AntiSemitism in France and Australia and beyond...

Anti-Jewish attacks in Australia reach record high.

First a report from ECAJ then my comments then back to the report...

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry at its annual meeting in Melbourne this week received a comprehensive briefing on all aspects of antisemitism in Australia by Jeremy Jones, a former President of the Council who has provided detailed annual analyses to the Council since 1989.

More from Mr Jones later, but first let me give you my perspective on anti-Semitism just now, especially in France.

I apologize for the length of this commentary. Often they are quite short, but not this one.

We live in Australia, where our major clashes coming on football ovals and cricket pitches. We don’t know about terrorism inside our shores. We live in general peace and security. And that comfort is a boon to economy and to house re-sales and to our share market.

Sometimes Muslim clerics get in trouble denouncing the White House or women who look like uncovered meat, but religious diversity is a highlight of our multiculturalism. And Jews? Most people in Australia find Jewish people an interesting addition to that multiculturalism. So to discuss anti-Jewish sentiment doesn’t seem to fit here. Or does it?

As October ended some members of the Ocean Grove Football Club attacked Menachem Vorchheimer in Caulfield. Dressed in Orthodox Jewish garb, including a pair of head coverings, Mr Vorchheimer was beaten and taunted. He said he had suffered headaches and nausea since the attack and his two young children had undergone counselling.

He said he was attacked because of his faith. The club has apologized.

So does anti-Semitism happen in Australia?
Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Grahame Leonard said the attack was the fifth unprovoked assault on a member of the Jewish community in Victoria this year. More than 140 incidents - a national record - were reported in July, at the height of Israel's war with Hezbollah. There has never been a conviction for an antisemitic incident in Victoria.

What about in Poland?
Anti-Semitism and intolerance in Poland have risen to new levels since the formulation of a coalition government in May 2006, according to a new report released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
"Poland: Democracy and the Challenge of Extremism," details what ADL calls "the persistence of anti-Semitism" by examining a range of issues, including the makeup of the current coalition government, which contains two extremist parties, and the influence of Radio Maryja, a right-wing Catholic radio station which regularly broadcasts anti-Semitic diatribes.
It seems so unhealthy. It doesn’t make sense. Could this happen in France, the bastion of the Enlightenment, the place where egalitere was as much a part of the fiber as liberty and fraternity. Egalitere, or equality, is similar to our Aussie “fair go” and “mateship” Is there anything to report about anti-Semitism?

Trains and models
The establishment journal, Le Monde made room for the story on page one, "Amazement after the anti-Semitic attack on a woman on a train." Seems a woman with a 13-month-old baby in a pram was attacked on an RER train and no witnesses came forward. The story has thrown a spotlight on the steep rise in anti-Semitic crimes in France. According to official statistics, there were more attacks (vandalism, arson, assault, and so on) targeting France's 600,000 Jews in the first half of 2004 than in all of 2003--135, up from 127 last year.

Josh Turnil is the chief of station of Jews for Jesus in Paris. In a recent phone interview, he cited the following:
• It is a felony to be anti-semitic
• It is a felony to deny the Holocaust happened to 6 million Jews
• In the first three months of 2003, there were more acts of antisemitism in France than the previous fifteen years
• The European Union now monitors antisemitism with its own task force.
Turnil was especially candid about an incident involving his own Jewish Christian cousin. She is from Aberdeen and was called “sale youpine” an especially derogatory title “Dirty Jewess” and this strong language is very hard for anyone to take.

She was not the only one recently to hear such a remark.
Nineteen-year-old Alexandra Rosenfeld heard it in October. After she was crowned as Miss Europe in a pageant held in Kiev, Rosenfeld learned of some rare viewers posting unfriendly remarks on internet forums. They called Rosenfeld “sale youpine” and accused the producers of orchestrating the victory of the Jewish candidate.

They said that since the rights of the program were owned by Endemol which belonged at the time to Jewish producer Arthur and his associate Stephane Courbit, Rosenfeld was propelled to the top.
Rosenfeld did not reply to these remarks, but did participate in February’s massive march organised in Paris to denounce anti-Semitism and racism. The demonstration was organised after the murder of a young Jewish phone salesman, Ilan Halimi, which is the landmark and most insidious case this year.

