Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 1943


As April 19 falls on Passover this year, the ceremonies commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising are being held today.

In town was Shimon Peres - the only Israeli president anyone has ever heard of. Israeli presidents are like Irish presidents: they could have been in the job five years and the first you hear of them is when they are resigning, or fighting another election. Peres took part in the long, solemn ceremony at the Monument to Ghetto Heroes, in the Muranow district, just to the north of the centre of the capital.

I used to live in that area and the ‘Jewish quarter’ doesn’t feel very Jewish anymore. No Jews there anymore. There are a few reminders of the past - a street named after the founder of Esperanto, Ludvic Zamanhof, for instance. The Nozyk Synagogue survived the war - the Nazis used it for storage space. A small part of the wall. Even the Monument to Ghetto Heroes on Zamenhofa Street is quit modest, surrounded by nasty 1950s apartment blocks.

In fact, so unlike how it was - as are most places in Warsaw - that when they filmed Polanski’s The Pianist, they didn’t shoot it in Moranow, they shot it across the river in the Praga district. See the scene on ljhjblaApril 19 from the film here.

President Peres is here till Thursday, and then the current Polish-Israeli fest will be over.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it very sad every time I see a former Synagogue in Poland that is now a Swimming Pool or Storage Space.

To think that before WW2,there was a socially thriving society of Polish Jewish People and now this Society and People are all they are all gone,most murdered by the Nazis.To know that sects of the Catholic Church in Poland remain anti-semetic,along with certain People in Polish Society(mostly lead by the Catholic Church)is what makes me sad for the future of Poland.Do Polish People care about the lack of Jewish Poles in their Society today.My Conclusion is,no they don't really want Polish Jews in their Catholic Country.
PS.I am a Catholic by the way!

John,Poznan

beatroot said...

The synagogue only remains because the nazis used it as storage. Even when they left they didn't blow it up. There is an interesting history to that place. So its presence now is one of defiance. Good symbol.

But I think you are being a little reductionist when pinning anti-Semitism on the Catholic church. The reason for the casual anti-Semitism common in Poland - and the reverse, the Semite-philia that is also common - is Poland’s uneven development: some of it being stuck on the 1930/50s.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad to read such a "John from Poznan" bull shit about "Catholic Polish antisemites ,who do not want Jews in their country".

Poland is the MOST FRIENDLY european country for jews and after USA and Israel maybe the most friendly in the world.

If you want to hear how jews live in poland ,do not read western european propaganda ,but ASK THE JEWS how they feel in Poland.
Ask Shewach Weiss ,or Michel Schudrich for example if they see more antisemitism in Poland or in France/Germany/Italy or England...

Anonymous said...

Here you can see the interview with Shewah Weiss...

You have to push the button "23:30"

http://www.itvp.pl//player2.html?mode=3&channel=9999&video_id=22954&real_video_id=59616

Helga said...

Czesc tam!
Interesting blog - I've put a link to you on my page. Watch out for "Lizas Welt", "Freunde der offenen Gesellschaft" and "Die Achse der Guten"!
Mieszkałem trzy lata w Polsce - bardzo kocham ten kraj!
Just wanted to add something about antisemitism.
Antisemitism is not about language, nationality, religion, the color of your skin or whatever - it's just a very old way of thinking: that a jewish conspiration is somehow ruling the world (of course today from america and israel...)
I always thought, that after the shoa people in europe took a deep breath and stopped for a while. but in fact this way of thinking just continued. They call it antizionism today, but in fact, it's just the same and you can find it everywhere...

geez said...

So Jews who do not think there is a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world who nevertheless do not support Israel's militarism, expansionism, occupation of internationally and even Israeli-recognized Palestinian territory are themselves anti-semites?

Anon, you think Jews will be leaving Israel en masse and returning to Poland once the secret gets out?

Helga said...

if hamas or al aksa put down their guns, there could be - perhaps - peace. If israelians put down their guns, there will be no israel anymore - and not, because it is a democracy since 60 years, but because it is jewish (just read the manifest of hamas or what arafat and before him his uncle, amin el husseini wrote about it)
Antizionism is nothing but another colour of antisemitism and, of course, there are anti-semitic jews (like there are anti-catholic catholics, anti-gay gays or polish peolpe who don't like Poland) - but perhaps, that's just my opinion... :)

beatroot said...

helga
I always thought, that after the shoa people in europe took a deep breath and stopped for a while. but in fact this way of thinking just continued.

