Three Cheers for Poland

PolandI don’t often find myself agreeing with Thomas L. Friedman, but I’ve now discovered for myself that a New York Times column he wrote ten years ago, and that I remember reading at the time, was right on the money.

“Poland,” he declared, “is the antidote to European anti-Americanism.” Noting that he had spent much of the previous two years being targeted by anti-Americanism in Western Europe and the Middle East, he’d spent three days in Poland “and got two years of anti-American bruises massaged out of me.” To his surprise, Poles “actually tell you they like America — without whispering.”

As someone who’s spent most of the last fifteen years or so living and traveling in Western Europe, I’ve experienced more anti-Americanism than I care to remember. But last week, like Friedman back in 2003, I spent a few days in Poland and found that, yep, they actually do like America.

A 2007 Heritage Foundation report affirmed this fact: “Poland has supported America’s global leadership role….Wherever America is doing good in the world, Poland is not far behind.” It’s no coincidence that Poland, along with the U.S., Britain, and Australia, was one of the four leading members of the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq.

An American friend of mine, Paul, moved to Poland in 2001. “I was shocked at how pro-American people in Poland were,” he says. He’s also lived in the Netherlands and Ireland, and there’s no comparison. In 2002, he attended a commemoration at the U.S. consulate in Krakow of the first anniversary of 9/11. He didn’t know what to expect. What he found was a street flooded with Poles waving American flags. He was moved to tears.

How to explain Poland’s love of America? Well, look at its history. Poles – whose land, over the centuries, has been repeatedly invaded and carved up by powerful, tyrannical, and imperially ambitious neighbors – have learned never to take freedom for granted. (Remember the roles Kosciuszko and Pulaski played in our revolution.) While the children of Western Europe, living in their nanny states under the umbrella of U.S. protection, can afford to feel superior, in their sublime peaceableness, to the warlike Americans, the grown-ups of Poland have long understood how important it is that the most powerful country on earth is also a beacon – and a guarantor – of liberty.

But its pro-Americanism is just part of what makes Poland special. The way I’d sum up is as follows: It’s one European country that’s moving in the right direction – in a lot of ways.

To walk around Warsaw is like paying a visit to the European past – it’s precisely the Europe that many vacationing Americans think they’re going to encounter when they hop on the plane at JFK. On the one hand, the Old Town is beautiful, charming, picturesque, its cobbled streets lined with exquisitely maintained houses from the 16th and 17th centuries – just the sort of thing a tourist wants to see. Meanwhile, other parts of the city, which after all spent decades under the Soviet yoke, are predictably dreary – packed with ugly, gray, massive, and perfectly identical apartment buildings that are plainly relics of Communist times, and with broken-down tenements where, if you walk into the central courtyard, you discover it to be crisscrossed with networks of huge steel beams without with, apparently, the whole thing would tumble to the ground.

One thing you don’t see, however, is women walking around in hijab. None. Anywhere. For anyone familiar with European cities today, it’s a striking difference. It makes you realize just how accustomed you’ve become to the idea of an Islamized Europe. Yes, there are some Muslims in Poland – about thirty thousand out of a total population of thirty-eight million, or less than a tenth of one percent. Many of them are Tatars, who have been a part of Polish society for centuries. In any event, the percentage is infinitesimal compared to that in Western Europe.

Indeed, whereas almost every nation in Western Europe has been pursuing disastrous, self-destructive immigration policies for the last several decades, Poland, since winning its freedom, has been welcoming the right kind of immigrants – and for the right reasons. Paul remembers that when he first moved to Krakow, there were relatively few foreigners around. “Now there’s a Brazilian community here – and Japanese, Chinese,” he says. Indeed, “some cities in Poland are now an international as any Western European capital.”

The fact is that after the Iron Curtain fell, Poland embraced capitalism and privatization unhesitantly. Its economy has been strong ever since. In the last ten years it’s developed a middle class and supplemented its strong manufacturing base with a robustly growing service sector. Poland now has the EU’s fastest-growing economy – since 2010, its economy has actually been larger than that of the Netherlands – and it’s the only EU member that didn’t fall into a recession as a result of the world financial crisis.

“There’s lots of opportunity and they’re making it easy to do business here, easy to start things,” Paul says. All over Warsaw, big construction projects are underway. Companies like Google, IBM, Fujitsu, and Motorola have established major centers in Krakow. There’s even talk of Krakow becoming Europe’s Silicon Valley, and it’s not just a pipe dream: young Poles today tend to be well-educated, ambitious, and hard-working, with many being fluent not only in English but also in German, Russian, and Czech, and sometimes even in languages like Spanish and Italian.

