t think so.

  • June 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    John, I agree with you wholeheartedly. You are absolutely right. E.

  • June 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Stan, the expulsion of Germans from the Western part of post-1945 Poland was Poland’s choice as was the expulsion of the Ukrainians in those same years. I am no defender of Stalin and I am no minimizer of the horrific suffering that Poles underwent during the war. I am also fully aware that the number of Poles with trees along the Avenue of the Righteous at Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Authority) surpass those of any other nation. This is even more astonishing when one considers how the Germans treated any Pole and his/her family who harboured a Jew.

    But there is another side to the Polish story, before, during and after the Second World War which you dear Stan, do not wish to address explicitly,

    Whether or not you wish to consider me a bigot is your problem, not mine.
    Any reader can check the facts behind any of the issues I have raised and draw his or her own conclusions.

    • June 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Poland did not have any choice because Poland was under the yoke of Stalinist Russia and remained so until 1989. It was under Stalin’s order that the Poland within the borders as drawn up by himself and rubber stamped by your government and that of the USA would be an ethnically pure Polish state.

      And please do not try and deflect your prejudices and historical revisionism by claiming I do not want to address hard issues. I am well aware that Poland is not nor was ever perfect like some kind of Garden of Eden, but it was never the pit of depravity either as you would have us believe. The English have their own darkside which they try to hide and have even gone out of their way to destroy the evidence too so as I said before and I will say again, get your own house in order first.

    • June 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Eric Scott, could you please bring any serious source to back up your statement: “the expulsion of Germans from the Western part of post-1945 Poland was Poland’s choice”?

      Thank you!

      • June 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm

        Sylwia, I’m skating on thin ice here. I am not an historian. Nonetheless, I draw your attention to this Wikipedia article where this matter is discussed in some depth:

        “At the Potsdam Conference (17 July – 2 August 1945) the territory to the east of the Oder-Neisse line was assigned to Polish and Soviet Union administration pending the Final Peace Treaty. All Germans had their property confiscated and were placed under restrictive jurisdiction.[100][103] The Silesian voivode Aleksander Zawadzki in part expropriated the property of the German Silesians already on 26 January 1945, another decree of 2 March expropriated that of all Germans east of the Oder and Neisse, and a subsequent decree of 6 May declared all “abandoned” property as belonging to the Polish state.[104] Additionally, Germans were not permitted to own Polish currency, the only legal currency since July, other than earnings from work assigned to them.[105] The remaining population was de facto deprived of all civil rights, and faced theft and looting and also in some instances rape and murder by the Polish militia, in addition to similar acts by criminal gangs that were neither prevented nor prosecuted by the Polish militia and judiciary.[106]

        In mid 1945 4.5 to 4.6 million Germans were on Polish territory, by the beginning of 1946 550,000 Germans had already been expelled from Poland and 932,000 had been verified as having Polish nationality. In the February 1946 census 2,288,000 persons were classified as Germans and subject to expulsion and 417,400 were subject verification action, aiming at the establishment of nationality.[107] The negatively verified persons, who did not succeed in demonstrating their “Polish nationality”, were directed for resettlement.[42] Those persons who had collaborated with the Nazi occupiers, were considered “traitors of the nation” and sentenced to forced labor prior to being expelled.[83] By 1950 3,155,000 German civilians had been expelled and 1,043,550 were natuaralized as Polish citizens. 170,000[42] Germans considered “indispensable” for the Polish economy were retained until the early 1950s,[103] though virtually all had left by 1960.[102] Some 200,000 Germans in Poland were employed as forced labor in communist-administered camps prior to being expelled from Poland[108] These included Central Labour Camp Jaworzno, Central Labour Camp Potulice, Łambinowice and Zgoda labour camp. Besides these large camps, numerous other forced labor, punitive and internment camps, urban ghettos and detention centres, sometimes consisting only of a small cellar, were set up.[103] The German Federal Archives estimated in 1974 that more than 200,000 German civilians were interned in Polish camps, they put the death rate at 20-50% and estimated that more than likely over 60,000 persons perished.[109] The Polish historians Witold Sienkiewicz and Grzegorz Hryciuk maintain that the internment “resulted in numerous deaths, which cannot be accurately determined because of lack of statistics or falsification . Periodically, they could be 10% of inmates. Those interned are estimated at 200-250,000 Germans and the local population, and deaths might range from 15,000 to 60,000 persons.” [110] Since the collapse of the communist system in Poland the former camp commanders Salomon Morel {d.2007} and Czesław Gęborski (d.2006) have been charged by Polish authorities for war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

        If this information is at least partly correct, the expulsion and imprisonment of Germans coming from those territories in question was at least partly under the auspices of Poles. Nonetheless, the redrawing of the borders westward (and eastward) was sanctioned by the Allies at Potsdam.

        Again, we are drifting from the topic at hand Sylwia which is anti-Semitic outbursts inside Polish football stadia. Why does it happen? What are the roots of this racism in a country devoid of Jews& What is or is not being done about it Polish authorities?

        Neither of us can change the deeds of the past. I’m concerned about the present and the future.

        • June 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

          I’m not drifting away from anything, Eric. I just saw your comment about Poles’ “choice” to expell Germans from Poland after WWII and wondered whether you had uncovered some long lost documents that would prove anything like that. Say, a poll in which Polish people chose to expell Germans?

          Alas, all you brought is one more prove that those were Stalin and his cohorts who wanted and organized the expultion.

          Seriously, when you accuse entire nation of intentions you invented yourself or choose to ascribe those intentions to said nation because you BELIEVE it’s what the nation should think or feel about an issue, there’s something wrong with your thinking.

          And that’s why there’s no point in discussing things like “What are the roots of this racism in a country devoid of Jews& What is or is not being done about it Polish authorities?”.

          No matter how much we’ll do you’ll always BELIEVE the worst about us anyway.

          • June 4, 2012 at 1:32 am

            Slywia, I see no point in arguing the intricacies of Polish participation in the expulsion of Germans from areas awarded to Poland by the Great Powers. This is not the subject under discussion. This discussion is about a BBC Panorama report about vile public anti-Semitic behaviour inside Polish football stadia. Can you add something substantive to the topic under discussion here?

          • June 11, 2012 at 3:36 am

            Obviously you do, you brought the topic here, just as many others from our history.

          • June 11, 2012 at 5:30 am

            Sylwia, ypu wrote, “Indeed, no Izaaks or Abrams in Poland, but one must admit the names would sound ridiculous in Polish.”


          • June 11, 2012 at 7:22 am

            Because every language has its set of nice and ugly sounds. Some names sound too exotic, and others too ugly or ridiculous. Hebrew, in general, is too harsh for the Polish ear, similarly German or Yiddish. Many German names sound anywhere between ugly and hilarious, say, Helmut or Helga. We don’t even have to make up any funny words for Germans like “krauts”. We can simply use their regular names and it’s already funny. “Alfons” in Polish is a synonym for pimp. The funniest name for Hitler is “Adolfik”.

            Many English speakers don’t like the sound of the Polish language, so I assume it goes all ways. Think about this: English speakers think that when a dog barks he makes something like “woof, woof” while Eastern Europeans hear “hau, hau”. We just don’t hear the same sounds.

  • June 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Eric Scott, more and more i begin to think that someone pays you to write this disgusting stuff.

    One can’t simply be that ignorant.

    You are mentally probably one of those pathetic Brits who work for Putin’s RT channel or maybe you are David Irving’s long lost brother. No clue about facts, little mind, huge ego and too much time to spread BS around the world.

    Buy some serious books, read them

    h ttp://
    h ttp://
    h ttp://

    AND THEN turn on your computer. It would be better for all of us.

    • June 9, 2012 at 12:08 am

      Pole, you have clearly not read Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands, based on your comments above. If you had, your opinion on the matter of Nazism and racism in Polish football would be more nuanced and less defensive.

      The point here is that the behavior in the Panorama documentary is shocking to us, but for some reason it is not as shocking to Poles in those stadiums. One wonders if this illuminates some specific difference between the development of Polish society and British society, between western Europe and eastern Europe, between Marshall Plan states and Warsaw Pact states, or between states with international colonial histories and those without.

      If you simply deny the evidence of your eyes and ears, then we cannot have this discussion at all.

  • June 1, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    Haha Stan! You’re terribly funny.

    My dear Stan, Do you seriously believe that a postwar ethnically pure Polish state was something that the Poles opposed it? Do you truly believe that it was purely under Stalin’s orders that Poles removed Germans from Western Poland or Greek/Orthodox Ukrainians from the Carpathian Mountain region?

    Oh yes, I forgot. It was those nasty Soviet Communists that instigated the Kielce Pogrom too, wasn’t it? And of course Jedwabne had absolutely nothing to do with Poles, it was the purely the work of Nazis. Szmalcowniki?
    Who were they? I suppose that they too are a figment of my bigotry.

    Haha Stan! You got me. Fool that I am you’ve led once more down the garden path, away from the topic at hand, namely overt anti-Semitism exhibited at Polish football grounds and the government’s unwillingness to address it.

    On the other hand, Jan Karski was an incredible man for whom I have nothing but the greatest admiration and respect, Bloodlands is an excellent book, one that I would highly recommend. I’m not familiar with the first one but I’ll check it out.

    It’s too bad that I’m neither a Brit nor an anti-Polish bigot. That would make life too easy for you, wouldn’t it? You’re a strange one Stan. Obviously you’re more interested in defensive posturing than in a substantive discussion.

    • June 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      Brit, Yank whatever, your bitterness and bigotry shine through nonetheless.

      “Szmalcowniki? Who were they?” I know exactly who they were and what their fate was when caught – executed by the AK, a fate that befell most of those who dared to collaborate with the Nazis. Very few managed to escape their fate and to pay the price of their collaboration.

      Abraham Gancwajch, ever heard of him? A nasty piece of work, wouldn’t you agree? Then there’s the Bieganski bandits as well. I suppose you’re going to tell me these guys are heroes of yours?

  • June 2, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Stan, my friend you win. You are entirely right about absolutely everything you say and I of course, am 100% wrong. Now wasn’t that satisfying?

  • June 2, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Just for Stan: Response of the Commander of the AK to the Jewish request for arms:
    “After all, Jews from all kinds of groups, including Communists, are turning to us and asking for arms as though our depots were full. By way of experiment Igave them a few revolvers. I have no assurance whatsoever that they will use these arms at all. I will not give them any more arms, because, as you know,we have none ourselves, we are waiting for a new consignment. Inform us what contacts our Jews have with London.
    This message was sent by General Rowecki, Commander of the AK, to the
    Polish Government in London on January 4, 1943. AK Armia Krajowa
    Fatherland Army: the military arm of the Polish Underground under the orders
    of the Government-in-Exile in London.
    Yad Vashem Archives, O-25/93.

  • June 2, 2012 at 1:58 am

    The former document I quote verbatim kind of gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling about how the leadership of the Armia Krajowa went out of its way to defend Poland’s Jews, doesn’t it Stan?

    • June 2, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Were the AK awash with arms? If they were then I think the Warsaw Uprising would have succeeded. What kind of resistance had the Judenrat organised against the Nazis? People like Szerynski, Nossig,Czerniaków and Rumkowski were working in collaboration with the Nazis in the Warsaw and Lodz ghettoes, you had Abraham Gancwajch and his fellow Group 13 members working the streets of Warsaw and reporting Poles who were hiding Jews to the Gestapo and you had Zagiew collaborators informing on those who planned resistance to their German masters.

      So tell me Eric, where did the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto get their arms if not from the AK? Which flags were flying in the ghetto during the ghetto uprising? And those Jewish resistance fighters who escaped the ghetto, who helped them escape?

      If you want to use Yad vashem as a source of information then maybe you can tell me which country has more Righteous Among Nations than any other? Again Eric, you show your anti Polish colours. I have the blood of AK fighters coursing through my veins. I have been arguing with people like you for years and I expect I will still be doing it to my dying day but I will never give up because people like you have an agenda of hate towards my country. I have never claimed we were perfect but there are others with more blood on their hands than the Poles. Take a look closer to home Eric, I am sure you can find plenty to complain about in your own back yard.

  • June 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm


    You’re going all over the place in this last post.

    I quote from Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands and of this article “Jews, Poles & Nazis: A Terrible History”. He takes what I consider to be a balanced approach to the issue of the AK and its relationship to the Jews.

    “Although the Home Army’s enemy was Nazi Germany, anti-Semitism was indeed a problem in its ranks. On Rosh Hashanah, three weeks after the hangings in Wierzbnik, Polish Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski sent his good wishes from London to the Jewish citizens of Poland via the BBC. Stefan Rowecki, the commander of the Home Army in Warsaw, was irritated; such gestures, he thought, made “the worst possible impression” among Poles. This revealed a basic tension, apparent throughout 1941, between the Polish exile government and its underground army. Anti-Semitism, Rowecki seemed to think, was so pervasive that the Jewish issue should be tabled until war’s end. Many Poles had been inclined to support anti-Semitic parties in the 1930s, and the experience of German and Soviet occupation had not helped.”

    On the other hand, ” Some Home Army commanders feared that arming Polish Jews would ease the spread of Soviet power. Though this sometimes took the form of an anti-Semitic stereotype of the Jew as Communist, the concern was not entirely unjustified. The Polish Communist party was part of the Jewish Combat Organization, which the Home Army had supplied with arms. The man who negotiated those arms transfers, Aryeh Wilner, was also negotiating with Communists. The Jewish representative within the Polish government department charged with rescuing Jews, Adolf Berman, was also in touch with the Communists. (His brother Jakub would later preside over the Communist security apparatus that would persecute Home Army veterans—including those who had aided Jews.) For the Home Army, the Soviet advance meant the arrival of a dubious ally against the Germans as well as an impending threat to Polish independence. For Jews it meant life. This basic difference in perspectives, a result of the Holocaust, was difficult to overcome.”

    Interestingly, “On August 1, 1944, the Warsaw Uprising began. The Home Army fought the Germans there for eight weeks: a longer battle than either the Polish campaign of 1939 or the French campaign of 1940, and with casualties comparable to both. As Dariusz Libionka and Barbara Engelking demonstrate in their pioneering study, Jews took part in the battle, most of them in the Home Army. Some of these were people of Jewish origin who regarded or presented themselves as Poles and had been in the Home Army all along. Others were veterans of the Ghetto Uprising. More were survivors who left their places of shelter in Warsaw in order to fight, seeing it as self-evident that they would help Poles fight Germans. As Michał Zylberberg put it, “The Poles had risen to fight against the mortal enemy, and it was our obligation, as victims and as fellow citizens, to help them.” The Warsaw Uprising was a major example of armed Jewish resistance to the Germans during World War II. Indeed, it is quite possible that more people of Jewish origin took part in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 than in the Ghetto Uprising of 1943.”

    Taking your position Stan, Snyder writes “Though the record of the Home Army toward Jews is ambivalent, the dark legend must be abandoned. Important as Jewish testimonial material is to the history of the Holocaust, the recollections of Jews who spent years in camps cannot serve as the basis for historical reckonings with the Home Army. ”

    Snyder concluded, “That said, the pristine legend of an unblemished Home Army, cultivated by Polish veterans and patriots, is also unsustainable. There was distance between soldiers in the field and declarations from London, variation among regions and units, reluctance to see Jews as part of the Polish nation, insensitivity to the particular dangers faced by Jews, and occasional outright murder. Getting the balance right is not just a matter for Jews and Poles. The Home Army was the most significant non-Communist resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Europe. Those who regard opposition to Hitler as a measure of morality will have to take its history seriously.”

    My tendency is to agree with Snyder. My understanding of the AK was that it was an umbrella organization that excluded only resisters of the extreme Left and the extreme right. Any complete understanding of the AK requires painstaking research by such organizations as Poland’s “Instytut Pamiecu Narodowej” in addition to foreign academics. So I will leave the final word of judgment to people far more competent than me to make any kind of sweeping conclusions.

    Stan, I shall repeat again my profound awe and respect forf those Polish Righteous Among the Nations who have been honoured by Yad Vashem. Their valiant moral courage (like Jan Karski’s) is mystifying for me. Had the tables be turned, I truly do not know if I would have had the bravery, decency and courage to risk not only my life, but the lives of those nearest and dearest to me to save perfect strangers.

    Stan, I guess that there is not much I can say to convince you that I bear no agenda of hate towards Poles or towards Poland. I do not ascribe to the notion of “collective innocence” or “collective guilt” under any circumstances. Suffice it to say that I would not put energy into engaging in a dialogue with people I consider to be mortal enemies. What would be the point?

    I responded to the BBC Panorama documentary because I was deeply offended by the anti-Semitic bilge I saw in Polish stadia, in a country with
    a Jewish population of less than 20,000 reduced from 3.5 million. I do not blame Poland or Poles for the Nazis. However, I note with considerable dismay those Poles who took advantage of the Nazi invasion to join in the persecution of their Jewish neighbours to the point of blackmailing, denouncing and murdering them, usually to acquire their property. I am also dismayed by those Poles, who after the war murdered Jews who had survived the Holocaust only to be killed by their former Polish neighbours who had “acquired” their property. I am equally dismayed by those Poles who remained silent during the “March Events” of 1968 as they watched their neighbours (often amazed by the discovery of their own Jewish identity) thrown out of society and into exile.

    Today I am dismayed by a Polish government that refuses to put an end to anti-Semitic violence inside football stadia. No government can force anyone to be tolerant. But a government can curtail the programming of a radio station that preaches anti-Semitsm over the public airwaves.

    As a patriotic Pole, no doubt you are appalled Stan by the bad press your country received because of that BBC report. And I can sympathize with that. Patriotic Poles can’t do anything about Jedwabne or Kielce or the “March Events” today but they can do something about Radio Maryja and public manifestations of anti-Semitism in football stadia. That power is yours, Stan, not mine.

    Go ahead and dismiss me as anti-Polish, if you must. But somewhere, somehow you may have the tiny suspicion that I am not.


  • June 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I am from England and I am Polish-English. I can honestly say that when I was brought up through the British Education I was never taught about Hitler, I didn’t know anything about it. My grandfather held by the Nazi’s escaped and came to England – I didn’t meet my Polish side of the family until I was alot older –

    It does seem like a brave stunt of the BBC to show this documentary 1 month before they have there Olympics. It really does boil down to money. Perhaps a little jelousy too as England lost there bid for the Euro 2012 in 2010 when there were riots at the Birmingham City Football ground and lots of fires. It was only 24 hours after this when England lost there bid. I suppose England wanted it all – The Olympics and The Euro! A bit greedy if you ask me.

    Then I suppose there was the every so huge violent student protests last year – it was just 50,000 of them, that was all and they was only vandalising the parliment buildings and I am sure but can’t be positive that an asian was killed too. I suppose its all well and safe in sunny England!

    Poland and Ukraine, needs to show the world that all guests will be welcomed – its the best thing for Poland and Ukraine now to do really well.

  • June 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm


    For what it’s worth, you don’t strike me as anti-Polish at all. In fact, having read some (not all though) of your posts I think the opposite is the case.

    This may be off the topic but I think I need to mention it. Being Polish I find the defensiveness of SOME of my fellow countrymen quite bewildering. Are we just a nation of defensive whiners? I have met quite of few Polish whiners in England, constantly bitching about either the bland food, or the Brits’ stiff upper lip, or their “under appreciation” of our war bravery, or what have you. But those Poles still stay there even though no one is twisting their arm to do so. Any newspaper article or TV documentary critical of Poland and our “glorious” history, they immediately construe as a slight against the whole nation, get their knickers in a twist, start huffing and puffing and come up with a whole host of arguments against Brits, Americans,etc for what they have done in the past or are even doing presently. Those may well be valid, but are completely off the topic. Weren’t you, Stans and “Poles”, taught at school to stick to the topic? There is plenty of blogs critical of Britain or the US, join those, give vent to your frustration there.

    The sad truth is that the BBC’s documentary, although perhaps selective, didn’t make it up. They didn’t hire actors to make Nazi salutes and display their racist banners at those stadiums. Those things did (still do) really happen, the BBC exposed it, and the question is what we, Poles, are going to do about. We can get defensive, cry foul, and spew venom at all those wicked, ungrateful foreigners. Or we can acknowledge we have a problem and deal with it, like a civilized nation we purport to be.

    • June 4, 2012 at 2:03 am


      there is a difference between critical opinions and insulting xenophobic propaganda BS. We can talk about the former but one should not accept the latter.

      And no, you do not need to hire actors or write your own books, to make such propaganda. All you need, is a mixture of cynicism and stupidity…to show the “right” things and to quote the “right” people, even if they represent 1%.

      Like i said before, Putin’s RT channel would absolutely love Eric Scott.


      • June 4, 2012 at 6:06 am

        “Pole”, I have taken part in this kind of discussions many times and generally try to avoid them as they inevitably descend into pissing contests. I don’t find that fun anymore. However, what I find quite funny is when you talk about the differences between critical opinions and insults. I feel I need to point it out to you, that critical opinion is what Eric has presented here, and all the insulting has been done by you. Didn’t you say to him “You are mentally probably one of those pathetic Brits who work for Putin’s RT”? Didn’t you call him ignorant in the same post? That sounds pretty insulting to me. It’s a pity those are the only arguments you are able to come up with.

        • June 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm

          Maybe you shoud read more closely what Eric is writing here.

          • June 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm

            I have read everything written by Pole and Eric and Eric has come across as very reasonable and reflective. why his detractors are so vitriolic and offensive I find hard to understand.

          • June 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm

            John, you say “Eric has come across as very reasonable and reflective.” So these quotes lifted directly from Eric’s postings you deem to be reasonable and reflective? “Pre-war Poland was a cesspool of anti-Semitism after 1935” “During the war, the szmalcowniki (those Poles who blackmailed Jews for money) operated across the national territory,” (He conveniently forgot to mention Gancwajch and his Jewish gestapo when he wrote this) “they were surpassed by the overwhelming number of Poles who were at the very least indifferent, if not proactive in their support of Nazi style anti-Semitism. The greatest fear a Jew who survived on Polish territory during the war was not the Nazis (who didn’t have the slightest idea of what a Polish Jew looked like if he or she was not traditionally dressed) as muchas his fellow citizens who would gleefully denounce a Jew to the Germans for pleasure if not for money.” (Again, overlooking Gancwajch).

            He even had the cheek to respond to me “spare us your passionate but grossly inaccurate lectures. Get your facts straight. And let’s have a broad, honest and open discussion about the Poles and anti-Semitism” when his initial posts were the very embodiment of “grossly inaccurate lectures”. I only read one reasonable and balanced post by Eric the night before I went away on holiday but this only came about after days of shooting down his biased and inaccurate postings. I am all for balanced and reasoned debate but if if someone comes on here with a one sided agenda then don’t accept us Poles to sit back and accept their BS.

          • June 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

            This is just for you, Stan. You took great offense when I say that Poland was a cesspool of anti-Semitism after 1935;

            Let’s go chapter and verse, shall we?

            The following is a summary of Polish state sponsored anti-Semitism after 1935:

            In August 1936 measures were introduced that all shops include the name of the owner on their business sign. This order was tantamount to specifically marking Jewish-owned businesses. Attacks on Jewish businesses surged once the measures took effect.

            In May 1937 the membership of the nation’s Medical Association adopted a paragraph into their professional charter excluding Jews from the medical profession.

            Also in May 1937 the nation’s Bar Association adopted a similar measure. This was followed by official state action restricting the ability of Jewish lawyers to obtain licences to practice law.

            After 1935 Polish anti-Semitic parties put pressure on the government to pass legislation that would place restrictions on the social mobility of Polish Jews. These parties had been inspired by the example that Nazi Germany set with the introduction of the Nuremberg Race Laws.

            It’s ironic that Poland, a country that Britain and France went to war in order to save adopted Jew-baiting laws that were inspired by the Nazis.

            Again, Stan, you accused me. I’ve now given you detailed answers to back up my allegations. Now should we address the issue at hand, namely anti-Semitic manifestations inside Polish football stadia TODAY?

          • June 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

            John, you are asking a very hard question. At the risk of attracting even more vitriol upon myself, I am going to try to answer it, bearing in mind that no comments on a website, no matter how thoughtful could ever do your question justice.

            I’m going to begin with an abridged history lesson.

            Many Poles see 1939-1989 as an unmitigated disaster, a national tragedy imposed upon them by their tyrannical and hegemonic German Nazi and Russian Communist neighbours. And they are right!

            Make no mistake, no country in Eastern Europe or Western Europe (with the possible exception of the USSR) suffered more per capita human and physical destruction at the hands of the Germans than Poland. The Nazis ultimately saw the Poles as little better than the Jews, according to their perverted racial theories. From the beginning of their occupation, the Germans ruthlessly went about murdering and incarcerating Poland’s thinkers and leaders. The Nazis killed 3 million Polish Catholics, a horrific figure by any standards.

            On the other hand, the Russians were equally merciless in their own particular style. They too took part in carving up Poland for themselves in 1939. Soviet treatment of the Poles and Polish nationalists was unmistakably brutal. Stalin’s murder of the entire Polish officer corps imprisoned by them at Katyn stands out as one of the major crimes in Polish history.

            To help set the scene before the war, let’s start with a figure of 31 million Polish citizens living inside the national territory on September 1st 1939. Of those 31 million, 3.3 million of them were Jews. This is an amazing figure when one considers that Jews comprised approximately 10% of Poland’s pre-war population. What is even more staggering is the fact that approximately 1 in every 3 residents of Warsaw was Jewish in 1939. Today’s “Jewish” New York City even pales by comparison!

            On the other hand in January 1933, Germany’s Jews numbered 523,000, less than 1% of the national population! Between the time Hitler was elected chancellor in 1933 and the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, half of them succeeded at fleeing their country.

            Poland’s Jews had no such luck. The Germans occupied the country with lightening speed and with devastating force. Avenues of escape were severely limited. 3.3 million Jews (not half a million Jews as was the case in Germany) were trapped between the Nazis and the Soviets.

            Meanwhile the Germans terrorized Poland’s Christian population. Polish patriots and intellectuals in particular paid dearly for their beliefs either by being murdered on the spot or sent to concentration camps.

            For most Poles under Nazi occupation, their only logical option was to keep one’s head low. Nonetheless, there was an unusually high percentage of Poles decided to resist with tremendous bravery and for that they suffered terrible losses throughout the war. Author Timothy Snyder wrote: “The Home Army (Poland’s Armia Krajowa) was the most significant non-Communist resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Europe,” And he is right.

            The reason I’m bringing up all this history John, is that many Poles who I have encountered feel that the West does not appreciate how bravely Poles stood up both to German and Russian tyranny. They also point out how many Poles were willing to put their own lives and the lives of their families into immediate danger by hiding Jews. Make no mistake, German penalties for a Pole hiding a Jew were not the same as those meted out to Dutch, French, Belgian or Danish humanitarians doing the same thing. If a Pole were discovered hiding a Jew, it meant instant death for the Pole AND his or her entire family! And still people did it! As far as I am concerned, this goes “off the charts” in terms of decency and compassion. Read “The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman. It’s a particularly powerful account of a true event.

            On the other hand, these exceptional Poles were clearly not in the majority. Most people understandably tried to keep their heads tucked low in the hope of survival. Nonetheless, there were significant numbers of Poles most often, but not exclusively at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum who saw the German persecution of the Jews as an opportunity not only to survive in harsh wartime conditions but to enrich themselves either by blackmailing their former Jewish neighbours by threatening them with exposure or by outright stealing from them or even murdering them. These Poles were raised to believe that the Jews “had it coming to them”. Descriptions of these anti-Semitic crimes committed by Poles during the German occupation can be easily be found on line.

            As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Germans’ propaganda department played upon Polish anti-Semitism as a means to make inroads and buid bridges to Poland’s general population. Professor Jan Grabowski researched this specific topic in depth. You can easily find his writings on line. Grabowskinotes that in the rest of occupied Europe, the Germans used an anti-Semitic propaganda “template” of written articles, films, cartoons that were translated verbatim into the language of the occupied country. In Poland however, the Germans set up a special propaganda facility inside the Generalgouvernement specifically tailoring anti-Semitic propaganda to the Polish population. This facility employed some of Poland’s top caricaturists who incidentally found ample work opportunities under the Communist regime after the war!

            John, what I am trying to say here is that the sheer number of Polish Jews, the murderous, hard fisted German occupation of Poland, the particularly anti-Semitic attitudes of the Polish Catholic Church (I will give you an illustrative anecdote: One can easily find 100% pure Italian Catholics with given names such as “Isacco, Abramo or Davide or Sara”. It would be unthinkable today for Polish parents to give their child the Polish equivalent of such a blatantly Jewish Old Testament name.) led to a climate of fear and hate. Indeed there were many terrible instances where some Poles used the German Occupation as a pretext to commit the most vile, aggressive and horrific crimes against their Jewish fellow citizens.

            It is very VERY difficult for any patriotic Pole to come to terms with this kind of stuff, John, particularly for those who belong to the older generations. . But I noticed that there is much less of a problem with the younger generation, particularly the educated younger generation in the larger cities. They grew up either in free Poland or in the days when Communism was on its last legs. They embrace the larger world and are not afraid of squarely facing some of the more unsavoury elements of their country’s past.

            But let’s get back to the topic at hand: anti-Semitic chants and banners displayed inside Polish football stadia. Why does this kind of verbally aggressive anti-Semitism find a welcome in a country that is essentially empty of Jews?

            Visiting the Warsaw’s painstakingly restored Old Town (the Germans leveled the place to the ground, one can easily come across vendors willing to sell you or any other tourist some ugly, condescending, indeed particularly hideous 6 inch statues of “Jews”. They are the Polish equivalent of “little Black Sambos” or “darkies” that would adorn American lawns in the pre-Civil Rights era. While it would be hard to find such vile, racist statues on anyone’s lawn in North America or Europe today, Poles like to buy them. I was told they buy them “because they bring good luck!”

            Clearly “the Jew” is an archetype that still occupies a place somewhere in the collective consciousness, particularly among the less educated. To those, “the Jew” is by definition “anti Polish”. Those football hooligans need to resurrect “the Jew” in order to kill him again. Labeling the opposing side as “Jews” gives them that opportunity.

            John, it’s obvious that this must be acutely embarrassing for many Poles. It’s an even tougher blow when this phenomenon is exposed by the BBC. Poland has a particularly strong relationship with the UK and with the English speaking world. Countless Poles have emigrated to the UK, the United States and the Commonwealth countries. When the UK’s national broadcaster raises the curtain on this anti-Semitism without Jews and particularly the government’s hesitancy in dealing with it, it gives rise to terrible embarrassment. Then comes the vitriol instead of the much more difficult challenge of dealing with the problem head on.

            My apologies John for being so long winded!

  • June 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    “Siudol”, The fact is that I have met many, many extraordinary people in Poland who went out of their way to show to offer their kindness and consideration. I’ve even won a prize there! I hold no grudge against Poland . I have nothing but the greatest admiration and respect for your country. I am well aware of Poland’s tragic history as well as the valiant actions of some of your citizens whose bravery in former times humbles me with awe. Nonetheless, as the BBC Panorama report points out, there is still room for improvement, especially regarding the infinitely complex relationship between Poles and Jews. You hit the nail on the head in your post. You have no idea how grateful I am to you for speaking out.

  • June 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Gentlemen: Regarding the subject of who cancelled out which country’s passports during time frame in play here, please refer to Hannah Arendt’s book “Eichmann in Jerusalem, a Report on the Banality of Evil” 2006 edition Penguin Classics. Fine bibliography in book as well. The good debate in this Perspectives on Poland piece is refreshing to read. Know that when people use racist, biased, anti-Semitic, or ugly language, they show their ignorance, lack of vocabulary and quest for some power. If and when total transparency is put onto the table with regard to the Holocaust, that would indeed be material to read. SueCitySue

  • June 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I have lived in Krakow for two years and have attended a lot of matches here. I think Poland is a great country and I think this documentary has given an undeserved bad image of the country. I feel much safer living in Krakow than I ever felt living in London. However, there is a problem at the football stadiums. I agree that these people are a minority but the football does seem to attract this minority, it is not like in western Europe where you get a good mixture of all levels of society at games (partly due to a lot of the working class being priced out of top level matches in the UK). I’ve seen large numbers of fans fighting with riot police, missiles constantly being thrown, a banana thrown on the pitch near a black player, monkey chants, other sickening chants. Not to mention gloats over the murder of a firm leader of a rival team. In England Spurs are sometimes referred to as ‘yidos’ due to the Jewish roots of the club and this can be compared to saying ‘a bit gay’ as mentioned in the article, although still not acceptable. However, even at Arsenal (Spurs’ local rivals) I’ve never heard references to the holocaust or chants like I’ve heard in Poland, ‘zydy pala sie’ [the Jews are burning] and ‘do pieca’ [to the furnace] which I’ve heard directed at Cracovia, another team with Jewish roots. I’m happy the tournament is in Poland as I’m a big football fan and I’ve managed to get some tickets but I do think there could have been better choices given the trouble around the football here. I really hope there are no major incidents this summer as it will give an impression of the country which is far from the image I have of the country in general after living here for two years.

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  • June 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Stan, you are making a terrible ‘to do”about Gancwajch, an evil, vile, fear driven coward and traitor and a Jew. We’re talking one profoundly evil Jew among 3.3 million Polish Jews. What is your point here?

    Again, the topic at hand is Polish football hooligans and their proclivity for anti-Semitic banners and chants. How do you explain it and what do you think ought to be done about it?