It’s hard to know whether the anti-Semitism if fuelled by anti-Jewish racism or by anti-Israel politics. Some see it as European (racism) or Muslim (political).

Take, for instance, the case of Halimi, whom Wikipedia reports, “was a young French Jew of Moroccan descent kidnapped on 21 January 2006, by a gang of mostly Muslim immigrant youths called the "Barbarians" and subsequently tortured to death over a period of three weeks. The murder, among whose motives authorities count anti-Semitism, incited a public outcry in a France already marked by intense public controversy about the role of immigrants in its society.”
The Barbarians’ leader is Youssouf Fofana, the 26-year-old son of Muslim immigrants from Ivory Coast, a former French colony in West Africa. Most gang members were nominal Muslims.

So far, Fofana and 19 alleged accomplices have been charged in the savage abduction. According to police, the gang made at least four botched efforts to kidnap a Jew before snatching Halimi.
The Boston Globe reported, “In the bleak housing project where a young Jew died, there's scant sympathy for the victim.

''It's too bad this happened, because we immigrants are always blamed," said Ibrahim Ag Ahmalou, a lanky man of West African heritage who shares his girlfriend's apartment in the project. ''But Jews have all the money and power. Everyone knows this and resents them. That's why they have these problems."

Last March, there were more attacks on Jews by Arab and African immigrants in suburban Paris, according to police. None of the latest victims was seriously injured, but the attacks heightened the nervousness of French Jews. There is alarm that the antipathy of French Muslims toward Jews, long based on opposition to Israel, is reverting to the even more sinister prejudices that once pervaded Europe, making Jews the scapegoats for all social ills.

''Anti-Semitism is rising in our country," said legislator Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The Halimi case launched a new wave of questions. Was the kidnapping designed to get money or to get Jewish money? Was it politically motivated or racial? In other words, since the people in the neighbourhood knew what was happening, and the Jewish community was involved, why has the case still not gone to court?

The Muslim Barbarians wanted a cash ransom of more than $500,000 because they assumed all Jews were rich, according to French authorities. And when Halimi's family could not get that kind of money, the kidnappers killed their captive, because he was a Jew.

In taunting calls to Halimi's family, the abductors addressed his parents with anti-Semitic slurs and told them to get cash ''from your synagogue." They also contacted a French rabbi, boasting, ''We have a Jew." Even more shocking, investigators believe that many inhabitants of the project were aware that the youth gang was holding a Jewish captive, but none called police or urged the abductors to show mercy.

Both racial and political anti-Semitism continues this year. After Halimi, the attacks continued in Lyon and Sarcelles. On March 6, a Jewish pupil in Lyon was attacked and kicked in the face. Days earlier, in Sarcelles, a Jewish man suffered a dislocated shoulder after he was beaten by youths making anti-Jewish remarks. On March 3, two young men in Sarcelles were attacked in separate incidents, with one, the son of a local rabbi, suffering a broken nose.

Turnil told me that the last institution attacked was the Jewish welfare agency. It was burned. This is classic anti-semitism or racism.

Said Sammy Ghozlan, a retired police chief and activist against anti-Semitism: ''It's all mixed up: gang stuff, violence, and a glaze of ideology -- they hate Jews, they hate the West, they hate France. The Jews are the face they put on their generalized anger at the world."

Probably the last six months or so, every day, police come to the Jews for Jesus office in Paris in order to take names and keep records. They want to guarantee the safety of all Jewish agencies, including our missionary band. “It can be a bit much,” said Turnil, “but we are glad for their help.”

Back to Mr Jones' comments in the ECAJ press release
"Threats", conveyed through the telephone, mail, leaflets, posters or e-mail, were recorded at a rate forty two percent above the average.

Amongst the incidents recorded during the past year were

* Synagogue vandalised, with damage to exterior and to ritual objects.
* Rabbi’s home adjoining synagogue and cars parked on property vandalised and damaged.
* Rocks and a brick were thrown through the glass door of a synagogue.
* Attempted arson of synagogue.
* Congregants leaving synagogues were pelted with eggs.
* Office of Jewish student group on campus vandalised.
* A Jewish university student was threatened, spat upon and harassed on campus.
* Incidents of assault and harassment of Jewish people walking home after Festival meals
* Jewish man verbally abused, called “bloody Jew” and assaulted, while walking home from synagogue.
* A Chasidic Jew in a market area had paint thrown at him by unknown assailants.