Not all Poles, to be sure, have remained in Poland. Many, taking advantage of EU and EEA labor-immigration laws, have moved to Western Europe. In recent years, for example, Poles have been the largest single group immigrating to Norway, and have been a bright spot in that country’s otherwise bleak immigrant profile – because just as Poland has itself been taking in the right kind of immigrants, Poles themselves have also proven to be the right kind of immigrants: people who relocate not to go on the dole but to work hard, obey the law, and contribute to the economy. Three cheers for Poland!

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  • KF

    100 lat Bruce!

    • Bookman

      lot

  • Clipper

    PanAm had a Warsaw base for flight attendants serving the Inter German Service (IGS) for the years the Wall was up. They were outstanding young people, smart, articulate and spoke many languages for the various routes we flew in and around East Bloc. At least one was a medical doctor, could earn more flying as a FA than his surgeon mother made. Another left Panam before the Wall came down, became Poland’s Minister of Agriculture. Really fine people, and yes, very pro American.

  • herb benty

    Of course Obama had to disappoint Poland and obey Putin when he cancelled the missle defence system that was to be situated in Poland.

    • CowboyUp

      The democrat party has nothing but contempt for those who embarrass them by rejecting communism and allying with the USA.

      • herb benty

        That is a fact, seeing that, “progressive” is just a nice word meant to cloak their totalitarian goals. Obama has now crapped on Canada, Britain, Poland , Israel while allowing Islam to infiltrate South America. Notice Putin, always, fishing, hunting, horseback riding etc., as Hussein does his subversive work on America.

    • Londynczyk

      Poles dont want your missiles we dont want to be a target, stay in USA stop interfering in other countries, and stay out of Europe we like to keep it liberal cultural and educated ie no yanks

      • herb benty

        These were defensive missles to stop anything from the Middle East. However, Putin put a stop to that as Russia is using Islam against us all. Do you work for Russia?

        • Bookman

          It’s clear that you have no idea about the real object of these missles. Keep letting the American media tell you everything you know. Actually, you should get out more.

          • herb benty

            Hi again bookie, I must have said something right for you to pop up. You, 1.) deviously suggest I am in the dark concerning the REAL reason for defensive missles,Ha! ha!, and 2.) Suggest I’m one of your left-wing Low-info’s,Ha! ha!! and 3.) And suggest I’m house bound, a weak-kneed attempt at ridicule. What I wrote is common knowledge, You must be overwhelmed with your revisionist work. Peddling lies gets complicated. Try the side of Light, instead of the Dark side. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, but WE win old bean.

      • JetHag

        Apparently you would have preferred Poland to remain a Soviet satellite. Without America’s “interfering”, you would be standing in bread lines in a communist dictatorship instead of being free to travel at will between the UK and Poland.

        • Daniel Kubiś

          Jetlag – Apparently your British (post)imperial worldview lets you only see two options for Poland – being a Soviet satellite, or being a colonised peripherals of the Anglozone (freedom to work in uk, WOW).

          • JetHag

            You are ascribing words to me that I did not write. However, most Poles do prefer their current freedom of movement (a basic human right) in contrast to the travel restrictions imposed on them by the communist regime, e.g the requirement to apply for permission for travel outside the Eastern Bloc, and surrendering their passports upon return (if they did return). Wow, indeed.

      • quousque

        If it wasn’t for these damned yanks, you native tongue would be either German or Russian. Now days you are making your wise choices between Arabic and Farsi. If things for us go much further south, thanks to our own liberal cultural and educated elites, those damn yanks might not be able to save your sorry European a$$ next time when you get yourself in a jam.

        • Cefu Qeraton

          We are able to fight for our freedom on our own. We were under Prussian,
          Russian and Austrian occupacion for 123 years, we were under Nazi
          occupacion, we were under the Soviet yoke, but we are still free, and it
          is our job, not USA. USA NEVER helped directly Poland. In fact, in 1943
          on the Teheran Conference president F.D.Roosevelt wasn’t intrested in
          keeping some eastern territories in Polish borders. Only English side
          wanted to convince Stalin that these territories are ethnically Polish
          and should be Polish.Now it’s parts of modern Ukraine, Belarus and
          Lithuania. But Patriots should be placed in Poland.