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    John, part of the problem is the fact that the Polish government allows Radio Maryja to broadcast anti-Semitic content with impunity. Why should the anti-Semitic football hooligans take all the blame when their own government refuses to silence the overt anti-Semitism of a public broadcaster?

  • June 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm


    You in turn do not address the Endecja movement (Narodowa Demokracja) and the Liga Narodowa or Cardinal Hlond, the prelate of Poland’s call in 1935 for a boycott of Jewish businesses, saying in part that “There will be a Jewish problem as long as Jews remain.” The Cardinal was not, of course, calling for the extermination of Jews, but simply for their ouster from Poland. Nevertheless, anti-Semitic statements like this from a Catholic prelate were and shall forever remain horrifyingly inexcusable.

    Again, Stan. Let’s not argue historically. I see no point. It gets neither of us anywhere, Let us stick to the subject at hand deal with the here and now with something that acutely embarrasses Poland (ie anti-Semitic manifestations inside football stadia) and where we go from here.

  • June 11, 2012 at 3:20 am

    Eric Scott, I think that those Polish football fans who use anti-Jewish symbols and stereotypes in reference to their non-Jewish opponents in a country without Jews are no different than the middle class Americans who still use the anti-Polish word “shiksa” in reference to non-Polish women, even now, when they don’t live in Poland, and their children and grandchildren, who also use the word, often have never been to Poland at all.

    How is it that such a racist word still persists? And it’s much worse than the “N” word. The latter had no racial connotations at the beginning while “shiksa” always meant that Polish peasant women are something filthy, similar to worms and lizards. You know, like in the joke about the Jewish mom who kept her shiksa servant clean so that her sons could practice…

    I don’t approve of any racial or national prejudices, but you seem to think that Poles are somehow special.

    The Jewish figurines are not meant to be anti-Semitic and they’re not made for Poles only for Jewish tourists, many of whom think they’re cute, and so they buy them. Personally I never met a Pole who’d keep a Jewish figurine at home, and it’s definitely not a Polish custom.

    You said:

    “I will give you an illustrative anecdote: One can easily find 100% pure Italian Catholics with given names such as “Isacco, Abramo or Davide or Sara”. It would be unthinkable today for Polish parents to give their child the Polish equivalent of such a blatantly Jewish Old Testament name.”

    Where on earth do you take your stereotypes from?! Indeed, no Izaaks or Abrams in Poland, but one must admit the names would sound ridiculous in Polish. There are however 181,609 Dawids, 1,233 Davids and 14,856 Saras.

    How many Jewish Stans, Jadwigas, Casimirs, Wandas, Marias etc do you know? Well, there was one Zygmunt (Sigmund Freud) named after a Polish king, but there aren’t many like him out there, are there?

    Radio Maryja is not a “public broadcaster”, it’s a private broadcaster owned by the Catholic Church. I’m glad that my government doesn’t “curtail” it, because it’d be against the Constitution and our basic rights, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The only person who can and should do something about it is Benedict XVI, the pope. However, as far as I know the Church did impose some stricter control over the station. I’m not a part of their audience so I can’t tell you for sure, but I remember reading about it in some newspaper.

    You said:

    “In May 1937 the membership of the nation’s Medical Association adopted a paragraph into their professional charter excluding Jews from the medical profession.”

    “Also in May 1937 the nation’s Bar Association adopted a similar measure. This was followed by official state action restricting the ability of Jewish lawyers to obtain licences to practice law.”

    WOW! Are you saying that all the Jewish doctors suddenly stopped being doctors, like, say, Janusz Korczak? I’m afraid Poland would be left without medical care after such a move. Alas, they weren’t “nations’ Associations” whatever you meant by that only Catholic trade unions. Jewish trade unions also excluded Catholics, but they did it already 20 years earlier.

    However, in both professions Jews were overrepresented, 50% and 30% respectively in a country where Jews made 10% of inhabitants. How come the numbers mean to you discrimination of Jews in those professions?

    There’s no doubt that there was a huge problem with both Poles and Jews being overrepresented in some professions. But, on the whole, Jews were much richer than non-Jews, so don’t make it a situation similar to black people in the US. If American blacks earned much more than American white people and hired white people as servants I’m sure no one would speak about “Sambo”. Alas, the Polish slaves were white Christians who after centuries of serfdom gained their civic rights and wanted to become a part of the country’s middle class. If, in many towns, Jewish shops made between 70-90% it’s not surprising the interests of the two groups clashed. I don’t know of many Jews who volunteered to become farmers either.

    I’m not saying that boycotts were a good solution. What I’m saying is that all the quotas were a part of a much larger problem. Numerus clausus is practised in many American universities even today for the same reason and no one says that it’s a racist practice. On the contrary, it’s meant to help the most underprivileged.

    Eric, you say that many Poles (esp. the older ones – I wonder where that one came from?) don’t want to come to terms with facts, but the problem is that people like you don’t discuss facts, they usually just attempt to make some amateurish psychoanalysis of millions of people. For example, when you say something like this:

    “But they were surpassed by the overwhelming number of Poles who were at the very least indifferent, if not proactive in their support of Nazi style anti-Semitism.”

    How on earth can you tell that my grandma who did nothing to stop the creation of Warsaw Ghetto or the deportation of Warsaw Jews to Treblinka was indifferent? How do you know what she thought or felt when it happened? If you said “passive” then OK, there’s no doubt she was passive, but you somehow seem to have been to my grandma’s head and checked her thoughts, feelings and emotions. Woah!

    On the other hand my grandma hid a Jewish girl for some time, so according to your definitions she was a decent person for a short time and an indifferent scoundrel for over 5 years of the war. And who are you to judge my grandma anyway?

    Somehow, for some unfathomable reason, people from all over the world think they can come and become our voluntary shrinks. That’s what Poles don’t want to discuss, because there’s nothing to discuss. People like you are just too full of themselves.

    “Significant” – I wonder how much a “significant” number is according to your definition? 60%, 30%, maybe at least 10%? So, what number do you have in mind here:

    “Nonetheless, there were significant numbers of Poles most often, but not exclusively at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum who saw the German persecution of the Jews as an opportunity not only to survive in harsh wartime conditions but to enrich themselves either by blackmailing their former Jewish neighbours by threatening them with exposure or by outright stealing from them or even murdering them.”

    And then you add:

    “These Poles were raised to believe that the Jews “had it coming to them”. ”

    Really? Any proof that, say, szmalcowniki held some special anti-Jewish sentiments? Do you really believe that if Germans targeted some non-Jewish group of people all the szmalcowniki would simply go home and find some honest occupation?

    Poles, the majority of them, have no problem with coming to terms with facts. I have no problem admitting that there were some Polish nationals who committed awful crimes against Jews and not only Jews.

    But you come here and say that I should feel guilty because of some Polish criminals and that I have a problem, because you see it as if all Poles were responsible for the actions of a tiny group, and if they don’t want to feel guilty by association and admit that the Polish nation has a problem with anti-Semitism then it means to you that we can’t come to terms with facts. Well, I’m not an anti-Semite and I have no problem. Just as you won’t become responsible if your neighbour kills his wife tonight. Even though I might be tempted to say that it’s an effect of centuries long enslavement of women in Anglo-Saxon societies, a part of your culture, former state imposed laws, and you’re a nation of chauvinists. Aren’t you?

    BTW You said: “The subject at hand is not urban violence in British cities versus in Polish cities. The UK is a multi-racial and multi-cultural society. Poland is not. Indeed many, many thousands of Poles have opted join multi-racial and multi-ethnic Britain, mainly to seek work. It has not been the other way around. Poland remains an ethnically monolithic society. There are virtually no large groups of racial or ethnic minorities residing in Poland. Poland’s Jews, once 10% of the population (3.5 million of them) have been reduced to less than 20,000.”

    But we might compare contemporary British multi-ethnic society to Poland’s pre-war multi-ethnic society. And I’m afraid the number of racial crimes against Poles in the UK during the immigration boom was pretty similar to the number of racial crimes against Jews during Poland’s most anti-Semitic period before WWII. Even though the number of Poles in Britain is many times lower. So, would you say that Brits are a nation of virulent racists with an inborn anti-Polish sentiment? Coming from their religion perhaps? Or anti-Polish politics on the state level?

    Sometimes countries have problems, but you don’t come here to discuss one of them, you come to tell us that _we_ are the problem. So don’t be surprised when people aren’t too eager to discuss anything other than yourself in return.

  • June 11, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Sylwia, you betray your ignorance. “Shiksa” is a pejorative expression for a non-Jewish woman. It does not necessarily refer to non-Jewish Polish women. But this is besides the point, openly slurring opponents on a football ground with a racist epithet is unacceptable period.

    I find those stereotypicalfigurines of Jews hunched over counting their money to be racist, offensive, demeaning and repugnant. To each his own.

    I stick with what I say about given names. And you’re totally wrong about Jews adopting Polish given names. Why don’t we start with JANUSZ Korczak? Assimilated Jews started giving their offspring Polish given names after the First World War and the practice continued well into the 1930s.
    After the war, Jews who chose to remain in Poland after the 1946 Kielce Pogrom made every effort to hide their children’s Jewishness and giving them a Jewish sounding name was not the obvious course of action between 1946-1989.

    Radio Maryja broadcasts over the public airwaves, hence it is a public broadcaster. It is not the government owned broadcaster but it comes under the scrutiny of the Polish broadcasting authority.

    Don’t obfuscate. Poland’s Bar Association and Poland’s Medical Association banned Jews from membership during the 1930s. Is this true or not true?

    I guess those szmalcowniki blackmailed Jews or turned them in to the Germans because they cared about them so much. Sylwia, you’re bordering on the illogical here.

    I don’t intend to psychoanalyze anyone. Poland had a wartime population of approximately 30 million people who thought 30 million different ways. I don’t believe in collective innocence or collective guilt. I pass no judgements on your grandma.

    You’re going off the deep end equating British treatment of recent Polish immigrants to the UK and the treatment of Jews in Poland. That’s just not the case. You’re arguing emotionally not logically.

    I don’t blame all Poles for the anti-Semitism on display at Polish football stadia. That is ridiculous. All I am saying is that there is an obnoxious phenomenon happening (ie anti-Semitic chants and banners) that isn’t benign . I’m asking: Why does it happen? Do you care that it happens? And what do you think Polish authorities should do about it?

    If you aren’t interesting in hearing what foreigners like me think about the phenomenon of anti-Semitic incidents inside Polish football stadia, that BBC Panorama reported, I respectfully suggest that you stop following my posts.

    • June 11, 2012 at 7:10 am

      Eric: “Sylwia, you betray your ignorance. “Shiksa” is a pejorative expression for a non-Jewish woman. It does not necessarily refer to non-Jewish Polish women. But this is besides the point, openly slurring opponents on a football ground with a racist epithet is unacceptable period.”

      No, you betray your ignorance, Eric, but it’s not surprising. The majority of Jews are ignorant about their history in Poland, and yet it’s their major history. Why don’t you read why Jews began to use the word to begin with and what Jewish rabbis had to say about Polish maids working for Jews.

      “I find those stereotypicalfigurines of Jews hunched over counting their money to be racist, offensive, demeaning and repugnant. To each his own.”

      That’s OK, you can have your opinion about them. But it’s going too far to suggest that those people who make or sell them are anti-Semites. Most often they’re people really fond of Jewish culture. As far as I know Jews living in Poland have no problem with them.

      Eric: “I stick with what I say about given names. And you’re totally wrong about Jews adopting Polish given names. Why don’t we start with JANUSZ Korczak? Assimilated Jews started giving their offspring Polish given names after the First World War and the practice continued well into the 1930s.
      After the war, Jews who chose to remain in Poland after the 1946 Kielce Pogrom made every effort to hide their children’s Jewishness and giving them a Jewish sounding name was not the obvious course of action between 1946-1989.”

      I never said that Jews living in Poland don’t adopt Polish names, but you seem to think that if Poles living in Poland don’t adopt some Hebrew names it means they’re anti-Semites. So I wonder how often Jews living in the US call their kid “Stan” or “Jadwiga”. However, it doesn’t surprise me that you stick with what you said about given names even when presented with evidence to the contrary. You just like to believe in things you want to believe.

      Eric: “Radio Maryja broadcasts over the public airwaves, hence it is a public broadcaster. It is not the government owned broadcaster but it comes under the scrutiny of the Polish broadcasting authority.”

      And you think that our government should control what kind of stuff can be broadcast by independent broadcasters? Wouldn’t it be political censure? As long as they don’t break the law they shouldn’t be burdened by the government.

      Eric: “Don’t obfuscate. Poland’s Bar Association and Poland’s Medical Association banned Jews from membership during the 1930s. Is this true or not true?”

      I know that Catholic trade unions stopped admitting Jewish members. I know of no national associations that would ban Jews from the profession. Can you cite their Polish names? In any case, it’s definitely not true that Jewish doctors or barristers were banned from the professions.

      Eric: “I guess those szmalcowniki blackmailed Jews or turned them in to the Germans because they cared about them so much. Sylwia, you’re bordering on the illogical here.”

      Well, according to your logic the primary motive of a criminal must be his racist attitude. Alas, the szmalcowniki did it for money.

      Eric: “I don’t intend to psychoanalyze anyone. Poland had a wartime population of approximately 30 million people who thought 30 million different ways. I don’t believe in collective innocence or collective guilt. I pass no judgements on your grandma.”

      Great, then reread your previous posts and don’t do that again.

      Eric: “You’re going off the deep end equating British treatment of recent Polish immigrants to the UK and the treatment of Jews in Poland. That’s just not the case. You’re arguing emotionally not logically.”

      Or you’re dismissing the number of racial crimes committed against Poles during just several years of the immigration boom to the UK. Or simply BBC didn’t care to highlight the problem?

      Oh, and while we are at it. You are a chauvinist after all. Since I’m a woman your line of defence is deflecting my arguments by calling them “illogical” or “emotional”. Would you stop that please? We live in 21st century Europe, not in Victorian England.

      Eric: “I don’t blame all Poles for the anti-Semitism on display at Polish football stadia. That is ridiculous. All I am saying is that there is an obnoxious phenomenon happening (ie anti-Semitic chants and banners) that isn’t benign . I’m asking: Why does it happen? Do you care that it happens? And what do you think Polish authorities should do about it?”

      It happens because Cracovia fans call themselves “Jews” so Wisła fans chant “Death to the Jews”. Do I care? Yes and no. I do because I don’t like such a behaviour. I don’t because I couldn’t care less about Polish league football, and since I assume there’s always a tiny group of racists in every society I’m rather glad they keep their displays to the stadiums where no one else goes anyway. I think that, in general, foreigners make the mistake of thinking about Polish league football as about league football in other countries. Truth is that the majority of Poles care only about Polish national football, and that’s when they actually go to see the matches. A clear difference which you can see now during Euro 2012. Probably because we have, in general, a greater national cohesion than Italy, Spain or the UK. We don’t care so much about rooting for a particular local team. And we often root for any of them when they play against a foreign club, while we don’t care at all when they play against another Polish club. Only those guys at the stadia think it actually matters.

      Eric: “If you aren’t interesting in hearing what foreigners like me think about the phenomenon of anti-Semitic incidents inside Polish football stadia, that BBC Panorama reported, I respectfully suggest that you stop following my posts.”

      Well, for the most part you don’t write about what you think about those incidents, only about Polish history and Poles in general. Perhaps you should take your own advice and stick to the topic at hand. I certainly wouldn’t write at all if you didn’t wander all over the place. As you can tell by now I’m not a great football fan, but I like history, a lot.

      • June 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

        Sylwia, No doubt you’ve convinced everyone with the cogency of your arguments. I wish you the very best.

  • June 11, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Oh, and you asked what the government in Poland did about it. Here are some examples:

    “Polish football fans have been a collision course with the Government for its crack down on football hooliganism (with measures which go beyond policing in our country such as banning away match attendance, supporter cards, police with massive scary ball-biting dogs and tear gas) in the run up to Euro 2012.”

    • June 13, 2012 at 2:49 am

      Sylwia, I am in awe of your patience and determination against those like Eric.

      • June 13, 2012 at 3:57 am

        Thank you, but I’m afraid it’s not the case. I was subscribed to the topic and after receiving 30+ mails from Eric I ran out of patience.

  • June 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    OK Sylwia, time for a linguistics lesson. The word shiksa is etymologically partly derived from the Hebrew term שקץ, sheketz, which means “abomination”, “impure,” or “object of loathing”, depending on the translator.[

    Several dictionaries define “shiksa” as a disparaging and offensive term applied to a non-Jewish girl or woman.

    In Polish “siksa” (pronounced “s’eeksa”) is a popular pejorative word for an immature young girl or teenage girl (or, in its masculine form, “sikus”, boy), as it is a CONFLATION between the Yiddish term and usage of the Polish verb “sikać” (“to piss”, “to urinate”). It means “pisspants” and is roughly equivalent to the English terms “snot-nosed brat”, “little squirt”, or “kid”.

    OK, so what is your point? That Jews had or have pejorative words for Christians? What relevance or meaning or enlightenment does this bring to the topic at hand, namely why do some members of Polish football crowds scream anti-Semitic epithets at football matches?

    Maybe you’re right. Perhaps Polish makers and sellers of those horrific, racist, condescending caricature statues must be “really fond of Jewish culture” as you say, just like those football fans whose ability to caricature Jews on their banners bears striking resemblance to Der Stürmer. I guess they were paying attention in history class after all! Personally I could do without their “fondness” but why quibble?

    My point about the non-usage of Biblical Jewish names in pre-war Poland is to give an insight into the particular nature of pre-war Polish Catholicism and the Polish Church’s association, definition with Polish national identity. Hence the giving of a Biblical Jewish name to a Polish Catholic would have been unthinkable in pre-war Poland Cardinal Hlond’s public endorsement of the national boycott of Jewish businesses is unprecedented in 20th century Christendom. Understandably, according to your logic a name like ” ISAAC Newton must sound totally ridiculous in Polish. Now I get it,

    Radio Maryja broadcasts hate speech. In ALL Western countries, there are laws that forbid the public broadcasting of programming that can incite racial hatred. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. You hiding behind “freedom of speech” to justify Poland’s broadcasting authority’s tolerance of racist radio programming content of Radio Maryja ( a most Catholic radio station) makes you appear disingenuous.

    Regardless of whether or not the government of Poland banned Jews from practicing certain professions, the banning of Jews from trade unions, the national medical association and the national Bar association shows the widespread prevalence ad public acceptance of institutional anti-Semitism in Poland after 1935.

    British treatment of Polish immigrants at its worst did not include their official banning of Poles or their offspring from entering universities or the free professions should they qualify for entry. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    OK Sylwia, so why do those Cracowia fans STILL call themselves Jews 70 years after the overwhelming majority of Krakow’s Jews are dead and gone? Because the team was founded 80 or 90 years ago by Jews? Give me a break! Your explanation is trite and hollow. Since you like history so much, perhaps you could come up with a deeper one.

  • June 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Oh I forgot. Sylwia, you write that the “szmalcowniki”, those Poles who blackmailed Jews who were in hiding from the Germans, did their evil work purely “for the money”. I suppose they must have really adored those people they were blackmailing, knowing that the denunciation of a Jew to the Germans meant certain death. But like you say, they did it “just for the money”. Sounds a little farfetched and/or superficial to me. Then again, I’m not a Pole so how should I know?

    • September 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

      You are not a Pole, so you may not know that ‘szmalc’ or ‘szmalec’ is an old Polish slang word for ‘money’, which says what the popular Polish opinion of the time was.

      You are not a Pole, so you may not know that denunciation was followed by a punishment of summary execution or detention in a concentration camp for the Jews and the people who were hiding them, and that the latter group included whole families and sometimes even the neighbours of the actual perps. You may suggest that those people were not Polish, or that the racial hatred of szmalcowniki extended to those who betrayed their race by saving Jews, but you’d be walking of a rather thin ice again, as regards the ‘traditional Polish anti-Semitism’. Feel free, though, or you can resort to pure sarcasm again, of course.

  • October 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I’ve read the article and comments above which dismiss or minimize historical anti-Semitism in Poland. Anti-Semitism displayed at football matches has very deep roots in Polish society. Polish anti-Semitism is well documented. Polish Catholic ethno-nationalism had its origins in the late-nineteenth century, tapping into historical bigotry and became quite popular during the Second Republic and afterwards. Many of the tenets of the rabidly anti-Semitic National Party (Endecja) were adopted by the the ruling Sanacja with its radical vanguard Camp of National Unity following Pilsudski’s death. Anyone who might wish to make an educated comment on Polish Catholic anti-Semitism should make a few trips to the library instead of attacking the academic credentials of Dr. Jan Gross. Below are a few books which examine Polish Catholic anti-Semitism:

    “Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present” by Joanna B. Michlic

    “Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland” by Jan T. Gross

    “The Neighbors Respond: The Controversy over the Jedwabne Massacre in Poland” by Antony Polonsky

    “Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz” by Jan Tomasz Gross

    “Contested Memories: Poles and Jews during the Holocaust and Its Aftermath” by Joshua D. Zimmerman

    “Secret City: The Hidden Jews of Warsaw, 1940-1945” by Gunnar S. Paulsson

    “Shtetl” by Eva Hoffman

    “Bondage to the Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust” by Michael C. Steinlauf

    “Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust” by E. Thomas Wood

    “My Brother’s Keeper: Recent Polish Debates on the Holocaust” by Antony Polonsky

    “Polish-Jewish Relations During the Second World War” by Emanuel Ringelblum

    “On the Edge of Destruction: Jews of Poland Between the Two World Wars” by Celia Stopnicka Heller

    “The Convent at Auschwitz” by Wladyslaw Bartoszewski

    “Rethinking Poles and Jews: Troubled Past, Brighter Future” by Robert Cherry

    “The Hidden Pope: The Untold Story of a Lifelong Friendship That Is Changing the Relationship Between Catholics and Jews – The Personal Journey of John Paul II and Jerzy Kluger” by Darcy O’Brien

    “When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland” by Brian Porter

    “Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland” by Brian Porter

    “The Populist Radical Right in Poland: The Patriots” by Rafal Pankowski

    “Rome’s Most Faithful Daughter: The Catholic Church and Independent Poland, 1914-1939” (Polish and Polish American Studies) by Neal Pease

    “Traitors & True Poles: Narrating A Polish-American Identity, 1880-1939” (Polish and Polish American Studies) by Karen Majewski

    “The Catholic Church and Antisemitism: Poland, 1933-1939” by Ronald E. Modras

    “The Jews in Poland” by Chimen Abramsky

    “Imaginary Neighbors: Mediating Polish-Jewish Relations after the Holocaust” by Dorota Glowacka

    “Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation” by Magda Teter

    “From Assimilation to Anti-Semitism: The Jewish Question in Poland, 1850-1914” by Theodore R. Weeks

    “Antisemitism And Its Opponents In Modern Poland” by Robert Blobaum

    “The Jews of Poland Between Two World Wars” by Yisrael Gutman

    “Unequal Victims: Poles and Jews During World War Two” by Israel Gutman

    “Economic Origins of Antisemitism: Poland and Its Jews in the Early Modern Period” by Hillel Levine

    “Forced Out: The Fate of Polish Jewry in Communist Poland” by Arthur J. Wolak

    “The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland” by Geneviève Zubrzycki

    “Memory Offended: The Auschwitz Convent Controversy” by John K. Roth

    “In the Shadow of the Polish Eagle: The Poles, the Holocaust and Beyond” by Leo Cooper

    “No Way Out: The Politics of Polish Jewry, 1935-1939” by Emanuel Melzer

    “The Politics of Hate: Anti-Semitism, History, and the Holocaust in Modern Europe” by John Weiss

    “Boycott! The Politics of Anti-Semitism in Poland, 1912-1914” by Robert Blobaum

    “In the Shadow of Hitler: Personalities of the Right in Central and Eastern Europe” by Rebecca Haynes

    “Difficult Questions in Polish-Jewish Dialogue” by Jacek Santorski

    “The Jews in Poland and Russia: Volume III: 1914 to 2008” by Antony Polonsky

    “Judenjagd: The hunt for Jews, 1942–1945: A study of events in one county” by Jan Grabowski

    “It’s such a beautiful, sunny day . . . . The fate of Jews seeking help in the Polish countryside, 1942–1945” by Barbara Engelking

    • October 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Tomasz, your extended bibliography brings some valuable and needed depth to this discussion. I’m familiar with many of the books you mention but not all of them.

      • October 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm

        Eric, I appreciate all of your input to the discussion above. We Poles are extremely reluctant to acknowledge the historical record regarding anti-Semitism as you are aware. Many of us hold dearly to the stereotype of Poles as noble martyrs and victims. It’s quite evident (and even understandable) that those who view themselves as victims have a difficult time accepting that they have also victimized others. Certainly, Poles have endured tremendous sufferings over the last two hundred years – sufferings largely unrecognized in the West – and are not of a mind to accept accusations of intolerance. Confronted with history Poles resort to a zero sum game: “Sure, a few Poles may have been anti-Semites but that’s nothing compared to the Jews shipping Poles to the Gulag (zydokomuna), etc.” It’s a fascinating and revealing dialogue. The original article by Jamie, which dismisses the connection between historical anti-Semitism and the hatred vented by modern-day football hooligans, is naive and uninformed at best.

        I’ve provided the book list as a service to those who are genuinely interested in pursuing the topic. As you know, the highly vilifed Jan Gross is only one of many scholars to broach the topic of Polish Catholic anti-Semitism. It is only now, after the fall of communism, that scholars are able to thoroughly examine the subject. Scholarship is gradually turning the tide against chauvinism. Those proud Poles who attempt to smear research by Gross and other academics belong to an ever-shrinking population. Even their favorite historian, Norman Davies, concedes Gross’s main points regarding Jedwabne. It’s ironic but par for the course that these “patriotic” Poles who attempt to smear Gross are the very same people who support anti-Semitic Radio Maryja, the Giertychs, the nationalistic branch of the Polish Church, etc.

        I heartily recommend Joanna Michlic’s “Poland’s Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present” for an interesting overview of modern Polish anti-Semitism.

        • November 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

          Many thanks to Eric and Thomasz! This topic is quintessentially important because acknowledgment is required before there can be reconciliation, healing, and transformation towards respect equal rights and understanding.

          Thank you both! Courage is the ability to want to see the obvious, even when one has been over entitled, privileged, or victimized.

          A world free of prejudice, oppression, and bigotry is possible. All peoples can be afforded dignity and respect with equal rights.

          It is time that we decry nationalism, racism, sexism, ethnic hatred, classism, and understand that we are all inter-connected and that even religion must not become an extremist set of fundamental practices lest we continue sanctified justifications to practice inequality.

          Thank you both for carrying forward a set of understandings that will lead to reconciliation not further hatred and bigotries.

          • November 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

            Are you serious? Those two are promoting intolerance and bigotry!!

    • October 26, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      Anti-Semitism displayed at football matches has very deep roots in Polish society.

      Anti-Semitism displayed at football matches has deep roots in every European society, no need to get excited about Poland.

      Couple of weeks ago I happened to hear one British commentator being challenged with ‘but this didn’t come to happen, did it?’ The answer was: ‘They did their best to suppress it.’ Of course, racism is the main defining feature of Polish society, and an ex football player with a racial chip on his shoulder is an expert on it, THE authority on social issues in Poland. He was the one who predicted that black Brits would come back home in coffins. Well, they didn’t, Poles did their best to suppress their desires. Sneaky bastards.

      Your reading list is impressive, in numbers. This doesn’t change the fact that Gross is not to be relied upon, just like some other names I spotted. And some of that material has no relevance to Poland in the 21st century.

      It’s ironic but par for the course that these “patriotic” Poles who attempt to smear Gross are the very same people who support anti-Semitic Radio Maryja, the Giertychs, the nationalistic branch of the Polish Church, etc

      Irony missed. I am a secular Pole, I don’t care neither for Radio Maryja nor Giertych etc., still I have no respect for Gross. Easy to divide the world in black and white, isn’t it, everything so simple then.

    • October 27, 2012 at 12:31 am

      Maybe Tomasz would care to share some information on academic studies as to how most of the Jewish population chose to live apart from their fellow Poles, keeping interaction between themselves and “The Other” to a minimum, how these people didn’t see that they owed any allegiance to the Polish state what so ever and how many of them deliberately starved themselves so as to avoid military service.

      • October 27, 2012 at 1:48 am

        “…how many of them (Jews) deliberately starved themselves so as to avoid military service(?).”

        Stan presents some anecdotal information in the form of a rhetorical question to justify this dearly held prejudice.

        But let’s consider some factual information:

        “Approximately 100,000 Jews fought in the Polish army against the German invasion. They made up 10% of the Polish army, commensurate with the percentage of Jews within the general population. Approximately 30,000 Jews fell in battle, were taken captive by the Germans, or declared missing during the battles defending Poland, 11,000 in the defense of Warsaw. Thousands of Jews later served in various Polish armies fighting against the Germans in the Allied Forces.”

        As long as we’re asking questions, how many Polish Jews were deported to the Gulag by the Soviets? Approximately 200,000. (see Joanna Michlic. The Soviet Occupation of Poland, 1939–41, and the Stereotype of the Anti-Polish and Pro-Soviet Jew. Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, and Society.Spring/Summer 2007, Vol. 13, No. 3:135–176.)

        What? Weren’t all Jews communists? Although there is no doubt that the growing intolerance of the Second Republic did boost the membership of the Bund and KPRP.

        In addition it’s estimated 700-900 Polish Jews were murdered at Katyn by the Soviets.

        Let’s examine another traditionalist canard. Poles constantly cite Poland’s lead in the Yad Vashem’s list of Righteous rescuers as an example of philo-Semitism even though the institute cautions inquirers not to draw conclusions from a country-by-country comparison. Much praise to the rescuers but Poland had 4X the number of Jewish citizens (3,300,000) as the next highest national population (Romania – 850,000). Even Polish scholars state that rescuers had to keep their activities secret out of fear of their Catholic neighbors.

        Traditionalist Poles love to tout the Yad Vashem number without even realizing the institute references the virulent anti-Semitism of the Second Republic in its courses and publications.

        • October 27, 2012 at 10:15 am

          Dearly held prejudice? Not at all “Tomasz”, merely looking to add some balance to your own anti-Polish bias. Your Yad Vashem figures have been found to be rather misleading as scholarly research has since found that there were only around 55-60,000 Jews serving in the Polish army prior to the start of the September campaign which equates to around 5-6% of the Jewish population at the time. Of course more did join the ranks once the Germans invaded and reservists from all over Poland were called up.

          If Eric is looking for balance instead of one sided anti-Polish prejudice then I suggest he reads the work of Mark Paul who has published several studies on historical Jewish attitudes towards Poles and Poland.

          By the way “Tomasz”, your style of writing and references reminds me of someone I have come across on other forums who has a distinctly anti Polish agenda and that person is definitely not Polish nor does he hide behind a Polish name in order to try and legitimise his prejudices :)

          • October 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

            Stan, I don’t think that bringing in the ethicity of any contributor adds any depth to the discusssion.

          • October 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

            Eric, in order to bring depth into any discussion then you have to present information from every aspect unless your agenda is to simply present one side of the argument and to convince others that your side is the only side with any credibility. I suggest that is exactly what “Tomasz” is trying to do here.

            I prefer to look for balance when studying a subject, especially if it’s one I know little about, and i seek a wide variety of sources which present evidence ffrom both sides. If you can sift out the blatantly prejudiced from either side you can usually find balance and become better informed. Unfortunately when it comes to criticising anything to do with Jews you soon get tarred as being anti Semitic even though you’re only trying to point out that there’s two sides to every argument.

          • October 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm

            @ Stan:

            I’m sorry to disappoint you :( but your conjectures that my name is not Tomasz/Tom and that I am not Polish are not true. I’m sorry that you have confused me with someone else. The moderator obviously should not allow speculation of this sort. For people like Stan, if the argument fails (“…how many of them (Jews) deliberately starved themselves so as to avoid military service(?).”), they try character assassination.

            Traditionalist Poles are quite dumbfounded when a fellow Pole examines Polish Catholic anti-Semitism. They assume all Poles share their neo-Endekian attitude toward Jews and that anyone who disagrees is a Jew in disguise with a “distinctly anti Polish agenda.” For these “patriotic” Poles, examining Polish Catholic intolerance amounts to an attack on Poland.

          • October 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm

            Tomasz, you are very quick to label me as an anti-Semite when you don’t agree with what I wrote and wrongly assumed I was writing something that wasn’t true. Sorry to disappoint you. My information comes from, for example, the writings of a Jewish Holocaust survivor by the name of Mark Verstandig who wrote about exactly what I was referring to in his book “I rest my case” published in Melbourne by Saga Press in 1995. You can find similar testimonies like his on many sites, for example, Arieh Henkin’s account is published on

            If you’d like me to provide you with more evidence to back up my claims just ask, I’d be more than happy to provide more examples, all from Jewish sources, to back up my claims :)

        • October 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm

          Perrtinent, detailed and powerful information thatt brings added nuance and depth to the conversation at hand.

  • October 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Tomasz, you have provided an extremely thoughtful, provocative and powerful intervention here. Your bibliography was absolutely superb. I am a documentary film maker working on a film directly related to this subject matter. Is there any way we could continue this dialogue privately? Kindest regards, Eric Scott

    • October 26, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Great. One more source on racist Poles. Keep up good work.

