Israel-Poland: A Sordid Past and a Bright Future


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Strangely, nostalgia over the once rich Jewish culture of Poland among many Catholic Poles is creating a revitalized, pro-Israel dimension.  This writer recalls a conversation with a young Polish student in Warsaw 1996, during which he said “The Jews gave Poland culture, and without the Jews Poland is much poorer.”

For Israelis, Poland represents an important market of 38 million customers.  Poland is a dynamically developing country, populated by well-educated young people who are ambitious and eager to succeed. Poland’s geographic location, at the juncture of east-west and north-south trans-European communications routes, makes it a preferred station for exporting products not only to Western Europe but also to the east. Poland is also an emerging European Union power, and a key NATO member. Its economy grew faster than most EU states in 2010 with a GDP rate of 3.8%, and it sent 1200 of its troops to Afghanistan in support of NATO.  Israel’s investment in Poland has past the $1.5 Billion mark.

Poland and Israel have held joint cabinet meetings, and both Poland’s current government and main opposition party are strong supporters of Israel.  Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski have been outspoken defenders of Israel in international forums and Poland voted against the Goldstone Commission Report at the UN.  Moreover, Poland joined the U.S. along with several other countries in boycotting the 2009 Durban Conference, and stayed out of the UN General Assembly hall during the address by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.

When Prime Minister Tusk was in Jerusalem last February, he declared that Israel “can always count on Poland.” The Polish PAP news agency reported on September 19, 2011, that PM Tusk opined “Poland will certainly not vote for a resolution which would directly jeopardize Israel’s security.” He clarified that, “If the text of the resolution on the table will not constitute a threat to Israel and will somehow advance the Palestinian case, and it seems there is a shadow of a chance for a compromise, and then we will be ready to vote for this.”

A moral obligation by Catholic Poland to take responsibility for the past and the iniquities perpetrated on its Jews is one factor that makes for the growing closeness between Poland and Israel.  It also means that the anti-Zionist and pro-Arab foreign policy of Communist Poland is an anathema to the current government. Poland, unlike the countries of western Europe, characterized by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as “Old Europe,” is more pro-American than pan-European. Their historical fears of neighboring Russia and Germany make it easy for the Poles to identify with Israel’s security concerns and existential struggle. And Poland depends on the U.S. (though not on Obama) to defend against Russian aggression.

Unlike Western Europe, Poland has no significant Muslim minority to consider, and they harbor no romantic notions about the Arabs like Britain and France, the former colonial powers.  The Polish people, whose democracy they guard fiercely, have a natural affinity with Israel, as the only democracy in the Middle East. Public opinion in Poland, contrary to what is being expressed in Western Europe, is overwhelmingly pro-Israel – which has impacted on government policies.

In the past, countries like Denmark and the Netherlands were considered to be Israel’s natural friends in Europe.  Today, however, it is countries in Eastern Europe, like Poland and the Czech Republic, which stand alongside Israel in support.

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  • tarleton

    During WW2 the Poles had a visceral hate for Jews that was sometimes worse than the german occupiers …there was a bounty of two bags of sugar for escaped jews and there were few Poles who would not inform on Jews to claim it …even Polish paritsans in the forest were notoriously antisemetic …Poland in WW2 was like a return to the gruesome medieval times of the 14th C……the harrowing and poingnant memoir of Martin Grey , ''for those I loved'', describes the opportunistic and malignant attitude of the Poles to jews on the run

    • Bill

      So you are going to generalize about Poles because of the criminal activities of some Poles toward Jews??

      By your logic then, Jews are guilty as a whole for all those Jews who collaborated with the Soviets to kill of Poles in WWII.

      Also if Poland was as anti-semitic as you allege, WHY did over half of the world's Jews CHOOSE to LIVE in Poland for ONE THOUSAND YEARS?????

      Sure there were some bad Poles, but If Poland was as bad to Jews as you say, WHY didn't Jews leave Poland hundreds of years ago??

      Why would any group of people who feel they are being treated poorly in a nation be FOOLISH enough to CHOOSE to keep living there???????

      • Danny

        Exactly right. The Jews are hypocrites and have always felt sorry for themselves. At least the majority of the Poles risked their lives and had the balls to hide Jews during the occupation. I bet not a single Jew would do the same in return. All they're good at is running away and betraying anyone to save their own skin. Shimon Peres described it well..we are buying Poland, Hungary and Manhattan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL4Cu-K17vE

        • tarleton

          the majority of Poles did not ''risk their lives '' to save jews…that's utter rubbish …..only a tiny fraction ever even thought of helping jews
          The fact is that the greatest majority of Poles were happy to be rid of the jews

          • Jon

            Read a real history book, or else stop wasting air to speak. Everything everyone is saying is not based on fact. You are making assumptions about Poland and about Jews. Do yourself a favor and read a book and stop making Zionist assumptions.

        • hank

          The Jews should be thankfull to the Nazis wich showed them how to work with there hands and not just screw the poor innocent peasants ,that is why Israel are rich today,thanks to the Polish army that they joined and learned today discipline and lesdership in there military forces.

        • Stan Lee

          Danny:
          It's so ridiculous that you should accuse Jews of "running away." Have you any idea of what they need to do each day of their lives in Israel? They ain't running, boy!
          Think about yourself being able to take that life. These people have guts!
          Insofar as " I'll bet not a single Jew would do the same in return." That ain't much of a bet! And, coming from your obviously bigoted attitude (which doesn't require much to spill itself out) you posit an opinion which isn't worth much.
          Yeah, U-Tube's about your speed. Try reading some qualified history tome, it'll brighten what ain't bright now.