Anti-Jewish graffiti were reported at the highest level since records have been kept and at a rate seventy seven percent above the average for all years, while hate mail and threatening telephone calls were recorded at just below the average of the previous 16 years.

Graffiti included:

* Graffiti “Bloody Jews” written on wall of ritual religious structure had been assembled in a university.
* Antisemitic graffiti reading “Jews must die” and “Kill the Jews” daubed on business office.
* Graffiti “Jews Kill” painted in prominent city positions.
* Graffiti “Die Jews” painted on synagogue.
* A series of antisemitic daubings were painted in and around a Jewish day school campus.

Hate mail included:

* A synagogue received antisemitic hate mail, which included comments such as “Herr Hitler had the right attitude about Jews, no question”.
* Antisemitic letter sent to Holocaust survivor.
* Jewish communal figures received envelopes with comments “die Jews” and containing white powder.
* Jewish organisations received mail “Hitler was Right” and swastika.

Abusive/threatening telephone calls included:

* Bomb threats directed at a synagogue made to the private home of an executive member. The caller stated “In the name of Allah, a bomb is in the synagogue and will go off in 25 minutes, blood will be shed.”
* Telephone threats, concluding “Watch out, bloody Jews” made to Jewish community organisation.
* Abusive and threatening telephone calls, “I will kill you all”, made to a number of Jewish organisations
* Threatening telephone call with the phrase “kill Jews” repeated, received at home of Jewish family.

Abusive, threatening and other antisemitic e-mails sent to Jewish individuals and Jewish communal offices were reported at a rate of more than three per week, which added to concerns at “an explosion of anti-Jewish invective on web-based bulletin boards and discussion groups,” Mr. Jones reported.

Examples of offensive emails included:

* A man received at his home a long antisemitic e-mail, on the subject of “your filthy Talmud”.* E-mail “Jews stink!” beginning “I hope you big nosed greedy cunts are taught a lesson . . . “ sent to Jewish organisations.
* E-mail sent to Jewish community leader and copied to Jewish organisations saying “What a PITY your VERMIN RACE was not eliminated! Jews SMELL, STINK and are VERMIN. They aren’t real humans and are a lower form of life. Three cheers for the holocaust HIP HIP, HIP HIP, HIP HIP, HORAY!!!!!!! Can’t wait till Israel is a smoldering mess, then there will be NO WHERE for THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL TO RUN TO and to pedal their lies from. I WIPE MY ARSE WITH YOUR ‘STAR OF DAVID’. YOU UNGRATEFUL VERMIN SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES.”
* Antisemitic e-mail sent to Jewish organisations alleging Jews had “infested the U.S.A., Argentina and a few other countries . . . you’re everywhere, like roaches in a dirty kitchen”.
* Jewish organisation received e-mail comparing Jews to Nazis, concluding “Hitler was correct, you are not human”. A similar e-mail was received at a Jewish school.
* E-mail sent to Jewish organisation calling Jews “vermin”, and referring to a leader as a “Stinking Yid”.

In his overall assessment, Mr Jones observed :

* "In contemporary Australia, to accuse any person or organisation of antisemitism is to allege that their behaviour is antisocial and
unacceptable. No one with aspirations to public credibility admits to holding antisemitic views or to associating with openly antisemitic

* "While individuals and organisations associated with the political left who promoted extreme anti-Israel racism, which sometimes included
offensive and gratuitous anti-Jewish imagery, were particularly keen to assert that they were not antisemitic, even far-right and neo-Nazi
groups publicly professed to be "anti-Zionist" rather than anti-Jewish, although the material they distribute can give the lie to any such distinction."

* "In the mass media during the year in review, a number of commentators and a large number of contributors of letters and other forms of public feedback crossed the line between political commentary and offensive commentaries came during the period when Israel was engaged in military activity against HAMAS and Hezbollah. Other anti-Jewish comments came in the course of public discussions on eg the US military involvement in Iraq, the prosecution of Nazi War Criminals when this involved Australian residents and the personal campaign against Israel by an individual author who promoted himself as a victim of a mythical anti-democratic Jewish establishment. In non-mainstream publications, anti-Jewish rhetoric was also invoked in other discussions such as eg on Australia's anti-terrorism laws and on Australian Jewish support for victims of racism."

