"It's difficult to admit the obvious"
political world

is it?Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland

jan peczkis|Friday, May 1, 2015

Let me begin by saving the serious reader some time. The reader who is interested in a balanced Jewish viewpoint of Polish-Jewish relations, and Polish anti-Semitism, should click on Ludwik Hirszfeld: The Story of One Life (Rochester Studies in Medical History), and read the detailed Peczkis review.

Let me begin by saving the serious reader some time. The reader who is interested in a balanced Jewish viewpoint of Polish-Jewish relations, and Polish anti-Semitism, should click on Ludwik Hirszfeld: The Story of One Life (Rochester Studies in Medical History), and read the detailed Peczkis review.

The usual suspects are behind this present work: Feliks Tych, Alina Cala, Wlodzimierz Rozenbaum, etc. (p. x). The Polonophobia of all three is well known. Feliks Tych was the son-in-law of the Jewish super-Communist Jakub Berman, who had been one of the top three murderous henchmen of Stalin in the Soviet-imposed Communist puppet government that had shackled Poland.

You would never guess it from reading this book, but did you know that Jewish prejudices against Poles were as strong as Polish prejudices against Jews, if not more so? See the detailed, free online book, TRADITIONAL JEWISH ATTITUDES TOWARDS POLES, by Mark Paul.


This anthology offers almost nothing new. It jumps from topic to topic, making it a many-topic compendium that is lengthy but very superficial. To address and correct every issue would require a book of its own. I touch on a few specific items later in this review. Want to go deeper? Please click on the first Comment under this review.

The predictable Judeocentric black-and-white thinking is omnipresent in this volume: Poles are the bad guys. Period. Jews can do no wrong. What's more, whenever Jews are accused of doing wrong, it only means that Poles are IMAGINING that Jews are doing wrong. There is not the slightest deviation from the standard narrative.

Jews can do whatever they want to do, and Polish grievances have no significance at all. For example, in his discussion of the Polish-Ukrainian war and the ensuing 1918 Lwow pogrom, William W. Hagen quips that, "Lwow's Poles burningly resented Jewish neutrality." (p. 127). Duh.

Predictably, the term anti-Semitism is freely bandied about, and, just as predictably, is hurled at anyone who merely disagrees with Jews and their conduct. This time, it is Robert Blobaum repeating the innuendo about RADIO MARYJA being anti-Semitic (p. 17), without offering a shred of credible evidence (in Blobaum's case, ANY evidence) for this slur.

Many of the authors of this work bring up the same old small circle of anti-Jewish writers, such as Father Stanislaw Trzeciak. No perspective is provided. How many more Jewish authors have written derisively of Christianity and Christians? Evidently, Jews can say whatever they want, while Poles are just supposed to be "yes men" to Jews.

Predictably, we read for the umpteenth time the attack on Polish Cardinal August Hlond for his 1936 statement on Jews as freethinkers--this time by Brian Porter (now Brian Porter-Szucs)(pp. 106-107). What Porter-Szucs does not tell the reader is that the 1930's Polish Catholic position on atheized Jews was also held by religious Jews. In fact, even in Israel today, the haredim (Orthodox Jews) object to the mores, and the disrespect of the sacred, that characterize secular Jews. Please click on, and read the detailed Peczkis review, of Real Jews: Secular Versus Ultra- Orthodox: The Struggle For Jewish Identity In Israel.

Just as predictably, there are overall attacks on Christianity as well as on Poland. Robert Blobaum's attitude speaks volumes. He candidly admits (pp. 113-114) that, were he writing an anticlerical polemic instead of scholarly study, he would consider the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church an antimodern institution. His bias is transparent. In Blobaum's mentality, "modern" equals "good", and therefore the Church is bad.

As certain as death and taxes, there exists a double standard on just about everything in Polish-Jewish relations, including murder. Profound moral gravity is attached, in this book, to Poles killing Jews (as in pogroms), but none at all for Jews murdering tens of thousands of Poles (as through the massive Jewish-Soviet collaboration, which is sometimes called the Zydokomuna, and which is predictably glossed-over or excused). When a Pole murders a Jew, it is a horrible event never to be forgotten. When a Jew murders a Pole, it is no big deal. After all, Jews are higher beings, and Poles are nothing.

Predictably, the uniqueness of the Holocaust is upheld as a self-evident fact, as in the context of the Auschwitz Carmelite and cross controversies (this time by Janine P. Holc, especially p. 302, 305). Poles who question the elevation of the Shoah above the Nazi genocide of Poles are--just as predictably--called anti-Semites.