      • tarleton

        choose to live there ? …they were forced to live there by the Czarist regimes under the ''pale of settlement ''….AS IF THEY HAD A CHOICE

        Furthermore, Polish anti-semitism was not a small minortity but the general attitude of most polish people …regardless of folks like you who are trying their best to whitewash that sordid past

        • luk

          Poland had a large population of Hasidic Jews who were creating religious ghettos, which were off limits to non-jews, People were opposed to that. You will have the same problem in Israel just wait

        • Stan Lee

          Tarleton:
          This forum has awakened pathological bigotry and you just happened to respond to such a person.
          Antisemitism existed because Jews practiced their rituals, which were foreign to Catholics of Poland, as well as Lutherans of No. Germany. Wherever Jews settled, because they were "different" to the indigenous people, there was a gulf between these people. It happens right here, every day, in the USA.
          I doubt if your description of the "pale" meant anything to the mentality you were trying to address. I doubt if he could even tell you where Galicia was/is.
          Or, that Jews were people of the land originally and THAT was the legacy that drove them to create a green, productive Israel.
          And, if they joined the Free Polish Army, it wasn't to learn discipline(A za schmuk!), it was to fight the Nazis who invaded their homeland and murdered their families—Poland was their homeland too.

        • Mike

          If Poland, as a people…were so 'anti-Semetic'….then, why were the largest concentrations of Jews living in Poland compared to other countries?

          Answer: Because Poles were more tolerant and accepting of Jews than other countries. That is why Jews chose to call Poland their home.

      • Stan Lee

        Bill:
        You make a good point. If a few Poles collaborated with the Germans, that could be so. I think Poland was far more Roman Catholic-centered than antisemitic.
        Unfortunately, the Nazis used Polish sites for their extermination camps and as a result the death camps and Poland are associated in history. And, then there was the Jewish resisistence of the Warsaw Ghetto against the German Army.
        So much happened in Poland to all of its people plus the Nazi genocidal plan for Jews, Poland was used moreso than any other conquered countries for that.
        Yet, I never heard of any Polish volunteers to the Nazi SS or Wermacht!
        Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia..yes! Not Poland.! Poland fought fascism.
        Not many people these days have read "Poland" by James Michener. Mitchener did his usually deep research before finishinbg that book. It would be good reading for the open-minded.

  • Grzegorz Malicki

    Poland has a long history of antisemitism? You want to say, that people who suffered so much from german occupiers and who sacrifaced their lives to protect jews are antisemitic?!

    Or maybe you want to Polish goverment pay another 60 bilions $$$$ for holocaust victims which will never reach them?

    So, in conclusion, I'd like to send to you, Mr. Puder, warm, antisemitic F**K YOU from Poland.

    • Norm

      Hold on Grzegorz, Mr Puder is praising Poland. There is no doubt that there was a lot of anti-semitism in Poland Prior, during WW2 and during the Communist time. The great thing is that the Poles have discarded this old hatred of Jews. This is of great credit to Poland.

      • PolishGirl

        Problem is this endless emphesizing of Poland being anti-semitic. Because, it is and was clearly, not. The situation could have been much better, but honestly, Jews were not the only ones who have being discriminated against because of their religion.Try being a Catholic in Angelican England of the 19th century,f.e. No chance of working for the goverment.f.e. Today, we have nothing against Jews (also because the traditionally anti-semitic Christian religion is becoming weak), but some influential Jews seem to have s.th against Poland…this, I have experienced by myself quite often..ridiciously, once by a German! Jew…how ironic,isnt it?)

        • israeli

          hi I am an israeli,
          I don't know about jews elsewhere, but none of my friends ever links Poland to antisemitism, the MSM here which is controlled by the wealthiest families in Israel also has never had anything negative to say about Poland. This is also true abut Germans by the way.

          • Bill

            israeli,

            You sound like a reasonable and fair minded Jewish person.

            We Polish people respect people like you and your leader Bibi Netanyahu who has good relations with the Polish Prime minister Donald Tusk.

    • Jarosław Wysoczanski

      Grzegorz – once again a moron (you) becomes the face of Poland. You totally missed the fact the author of this article is praising Poland.
      Yes, Poland suffered tremendously, be it Germans or Austrians or the Russians, the all treated Polamd horribly. Throughout the years Russians and Germans in particular seemingly competed in who could be more brutal. Russians won easily but that’s a different story.

      …but yes, Poland and many other nations do have a long tradition of anti semitism. You’re lying to yourself if you keep denying it. The Jewish safe haven of the middle ages became much less welcoming as time passed by, people became resentful toward those who after centuries of living in Poland clinged on to their own, Jewish traditions. Misconceptions, half-truths and ignorance became the norm. My own grandfather was a fairly tolerant person yet even he’d curse at those “cholernych Żydów” whenever he got mad.
      I’m glad the likes of Grzegorz are a tiny minority in Poland nowadays but every nation has their share of filth. Grzegorz bardzo wstydzę się że ty jesteś Polakiem. (I’m very embarrassed you’re a Pole)

      Jarek Wysoczanski

  • Bill

    Frankly it was a big mistake for Poles to ever let Jews into Poland because the Jews took everything for granted Poland did for them…like giving Jews a place to LIVE, letting Jews have synagogues, have businesses, have their own communities, etc.

    Sure there weres some bad Poles (just like there are bad Jews), but in general Poles gave Jews freedoms that they could not get in any other country. That's why over half of the world's Jews CHOSE to live in Poland for 1000 years.

    This occured while virtually every country in the world was kicking Jews out.

    The great rabbi Moses Isserles said "if it were not for Poland, the existence of the tribe of Israel would have been unbearable". In other words if Poland did not exist, much of Jewish culture today would not exist. But of course this is taken for granted by many Jews.

    • tarleton

      after the partition of Poland it was the russian Czar who decided that the jews should live in the ''pale of settlement ''

      you sound like a typical polish anti-semite

    • AmericanHistorian2

      You need to face the truth about Polish history; it will free you from your pathetic moral relativism and your willful blindness. See my comments below about the Cossack barbarians that slaughtered Jews by the thousands; while the Poles were laughing at it, and dithering about the liberum veto;and the pathetic lack of Polish support for the Jewish fighters in the Warsaw ghetto uprising, in April-May 1943

    • Mike Rurzinski

      Good points Bill.

      These Jews who are critical of Poland never want to explain WHY most Jews CHOSE to LIVE in Poland for ONE THOUSAND YEARS.

      WHY would Jews CHOOSE to live in such an anti-semitic country for such a long time?