    • Bookman

      I am an American living in Poland more than 5 years now. I think you just want to say something negative about the President on this one. If you know your fact, it was the Polish people who decided against the missles. And, of course, alittle influence from Putin saying he didnt want the missles here. 16 likes do, shows how many people just heard something bad about the Prez.

      • herb benty

        Mr./MRS?, “bookman” Obama is a comitted Marxist, wake up there pal. I’ll say what I bloody well feel like saying about the President….we are allowed to here. Putin threatened Poland and your leaders caved, I suppose you consider that normal.

        • Bookman

          My leaders caved… Since I live in Poland, does that make me non-American? What is comitted anyway? Pal… LOL are you upset or something. Chill out and stop being the stereotypical American moron.

          • herb benty

            Loving the Truth brings Wisdom. “There are none so blind as those who WILL not see”.

  • CowboyUp

    The Poles were instrumental to the breakup of the Warsaw Pact, and first to openly reject communism in the breakup. The story behind the help Pope John Paul II, Reagan, and Thatcher, gave them is an interesting one. The commies were unable to completely stamp out Catholicism in Poland and it eventually rose up and bit them on the rear. Ironic, considering the counterproductive role ‘liberation’ Catholics played in South and Central America.

  • srlucado

    I spent a couple of weeks in Poland this spring and it was the greatest vacation I’ve ever taken. Beautiful country, great optimism in the air, incredible mix of historic and modern.

    And yes, they love Americans. Of course, a great many of them have relatives in the US or have lived here for a while, which helps.

    I never thought I’d ever consider living outside the US, but I’d move to Poland tomorrow.

  • Average_pleb

    As a Polak living in Canada with travels peppered by visits back home, you are right on the money and aptly summed up the Polish view of Western Culture. Growing up on my grandmas farm during the eighties near the Russian border in south east Poland, I feel the Polish fondness of the West stems from the distaste left in the mouth of Poland by our Russian neighbours and other Eastern European counterparts. So let me give an example, I remember specifically being told not to talk to Russians passing by or even parking their massive vans on my grandmas farm because they were involved in “bad business.” Obviously a curious kid I would peak into the tinted vans of the Russians and it was full of TVs, radios and record players, just a cornucopia of, as later told to me, stolen electronics. Along the border, Russians would dip into Poland with stolen goods and sell them in town quite quickly mind you because they wanted to be gone before customers came back. Sold by the van full, either you got a TV that didn’t work when you took it home or was missing buttons under it’s broken antenna. So when American goods arrived after communism, stable and working products at that time, it was a Godsend to have new and pristine tech. The Polish have an earnest desire for making strong products by valuing reliability, so logically they found a common belief with Americans, and began picking up tips from the juggernaut of the West. The days of my last visit, in the town square walking with my cousins who grew up learning English and spoke it quite well, they were delivering lines verbatim of some of their favourite North American shows. To my surprise, lots of show are syndicated on Polish TV and the Poles adore such comedies as Trailer Park Boys and The Office US. I think the hardened hearts and stubborn heads of certain Europeans concerning America should be a thing of the past. Like a two-headed dragon, American and Europe both spew fire and ice oft as opposing parties but the body of this two-headed dragon is the same, sharing a common past that would work stronger and fly straighter if the two butting heads could both focus on the future ahead.

  • Rezizt

    Poland recently seized money from private pension accounts to fund its debt and improve its credit status. Consequently it is far from being a protector of property rights and the free enterprise system and more like Cyprus. Sadly, It’s government cannot be trusted and it’s ability to prosper is seriously impaired.

    • Nate Whilk

      Yes, that really is a red flag. More countries may go the same way.

    • Boetica

      Thanks for pointing that out.

    • Austin Powers

      No: It hasn’t seized yet. Yes: It is planning to do so. And yes, it is a stupid plan. Almost as stupid as bringing the government institutions to shutdown for example.

  • Gman45121

    As an American after reading the Michener book “Poland” the fact that the Polish people saved Europeans from the Ottoman Empire in the Battle Of Vienna…… and that now Western Europe is being taken over by the Islamist s via immigration is a slap in the the face to the Polish People. Long Live Poland!

    • thetaftscholar

      Just read it too. Found the paperback at the local library on sale …. for free! Loved the book.

  • joesph

    maybe Poland can build their own defense system…they have smart people too….

    • quousque

      Check on the NSA site who was the first to crack the Enigma code before the WWII. Neat stuff.

      • Moa

        And Polish airmen flew in the Battle of Britain as part of the squadrons that saved Britain from National Socialist invasion.

