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World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Poland's Greatest Exports...
Created by John Eipper on 04/25/19 4:39 AM

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Poland's Greatest Exports... (Paul Levine, Denmark, 04/25/19 4:39 am)

Poland's two great exports: Chopin and anti-Semitism.

JE comments: Paul, you overlooked Aldona! She's the best export ever, although Chopin is no slouch.

Seriously now, I've been a "Polandologist" for years, and still cannot wrap my mind around its reputation for anti-Semitism. First, because every Pole I know is a philo-Semite, including my father-in-law, who studies Poland's Jewish history as a pastime.  Yet then we see cases such as the Pruchnik (pop. 3519) "celebration" of burning a stereotypically Jewish Judas.  It's easy to compare Pruchnik with its counterpart in Andalusia, Coripe, and dismiss these places as benighted backwaters.  But Poland's present government is feeding the basest nationalist sentiments, which include anti-Semitism.

Remember Obama's "Polish death camps"?  In the popular imagination, Poland seems to be blamed more for the Holocaust than Germany itself.


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  • Does the Pruchnik Incident "Prove" Poland's Anti-Semitism? No (Tom Hashimoto, UK 04/26/19 2:56 AM)
    Sorry, but Pruchnik (Poland) is a very tiny village, perhaps with very little access to higher education or balanced media outlets. Do you take a case of some village in the US as representative of New York or San Francisco, or the US as a whole? Once Mr. Trump was elected, much of America has tried to deny that he is representative of what America stands for. Why can't Poland do the same?

    I don't deny anti-Semitism exists in any part of Europe--but I seriously doubt if those who participated in the Pruchnik incident have strong ideological belief. They are uneducated and insensitive, and if opportunity arises they take discriminatory actions. We punish them. We educate them. These discriminatory actions do not belong to Poland.


    What the incident highlights is the asymmetric level of education and slow enlightenment in rural Poland. What Paul Levine's comment illustrates is a hasty overgeneralisation and the over-rated belief in the explanatory capacity of any ideologies/trends.


    When it comes to anti-Semitism, I suggest reading it through a lens of rural-urban dynamics rather than nation-to-nation dynamics.


    JE comments:  With the Coripe (Spain) and Pruchnik (Poland) incidents, WAIS has stumbled upon a quandary:  when do you dismiss people in The Sticks as benighted bumpkins, and when do you see them as Heartlanders who represent the true national character?  To use Tom Hashimoto's analogy, most folks in these parts believe San Francisco and New York do not stand for America.


    Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz recently said, "Poles suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk."  This profoundly stupid statement nonetheless begs the question, why did Katz single out Poland?  And consider the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who have Polish ancestry.

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  • Poland's Exports? Daj Nam Spokoj (Edward Jajko, USA 04/26/19 3:32 AM)
    I hesitated in bringing the burning in effigy of a figure of Judas in the southeast Poland town of Pruchnik to the attention of a WAIS that was concentrating on burnings in effigy in Spain, because I feared provoking exactly the type of schoolyard retort that Paul Levine gave us on April 25th.

    I refer WAISers to my lengthy posting on who did what in WWII; look it up. Since Paul mentions music, here's a few other Polish exports: Piotr Beczała; Mariusz Kwiecień; Tomasz Konieczny (whom Paul can hear in Götterdämmerung this Saturday); Ewa Podleś. I won't bother adding further to the long list. Or mentioning the composers, pianists, violinists, conductors.


    What about King Jan Sobieski, who saved Western Civilization?


    How about Maria Skłodowska Curie?


    Not to mention Karoł Wojtyła. Or Solidarność, which gave rise to sweeping and total political and social change in the former Eastern Bloc.


    Or my parents, whose older son, the first member of the whole family to be born in the US, rose to become a brigadier general in the Air Force and, as a civil servant, the chief military intelligence officer in the Pentagon, and lies buried in Arlington; and whose younger son had curatorial responsibility for the Yale Judaica Collection for 11 1/2 years and is an occasional tutor of Biblical Hebrew. And a Polish-American Roman Catholic.


    Daj nam spokój.


    JE comments: "Give us a break."  (Ed, we'll be in the Old Country for two weeks starting May 28th.  I must brush up on my profoundly rusty Polish.  Although can something rust if it never really existed to begin with?)


    Among Ed Jajko's several posts on Poles during WWII and the Holocaust, I draw WAISer attention to this excellent essay from 2012.  Please, give the Poles a break:


    https://waisworld.org/go.jsp?id=02a&objectType=post&o=71756&objectTypeId=64549&topicId=175


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