      • nina

        It is too late to answer you in detail. What I suggest, is learn a little history.

  • John

    What have Poles got in return for giving Jews a place to LIVE and opportunities that no other country gave them?? Never ending anti-Polish accusations and and attitude of "What have you done for us lately".

    Not to mention Jews in the media who keep attacking Poland even lying about Polish people "being responsible for the Nazi German death camps" when the first prisoners of the Nazi camps were Christian Poles. Jews in the media keep calling the Nazi German death camps "Polish death camps". Even the ones on German soil.

    Of course they don't mention the collaboration Jews had with the Soviets in annihilating Poles and other Slavs in Soviet death camps.

    • Stan Lee

      John:
      It's a fruitless issue to bring up so much that's been misunderstood of the past.
      All we have now are records of numbers of people dead and that includes one helluva lot of Poles, which happened to be both Roman Catholics and Jews. For all the Jew-haters, please get this straight; those Poles murdered by the Nazis were ALL Polish nationals. That includes Jews who were also Polish citizens.
      No one "gave" them a part of Poland. They settled in the country and contributed as they could for almost ten centuries until WW2.
      What we get today are tales that have come down through the ages, told by people who weren't there, many generations after the fact.
      We should all know what to expect from a left-wing media, it's primary mission is to divide and look what it's done here. This whole board is lit-up in a "pissing contest" of people bringing up crap that should have no relevance to the good relations of today's Poland and Israel. While a few here are having a knee-jerk bigoted reaction,
      the two nations, Poland and Israel are working at productive friendship.
      Let's not make ourselves, as Americans, look like a bunch of damned fools.

      • nina

        Spoken like one who never opened a history book.

  • Mike Rurzinski

    What have Poles got in return for giving Jews a place to LIVE and opportunities that no other country gave them?

    Left-wing Jews in the media that keep calling Nazi GERMAN death camps….."Polish death camps"

    Guys like NBC-TV's Left-wing George Schlatter starting shows like "Laugh-In" which helped introduce Nazi subhuman intelligence jokes about Polish people into America 4 decades ago.

    Not to mention other NBC-TV anti-Polish BIgots like Joan Rivers, Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis bashing Poles with anti-Polish slurs.

    Lately, NBC-TV's Seth Meyers has been bashing Polish people with subhuman intelligence jokes that the Nazis told the Polish people before they killed them. How lovely. And Polish people are the ones with the hate????

    • PolishGirl

      Unfortunately, the present Polish "government" (=gang of loosers) are not able to stand up against Poland-bashing (for fear of sounding nationalistic? try to pull that of with f.e France and see who is nationalistic…)

  • Bert

    It will take a long time for certain Poles like these writers to get over their Jew hatred. My Jewish friend from Crakow relates how he barely survived the death camp. And when he went back to his home in Poland his Polish neighbors were disappointed and asked why he survived. They were eager to steal his home and have no one to expose their theft. Just ask any Jew who lived in Poland just how the Poles supported their extermination. It is easy now for Poles to realize that the Jews were a benefit and they are mainly sorry for the benefits they lost.

    • PolishGirl

      1. "the Poles" did not do this, some Poles did. If they were caught, the Polish Underground State had a special justice section which dealt with these murderers (they were killed by an executioner)

    • PolishGirl

      2. Its totally fine that You seem to forget this here :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BBegota
      The Council to Aid Jews operated under the auspices of the Polish Government in Exile through the Government Delegation for Poland, in Warsaw. Żegota's express purpose was to aid the country's Jews and find places of safety for them in occupied Poland. Poland was the only country in occupied Europe where there existed such a dedicated secret organization.

    • PolishGirl

      This is how horribly anti-semitic Poles were. Far more than f.e Germans. Just put aside for a moment your books written by a third-class (at best) historian (Jan T.Gross) and learn about the historical facts.

      \are mainly sorry for the benefits they lost.
      Sure. Please explain this statement :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Jewish_Congress

    • PolishGirl

      In 1996 at World Jewish Congress meeting one of its leaders, Israel Singer, stated that "More than three million Jews died in Poland and the Polish people are not going to be the heirs of the Polish Jews. We are never going to allow this. (…) They're gonna hear from us until Poland freezes over again. If Poland does not satisfy Jewish claims it will be "publicly attacked and humiliated" in the international forum – Reuters reported from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was perceived as a threat against Poland.

    • PolishGirl

      Let my ask sarcastically-if we pay these people (who, in my opinion, are violating the idea of olam tikun and are just greedy and, obviously thinking, that being Jewish makes them immune to being critizised for their behaviour) will the character assasination of my people stop? although, even if, a damaged reputation is probably the most hard to fix thing in the universe…..

      • tarleton

        you're exactly the type of polish anti-semite that the writer is talking about …70 years ago folks like you would have informed the nazis were the jews were hiding , with 2 bags of sugar as a reward

        • Michael

          I do not understand why are you calling her anti-semite!! She is just disagreeing with you at some points but you just can not stand it and lowering discussion really down. You offended her badly.

    • Bill

      And vice versa Bert.

      It will take a long time for certain Jews like you to get over your hatred of Poland and all things Polish. You've been brainwashed by ethnic Jewish newspapers and left-wing newspapers that parrot them like the NY Times, to only FOCUS on negative things some Poles did to Jews and define Polish people as such.

      But of course these same media outlets put Jews on a pedestal as if they were all angels in Europe who could do no wrong. Well that just certainly isn't true. Jews are human so they had their bad apples just like anyone else.

      Like the Jews who collaborated across Europe to help Stalin kill Poles and other Slavic people he hated. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3342999

    • Mike Rurzinski

      Bert for every story about a Jew who was abused by a Pole there is a story about how a Pole was abused by a Jew.

      When Jews like the ones on this forum try to define ALL Polish people by their criminal element, that's called prejudice. Would it be fair to judge Jews by all the bad Jews who collaborated with Stalin to do evil things to Poles? Maybe that's why some Poles weren't so crazy about Jews who were in the vicinity of places in Poland where Poles saw Jews collaborating with the Soviets to kill their family members.