        Polish soldiers fought in many hard battles, such as against the German Fallschirmjager (paratroopers) dug in at Casino in Italy.

        The Poles also fought the Russian Bolsheviks in 1920, protecting the rest of Europe from outright Soviet Socialist invasion.

        Poles also contributed to allied efforts around the globe from 2001 and onwards.

        Just like Israel, Poland is a beacon of light to other nations.

  • Yvonne

    Thank you, Bruce! I just returned from Poland and was impressed at the progress they have made even since a year ago during my last visit. You made an especially good point about the coddled Western Europeans who lived under U.S. taxpayer protection and did not have to endure decades of communism.

  • Race_Dissident

    It may not be long till Americans, en masse, begin immigrating to Poland. I’d certainly consider it.

  • George B from Maine

    Folks, there is one other country that really LOVES America. It is Georgia (in Caucuses mountains, not the U.S. state). Believe it or not, the main street in their capital city Tbilisi is called “George Bush avenue”.

    • EEWW

      Georgians are indeed pro US, but the main street is called Rustavelli. If I recall George Bush avenue is one of the main roads leading to the center, but the main road itself is Rustavelli.

  • Wilhelm

    The Poles after World War 2 stole land and property from Germans who resided in these areas for over a millennia. Now they are one of the largest countries in europe, residing on land which the Prussian Germans utilized to become a great power, and have accomplished nothing. Their women come to Germany to become prostitutes while their men steal the cars and bring them back to poland. The greatest joke now is that after all this time they have accomplishing nothing, their loser ex-president Walsea now wants to unify the two countries. What a joke like the poles themselves.

    • no name

      wilhelm, look at the map befor WW2

    • Bogdan51

      Wilhelm, the self crapping neo-Nazi. Still dreaming about the conquest of the world? The eight million dead Germans, twenty million wounded, three million German women raped by your erstwhile allies the Soviets and the ruined country is not enough for you?
      Poles didn’t still anything from you. If you bothered to learn a bit about the recent history you would discover that those were the three superpowers who divided Europe in Yalta in 1943 and moved almost the entire population of Poland westwards while expelling them from the regions where the Poles used to live for centuries like Vilno in Lithuania, Llov in Ukraina or Grodno in Belorussia.
      The member of my extended family including my own father have been moved to the land taken from Germany after the WW2.
      Talking about theft, those were Germans who were the greatest plunderers and mass murderers in the world’s history.
      You Germans owe Poles at least 5 trillion dollars for the barbarism that you inflicted on them during the WW2. The enforced by the Soviets acquisition of the Western part of Germany doesn’t cover even partially of that suffering that Poles experienced from German hands.
      End yet, we Poles are able to forgive. I have always had great respect for Germans and when still living in Poland I managed to make friendship with many good Germans.
      Also, during my last visit in Poland, I noticed that in the towns along the Polish/German border the communities there live in a great harmony.
      Apart from that, no Pole is blaming the present generation of Germans for the atrocities committed by their fathers.
      Read something, learn something you ignorant neo-Nazi fool.

      • quousque

        Historically speaking we must point out that land taken by Soviets in Yalta agreement is basically the same land as taken by Soviet army in 1939 as the execution of secret paragraphs of Ribbentrop- Molotow pact (read Hitler-Stalin pact). In context of the raging feud around Diana West’s book, that single fact gave me a pause about the concept of who was being played for a fool during these troubling times.

      • JetHag

        Present day Germans are not to blame for the war. Unfortunately, it is indeed the postwar German generation who are insidiously attempting to shift at least part of the blame for the Holocaust onto the Poles. This is being accomplished by their media increasingly referring to “Polish death camps”, or by one dimensionally portraying the Polish Home Army in the film “Unsere Mutter, unsere Vater” as rabid anti-Semites. Their Nazi forefathers would be proud of their skill at propagating such distortions of history.

    • Moa

      Hey Wilhelm, that’s what happens when you start wars and then lose them. If you don’t start them then you can’t lose any land. Understand?

      It’s the same mistake the Palestinians also make. Try and commit genocide on their neighbor – then eventually their neighbor gets so peeved and responds. Result, a net loss for the aggressor.

      Fortunately, Germany seems to have grown out of the “invade-thy-neighbors” habit. So much so that it is instead being colonized by muslim immigrants (who take great delight in burning your ancient cathedrals and demanding special treatment, which the now-neutered Germans acquiesce to).

      Poland is not your enemy Wilhelm. I’d be more worried about the people eating your country and culture from the inside. Verstehen sie?