      • October 26, 2012 at 9:16 pm

        Dear Nott, this is not the point. It’s about moving the dialogue forward and adding some depth to the discussion of this extremely complex issue. I stated it before and I will state it again. I’ve been to Poland on three occasions and I’ve met with nothing but kindness and open mindedness on a personal level. I am charmed by the country, the warmth of its people, its creativity in so many fields of endeavour, its steadfast courage in adversity and its timeless beauty, I do not believe in collective innocence or guilt. I consider that notion a total absurdity.

        • October 26, 2012 at 10:02 pm

          I’ve read your previous comments so I don’t actually believe you will contribute to moving forward.

          • October 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm

            That’s your right to think so Nott, but I beg to differ. I have no hidden agenda here. Regardless of what you may think, I am charmed by your country.

            I am truly interested in hearing why you have no respect for JT Gross. You will get no counterattack from me here No counterarguments. I promise not to refute you, should you not wish me to do so. I really want to know why you think the way you do about Gross’s work and his contribution or non-contribution to Polish historiography. To quote Spinoza ” Do not weep. Do not wax indignant. Understand!” I want to understand your thinking from YOUR perspective.

          • October 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm

            why there’s no REPLY button under your post….

            Anyway, I am not exactly convinced you have an agenda, just being mislead. What looks ludicrous to me is a valid hypothesis for you, so you just count sources for and against, and come to conclusions. This is not the way to go.

            Normally I wouldn’t bother if you opposed my opinion on Gross, I love forum banters. Well, I am not bothered even now, only I don’t care to convince you, in fact. Seems it’s not an easy task. Especially that I am Polish, thus necessarily biased.

            Make that film, one more one less makes no real difference and you’ll be happy. Take care.

          • October 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm

            Nonetheless, you expressed your point of view and substantiated it from your perspective. I promised you that I wouldn’t try to rebut you, so I will keep my promise and I won’t attempt to refute you. The fact that you are Polish has no bearing for me, one way or another. Different people have different points of view and perspectives. Poles are no exception. Whether or not Gross’s background is sociology or history has no bearing upon my judgements either. Indeed, it is my understanding that he completed his first university degree in Poland in the physics department (!)

            No doubt you are also aware that he was hired as a history professor at Princeton, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

            What I’m most curious about are your substantive attacks on his writing 1) the dispute over numbers involved in the Jedwabne massacre 2) any bearing his “Michnikite” roots have upon validity of the facts he raises or his scholarship 3) precisely where, why and how the IPN and Gross differ 4) the essence of the “Jewish and non-Jewish” historians’ criticisms of his work. Anything you can add here Nott, would be most helpful.

          • October 27, 2012 at 12:01 am

            You just don’t give up, do you.

            No doubt you are also aware that he was hired as a history professor at Princeton, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

            That means simply that he was teaching history, not that he earned the title of Professor for his scientific achievements in the field. That’s the problem with the US unis and the credibility of their staff.

            What I’m most curious about are your substantive attacks on his writing 1) the dispute over numbers involved in the Jedwabne massacre

            Unlike Gross I have seen a typical Polish barn. Cramming 1600 people inside is hardly possible, unless you pack them high. The number has been officially reduced since, and no surprise here.

            2) any bearing his “Michnikite” roots have upon validity of the facts he raises or his scholarship

            This bearing is called ‘bias’. And ‘scholarship’ is not the word I’d use in his case.

            3) precisely where, why and how the IPN and Gross differ

            Precisely, it was some 10 years ago, so don’t expect ant precision from me here. It’s a closed topic for me, more or less, you can do your research on the Net, as I did. What I remember were findings of bullets and shells, highly unlikely on the site of a spontaneous pogrom by Poles shortly after the Soviets had left. And the number of victims, the memorial now says about some 300, if I remember well. And some testimonies, including those known but rejected by Gross.

            Ah, one more thing, just remembered. The final statement of the IPN was not exactly consistent with the previous partial reports, I remember being rather disgusted with it.

            ‘Why’, now that’s quite easy. Gross didn’t dig out the graves, didn’t bother to do proper research, chose his proofs at will, things like that.

            4) the essence of the “Jewish and non-Jewish” historians’ criticisms of his work. Anything you can add here Nott, would be most helpful.
            German historians confirmed that the massacre was in the typical Einsatzgruppen style, and that the time and place fits one of them. This is circumstantial evidence only, but that’s exactly the type of evidence Gross was choosing from. And, again, some claims that he was cherry-picking his evidence. I remember that I was concentrating on non-Polish historians, for obvious reasons.

            Again, Eric, that was long ago and I didn’t really care to keep it all in mind for a decade. I do remember, however, that I put quite an effort into it, as the topic was important. And the result was as you know. I would never claim that the 30mln strong nation was unable to produce one murderous mob once, only if it comes to concrete facts, I want concrete data. There’s not much of it, what there is is mostly biased interpretation by Gross.

            And Gross is not the whole story. The book was a sensation, and triggered official investigation, as you know. Part of this investigation was an archeological excavation of the site, and everybody waited for the results impatiently. The excavation was stopped, however, after the first mass grave had been opened and the findings were not in quite line with Gross. The Jewish Council of Poland, or whatever their name in English is, suddenly remembered that disturbing Jewish remains is against Jewish traditions and sensitivities.

            All in all, looking at his claims, and at the criticisms, and how his book was and is being defended, and by whom, and at the emotions to information ratio in the arguments of the supporters, the conclusion was quite simple for me: Gross is a part of the Holocaust industry, and that’s it.

    • October 26, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Eric, Yes, I would be happy to continue this dialogue privately. How do I contact you?

      • October 27, 2012 at 1:29 am

        Tomasz, I will get in touch with Jamie Stokes the editor of the Krakow Post. and I will ask if he would kindly give you my email. I would prefer not posting it on a public forum such as this one. Most appreciated. ES

    • November 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Eric, it there a way I could contribute in any small way to your undertaking? I am a researcher (not a scholar in this area), and simply have a very honest and genuine interest in learning about how one goes about a documentary. My family has several videographers and photographers and I have seen the importance of documentary.


  • October 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Dear Nott, Why do you “have no respect” for Jan Tomasz Gross and his work? Would you kindly explain in detail? I am most curious about your reasoning.

    • October 26, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      It started when I heard he claimed some 1600 victims in the Jedwabne barn, so I made some research on him and on the topic. Some clues:

      1. He is a sociologist, not a historian.
      2. He is from the 1968 michnikite roots, so he’s got a specific chip on chis shoulder
      3. National Remembrance Institute refuted several of his claims, and I trust them; not the least reason was that some of those claims were ridiculously out of phase with the reality of the times.
      4. Numerous historians criticised him, not only Poles, and even some Jews.

      The conclusion was that even reading his books was a waste of time, press comments are enough to know what he’s up to again and again.

      That’s like off-hand. I don’t care much to dig deep and wide and explain myself in detail. It doesn’t have any real relevance to BBC besmirching Poland this spring.

      • October 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm

        Thank you Nott. I appreciate that you made that effort.

        • October 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

          Don;t mention it. Wasn’t much of an effort.

  • October 27, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Eric, the last part of my answer got glued to the quote, sorry.

    • October 27, 2012 at 1:25 am

      Not a problem. I see considerable thought was put into your response. I appreciate a clearer understanding of your point of view.

  • October 27, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I’d like to say a word in my defence against the suggestion from Tomasz that I have been ‘naive and uninformed.’ While this is undoubtedly true in general, I continue to insist that many of those football fans (to return to the subject) who use anti-Semitic terminology don’t really understand what they are doing. I have had numerous experiences of talking to young Poles who use the word ‘Jude’ (as in ‘anti-Jude gang’) who simply have not realised the connection between ‘Jude’ and ‘Żyd.’ Incredible, but true.

    • October 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Fair enough, Jamie. As you say, the average football hooligan has no knowledge of documented historical anti-Semitism. They probably have extremely little knowledge of Dmowski, the Endecja, Cardinal Hlond, the Giertychs, Feliks Koneczny, OZN, etc. But it’s obvious that this mindless antipathy demonstrated at football stadiums has its roots in Polish history. It didn’t just drop out of the sky. There’s a connection between the past and this ignorant behaviour which your article does not address. These taunts and their relative acceptance are a manifestation of a lingering hatred. Let’s not whitewash the issue.

  • October 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Stan & Nott, let’s leave the past aside for a moment and shift back to the original topic which is anti-Semitic manifestations inside Polish football stadia.

    The current Jewish population of Poland appears to be somewhere around 30,000 out of general population of 38,500,000 or .07%

    In numeric terms,I think we can both agree that the actual presence of Jews on Polish soil is extremely small.

    I am trying to understand if the phenomenon of any anti-Semitism in a country that is essentially devoid of Jews. Do you believe that the anti-Semitic manifestation in Polish football stadia have anything to do with the ideologies and open presence in Poland of Radio Maryja, the League for Polish Families and politicians like Roman Giertych?

    • October 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      No Eric, I am in agreement with Tomasz here, it goes back to old rivalries and hatred, and I don’t mean hatred just because they’re Jewish. You can go anywhere in the world where two communities live side by side and regard each other as seperate, apart, “The Other”, where one or both refuse to assimilate and you will see the same hatred. Just look at what happened in Rwanda between the Tutsis and the Hutus to see what I mean.

      To understand modern attitudes you have to explore ancient enmities from both perspectives. The use of “Zyd” as an insult in modern Poland has roots from years gone by, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is because it is anti Semitic for the sake of being anti Semitic.

      Obviously the likes of Radio Maryja, the League for Polish Families, politicians like Giertych and groups like ONR seek to advance their own popularity by preying on old prejudices, probably in a similar way the BNP and the EDL do in the UK. What I don’t see in Poland though is action taken by the government and government agencies to take the lead in combating these prejudices, it only seems to happen in reaction to events such as the Stadiums of hate programme. I’d like to see the Polish government do a lot more to promote tolerance and understanding and to tackle these “hate” groups annd counteract their propaganda.

      • October 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm

        Thanks for your thoughtful response Stan. The BNP and the EDL are political reaction by some White Britons, who often come from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum to the influx and presence of what they see as a large, growing and threatening non-White population in the country. We see a similar phenomenon in Greece where the “Golden Dawn” is also making headlines. Again, it’s the coupling of harsh economic conditions and the influx of impoverished foreigners into the country.

        However, this is not the case in Poland. From what I read, the Polish economy is doing a lot better than the EU average. Many Polish emigrés to the UK are going home because conditions have improved in Poland. To my knowledge, there is no large influx of foreigners (documented or undocumented) into the country. Poland’s Jewish minority which once formed 10% of the population has now declined (after the Holocaust, the Kielce Pogrom, the oppressive nature Communist rule that culminated in the 1968 “March Events”) to 0.07% of the national population. It baffles me that phenomena like Radio Maryja, the League for Polish Families and politicians like Gierytych can find any support, when one can empirically demonstrate that any perceived Jewish threat has been eliminated from Polish public life.

        • October 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm

          Eric, you don’t have to have a large immigrant/ethnic minority population for prejudices to exist and it is not only people from the lower end of the socio political spectrum who have these prejudices eg I wouldn’t have classed Enoch Powell amongst that group and many modern day Conservative politicians also have those deep seated prejudices. And the BNP are not only anti white immigrant, they campaigned actively against Polish immigration too.

          Like I said before, in Poland the anti Jewish comments etc are there from old enmities between the communities, don’t forget that Poland was host to the largest Polish community in the world for several centuries. Just because there are significantly less numbers of Jewish people in modern day Poland doesn’t mean that those old enmities simply disappear. For example, why are the Irish still the butt of jokes in the UK which suggests that they are ignorant and uneducated? This obviously goes back to the 19th century immigrations when large numbers of poor, uneducated Irish emigrated to the UK and maybe before that when many Irish were forcibly conscripted into the British army. Even though the Irish are now a very well educated people compared to when they were under the yoke of the British Empire, those prejudices still remain.

          I feel that it is too easy for people to tar Poles as being anti Semitic without examining the historical relationship that existed between the two communities, not just in inter-war Poland but throughout the centuries. There are two sides to every story but we only hear the side that labels us as anti Semites because it suits their political agenda.

          • October 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm

            Stan, I hope you realize that I believe labelling an entire people as one thing or another is idiotic and counterproductive to a substantive discussion on any topic. Regardless of the class or ethnic origins of any BNP supporter, I think we can both agree that the UK has experienced and is experiencing a massive influx of foreigners (White and non-White) since the Second World. Like most European countries, the UK was essentially ethnically monolithic, especially outside of London. I’m not making excuses for British racism/xenophobia/ethnocentric nationalism but the challenges the UK faced in terms of assimilating ethic and racial minorities are diametrically opposed to the post-war Polish experience. Poland expelled its ethnic minorities (Germans, Jews and Ukrainians) and the consequences of that have been a more “Polish” Poland, whichever way you look at it. Please correct me if you feel I am wrong here.

            As you and others have pointed out, Poland is not the only country in Europe where anti-Semitism revives its ugly head at football matches. And I “get” the Jewish associations with football teams elsewhere on the continent (eg “Ajax”, “Manchester United”).

            What I don’t get is the inability of Polish authorities to curtail it, or for that matter curtail the openly and virulently anti-Semitic broadcasts of Radio Maryja.

            In simple terms, I perceived a culture clash happening in Poland, at least that was what I felt on my three visits to the country. On one hand I saw a rising young generation that’s computer savvy, English speaking, highly knowledgeable and literate and desirous of Poland becoming a full 21st century member of the European Union with all of the progressive, enlightened, pluralistic and tolerant currents that entails.

            On the other hand, I also felt there was another Poland, more xenophobic, ethnocentric nationalist, staunchly Catholic, fearful, defensive, “victimized” element that is fervently opposed to everything the former group wishes Poland to be.

            I also got the feeling that somewhere, somehow, the “Jewish Question” lies along the fault line or at least one of the fault lines dividing those two main currents in Polish society today.

            In any case Stan, these are a few of my thoughts and I would be most interested in hearing how you respond to them.

          • October 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm

            No Eric, the UK was not essentially monolithic, unless of course you’re classing the Irish as being British. In the 19th century there was a lot if immigration into mainland Britain including Irish, Jews from Eastern Europe and the new united Germany and also people from the Indian sub continent and other parts of South East Asia that were under the rule of the British Empire. The Irish were subjected to a lot of discrimination lasting well beyond WW2. Jewish emigration into Britain started again at the end of the 18th century and there are records of significant refugee emigration into Britain at various points in history so it’s not like it’s a new phenomenom to the British. Granted it’s newer to communities outside the larger towns and cities but it’s not as new as the anti-immigrationists like to have everyone believe.

            Neither am I labelling an entire people as one thing or another. I was brought up in a very multi cultural area of a large industrial town in the north of England so I am well aware that there are good and bad in all people of all races and nationalities.

            I’ll also take issue with you about yor comment “I’m not making excuses for British racism/xenophobia/ethnocentric nationalism but the challenges the UK faced in terms of assimilating ethic and racial minorities are diametrically opposed to the post-war Polish experience. Poland expelled its ethnic minorities (Germans, Jews and Ukrainians) and the consequences of that have been a more “Polish” Poland, whichever way you look at it.” The Polish government at that time was just a puppet of Soviet Russia, it was Stalin who decided to expel those who for centuries had lived in Poland and there was little the Polish people could do about it. (Let’s also not forget that the British and US governments also agreed to the mass expulsion of ethnic minorities from Poland and other countries that came under the “Soviet sphere of influence” post WW2) Those who were loyal to the London based Polish government-in-exile were themselves being persecuted and anyone who was seen as a threat to the nascent Communist régime were arrested or mysteriously disappeared.

            The returning Jews were a problem for the Communists for several reasons. Many were educated, middle class property owners and were returning to their former homes. Quite rightly they were returning to claim what was rightfully theirs but with the housing shortage in post war Poland and Communist opposition to private property ownership this brought another “problem” for the Communists and their ideology. The Kielce pogrom is always portrayed as an example of Polish anti Semitism but there were other motives behind the violence that occured in Kielce that day. I am not denying that Poles were involved but there were other political motivations involved here and no blatant anti Semitism.

            With reference to your comment “On the other hand, I also felt there was another Poland, more xenophobic, ethnocentric nationalist, staunchly Catholic, fearful, defensive, “victimized” element that is fervently opposed to everything the former group wishes Poland to be.” There is a lot of truth in what you say here but again it’s not so simple, not so black and white. I’m not sure if this is the forum to discuss this as we’re way off topic again but if you want me to expand I will do on another post or privately if you like.

          • October 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm

            Stan, I see your point about the Irish but I think we can both agree that the Irish migrants to the UK did not challenge the self-perception of the British as a nation as did the massive migration of West Indians, Indians, Pakistanis and to a far lesser extent, African Blacks and Hong Kong Chinese after the war.

            Regarding the Polish expulsion of ethnic Germans and Ukrainians, I found the following reference in Wiki regarding the expulsion of Reichsdeutch and Volksdeutch residents.

            “At the Potsdam Conference (17 July – 2 August 1945) the territory to the east of the Oder-Neisse line was assigned to Polish and Soviet Union administration pending the Final Peace Treaty. All Germans had their property confiscated and were placed under restrictive jurisdiction.[99][102] The Silesian voivode Aleksander Zawadzki in part expropriated the property of the German Silesians already on 26 January 1945, another decree of 2 March expropriated that of all Germans east of the Oder and Neisse, and a subsequent decree of 6 May declared all “abandoned” property as belonging to the Polish state.[103] Additionally, Germans were not permitted to own Polish currency, the only legal currency since July, other than earnings from work assigned to them.[104] The remaining population was de facto deprived of all civil rights, and faced theft and looting and also in some instances rape and murder by the Polish militia, in addition to similar acts by criminal gangs that were neither prevented nor prosecuted by the Polish militia and judiciary.[105]

            In mid-1945 4.5 to 4.6 million Germans were on Polish territory, by the beginning of 1946 550,000 Germans had already been expelled from Poland and 932,000 had been verified as having Polish nationality. In the February 1946 census 2,288,000 persons were classified as Germans and subject to expulsion and 417,400 were subject verification action, aiming at the establishment of nationality.[87]:312,452–66 The negatively verified persons, who did not succeed in demonstrating their “Polish nationality”, were directed for resettlement.[42] Those persons who had collaborated with the Nazi occupiers, were considered “traitors of the nation” and sentenced to forced labor prior to being expelled.[83] By 1950 3,155,000 German civilians had been expelled and 1,043,550 were natuaralized as Polish citizens. 170,000[42] Germans considered “indispensable” for the Polish economy were retained until the early 1950s,[102] though virtually all had left by 1960.[101] Some 200,000 Germans in Poland were employed as forced labor in communist-administered camps prior to being expelled from Poland[87]:312 These included Central Labour Camp Jaworzno, Central Labour Camp Potulice, Łambinowice and Zgoda labour camp. Besides these large camps, numerous other forced labor, punitive and internment camps, urban ghettos and detention centres, sometimes consisting only of a small cellar, were set up.[102] The German Federal Archives estimated in 1974 that more than 200,000 German civilians were interned in Polish camps, they put the death rate at 20-50% and estimated that more than likely over 60,000 persons perished.[106] The Polish historians Witold Sienkiewicz and Grzegorz Hryciuk maintain that the internment “resulted in numerous deaths, which cannot be accurately determined because of lack of statistics or falsification . Periodically, they could be 10% of inmates. Those interned are estimated at 200-250,000 Germans and the local population, and deaths might range from 15,000 to 60,000 persons.”

            I think it would be a little almost soft pedalling to conclude that the Poles had no input whatsoever into the expulsion of former ethnically German residents and that the matter was ENTIRELY a Russian enterprise from start to finish. I understand the disgust many Poles must have felt with everything German after 5 terrible years of the Nazi occupation. I can also understand their desire to chuck any ethnic German from the territory ceded to Poland. But unless Polish historians Witold Sienkiewicz and Grzegorz Hryciuk are outright liars, there was some Polish input into the expulsion and mistreatment of ethnic Germans. Again, please correct me if you believe I am wrong.

            Regarding the Ukrainians (again from Wiki) “In August 1945, the campaign to resettle entered a new phase. In order to achieve the political objective of relocating the Ukrainiain ethnic population from Poland, the Polish government abandoned the relatively benign character of the policy in favor of a more aggressive approach because the plan met with significant resistance, as most Ukrainians did not wish to abandon their ancestral lands and resettle to Soviet Ukraine. In this regard, Polish and Soviet security forces (KBW and MVD respectively) were deployed. Polish authorities conducted mass arrests of local Ukrainian elites (usually clergy) an applied a variety of coercive measures to pressure families and individuals to relocate. As the forcible nature of the campaign became routine, the pretense of “voluntary resettlement” was dropped. Groups and entire villages were forced out of their homes and directed to embark on transports bound for the Soviet Union. Within the course of a single year, July 1945 – July 1946, some 400,000 Ukrainians and Rusyns were uprooted and deported in this manner. The resettlement operation concluded in September 1946, when for all intents and purposes the demographic foundation of the Ukrainian population in Poland was destroyed.”

            Now, how much of this was purely Soviet pressure and policy and how much was a Polish desire to consolidate the country into an ethnically monolithic state is also a very big question. Again, please correct me if I am raising facts that are entirely unsubstantiated.

            All of this notwithstanding, these issues stand aside from my personal interests which are: 1) the reasons behind the Kielce pogrom and to what degree the event was instigated by the threat of Jews returning to claim their property 2) public and governmental positions today on the question of restitution of private Jewish owned property 3) the role of Radio Maryja and similar ideological and political forces on the debate about the restitution of Jewish private property 4) the connection (if any) between such debates and public manifestations of anti-Semitism like those that have been recorded on football grounds in various locations around the country.

          • October 31, 2012 at 10:07 pm

            Eric, please take off your blinkers when referring to “Polish” authorities in the years immediately following WW2. The “Polish” government was a puppet régime imposed upon Poland by Stalin. Yes, there were many ethnic Poles who were doing Stalin’s bidding, the Polish Communist Party, but they did not have the support of the overwhelming majority of the Polish people. They had the full force of the Soviet secret police behind them and like I said before, anyone who was seen as a threat to the full imposition of a Soviet backed government were dealt with.

            It’s all very well for people to sit behind their computer screen in 2012 in write what they do full of self righteous indignation about events that happened back in those days but you didn’t live in occupied Poland during WW2, you didn’t live in Poland in the years following the war and you certainly seem to have little objectivity when trying to understand what was happening in Poland at the time. The realpolitik of the day is difficult to understand just by reading selective texts that suit your pre-defined agenda.

          • November 1, 2012 at 1:21 am

            I have no predefined agenda Stan. I’m researching the subject and trying to get a better understanding of it. The French philosopher Ernest Renan put it this way: “To forget and I will venture to say to get one’s history wrong, are essential factors in the making of a nation; and thus the advance of historical studies is often a danger to nationality.” Poland is no exception in this regard. And for that matter, nor is any other country in the world. The Americas, Australia and good chunks of Africa and Asia were all objects of European thievery. Poland suffered horribly in the last century and in the century before that when the nation was literally wiped from the map. No one with slightest idea about Polish history could deny that. It is only natural that Poland would have used any opportunity to rid itself of ethnic minorities, especially ones that made previous territorial or hegemonic claims upon the country or parts of the country. But let’s talk openly. I’ve expressed what I’ve learned, albeit from not the most scholarly resources. Please tell me if I have the facts wrong here and if so, how?

          • November 1, 2012 at 2:14 am

            Eric, do you not think that if Poland wanted rid of its ethnic minorities that it would have happened in the years after WW1? Instead Poland was led by a government that wanted revive a nation that was probably more liberal and protective of its ethnic minorities in the centuries prior to the partitions than any other country in the world at the time. Furthermore with the adopting of the Constitution in 1791 there was plans to include protection of rights of minorities in Poland, especially the jews, within the Polish constitution but the final partitions stopped that from happening. Poland under Pilsudski was looking to revive the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth following the collapse of the partitioning powers at the end of WW1. Granted there were those who wanted a more ethnically homogenous Poland, eg the like of Roman Dmowski and his National Democrats but again, these people were a minority and the adopting of the March Constitution in 1921 set in law the banning of discrimination on racial and religious grounds.

            The ethnic cleansing of Poland and other states that came under the yoke of Soviet Russia post WW2 was agreed at the Potsdam Conference which took place between July 17th – August 2nd 1945. This conference fleshed out what had been outlined at the Yalta Conference held in February 1945. I’ll link you to Wikipedia as it’s the most easily found resource, and you can see here what was already planned for post WW2 Poland under a Soviet controlled Polish government.

            If you do a little research eric you will easily see that at no time did the Polish government-in-exile attend any of the major WW2 confernces nor were they signatories to any of the agreements that came out of them. Poland’s so called allies, the USA and UK, were very quick to ditch the rightful Polish government and recognise Stalin’s puppets as the sole and legitimate government in the country. If you want to blame anyone for the ethnic cleansing that took place in Poland, let’s not forget the other countries either, then look no further than your own government of the day Eric because it had absolutely nothing to do with Poland.

          • November 1, 2012 at 2:21 am

            An interesting and thoughtful response Stan. Let me educate myself a little more and get back to you.

          • November 1, 2012 at 6:22 am

            Eric, a part of the post-wars expulsions you describe included Poles being expelled from Poland’s east territories annexed to the USSR (half of Poland’s pre-war territory). Do you really think that Poles would vote on self-expulsion if they were given a chance?

            Polish militia etc. were instruments of the Soviet imposed Communist government. They were against the Polish nation, and if you think that it makes Poles somehow support them because they must have been ethnic Poles, then consider that at least some of them were Jewish. Does it make the Jewish nation complicit in the expulsion of ethnic minorities from Poland after WWII? It gets as absurd as that, Eric.

  • October 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I would expand on Stan’s post. There’s a new growing anti-Jewish sentiment in Poland caused by recent events as well, like preferential treatment of Jewish claims to the so-called post-German property, or the perceived Jewish anti-Polonism. The latter could’ve been dismissed as the typical ‘bigoted Catholic bias’, except that it was confirmed by the Israeli Prime Minister during his visit to Poland. He admitted that stirring hate for Poland and Poles was a part of an effort to consolidate the nation, and promised to stop it, starting with revision of textbooks on WW2 history. Remarks like Michnik’s that as a Jew he doesn’t feel obliged to any loyalty towards Poland don’t help neither. There are numerous examples of prominent Jews and Jewish organisations perceived as arrogant or excessively demanding. One can empirically demonstrate that the perceived Jewish threat has not been eliminated from Polish public life, despite the Jewish population being so tiny.

    Focusing on the Polish anti-Semitism by the media and authors is another factor. Orwell extensively wrote about common British anti-Semitism before, during, and after the war. Recently discovered documents illustrated the surprisingly wide and willful extent of French cooperation in herding up Jews and handing them out to the Nazis. Several non-German SS-waffen formations actively participated in extermination of Jews. Anti-Semitism is an important part of the strong Russian nationalism, and Russia is a mayor player on the international scene, yet it’s always Poland who gets the headlines, whether there is a reason for it or not, like with that Euro 2012 hype.

    • October 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Nott, I would like you to expand if possible on your statement about
      “preferential treatment of Jewish claims to the so-called post-German property”. Can you give me some details here? How are “Jewish” claims being handled any differently from “Polish” claims? Should they be?

      How do you explain Poland’s refusal to pass a restitution law, something that puts the country clearly out of step with its fellow members of the European Union?

      Do you see any connection between events like the Kielce Pogrom, (which as we both know happened AFTER the Nazis had left Polish soil) and a generalized fear that returning Jews (from the concentration camps, from Russia or from hiding) posed a threat to Poles because they wanted their property back?

      It is my understanding that these same themes are repeated today by Radio Maryja, the League for Polish Families, the most conservative Catholic groups in Polish society etc. Is this true? If it is, I’d like a better understanding of the reasons why. How do you see the strength and influence of organizations like these and politicians like Giertych in Poland today?

      Do you think these conservative elements active in Poland today and/or the ongoing issue of restitution of Jewish property have any bearing upon those who carry banners in more rural places like Rzeszow with epithets like “Smierc Garbaytym Nosom” ?

      I know I’m skipping around here but please bear with me. I’m trying to understand all of this stuff from a Polish perspective which you are obviously able to articulate most clearly.

      • October 31, 2012 at 4:35 am

        It is my understanding that these same themes are repeated today by Radio Maryja, the League for Polish Families, the most conservative Catholic groups in Polish society etc. Is this true? If it is, I’d like a better understanding of the reasons why. How do you see the strength and influence of organizations like these and politicians like Giertych in Poland today?

        Eric, why don’t you Google Mr. Giertych? He’s dead as a politician and his party, the League of the Polish Families, which you bring here as the big devil of the Polish society, has been dead for years. He failed to receive 3% support necessary to obtain public funding of his party. That’s the problem with things you write here. You take a tiny group and make them seem like the Polish society at large.

        The Polish government doesn’t curtail Radio Maryja because it’d be against the Constitution and the general rule of Freedom of Speech and Religion. It wouldn’t be curtailed in the US either. But the Radio is not the Polish Catholic Church in general, it’s just a kind of split off. There are lots of enemies of the Radio within the Church itself. And it is my understanding that the Pope did curtail it some years ago and they’re no longer so blatantly anti-Semitic as they used to be. I’m not saying they’ve changed beyond recognition, I wouldn’t even know that, because I don’t listen to them, and I bet you don’t either, but you seem to somehow know what they’re saying.

        Nott – the Israeli player Melikson doesn’t play for Cracovia. He plays for Wisła, the very anti-Semitic club all the fuss here is about.

        Moreover, Cracovia has never been a Jewish club. Before the war they were a Polish democratic club, so they accepted everyone, Jews included. For this reason they were equally hated by both the Polish Catholic Wisła and the Jewish Zionist Maccabi. And Wisła and Maccabi fans often united to kick Cracovia fans.

        So, in a nutshell, one could say that Mr. Melikson used to play for two fascist Israeli clubs (Maccabi Yavne and Maccabi Haifa) and now plays for a Polish fascist club Kraków Wisła.

        Somehow Eric Scott isn’t dumbfounded by the phenomenon of Israeli fascist clubs still being alive today in a country without Poles.

        • October 31, 2012 at 4:38 am

          I said “Polish Catholic Church” – I meant Catholic Church in Poland of course. There’s no such thing as a Polish Catholic Church, and if there is it’s not Roman Catholic.

  • October 29, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Thank you Nott. Your interesting observations give me much to ponder. Let me think carefully about what you have just said and get back to you.

    • October 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Erm… you made me realise that I wasn’t actually answering your question, about shifting back ‘to the original topic which is anti-Semitic manifestations inside Polish football stadia.’

      I don’t think that what I described has any discernible influence on the Wisla fans, those portrayed by Panorama. Those are people who watch the general news only when they want to make sure that they don’t miss the sports, and who see the newspaper’s front page on the stall only, and only choose the local paper because it’s got more info on their team.

      Judging the whole country by its football fans is never a good idea, and the Wisla-Cracovia thing is especially non-representative, it’s a quite unique case. The roots are indeed ancient, Cracovia was a Jewish club in the beginning of the century, and, afaik, there are Jewish money involved today. Must be the reason why they hired an Israeli player, can’t see another explanation. However, the anti-Semitic behaviour is mostly ritualistic, as the Cracovia followers are mostly Catholic Poles, for the simple reason that there’s not enough Jews in Poland to fill a stadium. And they carry the ‘Jew’ badge with pride typical to local patriots all over the world. Consequently, you should call them philo-Semitic football hooligans, and this would be absurd as well.

      It’s the fandom thing. You follow the club, you take it all – the colours, the scarf, the badge, the lore, the traditional arsenal of insults targeted at the rivals – and the insults targeted at you. You don’t go disputing the fine details of the roots of the vendetta, you back up your people ‘to the death’ regardless. Some people need it.

      Now look at this, I just learned what’s the name of that Israeli player in Cracovia:

      But Mr Melikson is enjoying his new club. “When fans of Wisla Krakow heard I might play for them, some of them contacted me on Facebook and told me that I have no reason to be scared. They said that the hate is directed at their local rivals, Cracovia, and they don’t hate Jews just for being Jews. In fact, people are very friendly to me,” he said.
      The Jewish Chronicle…

      If I could find it in less than a minute, on the first page of Google results, then so could the Panorama journalists. They didn’t bother, so sloppy journalism, rather unlikely in their case, as they are quite professional. Thus sensationalist journalism at best, or following some mysterious agenda at the worst.

      In short, anti-Semitic manifestations on Polish stadiums is a marginal thing, a non-issue blowed up out of proportion. Despite the anti Jewish sentiments being still, or again, present in the Polish society in general. Even the latter, though, are not enough to sustain the myth of bloodthirsty Poles murdering Jews at the first opportunity. Nor does the Kielce Pogrom, which you mentioned, and neither does March 1968, both coming from roots rather accidentally associated with Jews and Poles.

      And, ah, one thing in which I disagree with Stan. Polish government doesn’t actually need to do much, the grass-roots anti-anti-Semitic activity is strong enough, sometimes producing ridiculous. results. There was a story in 2011, I think, about a school teacher who wanted to teach children about the evil of anti-Semitism still polluting Polish life and the dire need to fight it. His problem was he couldn’t find a convincing proof of the monster, so he painted anti-Semitic graffiti in the neighbourhood. And was caught while doing it, the story made local headlines. Somewhere in Pomorze, if I remember well. I wouldn’t say he promoted The Cause of tolerance

      Big topic, Eric, even more complex than the Jews themselves.