      But of course you're not going to read this in your ethno-centric Jewish newspapers or their supporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, etc

      • tarleton

        there were very , VERY few Poles who even thought about helping jews…the general attitude of Poles was GOOD RIDDANCE TO THE JEWS ……..furthermore , the Poles on this website are just typical of that frame of mind

        • Bob of Aussie

          Tarleton – you are completely insane. I advise you to seek a psychiatric help.

    • Marek

      Did You hear about "nationalization" after WWII there was no private ownership in Poland so nobody could take over anybody's house except for government … so how the hell anybody could steal Jewish properity , house etc if he couldn't own it.. The goverment was taking over peoples properity… at that time , after WWII most of the members of apparatus of repression were Jewish.

  • Daniel

    “Poland, with its long history of anti-Semitism has….” That’s a pure antipolonism. Did you suck it out of your thumb? I’m wondering what propaganda is being taught in Israeli schools… Poland was always the most tolerant country for Jews in Europe, except for periods when Poland lost its indenpendence. Poles also rescued thousands of Jews during WWII from German killing machine and gained the most Israeli awards “The rightous among nations”. To the authour: you better write reviews of cartoons, don’t get involved in something that you don’t have a clue about.

  • Daniel

    One more thing: my grandparents who survived the war in Poland were rescued and given a place to hide by a brave Polish family that risked their lifes doing so. They also say “bad Poles” comprised less than 1% of the total population. In a country where helping Jews was punished by death (the only one in Europe), it is a phenomenon!

    • Jarosław Wysoczanski

      That’s exactly right. The vast majority of Poles were and still are good people.

      Many Poles were murdered by the nazis and later by the communists for protecting the Jews. The fact the negatives always outweigh the positives in the media, particularly the Jewish media is why you hear anti-Semitic comments in Poland of today. People feel like the good deeds have been forgotten and they revolt against those they feel perpetrate the negative stereotype of the Polish people. The truth is both the Jewish and the Polish people have suffered tremendously throughout the centuries and they all should respect each other.

      Jarek Wysoczanski

      • Stan Lee

        Jarek:
        I commend you for your realistic approach. It is so true that good deeds are hardly remembered, however evil deeds become described as even more evil over time as folk lore perpetuates them.
        As a native-born American, I will state with confidence that there is more latent bigotry and misunderstanding here than should be for the democracy we all want.
        I have lived for eight decades and have never stopped fighting intolerance.
        Having read what's here tonight causes me to wonder how far we've come or if we've contributed to "good" at all.
        Man is his own worst enemy.

  • ziontruth

    How many times do I have to say it? The Jewish nation, and by extension their state, has no human allies! We have friends, and we should cultivate their friendship—though not at the price of being told where and how much we can inhabit our own land—but as far as allies go, we have only One, no more and none other.

  • Aurelius

    Polish anti-Semitism is a mixture of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. You have individual Poles who risked their lives to save Jews from German Barbarism and also cases like the Jedwabne pogrom where an entire Jewish community was murdered by Poles. In general, the Polish attitude towards Jews always fluctuated depending on their country's situation vis-a-vis the Germans and the Russians.

    Catholicism seems to be the core Polish identity. Therefore, I would say it is the Poles who benefited more from Jews and Judaism by adopting the Christian religion, since Christianity was a Jewish sect and a Jewish reform movement started by the Jewish Rabbi Yehoshua.

    • Stan Lee

      Aurelius:
      That may be true and that's why today the term "Judeo-Christian religions" is used in many cases.
      Of course, it's very inconvenient for Christians to go back to the time of Jesus to begin a chain of rationalisations, and then of course, "Jesus" was not his Hebrew name. I understand to what you allude.
      So, he was the beginning, but it was Peter and Paul who organized the first Christian faith. Obviously, all three were Jews.
      So, we must bear in mind always that these men preached love and tolerance, while here on this forum that is hardly observed today.
      I must state, I don't care for the term "Polish antisemitism." Antisemitism, preferably I say "Jew-hate" is no more pathological in one place than another.
      Any kind of hate, once is the DNA, is very difficult to exorcise. We must be mindful of such a weakness always.

  • Brujo Blanco

    The Nazis were like an infection. They invaded countries and used the “Jewish Problem”‘as a ploy to solidify the base elements of a society to work for the Nazis. The important thing is that which is happening today. We should not forget the past and we should nor dwell on the past.

  • PolishGirl

    I have a real problem- Ive met with Israelis who seem to hold the believe that we Poles were worse than Nazis (again,not Germans….).They said this with hatred in their voices into my face. My family has fought agains Nazi-Germany, some of my family members were nationalists and did not like Jews very much BUT this was for religious reasons, during the occupation, they also helped Jewish Poles whom they considered to be human beings with dignity.In contrast to you-know-whom.And there was the case with a Israeli football player who considered playing for the Polish National Team and was threatened and called names for it in Israel! There seem to be double standards for us-if some Poles (out of 30 mio) acted like the criminals they were in this inhuman,incredible situation, this was, of course, because of "inherent polish anti-semitism". If French people acted badly and cooperated like in Vichy with the Germans, there is no such accusation.Strange indeed,dont you think?

    • tarleton

      it's no secret that the French have a history of anti -semitism and the Vichy regime was notorious for it ..but they were not a bad as the Poles

    • Stan Lee

      Polish Girl:
      I'm sure you understand that those or their offspring, on either side of a horrendously bitter event, will vent hard-feelings when the subject is approached.
      It is best to remain calm and try to deconstruct what seems to be an impossible task. But try! Two wrongs won't make things right.
      All one can do is reflect no ill feelings in the face of such accusations and consider the weight of reverse hate such people must have been carrying for events that happened not directly to them, but in another place at another time.
      Oh, and the Vichy French? I don't think their collaboration with the Nazi SS has been overlooked! And yes, it's strange, the whole issue is strange until we finally bury it for good.