* "Issues of antisemitism emanating from Islamic sources in Australia were a significant topic of public discussion during the period in review. The Mufti of Australia came under the public spotlight when it was reported that he had promoted Holocaust denial in his Sydney mosque in 2006. A number of media reports appeared noting anti-Jewish books available in bookshops serving Australia's Muslim community."

* "Anti-Jewish propaganda in fringe publications and from extremist organisations remained a serious concern. During debates on a number of matters of public policy overtly anti-Jewish language, and/or inflammatory slanders, sometimes were part of the mainstream discussion. Conspiracy theories abounded on the internet and these included a disturbing proportion"

* "In cases under the Federal Racial Hatred Act, the ECAJ was successful in having an article in the One Nation political party's newspaper found to be in breach of the Act and having an Apology ordered. The case against the Bible Believers' web-site was heard in the Federal Court and a judgement is anticipated early in 2007. In the state of New South Wales, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal determined a Jewish couple had been the victims of unlawful anti-Jewish racial vilification. In Western Australia, a person was charged with making
anti-Jewish telephone calls. In Queensland, a case commenced against a person who had used telephone text messages as a mode for harassment. Further, amended legislation as part of counter-terrorism policies was raised as a possible means for legal action against anti-Semitism in Australia in the future".

* “While traditionally anti-Jewish racism has been thought of as primarily a far-Right phenomenon, there is considerable evidence that a growing proportion of antisemitic commentary in Australia comes from a wide variety of sources, including the far Left.”

Mr. Jones added: “While the sources of antisemitism are many and varied, the reality in Australia is that there has been excellent political and moral leadership against antisemitism in recent times, with the Federal and State Parliaments passing strong, unanimous resolutions on the subject in 2004 and 2005, and a growing awareness of the responsibility by the mass media to avoid being hijacked by racists,” Mr. Jones commented.

“In the current climate it is very significant that Muslim and Christian leaders in Australia have joined with Jewish leaders in common cause against those who would use religion to justify hatred and racist violence, a fact which sets Australia apart from many other societies,” Mr. Jones concluded.


Anonymous said…
I stumbled upon a new web piece that I would like you to comment on. To read it, go to Google and type in "Powered by Christ Ministries" and then scroll down and click on "Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism." Thank you. B.N.
Alex Bajan said…
I believe the american and european media owes an apology to the Polish people for printing an articles in which the authors refers to them as anti-Semitic.

Such a books and articles contributes even more to the ever-present anti-Polonism in the american and european media.

Did any of those so-called American historians ever investigate any attacks on the non-Jewish population?

Poles were the victims of such cruel acts on an almost daily basis. This fact is kept from American and European readers. Instead, the massacre, which was known in Poland, the files were not hidden but open for everyone to investigate, had to be "discovered" by a fame-seeking author.

The fact that Mr. Gross left Poland in 1968 tells me that a touch of revenge may be the motive for his search. The investigation will only be in Poland's favor.
In the past, Kosinski's alleged autobiographical books were proven to be hoaxes.

There are files of documents that Mr. Gross somehow ignored in his research, rather concentrating on the testimony of one witness. To understand the base of that attack, we must know the history of Poland and in my opinion, based on the observation of an average American person, we know nothing.

It is too difficult to understand without being provided with wider information, truthful publications by OTHER than American and Jewish historians.

Unfortunately, when a country is attacked, in Poland's case, by two great powers, chaos occurs.

The double standards are evident by calling an event, such as the one in Jedwabne, an act of anti-Semitism, while in the US, burning a synagogue in Worcester, Mass was called "an act of vandalism", a shooting in the Jewish Children Center in California -"an act of a mad man". If such acts took place in Poland, they would have been called anti-Semitic. American patriotism applied to Poles transfers into nationalism.

