Paula I agree with much about what you write and admire the courage with
which you bring issues to this group.
You make critical comments about some members' views and comments. I agree
with you there too. There are however certain expression you use too which
stimulate negative emotions. I don't mean to be critical - I am trying to
help explore how even certain of your own remarks can lead to rankerous
reaction, even whilst you are trying to criticise such negative responses.
A couple of examples from your email below:
1. You write 'this group' twice and 'people' (referring to the group as a
whole) once, as if the group was a single entity sharing one view. We are
not. We are a lot of individuals with very different perspectives, some
shared with you, others not. But to lump us together, and to exclude
yourself from that conglomeration, is to commit the cardinal sin of which we
debate, generalising about groups when we are individuals. I am certain you
didn't mean to come across that way, but neither do the people whose
comments irritate you.
2. You state that Poland and other countries should have their past under
'scrutiny'. Eve doesn't like this, thinks there's been enough, but I think
it is right to scrutinise with the right motivation, ie. to know the whole
truth. However when some Poles in this group scrutinise what they genuinely
believe to have been historical issues where some Jews may have harmed some
Poles, you do not appear to welcome such scrutiny. You tend to suggest any
such search is 'propaganda' or an attempt to deflect attention from Polish
crimes. That's how it comes across to me, and I am as keen as you to know
the whole truth - good and bad - on all sides.
3. Continuing the theme of certain Polish people's claims about possible
incidents of individual or groups of Jews commtting wrongful acts against
Poles, you dismiss certain ones as 'revisionist' or 'propaganda'. Maybe they
are, but I think a) those posting these views genuinely think they are the
truth, and b) more importantly, they think much of what you post and believe
as truth are 'revisionist' and 'propaganda'. Indeed this is the recurring
theme of many Poles and many Jews about the others' perspectives: "my view
is truth, yours is deliberate evasion of truth." Both sides equally claim
this. You mentioned the Lebanon -Israel crisis in passing. Friends of mine
are very divided; some are generally pro-Israel, others sympathise more with
the Palestinian cause. Each has recently dismissed every single comment made
by the leaders of the 'other' camp as 'propaganda'. Doesn't that tell you
something about human nature and the universal way many people respond to
issues such as the one we're having dialogue on?
Perhaps as a group we would be better reversing roles! Paula could research
alleged Jewish atrocities in war-time and post-war Poland and tell us what
she comes up with, and Eve or others could investigate the allegations of
Polish atrocities against Jews. Perhaps there could be a 'credibility'
rating of the evidence by a jury and weighing up of the evidence, case by
case. But I guess this is not really what people want. I think what most
really want is for the other side to submit and say 'you are totally right;
it was us guys wot did it.' Only then will peace reign. Unfortunately hell
will have frozen over and global warming will have overtaken all our endless
chatter. Anyone remember in Gulliver's Travels about the war over which end
of the boiled egg to crack open when eating it? I think we're in similar
Anyway, those are my thoughts for better or worse.
>From: "Paula Stern" <paula@...>
>Subject: RE: [Kresy-Siberia] Heritage vs. History
>Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2006 17:42:25 +0300
>I really, really want to understand the thinking of this group and why Eve
>is allowed to endlessly make these comments.
>Many Poles may be sick of it too because Poland has been more or less
>constantly under a Jewish microscope for the last 20 or so years. In my
>opinion this intrusion is unwarranted and unjustified for the most part,
>and has been spun entirely out of control.
>First of all, if anything Poland has been under scrutiny for longer - as
>have the Germans and other countries. France has been and will remain under
>scrutiny. Poland and Germany and France deserve this scrutiny because in
>and of themselves, each country has shown instances where their native
>people have attacked Jews (and not just the pogroms after WWII - try a few
>weeks ago when a rabbi was attacked). I reject the concept that you have to
>take the stories you've been told by your parents with a grain of salt.
>They are that person's reality and while they don't speak for a nation,
>they are valid and speak for themselves.
>Eve's endless need to touch and cross the line is completely unacceptable
>and off-topic. Why are these discussions allowed to progress this way when
>she herself said last time I posted, that this topic or one similar was
>off-topic and not allowed.
>A man, while researching his family history, found out that the "pogrom"
>and other stories he had been fed his whole life were untrue. As far as
>Polish-Jewish relations go, I think this has serious implications because
>one could dwell on these stories and pass them along in perpetuity when
>they have no basis in fact.
>Okay - that's one - you want 10 others that are fact?
>I fail to understand how this group can say that they want a dialog...and
>then continue to put forth a revisionist attitude and deny the very past
>that needs to be reconciled before going forward.