  • PolishGirl

    \A moral obligation by Catholic Poland to take responsibility for the past
    Poland has no responsibility for the Holocaust,period. It is our duty as Europeans to support a state that stands for human rights and values,simple as that.
    \Poland has no significant Muslim minority to consider,
    Thank God. That is why Poland is NOT the most anti-semitic country around (this "honour" goes to: US,Germany,Britain,France and Russia)And yes, we dont have any romantic notions about (Non-European) Muslims, we dont want a mosque in Warsaw (or anywhere else).Ah yeah, and at the last "Palestine Solidarity Demonstration" there were…15 people.I am kidding you not.

  • PolishGirl

    \ with its long history of anti-Semitism has, ironically, become one of Israel’s closest allies in Europe
    If you say A please dont forget to say B also. The whole of Europe was poisoned by anti-semitism. Please stop this emphasis on Poland being expecially anti-semitic,because it is just not true and this is called charakter assasination.Poland was a satelite of the Soviet Union who forced Polish Communists to drive out Jewish Poles. One could say, we have been victimized twice by foreign powers.

    • Stan Lee

      Polish Girl:
      We meet again! :):) Please don't be upset about slurs to your country. You had nothing to do with anything that happened about 70 years ago. Also, there are always some people whose opinions you can't change. That's the way it is!
      There seems to be emphasis here (as you have observed) on Poland of WW2, Nazi occupation. It was bad then, it wasn't any better under Soviet Communism.
      Take heart, your country has a legacy of being free for most of its life.Think for a moment of the average Russian person who has no such history.
      Whether a Communist is a Pole, Russian, or any other nationality, once that person crosses the line into Communism, that is his religion and his national anthem is "The International."
      Communism keeps the masses divided with institutional racism. It maintains division of the population, thereby having easier control. If one is difficult to control, that person usually has a "fatal accident."
      All you can account for is what you do NOW, how you treat others NOW. Dobre nochi.

  • PolishGirl

    \ with its long history of anti-Semitism has, ironically, become one of Israel’s closest allies in Europe
    If you say A please dont forget to say B also. The whole of Europe was poisoned by anti-semitism. Please stop this emphasis on Poland being expecially anti-semitic,because it is just not true and this is called charakter assasination.Poland was a satelite of the Soviet Union who forced Polish Communists to drive out Jewish Poles. One could say, we have been victimized twice by foreign powers.

    • PolishGirl

      a major problem we have-there are no hollywood movies about Polish bravery, instead, Jewish Americans seem to think the Schindler story is way more interesting than the story of f.e Irena Sendler (a Polish social worker who,with Zegota,saved over 2500 children ) read here :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendler
      or Witold Pilecki (an officer who went voluntarily to Auschwitz to gather evidence which was subsequently send to f.e the US so that its politicians were at least knowing what they were ignoring and down-playing) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilecki ah ,if we just had some influential friends in the US&Hollywood….

    • potb

      Polish Girl, you might want to try just to post one comment in stead of numerious ones. By the way, this article praises Poland. It's not an attack on Poland or the Polish people.

  • American historian

    Historically Poland was not anti-Semitic. As the article points out Jews sought refuge in Poland from discrimination and death in Germany…and in Spain. During the Inquisition the Polish King invited Jews to seek refuge in Poland. After the partitions of Poland, Russian law became Polish law. Russian anti-Semitism was codified in that law. For example: In Russia, Jews were seen as a separate nationality and held separate passports which said "Jew" rather than "Russian". Internal travel was restricted unlike Poland in which all citizens were seen as Polish and could travel freely.

    The goal was to extinguish Polish identity and impose Russian values. Polish civic life was conducted in Russian and school instruction was in Russian.

    The rise in anti-Semitism in Poland is linked to this Russian infection.

    • AmericanHistorian2

      This is a very good article; it is great that Israel and Poland are friendly now; and there were a fair number of Poles that risked a lot to help embattled Jews in Poland during WWII. And yes, there was a lot of anti-semitism in England, France, Spain, Germany, and Austria before anti-semitism came to Poland. However, Lech Walesa had a lot to apologize for.

    • tarleton

      That's an excellent summary of A S in Poland ….A RUSSIAN INFECTION …but it's an infection that took root in 19th-20th Poland …a jew was worth but 2 bags of sugar during the nazi occupation

  • hank

    Can someone tell me a simple question? Why where the Jews hated by almost the hole world but still think of them today the same way but just do not say it in words.

    • Stan Lee

      Hank:
      Apparently, you're a young fellow. If the whole world to you was Europe, you could say the whole world hated Jews at one time or another. Yet, today, many of those countries who mistreated Jews because they worshipped differently, now honor the achievments of those same Jews who enriched the national cultures.
      If you are really interested, may I suggest that you take the time to read decent history books on the subject and, rather than listening to folk tale distortions, learn for yourself.
      If you think it's a simple question, you'll never get a sufficient answer.

    • BS77

      Your writing, grammar and spelling are horrendous.

  • AmericanHistorian2

    You say, "Historically Poland was not anti-semitic." While I agree that some Polish anti-semitism had its roots in Russian law and influence; this statement isn't accurate. The Cossack pogroms of 1648-1650 occurred before the 18th century partition of Poland; in which over 100,000 Jews were murdered by Bogdan Chemilnitzki, and his bloodthirsty minions. He was angry at the Polish nobility, because they killed his infant son; so he took it out on the Jews. The Polish nobility sat on their hands and did nothing; while men were tortured, women were raped;pregnant women were disemboweled, and their fetuses killed. A Cossack named Gonta reproduced these atrocities, on a smaller scale, in Poland in 1768. And in WWII, I am reminded of the fact that during the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, not one single Polish resistance fighter went to the aid of the Jews, nor do I recollect that the Jewish fighters in the ghetto received any aid from the Poles.

    • tarleton

      I agree , virtually all Holocaust memoirs speak of the open hostility of Poles …the nazi bounty of 2 bags of sugar for escaped jews was relished by opportunistic Poles
      To be fair , it would take a very brave man to help Jews during WW2, but the majority of Poles were not neutral , but openly and opportunistically hostile ..they were truly dark and sinnister times

    • Stan Lee

      American Historian2:
      I really don't know the answer to this, therefore I'm asking you since you cite the Cossack pogroms. I was under the impression that the pogroms happened in Ukraine, which was under Russian rule, and I've never been able to get clarity on this because the region of Galicia moved back and forth in being ruled by various regents.
      I do agree that the anti-Jewish campaigning had its roots under influence of Russian Czarist laws.
      From a Russian Czar came one of the most damaging anti-Jew policies ever, still used by hate groups today in our own country. That doctrine being "The Protocol of the Elders of Zion." As most inflamatory a hate document as has ever existed, courtesy of a deranged Russian Czar and his commissioned author.