This is simply not correct. After Shoa the ideology of scientific racism was smashed to bits. Kaput! There is no danger in this day and age that the kind of Nazi ideology that was widespread in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s is about to reappear.

What we have today is a casual prejudice among a minority of people throughout Europe. It can be a little ugly at times but this is in no way anything near the Nazis and the Shoa is not about to be repeated. And this is very important to understand. The Holocaust genocide was historically unique. Period.

Helga said...

well, I didn't say that the shoa is going to be repeated, but that "this way of thinking" (=antisemitism) continued. You're right - the shoa was unique and it is not going to be repeated in europe. But that doesn't keep somebody like Ahmadinejad from asking if it really took place and to threaten Israel instead - and it also doesen't keep a lot of people in europe from showing solidarity with palestinians while blaming israel to be the reason for their suffering and not hamas or PLO with their aggression against jews. Sorry, but antizionism is still the new antisemitism of our time...

jannowak57 said...

Helga said... “Antizionism is nothing but another colour of anti-Semitism”

Maybe not in it’s entirety but certainly a portion is. As I see it Israel is taking the only course of action open to it and it seems perfectly rational. At present there exists no one to negotiate a lasting peace with, Palestinian society is in a state of near civil war. Half of the Palestinian territories are under the control of Hamas, whose position continues to be the destruction of the state of Israel.

The Palestinians are at fault for absence of peace and a Palestinian state; they just can’t produce the leadership or national unity to advance their cause. Who in their right mind can walk around believing that the Palestinians will succeed in defeating Israel?

The position of many western leftist liberals is just hypocrisy or their usual tendency to flock to the latest fashionable position; one must socially fit into the salon.

Anonymous said...

So I am bull shitting! That is crap! Tune in to Radio Maria and you will hear the Polish antesemites!
I notice you do not give your name-says a lot about you.

John, Poznan

heat_seeker said...

Jan said: "The position of many western leftist liberals is just hypocrisy or their usual tendency to flock to the latest fashionable position; one must socially fit into the salon."
I must echo Jan's sentiment. To wit, I understand that this week, the UK removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it "offended" the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. This is extremely troubling. To top it all off, Jimmy Carter while visiting the ME and for whatever misguided reason...) laid a wreath at the Arafat's grave...
WRT 'antizionism', the term has nothing to do with the actual meaning of 'zionism', but rather with the concept of 'zionist conspiracy' created by the antisemitic propaganda machine of the Tzarist Russia. Hence, being 'the fruit of the poisoned tree' , so to speak, the term itself is highly antisemitic.

opamp said...

Tune in to Radio Maria and you will hear the Polish antesemites!

I suggest you to turn in to Radio Maryja and listen to their 'antisemitic' speeches yourself, instead on relaying on second-hand reports of Gazeta Wybiórcza.

The last 'antisemitic' comments there were related to the fact that certain Jewish organizations want to assert 65 billion USD claims against Poland for the property lost during Holocaust. To put that in perspective, this over 10% of Polish GDP. Dismissing this as 'antisemitism' serves no other purpose, than to ban any discussion on the merits of such claims.

By the way, I really love Western Europeans lecturing Poles on the inherent Polish antisemitism, while the synagogues in their countries bear more resemblance to fortifications than places of worship.

I notice you do not give your name-says a lot about you.

Puh-leeze... As don't put a verifiable electronic signature on your posts, your "name" is worth as much as my nickname.

jannowak57 said...

Anonymous/ John, Poznan said... “Tune in to Radio Maria and you will hear the Polish antesemites!”

Radio Maria is hardly representative of the nation as a whole. Wouldn’t it be the same as using the ramblings of an American shock jock to determine American public opinion?

There has got to be a better way to analyze how anti-Semitic the EU member states really are, perhaps using police statistics or the number of complaints filed with the authorities. I expect that in the list of 27 EU nations Poland would not be at the bottom nor at the top of the list.

jannowak57 said...

heat_seeker said... “I understand that this week, the UK removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it "offended" the Muslim”

Please look at your source for this; I think the article has been identified as one of those pieces of mis-information not uncommon to the Internet.

beatroot said...