  • October 31, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Eric says:

    “I’m not making excuses for British racism/xenophobia/ethnocentric nationalism but the challenges the UK faced in terms of assimilating ethic and racial minorities are diametrically opposed to the post-war Polish experience. Poland expelled its ethnic minorities (Germans, Jews and Ukrainians) and the consequences of that have been a more “Polish” Poland, whichever way you look at it.”

    Actually, you do. England expelled Jews in the 13th century, and yet Shakespeare was a great anti-Semite still four centuries later. How do you explain the phenomenon?

    Jews began to return to England in the 18th century, but it was a tiny group, just a couple of thousands of people. Most Englishmen never saw a Jew. There was one synagogue in London called Poland. So how is it that one can find anti-Semitism in the English literature from that period?

    Of course the English attitude to Jews was always lite in comparison to their attitude to Catholics, but it was hardly welcoming.

    The Jewish minority in pre-war Germany was tiny, something like 0,5%. So how do you explain the Nazis’ attitude to Jews?

    Why do you think it’s a Polish phenomenon? Or maybe it’s not a phenomenon at all? Maybe it’s just what happens when people fear the other, whatever the other is?

    • November 1, 2012 at 2:11 am

      England’s history regarding the Jews is not without its own terrible chapters. However, Oliver Cromwell revoked the edict of expulsion in 1657, removing “state sponsored” anti-Semitism from British law. That was 356 years ago.

      I do not think that anti-Semitism is a “Polish phenomenon”. I think that certain episodes of violent public anti-Semitism took place in Poland after the end of the Holocaust and I want to understand why. Poland was not the only Eastern European country under Soviet domination in the 50s and 60s. However, to my knowledge, it is the only Soviet satellite country where the expulsion of the Jews from national life became state policy in 1968. Again, I want to understand why.

      • November 1, 2012 at 2:36 am

        Once again Eric you phrase your comments in such a way as to imply the reason behind the expulsion of Jews from Poland in 1968 is down to good old fashioned Polish anti semitism. Just how much research have you actually done because Wikipedia is a good starting place for most queries and even though it is not 100% reliable it often references other sources which can be researced. A simple search in Google “Expulsion Jews Poland 1968” finds this article which shows that the expulsions were down to Communist paranoia and their usual shifting sand loyalties. Once again, absolutely nothing to do with anti Semitism. Why are you so keen to label us Poles and Poland as anti Semites Eric?

      • November 1, 2012 at 4:35 am

        England’s history regarding the Jews is not without its own terrible chapters. However, Oliver Cromwell revoked the edict of expulsion in 1657, removing “state sponsored” anti-Semitism from British law. That was 356 years ago.

        Really, Eric? Then what the 1753 Jew Bill was for if, as you say, “state sponsored” anti-Semitism was already removed from the British law a century earlier?

        To my best knowledge Jews were allowed to travel to England but not to settle there. Even those born in England were not granted English citizenship.

        What about the Aliens Act 1905? Wasn’t it state sponsored anti-Semitism?

        Why do you think so few Jews managed to escape Poland before WWII? Because countries like Great Britain wouldn’t have them.

        • November 1, 2012 at 5:10 am

          It is my understanding that Jews were allowed back into England after Cromwell but I’ll check the fine print.Cant recall any British pogroms in the 19th or 20th century…….or 18th either for that matter. Of couse Jews were never anyehere near 10% of the population.

          • November 1, 2012 at 6:44 am

            Cant recall any British pogroms in the 19th or 20th century…….or 18th either for that matter. Of couse Jews were never anyehere near 10% of the population.

            Nor can I recall any Polishs pogrom organized by a Polish democratic government at any given moment from the middle ages till today, even though Jews were 10% of the population.

  • October 31, 2012 at 8:05 am

    One more thing about Roman Giertych. Last year, he was hired by Radek Sikorski (Poland’s Foreign Minister) as his lawyer to combat anti-Semitic comments on newspapers’ websites about Sikorski and his wife, Anne Applebaum.

    See the end of this story:,Newspaper-apologises-after-foreign-minister-property-slur

    So much for the dangerous leading anti-Semite of the Republic of Poland. As we say here, the Devil has huge eyes (but nothing else).

    • November 2, 2012 at 1:18 am

      Hi Sylwia, Regarding your statements…

      “One more thing about Roman Giertych. Last year, he was hired by Radek Sikorski (Poland’s Foreign Minister) as his lawyer to combat anti-Semitic comments on newspapers’ websites about Sikorski and his wife, Anne Applebaum.

      See the end of this story:,Newspaper-apologises-after-foreign-minister-property-slur

      So much for the dangerous leading anti-Semite of the Republic of Poland. As we say here, the Devil has huge eyes (but nothing else).”

      Let’s add a little informed nuance to your observation above. Actually, Giertych and Sikorski developed a close friendship while serving together in the cabinets of Marcinkiewicz and Kaczynski.,r-sikorski-giertych-jest-skutecznym-adwokatem

      Giertych has never been an overt anti-Semite like his grandfather or father. His nationalism has been couched in much more acceptable terms. Probably the worse that can be said about Giertych is the frequent blind eye he turned to the more extreme elements of the LPR and MW. Giertych’s ultra-nationalism did appeal to overt anti-Semites but Giertych never made an anti-Semitic statement himself publicly.

      Sikorski could hardly be termed a liberal or progressive. He’s a pragmatist who serves as easily under Tusk as he did under Kaczynski. He’s widely admired for being a no-nonsense foreign minister who has repeatedly gone toe-to-toe with Russia, Germany, and the US. Why would a man with a Jewish wife choose Giertych as his lawyer in a case against publications which feature anti-Semitic vitriol in their internet forums? Sikorski states in the article he doesn’t see any connection between Giertych the politician and Giertych the lawyer.

  • October 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Sylwia, I guess that I have much more to learn about the intricacies of Polish politics as well as the personalities, positions, power and influence of right wing ethnocentric nationalist and “Catholic” elements within the current political climate.

  • November 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I’d like to jump in here with a few thoughts on the nature (and extent) of this ongoing discussion.

    We have strayed a very long way from my argument in the original article, which was that the BBC exaggerated the extent of anti-Semitism at Polish football grounds and misunderstood its origins. I should have expected that – one of the fascinating aspects of any discussion of Jewish history in Poland is the intense emotion it provokes in many Poles.

    The problem with these discussions is that they often descend into ‘your country was more anti-Semitic than mine’ point scoring. I’m British – I acknowledge that British people and British governments have been anti-Semitic. Probably the worst example being that British police officers rounded up the Jewish inhabitants of the Channel Islands and handed them over to the Nazis during WWII. That right there is proof to me that, had mainland Britain been occupied, we would now have yet more historical demons to deal with.

    What really interests me is that Poles often refuse to accept that anything anti-Semitic has ever been done by a Polish person. When I say this interests me, I mean that precisely. I do not have an anti-Polish agenda, I’m not trying to prove anything. This is a characteristic that really stands out for me as a foreign observer of Polish culture, and I’d like to understand it. It seems to flow from a perception among Poles that the rest of the world thinks they are anti-Semitic. This perception does not exist. It reminds me of a comment I used to hear frequently that foreigners think there are ‘Polar bears on the streets of Warsaw.’ I had never heard this idea until I was actually in Warsaw. It told me a lot more about Poles than foreign perceptions of Poles.

    There have been a number of recent comments citing the powerlessness of the Polish people in the postwar period. Of course I understand this – thankfully my nation escaped the ignominy of occupation (a fact that, I think, goes a long way to explaining why the UK has always been out of step with the philosophy behind the European Union – we retain a false innocence that others lost). But, occupation is not the get-out clause that it may appear to be. Poles have held other Poles responsible for their actions under Soviet occupation, why should this not be the case for Kielce too? In other words, it’s not enough to say it was a Communist plot.

    I do not regard Poland as an ‘anti-Semitic nation.’ I have seen and heard flagrant anti-Semitism from Poles, but it is very rare and, where it does exist, is unsophisticated and abstract since very few Poles have any contact with Jews. Whenever I talk to the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow, its director makes the powerful point that the JCC is the only institution of its kind in the world that does not feel the need to provide itself with security guards.

    With this clear statement in mind, I remain confused by extreme Polish sensitivity to any suggestion that any Pole has ever done anything anti-Semitic. I know, for example, that English people did terrible things to West Africans during the slave trade years. It’s a pity, but I don’t lose sleep over it, and I don’t attempt to construct justifications when I see it mentioned. Why can Poles not accept historical examples of Polish immorality?

    • November 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      With this clear statement in mind, I remain confused by extreme Polish sensitivity to any suggestion that any Pole has ever done anything anti-Semitic.

      Jamie, I don’t think that anyone in this discussion was saying that there were/are no Polish anti-Semites. However, like in the example of Kielce massacre, it’s unlikely it would happen had there been a democratic government in Poland. The problem is with blaming Poles as a whole for the actions of bandit governments imposed on Poland from the outside. Probably we get so heated about it, because we identify with the actions of our government. Say, I often hear Americans saying that they don’t feel responsible for the war in Iraq because they didn’t vote for Bush. A Pole would be unlikely to say something like that. We do feel responsible because it’s in our power to change a government. Note that in Poland they change much more often than in the USA or UK.

      The bottom line is, if I am to feel responsible for something, I want it to be something I can influence in any way. And the same refers to the past. If my parents or grandparents could have done something but didn’t, then I feel responsible. None of us can feel responsible for Stalin, Roosevelt or Churchill.

      On the other hand, I won’t feel responsible if my neighbour kills his wife tomorrow, unless she screams and I’ll fail to call the police. And I can’t feel responsible for Polish individuals who attacked Jews, which was against the law. But I would feel responsible if there was a law allowing or encouraging people to attack other people. Living in a democratic country I can change that.

      So when people say that Poland has a long history of anti-Semitism, Poles hear that they have a long history of anti-Semitic laws and governments, which is simply BS. This is when we compare the laws in Poland to the laws elsewhere. I don’t know, perhaps British citizens don’t feel this kind of responsibility for their government, but it certainly has nothing to do with pretending that there are no Polish anti-Semites or other anti-anything individuals. I don’t feel responsible for individuals. They are free people, have free will, and can do whatever they want unless they break the law. But I feel responsible for the law and the government. It doesn’t mean I can always prevent a bad law or a government, but it means I can do my best to stop them. And I dare say Poles can get very active in fighting bad laws or regimes.

      The white bear myth goes back to a Polish and French king Henry de Valois, and this is what the French people used to think about Poland. Naturally, to Poles France was THE WEST, but it’s quite likely Brits have never heard about it.

      • November 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

        BS Sylwia?


        BS Sylwia?


        Few countries suffered more at the hands of Nazism than Poland. However, legacy of the war has helped many forget that Poland shared one very ugly similarity to Nazi Germany, official antisemitism. It must be made very clear that such policies in no way can be compared to the terrible crimes committed against the Jews by Hitler. Yet, it cannot be forgotten that interwar Poland had a very sorry record in terms of its treatment of its own Jewish minority.

        What follows below is a brief introduction to the subject of officially sanctioned antisemitism in Poland.

        Poland between the world wars was a state that the victorious Allied Powers had created in 1919 from parts of the defunct German, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires. The new Polish Republic included within its borders a number of ethnic minority groups, among which were Germans, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, and roughly three million Jews. Polish authorities agreed to protect the civil rights of these non-Polish minorities by signing the so-called “Little Treaty of Versailles” (also known as the Minorities Treaty) on June 28, 1919. The historical record shows, however, that the “protection” offered by Polish authorities was very uneven, particularly after the death of Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, the first Polish president, in 1935.

        After 1935, Polish antisemitic political parties put increasing pressure on the government to pass legislation that would place restrictions on the social mobility of Polish Jews. These parties had been inspired by the example that the Nazis set in Germany with the passage of the Nuremberg Race Laws.


        The first example of this legislation was a bill enacted into law on January 1, 1937. This bill placed limits on the practice of the kosher slaughtering of cattle by Orthodox Jews. This bill, historian Emanuel Melzer points out, allowed the Polish government “to regulate the supply of cattle to kosher slaughterers, and jurisdictions in which Jews numbered less than three percent of the total population were to be permitted to outlaw kosher slaughtering altogether.”[1] This blatantly discriminatory bill struck directly at the heart of the religious practice of Poland’s large number of Orthodox Jews. It also had a devastating effect on the economic well being of tens of thousands of Jewish butchers, their families, and their suppliers.


        From 1935 to 1939, antisemitic feeling in Poland gained in intensity. The impact of this development was to influence the adoption of measures by Polish professional organizations that excluded Jews. Here are only a few examples[2]:

        In August 1936, the Polish government ordered that all shops include the name of the owner on their business sign. This order was tantamount to specifically marking Jewish-owned businesses. Attacks on Jewish businesses surged after the marking order went into effect.
        In May 1937, the membership of the Polish Medical Association adopted a paragraph into their professional charter excluding Jews from the medical profession.
        Also in May 1937, the Polish Bar Association adopted a similar measure. This was followed by official state action in May 1938 restricting the ability of Jewish lawyers to attain licenses to practice law.
        In January 1938, the General Assembly of Journalists in the city of Wilno added a provision to its by-laws stating that anyone Jewish could not belong to their organization.
        In April 1938, the Bank Polski, the Polish state’s largest financial institution, adopted a provision excluding Jews.
        Most importantly, in March 1938 the Polish government announced a new “Citizenship Law.” This law stated that as of October 30, 1938, the passports of Polish citizens who had lived abroad for more than five years would be revoked if those citizens had not “maintained contact with the [home] country”.[3] Although this law did not target Jews specifically, its effect had a dramatic impact on Jews who had lived outside of Poland. One such community of Jewish expatriates were the tens of thousands of Polish Jews residing in neighboring Germany. The Polish action would have effectively rendered these people “stateless” on German soil, making them a German problem. Nazi officials, particularly Heinrich Himmler, chief of the SS, and his subordinate, Reinhard Heydrich, had planned since earlier in the year to force Jews – particularly Polish Jews – to leave Germany. On October 28-29, the SS and Gestapo detained 15,000 Polish Jews and sent them over the German frontier into Poland. These refugees were turned back by Polish border guards and then interned in a refugee camp “between” Germany and Poland at Zbaszyn. There they languished under terrible conditions until Poland finally relented and allowed them to enter the country in 1939.[4]

        The legislative actions of the Polish government described above were part of a broad program intended to reduce the number of Jews in Poland. Indirect action, however, such as the banning of slaughtering practices and other anti Jewish legal provisions, represented the “benevolent” side of a far more nefarious policy of actively forcing Jewish emigration. This policy of forced Jewish emigration was also linked to larger Polish “imperial” dreams.

        Beginning in 1935, the Polish government initiated a policy to elevate Poland to an international position on par with the world’s other great powers. This policy, which was directed by Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck, had two dimensions to it. The first was for Poland to establish a colonial presence in Africa. The second was to use some of the African territory Poland hoped to acquire as a place to forcibly relocate its over three million Jews. The territory Beck and others had in mind was the island of Madagascar.

        The notion of creating a “Jewish colony” in Madagascar had its roots in the writings of the racist and antisemitic thinker Paul de Lagarde. Lagarde had written in 1885 that Europe’s Jews should be resettled on Madagascar.[5] He chose Madagascar because it was an island. As an antisemite, Lagarde believed that the only way to curb Jewish influence in the world was to isolate Jews geographically.

        Five decades would pass before a European government seriously considered implementing Lagarde’s proposed solution to the “Jewish problem”. In that time, Lagarde’s proposal had become widely known in Europe, thanks largely to organizations like the Antisemitic Congress, which met in Vienna in 1921. Polish antisemites were thus familiar with Lagarde’s ideas and by the mid-1930s they had long desired to investigate the feasibility of a Jewish colony on Madagascar. There was a problem, however. Poland held no colonies in Africa and Madagascar was under French control. The Polish government therefore campaigned in Britain and France and in the League of Nations for its right to ten-percent of former German colonial holdings in Africa. The Poles claimed that as a successor state that had once belonged to the German Empire, they had a right to these territories.[6] Not surprisingly, Polish claims found little sympathy in either Britain or France, or among the member states of the League.

        Their colonial ambitions thwarted, Polish officials turned to another strategy. They decided to use the idea of creating a Jewish colony on Madagascar as a way of “opening the door” to further colonial acquisitions.[7] The basis of Poland’s hopes lay in comments that French Colonial Minister Marius Moutet had made in January 1937 concerning the possibility of sending France’s Jews to many different locations around the world, all of which were French colonial holdings, including the island of Madagascar.[8]

        Within weeks of hearing Moutet’s comments, the Polish government initiated negotiations with the French to explore the possibility of sending Polish Jews to Madagascar. The French responded positively to the Poles and on 5 May 1937 a joint Polish-French Commission under the direction of Mieczyslaw B. Lepecki left Marseilles for Madagascar. During the weeks that the Lepecki Commission was in Madagascar, it studied several regions on the island to determine how many people could viably live there. The commission then returned to Europe and in October 1937 Lepecki published a 250 page report detailing his findings.[9] Lepecki’s report concluded that the Madagascar solution was not feasible. Not only would the cost of transporting Jewish families be exorbitant (some 30,000 francs per family!), Lepecki concluded that the island could only support between 40,000 and 60,000 Polish-Jewish refugees. Polish Jewry alone comprised over three million people. Sending 60,000 Jews to Madagascar, therefore, would not solve the “Jewish problem” in Poland and it would bankrupt the state treasury.

        The Polish “Madagascar Plan” was thus scrapped. Following Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, the SS revived the idea of sending Jews to Madagascar. However, the impracticality of these plans due to the war brought them to a rapid end. The Nazis instead implemented their own “final solution” to the Jewish problem and liquidated most of European Jewry in death camps they located in occupied Poland.

        [1] Emanuel Melzer, No Way Out: The Politics of Polish Jewry, 1935-1939 (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1965), p. 90

        [2] These examples taken from Melzer, No Way Out, pp. 90ff; Joseph Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919-1939 (New York: Mouton Publishers, 1983), Chapters 19 and 30; Harry M. Rabinowicz, The Legacy of Polish Jewry: A History of Polish Jews in the Inter-War Years, 1919-1939 (New York: T. Yoseloff, 1965), pp. 179-194; Jerzy Tomaszewski, “The Civil Rights of Jews in Poland, 1918-1939,” in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, vol. 8 (London: Littmann, 1994), pp. 115-127; Anthony Read and David Fisher, Kristallnacht: The Nazi Night of Terror (New York: Times Books, 1989), p. 43.

        [3] Melzer, No Way Out, p. 91

        [4] See Saul Friedländer, Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1933-1939 (New York: HarperCollins, 1997) and/or Michael Wildt (Hg.), Die Judenpolitik des SD 1935 bis 1938: Eine Dokumentation (München: Oldenbourg, 1995) for more detailed information on this subject.

        [5] Paul de Lagarde, “Über die nächsten Pflichten deutscher Politik,” reprinted in Schriften für Deutschland (Stuttgart: Kroener, 1933).

        [6] Archives Diplomatiques/Ministères des Affaires Etrangeres, K-Afrique 91, 45-48.

        [7] Magnus Brechtken, “Madagaskar für die Juden”: antisemitische Idee und politische Praxis, 1885-1945 (München: Oldenbourg, 1997), p. 288.

        [8] Ibid.

        [9] “Raport Dyr. Mieczyslaw Lepeckiego z Podrozy na Madagaskar” (Warszawa, 1937). A version of this report from 1938 is available at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Call number D285.8.B4 L4

        • November 2, 2012 at 11:17 am

          Once again Eric shows his true colours. You are full of Polonophobic hatred Eric, you say you wish to research and learn yet every time you always show anti polish bias in your writing.

          • November 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm

            Stan, it’s not about true colours. Sylwia made a statement saying that when Poland was a democracy, which it was in the 1930s, there was never any official, governmental anti-Semitic agenda. In fact she said the very idea of that notion was “BS”. Unless the above legislation was not passed either by the Polish parliament or by Polish national professional organizations in contravention of national law, then she is not telling the truth.

            If i said that in the United States (for example) Blacks were officially discriminated against until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s and showed legal proof of that fact, would that make me “anti American”?

            So the Polish government passed discriminatory legislation against Jews during the pre-war period when Poland was a democracy. Someone participating in the discussion says that was literally “BS” in contradiction to documented facts. Then I present substantiated proof that the opposite was true. Does that make me “anti-Polish”? I don’t think so.

          • November 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm

            Eric, you and people like you decide to portray such legislation as being anti Jewish. Does it say anywhere in the legislation, for example, that only Jewish shop keepers should put their names above the doors? Or did this legislation also apply to Polish, Lithuanian, German, Ukrainian or Byelosrussian shopkeepers too? Since when did professional bodies actually pass laws? Surely membership of professional bodies is a matter for them and has nothing to do with government? What about the Jewish law and medical societies that prohibited Gentiles from being members? Is that not discrimination or does that not count because it’s ok to discriminate against Gentiles?

            My father came from a small town in central Poland. Nearly all the businesses around the market square were Jewish, the people who lived in that town at the time knew who owned the stores, they didn’t need a written sign above the door to know who owned the business, the ethnicity of the person or anything. Considering most Jews at the time were not assimilated into Polish society it didn’t need a rocket scientist to identify the vast majority of Jewish people but for those who like to vilify Poles as being anti Semitic then this is a fine example of twisting facts to suit their own argument.

            And since when were the actions of private organisations sanctified as offical government policy or legislation? Oh yeah, when it suits the arguments of Polonophobes as portraying us as anti Semitic. Have you looked into the research of Mark Paul since I last recommended you research his papers? Open up your eyes Eric and read about Jewish isolationist practices and prejudices towards Poles. If you want to truly understand what life was like in pre war Poland, and you are doing so from a non prejudical perspective as you claim, then you simply cannot read things from one side of the argument.

        • November 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm

          Eric, I was talking about accusing Poland of “a long history of anti-Semitic laws and governments” and what you brought are 2-4 years out of a thousand years long history. How does it prove me wrong? Moreover, the vast majority of it has nothing to do with laws or governments. Say, the forced emigration of Jews to Madagascar would be a great example if not for two things 1.) it was never meant to be forced, 2. ) it never happened. You know, it’s like sentencing a man for a crime he didn’t commit.

          All you “documented” is that several guys discussed an idea and sent a commission. It never even came under voting in the Parliament. And even if it did it was meant to be a Polish colony governed by Jews. How does that signify discrimination of Jews? There were Jewish people willing to invest there, and there were many Jews back then who wanted a Jewish state, or at least a Jewish enclave.

          Ironically, not so long ago, I saw some article in American press praising Roosevelt for backing up this plan. Things look so differently depending on how you want to present them.

          I’ll comment more later if I have time but, you know, it’s getting tiring. You really should read a book. Comments under an article is not a place for education. I’d suggest out of the sources your source used: Joseph Marcus, Social and Political History of the Jews in Poland, 1919-1939. It’s really good. Stop reading pamphlets, and start reading serious books.

          Oh, and please, don’t compare the Jewish minority in pre-war Poland to the Blacks in the USA. I really resent that! Till the Blacks in the USA aren’t the richest group in America and don’t make a major part of lawyers and medical doctors (30% and 50% respectively) you have no right to compare them.

  • November 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Dear Sylwia,

    You wrote, “So when people say that Poland has a long history of anti-Semitism, Poles hear that they have a long history of anti-Semitic laws and governments, which is simply BS.” I merely pointed out that in the 1930s Poland passed some anti-Semitic legislation and curtailed the rights of Polish Jews living in Germany to Polish passports. Highly prominent professional associations prevented Jews from membership. Now, is that the truth or isn’t it? If my facts are wrong, please explain why and how?

    The source of the facts I stated in my previous post about anti-Semitic Polish legislation in the 1930s after Pilsudski’s death has no bearing on their veracity,

    The relative wealth or poverty of any minority is not the issue here. It’s the fact that in the 20th century when Poland was a free and independent nation its Parliament passed discriminatory legislation targeting a specific group of citizens based solely upon their ethnicity. To say otherwise contravenes logic and good sense.

    If we want to go into the reasons why these discriminatory laws were passed, that is another debate entirely. But denying or soft pedalling their existence does no service to Poland. I would say, on the contrary!

    • November 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Eric, if you keep purposefully misreading what I say I’ll stop answering your posts.

      • November 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm

        Sylwia. You can do whatever you wish with my answers. You are free to ignore me. No one is forcing you to respond to me. If you care to respond, I welcome your comments. If you don’t wish to respond to my posts any longer, that too is OK. You made a statement and contracted it with facts that I found. If I have made one error or several factual errors here in pointing out chapter and verse the legal measures the Polish state took against Poland’s Jews in in the 1930s, I am willing to stand corrected. If you don’t care to address the contradiction between your statement, ie” “So when people say that Poland has a long history of anti-Semitism, Poles hear that they have a long history of anti-Semitic laws and governments, which is simply BS.” and the actual Polish laws and by-laws passed by elected representatives of the Polish government and by Polish professional guilds in the 1930s, that is your choice.

        This isn’t about “scoring points”. It’s about having an open, thoughtful , well considered and heartfelt discussion about a specific aspect of 20th and 21st century Polish history that interests me and obviously interests you.

        Again, I’m asking you to address the contradiction of your previous statement and the specifics I raised about Polish laws passed in the 1930s. Saying that I am “purposefully misreading” what you say is a cop out, that neither enhances your arguments, nor substantiates your defence of Poland in this discussion.

        • November 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm

          Eric, there’s no contradiction in what I said. I already answered that and I’m not going to answer it again. If you keep misreading it, then I’m afraid there’s no room for any discussion.

          Perhaps my English is so bad. If so I ask any English speaker other than Eric to explain to me how what I said could be understood the way Eric keeps reading it, because I’m really lost here.

          • November 3, 2012 at 1:19 am

            I’d like to know what is anti Semitic about asking shop keepers to display their names above the premises. Surely it would only be anti Semitic if the law required only Jewish shopkeepers to do so.

  • November 2, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Sylwia, your English is excellent and you have shown yourself to be a woman of great intelligence with considerable knowledge and interest in the subject. Kindly answer the following questions with a simple “yes” or “no”: 1) Did the Sejm pass anti-Semitic laws or did it not pass anti-Semitic laws in the 1930s when Poland’s parliament was democratically elected? 2) Does the fact that the elected parliament passed such laws (if your answer to the previous answer was “yes”) indicate the presence of an anti-Semitic current in Polish society that manifested itself as actual law?

    I’m not trying to back you into a corner here. I just want to take this dialogue a step deeper.

  • November 3, 2012 at 3:58 am

    What was the intent behind the people who urged the passage of that law Sylwia? What was the point of it? What would such a law accomplish?

    • November 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

      It was me who asked that question Eric. Can you demonstrate that there was anti Semitic intent behind that law?

      • November 3, 2012 at 12:20 pm

        OK Stan, let’s turn this question around. Please tell me what you think the intent of that law was. Why would legislators care enough to pass a law requiring all shop owners to put their names on their stores?

      • November 3, 2012 at 12:21 pm

        Stan, this is the worst kind of sophistry.

        The German Civil Service Law (Berufsbeamtengesetz) of 1933, widely regarded as the first piece of Nazi anti-Semitic legislation, makes no mention of Jews. It banned ‘non Aryans’ from the civil service. You could, if you were feeling particularly obtuse and stubborn, interpret this as being aimed at disadvantaging Malaysians or Eskimos.

        Again, I am amazed by the lengths some Poles will go to to deny any historical immorality on the part of their people.

        As an experiment Stan, is there anything in Poland’s thousand years of history that you would regard as having been unsound or unethical?

        • November 3, 2012 at 1:08 pm

          Yes, septimus David, there are many things but I am sick to death of people like eric constantly portraying Poland and the Polish people of being a nation of anti Semites and every little thing that was done in the past as being an example of anti semitism. I have challenged him to read the research of Canadian academic Mark Paul about traditional Jewish attitudes towards Poles and Poland but I know there are things he will read there that are unpalatable to his Polish bashing agenda.

          I have never denied that that are or were Polish anti Semites or there was never cases of anti Semitic behaviour by ordinary Poles or the Polish government in oover 1000 years of Polish history but there is a lot more evidence of good than there is of bad yet people like Eric choose to concentrate solely on the bad and misinterpret things for his own agenda.

          • November 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm

            I can understand that frustration, though I really don’t think that’s what Eric is doing – I think he’s concentrating on one issue because he’s making a film about it and because it does look odd that Poland doesn’t have a restitution law.

            BTW, in case anyone is wondering, my comments initially appear as authored by ‘septimusdavid’ because of limitation in the WordPress sign-in system. I edit them to my own name so as not to be anonymous.

          • November 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm

            A restitution law in Poland would create chaos. I am sure I don’t need to tell you about the wholesale destruction of many Polish towns and cities during WW2 both by the retreating Nazis and advancing Russians. Most of the destroyed property wasn’t rebuilt and towns and cities were not re-built as they were prior to WW2. Who exactly should pay the restitution money? Who would be eligible? As you well know Poland had many ethnic minorities within its borders prior to WW2. Would German families be able to claim compensation or their property returned? Ukrainians? Belarussians? Lithuanians? Also, what about restitution laws in Ukraine, Lithuania and Byelorus? Like I have said on previous posts, it was Russia, Britain and the USA that created the population transfer directives so surely those countries should be financially responsible for the chaos their policies have left modern day Poland.

      • November 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

        Re: “It was me who asked that question Eric. Can you demonstrate that there was anti Semitic intent behind that law?” (requiring shop owners to display their name on the business sign).

        Stan, You’re either stonewalling to a ridiculous degree or you have little knowledge of 1930s Polish history.

        Read “Anti-Jewish Legislation in Interwar Poland” by Szymon Rudnicki (Anti-Semitism and It’s Opponents in Modern Poland, Robert Blobaum, ed., p. 165) and “No Way Out: The Politics of Polish Jewry 1935-1939” by Emanuel Melzer.

        Challenging the obvious intent of this April 19, 1937 order from the Polish ministry of industry and commerce is senseless.

        You may be frustrated by charges of anti-Semitism against Polish Catholics but denying well-documented examples does not reflect well on your position.

        • November 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm

          Tomasz, before you start labelling me as a Catholic let me stop you right there. I am an atheist and no lover of organised religion per se so if you think any of my stances are influenced from a religious perspective then rethink your arguments.

          • November 3, 2012 at 7:24 pm

            Stan, I’m sorry I was not aware of your specific circumstances but I was making a general point. Shall we subsitute “ethinc Poles?”

            Let’s try again.

            Re: “It was me who asked that question Eric. Can you demonstrate that there was anti Semitic intent behind that law?” (requiring shop owners to display their name on the business sign).

            Stan, You’re either stonewalling to a ridiculous degree or you have little knowledge of 1930s Polish history.

            Read “Anti-Jewish Legislation in Interwar Poland” by Szymon Rudnicki (Anti-Semitism and It’s Opponents in Modern Poland, Robert Blobaum, ed., p. 165) and “No Way Out: The Politics of Polish Jewry 1935-1939″ by Emanuel Melzer.

            Challenging the obvious intent of this April 19, 1937 order from the Polish ministry of industry and commerce is senseless.

            You may be frustrated by charges of anti-Semitism against ethnic Poles but denying well-documented examples does not reflect well on your position.

          • November 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm

            And I will also say to you Tomasz, read Traditional Jewish Attitudes Towards Poles by Mark Paul to get some perspective from the other side.

          • November 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm

            Stan, Mark Paul’s “Traditional Jewish Attitudes Towards Poles” presumably comes in a box with a magic device capable of peering into the minds of EVERY Jew walking the planet and proving with 100% accuracy that he or she holds a “traditional Jewish attitude towards Poles”. And if that were so, what would this imply? That the legally elected Polish governments were 100% right to pass anti-Semitic legislation in the 30s? That the good citizens of Jedwabne were only doing what was natural to do because every one of them knew that all of their hateful Jewish neighbours held a “traditional Jewish attitude towards Poles”? What are you saying here Stan? Your argument is absurd. We can never control or legislate what people carry in their minds or hearts towards others. However, we can control how they behave. If I recall, it was the the behaviour of Polish football fans in crowd settings that initiated this dialogue.

          • November 4, 2012 at 3:53 pm

            Stan, Mark Paul’s “Traditional Jewish Attitudes Towards Poles” presumably comes in a box with a magic device capable of peering into the minds of EVERY Jew walking the planet and proving with 100% accuracy that he or she holds a “traditional Jewish attitude towards Poles”. And if that were so, what would this imply? That the legally elected Polish governments were 100% right to pass anti-Semitic legislation in the 30s? That the good citizens of Jedwabne were only doing what was natural to do because every one of them knew that all of their hateful Jewish neighbours held a “traditional Jewish attitude towards Poles”? What are you saying here Stan? Your argument is absurd. We can never control or legislate what people carry in their minds or hearts towards others. However, we can control how they behave. If I recall, it was the the behaviour of Polish football fans in crowd settings that initiated this dialogue.

          • November 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

            Stan I disagree with many of foundations for your conclusions. However, I see the value and reasons for your authentic desire to not have a country a history and many traditions be invisible in the quest for accountability being sought here.

            However, please stop using Jews as sources for your foundations to prove your points. There is a long tradition that you inadvertently join here by doing this. And it is a less than good strategy used by less than good regimes to employ this tactic. I mean this respectfully, please consider it in this way.

  • November 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Stan, Does Mark Paul also deny that the April 19, 1937 order from the Polish ministry of industry and commerce was a government measure to facilitate boycotting Jewish businesses?