    • Seksot Zhopnitski

      As to Khmelnytsky Uprising, the Polish nobility did not "sit on their hands" but was fighting for their lives (lowest estimate: one million Poles killed by Cossacks).
      I will not repeat others about stiffest penalties for aiding Jews in Nazi occupied Poland and the number of Polish trees at Yad Vashem. It is well known that Stalin chose Jews to lead oppression of Poles after WWII. He could not find enough Polish "eager and willing executioners". Jews, even those who did not hold the prominent positions in the Office of Internal Security (Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego) and Military Police (Informacja), did nothing to help Polish elites and patriots who were slaughtered by their own Jewish brothers. They "were sitting on their hands". Jews have a long way to recount their deeds not only to Poles, but also to their own brothers, unless they really believe that "One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Poland".
      Seksot Zhopnitski

    • Babbage

      Blimey for a "Historian" you don't know much. Chmielnicki was also killing Polish nobles (not totally without provocation but yes he was bloodthirsty and ruthless). As for no help in the Ghetto Uprising try reading Marian Apfelbaum’s” Two Flags: Return to the Warsaw Ghetto” available here
      http://www.amazon.com/Two-Flags-Return-Warsaw-Ghe

  • Questions

    Anti-Semitism, far more driven by Catholic prelates than a lot of anti-secular "culture warriors" like to imagine, long has been woven into the fabric of Poland. It's true there have been admirable exceptions, but the general rule was deep resentment.

    That resetment, of course, exploded during World War II. But it didn't stop after the Nazis surrendered. Do some reading, sports fans. On July 4, 1946, about 40 innocent Jews were butchered by townsfolk in the Polish village of Kielce based on an unsubstantiated rumor. The "Kielce progom" is an all-but-forgotten episode from that era.

    • PolishGirl

      The people who perpetrated the Kielce progrom were murderers and robbers,nothing more.Pray tell, why for Gods sake does their crime mean that Poles were/are anti-semitic? what do you think how surviving Jews were viewed in Germany? f.e

      • tarleton

        They were just typical Poles taking advantage of the Jews misfortune

        You sound like a typical polish patriot trying to put the best spin possible on a sordid past ….you will not suceed as polish anti-semitism is far too well documented for folks like you to be able to whitewash it …NICE TRY THOUGH

  • John3Sobieski

    “Poland, with its long history of anti-Semitism” ————- “The population of Jews in Poland just prior to the outbreak of WW II, was the largest in all of Europe and, Warsaw, Poland’s capital, boasted a vibrant Jewish cultural life. More than a third of Warsaw’s residents were Jews, and the 3.3 million Jews of Poland represented 10% of the country’s population – the highest such demographic in Europe. ”

    Put those to together and this article just stops making sense. If it was so anti-semetic, why were so many Jews living there?

    Poland has always been open to people of different races and creeds. This article seems to be a piece of Israeli propaganda by painting the Polish-Israeli relations as improving because Poland is making amends for past sins that never really happened.

    • artcohn

      From 1880 to 1920, before Lenin took powe, over 2 million Jews emigrated to America from eastern Europe, primarily from the region of Poland. They would not have done so, if Poland was such a paradise for the Jews. In the Middle Ages, under Casimer the great and his immediate successors, Poland was inviting to the Jews, but things changed and the Poles became noted for their anti-semitism.
      That said, my wife who was not yet 2 years old when the war (WW2) started owes her life as do all of her family members, to those Christian Poles who helped save her family during the Nazi occupation, at a distinct threat to themselves.

      • Stan Lee

        artcohn:
        You indicate a time period when America opened her doors and made the call for immigrants. Not only people from Eastern Europe answered that call.
        America has always been on the mind of many Europeans, even now with its wounded economy. If we put out the call to E. Europe, Russia would have an exodus that could not be imagined.
        If Poles in general represent a large American minority who came as immigrants, why would Polish-Jews not have also emigrated? They all came.
        My wife too, was a young child living through that war. ALL of Slavic origin were "untermenschen" (sub-beings) to the Nazis. It was the Nazi plan to erase all the "untermenschen" and take E.European lands for "lebensraum," living room in English, for the Germanic nation.
        The entire region of E.Europe was saturated with hate. There are those who point accusingly at Poland….was Hungary or Croatia any better? I think not.
        It's time to get past that.

      • John3Sobieski

        From 1795 – 1919 or so, Poland was not an independent country. It was occupied by the Germans, Russians and Austrians. The Poles could not enforce their own tolerant laws because they themselves were under the boot.

    • Zamoyski

      I agree. A 'positive' story is not started with a prejudiced statement and headline. Poland has and never will have any responsibility for what Hitler and Nazi Germany did during WWII. Websites like this need to (unfortunately) be corrected time and again.

      • tarleton

        Poles were like crows opportunistically picking at the corpses of the jews …no amount of denial or whitewashing will change the historical facts

        • Bill

          tarleton,

          If Poles were as bad as you say, WHY did most Jews CHOOSE to live in Poland for ONE THOUSAND YEARS?

          Were Jews masochists?

          Sadly you sound like you have a lot of hate towards Polish people. You sound like those biased misguided Jews in the media who refer to Nazi German death camps as "Polish death camps".

  • Marty

    poland is irredeemably anti-Semitic. It’s anti-semitism was reinforced by the catholic death cult that churned out Jew hating priests for at least a millennium. now that poland has helped exterminate european Jews it can get ready for its new islamic neighbors. We’ll see how well that works out.

    • John3Sobieski

      Thanks for posting an uneducated comment without reading either the article nor the comments.