For 1000 years, Poland was the spiritual and religious center of Jewish Diaspora and produced one of the greatest world centers of Talmudic studies. 300 papers in Hebrew were published in Warsaw alone. Jews, unlike Blacks in America, were not forced to settle in Poland, prospered, attended colleges and universities, owned factories, etc.

So in 1264, King Boleslav of Poland granted a charter inviting the Jews there. The charter was an amazing document, granting Jews unprecedented rights and privileges. For example, it stated that:

"The testimony of the Christian alone may not be admitted in a matter which concerns the money or property of a Jew. In every such incidence there must be the testimony of both a Christian and a Jew. If a Christian injures a Jew in any which way, the accused shall pay a fine to the royal treasury."

"If a Christian desecrates or defiles a Jewish cemetery in any which way, it is our wish that he be punished severely as demanded by law."

"If a Christian should attack a Jew, the Christian shall be punished as required by the laws of this land. We absolutely forbid anyone to accuse the Jews in our domain of using the blood of human beings."

"We affirm that if any Jew cry out in the night as a result of violence done to him, and if his Christian neighbors fail to respond to his cries and do not bring the necessary help, they shall be fined."

"We also affirm that Jews are free to buy and sell all manner of things just as Christians, and if anyone hampers them, he shall pay a fine."

Polish King Kazimierz was favorably disposed toward Jews. On October 9, 1334, he confirmed the privileges granted to Jewish Poles in 1264 by Boleslaus V. Under penalty of death, he prohibited the kidnapping of Jewish children for the purpose of enforced Christian baptism. He inflicted heavy punishment for the desecration of Jewish cemeteries.
Although Jews had lived in Poland since before the reign of King Kazimierz, he allowed them to settle in Poland in great numbers and protected them as people of the king.
Another Polish king, Sigismund II Augustus, issued another invitation. Here is an excerpt from his edict, granting the Jews permission to open a yeshiva at Lublin, dated August 23, 1567:
"As a result of the efforts of our advisors and in keeping with the request of the Jews of Lublin we do hereby grant permission to erect a yeshiva and to outfit said yeshiva with all that is required to advance learning. All the learned men and rabbis of Lublin shall come together for among their number they shall choose one to serve as the head of the yeshiva. Let their choice be a man who will magnify Torah and bring it glory."


In Poland, the Jews were allowed to have their own governing body called the Va'ad Arba Artzot, which was composed of various rabbis who oversaw the affairs of the Jews in eastern Europe. The Poles did not interfere with Jewish life and scholarship flourished.

Some important personalities of this period, which a student of Jewish history should remember, were:

Rabbi Moshe Isserles (1525-1572), from Krakow, also known as the Rema. After the Sephardi rabbi Joseph Karo wrote the Shulchan Aruch, the code of Jewish Law, Rabbi Isserles annotated it to fill in the rabbinic decisions from Eastern Europe. His commentary was, and continues to be, critically important in daily Jewish life.

Rabbi Ya'akov Pollack (1455-1530), from Krakow. He opened the first yeshivah in Poland and was later named the chief rabbi of Poland. He developed a method of learning Talmud called pilpul, meaning "fine distinctions." This was a type of dialectical reasoning that became very popular, whereby contradictory facts or ideas were systematically weighed with a view to the resolution of their real or apparent contradictions.

Rabbi Yehudah Loewe, (1526-1609), not from Poland but important to Eastern European Jewry. He was known as the Maharal of Prague and was one of the great mystical scholars of his time. He has been credited with having created the golem, a Frankenstein figure, a living being without soul.

Along with the growth in Torah scholarship came population growth. In 1500 there were about 50,000 Jews living in Poland. By 1650 there were 500,000 Jews. This means that by the mid 17th century about majority of the Jewish population of the world was living in Poland!

Where did these Jews settle within Poland?

Jews were generally urban people as they were historically not allowed to own land in most of the places they lived. However, they also created their own farm communities called shtetls. Although we tend to think of the shtetl today as a poor farming village (like in Fiddler on the Roof), during the Golden Age of Polish Jewry, many of these communities were actually quite prosperous. And there were thousands of them.
The Jews in these independent communities spoke their own language called Yiddish. Original Yiddish was written in Hebrew letters and was a mixture of Hebrew, Slavic, and German. (Note that Yiddish underwent constant development and "modern" Yiddish is not like the "old" Yiddish which first appeared in the 13th century, nor "middle" Yiddish of this period of time.)
Overall, the Jews did well, but working alongside Polish and Ukrainian Christians

How many African Americans till the 20th century were able to do so?