I now consider a number of topics in greater detail:


As is standard of books of this type, Poles are attacked (this time by Antony Polonsky, pp. 189-on; Brian Porter-Szucs, pp. 108-109; and Konrad Sadkowski, p. 188; see also Dariusz Libionka: p. 240), for commonly not accepting assimilated (and even converted) Jews as "genuine Poles", and--horror of horrors--of thinking of them as unalterably foreign.

As usual, doublethink is in play, and the following glaring piece of information is conveniently left out: Many Jewish thinkers at the time ALSO believed that Jewish traits do not disappear with the Jew adopting the ways and the religion of the majority. Some Jewish thinkers additionally went as far as suggesting that Jewish traits are immutable in the quasi-racial and racial sense, and therefore Jewish assimilation and conversion can only be outward in nature. For instance, please click on You Gentiles, and read the detailed Peczkis review, and then see the first Comment under the review for reviewed works of additional Jewish thinkers who believed in unalterable Jewish essentialism.


As is standard of books of this type, Poles are portrayed as some kind of bigots merely for objecting to assimilated Jewish poet Julian Tuwim and his admittedly irascible writings, which Polonsky features in some detail (pp. 199-on). Oh, dear! Those rascally Poles actually think that they have the right to disagree with the likes of Julian Tuwim and non-Jew Tadeusz Boy-Zelenski.

If Jews can (and do) freely go out of their way to be satirical, provocative, and offensive about things dear to Poles, then why can't Poles sometimes act the same toward Jews? [One can, for example, recount the media hullaballoo about the recent satirical cartoon directed against the Holocaust Industry--the Jew with his exaggerated hook nose coming to Poland to fill his bags with money.]

Finally, Antony Polonsky does not tell the reader the full story. Tuwim HIMSELF admitted that [notwithstanding his complete cultural Polonization, and his severance of all ties to Judaism] he, at some level, he did not feel himself a Pole, because the Jewish temperament and the Polish temperament are different. If that does not settle it, then what does? As if that was still not enough, Endek and Catholic suspicions of Tuwim's genuine Polishness proved prophetic. After WWII, Tuwim showed his true colors. He became openly Communist, and glorified the Soviet-imposed Communist puppet government that had enslaved Poland.


Perhaps the most juvenile article in this anthology is that of Konrad Sadkowski. He implicitly tries to make a virtue of Jewish atheism and abandonment of conventional morality, and then excoriates Poles for not embracing this new Jewish development. In terms of specifics, he would have the reader believe that the Catholic clergy felt a threat to its influence in Poland by secular Jewish ways. Considering the complete permeation of all aspects of Polish life by Roman Catholicism, Konrad Sadkowski's contention is about as reasonable as the suggestion that the Rock of Gibraltar is threatened by a floating log.

However, let us momentarily evaluate Sadkowski. Is it really the situation that Catholic clergy felt their status threatened by Jewish atheism? Or was (and is) it rather the Jewish atheists attacking Polish Catholicism because they feel implicitly threatened, by Catholicism, for their rejection of God and His ways?

Sadkowski becomes even more ludicrous in the way that he distorts his quoted statement of a Catholic bishop who warned, in 1919, that Bolshevism would cause the loss of Church property. (p. 181). Konrad Sadkowski would have the reader believe that this supports his insinuation that the Church was out to protect its propertied interests. The truth is elementary, and it had nothing to do with anti-Semitism or the "greed" of the Catholic clergy. The Communists, in the recently-concluded Russian Revolution, had not only imprisoned and murdered many priests, but had also confiscated much Church property. Why should the Catholic clergy NOT be concerned?


Let us end on a positive note. Keely Stauter-Halsted has a relatively balanced account of Polish-Jewish antagonisms in Austrian-ruled Galicia at the dawning of the 20th century. (pp. 39). Katherine R. Jolluck presents archival information, from Poles in the Gulags during WWII, which is otherwise unavailable in print and in the English language. It clearly shows that Jews, even under imprisonment with Poles in the USSR, commonly verbalized and acted in a hostile manner to the Polish nation. When Stalin granted the 1941 "amnesty", many Jews showed their chameleon ways by suddenly declaring themselves Poles. (pp. 210-on). Of course, Katherine R. Jolluck would have us believe that these were only "Polish perceptions" of Jews. Doing otherwise would not fit the standard narrative of Jews as victims and Poles as villains.
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