>Poland had a history - a long history of Jews living there. Much good, much
>bad. I am VERY aware of why my grandfather fled - and yes, he fled Poland,
>he didn't emigrate. It was not his choice to leave his family and never see
>them again - but he had no choice. I think the pogroms that occured after
>the Germans were defeated have "serious imlpications" in relation to
>"Polish-Jewish relations" - and I think Jedwabne has serious
>implications...even beyond the fact that it happened is the endless
>revisionism which encourages people to say it was the Germans and not the
>Poles who committed murder, or to say because some Jews joined the
>communist party, the townspeople felt justified in murdering women and
>children...or the best one I've received yet - was the implication that
>since Israel is involved with Hizbollah and Lebanese civilians have gotten
>hurt, I have no right to speak of Polish actions during and after WWII.
>People - dialog means opening up and talking about what honestly happened.
>Propaganda, as several others on this list continue to try to post, is not
>part of a dialog.
>And with that, I am shutting down for the Jewish sabbath - which I hope
>will be peaceful. We have been hit by over 100 rockets today, as we were
>yesterday and the day before. Two people have already died today, 12
>yesterday. I wish you all a peaceful sabbath...mine and yours. Shabbat
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
>[mailto:Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Eve5J@...
> Sent: Friday, August 04, 2006 5:12 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Heritage vs. History
> Hania and Group:
> One is either interested in history and loves it or not. At the high
>school level in the USA, there is just so much that can be taught because
>for one reason, there is not enough time. Students must pursue historical
>study and specialize in college, if desired.
> What you heard from Poland, ("we're interested in the present not the
>past.") is not only a Polish phenomenon, but worldwide. My mother is one
>of those with the same view, and she is an English American. Many Poles
>may be sick of it too because Poland has been more or less constantly under
>a Jewish microscope for the last 20 or so years. In my opinion this
>intrusion is unwarranted and unjustified for the most part, and has been
>spun entirely out of control. So I'm not surprised at all by that
>statement. Yet there are many other Poles who are interested in the past.
> Family historians must take everything they're told with a grain of
>salt. What we're told must be proven. Until proven, it remains a story.
>A couple of days ago I remembered the excellent link Lucyna provided the
>group months ago. A man, while researching his family history, found out
>that the "pogrom" and other stories he had been fed his whole life were
>untrue. As far as Polish-Jewish relations go, I think this has serious
> implications because one could dwell on these stories and pass them
>along in perpetuity when they have no basis in fact. This is very damaging
>to Polish-Jewish relations and does nothing but maintain the status quo, so
>nothing changes, as I've said all along.
> You are absolutely correct on this. I never learned any of this when I
>was in school. Forty years later, my nieces and nephews are still not
>learning any of this. I must say that the only people whom I have met that
>had the advantage of learning their Polish history are the children who
>came from families immersed in Polish culture living in cities. Their
>parents had the support of other Polish families within the community. They
>had social gatherings, parties, schools. shared the language...but most
>importantly....the stories of Poland's invasions and destruction was widely
>known amongst these children because it was a commonly discussed subject
>amongst their parents. Especially in the children of most survivors. One
>thing for sure is that we all knew the names Germany and Russia. Other than
>this, I did not have the opportunity of vast knowledge, not coming from
>this shared circle of Poles, and growing up I thought my family was very
>much alone in their suffering.
> It is only in mid- life do I understand a portion of my parents Polish
>history, because I took the initiative to finally learn it. Most people
>really don't care and unless there was some importance attached to this
>within the family core there is no reason for most to learn it. This is why
>I liked the film" Hiding and Seeking"...because one man took his initiative
>one step further than most and tried to teach his own family the Polish
>History outside of his families ethnic territories and tried to get them to
>look outside the box. In the end he ended up educating a Polish village
>things that their own youth did not know about their history before his
>arrival. This is sad. At the end of the film he said that going to Poland
>held more significance for him than Israel, for so much of his
>���history��� came from there. I spoke to someone in Poland recently about
>something regarding their history and my answer was " we're interested in
>the present not the past." So many of
> them know as little as the rest of us scattered all over the world. I
>also feel that people who left their Poland carry her soul in their hearts
>sometimes more so than those who have never left. The pull to the root
>system is stronger���.and these are the ones who possibly can teach more.
>This is why I think it is important for families to educate their own,
>because the school system is failing us all. History here is written
>through the eyes of the Americans and much of Polands stories are only
>recently being published in English for our youth to be able to read
>anything truthfull about what happened. There will always be biased
>opinions, depending on who tells you their story,������ but something can
>be learned from all.
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