This book can be useful for those readers interested in a compendium of Polish-Jewish interactions in modern Poland. Most of it, however, is standard fare (as elaborated in the latter part of my review). The most distinctive part of the book is as follows:
Lehrer comments, “Jews today do not cast the same kind of aspersions on France (whose Vichy regime officially collaborated with the Nazis), Lithuania (where local institutions and populations participated zealously in murdering Jews), or even Germany itself, the architect of the destruction.” (p. 3).
The author is close to acknowledging a cult of hatred against Poland that exists among many Jews. She quips, “If Poland became uniquely relevant for Jews as a symbol of evil in the late- and post-Communist eras, it is because the beliefs that many Jews hold about Poland ‘serve as supporting pillars of a collective consciousness, identity, and purpose.’” (p. 4).
Author Lehrer realizes that Jewish anti-Polonism is very resistant to change, “There is a seemingly infinite Jewish capacity for bad news about Poland, for projects both popular and scholarly imply that—important as they may be—slide seamlessly into this predetermined structure of feeling. The configuration of much Jewish memory culture has seemed unable to assimilate any other news.” (p. 4).
The author parts ways with those who suppose that increased Polish-Jewish interaction will put an end to prejudices. She candidly states that, “Geographical and logistical accessibility are not necessarily edifying; they also provide fodder to reinforce familiar views, or indeed to create new myths…” (p. 4).
Author Erica T. Lehrer does not put all this is proper context. The Jewish attacks on Poles and Poland did not start with the Holocaust. They began well over a century ago. [For details, see my listmania: Exposing Polonophobia…] They flowed out of an overdeveloped sense of victimization among Jews, combined with a state of denial of the wrongs that Jews had done to Poland. [For details, see comments].
ISRAELI VISITORS COME TO POLAND IN ORDER TO REINFORCE THEIR PREJUDICES
Lehrer comments, “Embellished versions of ahistorical claims circulate among tour participants, implying, for example, that Polish anti-Semitism was the reason Hitler built the extermination camps in Poland (rather than because the largest concentration of Jews was in Poland).” (p. 69).
“Poles are blamed for living today in proximity to Nazi-era atrocity sites, cast as front-row witnesses to Jewish extermination—even if such nearby apartment blocks were postwar constructions.” (p. 70).
“Poles are offended by Jewish hostility and condescension.” (p. 74). [No kidding]
The Israeli trips to Poland have become so egregious that even Jews have started questioning them. Lehrer quips, “Mission trips have been criticized by Jewish academics, politicians, and public intellectuals—particularly in Israel—for their manipulation of the Holocaust to ideological ends, the radicalization of participants, and the priority by organizers of profit motives over moral reflection.” (p. 77).
For details on the abject disrespect that visiting Jews show to Poles, please click on, and read my detailed review, of Above the Death Pits, Beneath the Flag: Youth Voyages to Poland and the Performance of Israeli National Identity.
Of course, there have been trips in which Israeli Jews, and Poles, have sincerely tried to overcome prejudices and get to know each other. However, Lehrer stresses the fact that these have been relatively uncommon, and their impact on Polish-Jewish relations has been minimal. (pp. 78-81).
The Polish Stefan Batory Foundation, funded by George Soros, professes to fight all manner of threats according to ethnicity, race, religion, beliefs, or sexual orientation. (p. 226). Does this include those threats that come from Jews? It does not look like it.
In fact, Father Weksler-Waszkinel, a onetime young Jewish child of Holocaust-murdered parents, and raised by Catholics, has no problem being a Jew and Catholic in Poland. However, Lehrer candidly notes, “As Weksler-Waszkinel put it, ‘I can be a Jew in Poland, but as a priest, I cannot be a Jew in Israel.’” (p. 183).
JEWS AND HOMOSEXUALS IN POLAND
Some Polish traditionalists have been suspecting collusion, between Jews and gays, for the undermining of Poland’s Catholic culture. In a roundabout way, author Lehrer acknowledges a basis in fact for this suspicion, as she remarks, „In Poland, Jewish and gay circles often overlap. At Jewish events, gays are a noteworthy presence.” (p. 46).
SOME OBVIOUS SHORTCOMINGS OF THIS BOOK
Much of this book is the standard Judeocentric fare. Thus, for example, we once again hear the standard Holocaustspeak about the need to „come to terms with the past” or its synonym “RACHUNEK SUMIENIA” (e. g, p. 21, 190) [as always, for non-Jews but never for Jews.] Lehrer does not tell the truth about Jedwabne. (p. 191). [For correction, see comments].
The bibliography supporting this work is considerable, but conspicuously biased. It is limited to Jewish and Judeo-compliant Polish authors, such as Michael Steinlauf, Joanna Michlic, Michal Bilewicz, and of course Jan T. Gross and Jan Grabowski. There is deafening silence about the research of Judeo-independent scholars, such as historians Jerzy Robert Nowak and Ewa Kurek.
In common with many Jews and leftists, Lehrer mischaracterizes MLODZIEZ WSZECHPOLSKA and NARODOWE ODRODZENIE POLSKI as neofascist. (p. 229). Precisely the opposite is the case.
Author Lehrer is in deep denial about the fact and magnitude of the ZYDOKOMUNA (Judeo-Bolshevism). [For corrective, see comments.]
ARE JEWISH-POLISH RELATIONS NOW ANY DIFFERENT?
Much of this book dwells on the revival of interest, among Poles, in Jews and Judaism, as well as a contingent of Jews that has gotten over the „Poland is a vast graveyard for Jews” mentality. Unfortunately, however, none of the information presented by author Erica T. Lehrer rises above the level of anecdote and cosmetic change. Here, for the benefit of the reader, I identify some SUBSTANTIVE issues that would indeed cause a breakthrough in Polish-Jewish relations:
GENUINE POLISH-JEWISH RECONCILIATION: A MANIFESTO
1). End Holocaust supremacism, and bring-in Genocide-Recognition Equality. From now on, all genocides of all peoples get the same attention, moral and historical significance, etc.
2). Abolish the Holocaust Industry. Let there be no more efforts to extort „reparations” monies, from Poland, for what were German crimes and for what are the consequences of German crimes.
3). Voluntarily remove classroom materials (notably MAUS) that falsify history and cast aspersions on Poles.
4). End any and all Jewish moral, financial, and publicity support for mendacious anti-Polish authors, notably Jan T. Gross, Jan Grabowski, and Anna Bikont.
5). Adopt a consistent Equal-Time-for-Jewish-Crime policy. For instance, whenever Jedwabne is mentioned, so also is Koniuchy (where Jews were heavily complicit in the murders of innocent Polish civilians).
6). Adopt a consistently-objective two-sides-to-the-story approach. Thus, whenever Polish anti-Semitism is mentioned, so also, in all candor, are the Jewish attitudes and actions that provoked this anti-Semitism.
7). Extend the foregoing to religion. Instead of blaming everything on Christianity and its teachings about Jews and the Crucifixion of Christ, let some of the blame, for past hatreds against Jews, also fall on the racist aspects of Jewish religion.
Published with the author’s permission.
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