But that doesn't keep somebody like Ahmadinejad from asking if it really took place and to threaten Israel instead.

Many people in the Arab and or Muslim world actually believe what he says. In fact, it is not that controversial to say these things there. He was not aiming to shock his own people. It was a populist message at home, that has much more influence in the West than it deserves. The guy is a populist politician playing to a populist audience at home, in an attempt to draw Iranians’attension from the disastrous state of their economy. And that is just about the value of it. No more.


a lot of people in europe from showing solidarity with palestinians while blaming israel to be the reason for their suffering and not hamas or PLO

You are mixing two different things up together. PLO was a secular alliance, based around 1950s, 60s, 70, Arab nationalist movements. Hamas is a movement based on the newly fashionable in the 80s, 90s, 2000s.…Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist, post secular, left nationalist. So two very different responses to the real cause of the problem - the occupation, post 1967.

Yes, of course Israel should be allowed to exist. In peace. But let’s be honest. The shekel stops at the occupation. Sort that out and Israelis might be allowed to live in the peace they deserve.

geez said...

Well, what do those freaking Palestinians expect, living on Jewish land?

The Israeli government hasn't been the least bit aggressive. It's those murderous Palestinians with sophisticated, high technology rocks.

And 57, that salon crap is tired old elitist condescending tripe.

Helga, learn how to spell "Shoah" by the way. Otherwise, I'll have my anti-zionist, pro-Israeli- state, Jewish friends email you en masse accusing you of being anti-semitic.

Radio Marya not anti-semitic? Please!

beatroot said...

John, Poznan

So I am bull shitting! That is crap! Tune in to Radio Maria and you will hear the Polish antesemites!
I notice you do not give your name-says a lot about you.


John, who are you saying that to here. Me? I would like you to justify those remarks.

Are some catholics anti-semite? yes. Does that mean they are anti-semite because they are catholic? No, of course not. Hitler was not a catholic. For instance. Among millions. Anti-Semitism does not have roots in other religions. Period. Look a little wider than that.

Anonymous said...

Beatroot-I am referring my coments to anonymous who repled to my first post.
I am not saying that all Catholics in Poland are anti-semite.However,I believe there under currents of anti-semitism in the night broadcasts of Radio Maria's who broadcast to the Catholic flock in Poland.And going to Catholic Church services in Poland,I never hear anything said about the eradication of Poland's Jewish community and how evil an act that was,so I assume they are anti-semites as they ignore this history in Poland.

John

beatroot said...

But the question is, John: why is there residue anti-Semitism of the radio Maryja variety in Poland when there are no Jews left?

I am not a Catholic BTW.

geez said...

Several thousand crazy old ladies in berets who believe anything a handful of bonkers priests tell them.

What other explanation do you need?

There are various degrees and kinds of whackiness in all societies.

Why do some folks in England and Ireland think emigre Poles are the cause of all their problems?

Why do some English speaking Poles believe that the Beatroot is a salonist? Or is that saloonist?

geez said...

I should have written "several hundred thousands"

Helga said...

beatroot said:
You are mixing two different things up together. PLO was a secular alliance, based around 1950s, 60s, 70, Arab nationalist movements. Hamas is a movement based on the newly fashionable in the 80s, 90s, 2000s.…Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist, post secular, left nationalist.

Well, I think you're wrong. PLO and Hamas are two different organisations, that's right, but the muslim brotherhood is much older, than you think. One of its Founders was Amin El-Husseini, good friend of the Nazis, who lived for a few years during second world war in Berlin. Later he became the Muffti of Jerusalem (not official, by the way) and who didn't accept a palestinian state next to a jewish state. Amin El-Husseini also had a big family and one of his favourite nephews was Jassir Arafat...
further information about this is here (in english):

http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/kategorie/english/?lang=en


@ geez
Shoah, Shoah, Shoah, Shoah, Shoah, Shoah - think I got it now!

beatroot said...