    Yes, I’m quite familiar with Mark Paul’s material. Traditionalists often attack Jan Gross’s academic credentials and then eagerly present “agenda”-driven material from this mysterious Mark Paul. Who is Mark Paul? Where does he teach? Has his research been published in any academic journals?

    Stan, earlier you presented Jan Karski as an example of Polish philo-Semitism. You referenced “Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust” by E. Thomas Wood and Stanislaw M. Jankowski, which had the full cooperation of Karski. Now let’s dig a bit deeper. We read in the book you referenced that Karski often encountered opposition to his missions from National Party (popularly known as “Endecja,” which represented conservative Catholics) members of the government-in-exile, the Delegatura, and Home Army who wanted no part in assisting Jews. Karski, in his first dispatches to the Polish government-in-exile, fretted that native Polish anti-Semitism would frustrate efforts to save the Jews. In a February 1940 message Karski wrote that Nazi anti-Jewish measures were creating “something akin to a narrow bridge upon which the Germans and a large portion of Polish society are finding agreement” (The Holocaust Encyclopedia, 2001, p. 478).

    We can all agree that Karski is a hero. We can also agree that not all Poles were anti-Semites. But anti-Semitism was a serious issue in Poland before and during the war. The very source you provided, “Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust,” documents the bigotry of a large segment of Polish Catholic…er….ethnic Polish society.

  • November 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Hello,my name is Diana, I too have lived in Poland with my son. Thank you every one for your comments. I am back in Australia and we can’t wait to fly back to Poland, when my son finishes Uni in Australia, he wants to continue his studies in Poland. Racism in australia is still very common here. One of my sons favourite subjects at school is history, and only a few weeks ago his history teacher said to him that all Polish people are anti-sematic. My son was very upset about that. We both saw the football documenty, but nothing was mentioned about the other nationalities, what really happens in other countries and what use to go on in England in the 60’s and 70’s at football matches ect. Will right some more another time.

  • November 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Stan, the video you posted is very interesting. I happen to see a lot of merit in what Miko Peled has to say. I was also a great admirer of his father Matti Peled. All very interesting.

    But Stan, what exactly does this have to do with Poland?

    • November 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      People are very quick to call Gentiles who criticise Jews anti Semitic. I just thought I’d post something about a Jew criticising his own people and his country to see whether or not he’d get called anti Semitic too. He makes reference to Jews who settled in Palestine before the creation of Israel as living apart from their neighbours, setting up their own institutions etc etc very similar to Jewish life in Poland yet somehow it’s only Poles who get criticised for for their anti Semitism yet no one is allowed to criticise Jews for not integrating into Polish society. As I am sure you are aware, many of the founding fathers of the modern Israeli state came from Poland with some of them being militia members and guilty of crimes against the local Arab population and the british peace keeping forces.

  • November 17, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    Stan, it appears from this last post that you have absolutely no idea about the diversity of opinion within Israeli society. Nor do you show much in depth knowledge about Jewish-Arab relations in the pre-State period either within Palestine or in the Muslim world. Correct me if I am mistaken but an oft heard expression of disdain in pre-war Poland was “Zydi do Palestini!” Moved by spokesmen of the Israeli and Jewish Left and by the current plight of the Palestinians, you would perhaps like the Jews to abandon Palestine to the Palestinians and dare I say it, return to Poland?

    I cautiously suggest that it would be a better idea if you confined your remarks to Poland and the issues of Polish-Jewish relations and anti-Semitic manifestation at Polish football pitches, a subject you obviously seem to know a lot more about than you do about the intricacies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    • November 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      And the relationship between Poles and the numerous Jewish communities and individuals, not just in inter war Poland but throught history, is just as intricate yet no one wishes to focus on those numerous intricacies but rather focus solely on “Polish anti Semitism”. I would suggest anyone wishing to comment further on Polish-Jewish relations adopt an open mind, research all sides of the debate before commenting on something they know little or nothing about!

  • November 17, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Stan, this dialogue is based upon a BBC Panorama story about anti-Semitic manifestations in Poland in recent years, in a country essentially devoid of Jews. That is the subject that initiated this discussion. The subject is clearly NOT Polish-Jewish relations “throughout history”. I keep an open mind and I look forward to further posts from you, especially if they address the subject at hand.

    • November 17, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      In order to understand the subject at hand you have to examine history.

      Also the subject at hand has wandered off that particular path on many, many occasions.

      I seem to be the only one who is prepared to look at the subject from both sides, it seems wholly unpalatble for my critics to research Jewish attitudes towards their Polish neighbours and the Polish state which gave them sanctuary for so may centuries yet as soon as any kind of criticism, insult or slight is made towards Jewish people from a Pole the cry goes up – ANTI SEMITISM! ANTI SEMITISM! By labelling everything as anti Semitic then the fight against anti Semitism will lose credibility and that doesn’t help any of us who fight against racism and prejudice.

      • November 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm

        Stan this is a straw horse. Antisemitism is not disagreeing with a Jew. It is suspicion of, hatred toward, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. Social scientists consider it a form of racism, despite the fact that Jews are not of a race, nor an ethnicity, but a religion. Actually there are many semitic peoples and the term is not used for them. The term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass (“Jew-hatred”),[2] and that has been its normal use since then

        Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible. Because of this bad nature: (1) Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective. (2) Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies. (3) Jews bring disaster on their ‘host societies’ or on the whole world, they are doing it secretly, therefore the antisemites feel obliged to unmask the conspiratorial, bad Jewish character.”[16]
        from Wikipedia

        The idea that there is not diversity in all groups is in itself a form of prejudice, i.e., pre-judging people as if they are all the same.

        So Stan, by inference, it is worrisome that you hold a belief that all Jews feel that every negative comment made is anti-semitic. By holding that belief you are in effect falling prey to what the prejudiced tradition which is to define Jews as a monolithic bloc characterized by people who have a number of negative fixed traits, inherently inferior and unworthy.

        As a culturally Jewish Atheist I am my own unique person. And I see all peoples countries and situations as such. There is diversity in all. Poland is diverse in many respects of course!

        Easy does it with this ax of all see everything as anything. Some will be able to see the worth of what you say and others dismiss it regardless of its merits.

  • November 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    OK Stan, I get you. Poland today is essentially “Judenrein”. Today Jews in Poland form 0.07% of the population, considerably down from a pre-war total of 10% of the population or. t three and a half million souls. We’re not talking about just “any slight”. We’re talking about mobs that scream “Death to the Jews” and banners with epithets like “Death to the Hooked Noses” with caricatures that would do Julius Streicher proud. If you call these specific acts “a slight”, in the light of what happened in Poland 65 years ago, then we have a problem. Admittedly Stan, Jews have a tendency to take people who call for their death (either in Poland or in Gaza) rather seriously.

    The Jews are gone, Stan. They have left your country. Those who weren’t murdered by the Germans with a measure of help from Polish sympathizers, left the country after the war and the Kielce Pogrom. Those who stayed got their walking papers in 68. Jewish life as it once was in Poland is gone forever. Period. So why do some people still scream? Why does the negative imagery persist in some quarters? Why does Radio Maryja broadcast its drivel to a receptive audience? And most importantly, why does the Polish state allow such nonsense to happen? Any way you can enlighten me or anyone else reading this dialogue would be most welcome.

    • November 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm

      There you go again Eric, “a measure of help from their Polish sympathisers” only one side of the argument AGAIN!! How about the help the Nazis got from Jewish collaborators Eric? Do you not have anything to say about them? Or are you going to conveniently overlook the fact that without collaboration from the Judenrat that the Nazis woulod have had great difficulty managing the ghettoes they created all over occupied Poland during WW2? Hey, I can answer that for you, of course you are because all you are interested in is bad mouthing Polish gentiles, labelling all of us as anti Semitic because that’s the only thing that suits your argument and your blinkered perspective.

      Tell me Eric, why in the 2nd decade of the 21st century do the British still find Irish jokes hilarious? Why are the Irish still belittled as “thick Paddys”? Why as recent as the 1970s were guest houses in England still displaying signs that said ” No Blacks, No Pakis, No Irish”? Surely the days of the uneducated Irishman disappeared with the ending of the British occupation of the Republic of Ireland? But even when the Irish joke took root from the Victorian period onwards into the first half of the 20th century you had great Irish poets, playwrites and novelists such as Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler yeats, James Joyce, CS Lewis, Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift etc etc etc

      So Eric, if you can go some way as to understanding why the Irish are still the primary target for jokes about stupid people today, and maybe you could try and explain to me why, then maybe you can understand why there are lingering negative stereotypical views held about jews by certain sections of Polish society today.

  • November 18, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Stan, if you would like to compare terrified members of Judenrätte trying to save their own skins and those of their family members with uninvolved individuals who either for money, for property or for sheer hate or a combination of all three, denounced Jews to the Germans or murdered them with their own hands, then go ahead.

    As you know well, the UK has a healthy and burgeoning number of Irish, Blacks and Asians living in relative peace all over the country. I don’t recall any instance where UK authorities turned a blind eye to any football crowd shouting “Death to the Irish!” or “Death to” any other minority living in the country. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

    In Poland however, the Jews are GONE. What little remains of Jewish life in Poland is on life support from Western supporters. There would be no Jewish life in Poland at all without foreign intervention. This is hardly the same situation as in the UK where large immigrant populations (including a sizeable Polish community) have opted to live by choice .

    Yet the hate, at least in some quarters, still flourishes in Poland and the Polish government has not successfully addressed it. While I appreciate your attempt at an honest answer, I don’t find what you said so far to be substantive.

    • November 18, 2012 at 1:37 am

      Such a predictable response from you Eric. There were plenty of Jews who denounced their fellow Jews in hiding to the Gestapo and the Poles who were hiding them. Trying to survive? Don’t make me laugh, they were lining their own pockets at the expense of their kith and kind.

      your mind is already made up Eric. You don’t need substantive answers from me or anyone. Like the makers of the programme that has inspired this thread, you are blinkered and already have a pre-defined agenda and conclusion. There is no point debating with you further if you refuse to open your mind.

      For your information Eric I was part of the UAF counter demonstration.

      • November 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm

        Good discussion sad end. I learned allot from your posts. I hope you do reconsider the idea that no one can be open to opposing points of view. I listened to you and attempted to see merit in you writings. And did! I have never been able to only see one side to things since being raised by parents who would never allow that.

        I do hope you stop using this strategy of making segments of a group, i.e. Jews as foundations for your ideas. It is not that you are up to anything negative, it is that you do not know how it is when for thousands of years fighting back only resulted in death, exile and ruin.
        Calling Jews collaborators is a horridly ignorant statement totally lacking in perspective and informed compassion.

        Still, thank you for your posts. We all need to learn from each other and you raised many important issues for me.

        • November 19, 2012 at 12:53 am

          Evan/Eric – one and the same person?

  • November 18, 2012 at 1:58 am

    OK Stan, you’ve got my number. I give up. You’ve exposed my wretched antypoloinizm to the core. I stand forever humbled and corrected by your superior knowledge and insight.

  • January 7, 2013 at 12:30 am

    I hate the way the media try to portray only Polish football fans as anti-semitic.
    I have been to maybe more than 100 football matches here in Poland and have yet to hear any anti-semitic chanting. I know it exists at some clubs, particularly in Warsaw but I have never witnessed it.

    However, I encounter antisemitism on a daily basis, go to any Polish news portal where they allow comments and you will read extremely vile and disgusting anti-semitic comments.
    I know people, so called ‘professional’ people who are proudly anti-semitic, it is quite common to hear comments that the Jews are destroying Poland, from well educated and upwardly mobile Poles.

    These same people claim that the government PO are alliance with the Jews to destroy Poland, it is complete insanity.

    What is most disgusting is that people are free to post these comments online without fear of prosecution by the police and the news portals do nothing to sanction these users or even block them.

    • January 7, 2013 at 1:20 am

      Go to the comments section of some of the leading Israeli newspapers and see the vile and disgusting things they write about Poles and Poland. Of course some people who have made comments on here will pretend they don’t exist, they’re only interested in Polish anti Semitism, the fact that jewish anti Polonism has existed for centuries doesn’t interest them.

    • February 13, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Stadium of hate in Israel. The Radwanska sisters targetted by anti Catholic and anti Polish abuse. What a surprise, absolutely nothing in the English speaking media.

  • February 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Stan, if the incident you’re referring to is true, than indeed we’re talking about disgusting behaviour. There ought to be no place for any form of racism at any kind of sporting event PERIOD. Isn’t this the subject we’ve been talking about?

    • March 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Eric Scott, I suggest you start reading this page. It’s level is the same as Gross books, so good for you:
      I can give other sources about Jewish quotes about Poles. The problem is, Polish anti-Semitism is made by anonymous hooligans, whereas Jewish anty-Polonism is made by famous people who show it in public with their faces and names.
      It’s huge problem that polish hooligans, who insults Jews and persecute Poles are unpunished. But are Jewish one punished? Read the article: “Jewish teenagers are nuisance in Poland” and watch the film in youtube: “Zniesławienie – izraelskie przedpoborowe wycieczki do Polski cz. 1” (it’s in few languages). Most disgusting comments claim that these Jews are right, let’s kill these evil, Nazi Poles.
      About Gross, check his introduction to the book: “W czterdziestym nas matko na Sybir zesłali”. In this introduction, he clearly said about huge Soviet-Jewish collaboration and widely described it. Most funny is that nowadays he claims this collaboration is anti-Semitic lie, not to mention this fact is well proved by other historians, eg. : Janusz Szczepański, “Społeczeństwo Polski w walce z najazdem bolszewickim 1920 roku”, Warszawa-Pułtusk 2000 or Marek Jan Chodakiewicz books).
      Oh, Gross works in university so he is so reliable. Józef Mengele also did so his “scientific” thesis are also right, aren’t they? I don’t believe you are so naive. You have Internet so you can check what IPN and other historians, especially Chodakiewicz, write about Jedwabne, Gross research methods, “Neighbors…”, and his other books. If you did your homework about Gross you would know that relying on him is not very smart, not even serious.
      Bye the way, very interesting is the fact, that the lists of recommended books, that allegedly shows Polish-Jewish relations, promote Gross so much but does not include Chodakiewicz at all. The people, who made these lists, are they simply imbeciles or just cynical swindlers?
      It would be very nice to have Jewish Poles again in Poland, once there were wonderful people, but huge disappointment is that nowadays famous Jews are often lying racists.

      • March 19, 2013 at 12:52 am

        lonicera, I don’t read Poilsh. Nonetheless, I did read Chodakiewicz’s “After the Holocaust” in translation. I was neither impressed by the quality of his writing nor the calibre of his scholarship. Pity. The issues are so profound. I would have liked to read any book that questions Gross’s point of view that showed more scholarly vibrancy to it than what I discovered reading Chodakiewicz.

        But to address your other points briefly.

        The excerpts from Youtube that you mention ( “Zniesławienie – izraelskie przedpoborowe wycieczki do Polski cz. 1″) are taken from a rather well known documentary film called “Defamation” that was directed by Israeli Yoav Shamir. I saw one absurd scene where older Poles in a market square were mistakenly perceived as anti-Semites by rather stupid and ignorant Israeli girls. But that was as far as it goes.

        Ionicera, regarding “Zydokomuna” I found this reference on line and the explanation sounds quite plausible to me:

        “The combination of the effects of the Holocaust and postwar antisemitism led to a dramatic mass emigration of Polish Jewry in the immediate postwar years. Of the estimated 240,000 Jews in Poland in 1946 (of whom 136,000 were refugees from the Soviet Union, most on their way to the West), only 90,000 remained a year later. The surviving Jews of Poland found themselves victims of the explosive postwar political situation. The image of the Jew as a threatening outsider took on a new form as antisemitism was now linked to the imposition of communist rule in Poland, including rumors of massive collaboration of Jews with the unpopular new regime and the Soviet Union. Of the fewer than 80,000 Jews who remained in Poland, many had political reasons for doing so. Consequently – as noted by historian Michael C. Steinlauf – “their group profile ever more closely resembled the mythic “Żydokomuna”.

        Regarding Jedwabne, I guess former Polish president Aleksander Kwaśniewski must be the biggest idiot alive for being duped by the nefarious Jan Gross into believing that the massacre in Jedwabne was perpetrated by Poles.

        I’ll leave the last words to Cardinal Glemp, not someone noted especially for his warmth towards the Jewish people. Ionicera, maybe you think he was hoodwinked too.

        “The tragedy in Jedwabne causes serious reflections regarding the sin, that turning man from God, leads him against another human. It is not about hasty and ostentatious penance, but just self-examination in humility and sincerity. We cannot, undertaking acts of general atonement suggested by the politicians, risk the good name of those who gave their lives to rescue Jews. We are not permitted, in the name of justice, to label any nation as a nation of murderers. We do not do so in regards to the Germans, among whom Hitlerism arose; likewise we cannot extend to the whole Polish nation the blindness that overtook the people of Jedwabne and vicinity.

        On the other hand it is altogether fitting that as a Church we should, in the company of people of the Jewish faith, apologize to God for the sin committed according to the truth revealed in the Bible. Apologizing to God, we should also thank for the “just” who in one and the other nation did not hesitate to accept sacrifice in the name of justice with which each individual should be surrounded.”

        • March 19, 2013 at 1:47 am

          Yes Eric, Kwasniewski was the biggest idiot alive for accepting Polish guilt over Jedwabne; but what can you expect from an ex Communist?

          Ionicera, you can cite Chodakiewicz, Pogonowski or anyone else you like, Eric Scott has a pre-determined agenda and he’d rather believe someone like Gross rather than more credible sources.

          • March 19, 2013 at 3:01 am

            Aw c’mon Stan, Chodakiewicz is a second rater. No brilliance or insight there. But in my eye, his biggest sin is that he is a terrible writer.After all, Louis-Ferdinand Céline was a notorious anti-Semite yet at least the guy could write!

  • March 19, 2013 at 2:44 am

    Eric, I found your discussion very interesting. Polish bills also include names of owners of the firms. Isn’t it the some law like prewar one about shop signs? Prewar Poland also had big migration of Poles, if I remember well mainly to US, so the citizenship law also persecuted these Polish emigrants. Statement, that the base of these two acts were anti-Semitism is then only guessing.
    Here is an article about the Madagaskar plan, that actually was common, Pol.-Jew. idea:
    So the article you gave (“forced emigration” ) is not reliable source of information.
    I think, Eric, that you overestimate the role of endecja. The was also other parties like sanacja or the leftists.
    I may be wrong but there wasn’t any official investigation about Radio Maryja, any steps against them can not be made without it. I’m afraid, that it’s criticism of Jewish history, policy or concrete Jewish individuals is automatically counted as anty-Semitism. You want persecution against them for their anty-Semitism, I see. So my question is, do you want also persecution against such form of racism like Muslim jokes, polish concentration camps, calling Poles Nazi, etc? Is showing own identity with a nation by appropriate name form of racism against other nations?
    I may be wrong again but restitution law in Poland limits only to a person who can prove he owned this lost property or such who can inherit it (I don’t know if these means only property in modern Poland territory or also property in Kresy). So I guess every single Jew can try to recover it. But giving some money to Izreal or any Jewish organization by Poland is bad idea.

  • March 19, 2013 at 3:52 am

    I can not understand what you have against Chodakiewicz, any concrete charge? Your unawareness of Polish is not too big problem to read short Polish articles with internet translators, isn’t it?
    But most important is: if you don’t know Polish language, you also can not know the sources, the books, neither the issue. IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ISSUE HOW CAN YOU EVEN SPEAK ABOUT IT???
    About “Zniesławienie…” film: what about the scene in a plane when they are warned of possible explosion (Poland is wild country where planes are attacked). What about the evening scene in the hotel? They were told they must stay calm inside because evil Poles used to attack Jews.
    So my conclusion is that Poland is a state with big lawlessness, that’s why Polish hooligans and young Jews can behave like shit inside it.
    I don’t know Jedwabne enough, I know that Poles were involved in it (although some historians insist they didn’t) but Gross description of the events in Jedwabne is total shit. What is more disgusting, he never rectifies it. Kwaśniewski who simply believed him and apologized before the investigation (so he couldn’t know if Poles were guilty) was an idiot, you are right.
    Anyway, specialists of history are reliable historians, not politicians, not church VIPs. Their behavior may be interesting, but says nothing about history.
    By the way I should also remind you that troubles in hiding Jews was also their Semitic appear as well as lack of assimilation. It’s suspicious for Jews that Germans used to find them in Poland so easily. So the question is why Germans found Polish elite so easily as well. Any answer?

    • March 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      I apologize for my ineptitude in Polish. I am working on that one. However, I don’t think my lack of sufficient Polish is enough to exclude me from the conversation or deny me a right to express my opinion.

      As I mentioned Ionicera, Cardinal Glemp, no lover of Jews made clear that Poles were responsible for the massacre at Jedwabne. Need we really quibble about who was responsible for Jedwabne? It seems like such a waste of time. No facts to the contrary have appeared other than the ravings of a lunatic fringe

      As far as Germans being able to identify Polish Jews during the war period, it is my understanding that the Germans had no bloody idea who was a Jew and who wasn’t, unless the Jew in question conformed to Hitlerite stereotypes. Most Polish Jewish survivors who survived “underground” as Christians are very clear on this point. They have told me repeatedly that they feared Poles more than they feared the Germans because the Poles had a far better grasp of who was a Polish Jew and who wasn’t, either by accent, unfamiliarity with Catholic ritual, phraseology etc. I’m not talking just about szmalcowniki here.

  • March 19, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Oh come on. Boring, cold, “dry” and specientific language in scientific text is very hard to read, but it’s true language of science. The more literary, easy to read language text includes, the more popular-science it becomes. In the end like it’s Gross, whose language is full of emotion, ideology and examples that support his thesis.
    Indeed Chodakiewicz is not as famous, popular as Gross, not promote himself and shine like him. But whe he should? He is a historian, not an actress.
    If you telling me that some brilliance, ability of interesting writing and other mysterious features decide of scientific books values then we are wasting our time here. We should now read and admire “Mein Kampf” and other Hitler’s text as this guy really had charisma, fame, brilliance and easy speaking. Chodakiewicz, even Gross, are nothing comparing to him.

    • March 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Ionicera, the problem is that Chodakiewicz (at least as far as “After the Holocaust” is concerned) is at least as tendentious as Gross, only that it he’s coming from the opposite direction. On top of that, it’s a plodding read, neither a good example of scholarship or writing, I’m no great fan of Norman Davies but I have to admit that the guy presents cogent arguments and knows how to write.

      Chodakiewicz may be the darling of some Polish nationalists but that’s as far as his credibility extends in the academic universe. He teaches at a second rate history department at a 2nd rate US university. I don’t see Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Oxford, Cambridge or Stanford jumping all over him, trying to recruit him. There must be a reason for that.

      • March 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm

        Check Gross and Chodakiewicz biographies. As far as university career is concerned Jan Chodakiewicz is far much better.
        No matter how much you try you can’t deny it:
        – You can not show any lie neither false against Chodakiewicz, while historians proved plenty of it in Gross’ books.
        – When historians proved that a person, the same like Gross, lies in his book, he became disgraced and lost his credibility as a scientist.
        – University and societies that hire or promote lying, disgraced “scientist”, like Gross, only show how imbecile they are. (I guess they are simply too lazy to check reliability of his books, they don’t care for it or maybe that repeat Gross statement: ‘Everybody that don’t accept my texts is an Anty-Semite.’
        What does it mean “the darling of some Polish nationalists…..”? You obviously don’t know Polish language or country, neither mythical “nationalist” ambience, so how can you know Chodakiewicz situation here? He is respected and popular in scientific society (not in some nationalists), you can even check his blog. While scientific society don’t care for Gross too much.
        By the way with your shallow way of thinking “reliability is based on popularity” you must think that black people sucks in everything, even in science, because they were, even nowadays are, not popular at all.
        One of more reason Gross is cheater is that he count every Jew killed in post-war Poland as a victim of anty-Semites, even Jews killed for their collaboration or banditry.
        Post-war Poland faced huge migration, penury and banditry. Civil Poles suffered from Polish, Jewish, Soviet criminals. Bandits, who killed Jews, could not know their nationality at all and think they were killing Poles, Gypsies, Soviets, etc. But imbeciles of course count these anonymous victims as victims of anti-Semitism.
        Check Tadeusz Bór Komorowski famous 116 order against banditry. The problem is, there was also many Jewish bandits and Soviet-Jewish pseudo-partisans so the order also meant killing them. But for Jewish propaganda this order is of course prove of Polish anty-Semitism.
        I suggest you check out this famous Stefan “Grot” Rowecki quote:
        „Melduję, że wszystkie posunięcia i oświadczenia Rządu i członków rady narodowej, dotyczące Żydów w Polsce, wywołują w kraju jak najgorsze wrażenie i znakomicie ułatwiają propagandę rządowi nieprzychylną i wrogą. Tak było z «Dniem żydostwa» i przemówieniem Szwarcbarda, nominacją Libermana i życzeniami na żydowski nowy rok. Proszę przyjąć jako fakt zupełnie realny, że przygniatająca większość kraju jest nastrojona antysemicko. Nawet socjaliści nie są tu wyjątkiem. Różnice dotyczą tylko taktyki postępowania. Zalecających naśladowanie metod niemieckich prawie nie ma. Metody te wywołały odruchy współczucia, ale zmalało ono po zlaniu się obu okupacji i zaznajomieniu się przez ogół z zachowaniem się Żydów na wschodzie. Nie znam przyczyn, które zmuszają Rząd do takich pociągnięć, ale tu w kraju obniżają one gwałtownie jego popularność i są wykorzystywane przez grupy sanacyjne.”
        I found it’s translation as:
        “Reporting, all gestures and declarations made by the government and members of the national council regarding Jews in Poland, invoke in the country the worst impression and perfectly serve into unfavorable and hostile, anti-government propaganda. Such was with ‘Days of Judaism,’ the Szwarcbard’s speech the Liberman nomination, and Jewish New Year’s wishes. Please accept as a fact that the overwhelming majority of the country is in a antisemitic mood. Even the socialists are no exception. The differences are only in the methods. Endorsing the German methods are nearly none. These methods induced feelings of sympathy which decreased after the merging of both occupations and majority learning about Jews’ conduct in the east of the country. I don’t know the reasons that force the government to such moves, but here in the country, they are drastically lowering the government’s popularity and are used by government’s opposition.”

        It’s pathetic that no-Polish sources that says about this massage always censor his sentences about differences in methods, sympathy, Jews in eastern country. When one journalist asked Gross why he hadn’t mention this Rowecki sentence about Jewish-Soviet collaboration he answered: Why should I? It’s anty-Semite myth! I’m sure we all knows the reasons of this censorship.

        • March 20, 2013 at 5:04 pm

          Ionicera, you’re flailing away here. Scholarly affiliations aside (and I do stick to the fact that Chodakiewicz teaches in a second rate history department at a second rate university, while this is not the case for Gross), Chodakiewicz is also a tendentious scholar, if you consider JT Gross to be tendentious. Chodakiewicz is merely coming from the opposite direction. The facts of the Jedwabne massacre, ie. that local Poles perpetrated the massacre have not been disputed by any internationally recognized body.

          Anna Bikont’s book “Le crime et le silence” won the European Book Prize in 2011. She documented the same crime in Jedwabne and the surrounding area. I guess that makes her another liar that has duped the entire European intellectual establishment, Ionicera.

          When you use phrases like “the majority learning about Jews’ conduct in the east of the country” you disgust me Ionicera and seriously damage your credibility. Such wild, generalized accusations are ridiculous under any circumstances. In this discussion, they prove the intellectual weakness of their author.

          • March 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

            Eric, if you’re going to disregard Chodakiewicz just because he doesn’t work in one of the top ten universities in the world then why do you rate Gross so highly when he’s not even a history specialist? Oh, let me think, is it because because he writes what you want to believe? Is it because he plays up to the anti Polish gallery that “Poles drink anti Semitism through their Mother’s milk”? Seriously, who has more credibility? Someone who is a Johnny Come Lately to studying history, the Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich says about Gross: “Gross writes in a way to provoke, not to educate” or someone who has studied and written about history since their days at university?

            Again, I will accuse those with an anti Polonist agenda of slandering and trying to discredit anyone who refuses to kowtow to the agenda of rampant anti Semitism in pre, during and post WW2 Poland. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson “To throw around accusations of anti Semitism is the last defence of the scoundrel”. Personally I think it’s the standard “go to” defence of most of the anti Polish lobby these days because they know that their usual arguments haver little credibility once opened up to detailed investigation.

          • March 21, 2013 at 12:29 am

            Stan, you’re all bluster here. The poor Chodakiewicz doesn’t teach in a “top ten” in the world universities. He doesn’t teach in a “top one hundred” of world universities. Let him happily affix forever his shingle to the walls of the University of Virginia, an internationally known, world class bastion of EasternEuropean and Slavonic studies, just like Cambridge. I’ll leave him to bask in your praise, Stan and let his fellow academics around the world judge the merits of his scholarship and promote him accordingly.

            Do you have a point you want to make Stan, or do you just want to label me as a hater of Poland and Poles?

          • March 21, 2013 at 12:37 am

            Yes, there is a point Eric. Sorry you decided to ignore it. Furthermore by your own words and writings you condemn yourself.

  • March 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    If you do stick to a lying person who work on better university (by the way, I’m curious how you compare and value the universities) then you must also very respect Josef Mengele while Janusz Korczak is meaningless for you. Very brilliant way of thinking, bravo, Eric, bravo! Yes, Auschwitz must been such a respectable organization as it hired university doctor. My congratulation for you!
    Scientists not only accuse Gross of tendentious way of thinking but also the simplest lies, eg. number of victims in Jedwabne, alleged witness/members who wasn’t there at all, tortured people testimony who later deny it, not mentioning other sources about Jedwabne, famous photo in “Golden Harvest”, etc. It’s not his “tendentiousness”, it’s his cynical lying that never was cancelled by him. The fact that “internationally recognized body” did not join polish discussion about Jedwabne event only means that the body shit cares about truth&this tragic pogrom while prefer promoting Gross like imbeciles.
    Anna Bikont is not a historian at all, her book is not a historian book, but kind of journalist reportage, essays. It get a price from European journalist, writers, not from historians. I don’t read her book, so I can hardly evaluate it, but historians already found few mistakes in it. I can send you some links about it in Polish, but I’m afraid you don’t care.
    What the fact is wrong in general Grot Rowecki statement? Even your guru-Gross and many Jewish or English-language sources mention it (of course in censored version). Surprisingly his statements are not “wild, generalized”, neither “ridiculous under any circumstances” for them! Why? Because Rowecki is reliably only when he fits their “thesis”. Disgusting.
    Rowecki accused Poles of Anti-Semitism, while he accuse Jews of collaboration, so he accuse both sides equally for horrible crimes. Wild, generalized accusations of Anti-Semites among Poles are right, OK, when exactly the same, even from the same source, wild, generalized accusations of collaboration among Jews are ridiculous under any circumstances. I could believe that you are naive with good will but miserable knowledge but you behave like cynical hypocrite. Shame.
    As I’ve already written , even your guru- Gross described widely this huge Jewish-Collaboration in Kresy (the fact, that nowadays he deny this event only show how shit “historian”, “scientist” and person he is). Rowecki is only one statement, but it symbolizes&confirms well what other source proved, so I’m asking again, what the fuck is wrong in Rowecki’s massage???

    • March 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      @lonicera we appreciate the passion that this subject arouses, and we appreciate your addition to the conversation, but can we please ask that you refrain from swearing in comments.

      • March 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm

        OK, I won’t do it again. Sorry.

    • March 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      OK Ionicera,

      Let’s start with your question about university rankings. I got my information from the Times of London ‘s World University Rankings. It ranks Gross’s Princeton University in the 6th position, as the 6th best university in the world. On the other hand, it puts Chodakiewicz’s University of Virginia in 118th position. I agree with you that a university ranking is no criterion to base the accomplishment of respect due to any scholar. Nonetheless, it does seem rather indicative to me that had Chodakiewicz’s work gained international recognition for the depth and magnitude of its scholarship, he wouldn’t sill be teaching at the rather lowly University of Virginia.

      If you can present tangible proof Ionicera that the Polish residents of Jedwabne in the 1940s did not perpetrate the massacre of their fellow Jewish townspeople, please enlighten me and the other readers of this dialogue. So far I have mentioned that the President of Poland and the Catholic Primate of Poland corroborated that the massacre of the Jewish citizens of Jedwabne was organized and carried out by local Polish Catholic townspeople.