Jews came to Poland on their own will, to the country of great opportunity, found shelter from the hostilities of Western Europe, stayed and prospered, had representatives in the Polish parliament, and had the freedom of expressing their religion and customs. In some towns of Eastern Poland, Jews accounted for more than 50% of the occupants. They were respected citizens, how could this be possible if the country was, as it is widely presented on the Jan Tomasz Gross book as anti-Semitic?
Polish Jews enjoyed equal rights and full protection of the law under the Polish government. The laws changed under the rule of Prussia, Russia, and Austria.

Keep in mind that it also affected Poles as well. Their situation improved after WWI when the Polish government was reestablished.

Why, between wars, was the Jewish population growing 6 times faster than Christian population, if the alleged anti-Semitism took place?

The only prejudice that you can accuse Polish people of is to be anti-Communist.
Marek Edelman, the last leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, who still lives in Poland, said: "It is not a Jew who is the enemy, it is an enemy who is Jewish." I'm sorry to destroy the beautiful image of the peaceful and innocent Jewish people but at the time of the massacre it was well known that there were "informers," "observers," "advisors," or in plain English "Soviet collaborators" among Jews then and through the war and post.

Those did not see the wrong they were doing, the comfort came from accepting a different way of thinking. They considered themselves Poles or Polish Jews before the war, now comfortably became only Jews, so there were no ties of loyalty to Poland or to the Polish people. Collaborators gave out Poles and Jews as well (Jakub Berman as an example).

But this would be too difficult to understand for us who for decades were fed on anti-Polish propaganda. The same propaganda that Nazis used and later Soviets and now is being repeated with a nauseating consistency by the American press.

The public does not know that Poland and Israel have a very good relationship.

It is the backwardness of American Jews to prefer the stereotype. I was hoping that with the raising of the Iron Curtain, the flow of information about Poland would be available to the average American reader and TV viewer.
That did not happen, rather we prefer to publish such articles. Also by hiding from public Polish accomplishments, only adds to the image of the Poles as some primitive tribe.
The fact that Poland's economy is the one of fastest growing in Europe is a thorn in the eye for some. The anti-Polish sentiment spreads to minimize their success. We already forgot who first faced the Soviet power and fought Communism.

Some are even lining up to collect money.

The difference between Holocaust victims in the US and Poland is that in Poland, Jews and Christians believe that there is no price on human despair, I guess American Jews found the price tag and the Holocaust became a good business.

Poles never asked to recompense their losses and they did not receive any help from the Marshal Plan either.
We must not forget that Poland was not only a victim during WWII but only recently freed herself from under Soviet occupation. We should remember that Communism in Poland was FORCED upon its people, that Soviets placed Jews on high positions, which triggered atrocities. There is no perfect nation, there are honorable citizens and there is scum in all of them. But it seems that we only find the bad in Poles and all the good in Jews. For a well-balanced story, the authors should mention what Soviet Jews did to Poles (Koniuchy massacre) and the fact that, from 34 countries, the Poles are those who have the most trees at Yad Vashem.
Poland lost almost 20% of its population; 6 million Poles were killed.

It was the only country in all of Nazi-occupied Europe with the death penalty for sheltering Jews. Germans knew how sympathetic Poles were to Polish Jews and that way, they could get rid of them both. Entire families, sometimes whole towns were murdered for sheltering Jews. 75% spoke only Yiddish, which later became a problem for those who wanted to be saved and pass as Poles. I guess American Jews don't rush to reveal some other information to the American public like: what were the Judenrat and the Jewish Police doing in the ghettos? Who took over the houses of Polish officers and their families when they were taken to Siberia?

In the American consciousness the Holocaust has become synonymous with Jewish history. Historical literature of the Holocaust has focused on the six million Jewish victims to the exclusion of the sixteen to twenty million Gentile victims.

Do we inform that Poland's government was the only one in Nazi-occupied Europe to sponsor the organization to help Jews escaping the ghettos?

What did American Jews do to help their dying brothers?