    • quousque

      Wilhelm, I failed to give you a thumb down; mea culpa; your ignorance is breathtaking. Consult the CIA’s World Factbook for details about the land, population, GDPs , etc.; it is called ‘open source intelligence’. I freely admit there are thieves, crooks and bandits in any society, German society included; that is precise nature of social distributions.
      As far as these prostituting women are concerned, you’d better check on your frauen and frauleins for theseTurks d__k__g them on a daily basis.

    • JetHag

      Wilhelm is obviously a Nazi sympathizer who is ignorant of World War Two history. While Poles were fighting and dying alongside their Allies, the US and UK were secretly giving away a large chunk of their country to Stalin, territory far larger than the German area given to the Poles in compensation. The net loss to Poland was an area the size of modern day Austria. This included cultural centers such as Lwow and Wilno. Poland has made impressive progress in the last twenty four years, especially considering the destruction and devastation left by the Germans, followed by almost a half century of communist stagnation. Wilhelm seems to be hankering after the Lebensraum for which the Germans enthusiastically followed Hitler and the Nazis to war.

    • Cefu Qeraton

      Go f@#k yourself! You’re using stereotipes. Pierdolę cię! We (Poles) wasn’t one that made our borders. Our borders were defined on Teheran Conference mostly by Stalin. Polish nation had not any claims with these lands. Our borders are result of Teheran Conference, where president of USA F.D.Roosevelt didn’t mind, that Eastern territories were ethnically Polish. He left it to Stalin.

    • Cefu Qeraton

      And: Poland, Poles, capital letter, jebany chuju

    • Cefu Qeraton

      “Niech żyje przyjaźń polsko-niemiecka, Niemców nienawidzę od dziecka.” This is real stereotype. Du bist an arschloch

  • … for great justice.

    Dah Bearzzz…

  • Moa

    Don’t forget that Poland saved Europe and the West from jihadis and Islamic Imperialism at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.

    Then Poland again saved the West from Russian Bolsheviks in 1920.

    Fortunately Britain and France moved to defend Poland in 1939 after the disgusting carve up Poland of National Socialism and Soviet Socialism. Too bad Churchill gave Poland back to Stalin.

    Thank goodness Poland is free, independent and strong again.

    Bless the Polish people.

    From a grateful “kiwi” (New Zealander).

    • quousque

      The siege of Vienna was lifted on or about 9-11. Conquest-ing jihad restarted the clock on another 9-11.

      Hmm; Islamic Imperialism, I like the truthful ring to it.

      • Moa

        Osama bin Laden chose that day for the massive symbolism (end of the Ottoman jihad at the Gates of Vienna in 1683 – thanks to the Polish armies!) and galvanizing effect on Muslims – especially to remind all able-bodied Muslims of their Islamic duty to perform jihad asghar (the violent kind of jihad against *all* non-Muslims until they submit).

        The Muslims remember their history, even if many in the West do not.

  • Shmalkandik

    We should also note Polish emmigrant success in Ireland. They have revived a number of parishes there. As Ireland moves from a clerical to secular and even anti-religious state, Poles will be a countervailing force. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

  • Nikcela002

    The timing of this article is such a big coincidence! It comes at the same time that I’ve come to the same conclusion, even telling friends that if I were 25 years old, I would seriously consider emigrating to Poland, as I agree more with Poland’s policies than I do with the US’s current policies and President.

  • ebonystone

    I spent three weeks in Poland on my vacation a few years ago. Saw Warsaw, Gdansk, Lublin, Poznan, Wroclaw, Krakow, and some smaller towns. Loved it!

    One quibble: “… the Old Town is beautiful, charming, picturesque, its cobbled streets lined with exquisitely maintained houses from the 16th and 17th centuries ….”
    Not exactly; the Old Town, like most of Warsaw, was leveled during WW2. It was carefully reconstructed, copying the original buildings; the buildings really date from the latter 20th c.

    • niet53

      yes, it is important to emphasize that they were rebuilt from the original material at hand.

      • Georgi

        It is important to emphasize that the Old Town in Warsaw was rebuilt using equally old building materials which, as a form of revenge on the Germans, were taken away from the old towns of formerly German cities which Poland got after World War 2.

  • Julianna

    How pathetic and ironic that the Polish soldiers — even generals — who risked their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan are required to apply for a visa to visit the U.S., unlike citizens of almost every other EU country (including the anti-American ones).