    • Zamoyski

      What the heck? Not a stitch of fact in that paragraph

    • Mike Rurzinski

      Marty,

      No doubt there were some bad anti-semtic Poles. But in general, Poland gave freedoms and opportunities to Jews for ONE THOUSAND YEARS that no other country gave Jews. As a whole Poland did more good things for Jews then bad.

      If Poland was as "irredeemably anti-Semitic" as you say, WHY did most Jews CHOOSE to live in Poland for ONE THOUSAND YEARS??????

      Don't you think Jews would be crazy and foolish to CHOOSE to live in such an "irredeemably anti-Semitic" country like Poland for ONE THOUSAND YEARS??

      Why did the great rabbi Moses Isserles say "If it were not for Poland, the existence of the tribe of Israel would have been unbearable"?.

      Do the Polish people get credit for any good things they did for Jews, or are you only willing to repeat the talking points of Poland-Haters in the Jewish community and anti-Polish media like the New York Times, Los Angeles TImes, Washington Post, etc??

  • http://anonymous.com Anonymous

    Jews love to play the victim in everything they do.

    • Ghostwriter

      What a vile thing to say,Anonymous.

    • BS77

      Anonymous…what a big brave man you are.

  • American historian

    The pogroms were in the Ukraine. From the Encyclopaedia Judaica:
    http://www.geschichteinchronologie.ch/eu/ukraine/

  • Ben

    Shugary article evading difficult side of Poles-Jewish relations.Just remain the problems of Auschwiss,they say the country of antisemitisme without Jews.
    As it often happens anti-semits like Bill can easily pour his "opinion" here.

  • Ghostwriter

    Well,I'll say this. Neither the Poles nor the Jews want to slaughter Americans in the street,unlike some others I could mention.

  • Maxie

    This article, as commonly done, neglects the fact that Poland held two Jewish populations. There were those who emmigrated from the West after the Spanish Inquisition and formed a positive, highly beneficial, and welcome addition to Polands population. Subsequently a second wave emigrated from the East. These were the so-called Khazar Jews – a hybrid, and hasidic, culture far different from Western Jewry. The Khazars were labelled the ghetto ("greasy") Jew distinct from the "intellectual" Western Jew. The Khazar Jew was the main focus of European anti-Semitism because of their distinctive appearance and hygenic deficiencies. The migration of these Jews into Germany was a prime cause of the Nazi holocaust. The Nazi-Soviet pact was a conspiracy to invade Poland from the East and West to annhiliate the Jews. Stalin feared them as much as Hitler.

  • Maxie

    Re: My above post. A good book to read is "A History of East European Jews" by Heiko Hauman.

  • David

    I am a Jew living in Poland. Even since I got here 5 years ago I haven’t experienced not even one antisemitic verbal attack on me. But the reason why there is some antisemitism in Poland is articles like this one claiming that Poland has long history of antisemitism. This is what ticks Poles off, and they have good reasons for it as it is not truth. During the holocoust 3 milions Polish Jews died, along with 3 milion Polish gentiles (Catholic) in German concetration camps, many of whom for helping Jews. In 17th century 80% of the entire world’s Jewish population lived in Poland, and Poland was often called ‘a Jewish paradise’ because of its tolerancy towards Jews. Jews first arrived in Poland in X century and lived there till the outbreak of WWII. In fact plenty of Poles have some Jewish roots about which they are often not aware of. I study history of Jews in Poland and I am ashamed what some people write here, totally not knowing the history. Chmielnicki uprising and killing the Jews was not Polish but Ukrainian. Kielce pogrom was Russian sponsored (Poland was under Russian boot then). Poles lived always under extremely difficult political conditions, being locked between Germany and Russia, playing a ‘seperator’ role, constantly fighting to keep their indenpendence, I don’t think they had time to think about antisemitism at all times like the author states. I bet none of you fellow Jews posting here has ever been to Poland, Poles are not anti-semite, at least I’ve never met one.

    • PolishGirl

      Im glad to here that David,hope You like living in Poland :-) Ill tell You an absurdity-I am living in Germany and have experienced anti-semitism many times, often from people I would NEVER have expected it from.My family is rather philosemitic and once I really wanted to convert to Reform Judaism. I did not happen (now I am a happy Deist).Why? Because,when I told one of them that I am from Poland I was told, with a voice full of hatred- Poland? The Poles are ALL terrible anti-semites,arent they?! I was like WTF?! You,as Jewish GERMANS are accusing ect blah blah. Awesome,isnt it? And yes, hearing these lies about us makes me very angry, because what happend to me in this Reform Synagogue is because of it.

  • Anonymous

    As a jew, I think it is really pointless to discuss antisemitism in europe in the past.
    When at this time most of the antisemitism is coming from Muslims, and not European people. As for criticisms of todays Poland or Germany about its antisemitic past, I find it totally irrelevant to threats that pose jews these days, and also counter productive.

    • Bill

      Anonymous,

      You sound like a reasonable Jewish person. You are right. Poland and Germany are not enemies of Israel today. Far from it. Bibi Netanyahu has acknowledged that and has praised today's Poland and Germany for having good relations with Israel when most countries in the world have bad relations with Israel.

      Netanyahu is a fair minded Israeli and he knows who are the REAL enemies of the Jewish people today and they certainly are not Poland, Germany or any other European nation.

      The next anti-semite HItler will definitely not come from Europe. He will come from a nation not too far from Israel.

  • LUka

    I Love Israel and Poland, Jews and Polaks Unite :) Let bygones be bygones, Starting 2012 no more (anti-Semitic Polaks or Greedy Jews trying to steel the world ) comments Please. Now shake hands and make up …….

    • Bill

      LUka,

      In general Poles from Poland, Polish Americans and the Polish diaspora of Britain and the rest of the world want to have good relations with the Jewish people. But its not too easy when we read all the stuff Jews here keep saying about us Polish people. They blame us Polish people for just about everything bad that has happened to Jewish people without giving Polish people any credit for the good things Poles have done for Jews.

