Tag Archives: Jews

Polish Lie #68: Expelling Jews from Poland

DISCLAIMER. The reason behind POLISH LIES is to give food for thought. Not fuel for flamewars. (When you’ll throw down the gauntlet, I may, reluctantly, pick it up.) Other members of this blog may not share my understanding of what POLISH LIES are.

POLISH LIE #68:
Polish March 1968 was about expelling poor Jews from Poland.

You may believe the lie, it’s your mind capacity to store it.
Yet, you are advised to note a few issues:

1. Decorum should not be violated.

Distrust narratives in which Polish March 1968 and the Holocaust are put in one sentence, mentioned together without a pause for another breath.

Distrust this text, for instance, in which Leo Kantor, a Jew from Opole in Poland, describes his hurt: “The post-Holocaust, post-Polish March 1968 sorrow can fade away – but it will need 4 generations”.

Hello? Holocaust and 1968 in one room?
I know nothing about political correctness, Mr Kantor, but you’re sure breaking decorum.

Distrust this Polish article. Its author, Leopold Unger mentions Mengele in the very title [Displaying colours, Mengele on the flags], says Anti-Semitism is reborn. Would he mean Germans, WW2? No, not at all. He means Polish March 1968. The same man, referring to 1968 here, coins the term “Polish-Soviet National Socialism“.

Hello? 1968 Poland and Mengele-like Nazism under one flag?
Mr Unger you’re breaking decorum. (I put it too mildly, and so am breaking decorum, too.)

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2. Proper terms should be used.

You can hear or read about Jews “forced to leave” or “expelled” in March 1968 – but what do these verbs hide?

When you think about Polish wartime expellees, images of numerous examples of human inhumanity may come to mind, kids taken away from their parents, houses burnt down, every fifth expellee going to Auschwitz. (You may think of Soviet atrocities, too, little difference.) — Or think about Ukrainian expellees the Polish state took care of: No love lost in the process, but lives: yes, they were lost. — Or think of German expellees, when you come across: “the German government’s official estimate of deaths due to the expulsions stood at 2.2 million for several decades” here. — Or think about all the history-made expellees forced to “reclocate” only because pre-WW2 Poland differed so much from post-WW2 Poland.

Now. Back to Polish March 1968. Read: “The Communists took away Polish passports and gave Jews a one-way ticket, usually to Austria”. — Well, the “passport and ticket” way of expelling people and the “killing, burning, kid-stealing, starving” way of expelling people — they do deserve separate accents, if not distinct words, in my vocabulary.

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3. Fates should be considered case-by-case.

Leo Kantor’s fate (see 1), for instance. He complains that because of 1968, his employment contract was not prolonged. But he was offered another job, as we can read, a full time gymnasium teacher. He refused. And then he declined to move from one city to another to become an academic teacher. Instead he chose to sail to Sweden and keep moaning about those damn Polish anti-Semites.

Well, if changing your job means expelling, I was expelled several times myself.

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4. Devil is in the detail.

There is that Polish phrase, diabeł tkwi w szczegółach, to imply: concentrate on details, for they host the gist.

Detail 1: Jews? Please, anyone: provide a reliable source corroborating the assertion that Polish Jews were expelled in 1968. (The accent’s on “Jews”.)
If you manage, provide statistics: what posts the “Jews” had before being “expelled”? What was their standard of living before they left Poland?

Detail 2: Communist Poland granted times of harsh day-by-days in grey. The West was the Promised Land, it had more of both — money and freedom. For many decades, the Soviet-occupied nationals were frantically desperate to go to the West. Sportsmen would not go back from olympic games. Artists would not return from gigs. Scientists would not return from conferences. Soldiers would defect. People would jump, run, swim, the faster the better, try every opportunity. Whenever a family man was granted a passport, the spouse and kids had to stay in Poland, as hostage-like assurance that the traveller will come back. So, how come the “Jews” didn’t want to go West? A detail not to be explained? Gimme a break.

Who could reject that potent urge to taste the West? Those who enjoyed Western-like privileges in Poland, I’d suspect. But who would have them under the communist regime? Members of the regime.

Detail 3: When you embrace (that’s-more-like-) the truth that March 1968 in Poland was because of the warring factions of the ruling party, that those defeated were banished by the victors, then you will stop at any detail like this one: “Israel’s relations with the Eastern Bloc drastically deteriorated“.

Drastically?! Would we be naive to believe that the political status of Israel can turn from ‘good friend’ to ‘sworn enemy’ in a matter of days or weeks? That anti-Anythingism can be born overnight, and unplanned? Haven’t we read our Orwell? Is it too hard to read between the lines about the Six-Day War, the Soviet politics, the US politics, Arab and Israeli politics, power policies of various states, Poland included?

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And so I dare you, meme spreaders, you political correcters, you history shapers — say it:
Within the number of 15.ooo of those leaving Poland in 1968, how many were there:
=== Political migrants: those rich and sated — and then “expelled” from the regime
=== Economic migrants: those who wanted to retire, to live on their lives in a lazier way, but sure better with the halo of an expellee than with the brand of an idler
=== National migrants: who had tried to get permission to leave for Israel long before, and been denied — so exercised their opportunity in 1968. Within those — how many Stalinist criminals? And how many Polish intelligence officers? (It’s good to plant them in times of commotion.)
And so on. What happened in 1968 was killing birds with one stone, and not just two birds, but many more.

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Or are you die-hard idealists? (Hint: how deep is your support for US democracy-spreading missions in Iraq and other places?) Are you naive to think that a theatrical performance can shape the history of Europe? Or do you believe ‘Jewish’ love for Poland was so non-standard, back in 1968, that it didn’t not look Westward at all? (Hint: would you call the now Poles emigrated to the Isles “not loving Poland”?) Are you racists, then?

Today, it is about money, too. About reclaiming citizenship. About reclaiming property.
About claiming love for Poland, I have no illusions.

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I have a blogsite though.

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