The Ugly Black Bird: The Untold Story of Jerzy Kosinski’s Wartime Childhood, by Joanna Siedlecka and Chester Kisiel. 2018.

Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis

Exposes Falsehoods of Poles Killing Jews (Jerzy Kosinski vel Lewinkopf: PAINTED BIRD). Just Like Those “200,000 Jews Killed By Poles During WWII” (Jan Grabowski in JUDENJAGD)

The original 1994 book, by Joanna Siedlecka, is CZARNY PTASIOR (THE BLACK BIRD- MONSTROSITY). (The pagination in my review is based on this old Polish-language version). This work consists of a series of interviews with people who remembered Jerzy Kosinski and his family, and the actual turn of events. The Kosinski’s (Lewinkopfs) were an assimilated, fairly well-to-do family. (p. 18).

MENDACIOUS HOLOCAUST FICTION MASQUERADING AS FACT

Jerzy originally claimed that everything in the PAINTED BIRD was true. (p. 11). Far from it! He didn’t wander from town to town (p. 46), nor live in an orphanage. He spent the entire German occupation, living among Poles, in the town of Dabrowo Rzeczycka. In fact, not only wasn’t he maltreated, he practically lived like a king. (p. 146). All the lurid attempted-drowning incidents are apocryphal. (p. 143, 152). He never lost his voice. Some boys–boys being boys–did try to pull down Jerzy’s pants to see his circumcision (more out of curiosity than malice). But evidently they were halfserious, as he, not being particularly strong, never got exposed, and always managed to get away. (p. 143).

We hear that it doesn’t matter because PAINTED BIRD is fiction. But it instills anti-Polish prejudices just the same, and it is still widely read. What’s more, there are newer anti-Polish accusations that have been added to those in PAINTED BIRD.

THE HOLOCAUSTSPEAK ABOUT SPHERE OF MORAL OBLIGATIONS

Much has been said about Polish anti-Semitism and how Poles supposedly didn’t see Jews as part of their sphere of moral obligations. But this went both ways. After Nazi Germany defeated Poland in 1939, some Polish Jews, innocent of eventual Nazi intentions, actually mocked the Poles, telling them: “Your time has passed!” (p. 22). (This adds refutation to the claim that the Jewish-Soviet collaboration further east was motivated by Jewish anticipation of Nazi extermination.)

ABSURD EQUATION OF DEATH-PENALTY-INCURRING ACTS IN HOLOCAUST THINKING

Jan T. Gross and his fans would have us believe that Poles were habitually willing to incur the German-imposed death penalty for the unauthorized slaughter of animals, but much less so in the hiding of Jews. This is an absurd comparison, as the former is much more discreet than the latter. As it turns out, the Poles in this area didn’t engage in illegal slaughter until after Stalingrad, at which time the Germans noticeably slacked their policies (p. 63), and became chronically receptive to bribes (p. 85).

ORGANIZED POLISH AID TO JEWS

Also, Jan T. Gross and his fans assert that Poles could count on their neighbors’ secrecy in underground activities, but not in the hiding of Jews. Actually, underground involvement was usually kept secret from neighbors. As it turns out, Dabrowo Rzeczycka is yet another town where everyone knew that Kosinski’s family, and other Jews, were being housed, yet they all trusted each other in this secret (p. 70). In fact, the Jewish children, despite their obvious Semitic features, freely played outdoors. Once, when Germans unexpectedly paid a visit, the Poles, with nerves of steel, innocently called the children indoors on some pretext, and nothing happened. (p. 54).

WHO ACTUALLY ROBBED OR KILLED FUGITIVE JEWS?

Bandit bands, impersonating the AK, sometimes raided the village (p. 58). (How many cases of “the AK or NSZ killing fugitive Jews” were actually the deeds of such bandit bands?)

JEWS SAVED, AND THEN RETURN THE FAVOR BY TURNING COMMUNIST

Armed conflicts were going on between anti-Communist (NSZ, post-AK) guerillas, and pro- Communist ones (GL-AL) in this area. Karol Liebeskind, a local fugitive Jew and actual AL member (p. 55), was assassinated. Meanwhile, the family housing the Kosinski’s was inclined to protect them regardless of politics. (p. 117). (Upon the arrival of the Red Army, Jerzy’s father, Moishe Lewinkopf, became actively Communist, thus becoming complicit in the Soviet subjugation and oppression of the very Poles that had saved them.

INGRATITUDE TO POLISH RESCUERS

When Kosinski visited Poland in 1989, he was noticeably cool to his rescuers and their descendants, who had eagerly come to see him again (pp. 133-145). During his public appearances, he never once thanked the town of Dabrowo Rzecycka for saving his life. (p. 130). For shame!
There are many other Kosinski-type tales of Polish atrocities in existence, notably those compiled by Jan T. Gross in his FEAR. Most lack independent corroboration. Siedlicka’s book serves as a valuable model of the kind of studies needed to evaluate these Jewish accusations.

UPDATE

Recently (2019), there has been a revival of Kosinski-style accusations in the form of unsubstantiated allegations of 200,000 fugitive Jews killed by Poles during WWII (for example, by Jan Grabowski in his JUDENJAGD). The Kosinski experience should teach the reader to take these accusations with a very healthy dose of skepticism.

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