Shoah, indeed.

helga

Just because the roots of the Muslim Brotherhood in fact go back to the 1930s/40s that kind of politics was marginal until the collapse of Arab nationalism, on which PLO, a secular organization, was based. Into the gap we have Islamism, and Hamas.

Helga said...

the main object of PLO was to get rid off the jews and to establish a state of palestinia (without jews!) - arafat said this quite often. The PLO was "secular" and antisemitic, but the hamas is islamic and antisemitic and became strong because Arafat had to acept israel in camp davis. Do you really think that all those palestinians became fundamental-religious at once?
I think, the main issue both have in common is to throw out the jews and therefor hamas became popular.

To call the influence of the Brotherhood "marginal" is simply not true - because of muslim leaders like El-Husseine the project of two states wasn't realised! And Arafat himself never went in distance to his uncle!

Anonymous said...

So Helga, you support a two states solution?

Helga said...

well, that's probably the best solution. But there must be security for izrael, too - and that's not so easy. You can see it here:

http://rungholt.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/sichere-grenzen/

(sorry, just in german, but the maps show the distance of rockets towards izrael)

Anonymous said...

Well, we agree and there should be some more fairness vis-a-vis the Palestinians, too. Not so easy either way overall but moving out of the settlements in what is now recognized as Palestinian territory and not permitting anymore expansion would be a nice start.

beatroot said...

how about a ONE STATE solution? How absurd is it for a people to claim a bit of land theirs just because of cultural history?

geez said...

Why have any countries?

Let's all sing the Internationale following the bouncing Rosa Luxemborg head!

beatroot said...

Why a bouncing head?

jannowak57 said...

beatroot said...” how about a ONE STATE solution”

Who would you sell this solution to the Jews, are they likely to sign up for their own extermination.

beatroot said...” Why a bouncing head?"

Good question as it would likely be messy as she was rifle-butted, then shot in the head. Would you say a just and good ending for any communist?

geez said...

Doncha remember those old cartoons where there was a bouncing ball over the words of the song so you could sing along? Why not a bouncing head and in this case one of Rosa? Pythonesque sorta.

beatroot said...

jan - if the only way to maintain Israel is to turn it into a fortress then I do not think that is a healthy option for Jews or anyone else. And I do not agree in this day and age that ethnicity or religion should be a qualification for the exsistence of a state.

jannowak57 said...

beatroot said... “do not agree in this day and age that ethnicity or religion should be a qualification for the exsistence of a state.”

I expect they need realistic solutions in order for the Israelis and Palestinians to resume something close to a normal existence. The area in question may be a few centuries away from your concept.

From the beginning the reason for the existence of Israel was to create a Jewish homeland, whichever way Jewish was defined by ethnicity or religion.

If you look to Africa the consequence of creating states with relative disregard to ethnicity has had terrible consequences.

beatroot said...

So the 'creation of states' with disregard for ehtnicity has 'terrible consequences.

You must have a pretty degraded view of humanity, jan, if you believe that people are just automatically in conflict just because of a mixed ethnicity.

Maybe Poland has taught you all the wrong lessons about monocultures.

jannowak57 said...

Wishful thinking, noble ideas and the reality of historical lessons are often at odds with each other. At the end of WW2 the victorious powers concurred that large ethnic minorities historically at odds with the majority population was a formula for future conflict. They remedied this, all be it was with disregard to human rights, but it shaped today’s Europe, one that is extremely manageable.

Lets look at the old Yugoslavia as classical example of what can happen or today’s Africa. For that matter Belgium’s recent political problems are a result of the same sort of dynamics. This isn’t an issue of multiculturalism, as it’s understood in some western societies, but rather the presence of a large single ethnicity with a historical grievance in its relationship with the majority population.

geez said...

I don't think people are automatically in conflict because of mixed ethnicity. And ethnic purity is largely a crock.

But I don't think a broadly common national culture based largely on ethnicity or even religion (to the extent that it can actually even exist) is necessarily a bad thing, either. Even then, it ain't gonna be all that mono. Polish culture ain't mono either, so why suggest it is?

beatroot said...

Jan57
Lets look at the old Yugoslavia as classical example of what can happen or today’s Africa.