      I also quote the finding of the IPN, Poland’s National Institute of Memory

      IPN Final Findings, 2002–2003
      On July 9, 2002, IPN released the Final Findings of its two-year-long investigation. A greatly expanded version of the Findings, in 203 pages of Polish text, was issued by the IPN on June 30, 2003. The original version from July 9, 2002, appears as the concluding five pages of this document. Pages 60 through 160 contain summaries of the testimonies of numerous witnesses interviewed by IPN. The full 203-page Polish text detailing government-led investigation was published on the IPN website. It was supplemented with the publication of two volumes of studies and documents concerning the Jedwabne pogrom entitled Wokół Jedwabnego, Vol.1 ‘Studies’ (525 pages) and Vol.2 ‘Documents’ (1,034 pages) available in Polish.[44] In a carefully worded summary, IPN stated its principal conclusions as follows:

      The perpetrators of the crime sensu stricto were Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne and its environs; responsibility for the crime sensu largo could be ascribed to the Germans. IPN found that Poles played a ‘decisive role’ in the massacre, but the massacre was ‘inspired by the Germans’. The massacre was carried out in full view of the Germans, who were armed and had control of the town, and the Germans refused to intervene and halt the killings. IPN wrote: “The presence of German military policemen…..and other uniformed Germans…..was tantamount to consent to, and tolerance of the crime.”
      At least 340 Jewish victims were killed in the pogrom, in two groups of which the first contained 40 to 50 people, and the second group contained about 300. The exact number of victims could not be determined. The figure of 1,600 or so victims (cited in ‘Neighbors’) was “highly unlikely, and was not confirmed in the course of the investigation.”
      “At least forty (Polish) men” were perpetrators of the crime. As for the remainder of Jedwabne’s population, IPN deplored “the passive behavior of the majority of the town’s population in the face of the crime.” However, IPN’s finding of ‘utter passivity’ shown by the majority of Jedwabne’s population is very different from the statement on page 7 of ‘Neighbors’ that “half of the population of the town murdered the other half.” The majority of Jedwabne residents were “utterly passive,” IPN found, and they did not participate in the pogrom.
      A number of witnesses had testified that the Germans drove the group of Jewish victims from Jedwabne’s town square to the barn where they were killed (these testimonies are found in the expanded 203-page ‘Findings’ published in June 2003). IPN could neither conclusively prove nor disprove these accounts. “Witness testimonies vary considerably on this question.”

      “A certain group of Jewish people survived” the massacre. Several dozen Jews, or according to several sources approximately one hundred Jews, lived in a ghetto in Jedwabne until November 1942, when the Jews were transferred by the Germans to a ghetto in Lomza, and eventually died in Treblinka. The seven Jews hidden by the Wyrzykowski family were not the only survivors.

      The IPN took issue with some relatively minute details of Gross’s findings but the essence of what he revealed in “Neighbours” ie. that the Polish townspeople of Jedwabne massacred their Jewish neighbours was acknowledged as truth. Do you have something else to add here Ionicera?

      Wild generalized statements are incendiary and serve no higher purpose other than to incite. State sponsored Polish anti-Semitism in the 1930s, particularly after the death of Marshal Pilsudski is an established fact. In 1936 Cardinal Hlond, the primate of Poland called for a boycott of Jewish businesses. Sadly, this too is a fact. I restrict my comments about Poland and the Jews to historically provable events and acts such as Polish State sponsored legislation anti-Semitic legislation in the 30s, to public documents issued by the senior members of Poland’s Catholic Church, to the public platform of the Endencja Movement, to internationally reported news events regarding historically verifiable happenings such as the Kielce Pogrom and the so-called “1968 March Events”.

      I do not make generalized statements about “the Poles”. I find the very idea repulsive. I believe there are close to 39 million Poles living in the country and I can rightfully assume that they think in 39 million different ways. Without lowering my comments to profanity, I’ll merely state that when I read statements like Rowecki’s about “the Jews”, I am appalled by their shallow stupidity.

      • March 21, 2013 at 1:32 am

        I was maybe too emotional, but it you started insulting without any reason.
        Does the ranking include also quality of university staff? Have you ever think that Chodakiewicz could been invited by other universities but stayed in Virginia by own decision? Or this simple fact that America’s universities don’t care about scientific work, researches at all (Chodakiewicz did it much more and they are not refuted by other historians, just the opposite to Gross) when they hire people?
        Let’s don’t charm each other. Gross wouldn’t “gained international recognition” if he didn’t make his shocking “discovers” about Jedwabne. Quality of his “researches”? Who cares. What interest American university have to hire “usual” Polish historian who refuted famous Gross and Americans mythes? When they hire Gross they have prestige to have such a famous person.
        I’ve already check Gross page at Princeton university web page. Not only they hire sociologist as Professor of History (such comedy would not pass even in Polish university) but repeats all his “Neighbours” lies, even these famous 1600, twice. I don’ t even need to comment.
        Nonetheless, I’ve already get to know even great American university can be very miserable. It does seem rather indicative to me that American universities care anything for depth and magnitude of history scholarship, they wouldn’t hire Gross and forget Chodakiewicz. It does seem rather indicative to me that Chodakiewicz’s work don’t gained international recognition but lying Gross get. World prefer stereotypes and scandal news over science since ages.

        You don’t understand me. I’ve never denied that Poles did murder Jews in Jedwabne. You don’t have to explain me this terrible fact. What I deny is Gross description of the pogrom and reliability of his books and person. I deny also that politics or church hierarchy are any source of information about history.
        Next fact I do support is that Poles used to kill Jews while Jews used to collaborate with Soviets. These both events must been relatively big, because many relations, memories, etc. used to mention it. All the problem is to give numbers and percents to know size of both events, at least approximately. Everything is question of proportion here. What is really bad, that Poles at least started national discussion about the pogroms, much less about Jewish collaboration, while English-language and Jewish society keeps claiming that Poles were anty-Semitic, Nazi nation and Jewish collaboration is anty-Semitic myth. Such racism and lying only create anty-Semitism in Poland.
        You must remember, that Grot-Rowecki was main chief of AK, he gets reports from whole country, so he must know it quite well. Such generalization like Growecki’s statement alone must be confirm by other sources, but hundreds of single statements, like Rowecki’s one, create source and history. But if you say his generalization about Jews in Eastern borders is stupid, then also his generalization about anty-Semitism among Poles is stupid as well. Is Gross that quote Rowecki also shallow and stupid?

        • March 21, 2013 at 9:15 am

          Ionicera, would you kindly tell me the name of any Polish historian or intellectual other than Jan Gross whose work delved into the Jedwabne massacre to the point that it prompted a national investigation by a State institute in post Communist Poland? Whatever the final number of massacred neighbours may be, the phenomenon and scale of what took place in Jedwabne was unmatched anywhere in Nazi occupied Europe. This alone makes the subject worthy of enquiry. I wonder why no other Polish historian ever bothered to research the topic until after the appearance of “Neighbours”.

          Just precisely how much responsibility do you blame “the Jews” for Communist crimes and violations of human rights from 1945 to 1989 bearing in mind that the Jewish population of Poland sunk from well over 3 million to less than 10,000 by the time of the so called March Events of 1968, a good 21 years before the fall of Communism? How much responsibility do you attribute to ethnic Poles for these same crimes against human rights over the same time period?

          Today Poland’s Jewish population is tiny and no doubt will remain so. No doubt you will be relieved to know that there is no overwhelming desire among Jews to take up residence in Poland again. So your preoccupation about Jewish “racism and lying” and its impact upon ‘anti Semitism” in Poland wil have little impact upon Jews but far more impact upon Poles, which brings us back to the topic BBC Panorama report about anti-Semitic manifestations on Polish football fields that government authorities today in Poland appear powerless to stop. So Ionicera, is it that Jewish “racism and lies” must be at the source of these anti-Semitic displays on Polish football fields. Or do you have another explanation?

          • March 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm

            Jan Gross is not a historian, he’s a sociologist and a novelist. His novels are works of fiction based on events which he sensationalises in order to sell his books.

  • March 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Don’t you find it bizarre Stan, or darkly ironic that it took an “American sociologist and novelist” to expose the gruesome history of Jedwabne ? After all countless Polish historians armed with doctoral degrees in history from the country’s finest universities, living both in Poland and abroad, never happened to come upon, much less write about the subject? I guess they found that the events in and aroound Jedwabne not historically of interest. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it Stan?

    • March 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      1) No, I don’t find it strange because up until 1989 Poland was not a free country which people like you always refuse to acknowledge because it doesn’t suit your agenda.

      2) Gross was not the first to investigate what happened at Jedwabne as Pogonowski demonstrated in his critique of both Gross’ book and the IPN investigation.

      • March 22, 2013 at 3:02 am

        Stan, I respect the fact that Poland was not a free country until 1989.

        It is also clear that Gross was not the first person to investigate the massacre at Jedwabne. So what? Pogonowski or no Pogonowksi, the fact is that it was only after the publication of “Neighbours” and the ensuing international outcry, that the subject rose to the top of the national agenda and provoked a very public IPN investigation. No book by any “Polish” historian provoked such a self-examination. Exactly what has stopped Polish historians from squarely addressing Jedwabne, Kielce, the March Events and other similar issues in the 24 snce the fall of Communism?

  • March 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    By the way Stan, how many “sociologists and novelists'” Polish or foreign do you know whose written work had enough weight to prompt an official inquiry by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (nstytut Pamięci Narodowej) that ultimately substantiated the essence of its conclusions?

  • March 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Numbers about: Jews created 1-3% of polish postwar society. 400-2 thousand were killed in pogroms. IPN says that Jews created 30% of highest positions in Ministry of Public Security, that gives 7 thousand of Jewish VIPs in UB (not to mention lover posts in UB) . Of course it is hard to compare murdered Jews with Jews in criminal organization, but these statistics says there were very more Jewish villains than victims. Of course I hate both Jews and Polish collaborators that worked for Soviets. But at least we don’t deny we were collaborators and we condemn them. Jews seems to feel the opposite.
    You ask me how much responsibility is on Jews for collaboration. I ask how much responsibility is on Radio Maryja for anty-Semitism in their radio. Do you know even any researches? I don’t like the Radio also as well as I don’t like when people take information about anything from popculture media.
    “I wonder why no other Polish historian ever bothered to research the topic until after the appearance of “Neighbours”. Maybe because this simple fact that after 1939 Poland suffered hundreds of far more bloody&huge massacres than Jedwabne that was never investigate before and should be first? IPN started the investigation about Jedwabne 1 year after they appeared. Is it so late?
    Jewish attitude to Poles is not a reason, but one of many reason that empower anty-Semitism in Poland. As far as well educated and enlightened society is concerned, who keep reading media, it may be the main reason. It’s not a circumstance, that always when people like Debbie Schlussel, William Hayes, Giles Coren, Helena Wolińska-Brus, Jan Gross, etc, open their dirty mouths Poles start to make hate speech against Jews. By the way, Radio Maryja connection to anty-Semitism caused huge national discussion, even hate against them in polish , even world, society. While western society don’t care at all for racist liars like these above. Isn’t it prove their for hypocrisy, maybe even racism?

    • March 22, 2013 at 2:49 am

      Thanks for that last comment Ionicera. It is obvious that English is not your first language and I admire and respect your effort to express yourself despite your difficulties.

      You somewhat misconstrue the degree of “Jewish” collaboration with the UB. These Communist collaborators of Jewish origin did not see themselves as Jews at all! On the contrary, they regarded themselves as 101% Polish who were out to build a New Poland where all citizens would be equal, regardless of their ethnic origins. The vast majority of Jewish Poles who saw themselves equally as Jews and as Poles got out of Poland as quickly as they could after the Kielce Pogrom when it became clear that there was no future for them in the country. Again,the 90,000 Jewish survivors who remained in the country after the Kielce Pogrom were not representative of the majority. These Communists did not share their politics with the overwhelming majority of the country’s pre-war 3.3 million Jewish population. As I am sure you know, the vast majority of Poland’s pre-war Jewish population were not Marxist-Leninist by any stretch of the imagination.

      I don’t believe in collective guilt or innocence, neither for Jews or for Poles. Those Jews who took part in Stalinist crimes are as guilty as their ethic Polish counterparts, no more and no less. Nevertheless, it should also be made clear that as far as they were concerned, Communism offered Poland’s Jewish citizens the promise of complete equality that would come with the disestablishment of the Catholic Church and the abolition of pre-war ethnocentric legislation that favoured one group over another. These pre-war anti-Semitic laws are a matter of public record.

      No doubt you know that the Communist Party of Poland turned against its Jewish members in 1968. Thousands of Polish Jews emigrated after the so-called “March Events” and Poland became effectively Judenrein.

      You are right Ionicera when you say that Poland suffered bloody massacres at the hands of the Germans and the Russians. However, in the case of Jedwabne, the violence was done by Poles against other Poles of Jewish origin. Perhaps that is what makes it unusual and of international interest. Unfortunately it was not the only instance when Poles took advantage of the German kleptocracy to murder and defraud their Jewish neighbours with impunity. As you know, these attitudes persevered after the Germans were expelled from the country. The Kielce Pogram was the last recorded event of this sort to happen on European soil after the Holocaust. Clearly the issue at hand was a generalized fear that surviving Jews would reclaim their houses and other property.

      On another issue, I don’t see Jan Tomasz Gross as a hater of Poland or of Poles. On the contrary, I know he takes great pride in his Polish language, culture and identity.

      • March 22, 2013 at 10:04 am

        Still pushing the Gross lie about Jedwabne I see Eric, and to add further insult you now add the lie that Poles stole Jewish property. Many times you have been told that the ownership of private property was banned under the Communists but you don’t let the facts stop you perpetuating lies do you Eric?

        • March 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

          You are obfuscating Stan. We both know that the “acquisition” of Jewish owned property, even “under the Communists” was not as cut and dry as you are trying to spin it. Let’s start with those houses in Jedwabne, Exactly who is living in them today?

          • March 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm

            Well it seemed very cut and dried to members of my family Eric, kicked out of their home because it was deemed larger than their needs and the deeds of ownership changed to say property of the state. Of course they weren’t Jewish and my family can’t turn around today and scream “anti Semitism” because there is the smell of compensation in the air. Tell me Eric, seeing as you are such a champion of the dispossessed, why don’t you kick up the same fuss for Palestinians who were kicked off their land? I am sure you can draw many parallels in modern day Israel as you are trying to draw in Poland.

  • March 22, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Stan, you are being disingenuous again. You and I know that you are not talking about the same thing.

    In my mind, the Communist Polish government taking over private property all across the country (evil as tis may be) is rather from individual Poles acting in groups to burn their neighbours to death or reporting them to the Blue Police in order to steal property. Do you really put Communist seizure of private property in the same category as accusing “the Jews” of turning Christian babies into matzo inorder to launch a pogrom and instigate the Jews who survive to flee Kielce so that Poles can “take over” their property?

    As far as the issue of Israelis taking over Palestinian private property, I liken this to Poland’s expulsion of approximately 5 million ethnic Germans from the western portion of the country in addition to the seizure of their property. I realize that this expulsion came after a terrible war that Germany launched upon Poland. Nonetheless, German civilians were removed from lands they lived upon for centuries. Breslau became Wroclaw. Stettin became Szczecin and its German past was obliterated, just as the Israelis did to seized Palestinian towns and villages.


    However, in the case of Poland, it’s a little different. Polish Jews were Poles period. They shared citizenship with their Christian neighbours. Many Jewish fighters, some of them senior officers, became legends in the Polish army, such as Lieutenant Colonel Berek Joselewicz, a hero of the Kościuszko uprising in 1794 and the battles against the Russians, Austrians, and Prussians in the years following the uprising.

    According to Polish documents, the percentage of Jews serving in the Polish army in WWII—both when the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and in the ranks of the Free Polish Army organized in the Soviet Union and in England—came to 10 percent of the total forces.

    In other words, some 100,000 Jewish soldiers and officers fought in the battles following the German invasion, which lasted for 17 days, and nearly 20,000 Jews served in the ranks of the Free Polish Army.

    I don’t recall Polish Jews launching a war against Poland, like their German neighbours. Do you?

    • March 23, 2013 at 1:34 am

      No Eric, if anyone is being disingenuous it is you. You repeat the old lies that have been spread about Poles and Poland ever since the end of WW2 because it suits the anti Polish agenda of certain sections of the Jewish diaspora. I have given you many examples of where you have been proved wrong Eric yet you come back with the same old crap once again. The expulsion of ethnic minorities from the new post war Polish borders was agreed at Yalta by Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. Poland was not even a signatory to the Yalta agreement. I notice you are conveniently silent about the expulsion of ethnic Poles from Bialorus and Ukraine, ethnic Germans from Russia and the Baltic states or just about any other ethnicity that found themselves as displaced persons after WW2. The truth is out there Eric but you and people like you refuse to see it because it doesn’t suit your blinkered and highly prejudiced agenda.

      • March 23, 2013 at 11:33 pm


        By hiding behind Yalta to disguise a general entusiasm among significant numbers of Poles for kicking out ethnic Germans out of Poland, you are avoiding an unpleasant but very essential element of Poland’s ethnic cleansing.

        The following description appears to be quite detailed, balanced and fair.

        “At the Potsdam Conference (17 July – 2 August 1945) the territory to the east of the Oder-Neisse line was assigned to Polish and Soviet Union administration pending the Final Peace Treaty. All Germans had their property confiscated and were placed under restrictive jurisdiction.The Silesian voivode Aleksander Zawadzki in part expropriated the property of the German Silesians already on 26 January 1945, another decree of 2 March expropriated that of all Germans east of the Oder and Neisse, and a subsequent decree of 6 May declared all “abandoned” property as belonging to the Polish state. Additionally, Germans were not permitted to own Polish currency, the only legal currency since July, other than earnings from work assigned to them. The remaining population was de facto deprived of all civil rights, and faced theft and looting and also in some instances rape and murder by the Polish militia, in addition to similar acts by criminal gangs that were neither prevented nor prosecuted by the Polish militia and judiciary.”

        “The attitude of the surviving Polish civilians, many of whom had experienced brutalities and atrocities only surpassed by the German policies against Jews of all nationalities during the Nazi occupation, combined with the fact that the Germans had recently expelled more than a million Poles from territories they annexed during the war, was ambiguous. Some engaged in looting and various crimes, including murders, beatings and rapes, against Germans. On the other hand, in many instances Poles, including some who had been made slave labourers by the Germans during the war, protected Germans, for instance by disguising them as Poles.Moreover, in the Opole (Oppeln) region of Upper Silesia, citizens who claimed Polish ethnicity were allowed to remain. In fact, some (though not all) had uncertain nationality or actually considered themselves to be Germans. Their status as a national minority was accepted in 1955, along with state subsidies, with regard to economic assistance and education.”

        Situations similar to this one occurred after Israel’s War of Independence when the victorious Israelis ethnically cleansed the areas under their control. It also happened after the division of India, when Hindus and Sikhs were sent running from the newly formed Pakistan. Again something similar happened on Cyprus when Greek Cypriots were sent into internal exile on the other side of the line separating the island into Greek and Turkish zones.

        Polish reaction to the ethnic German expulsion is understandable considering the devastation Nazi German inflicted upon Poland and her people. But that doesn’t make it right. Neither does it excuse the Israeli expulsion of the Palestinians, regardless of the fact that the Palestinians with the Arab League waged a war of annihilation against the fledgling Jewish state in 1948.

        All of these situations are far far different from Poland’s de facto expulsions of the Jews AFTER the Holocaust, in 1946 (after Kielce) and most significantly in 1968 after the so-called March Events. Those Jews who stayed in the country after 1946, for the most part, saw themselves entirely as Poles and as Communists. They often married non-Jews, dropped their Jewish sounding names, abandoned all religious practice, spoke flawless Polish with no trace of a Yiddish or foreign accent and made every attempt to integrate themselves fully into the society of those times. But alas, it didn’t work. These Jews who weren’t Jews served as convenient scapegoats for the threatened Communist regime and were summarily kicked out of the country.

        Am I presenting the issue fairly Stan, or is this just another example of my “blinkered and highly prejudiced agenda” ?

        • March 24, 2013 at 2:08 am

          You already know the answer to your own question Eric, I stand by my statement but furthermore you are also trying to jump on the bandwagon that Gross jumped on which is the slandering of Poles in order to profit from numerous lies spun by the vested interests of certain sections of the Jewish diaspora. Before Neighbours was published no one had heard of Jan T Gross, I suspect you are trying to give your stuttering attempts at getting into documentary film making a similar shot in the arm.

  • March 22, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Yes, English is not my mother language and it’s not good at all, I know. But I can read this language, while I’m afraid, you can’t Polish. I don’t say you cannot show your opinion, I say your opinion can not have proper science base as you don’t know Polish sources.
    1. Jews used to lived in ghettos since ages. When Nazis came, Jews “showed” themselves to Germans by living in concentration. Jews also didn’t fight so much against being closed in Nazi ghetto, I suspect, as they didn’t know what they were going to do with them. 2. Judenrat. It was Jewish organization that used to give Germans full information about their nation. 3. Poles did not make any massive action to burn prewar files, I think, they stayed in offices after 1939. It’s total shame for us, but it was good source of information about whole prewar society. 4. You don’t remember that Semites people do look differently than Slaves. Of course both groups mixed sometimes, but many Jews still looked like typical Semites. 5. If Poles could recognize Jews so easly, after language, habits, no knowledge about Poland, that means Jews were not assimilated in society so much as you claim! 6. We also know that prewar Poland had huge number of national minorities, like Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Belarusians, German fifth column, etc. = Germans had plenty sources of information about Jews. So your suggest, that it was Poles who gave the information is only weak guessing.
    Naliboki and Koniuchy massacres were also crucial. Not only it broke popular stereotype that Jews were passive victims, but also showed that Jews did collaborate with Soviets. But investigations about these crucial events started after Jedwabne investigation. Any conspiracy theory?
    Gross’ books caused national&historians discussion by this simple fact he very exaggerated pogroms. If he wrote the truth, there wouldn’t be massive reaction. Is it so hard to understand?
    Jews created 20% of the prewar Communist Party of Poland. It also says something. You naively believe, that all communists were “ideal” communists, who deny nation. Whereas a person who wanted to join UB, obligatory had to write so called “personal questionnaire”. Jews used to write-nationality: Jewish, religion: usually atheist, sometimes Judaism. How can we know if they were in UB for their believe in communism ideas, or for career. But it’s OK, if we assume that Jewish communists were not Jews any more, then we assume that szmalcowniki were also not Poles any more as they also acted against Poles. It is so easy and pleasant way of thinking, isn’t it? The same like Nazis were not Germans and Communists were not Russians neither Poles.
    Communism (ex-friend of Nazism) offered also all citizens the promise of complete elimination of: rich people, private trade and business, freedom of culture (something that was basic thing of prewar Jews), religion (Judaism), the sanation people, anty-Communists and patriots (that some Jews were also). Communism offered Poland’s Jewish citizens the promise of complete equality ONLY if they support communism. Jews&Poles were easily so blind and naive.
    Clearly the issue at hand was a generalized fear that surviving Jews would reclaim their houses and other property as well as generalized hate for Jewish collaboration.
    Decision of expulsion of Germans were made by the big three of ww2, expulsion made by puppet government, whereas it was Israel democratic government that expelled Palestinians, isn’t it? Israels could stay in Europe, Kresy people were deported to western Poland by force. So poor comparison.
    I these Jews that joined Polish army, especially in September compaign, but ONE famous Jewish hero – Berek Joselewicz is not to much. I wouldn’t also overestimate 3.5 thousands Jews in the Anders Army. Joining it was the only chance to escape from Gulags for them. 3 thousands of them became deserters in Palestine.
    My God, German invasion did not lasted 17 days but to the Battle of Kock!!!

    • March 24, 2013 at 1:29 am

      Ionicera, I am impressed both by your efforts in English and your desire to go deeply into these difficult questions. I am not an historian but a documentary film maker who has become particularly interested in this subject. I do not claim to be any authority on the subject.

      I’ll try to tackle your comments and questions one by one.

      1) True, many Polish Jews did live in predominantly Jewish neighbourhoods, especially in Poland’s cities. But not all. By the 1930s, the modern ways had arrived, especially in Poland’s major cities. Like everywhere else in Europe, many Polish Jews began to leave the ghettos, cut their side locks, learn proper Polish and join the wider society. Of course, there were religious Jews both in the cities and countryside who did not choose this direction. But they were becoming a shrinking minority. The benefits of assimilation were a powerful incentive. Becoming educated meant going to university, law school, medical school etc. Of course, this meant reading, writing and speaking flawless Polish, passing difficult entrance exams and getting through a very tough selection process, which also included a “numerus clausus” Poland tried to introduce a formal Numerus Clausus law in 1923, but faced objections from the League of Nations. However a Numerus Clausus was unofficially introduced in 1937 by some universities and the share of Jewish students was limited to 10%, which was the proportion of Jews in the population of Poland (compared to 20–60% before regulation).The official reason for the policy was that during the Russian Tsar’s rule, Poles were denied education in Polish, and the schools were badly funded. The advocates of the solution pointed out that the limit would balance the chance to enter university of all nationalities in Poland (Polish, Lithuanian, Belorussian, Ukrainian, German etc.).
      The other reason given by the supporters of the idea was that it was an attempt to equal the chance of children from countryside families who had very limited access to education to the chance of the children of Jewish families living in the towns and cities. This was because, the Polish intelligentsia of Jewish origins formed at least 40–50% of the whole Polish educated class.

      2) The Nazis created the Judenrätte , these horrific agencies that forced the Jews do their own dirty work. I agree with you that the work of the Judenrätte was disgusting. People in power tried to save their own skins by sending someone else to the ovens. I am sure you are right. The Judenrätte were responsible for major crimes against their own people. Truthfully, I don’t know how I would act if I were given the chance to save my own life and the lives of my wife and my own children if I gave the oppressor the name of a perfect stranger. I hope I would have the courage act morally and not play their dirty game but I cannot say for sure.

      3) The unwillingness to burn documents caused a tremendous amount of suffering. Who would have known that the Nazis would have behaved like such animals? I don’t blame Poland for that.

      4) Of course Jews who looked like Jews (non Slavic or non-Aryan features) had a tremendous problem. As I said, if I person physically conformed to the Nazi image of what a Jew is supposed to look like, that person was in mortal danger, both from the Germans and from racist Poles, not just smalcowniki. I have interviewed a Jewish woman who lived openly in Warsaw a Christian, hiding her Jewish identity. Her Polish was flawless. She had blond hair and blue eyes. Nonetheless, her greatest fear were her fellow Poles. The Germans didn’t have the slightest suspicion that she was a Jew. With Poles, sadly it was another matter. Nonetheless, she survived. But to get to the heart of your point, the overwhelming majority in Poland was Polish and the threat of being reported to the Blue Police or the Germans came from Poles. Another woman I interviewed talked about the time when the Germans entered Krakow. At first Jews were required to wear a Star of David armband that could be easily removed. Eventually, the Germans required the Star to be sewn onto the clothing. However, this particular woman removed her armband in order to enter a rather well known food store in the heart of Krakow. She thought she was safe until she heard a local kid cry out” Tam jest Żydówką!” Fortunately the kid couldn’t speak German and the Wehrmacht soldier had no idea what he was talking about. The woman (then a young girl) ran like hell and that time at least, nothing happened to her. Anecdotal? Maybe, but it’s not the first time I heard stories like that.

      The reaction to Jan Gross’s “Neighbour’s” was so huge because he washed Poland’s dirty laundry before an international audience. Whether or not he erred in his figures, the fact remains that the local Polish population of Jedwabne massacred their Jewish neighbours without any German help. The President of Poland recognized this fact publicly. The Primate of Poland recognized this fact publicly. The IPN recognized the Jedwabne massacre as well, although it disputed the number of people killed. But think of it! Taking the lowest possible number (300+) of men, women and children, NEIGHBOURS, innocent civilians , locking them in a barn and burning them to death is quite the story that deserved the publicity it received.

      I am no authority on the Naliboki and Koniuchy massacres. From what I have read so far, both these massacres are still under intense scrutiny by the IPN and no definite conclusions have been reached. In neither case were the perpetrators exclusively Jews. According to one researcher from the IPN ( Bielski w puszczy niedomówień, Rzeczpospolita, 31-01-2009) has said that there’s no evidence to support the allegation that the Bielski partisans were involved in the attack on Naliboki. As far as Koniuchy is concerned, I read the following:

      “On January 29, 1944, the village was attacked by Soviet partisan units under the command of the Central Partisan Command in Moscow. The raid was carried out by 100–120 partisans from various units including 30 Jewish partisans from the ‘Avengers’ and ‘To Victory” units under the command of Jacob (Yaakov) Prenner. Men, women and children were massacred indiscriminately and most of the households destroyed. According to the findings of the Institute of National Remembrance (investigation still in progress), at least 38 people were killed and about a dozen injured, although earlier reports stated higher numbers of deaths. Notified about the assault, the 253rd Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft battalion soon arrived at Koniuchy but did not find any Soviet partisans.”

      On the other hand, “in a November 2008 interview with Adam Fuerstenberg, former director of Toronto’s Holocaust Centre, York University professor Sara Ginaitė, a veteran Jewish partisan fighter, described Koniuchy as having a record of hostility to the partisans and that, in collaboration with the Nazis and the local police, the town had organized an armed group to fight the partisans.”

      I don’t know what the exact truth was regarding both these massacres. From what I have found on line, neither does the IPN.

      In terms of Jews joining the Communists and the UB, why do YOU think they joined? No doubt some of these Jews were scum. I don’t deny that. But I do deny that in their hearts and minds, they no longer considered themselves as Jews. As you say yourself, they wrote “nationality: Jewish, religion: Atheist”.
      I do not doubt for a second that those Polish szmalcowniki considered themselves as Poles. Of course they did! I can only surmise that in the moments when they doubted themselves and what evil they were doing, they most likely would say to themselves. “We are ridding Poland of alien, Jewish garbage and that those stinking rich Jews have it coming to them.” Do you not agree Ionicera?

      I agree with you Ionicera that Jews stupidly bought the Communist argument that the Communists would create a better Poland with no racial or ethnic discrimination against Jews. How wrong they were! The so called March Events proved it.

      On one hand you say “the Jews were Communists” on the other hand you say the Jews wanted their property back, clearly a capitalist desire! Which one is it Ionicera? You tell me. We both know what happened to those Jews who wanted their property back after the war. I argue that they were the majority of survivors, not the Communists.

      Like I said to Stan, don’t hide behind Yalta or Potsdam regarding the pleasure, profit and feeling of revenge that many Poles derived from the expulsion of the Germans from what is now Western Poland! Please take a look at my last response to him on that specific question. There is no point in repeating my answer here. I also discussed the expulsion of the Palestinians (and the expulsion of Hindus from Pakistan and Greek Cypriots from Turkish Cyprus) in the aftermath of a conflict. Again, no point in repeating that here.

      True Jews were free to remain in Poland after WW2. But you tell me what happened to Jews in your country in 1946 and 1968.

      As far as bravery is concerned, Poland was attacked on September 1st and Warsaw surrendered on September 28th. The Warsaw Ghetto fight lasted from April 19th to May 16th. Not much of a time difference wouldn’t you say? Just who do you think was better armed, the entire Polish army or the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto? Let’s put aside stories of collective bravery, shall we?

  • March 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    1. I admire that you’ve made such an exact researches about polish prewar education. I’m thinking if these Numerus Clausus was really so evil. You know in Sweden there is “so called” equality of sexes that mean woman rights are above other society, eg. in joining the universities, and the excuse is protection from male chauvinism. Surprisingly nobody is crying about racism.
    3. Yes, now I see you may be right with burning these prewar files.
    4.You better check this page:
    Especially parts:
    “Blackmailers (szmalcowniks) were plentiful in Warsaw. Jewish memoirs mention many encounters with gangs of them. Paulsson estimates that their total numbers, however, were very small, “1 or 2 percent” of all Warsaw Poles (p. 113). “
    “Barring acts of war, far more Jews were able to survive in Poland than has been believed. Warsaw, despite an extremely harsh occupation, compares favorably to Holland and even Denmark in the record of hiding Jews. If we accept “for the sake of argument” that Poles are/were more anti-Semitic than the Dutch, then it is clear that survival was much less dependent on the level of anti-Semitism in a particular society than we have heretofore been led to believe. In short, anti-Semitism is an imperfect and perhaps even poor predictor of Jewish survival and other factors need to be considered.”
    “One puzzling omission in Paulsson’s otherwise solid discussion of the regime of blackmailers and criminals that preyed on people hiding in the “secret city” is that they are treated as entirely Polish. Since 40 percent of Warsaw’s population before the war was Jewish, it is no surprise that Jews were also found in the city’s criminal underworld and during the war these criminals, joined by others out of need or opportunity, would have been active at their former “professions.”[10] So szmalcowniks and even German agents were not merely Poles, but Jews as well…..This is confirmed in both research and memoir literature.[11] Many szmalcownik gangs found it helpful to employ at least a few Jewish confederates to help them find Jewish victims. (As Paulsson points out, though, it was not strictly necessary to do so since Poles were able to do it themselves in many cases.) In addition, the various arms of the German authorities employed Jews as catchers to hunt down Jews in hiding both prior to and after the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.”
    What I must emphasize that Paulsson has some anti-Polish tendency, e.g. liking Gross, forging polish patriotism, far-right organizations or communists. So we cannot suspect that he try to whitewash Poles.

    Yes, Probably in Koniuchy the locals used to call Germans when Jewish bandits try to attacked them. But is there anything wrong in it? It were Jews that used to attack the village, the locals didn’t attack Jewish camps.

    About Naliboki and Koniuchy massacre, you can check this article:,32363.html.
    Poles at least apologized for Jedwabne, whereas Jews are proud they murdered innocent people. According to their memories they killed 300 “evil Poles” in Naliboki + 300 in Koniuchy.

    I also warn you to assume that every anti-Semites accept killing Jews. Best examples were polish Catholic church, Zbąszyn people, Zofia Kossak Szczucka, even father Maksymilian Kolbe.

    Who can know szmalcowniki personal feelings? When they gave over hiding Jews, they also gave over Poles that hided them. Their motives could be as well money as anti-Semitism.

    I don’t remember writing that Jews wanted their property back, but OK. Even Jewish commies, that owned prewar factories, companies or many lands couldn’t take it back, I guess, because of nationalization. But as commie VIPs still could take luxury flats, salaries and privileges, only not to show off with it to much. Yes, it was typical communism (and human) hypocrisy that it kept saying about the equality all the time, but its VIPS were very rich.