We allow speculation on almost every aspect of Polish-Jewish relationship never asking: "why don't we speculate how many Jews would save Poles if the roles were reversed?"

For me to have a different opinion is to risk being called an anti-Semite. An intelligent but objective Jewish person is called a "self-hating Jew". A "bystander" is someone who chose not to give his and his family's life for a stranger, Jewish person.

Good things are happening in Poland .We don't rush to tell about the annual Jewish Festival in Krakow or about the opening of yet another Jewish school in Warsaw. Or even about the commemorating of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. We don't rush to tell about the "Fiddler on the Roof" in Yiddish at the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw. Instead we publish misleading stories about a music concert in Auschwitz (!?) and killings in Jedwabne. Why is that? American historians should stop wasting their ink only writing about alleged Polish anti-Semitism. Any atrocities toward Jews either occurred during Nazi or Soviet occupation or were triggered by revenge and greed not to be mistaken with anti-Semitism. Also to suggest that all Polish Jews are long gone is wrong, many prospered and became famous: actors (Holoubek, Zapasiewicz, Himilsbach, Rudzki), movie critics (Waldorf), writers (Tuwim), philosophers and editors (Michnik), politicians (Mazowiecki, Suchocka), musicians (Szpilman, Zimmerman), heart surgeons (Marek Edelman), athletes (Kirszenstein a.k.a. Szewinska), singers (Szmeterling a.k.a. Jantar). Some Polish Jews just recently became interested in their religion; Jewish schools are reopening, while the synagogues, museums, and Jewish cultural institutes were always present in Poland's cultural life. Positive Jewish characters are in every Polish classic, there are streets named after Jewish heroes; monuments accommodate their heroism and their tragedy. All this does not seem like an anti-Semitic country does it? But it stays in the American media, as long as we allow it to.

Alex Lech Bajan
Polish American
Clive said…
Anti-semitism is on the rise in parallel with the broad left support for Islam'ism' and its religio-political objectives. I keep up to date on this on
Alex Bajan said…
Anti-semitism is on the rise

ask your self Why?
Alex Bajan said…
"Righteous Among the Nations" More than 6,000 Poles have received the award.

Poland's president on Wednesday plans to honor dozens of people who saved Jews during the Holocaust, including a posthumous distinction to the German officer who helped musician Wladyslaw Szpilman of The Pianist survive.

President Lech Kaczynski, who has long been an advocate of close relations with the Jewish community, was to lead a ceremony at the National Opera House in downtown Warsaw to honor individuals who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. Many have already received the "Righteous Among the Nations" award from Israel.

"Honoring the 'Righteous' with (Polish) state distinctions pays homage to the unparalleled heroism of normal people, while setting an example for current and future generations," a statement on the president's Web site said.

The president's office said that Wilm Hosenfeld, a German officer who helped save Szpilman, the Polish-Jewish musician whose story was chronicled in Roman Polanski's Oscar winning film, The Pianist, will receive a posthumous award.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial created the "Righteous Among the Nations" distinction as a way to honor people who saved Jews from the Holocaust. More than 6,000 Poles have received the award.
WARSAW, Poland
Alex Bajan said…
"Righteous Among the Nations" More than 6,000 Poles have received the award.

Poland's president on Wednesday plans to honor dozens of people who saved Jews during the Holocaust, including a posthumous distinction to the German officer who helped musician Wladyslaw Szpilman of The Pianist survive.

President Lech Kaczynski, who has long been an advocate of close relations with the Jewish community, was to lead a ceremony at the National Opera House in downtown Warsaw to honor individuals who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. Many have already received the "Righteous Among the Nations" award from Israel.

"Honoring the 'Righteous' with (Polish) state distinctions pays homage to the unparalleled heroism of normal people, while setting an example for current and future generations," a statement on the president's Web site said.

The president's office said that Wilm Hosenfeld, a German officer who helped save Szpilman, the Polish-Jewish musician whose story was chronicled in Roman Polanski's Oscar winning film, The Pianist, will receive a posthumous award.

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial created the "Righteous Among the Nations" distinction as a way to honor people who saved Jews from the Holocaust. More than 6,000 Poles have received the award.
WARSAW, Poland

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