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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 29: Writing Jewish History in Eastern Europe 1st Edition by Natalia Aleksiun (Editor), Brian Horowitz (Editor), Antony Polonsky (Editor);Includes Insights into Jewish Endek-Mirror-Image Attitudes; the Bund; Jews Fleeing the USSR for Poland, and the POLIN Museum

jan peczkis|Friday, May 4, 2018

“UNDERSTANDING THE SOUL”: ENDEKS HAVE BEEN BERATED FOR POSITIONS ALSO HELD BY RESPECTABLE JEWS

Like other volumes of the POLIN series, this one is often a mile wide and an inch deep. It does, however, contain some interesting information, which I now bring to the reader’s attention.

“UNDERSTANDING THE SOUL”: ENDEKS HAVE BEEN BERATED FOR POSITIONS ALSO HELD BY RESPECTABLE JEWS

Traditionalist Poles have often, in Jewish publications, been portrayed as a primitive people for suggesting that even Polonized Jews should not be writing about Polish history, or Polish Catholicism, as they are incapable of understanding the Polish soul. Perhaps this matter touches on what nowadays is called cultural misappropriation. Although they are never ever condemned for it, Jews felt exactly the same way about Poles! Author Rachel Manekin, writing about Isaac Bernfeld [a Galician Jew who was the active in 1881 and who was the brother of a historian of the Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment)], comments, “Bernfeld conceded that there were indeed Polish authors like Tadeusz Czacki who had written about the Jews, but he doubted the ability of Christians ‘who know nothing about Jewish life, to gaze inward into the national spirit that flutters within us, and which is the inner spirit that animates people’s histories.’ The Christians were mere spectators and thus were unable to see the full picture.” (pp. 77-78).

THE BUND: A MAINSTREAM JEWISH POLITICAL PARTY HOSTILE TO POLAND AND CONGENIAL TO COMMUNISM

Citing Yiddish sources, Samuel Kassow writes, “Other historians, such as Roni Gechman and Gertrud Pickhan, stress just how central REVOLUTIONARY MARXISM and INTERNATIONALISM were to the Bund…Gertrud Pickhan also stressed the critical role of RADICAL INTERNATIONALISM in the activity and evolving self-image of the Polish Bund.” (p. 135, emphasis added).

Kassow (p. 136) claims that the Bund “rejected Communism”, but, other than a dislike of the Soviet-promoted assimilationist goals for Jews, it is unclear, semantics aside, how the Bund’s acknowledged “revolutionary Marxism” and "radical internationalism" were supposed to be different from the essence of Communism.

Finally, although, according to Kassow, the Bund was supposed to become more congenial to Poland during the course of the Second Republic (1918-1939), if only for opportunistic reasons, this does not change the fact, mentioned by Kassow, that, “…the old Bund had largely opposed Polish independence…” (p. 136).

RELIGIOUS JEWS IN THE USSR FLEE TO POLAND

Glenn Dynner writes, “In the Soviet Union, Jewish religious functionaries and entire yeshiva student bodies were intimidated, silenced, and degraded to the point that many felt compelled to sneak themselves and their families across the border into the relative freedom and safety of Poland. The crisis intensified with Stalin’s ascendancy in 1926.” (p. 298).

The foregoing are interesting statements, because the “Jews had it better in the USSR” exculpation is often used as a standard excuse for Polish Jews collaborating with the Soviets, against Poles, in 1939-on.

THE STANDARD BLAME-EVERYTHING-ON-POLES AND JEWISH-WRONGDOING-DENIALISM

Polish Jew Ireneusz Krzeminski (pp. 425-on) has the same-old, same-old Judeocentric standard narrative about Polish anti-Semitism. In addition, Krzeminski (p. 427) takes the obligatory pot shots at RADIO MARYJA, and runs-down Poles for not embracing the LEWAK agenda, including feminism. (p. 442).

As is almost always the case, Jewish authors refuse to admit the undeniable fact of past Jewish crimes, notably that of the ZYDOKOMUNA (Judeo-Bolshevism). In his discussion of the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, Antony Polonsky (pp. 346-347) alludes to the old, canned exculpatory arguments. These are: “Look at all the non-Jewish Communists” (as if a Jewish murderer should go free because there are also gentile murderers), “Jews had it bad” (which is the same as the “Germans had it bad” exculpatory argument for Germans supporting Hitler and his crimes), and the well-worn and creative “Jewish Communists were not really Jews”, which is as ridiculous as it is false, as shown below:

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YES, VIRGINIA, JEWISH COMMUNISTS WERE STILL JEWS

The notion that Jewish Communists are not really Jews, or were rejected by the Jewish community, are old and still-common exculpations, but are totally false. Nor is it true that Communism was something marginal among Jews.

I. The Jewish over-involvement in Communism was a direct outgrowth of Jewish cultural and literary traditions:

Jewish Radicals and Radical Jews

II. The Yiddishist movement was strongly tainted with Communism--a taint that went far beyond formal affiliation with Communist movements:

The Tragedy of a Generation: The Rise and Fall of Jewish Nationalism in Eastern Europe

Jewish Schools in Poland, 1919-39: Their Philosophy and Development

III. Communism was widely seen, in the Jewish community, not as a rejection of Judaism, but as a secular fulfillment of Jewish messianism:

The Old Country: The Lost World of East European Jews

Dreams of Nationhood: American Jewish Communists and the Soviet Birobidzhan Project, 1924-1951 (Jewish Identities in Post-Modern Society)

IV. Many Soviet Communist Jews practiced circumcision, kosher, etc. To them, Judaism was an ethnicity, not a religion:

Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk (The Modern Jewish Experience)

The Shtetl: New Evaluations (Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies Series)

V. Jewish Communists who did not observe ANY Jewish practices lived and thought in terms of an alternative Judaism, not a rejection of Judaism:

The Non-Jewish Jew

VI. Even the most unconventional and militantly anti-religious Soviet Jewish Communists (the Yevsektsiya) were buried in Jewish cemeteries:

The Jews of the Soviet Union: The History of a National Minority (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies)

VII. The State of Israel freely welcomes Jewish Communists as valid Jews. For instance, U. B. (Bezpieka) murderer Salomon Morel was exempted from facing justice for the torture and murder of thousands of Poles:

An Eye for an Eye: The Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945
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