  • EEWW

    As an Israeli and a Jew, who quite often reads your columns, and mostly agrees with you, I cannot help but spoil the party. As we all know the history of the Jews in Poland is not a happy one. So while the chief perpetrators of the holocaust were the Germans, antisemitism in Poland was rampant before and after the war. In fact one good thing communism did (probably the only good thing) is to suppress antisemitism to a certain degree, that was true in the Soviet Union also.

    Unfortunately while todays antisemitism is not so violent, it is very very wide spread, and this time we cannot blame the Muslims. For example this survey

    http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-News/Poll-reveals-anti-Semitism-still-rages-in-Poland-310458

    So Islam is the biggest problem in Europe today, and Poland is indeed pro west and pro US, as any country who has lived under the Soviet Union should be, but let us not forget how deeply engrained anti semitism is in Polish society.

    • Bogdan51

      An ignorant bull*ra* from an alleged Israeli Jew.
      During my recent trip to Poland I also visited one of the most beautiful cities – Cracow (Krakow). There is a so called Jewish District full of Jewish restaurants, cafes, shops and a synagogue beautifully restored and maintained and full of good people enjoying the Jewish cusine without ever being disturbed of any anti-Jewish elements.
      I haven’t seen even a single anti-Jewish sign or graffiti on the wall, I haven’t seen even a single act of animosity towards Polish Jews.
      Neither I witnessed any kind of such a behaviour in any city that I visited.
      Obviously, as in any society, there are savage elements living on its fringe that linger in their atavistic tribal world who hate Jews or any other foreigners for that matter.
      Neither are the Jews free from such elements.
      And a few facts for you to memorise:
      During the WW2 the Polish couriers from Polish Home Army, Jan Karski and Jan Nowak-Jezioranski risked their lives to smuggle to the West the report about German mistreatment of the Jews. It was the American Jewish Diaspora that was the most vocal in its dismissal of the report.
      Tell us: what did the American Jewish Diaspora do during the WW2 to save and help the European Jews? NOTHING!
      The branch of Polish Home Army “Zegota” created purposefully to save the Jews is credited with saving some 60 thousand Jews from the holocaust.
      Irena Sendler the Polish nurse and a member of “Zegota” has singlehandedly saved 2500 Jewish children from certain death.
      Few years ago the Norwegian Nobel Price Committee chose to give the Peace Prise to the Global Warming charlatan Albert Gore rather than to Irena Sendler also nominated to that price.
      After the WW2 the communists did nothing to help the Polish Jews. In fact they instigated the pogrom in Kielce in 1947 against the remaining Jews to force them to either to collaborate with the communists or live Poland altogether.
      Allow me also to remind you that the entire leadership of the dreaded Polish Security apparatus, so called Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa consisted of the Polish Jews; Jakub Berman, Helena Wolinska-Bruss, Rozanski, Michnik and many others.
      Helena Wolinska-Bruss, for example was the chief prosecutor in the show trial of one of the heroes of Warsaw Upraising and member of “Zegota” General Emil Fieldorf and was instrumental in sentencing him to death.
      After the fall of Comunism in Poland Wolinska-Bruss escaped to Great Britain and the British Jewish community was instrumental in refusing the Polish post-communist government request to extradite Wolinska-Bruss to face the trial for the many political murders she had commited.
      Let also remind you that the Polish Jews dominated Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa has murdered 50 thousands Polish patriots after the communist takeover of Poland.
      At least5000 of them have been tortured to death in communist dungeons.
      And I regard myself as a greatest friend of Israel…

      • polish

        Don’t forget also that more poles died during the second world war than jews and also many Poles died in concentration camps.

    • quousque

      Two value logic so close and dear to the western mind, just doesn’t cut it when applied to Polish-Jewish/Jewish-Polish relationship. Over the 1000 years of that relationship. Poland is the space that is occupied at the same time by the memory of Shoah and the memory of a place where in XVI century, 75% to 80% of the world’s (!) Jewish population had resided and flourished. In 1939 Jewish population of the city of Warsaw was numerically larger than entire Jewish population of France. At the beginning of XIII century in order to create commerce and trade, first Polish coins were minted by Jewish ‘bankers’ with the Hebrew inscriptions on them. Out of 25,000 names of all nationalities listed at Yad Vashem, full 25% are the names of Polish gentiles. Yet Jedwabne and Kielce had happened.

