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


The Jews in Polish Culture / Aleksander Hertz ; Translated by Richard Lourie ; Editor, Lucjan Dobroszycki ; with a Foreword by Czeslaw Milosz (Hardcover)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
This is a "meaty" book. Its vintage (1961) may be advantageous in terms of a unique perspective that preceded political correctness.

Jewish "apartheid" did not reduce to a simple dialectic: "Anti-Semites have heaped the entire responsibility for the caste organization onto the Jews; the Jews and their non-Jewish defenders, onto the Christian environment." (p. 63). Early pro-assimilationist Polish Jews had the following opinion: "Czynski the Frankist and Hollaenderski and Lubliner, who kept their old religion, all shared the view that Polish Jews were `sunk in superstition' and were thereby alienated from Polish life, economically unproductive, and deficient in civic virtue. The source of the problem was ignorance, superstition, the Talmud, the rule of the rabbis." (p. 22). Early assimilated Polish Jews were ennobled. (p. 64). >>more...

Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
There are many reviews of this book available and, instead of repeating them, I review this book in terms of deeper implications. The American who looks down judgmentally at Poles for how they once treated the Jews is in for a shock upon reading this book, whose setting is not 1930's Poland but 1980's America. >>more...

n Defence of My Country-Publications of the Roman DmowskiPolish-Jewish Relations From Another Perspective,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Polish-Jewish Relations From Another Perspective, This review is from: In Defence of My Country-Publications of the Roman Dmowski Society No. 19 (Paperback) Author Jedrzej Giertych, the father of scientist Maciej Giertych and grandfather of politician Roman Giertych, has written a powerful rebuttal to many inaccurate portrayals of Polish history. But he is no blind apologist. For example, he is critical of the way that the pre-WWII Polish government had handled the Ukrainian nationalist movement (p. 398). >>more...

Poland: The Unexplored

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Humphreys, an American visitor to Poland, has much to say about her travels all over Poland. She shows much insight into everyday Polish life.

The author has an evident appreciation of Poland's heroes. She writes: "It was in Lwow too that I saw a statue that belonged, by right, in Warsaw--the shoemaker Kilinski, who led the citizen-soldiers in withstanding a Russian siege in 1794; as great a leader as Kosciuszko, some Poles told me. I thought of Nathan Hale when they translated the inscription: `I have one soul and I offer it as a living shield to protect my country.'" (p. 87). Humphrey also repeats the poignant account of a seven-year-old boy who ran away from home, and, having located an encampment of some soldiers involved in the January (1863) Insurrection, insisted on joining them because he wanted to fight for Poland. (p. 102) >>more...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011
POLISH POLITICS AND THE REBUILDING OF THE NATION is the title of this 2-volume Polish-language book. (Review based on 2nd, 1937 edition, reprinted in 1988). Owing to the breadth of its content, I focus mainly on what Dmowski is most remembered for--his evaluation of Jews. >>more...

The Revolution of 1905 and Russia's Jews (Jewish Culture and Contexts)

Friday, December 2, 2011
This review is from: The Revolution of 1905 and Russia's Jews (Jewish Culture and Contexts) (Hardcover) This is a very "meaty" book, not for the casual reader, that goes far beyond the 1905 Revolution. Owing to the wealth of information presented, I touch on only a few subjects, and sometimes relate them to other incidents in various contexts outside the immediate purview of this book. >>more...

Poland--old and new

Thursday, November 24, 2011
This book begins with a good description of Polish tales, such as the ones surrounding the Krak, Wanda, Popiel, etc. It affords a broad sweep of Polish history.

Consider the late 1700's. Although Poland's enemies were soon to erase her from the map of Europe, the Poles put belated major internal reforms into practice. Did you know, for instance, that the Poles virtually invented systematic public schooling? The author writes: "The first ministry of public education in the world was created in Poland in 1773." (p. 36) >>more...

The Wartime Diary of Edmund Kessler (Jews of Poland)

Thursday, November 24, 2011
This review is from: The Wartime Diary of Edmund Kessler (Jews of Poland) (Paperback) This book consists of two parts: The diary and poetry of Edmund Kessler, who was one of the fugitive Jews in hiding, and the narrative of Kazimierz Kalwinski, the son of the Pole who hid the 24 Jews in his bunker. (p. 110). This work centers on Lwow (Lviv), and encompasses the Soviet, Nazi, and renewed Soviet occupations. WARNING: The cruelties of the Germans and Ukrainians towards the Jews are described in graphic detail--even by Holocaust-material standards. This may be upsetting to sensitive readers >>more...


Thursday, November 10, 2011
ROMAN DMOWSKI: PERSONAGE, POLE, AND FRIEND is the title of this Polish-language book. It was published by Chicago-area members of the SN (STRONNICTWO NARODOWE), including Antoni Wawro. [I knew his son, in my childhood, from Saturday-morning Polish School and from the ZUCHY (Polish Scouts)]. Apart from the main text, the book includes an assortment of short articles, some reprinted from other sources, about Dmowski. It also features considerable detail about Dmowski's declining health, death, and funeral. Several eulogies are published. >>more...

Jewish separatism and human progress

Thursday, November 10, 2011
SEPARATYZM ZYDOW...(JEWISH SEPARATISM...) is the title of this Polish-language booklet. Originally published as an article in a Warsaw publication in 1909, it came out before the intensification of Polish-Jewish conflicts caused by the 1912 Jewish vote for a pro-Russian candidate to the Duma (Russian parliament), which amounted to a direct attack on Polish national aspirations, and which provoked the Dmowski-led retaliatory boycott of Jews. >>more...
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