May 28, 2024
Current Issues Polish/Jewish Relations

Detailed Bulletin: The Jewish “Other”. Poland’s Jews Were Never Poles, Exceptions Aside


  • Nowadays, we constantly hear the Orwellian construct of the “Jewish Pole”. As shown in this bulletin, this construct is 95% false. The vast majority of Poland’s Jews never thought or acted as Poles, and many did not even nominally identify as Poles. Despite this, Poles are condemned (e. g, Michlic 2006) for not affirming Poland’s Jews as Poles.
  • This historical issue remains relevant, as Poland is being badgered to accept Third World immigrants that will never become Poles and is even shamed into thinking that she treated her Jews “bad” and so must accept foreigners in order not to make this “mistake” again.
  • Ironically, Polonophobes try to have it both ways: Simultaneously blaming Poles for “exclusion” and “posthumous inclusion” (whatever that means) of Jews, and simultaneously faulting Poles for being antisemites and philosemites (Dziuban 2019).
  • Diaspora Jews historically thought of themselves as a separate nation in exile, living among the goyim but not as part of their nations. The very idea of a Jew patriotic to a host gentile nation, when it happened, was a very recent development (Biale 2010, p. 121).
  • For this reason, the question if a person could be a Jew and a Frenchman at the same time (as per the Alfred Dreyfus case) was a very valid one (Malkin 2004, p. vii). So was the question if a person could be a Jew and a Pole at the same time.
  • Around the start of the 20th century, Jews spoke of a Jew assimilating to Polishness as something that made about as much sense as a Jew going to the marketplace and trying to buy a new mother and father (Shanes 2012). Many Jews had comparable attitudes (Shore 2006, pp. 136-138).
  • Even outward Polonization was, until recent times, rare for Jews. A 1917 Prussian census showed that only 3-5% of Jews were assimilationists (Weiser 2011, p. 312). On the eve of WWII and the German-made Holocaust (1939), 90% of shtetl Jews were almost unable to speak any Polish (Verstandig 2002, p. 13).
  • Jewish peer pressure in Poland actively discouraged Jews from speaking Polish or even reading Polish books (Shandler 2002).
  • Jews moving to Israel were told that they no longer needed to speak Yiddish “because they are in Israel, not Poland” (Hornstein and Jacobowitz 2003). The message is clear: Yiddish is less a “native language” of Ashkenazi Jews and more of a wall built to isolate Jews from Poles.
  • Furthermore, Jewish separatism in Poland assumed staggering dimensions. Before WWII and the German-made Holocaust, the Jews had their own culture, language, and dress. Jews had their own educational system, their own communal organization, their own youth movements, their own press, their own theater, and their own party politics (Rabinowicz 1965, p. 148). In other words, Jews chose to live in self-imposed apartheid from Poles.
  • Poles never put Jews in ghettos. The Jews segregated themselves from the very beginning (Rabinowicz 1965, p. 11).
  • JEWISH ANTIASSIMILATION EXCUSE I: POLISH ANTISEMITISM. Think again. Prejudices went both ways. Jews thought themselves as Jacob and the Poles as Esau. So, Poles were improvident, idolatrous, licentious, and depraved (Bermant 1977, Gold 1977). If Jews can validly spurn Poland because of Polish antisemitism, then Poland can validly expel all the Jews because of Jewish anti-Polonism.
  • JEWISH ANTIASSIMILATION EXCUSE II: POLAND NOT PLURALISTIC. Just the opposite! Some Polish Jews refused to immigrate to the USA precisely because they (correctly) were afraid that its pluralistic character will entice Jews to assimilate! (Kornbluth 1994, p. 50).
  • JEWISH ANTIASSIMILATION EXCUSE III: NO CIVIC EQUALITY. To begin with, equal rights must be earned, not demanded. And the Polonophobes have it backwards. Rabinowicz (1964, p. 11) wrote, “In general they [Jews] were determined not to purchase civic equality at the price of assimilation.” (p. 11. Emphasis added).
  • Other Jewish scholars (Biale 2010, p. 108; Heschel 1950, p. 104; Karlip 2013, p. 135) affirm the fact that proffered civic equality was rejected by Jews in favor of continued Jewish separatism.
  • Polonized or not, Jews commonly screwed Poland. The famous Jewish scholar Heschel (1950, p. 26. Emphasis added) commented, “There, in Eastern Europe, the Jewish people came onto its own. It did not live as a guest in someone else’s house who must constantly keep in mind the ways and customs of the host.” Earlier, Jeske-Choinski (1912, pp. 237-238) had said almost the exact same truth and was condemned as (what else?) antisemitic.
  • The Armenians, unlike the Jews, demanded no special rights. They earned the respect and trust of the Poles and, with or without assimilation, were freely welcomed and given the same rights as ethnic Poles (Lilien-Brzozdowiecki 2019).
  • The famous Yiddishist Noah Prylucki strongly affirmed the separatism of Jews, and decisively condemned the notion that a Jew could be a Russian, German, or Pole (Weiser 2011, p. 313). How much clearer could it be?
  • Jewish ghetto policeman Calel Perechodnik (1996) identified Jewish superiority and Jewish separatism, alongside German bloodlust, as the cause of the Holocaust.
  • Jews increasingly assimilated when they realized that adhering to an enclave mentality is outdated in a modern society, because it holds Jews back (Markovits 1982). In other words, it hinders the expansion of Jewish wealth and power.
  • Jews who did assimilate did not do so to “become Poles”. They simply wanted to function AS JEWS in Polish society (Shanes 2012, p. 10).
  • German Jew Doblin (1991) visited Poland in 1924 and studied Poland’s Jews firsthand. He concluded that Poland, unlike the USA, cannot offer the material opportunities to entice Jews to assimilate on a large scale. In other words, Jews are willing to abandon much of their particularism if this would expand Jewish wealth and power. (This, too, happened under Communism.)
  • “Jews as a race”, regardless of Polonization or lack of it, is usually associated with the Nazis. Wrong. Beliefs in a racial or quasi racial Jewish essentialism long preceded the Nazis, and were held by Jews themselves, and by many academics (Hart 2000). The famous Jewish philosopher Martin Buber regarded the Jews an Oriental race (Deutsch 2011).
  • In fact, the later Nazi concept of a RASSENKAMPF (struggle between races) was invented by the Polish Jew Gumplowicz (1839-1909), who was active in Germany (Myerson 1933).
  • Jewish essentialism can survive generations of complete assimilation. For instance, some recently self-discovered Polish Jews, despite their professions of being Polish, admit to feeling “a call of Jewish blood” and speak of their mystical attraction to other Jews as a “spiritual” (not physical) race (Reszke 2013, p. 197), but with no such mysticism towards Poland.
  • Even assimilated Jews commonly have no strong attachment to the nations in which they live. Some Jewish authors (Mendelsohn 1997; Samuel 1921) have affirmed the fact that Jews are cosmopolitans.
  • Jewish complaints about questions of “dual loyalty” are hypocritical because Jews themselves practice exclusivist identities, as when they insist that it is impossible for someone to be a Jew and a Christian at the same time. Since the Jews have a right to decide who is an “authentic Jew”, the Poles also have the same right to decide who is an “authentic Pole.”
  • Therefore, a Pole also has a right to decide that a Jew cannot be a Pole and a cosmopolitan at the same time. To illustrate, Julian Tuwim, the archetypical so-called Jewish Pole, considered himself a cosmopolitan and not a Pole (or Jew), and later became openly Communist (Tuwim 1984).
  • Endeks are scorned for rejecting the “authentic Polishness” of Jews that wrote on Polish themes. Again, this went both ways. Jews spoke of a “Jewish spirit” of Jewish writers (Weiser 2011, p. 237). Jews rejected sincere Christians that wrote about Jewish themes “because a Christian cannot truly understand the experiences of the Jew” (Horowitz 2009; Manekin 2017). Yes, and vice-versa.
  • In fact, not only “Polish nationalists”, but also many Jews believed that the “Jewish soul” and the “Polish soul” are not only distinct but are innately different (Shore 2006, pp. 136-138; Weiser 2011, p. 237), regardless of the degree of Polonization of the Jew.