      • JetHag

        Contrary to the rants of the charlatan Jan Gross (not a historian, but a sociologist who couldn’t sell a book before he penned the sensationalist “Neighbors” and became the toast of the New York Times), the action was perpetrated by the SS, with the participation of a few dozen locals, and was not, as Gross alleges, the Christian half of the town killing the Jewish half. He also conveniently omits the fact that many Jews eagerly collaborated with the Soviets during their occupation of Jedwabne from Sept. 1939 to June 1941, including denunciation of their Polish neighbors and aiding the Soviets in deporting them to Siberia. As for Kielce, there were dozens of such incidents throughout Soviet-occupied Europe after the war, four in Czechoslovakia alone, a much smaller country with far fewer Jews than Poland.

    • JetHag

      For a thousand years, Jews immigrated to Poland, especially when they were expelled from other European countries, including England, France, Spain, Portugal. So imagine how bad it was in those places for Poland to have been considered a safe haven. The result of this immigration was that by World War Two, one third of all European Jewry lived in — Poland! This, and not “rampant anti-Semitism” was the reason for the Germans creating their killing fields in occupied Poland (and BTW, for the first 2-1/2 years of the war, Polish Christians constituted the largest number of victims of the German death camps in Germany and occupied Poland). Unfortunately, a millennium of Poland’s acceptance and tolerance of Jews is obscured by six years of German occupation.

    • Cefu Qeraton

      Do you live or lived in Poland to say “deeply engrained anti semitism is in Polish society”? Before WWII my home town had about 40 % Jewish citizens. There were 2 Jewish football clubs: Maccabi and Hapoel. Was it possible that so many Jews could live in “antisemitic society”? In fact, Polish government supported Jewish organisation:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betar

      Poles helped Jews many times:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Righteous_Among_the_Nations

      But many Jews was also our heros:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berek_Joselewicz

      Jews are part of our history. Polish society isn’t antisemitic, antisemitic is really really minority connected with skinheads and nationalists.

    • Cefu Qeraton

      And this survey doesn’t matter, it’s tendentious. I would like to have Polish neighbours also, but if it is Jew, OK, I can accept that. Remember that Polish society is about 97 % Polish, we like each other, but we hate each other. We are permanently arguing with each other, but when it comes to defend Polish freedom, we are one force. That’s why we are the biggest freedom-admirers. No one can occupy us, we always liberate. “Poland – first to fight”

    • artkicz

      Dear Friend, u seem to forget that before WWII almost 90% of World Jewish population was living in Poland. U seems to not remember that Jews were kicked out from most of the countries during XVI-XVIII centuries, and in Poland they found a safe harbor. Exactly because of that, Germans, from the practical point of view, organized holocaust in Poland. The big disrespect to Polish Nation is that now many of international media say “Polish concentration camps”. These camps were NEVER POLISH, they were just localized in Poland. U seem to forget also that 1/3 of all persons recognized as Righteous Among the Nations are Poles….

    • artkicz

      Dear Friend, u seem to forget that before WWII almost 90% of World Jewish population was living in Poland. U seems to not remember that Jews were kicked out from most of the countries during XVI-XVIII centuries, and in Poland they found a safe harbor. Exactly because of that, Germans, from the practical point of view, organized holocaust in Poland. The big disrespect to Polish Nation is that now many of international media say “Polish concentration camps”. These camps were NEVER POLISH, they were just localized in Poland. U seem to forget also that 1/3 of all persons recognized as Righteous Among the Nations are Poles….

  • Georgi

    “My Name is Red?!”
    Is that what Bulgaria gets after:
    - being a staunch US supporter in Afghanistan and Iraq and giving casualties in the process
    - giving instant and total air access corridor to Bill Clinton in the Serbia bombings of 1998
    - being a multiethnic, multireligious Balkan country without even the remotest risk of “balkanizing” civil wars
    - saving all Jews within its pre-war borders (100% or 50,000 people) during WW2? (Note: it did not manage, and some say did not make the effort, to save the 10,000 jewish people in the territories it occupied in the course of the war)
    - currently being a secular republic where hijabs are also NOT seen? – Although I fail to understand as to WHY being secular and not expressing one’s religious beliefs openly and freely gets the author’s approval.
    - ALL OF THE ABOVE POINTS AND BULGARIA IS COLORED RED ON THIS MAP?
    - Btw, the skyscrapers downtown might be Liebskind designs but are partially Arab oil money financed. Which probably explains the Palestinian flag proudly waving in front of Zlote Tarasy next to the Polish and EU flags during the United Nations discussion of unilateral Palestinian statehood.