    According to maps, the father north and east German land, the bigger support for NSDAP in elections was. Women also had voting right, sons in Wermaht, slaves from Forced Labour+ the fifth German column. I don’t think the expulsion was so evil then. But there is long way from hating some nation to decision of expelling it. Comparing expelled Germans to Palestinians is weak, as the second nation didn’t make genocide. Comparing Poles to Jews here is also weak, as Poles “only” hated Germans whereas Jews also expelled Palestinians.

    War is not until taking enemy capital (best example from Napoleon and Moscow) but until the last battle. Don’t make new history here.
    Comparing September campaign to Ghetto uprising is stupid. First was war (also with Jews in Polish army, so I can also ask why brave Jews fought so shortly???), second partisan action. Better comparison is Warsaw uprising to Warsaw ghetto uprising, all polish ww2 partisans numbers, since Hubal Dobrzański, to all Jewish ww2 partisans numbers, whole polish partisans effort (especially “Burza” action) to whole Jewish partisans actions (one Ghetto uprisings?). Jewish “bravery” seems quite week here.

    • March 24, 2013 at 6:08 pm


      1) You have your right to think that restricting entry to universities on the basis of religion or race is OK. I don’t. I think the only selection criteria ought to be aptitude and talent.

      2) With respect, please take a look at “Judenjagd by Jan Grabowski. “The research done by Grabowski, rather than focusing only on the obvious fact of a participation in the massacre of the occupying Nazis, analyses the role, both active or passive, of Polish neighbors in the hunt for Jews and on the network of dependence formed by German authorities to enable or instigate Poles to participate.” (,-judenjagd-jana-grabowskiego/)

      3) Why do you think “bandits” Polish or Jewish attacked those villages? Because the villagers were so friendly and helpful to those Poles or Jews trying to survive and fight the Germans from the woods or because they weren’t? Again, 3.3 million Jews in Poland and you come up with two relatively minor incidents where Jews MAY have participated in killing “innocent” Poles who may not have been so innocent?

      4) Poles ran the Polish army and Jews fought in it. But the higher command was 101% ethnic Polish. They fought and they surrendered in 28 days. The Jews in the Ghetto with negligible arms held out almost as long with far, far fewer resources. By the time of the Warsaw Uprising, most of Poland’s Jews were dead.

      5) Your knowledge of the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is abysmal. I would work on improving it. The Palestinians and the armies of the Arab League were intent upon Israel’s annihilation in 1948. When they articulated that they wanted “to push the Jews into the sea”, the Jews believed them.

      The United Nations agreed to Partition of Palestine. The Jews accepted it. The Arabs (Palestinians included) refused it. They fought a war to destroy the Jewish state and they lost it. The Jordanians occupied the Arab portion of Palestine. (Who asked them? Who gave THEM that right?)

      Prior to the War of Independence, tensions escalated in Palestine in the 1920s and 30s as European Jews were trying to flee that continent – guess from which country in particular Ionicera, aside from Germany? When members of the Endecja cried in the streets of Poland “Żydzi do Palestyny!”, I guess some Jews took these rather upset Poles at their word.

      Maybe now, 70 years later perhaps you want all of Poland’s Jews and their descendants to move back to Poland, Ionicera? Wouldn’t that be a perfect solution, knowing how happily you and those who think like you would welcome them? Hey, you can even teach us all how to dance the mazurka!

  • March 25, 2013 at 12:17 am

    – No, I condemn anti-Semitism, anti-Polonizm as well as feminist hate of men. What disgust me, is world hypocrisy, that condemn racism on nation while promote racism on gender, like in Sweden, even in Poland.
    – I do know there were Poles that killed Jews after the war. But the number 400-2000 killed Jews seems relatively small number for the whole country and post-war situation. Undoubtedly to small to repeat that Poles were anti-Semites that used to murder Jews.
    – What “Why do you think “bandits” Polish or Jewish attacked those villages”? None sources says about Polish bandits there. Other information you can find in the article I’ve already send.
    These poor villages in modern Belarus had to give big contingents to Germans, maintain Polish, Belarus, Soviets (that at least fought against Germans) and these Jews. Very lot. Jews groups not only used to collaborate with Soviet occupant, but also had plenty of food, they even gave it to Soviets – send it to Moscow. Village people didn’t had any duty to maintain Jews and starve. They had every right to resistance when Jews attack them.
    Jedwabne to Koniuchy&Naliboki, Polish szmalcowniki to Jewish collaborators. That’s what I compare.
    – Oh again, If September Campaign lasted to 28th of September than also Warsaw Ghetto uprising lasted to 8th May. Simple. And Poles commanders surrender because they had poor Jewish soldiers.
    Poles at least made plenty of anty-Germans actions, when Jews only one, ghetto uprising.
    -Yes, prewar “anty-Semitic” Poland supported Zionism. Is this bad as usual?
    I’m not a specialist about Izreal state, that’s why I say only basic things and may be wrong.
    I do understand that Jews always wanted to have own state, but coming back to the lands, that belonged to you thousands years ago is very controversial idea. Just image that nowadays Slavs attack Berlin or white Americans go back to Europe. Why some Europeans would tell&decide Palestinians to give their lands to Israel? They had right to attack colonists. The problem is not as simple and Jews should also understand Palestinians rights to disputable lands.
    I don’t think settling down any nation in Poland is good idea, maybe only some small groups. Better take back deported Poles from Asia. Poles now can have more accusations against Jews than vice versa, I suspect.

    By the way, I can’t dance at all. But my family claim I had to have some Jewish ancestors as I like garlic too much.

    • March 25, 2013 at 12:49 am

      1) We are on the same page regarding racism, sexism or hate towards anyone for merely being who he or she happens to be.

      2) While the figure for Jews murdered in Poland AFTER the war is quite small, it should be seen in the context of what had just happened on Polish soil mostly but entirely by German hands.. The Kielce Pogrom caused a stampede of Jews out of Poland because they legitimately felt that they were running for their lives, that Poles had no sympathy for what happened to them and were prepared to keep on killing.

      3) You raise two villages where “bandits” attacked villages. You give no context for these attacks nor do you or do the IPN after a LENGTHLY investigation officially name the perpetrators. Were they Jews? Were they Poles? Were they both? Why those villages? Who did they kill and what did those peasants do? In the course my research, I’ve heard hair raising stories of Polish peasants displaying unimaginable evil. I’ve heard others of Polish peasants, poor, poor people who acted with every measure of kindness and decency.

      4) I guess it was entirely the fault of those lousy Jewish soldiers that caused Poland’s defeat by the Nazis. Of course, Rydz-Śmigły and his general staff and its policies had absolutely nothing to do with it. Don’t you see Ionicera? Poland’s defeat by the Germans and Russians was the Jews fault! But now luckily, all the Jews are all gone (well, almost)! And you are free from them! The Germans murdered and Poles chased them out when the Germans were gone, That must make you so proud, Ionicera. So happy! You FINALLY got rid of the murderous bunch. After all, didn’t they murder our noble Polish peasants in Koniuchy and Naliboki ? Didn’t they punish us with their Zydokomuna? It’s a moment for all Poles to celebrate, now that the bastards finally are gone, isn’t it?

      5) Jews most likely would have s never dreamed of immigrating to Palestine had Europe not turned into an anti-Semitic cesspool of which Poland in the late 1930s became a prime example.

  • March 25, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I suggest you: Marcin Zaremba „Wielka Trwoga” book. I’ve not read it yet, but it takes very good reviews. People after ww2 had to much own suffering to regard Holocaust as something special. Nobody had “sympathy” for them so why should they feel it for anyone?

    In Stalin era ab. 20 thousand were murdered and ab. 400 thousand went to prisons. Poles suffered total terror while you are shocked of ab. 40 Jews murdered in Kielce pogrom. Jews wouldn’t have much knowledge&feeling about Kielce if communists didn’t make huge, political propaganda about it.

    IPN investigations about Naliboki and Koniuchy haven’t end yet. I can only give you links to plenty of pages. There were Polish, Soviets, Jewish, Lithuanian relations about the events. They did not mention Poles in Soviet units while many mentioned Jewish people. Villages people made self-defense from Soviet-Jewish units, Polish members clearly described it. I see nothing wrong in self-defense from occupants.

    I’m a women but YOU behave like emotional teenager with her period. It was you that started from idiotic stubbornness that the September Campaign lasted 17/28 days. Then you kept this comparison who, Jews or Poles, used to fight better. Now you cry that this racist lonicera hate Jews. Be serious man and have some basic honesty.

    Poland – prime example??? So maybe Germany, Petlura’s Ukraine, America were better? With this “prime example” you are simply great example of anty-Polish racism.

  • March 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Ionicera, I quote you verbatim:

    “I these Jews that joined Polish army, especially in September compaign, but ONE famous Jewish hero – Berek Joselewicz is not to much. I wouldn’t also overestimate 3.5 thousands Jews in the Anders Army. Joining it was the only chance to escape from Gulags for them. 3 thousands of them became deserters in Palestine.”

    What exactly are you implying by statements like ” ONE Jewish hero but not too much”? Or that the only Jews you can think of who fought for Poland were 3,000 Jewish deserters from Anders’ army?

  • March 25, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Yes Ionicera, America WAS better Ionicera even in the 1930s. Jews didn’t have to sit on separate benches in racially segregated university classrooms. Jews could join the Bar Association and the Medical Association. Jews didn’t have to put their names on the windows of their businesses by law, so that customers could detect their Jewishness. Jews could even go to West Point, the US Military Academy, a bastion of the White Anglo-Saxon Establishment. Between 1935 and 1937, 79 Jews were killed in Poland and 500 injured in anti-Jewish incidents. (The Routledge Atlas of the Holocaust by Sir Martin Gilbert, p.21)

    So yeah Ionnicera, America was better, so were a lot of other countries in Europe and elsewhere. So Poland was a cesspool of official anti-Semitism in the late 1930s, among the worst in Europe in terms of anti-Semitic legislation and the numbers murdered or injured inanti-Semitic incidents outside the Nazi empire.

  • March 26, 2013 at 1:04 am

    I don’t know Polish uprisings enough. On the other hand, ONE famous Jew&unit – Berek with his people (in plenty of polish uprisings and plenty of polish insurgents and plenty of Jews in Poland) rather show Jews did not care much about Poland. The more this great Polish-Jewish patriot deserve our respect.

    You cannot assume that the Jews, who joined Anders Army, were polish patriots, only because they joined the army. They better staid in it and kept fighting Nazis if they were polish patriots.

    So OK, Poland were much worse than America, but much better from Germany and Petlura’s Ukraine. Point.

    Also, I’ve found interesting quote:
    Wikipedia, “The Holocaust in Poland” article:
    “Polish Jews were a ‘visible minority’ by modern standards, distinguishable by language, behavior and appearance.[55] As the Yiddish author and Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote in 1944, for hundreds of thousands of them Polish language was as unfamiliar as Turkish” (his article “Jews and Poles Lived Together for 800 Years But Were Not Integrated” in Forverts, New York).[63]”
    I would insist that Jews used to assimilate weakly in Poland.

    • March 26, 2013 at 2:03 am

      Look Ionicera, I think that making broad generalizations about the relative patriotism of one ethnicity verus another group does not advance this discussion.

      True, I cannot assume that all Jews who joined the Polish army were patriots. But can you assume that they were all traitors?

      So you want to tell me that pre-war Poland was being better than the Nazis or the Ukrainians? Well you should have no qualms about put Poland in the same category as these nations, at the bottom of the barrel, at least as far as public displays of anti-Semitism in pre-war Europe is concerned. . On the other hand, the Germans had the good sense to drop anti-Semitism as a public policy after the fall of the Nazis. The Ukrainians were forced to drop their virulent forms of public anti-Semitism by the Soviets. Only the Poles were able to harness anti-Semitism to serve the Communist party’s interests after the Holocaust. It was the only force that could hold together the silenced Catholic Right (or what remained of it) and the ethnic Polish Communist left . It culminated in the expulsion of 20,000 people from the country in 1968 some of whom were told that they were Jews hours before they were sent packing.

      Manipulating the iidea of Zydokommuna (as Carla Tonini writes) in the public mind, Jews are not citizens with the same standing as the Poles; their membership in the Communist Party, in the secret police or the army, needs to be “justified”. The same does not apply to the Poles who have the right to be whatever they choose to be; anyway the “Polish nation” is sound as a whole, with the exception of a few who supported the communist regime and are considered as traitors.

      The ethnic Polish Communist bastards get off relatively lightly because it was the Zydokomuna that instigated it all.

      Regarding your last point, if you really believe that Jews had no interest in becoming Poles or assimiliating, why did the Polish government, Polish academia and Polish professional associations feel threatened enough to draw up legislation barring Jews and establishing a Numerus Clausus? Are you seriously trying to tell me that the increasing number if middle class Jews in Poland in the 1930s were not interested in being educated, learning flawless Polish and joining Poland’s professional or intellectual classes and reaching the highest levels of achievement in Polish society? Get real Ionicera. Sadly you betray profound ignorance.

    • March 26, 2013 at 3:26 am

      Ionicera, you are wasting your time trying to convince Eric “I hate Poles” Scott that he is wrong. He is already convinced that we are and always have been anti Semitic and nothing you write will convince him otherwise. I have already quoted examples to him of the lengths Jews would go to in order to avoid joining the Polish army but he totally disregarded that post. He has also done the same when I posted references to autobiographical memoirs of Jews who lived in per war Poland who were quite happy to state that they were raised as Jews with no allegiance to Poland or the Polish state, they were raised to look on Poles as “the other”, goyim, people who existed but not people they wanted to live alongside.

      Just look at the bile and vitriol that flows from Eric’s fingertips in his numerous posts here. Eric has his own agenda, he is trying to get funding from wealthy Jews in order to make a film about how greedy Poles stole property from Jews and refuse to return it. In order to get this money he is jumping on the anti Polish bandwagon, the same one Jan Gross jumped on when he wrote Neighbours. What is the point of trying to debate with a liar, a fraud, a charlatan and a hypocritical peddler of hate?

  • March 26, 2013 at 4:41 am

    I don’t say that these Jews in Anders Army were traitors, but they were not patriots at all. I would say they were neutral, but closer to traitors than to patriots. I must think about it more.

    Poland were NOT in the same place “at the bottom of the barrel” with Germany and East Ukraine, but much, much higher. Compare German –anti-Jewish law and Polish anti-Jewish law (we all have already spoke about it, the Polish law referred to all the citizens, not only Jews, so it is questionable to call it anti-Semite). We can also compare Nazi ideology and Polish one about Jews, the same like Zbąszyn event, Kristallnacht. It’s very dishonest and disgusting of you when you put both Germany and Poland at the same level.
    Jews keep accusing Petlura’s army of making plenty of pogroms. He even was murdered because of it. I don’t know numbers, but comparing it with 79 Jews were killed and 500 injured doesn’t seem reasonable for me.

    I don’t know what you mean “The Ukrainians were forced to drop their virulent forms of public anti-Semitism by the Soviets.”??? But if you try to take responsibility from Ukrainians and put it on Soviets, then also we can take it from Poles and put on Soviets.
    Jews created 1-3% of post war Poland society. At the same time they created 30% of UB VIPs. Huge contrast. The decision of march 1968 lay on Poles and Jews the same, as they both built Polish government. As you know, destruction of former rulers was typical event in Communism.
    As far as Polish right in 1968 is concern, better translate this text, it says much:
    It’s seems that Polish church hierarchy was quite pacifistic and polite to government about all 1968 events. I would search anty-Semitism in the church then.
    That’s manipulation of Jewish role in Żydokomuna. People don’t regarded Jews that joined it as scums, but search excuses for them as their behavior “needs to be justified”.
    Polish Communist didn’t like Jews because they accused them of being Żydokomuna-collaborators with Communism? Are you serious?
    You naively believe that people want to assimilate because it gives them benefits. So why Arabs don’t want to assimilate at all, even some black people keeps living in ghetto till now.
    You must remember that Jews had own schools and cultural economy then. So a Jew could be middle class man and had little contact with Poles, I’m afraid.
    Endecja’s main fear was that Jews were not loyal to Poland at all. So they stopped Jewish ambitions to higher class no matter if Jews wanted it or not.

    • March 27, 2013 at 1:12 am


      That was a very thoughtful reply.

      I think it’s hard to gage the patriotism of ANYBODY, Jew, Pole, Brit, Frenchman no matter what the circumstances. In Poland, during the late 1930s, government, educational and church policies officially discriminated against Jews. If you were a Jew, Ionicera and your government discriminated against you officially, would you feel patriotic towards Poland? Why would you?

      I stick by my words. Pre-war Poland after the death of Pilsudski, became a cesspool of anti-Semitism under a series of anti-Semitic laws and ordinances passed by the government, the professional associations, the educational institutions with the support of the Church. This made Poland an unsurpassed enclave of OFFICIAL anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, that was only surpassed by the Nazis. If you can prove to me that the boycott of Jewish stores, the ordinances limiting the number of Jews in universities, the banning of Jews from professional guilds, the murders and assaults documented by Sir Martin Gilbert did not take place, I will change my opinion.

      Any comparison between the Soviet takeover of the Ukraine before WW2 and Soviet involvement in Poland during WW2 and afterwards is invidious. Ultimately, after the war the Ukraine was de facto annexed to the Soviet Union, Poland was not. The relationship between Russia and the Ukrainians- is distinctly different from the relationship between Russia and Poland. For that reason and for many others, let’s focus our attention on Poland and the issue or non-issue of Polish anti-Semitism which is the subject we’re discussing.

      Jews were less than 1% of Polish society after Kielce. Most non-Communist Jews fled the country after it, make no mistake about that. I will not dispute your figure of 30% “Jewish” membership of the post war UB.

      I see the reasons as follows:

      1) Those Jewish survivors who were not Communists, including those who hid in Russia who were not Communist, fled the country after Kielce.

      In the words of Bożena Szaynok, a historian at Wrocław University:

      “Until 4 July 1946, Polish Jews cited the past as their main reason for emigration. After the Kielce pogrom, the situation changed drastically. Both Jewish and Polish reports spoke of an atmosphere of panic among Jewish society in the summer of 1946. Jews no longer believed that they could be safe in Poland. Despite the large militia [i.e.: milicja] and army presence in the town of Kielce, Jews had been murdered there in cold blood, in public, and for a period of more than five hours. The news that the militia and the army had taken part in the pogrom spread as well. From July 1945 until June 1946, about fifty thousand Jews passed the Polish border illegally. In July 1946, almost twenty thousand decided to leave Poland. In August 1946 the number increased to thirty thousand. In September 1946, twelve thousand Jews left Poland.

      2) Those who remained largely but not entirely supported the Communist regime. Who would YOU think they would support? Polish nationalist, Catholic Rightists who instigated the Kielce Pogrom and other atrocities in Poland after the war? Or would they give their allegiance to a party that promised to build “a new Poland” free of anti-Semitism and ethnic nationalism?

      The fact that Polish Communists betrayed their Jewish members in 1968 is an entirely other matter, But we’re talking about the 1940s after the war.

      3) These “Jews” who ethnically regarded themselves as Jews also regarded themselves as 101% Poles, who were out to build that New Poland I mentioned earlier.

      4) I admit that some of those “Jews” who belonged to the UB were utter scum. But what about the 70% of ethnic Polish members of the UB? Were they saints? Or do you just judge them as bastards? Or do you judge them as “Polish” bastards? Do you judge the “Jews” of the UB more harshly than the “Poles”? If so, why? (…bearing in mind that Jews were officially discriminated against in pre-war Poland by a Rightist, ethnocentric nationalist government)

      Polish Communists took advantage of an anti-Semitic reflex ingrained in Polish society to remove Jews from the country in 1968. Why were the Jews expelled in 1968 without a word of public protest, if they were so tolerated and loved?

      Middle class Jews in Poland were on the road to full assimilation PERIOD. They sought places in Polish universities and professions. They moved out of “Jewish” areas. They learned to speak the language flawlessly and they contributed significantly to Polish high culture. No doubt there would have been more movement in that direction had the course of history taken a different turn. Of course, Jews did not want to convert to Catholicism and they sought to separate their Polish identity from any Catholic identity. which is the right of any free citizen in a democratic society.

      You underestimate the growing contact between Jews and Poles in the large cities especially as the 1930s advanced, The ghetto walls were falling. The Jews were coming out of isolation. For that reason they were seen by some as a threat, hence the anti-Semitic legislation and ordinances.

      In any society, if you honour a man or woman as an indiviudal, give him equal opportunity and equal rights, he or she will most likely join that society in some form or another, seek to advance himself or herself in that society and honour that society, nation and cuture and be loyal to it. That was the case for Jews everywhere in Western Europe, why should it have been different for Jews in Poland?

      I cannot speak for more than 3 million Polish Jews. All I can say is that the general trend within Poland’s Jewish community among those who wished to stay in the country and not emigrate to the West or to Palestine, was towards education that would lead to middle class status and professional advancement.and ultimately some form of integration. To advance required a Polish education, flawless Polish, Polish professional qualifications and ultimately a Polish identity, although not necessarily a Catholic one.

      • March 27, 2013 at 2:18 am

        I see Eric is using the well worn tactic of repeating a lie often enough so that eventually people may believe his lies as truth.

  • March 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Stan, I still naively believe in Eric’s good will, although his comparison Gross&Chodakiewicz only shows his extremely childish or extremely cynical.
    Patriotism do not lie on state but on idea of homeland. Polish middle-class or peasants also had hard life in prewar Poland but showed worthy behavior after 1939.
    The Rumbolt’s report about Poland:
    They therefore unavoidably give a partial and consequently false picture of the conditions of the Jews in Eastern Europe, for, as one of the reports points out, their condition in Poland, bad as it may have been or may still be, has been far better than in most of the surrounding countries. Unless all the information on that point is entirely inaccurate, the massacres of Jews by Ukrainian peasant bands can find, in their extent and throughness, no parallel except in the massacres of the Armenians in the Turkish Empire. Their very completeness has tended to keep the world in ignorance of them, for towns of many thousand inhabitants almost wholly Jewish have apparently been wiped out. Similar events have taken place outside the Ukraine proper
    and all over Southern Russia during the anarchy of the last three years, and in countries on a higher level of culture than Southern Russia, such as Hungary and Czecho-Slovakia, persecutions, less sanguinary perhaps, but very brutal and unjust, have also occurred in the interregnum which followed the armistice.(These excesses can compete with any that have occurred on Polish territory.)

    Jews also did not let Poles to join their Jewish organizations. It is the highest time we should cry about evil, racist Jews who refused Poles access to their society. Prewar anti-Semitic Poland were center of European Jews who escape here from East with enormous political and cultural movement. Even if 10% of Jews – elite of the nation – were assimilated this is very miserable number. I’m reading wikipedia: “History of the Jews in Poland”. Numbers do NOT lie, Jews mostly did not want to assimilate. Endecja made bans to organizations, universities PREVENTIVELY so relatively little Jews suffered from it. The thing, that stop Jews from assimilation were Jewish schools and cultural&political autonomy. We all should regret this autonomy& numbers, if Jews didn’t have it, they could cry now about evil prewar Poland more (as if it’s possible).
    I’m not saying what prewar Soviets did to Jews in Ukraine. I’m saying what Petlura’s army and Ukrainian peasants did. Jews seem not to care about it very much while these pogroms seem more, more horrible than this anty-Semitic Poland.
    The Kielce pogrom were prepared by communistic government (I do not deny polish citizens followed it). Jews were betrayed by their Jewish brothers in government, that wanted pogrom for his political purposes.
    How exactly “Polish nationalist, Catholic Rightists instigated the Kielce Pogrom and other atrocities in Poland after the war?”???
    “These “Jews” who ethnically regarded themselves as Jews also regarded themselves as 101% Poles, who were out to build that New Poland I mentioned earlier.” Do you know any researches about it or are you simply guessing??? I repeat – UB personal questionnaire include self-declaration about nation: Jewish, NOT: Polish& Jewish simultaneously. You cannot skip it.
    I have told that I regard Jews and Poland in UB as the same scum (Jews suffered prewar anty-Semitism while Poles poverty, even shouting to workers manifestations, but it is no excuse). Why I must repeat myself?
    I haven’t told that Jews were loved in post-war society. How could be there any public protest about Jews when there was censorship and terror??? Students’ rebellions seemed not to care about Jews while Jews seemed not to care about students and deportation plan.
    You perceive people as rational creatures what is false. Europe do give full right to Arabs, but they refuse to assimilate. They choose to stick to their national identity and live in poverty instead. The same thing was with prewar Jews.

  • March 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm


    Beyond nationalist right wing circles within Poland and Polonia, Chodakiewicz remains a nobody whose books gather dust on the shelves of obscure Western publishers (with the exception of one book published by Columbia University Press in the wake of Gross’s Neighbours). In Poland he doesn’t appear to have that problem but in the West his books and ideas remain on the periphery of Western scholarship on Eastern Europe. The fact that they have not been translated or published by any major Western academic publishing house (aside from his work on Jedwabne, which again, was a reaction to the controversial and much publicized work by Gross) speaks volumes about his status in academia outside of Poland.

    Perhaps you shouid ask the editors as Berkley,Harvard, Oxford, University of Chicago, Cambridge university presses why they have no interest in publishing any of Chodakiewicz’s work. I would be curious to hear their answers and so should you.

    By the 1930s, Soviet control in the Ukraine was firmly in place. Public or State supported anti-Semitic violence had ceased completely. In democratic Poland, it was just beginning and as the decade moved on (after the death of Pilsudski) State and Church supported anti-Semitism took a quantum leap forward, through a series of laws, ordinances, boycotts and violence. Again Ionicera, I’ve spelt it all out for you chapter and verse. Please show me where I have made factual errors and I will correct them.

    “Jews did not let Poles join Jewish organizations” you write. Precisely what Jewish organizations did Poles want to join that Jews refused them entry? The burial society? The Yiddish literary society? The Jewish merchants association? The Jewish doctors association? What possible advantage could an ethnic Pole possibly derive from joining ANY Jewish organization in the 1930s in Poland? You defy logic here Ionicera.

    What you’re saying about Jews not wanting to get secular educations and join the Polish middle and upper middle classes is BS. As the decade rolled on, Jews increasing sought to better themselves. Education was the way. Education meant assimilation because the only education that would lead to a professional career was a Polish education. Endecja prompted banning and limiting of Jewish access to education was put in place precisely because they, unlike you, recognized the fact that Jews wanted “in” and they wanted to put a stop, or at least decrease the pace of Jewish entry into Polish academic institutions and professional society.

    Jewish elementary and high school educations did not stop Jews from seeking university educations or rofessional careers everywhere else in the world , where they had to write entrance exams and compete with non-Jews, so why would or should that have stopped them in Poland, other than by legislation?

    The Kielce pogrom and other anti-Semitic attacks after the war were not as much about Jews being Communists (if that were the case, why would Communists support these attacks? Logic, Ionicera?) as they were about Poles who felt threatened by Jews who wanted their property back. The truth of the matter is that those Jews who wanted their property back fled the country in the aftermath of Kielce.

    So now let’s talk about those who remained in the country, especially those who joined the UB, OK Ionicera, I’ll take you at your word. Those Jews who joined the UB wanted to be Jews.. They wanted to speak Yiddish, attend synagogue, eat matzo, wear yamulkas and side curls, circumcise their male sons, keep kosher and have nothing to do with Poles personally or professionally. Logical Ionicera? I hardly think so. These UB Jews and other “Communist” Jews more often than not, denied and hid their Jewishness to the point of hiding their ethnic identity from their own children (!) I have interviewed people who were kicked out in 68 who were told they were Jews or half-Jews hours before they were forced out of the country. Theu had absolutely no idea about their biological identity! If you want to consider them Jews,Ionicera, go ahead. I think you’re wrong. Like Jan Gross (Jewish father, “Polish” mother), they thought of themselves as Poles until the authorities made them think of themselves otherwise.

    Speaking of 68, the censorship and terror didn’t stop the student protests in Warsaw that created or perpetrated the crisis did they? On the contrary, the complete removal of Jews from Polish society in 68 didn’t even engender a murmur in Poland. The ethnic Polish Communist authorities knew that they could blame the unrest on 20,000 “Zionists” and that the people would swallow it with barely a murmur. And they did, didn’t they?

    Stan seems to derive great satisfaction from calling me a hater or Poland and Poles. He is mistaken. I wouldn’t bother with any of this, including taking my valuable time responding to you personally and in detail if he were correct. What would be the point? You don’t need me or Stan or anyone else to tell you what to think. Learn the facts. REALLY learn the facts and draw your own conclusions.

    • March 27, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Eric, once again your rant is full of one sided opinion, lies and fantasy. You have been countered by myself and others on those subjects many times yet you continue to rant and rave in the vain attempt that your lies will be seen as facts. You can’t even get your facts right about Chodakiewicz, I have found 6 publications that he has authored or co-authored that have been published in English. You should try using the internet properly before slandering someone Eric.

      • March 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        6 (!) BOOKS published by Chodakiewicz in English Stan? By whom?

  • March 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    If American society prefer Gross and reject Chodakiewicz it only shows how primitive the society is. Why translators&editors should promote Chodakiewicz’s books when racist society won’t buy it?
    Yes, Chodakiewicz is ALSO popular in nationalistic far-right circles in Poland (the same like Gross is popular in racist, anti-Polish circles), but he is also a base in historian&”neutral” circles, even IPN. By the way Chodakiewicz is also a professor in The Institute of World Politics in Washington. What about it?
    If you value a person be his popularity in society, not by his truthfulness, then you must deeply respect Hitler. Simply you have shallow or cynical way of thinking.

    Again I compare Ukraine – Ukrainian People’s Republic – to prewar Poland. Simply you ignore them assuming Poland as a center of anti-Semitism.
    When a Pole didn’t have polish organization in his town or wasn’t wise enough to be accepted by it, he also couldn’t join&make career in Jewish one.
    Oh, Jews also had collaboration organization “Żagiew”or Hotel Polski during ww2. Germans really had plenty of sources about Jews to need it from Poles.
    (By the way. Joining education does not mean assimilation automatically. During the partitions Poles used to attend German&Russian&Austrian schools massively but were not assimilated with them at all.)
    I’ve showed you some sources about Jewish lack of assimilation. Do you have any sources that show Jews eventually wanted to assimilate or should I simply take it at your word?
    Communists Jews simply betrayed their Jewish brothers, the same like Polish one did to Poles (total lack of care for citizens was basic thing for Commies, nothing special that even Jewish one did the same). It was a provocation made by Commies, followed by Polish citizens. They even did not attack Jewish Commies’ flats in the mansion. Read:
    Communists supported these attacks because they had perfect excuse&propaganda by it – to say that evil Polish patriots (+church) were bloody anty-Semites and to hide their own huge crimes.
    So you create Jewish national identity on Orthodox religion (so why most of Jews VIPs in UB wrote religion: atheist?). So Jewish communists without religion simply were not Jews. In exactly the same way Polish communists without religion were not Poles. Pathetic excuse. (By the way, do you think that Albert Einstein were not Jew and Poles that don’t attend Masses are not Poles?).
    1968 events also get rid of some opposition from the country. Claiming they were Jews, were the simplest excuse. Because of the censorship, any media couldn’t speak the truth about it. Students manifestations on streets lasted when anti-Semitic actions wasn’t so developed yet. But they used to say about basic civil rights (so also about persecuted Jews). In the same time and later, Jews did not make any manifestations to support the students, not to protest any government action. It simply didn’t engender a murmur in Jewish society. In 1968 I would blame Jewish society for total passiveness, not Poles at all.
    I have not any compassion for Jewish communists throw up from the government&Poland by their Polish ex-friends. They should better destroy each other completely.

    • March 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      No one is talking about “American society” accepting or not Chodakiewicz Ionicera. All I am saying is that he teaches at an obscure US university and his books outside of Poland are published by second rate academic publishing houses. If you’re trying to compare teaching position at the “Institute of World Politics” in Washington, versus a tenured eaching position at Princeton, you’re dreaming in technicolor. Two VERY different worlds Ionicera! OK, maybe I’ll take your word for it. Chodakiewicz is a misunderstood genius with profound things to say about Poles and Jews but unfortunately the academic world outside of Poland hasn’t bought it.

      According to Carla Tonini ( a most interesting scholar) “in the late 1990s, openly anti-Semitic books were published, like Marek Chodakiewicz and Tadeusz Kąkoleski’s ones, which put the blame for Polish anti-Semitism on the Jews themselves, due to their support to Communism. She gives the following as a reference to substantiate her statement: Krzystof Kąkolewski, Umarły cmentarz (Warszawa, s. d); Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Żydzi i Polacy, 1918-1955. Współistnienie-Zagłada-Komunizm (Fronda, Warszawa, 2000).

      An abstract of Tonini’s full article can be found here:

      Its title is ” The Jews in Poland after the Second World War. Most Recent Contributions of Polish Historiography”

      You can read Tonini’s bio through this link. Apparently she also lectures at Warsaw University.

      What’s your point about Hotel Polski, Ionicera? That frightened Jews blackmailed other Jews to save their own skin? That the Jewish Police inside the Warsaw Ghetto did the dirty work for the Germans, also thinking that this would save them and their families? We discussed this stuff before. I don’t know if I would have the moral courage to refuse to collaborate with these monsters if I thought it meant saving my family’s life. I don’t know if I would. And you don’t know if you would either.