      But I am hopeful that there is a chance more Jews will be more fair minded toward Polish people like Bibi Netanyahu is.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Sometimes the world improves. Poland has an ambiguous history–a country that welcomed Jews but at other times was the site of pogroms. Today, Poland is perhaps the most pro-Jewish country in Europe. Let us be grateful for this change for the better.
    Other changes for the better have occurred in any number of places. There was a time when people accused of witchcraft were burned or hanged. All of them were innocent, since there is no such thing as a witch. Today, there is nobody in Europe or America who believes we should resume hunting down and killing witches.
    Both Poland's current pro-Israel policies and the West's abandonment of its belief in witchcraft show that there is such a thing as progress. As we say in Chinese: Bu pa man; jiu pa zhan (Don't fear slow progress; just fear no progress).

  • Brian Donegal

    What is overlooked in European history is that the Jagello Dynasty of Poland was the most tolerant of any Eurpoean monarchy. Both Jews and protestants thrived under Catholic Poland. The Jagello kings should be considered the greatest Catholic monarchs, not Ferdinand and Isabela of Spain

    • Bob of Aussie

      BINGO Brian! That is an excelent observation of the Jagiellonian dynasty and a certificate of your understanding of history. Kudos for that.
      Poland has been living throughout the entire milenium between the two totally different worlds thus Poles were forced to adapt to so many different cultures that it indeed made them the most tolerant nation in a medieval Europe.

  • xexon

    The zionists who founded Israel are the same people who collaborated with the nazis in WWII.
    http://www.marxists.de/middleast/schoenman/ch06.h

    Israel is now one big boxcar with almost half the world's Jews packed in there. Guess what they're going to do with them?

    x

  • g_jochnowitz

    Marxism is a religion descended from Judaism. It has to be anti-Semitic in order to prove that it was correct to break away from its ancestor. The same is true for Islam.
    It used to be true for Christianity as well, but Christianity has been modified by the Enlightenment.
    Andrei S. Markovits, writing in the relatively progressive magazine Dissent, said in the Winter 2005 issue, “A new European (and American) commonality for all lefts—a new litmus test of progressive politics—seems to have developed: anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism (though not anti-Semitism, at least not yet).”

  • PolishGirl

    Explain this here(from 2007) http://www.jewishpost.com/viewpoints/My-Trip-to-P
    -censored YOU NAZIS AND -censored- YOU POLAND! (Not Germans.of course that would be racism…)

    • israeli

      You are generalizing about the opinion of all the jews or Israel based upon some individual viewpoint. It is exactly the very same thing you are complaining that is done to Poland.
      Look at what xexon wrote. I find it extremely offensive, I actually never ever read something so false. Zionists were actually helping the Britons fighting the Nazis, which makes total sense since Nazis were exterminating the jews. But yet if xexon is polish I wouldn't infer that all Poles hold such a view point. I bet I could find as bad of a rhetoric in Polish sites about the jews or Israel as you found about Poland, but again I wouldn't infer that most of Poles are like that. I can speak for the younger generation in Israel, I don't know any one that has such a view about the polish people. Actually The only generalization I heard that polish girls are really good looking, and I think it is a positive one.

  • PolishGirl

    and :http://www.radyjo.net/1/5/Artykul/55675,Jewish-player-caught-up-in-media-storm Quote: Melikson’s former trainer Eli Sohar called Poland “the state of Auschwitz” and questioned whether the midfielder “should represent a country in which 70 years ago, the majority of its citizens carried out the murder of his grandfather and grandmother and the [Jewish] community in general.” No, obviously nothing wrong here at all. As well as: Melikson has reportedly received threats from Israelis after it was announced that he might play from Poland

  • Stefan Komar

    As the son of a member of the Polish underground whose unit Zoska was acknowledged by Yad Vashem for saving 350 Jews in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, I must point out that anti Polish prejudice persists in Israel despite the fact that there are hardly any Poles living there.
    The bigotry which falsely and sweepingly accuses Poles of collaboration with the German Nazis is sickening and unbecoming of a nation that suffered so much at the hands of others, because of who they were, due to lies, and negative stereotyping. The article written by Mr. Puder is full of unsubstantiated negative generalizations of Poles, historical inaccuracies and false accusations. Improved Polish Jewish relations will not be based on fantasy. Thankfully, more and more Jews are beginning to realize that they were fed lies and omissions in regards to alleged Polish complicity in the Holocaust and are changing their tune. This is happening because Poland is now free and the voices of Poles are no longer censored and the ridiculous charges made by the likes of Mr. Puder are being vigorously challenged. May Poland and Israel be true friends!

  • apollo k

    this author is an idiot. the holocaust took place on polish soil? some of it, sure, but it was because of german nazis. were the polish collaborators, i am sure there were, but it is not like they rolled over for the nazis like mussolini's italy.

    after all, poland is the most highly-cited country in israel's most righteous nations, or whatever its called, which awards those who *helped* the jews during wwii.

    also, how can you say poland has a long history of anti-semitism when it simultaneously had the highest jewish population in europe for centuries? of course there were conflicts, that is the nature of humans especially when religion is added, but i would venture to say prussia and russia, with their numerous pogroms, have a more sordid past vis-a-vis the jews.

    this article is utter rubbish.

  • Ben

    Accusations of this "shugary" article in anti-Poland attitude both from Poles and Jews are ridiculouse and are based on weak knoledge of the History. Somebody mixtured Hasides with the Karaites as the Hazars` descendants,ssomebody forgot the post WW2 pogroms,everybody keep silence about Gomulka`s persecutions.I`m particularly touched by the Jew who haven`t seen any anti-semit in Poland for the five years.My own experience is absolutly different though I too believe in less grave future.

  • Bob of Aussie

    Also, we must NEVER forget the superhuman bravery of IRENA SENDLER, the Polish nurse, member of Zegota, who personally saved more than three thousand Jewish babies and children from the Holocaust.
    So far the morons from the Nobel Price Commitee has nenver bothered to take Irena Sendler into account and gave its otherwise worthless award to the degenerates like Obama and Gore.

  • Tex

    Read it. Read it slow and thoroughly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zegota

  • adam

    History written by journalist…sad…:(

  • adam

    History written by journalist…sad…:(