    Did David Horowitz really approve of arbitrarily coloring Bulgaria Red and Poland Green? Come on…

    • quousque

      Cool your jets Georgi, your points are well taken, but it is just a graphic to emphasize the column main point. If you were correct in your outburst we would have rebellion here from all these other countries of European Continent (if there is such a thing), from Gibraltar to Ural Mountains also colored in red. I grant you, the choice of colors is atrocious.

      • Georgi

        The point of the article about the unique bond between Poland and USA is softened by the fact that Bulgaria has a similar if not stronger unique bond if we measure qualitatively rather than quantitatively. Visa waivers are being discussed for both countries btw.
        “all these other countries of European Continent (if there is such a thing), from Gibraltar to Ural Mountains” have not achieved what I pointed out about Bulgaria which I will gladly reiterate as summary bullets:
        - “Coalition of the Willing” in Afghanistan and Iraq (staying until Obama decides the job is done, unlike for example UK/NL)
        - Being USA’s wingman throughout the 1990s in the Yugoslavia wars and accepting many unpopular decisions including allowing USA fighter jets to use Bulgaria as well as observing the strict embargo even though it immensely hurt our economy that we could not trade with our direct land neighbor (Imagine the border between Poland and Germany being shut down)
        - Giving US companies super lucrative energy contracts in Bulgaria (Maritza Iztok)
        - Excellent religious freedom and tolerance in a country which is 80% Bulgarian Orthodox, 15% Muslim, 5% Other (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox)
        - Did I mention saving its entire colorful and diverse population from the hands of Nazi extermination in World War 2 (unique among any of the countries from Gibraltar to Ural)?

  • Londynczyk

    Typical American – Old town houses aren’t 16th or 17th century but rebuilt in that style after the war, because Warsaw was annihilated by the Nazis for the uprisings. Do get your facts right when writing about our country, read a guide book , learn a bit

    • JetHag

      Ease up, London Boy. Considering all the negative coverage of Poland in the worldwide media, it’s refreshing to see something positive written about Poland in the US (or anywhere else) for a change.

    • Julianna

      With all the detractors Poland has in the world, why don’t you argue with them instead of using this site as a forum to vent your anti-American vitriol. The Poles aren’t too popular in the U.K., so that would be a good place to start.

  • Seek

    This article is right in many ways, but not everything in Poland is golden. For evidence, see Steve Forbes’ column in the new annual special issue on the Richest 400 Americans (pp. 27-28). He notes the Polish government has seized $37 billion of the country’s $86 billion hybrid pension fund — the portion invested in government bonds. This official reason for this blatant theft supposedly is to restrain the growth of the national debt. But it’s still theft no matter how you look at it.

    The government of Cyprus pulled a similar stunt a few months ago. One hopes the Obama administration doesn’t get any ideas all these lines.

  • Michal

    Unfortunately not everything is so rosy in Poland. As a polish living in Warsaw I can say that while Polish are very pro-American, this is changing very quickly due to influence of Western European elites and media. Poland has been always inspired by the West and this means Western Europe as well. So we learn from the west anti-Americanism quickly. It seems that the last point on immigration and Islam still holds. After strong national debates we outlawed production of Halal meat which was a great success, but the government is doing its best to facilitate religious slaughter for minorities. Hopefully we are not going to learn from the west anymore and start thinking for ourselves.

  • Arf

    The Poles may be moving in the right direction but relying on the U.S., Britain or any other such country is not smart. The U.S. does not help its friends. It betrays them. Stay strong, Poland.

  • Dyer’s Eve

    I’ve always had a soft spot for the Poles. After all, the Nazis couldn’t wipe them out and the Soviets couldn’t crush them. It says a lot about their resilience and character.
    Poland: The hope that never Dies.

  • Cracovian

    If you knew history of Warsaw, you wouldn’t write: “its cobbled streets lined with exquisitely maintained houses from the 16th and 17th centuries”.
    Warsaw was completely being ruined during the second world war by Germans and Russians. Some of the buildings were rebuilt after the war, taking inspiration from old photographs. That’s why they look “exquisitely maintained”.

  • RoxanneRoxanadana

    I don’t know about this. Check the Polish English language forums & see what they think about Jews. It’s pretty ugly.

  • A native Pole

    I wish it was all as great as the author describes. But generally it is true. I can also add that many Israelis would be surprised to find out how many Poles “yep, actually do like Israel”. Remember pro-Israeli demonstrations in Polish cities during one of the “Cast lead” operation in January 2009?