Bermant. 1977. The Jews, p. 241

Biale. 2010. Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History, pp. 104-105, 198, 121

Deutsch. 2011. The Jewish Dark Continent, p. 29

Doblin. 1991. Journey to Poland, p. 150

Dziuban. 2019. The “Spectral Turn”, p. 209.

Gold. 2007. The Life of Jews in Poland Before the Holocaust, p. 76, 79

Hart. 2000. Social Science and the Politics of Modern Jewish Identity, p. 14, 295

Heschel. 1950. The Earth is the Lord’s, p. 26, 104

Hornstein and Jacobowitz. 2003. Image and Remembrance, p. 47

Horowitz. 2009. Empire Jews, p. 6

Jeske-Choinski. 1912. Poznaj Zyda, pp. 237-238.

Karlip. 2013. The Tragedy of a Generation, p. 135

Kornbluth. 1994. Sentenced to Remember, p. 50

Lilien-Brzozdowiecki. 2019. Thoughts of a Polish Jew, p. 100

Malkin. 2004. Secular Judaism, p. viii

Manekin in Aleksiun. 2017. Writing Jewish History, pp. 77-78.

Markovits. 1982. Nationbuilding and the Politics of Nationalism, pp. 100-102

Mendelsohn. 1997. Essential Papers on Jews and the Left, p. 15

Michlic. 2006. Poland’s Threatening Other, many pages

Myerson. 1933. The German Jew, pp. 91-92

Perechodnik. 1996. Am I a Murderer?, p. 151, pp. 171-172

Rabinowicz. 1965. The Legacy of Polish Jewry, p. 11, 148

Reszke. 2013. The Return of the Jew, p. 197

Samuel. 1921. You Gentiles, pp. 150-152

Shandler. 2002. Awakening Lives, pp. 322-323

Shanes. 2012. Diaspora Nationalism and Jewish Identity, p. 90

Shore. 2006. Caviar and Ashes, pp. 136-138

Tuwim. 1984. My Zydzi Polscy, p. 46

Verstandig. 2002. I Rest My Case, p. 10, 13

Weiser. 2011. Jewish People, Yiddish Nation, p. 237, pp. 312-313

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