1. Most societies are a mixture of different cultures and the really thriving ones are the ones that are the most mixed. Poland was at its best when it was like that. US, UK these places have tensions but they also have a a dynamism that Poland can only dream of (probably, by what you say, as a nightmare).

2. Africa and Balkans are not comparable. Africa is about hoe people react when there are scarce resources.

Balkans was a result of the end of the cold war. Ethnic tensions there were not just squashed by a totalitarian Tito government. They were genuinely contained. Balkans is more like Iraq. Where ethnic tensions were there, for sure, but the politics of that time was Arab nationalist (Baathist), not sectarian or religious, ethnicity based. It wasn’t just Hussein’s henchmen that kept it all together.

And I would like to see a politics that put what we have in common before divisive stuff like what you are arguing for, or the liberal multiculturalism that does the same as what you do: seeing people as somehow ethnically or culturally separate. And that is not far removed from seeing people as racially separate.

What a muddle the left and right have got themselves in, these days.

jannowak57 said...

geez said... “But I don't think a broadly common national culture based largely on ethnicity or even religion (to the extent that it can actually even exist) is necessarily a bad thing, either.”

So long as there is a capacity for tolerance and accommodation of people outside of the majority ethnicity and religion.

The great variances in Polish culture are often over looked by non-Poles.

beatroot said “Poland was at its best when it was like that.”
This is an incorrect assessment of Polish history. Poland was greatly weakened by the presence of large ethnic minorities who carried a sense of grievance with the Polish state real or imagined. The Polish state that existed between 1918 and 1939 was not very successful at bringing the various minority groups closer to the majority Polish population. The attitude ranged from indifference to outright hostility. No minority group remained loyal to the Polish state during the course of World War Two.

beatroot said “at its best when it was like that. US, UK these places have tensions but they also have a dynamism that Poland can only dream of”

Your equating multiculturalism in the west to this situation and it doesn’t apply. Also the UK and American models are very dissimilar. Countries like the UK and Canada follow a pattern of tolerant multiculturalism, the US operates on the “melting pot” theory. The difference is rather significant as the American system is based on rapid assimilation versus multiculturalism being a rather soft and long-term process of integrating into the majority population.

beatroot said “Africa and Balkans are not comparable”
With respect to Africa the colonial powers created borders that made no sense to the prevailing cultures of the area and often put competing tribes together in one territory. Rwanda as an example was a French colony that put two competing groups together and used one tribe against the other to maintain control. It is not irrational for Serbians to want all Serbians in a single state. I could mention the Kurds at this point, western imperialist made an oversight at then end of WW1 and we’re still facing the repercussions. The same geniuses set-up an Iraq with a Sunni and Shiite population, how’s that working?

I think we have a huge body of knowledge in modern history from which we can predict what works and what puts us on the path to disaster.

geez said...

I don't think I've "melted" into anything. Most people pick and choose over time. Some people are more susceptible to the demands of mass consumer culture than others.

I pretty much agree with 57 above(I'm expecting to be struck by lightning as soon as I walk out of the house or have a tree limb fall on me or something).

I'm always struck by how multiculturalism works in Cananda -- but I'm not sure to what extent the majority population there agrees with or abides by government policies in that respect. The policy seems to spring from the influence of the French-speaking population but has been extended to other folks of all colors, religions and national origins. And with the latter comes the rub and a certain amount of resentment that seems to be growing. Especially when little girls try to play soccer, er ah, football, wearing a hijab.

In the US, there really isn't all that much or certainly not the same kind of government policy. Seems like we just try to ignore the differences except in terms of race and one religion (Islam). And even then the role of government is far different than it is in Canada where it's vive la difference (I can't spell any better in French or English, sorry) and cultural differences are in many ways promoted. Not so much so in the US. But the "melting pot" metaphor as far as the US goes doesn't ring true to me either. It was more widely true for an earlier generation of immigrants 1850s-1930s than it is now. Mass culture seems to be doing the trick more "organically" these days but in many ways methinks more destructively of saner ways of living. Y'see I'm not all that much against ethnic communities although they, too, have lots of drawbacks. You get the good and the bad with whatever you choose. What's pucked fup methinks is when the options are limited and/or we all just get relugated and "melted" into merely economic automatons.

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