      Why would Jews want to assimilate into a racist society that passed laws against them? But they did! Because speaking the language flawlessly and joining professional organizations meant getting ahead, To what degree each Jewish doctor or lawyer or accountant or pharmacist or journalist or film maker or musician who lived and worked in Polish felt Polish, I do not know. But by their external appearances, their adoption of modern dress, the Polish language and Polish culture, they rejected their shtetl past and were seeking inclusion into the greater society. Otherwise, why would they bother?

      Polish Jews who became Communists chose Communism partly because it meant their inclusion into a greater society. Do you think the Endejca offered them the same opportunity? Ethnic Poles who became Communists did so because they had a different vision for the future of Polish society. They were Poles and they remained Poles. There was never a question of their ethnic identity. It was their definition of what their national identity meant to them. Some of them wanted to divorce Polish identity from Catholicism. Some were thuggish scum just like their Jewish colleagues in the UB. It’s hard to generalize.

      Those non-Communist Jews who survived the Holocaust fled the country after Kielce. Who stayed? I believe it was those who believed in the building of a new Communist Poland where they would be fully equal. Maybe you’re right and I am wrong. They wanted to remain Jews and make sure that they and their kids would always remain Jews. They would only marry Jews and give their kids Hebrew educations in secret. They spoke Yiddish at home and ate tons of garlic when their “Christian” neighbours weren’t looking. Fool that I am Ionicera! I should have realized from the beginning how right you are!

      Einstein never denied his Jewishness, He was offered the presidency of Israel but he refused it. Poles who don’t attend mass are Poles. Poles who do attend mass are Poles. Jews who don’t attend synagogue are Poles (if they have POlish citizenship). Poles who attend synagogue then and now are also Poles….unless you have a problem with that Ionicera.

      What were Jews in 68 supposed to do? Protest being kicked out of the country as their citizenship was being revoked? The Communists knew that blaming the unrest on the Jews would buy them time. They knew that the hatred against Jews was still there and they could still play the anti-Semitic card, even if Jews weren’t living in the country in significant numbers any more. Guess what? It worked for them! And Poland became Judenrein, well almost.

      • March 28, 2013 at 12:17 am

        It is not the rank of the university that matters Eric but the status of the person. A friend of mine did a degree in investigative psychology st the University of Huddersfield in England. It’s nowhere near the status of Oxford or Cambridge but the professor leading the course is world renowned in that field.

        Your feeble attempts to denegrate Chodakiewicz shows how desperate you are Eric. You and your ilk pour bile on Chodakiewicz because he has exposed the lies of the anti Polish industry you are so desperate to profit from. I suggest you stick to producing the occasional obscure documentary for Montreal TV.

  • March 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Oh, I get to know already about Beitar Jerusalem F.C. It’s fans are not better than Polish kibols at all, but only the Polish ones are symbol of rasism.

  • March 28, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Surprisingly sociology (like Gross) and history (like Chodakiewicz) are not “Two VERY different worlds” for you but two universities are. So I’m very curious now how “Institute of World Politics” is worse that the university in Princeton??? OK, maybe I’ll take your way of thinking. Hitler was a misunderstood genius (his status in Germany proved it completely!) with profound things to say about Jews but unfortunately the world outside of Germany hadn’t bought it.
    Carla Tonini gave her abstract in 2010. 6 years after the Jedwabne investigation ended, many years after other historians showed Gross’ value! But in 2010 she took Gross as a historian source of information, even about Jedwabne. I don’t know if I should laugh more at this idiot than of you who promote her. Nothing special that such imbecile rejects Chodakiewicz&Kąkolewski (even if she cannot prove them any lie), because they impudently dare to write about Jewish-Soviet collaboration.
    My point is Germans did not need information about Jews from Poles as they had plenty of other sources about Jews. We can also easily assume that these szmalcownicy were also “thinking that this would save them and their families”.
    But Jews in Poland did not assimilate since centuries ago, even when there was not any low against them. They didn’t want to assimilate, so they didn’t get equal rights.
    You assume by psychological logic that people want to assimilate to had better life. Reality denies it. Even nowadays black, gypsies, etc. decide to live in ghetto&poverty instead of assimilate.
    FEW Jews that wanted to assimilate (I do not deny it) are NOT a proof that the WHOLE Jewish nation wanted to assimilate. I ask again if you have any proof that the whole Jewish nation wanted to assimilate??? Because now all you have is only weak guessing.
    Sanacja&other parties&the government in exile did offered Jews equality but they betrayed Poland joining communism.
    So being a Pole has nothing common with religion while being Jew rely on Judaism (“Jews who don’t attend synagogue are Poles”). WHY, Eric, why? Who you are to tell atheistic or catholic Jews they are not Jews any more, when they insist they still are?
    If Poles hated Jews so much, why the government insist so much that he is anty-Zionizm not anty-Semitic???. Attacking directly Jews (even pushing Stalinism crimes on them) would only give popularity this despised government among anty-Semitic society.
    Poles had courage to risk everything and protest many times against breaking human rights. Jews in Poland never made any manifestations, rebellion when Poles were persecuted, but we should feel shame that Poles did not make the same for Jews? Are you kidding me?
    I’m mean now. But there are plenty of Poles who used to rescue Jews -Righteous Among the Nations, while Jews who used to rescue Poles are invisible.

    • March 28, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      Ionicera, I am so overwhelmed by your brilliant logic, your deep understanding of Judaism, sociology, Polish history and the relationship between Jews and Poles between 1935 -1989 that I’m going to leave you with the last word. You have made so many profound, incisive, highly intellectual and thoughtful comments to make on these subject, I’m going to leave the floor to you and the bevy of brilliant scholars like Dr. Chodakiewicz of the Institute of World Politics and dismiss the ramblings of such lying Princeton nincompoops like Jan Tomasz Gross and Albert Einstein.

      • March 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm

        O Pogromy Ludu Polskiego (Rola Social-Litwactwa W Niedawnej Rewolucji), by Juljan Unszlicht. 1913. Krakow.

        Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis

        Title of Review: Polish Jew Analyzes Jewish Disloyalty, Under Tsarist Russian Rule, Towards Polish National Aspirations

        ON THE POGROMS AGAINST THE POLISH PEOPLE (THE ROLE OF THE SOCIALISTS-LITVAKS IN THE RECENT REVOLUTION) is the title of this Polish-language book. It gives insights into the Zydokomuna (Bolshevized Judaism) between the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917, as well as the true causes of the emerging Endek enmity against the Jews. However, the author hardly ever mentions Dmowski, and is in no sense pro-Endek. He considers them reactionary and cowardly (p. 365), and (incorrectly) pro-tsarist. (p. 294).

        Author Julian Unszlicht (whose brother, Joseph, was an ardent Communist) identifies himself as a Pole, and only a Pole, of Jewish background. (p. 30). However, his continued tie to Judaism is indicated by the fact that he dedicated this book to those Jews who remained loyal to the Polish cause (p. 4), for better or worse. (p. 7). Writing in what turned out to be soon before Dmowski would launch his retaliatory boycott of Jews, the author concluded that, “Jewry has betrayed Poland. That is an indisputable, unlamented, and aggravating fact.” (p. 5).

        Litvak (Litwak) publications (for specific citations, see, for example, pp. 127-129) made very derogatory remarks about Poland. Moreover, Unszlicht cited statements from the respected assimilationist Jewish periodical IZRAELITA, which echo Litvak positions, in stating that Polish culture is “a stinking pond”, “a corpse”, “a bankrupt cheater’s playing card”. (p. 5). Unszlicht went further than Dmowski and the Endeks later would: He called the “assimilated Jews become Poles” notion a total farce. (p. 5). The “Polish corpse” innuendo was a common feature of Jewish publications. (e. g, p. 19, 38, 58, 121, 127-128).

        Far from being marginal, the Litvaks and their avant-garde, the Socialist-Litvaks (in contradistinction with Polish socialists), were the representatives of Polish Jewry under tsarist Russian rule. (p. 6, 370). Jewish nationalists, whether of the Zionist or Bundist variety (notably the latter: p. 361), actually harmed Jews by keeping them in medieval-like isolation, and in aggressive separatism from, if not enmity against, Polish-ness. The foregoing was the conclusion of not only the Endeks, but also of Polish socialists, as shown in their publication (which, BTW, equally condemned the Litvaks and the Endeks: pp. 183-184).

        The most dangerously anti-Polish organizations, controlled by the Litvaks or Jewish nationalists, also included the Marxist so-called Social Democrats (SDKPiL; hereafter SD)(p. 8, 13), often acting in unison. (p. 295). What’s more, SD positions often enjoyed the support of larger Jewish parties, such as the Bund. (p. 58, 361, 284, 368).

        The cancer ran deeper. Sometimes, apparent advocates of Polish independence, such as the monthly KRYTYKA run by the Jew W. Feldman in Krakow, turned out to be allies of the SD and enemies of Polish independence. (pp. 27-28).

        The Litvaks were agents of Russification, of turning the remaining Jews against Poles, and of trying to turn Poles against their national interests by defamation. (pp. 12-13). Thus, the Polish Eagle was vilified as a symbol of the unchecked power and oppressiveness of the Polish nobility. (p. 127). Polish heroism at the Battle of Grunwald was merely an escapade of one set of kings, nobles, and clergy fighting against another set, with the Pope switching sides to be on the side of the victor. (p. 130). The National Democrats (Endeks) were bourgeoisie reactionaries stifling class-consciousness by turning Polish workers against German and Russian workers, and trying to bring back the pre-Partition Poland of privileged and non-privileged. (pp. 130-131). [Exactly the same Communist propaganda came in handy, four decades later, against the Polish government in exile in London.]

        Rosa Luksemburg (Luxemburg), according to Unszlicht, exemplified the influential “Polish” Jew who traveled to other nations and defamed Poland, causing great harm to the Polish cause. (p. 316). She opposed Polish statehood (pp. 304-305) and even attacked Polish socialists. (p. 174).

        What of the paradoxical fact that Jews had long found haven in Poland, and continued to do so to escape Russian persecution, yet were pro-Russian and anti-Polish? Unszlicht answers: “There is a strange Jewish psychology which gravitates to the strong and powerful, and looks down on the weak and oppressed…” (p. 12)[Perhaps a similar psychology explains why Jews today are less angry over the 5-6 million Jews murdered by the Germans than they are over the comparatively trivial wrongs by Poles.] Antigoyism was also a factor in Jewish attitudes. (p. 11, 13, 44, 73, 121, 305, 359, 363, 365).

        For all its presumed appeals to the proletariat, the SD actually supported Jewish interests. For instance, calls for workers to go on strike primarily targeted the Polish bakeries, even though they paid much better wages than Turkish or Jewish bakeries. (pp. 192-193). Otherwise, attacks on the Polish proletariat essentially served as a foil for protecting Jewish shopkeepers and the like. (p. 295). SD agitators were responsible for driving German and Polish socialists in Lodz against each other (p. 227), and for numerous violent attacks on Polish workers (e. g, p. 255, 263)–whence the title of this book.

        Unszlicht characterizes the 1905 Revolution, in Congress Poland, as an essentially Jewish-dominated one. Moreover, it sought to create a Jewish hegemony over Poland that would be essentially a fulfillment of the Judeopolonia utopian ideal. (pp. 361-362).

        The Jews’ election of Jagiello to the Duma [otherwise best known for provoking Dmowski’s retaliatory boycotts] further underlined the anti-Polish and pro-Russian sympathies of the Jewish nationalists. (p. 185). Despite being unsympathetic to the National Democrats, Unszlicht realizes that the Endeks, rather than being purveyors of anti-Semitism in the usual sense of the word, were animated by something much deeper–a reaction against the provocative stance by Jews against Polish concerns. (p. 186).

        Although the SD accused the Endeks of being pro-tsarist, it was the SD performing a service to the tsarist authorities by making common cause with the tsar against the Polish national movement. (p. 189). Furthermore, SD agitators and Okhrana worked together to cause 200 Polish worker demonstrators’ deaths in Warsaw. (pp. 59-60). A part of the SD, notably those who assassinated Poles and engaged in other anti-Polish provocations, turned out to be Jewish Okhrana agents–as exemplified by one named Azef, and his son Phillip, responsible for thousands of deaths. (p. 324-329; see also p. 355-on)!

        The Polish reaction? Unszlicht comments: “The Polish cooperatives fight with never-before-seen effort against Jewish usury…” (p. 6). On the other hand, there was a surprising nonchalance to attacks on the Polish cause by some Polish leaders. (pp. 24-25)[much like the situation today.]

  • March 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    his review is from: From Assimilation to Antisemitism: The “Jewish Question” in Poland, 1850-1914 (Hardcover)
    Author Theodore R. Weeks sees the first impulses towards the assimilation of Polish Jews as resulting from the Enlightenment, as exemplified by Polish thinkers and their Jewish counterparts, the MASKILIM. (pp. 18-19). The concept of human equality would lead to citizenship replacing the previous divisions based on religious separatism and class privileges. Early models, of Jews and Poles coming together, were conceived in terms of Jews shedding their particularism in exchange for full acceptance as Poles.

    Rabbi Ber Meisels, who was Orthodox and unsympathetic to assimilation, strongly supported the Poles in the events leading up to and including the January 1863 Insurrection. According to some Jewish and Russian analysts, he hoped to win concessions for Jews in exchange for supporting the Polish cause. (pp. 47-48). To put this in perspective, the vast majority of Poland’s Jews–the Hasidic and Orthodox–did not support the Insurrection. In fact, the Gerer Reb and other Hasidic leaders specifically condemned it. (p. 49). Jewish support for the earlier November 1830 Insurrection had been even weaker. (p. 49).

    Jewish acculturation and assimilation were, from the beginning, matters of degree. (p. 30). Theodore R. Weeks defines assimilated Jews as ones who had accepted Polish culture, spoke Polish, and participated “to one extent or another” in Polish social and public life. (p. 38). Obviously, even by his own definition, assimilated Polish Jews, however relatively few in number (see below), were not necessarily connected to essential Polishness.

    Furthermore, even assimilation to the point of converting to the majority religion did not necessarily imply identification with the host nation. Weeks acknowledges that many Jews converted to Christianity for practical reasons, and cites Heinrich Heine’s statement about the baptismal certificate as the “entrance ticket” to European society. (p. 94).

    In addition to all this (as pointed out, for example, by Boleslaw Prus), the antiquity of Jewish civilization, and not some anti-Christian or “racial” characteristic of being Jewish, implied that assimilated Jews tended to remain essentially Jewish (and not Polish) in their thinking. (p. 103). This anticipated later Polish fears about influential Polish circles becoming “Judaized” because of the influences of assimilated Jews.

    The reader familiar with Polish-Jewish history knows that, whatever the degree or implications of assimilation, only a small fraction of Polish Jews ever assimilated. This trend continued right up to the destruction of Polish Jewry by the German Nazis during WWII. By the late 1850’s, assimilated Polish Jews “remained a small, select, and generally prosperous group.” (p. 38). Though Weeks does not consider this, it is obvious that the successes of the assimilated Polish Jews could only reinforce the perception that Jewish assimilation occurs, in outcome if not also in motive, primarily for the benefit of the Jews, and not that of Poles and Poland.

    In addition, the relative infrequency of Jewish assimilation could only mean that assimilated Jews remained unappreciated, by Poles, if only because of the glaring fact of the unassimilated majority. In addition, the rarity of Jewish assimilation would mean that it would increasingly be considered marginal, among both Poles and Jews, in terms of the alteration, still less improvement, of overall Polish-Jewish relations.

    The essential irrelevance of Jewish assimilation, in terms of significantly reducing millennia-old Jewish particularism, and of reducing the age-old status of Jews as primarily a “privileged” economic class (as emphasized, for example, by Boleslaw Prus: p. 102), is borne out by the facts. A detailed tsarist Russian census, even at the late date of 1897, showed that nearly 75% of the Jews of Congress Poland (that is, Warsaw-area ethnographic Poland) were employed in either industry or trade. (p. 57). Jewish cultural separatism also remained intact. For example, as of the 1880’s, Jews still had their own social institutions, and attended their own schools–the CHEDARIM and the YESHIVOT. (e. g, p. 75, 82, 91). In 1897, nearly 84% of cosmopolitan Warsaw’s Jews claimed Yiddish as their native tongue. (p. 218).

    With and without assimilation, dislikes between Poles and Jews, as those based on religion and social position, worked both ways. Weeks points out, “to be fair”, that “the Jews were seldom complimentary in their opinions of the Polish peasants.” (p. 81).However, the strong polarization between Poles and Jews developed relatively late. It was mutual, and based in large part on the popularization of nationalism (including both the Polish and Jewish variety: see pp. 124-on) from about the mid to late 19th century. (p. 8, 86).

    Although Theodore R. Weeks tries to downplay the Litvak (Litwak) problem (pp. 156-on), he acknowledges that the Jewish intelligentsia outside the Kingdom readily accepted Russification, after about 1863, and on a large scale with specific connotations of hostility to Polish national aspirations (e. g, p. 54, 191). Both Polish and Jewish sources confirm the reality of the Litvak problem (p. 198, 215), which came to the fore by 1892. (p. 108).

    Open anti-Semitism among Poles was unusual before about 1881. (pp. 67-68). One major development was the publication of Jan Jelenski’s ROLA (p. 9, 89), in the 1880’s, which Theodore R. Weeks called “the first overtly anti-Semitic journal in Poland.” (p. 89). In a slightly earlier publication, Jelenski’s had cited the deleterious effects of “foreign and Jewish capital” in Poland. Theodore R. Weeks tries to dispute this by citing an industrial exhibition held at St. Petersburg in 1870. Out of 200 firms represented from Congress Poland (“ethnographic” Poland), “only 30” were Jewish owned, compared with 131 foreign-owned and 39 Polish owned. (p. 56). Jelenski’s statements may have been unacceptable according to today’s “politically correct” notions, but the facts do support them. Jews, comprising less than 10% of the population of Congress Poland at the time (1870), owned almost as many firms as the Poles, who constituted 90% of the population! Moreover, Jelenski’s comments were not directed solely at Jews, but were voiced in the larger context of non-Polish-owned (161 out of 200!) firms.

    Jelenski promoted the economic self-defense of Poles through the boycott of Jews, and Theodore R. Weeks puts this in somewhat broader context than the stereotyped Polish hostility directed at Jewish scapegoats. He quips, “The use of the economic boycott for nationalist purposes was not a novelty; in the Prussian partition Poles boycotted German goods…” (pp. 91-92).

    Now consider the Church and the Jews. Weeks points out that, “In 1914, as in 1800, the Catholic church regarded Jews with suspicion and wariness but did not, on the whole, push for militant political or economic action against them.” (p. 10).

    Interestingly, the much-condemned Endek hostility of Jews was a very recent development. Endek publications did not have particularly anti-Jewish themes until about 1903. (p. 115). Unlike those who try to lump all opposition to Jews as the same, Theodore R. Weeks does not. He comments, “We must remember that Polish anti-Semites–take Jelenski or Dmowski for example–always condemned physical violence towards the Jews.” (p. 9).

    One of the factors leading to the 1912 Dmowski-led boycott of Jews was not only the increasing nationalism among both Jews and Poles, but also the increasing competition between Poles and Jews for political influence in the Duma. The large size of the Jewish population further exacerbated this competition. After all, cities such as Warsaw, Lodz, Lomza, Kielce, Lublin, and many others, were a third or more Jewish in population. (p. 151).

    Theodore R. Weeks rejects the common exculpation that the Jews, in 1912, had refused to support Jan Kucharzewski because he was an anti-Semite. Instead, Kucharzewski had refused to disavow publicly any possible restrictions on Jews in future city governments. (p. 163). In other words, and not stated by Weeks, the Jews were simply promoting their own influence, and so Dmowski and the Endeks responded in kind by promoting Polish influence. The Endek enmity towards Jews soon became shared by many Polish liberals. (pp. 165-on).

    The author misrepresents the views and positions of patriotic Polish Jew Julian Unszlicht. (pp. 158-159).

  • March 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    On August 22, 1939, a few days before the official start of World War II, Hitler authorized his commanders, with these infamous words, to kill “without pity or mercy, all men, women, and children of Polish descent or language. Only in this way can we obtain the living space [lebensraum] we need”.

    Heinrich Himmler echoed Hitler’s decree:

    “All Poles will disappear from the world…. It is essential that the great German people should consider it as its major task to destroy all Poles.”

    On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland from three directions. Hitler’s invincible troops attacked from the west, the north and the south. Poland never had a chance. By October 8, 1939, Polish Jews and non-Jews were stripped of all rights and, were subject to special legislation. Rationing, which allowed for only bare sustenance of food and medicine was quickly set up.

    Young Polish men were forcibly drafted into the German army.
    The Polish language was forbidden. Only the German language was allowed.
    All secondary schools and colleges were closed.
    The Polish press was liquidated. Libraries and bookshops were burned.
    Polish art and culture were destroyed.
    Polish churches and snyagogues were burned.
    Most of the priests were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
    Street signs were either destroyed or changed to new German names. Polish cities and towns were renamed in German.
    Ruthless obliteration of all traces of Polish history and culture.

    Hitler’s Goal: Terrorize Polish People Into Subservience.

    Hundreds of Polish community leaders, mayors, local officials, priests, teachers, lawyers, judges, senators, doctors were executed in public. Much of the rest of the so-called Intelligentsia, the Polish leading class, was sent to concentration camps where they later died.

    The first mass execution of World War II took place in Wawer, a town near Warsaw, Poland on December 27, 1939 when 107 Polish non-Jewish men were taken from their homes in the middle of the night and shot. This was just the beginning of the street roundups and mass executions that continued throughout the war.

    At the same time, on the eastern border of Poland, the Soviet Union invaded and quickly conquered. Germany and the Soviet Union divided Poland in half. The western half, occupied by the Nazis, became a new German territory: “General Gouvernment”. The eastern half was incorporated within the adjoining Russian border by Soviet “elections”. This new border “realignment” conferred Soviet citizenship on its new Polish inhabitants. And all young Polish men were subject to being drafted into the Soviet army.

    Just like the Nazis the Soviets also reigned terror in Poland. The Soviets took over Polish businesses, Polish factories and destroyed churches and religious buildings. The Polish currency (zloty) was removed from circulation. All Polish banks were closed and savings accounts were blocked.

    During the period of the Holocaust of World War II, Poland lost:

    45% of her doctors,
    57% of her attorneys
    40% of her professors,
    30% of her technicians,
    more than 18% of her clergy
    most of her journalists.

    Poland’s educated class was purposely targeted because the Nazis knew that this would make it easier to control the country.

    Non-Jews of Polish descent suffered over 100,000 deaths at Auschwitz. The Germans forcibly deported approximately 2,000,000 Polish Gentiles into slave labor for the Third Reich. The Russians deported almost 1,700,000 Polish non-Jews to Siberia. Men, women and children were forced from their homes with no warning. Transferred in cattle cars in freezing weather, many died on the way. Polish children who possessed Aryan-looking characteristics were wrenched from their mother’s arms and placed in German homes to be raised as Germans.

    The Polish people were classified by the Nazis according to their racial characteristics. The ones who appeared Aryan were deported to Lodz for further racial examination. Most of the others were sent to the Reich to work in slave labor camps. The rest were sent to Auschwitz to die. Polish Christians and Catholics were actually the first victims of the notorious German death camp. For the first 21 months after it began in 1940, Auschwitz was inhabited almost exclusively by Polish non-Jews. The first ethnic Pole died in June 1940 and the first Jew died in October 1942.

    Because of the obliteration of the Polish press by the Nazis, most of the world was not aware, including many parts of Nazi-occupied Poland, of the atrocities going on. Even to this day, much documentation of the Holocaust is not available. The entire records of Auschwitz were stolen by the Soviets and not returned. It was Hitler’s goal to rewrite history.

    The Nazis destroyed books, monuments, historical inscriptions. They began a forceful campaign of propaganda to convince the world of the inferiority and weakness of the Polish people and likewise, their invincible superiority and power. Copyright 2012 – Terese Pencak Schwartz

  • March 28, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Righteous of the World

    I hear this title and it makes me think

    About the people who saved me.

    I ask and ask “Oh, my dear God,

    Could I have done the same thing?”

    In a sea of hate stood my home,

    Could I shelter a foreign son in my home?

    Would I be willing along with my family

    Constantly be threatened by certain evil?

    Sleepless dark nights watching out for noise

    Hearing footsteps of certain evil.

    Would I be able to understand every sign,

    Would I be ready for this, could I walk like this

    Among those who would betray

    Not one day, not one week, but so many years!

    there a suspicious neighbor, there a look , and here a sound –

    For that one – warm – brotherly clasping of my hand…

    Not having any pension – not having anything for this.

    Because a person to person must be a people.

    Because a people comes at this time through –

    So I ask you and ask you once more –

    Could I have done the same if I was in their place?

    It was they who went to war every day.

    It was they who made the world a place for me.

    It was they, the pillars, the Righteous brother,

    Who this day this world is founded by.

    For your courage, and for your warm extended hand

    In front of you the Righteous I bow.

  • June 27, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    No one s disputing your points Stan about how deeply Poles suffered at the hands of the Nazis and Soviets nor about the profound humanity, nobility or mind boggling courage of those Poles who risked everything including the lives of their own loved ones to hide Jews in mortal danger. Sadly, they were their noble deeds were overshadowed by much darker behaviour of their fellow Poles who took advantage of the Nazi kleptocracy to pillage and murder their Jewish neighbours or abet the Nazi ethnic cleansing. As we both know Stan, the murder of Jews by Poles did not end after the Nazi defeat.

  • November 25, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Dokladnie, gdzie jestes zdolny do kupic PLPD Ubezpieczenie
    Samochodu ? Poniewaz z technologie i powiekszyc sie od siec
    kupujac tani PLPD plan ubezpieczenia nie jest nigdy mniej skomplikowany .

    Oceniajac tempa i chodzic uzyly, by byc problem .

    To wszystko zawarty robiac duzo rozmowy telefoniczne
    i m

  • Pingback: Rethinking Poland: a call for change |

  • January 13, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    My experience of the contemporary Poles are different: looking not very typical Jew I was always recognized with the hostility and sometimes with the aggressiveness.I met Poles in different European countries.

    • January 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      Yawwwwwwwn!! You’re boring Eric. I’m a Widzew Lodz fan and like fans of Cracovia we wear the Zyd badge with pride. These chants are water off a duck’s back to us. I’m more interested in this quote from the ADL spokesman because he clearly thinks that only Jews were the victims of The Holocaust:

      “Responsible government officials must rectify this absurd decision and ensure that those who chose to insult the memory of the victims of the Holocaust are held responsible for their pernicious and illegal actions.”

      If anyone is insulting the victims of The Holocaust it is him because he denies the victimhood of all non Jews.

      • January 16, 2014 at 12:27 am

        Stan, if I recall, many Poles were outraged by the BBC report last year about anti-Semitic chanting at Polish football games. Unfortunately the problem persists and Polish authorities (unlike their British counterparts) refuse to do anything about it.

        No one, least of all me, questions the degree of intense Polish suffering at the hands of the Nazis. Neither Polish fans, nor fans in any other country are shouting “Poles to the gas!” Nonetheless, TODAY Polish fans insist upon channeling their national football rivalries into an anti-Semitic context which is deeply offensive, distasteful and hurtful.

        If Polish authorities refuse to attack the issue head on, there will be more reports, more international television and radio coverage that will reflect badly upon Poland’s image in the world.

        • January 16, 2014 at 8:25 pm

          Eric, an English football team in London, Tottenham Hotspur, has its founding roots in the North London Jewish community. Decades ago their hardcore fans stylised themselves as the Yid Army. They sing songs on the terraces with many references to themselves with this name. Their London rivals sang songs against them, again, using the Yid Army or just Yid references. Today with political correctness gone mad the football authorities are claiming that these songs are now anti Semitic.

          My team Widzew Lodz, as does Cracovia, when they were first founded took in members and fans from a cross community background whereas many of their rivals were purely Catholic Polish. These club rivalries and the songs sung on the terraces towards fans of certain clubs have their origins going back generations just like at Tottenham yet priggish political correct phillistines such as yourself who have no historical understanding of the roots of these football clubs and the rivalries that have developed over generations.

          I suggest you get your own house in order Eric before you start pointing fingers outside your own community.

  • January 16, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    The point Stan, is that the British authorities DID put their house in order and took action against this vile practice. Polish authorities on the other hand, opt to do nothing. Given the historical context, would you be so acquiescent and accepting if German football fans shouted “Poles to the gas!” ?

    • January 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      The point is Eric that the British have jumped on the pathetic politically correct bandwagon and are trying to stamp put songs that have been adopted by supporters, many who have Jewish roots. It is the same stupidity that has meant the blackboards are now called chalk boards and you can’t sing nursery rhymes like Baa Baa Black Sheep.

      Now like I said Eric, go and put your own house in order.

      • January 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm

        Not quite the same thing Stan….So how about it Stan, I guess slogans “Poles to the Gas” gives you that warm, cozy kind of feeling, just like Baa Baa Black Sheep?

        • January 17, 2014 at 12:14 am

          Eric, in my lifetime I have heard things just as bad aimed towards me personally or to my nationality. The problem with people like you is that you take what happened to the Jewish people during WW2 and are now trying to make the world fell some kind of collective guilt so that the Israeli government can get away with their barbaric policies towards the Arabs and Palestinians. So like I say Eric, get your own house in order first.

  • March 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

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  • August 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Since the KP invites us to “add comments” here – (even after two years!) – may I add one or two thoughts.

    Firstly: excellent article from Jamie Stokes. The reaction I remember seeing in many quarters over here in the UK was that the Panorama programme was unnecessarily alarmist (something which was borne out by the actual championship). Mr Stokes made the important distinction between the different situations prevailing in Poland and Ukraine, something which the programme tended to blur.

    The contributions below the article also made for interesting reading. They were mostly courteous, reasoned and well-informed, although sometimes the arguments did seem to go round in circles and it seemed fairly clear that some positions were beyond shifting. A generally polite exchange nevertheless, especially compared to others I’ve read on the contentious subject of Polish/Jewish relations at the KP and elsewhere.

    I would say that people still need to re-evaluate their respective positions: the extreme Polish nationalists seem to have a hard time conceding that there was ever a problem in Poland, whereas people from outside accusing Poles of endemic anti-Semitism need to appreciate that since 1945 the West has largely been given only one version of 20th century Polish history – one in which it has suited the Stalin-imposed regime to present Poles in general as rabid anti-Semites. (What better justification, after all, for taking over a country other than to be “liberating it from fascists”?)

    I have some sympathy for those posters who bristle at the somewhat judgemental tone adopted by outsiders who are constantly asking Poles to re-examine their history. Debates like this prove that this re-examination is ongoing and that Poles do not deny wrongdoing when it can be proven beyond doubt.

    In general, I would say that some posters minimised the Jewish contribution to Polish culture and downplayed Jewish participation in the Polish Armed Forces. (Thanks to the poster who mentioned the hundreds of Jewish officers who were murdered at Katyn by the NKVD – some estimates put the number as high as a thousand, among them Baruch Steinberg, Chief Rabbi of the Polish Army – this was in the army of the supposedly rabidly anti-Semitic Sanacja regime).

    The poster who mentioned Jewish desertions in Palestine should also have paid tribute to all those Jews who did not desert but continued fighting the Nazis in the ranks of the Polish army at battlegrounds such as Monte Cassino ( see the Stars of David at the Polish military cemetery there).

    Pre-war Warsaw had the largest Jewish population of any European capital at the time. Although Poland was by no stretch of the imagination an ideal society, I’d say that that people generally do not live where they are not welcome. Granted, the discredited Sanacja regime has a lot to answer for – they were saddled with the responsibility for the September debacle by the Polish government in exile, who refused to support them when they exiled themselves to Rumania – but it has to be said that Beck and co. were walking a political tightrope in the years leading up to the war and it was not their regime which started the most destructive war in history. This is not to excuse what they did wrong, but do they deserve the kind of opprobrium which has hitherto usually been directed at Hitler and his henchmen?

    Finally, i wish Mr Scott success with his documentary, but his lack of fluency in Polish could be a problem. Even the great Lanzmann seemed to misunderstand what his translator was telling him in the monumental and harrowing ‘Shoah’. (And of course, other than the great Jan Karski, there was precious little mention in his film of Polish rescuers – people who risked their lives, and in many cases paid with their lives, to aid and shelter Jews from the Nazis).

    Best wishes to all contributors,

    A person who writes in English

    • August 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      What a thoughtful and intelligent letter, Latercomer. You raise some interesting and enlightening perspectives as well as some historical facts of which I was not aware. I continue working diligently both on my documentary project and on my Polish…pozdrawiam!

      • August 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

        Thanks for your kind reply, Eric. I now understand that your documentary is not going to be on Christian/Jewish relations in Poland generally, but rather, more narrowly, on the question of property restitution.

        I have no idea of international law in this regard, but I wonder (along with Stan and some others) to what extent the present Polish state should be held liable for the crimes committed by foreign regimes? The various ethnic minorities of pre-war Poland might still be living where they were in 1939 had it not been for the events triggered by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. All hypothetical, I know, but perhaps something to make allowances for when you come to finalise your project?

        I repeat my good wishes and good luck with your Polish.

        Pozdrowienia from a person who writes in English (aka Michal Karski)

  • September 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Let’s leave it at that. The author got it right. These are hooligans being hooligans and not ani-Semitic.
    There are not many Jewish people in Poland. If there were more than maybe the saying could be construed as being anti-Semitic. The way this thinking goes calling potato pancakes “placki ziemniaczane” instead of “latkes” would mean I am anti-Semitic.

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