nr. 32
VICTORIA, BC,
styczeń 2012
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ARTYKUŁY

Ewa Korzeniowska -
Ojciec ludu małorosłego
2012 Rokiem
Janusza Korczaka

Ewa Caputa -
Łeb Hydry

antysemityzm

Paweł Romaniszyn -
Vandalism strictly
condemned

Ewa Caputa -
Siema!!!
Wielka Orkiestra
Świątecznej Pomocy
w Vancouver

Magdalena Hen -
Bałkany
Dyskretny urok
stereotypów

Ludwik Wilczyński -
Himalajski Boom cz.5

o polskich sukcesach
w Himalajach

ECK -
80 milionów
Nowa książka

Wielka Orkiestra
Świątecznej pomocy

fotoreportaż

Rozmaitości


Index autorów

Paweł Romaniszyn

VANDALISM STRICTLY CONDEMNED

Propagation of Ethnic Animosities Undesirable

In the last days of 2011 we were shocked by the news, that someone had desecrated five graves at the Victoria Jewish Cemetery. This indisputable act of vandalism must not be tolerated in any society; it should be investigated and punished. Still, a question arises what underpins the destruction of both private and historic monuments that we again witness in Victoria? As we all remember on one December night of 2009 in a violent rampage, about 50 graves were demolished at the Ross Bay Cemetery, one of the oldest in BC. Hopefully, Victoria Police will succeed in finding those who are responsible for this senseless crime also.

Again all this, is really regrettable. But then there are people, like Mr. Michael Gans, the former Tourism and Hospitality Sales Representative and currently a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Victoria, who exploit vandals attack on the Jewish graves, to broadcast false and prejudiced opinions that only fuel ethnic animosities in the Canadian Multicultural Society.

Specifically, on January 4th, on a CBC morning program, Mr. Michael Gans made a highly prejudiced comment – I quote: “(…) it was really shocking, because we’re in 2012 in Canada, in Victoria, we’re not in 1938 in Poland or Lithuania(….)” – that directly addresses and assaults both Poles and Lithuanians.
Considering the fact that Mr. Gans aspires to enter academic field, by principle requiring critical, unbiased and honest judgments based on sound research and knowledge, it is mysterious why he found it necessary to make such comments about Poles and Lithuanians?

One might wonder what kind of scholar he is. Mr. Gans’ official resume states, that he was invited by the Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, to present a paper at the Fourth International Conference on Teaching the Holocaust to Future Generations with a topic “the development and social impact of Holocaust Tourism in the Baltic States”. One might ask, whether Mr. Gans had noticed that at the Garden of the “Righteous Among the Nations” in Yad Vashem, among 20,000 of the commemorated persons honored with this title, there are over 6,200 Poles – more than any other European nationals – who had saved the Jews from the death, at the hands of German Nazis? Does Mr. Gans know that Poland was the only country in occupied Europe, where German Nazis imposed the law, that a Pole caught helping a Jew would be executed on the spot along with his/her entire family? And it is well documented in Israel that at least 621 Poles have been summarily executed along with their Jewish neighbors, because they had unsuccessfully tried to save their lives.

The aspiration to an academic teacher post should morally oblige Mr. Gans to inquire why the German Nazis imposed such a draconian law only in Poland, and not in other occupied countries of Europe. If Polish society were endemically anti-Semitic – as Mr.Gans implies – such a law wouldn’t have been necessary, as no one would have helped the Jews.

Considering the adverse impact of historical semi-truths and distortions on young Canadians and the Multicultural Canadian Society, as whole, I would like to bring out a few historical facts:
1) Before World War II, Poland was home to over 60% of European Jews. What conclusion does Mr. Gans derive from this fact?
2) In Paris – named the capital of Europe’s culture – on July 16-17, 1942, the French police handed over 13,000 Jewish citizens to the German occupants. Jews were taken out of hiding places, not just rounded up in a ghetto. It is already stated that throughout the entire 5 years of German occupation of Poland there were less than 13,000 cases of Jews being handed over to the German Nazis. /see: H.Grynberg, “Monthly Jewish Review”, August/September 1983./
3) In the period between the WWI and WWII, in Poland the Jews constituted 10% of the population, 30% of university students, 49% of lawyers, 46% of doctors and 59% of people engaged in commerce. Before WWII the Judaic Studies Centre flourished in Wilno. Only in 1937 the Jewish community published some 250 periodicals and over 700 books /see: Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski, Jews in Poland (A Documentary History) 1998, New York/. Would these numbers be possible in the anti-Semitic social and political environment?
4) The long list of documented facts shows that “For a long time (up to the WWII) Jews enjoyed in Poland a safe haven; how else can one explain the extraordinary growth of the Polish Jewish community…” /words of Richard Pipes, Professor of History at Harvard University/

Poland under the German occupation was chosen by the occupiers as a graveyard for the Jews, because of the logistic considerations. It was easier and cheaper to transport for example the 400,000 Hungarian Jews to Poland than the 3,000,000 Polish Jews to Hungary. This is how Poland became the land of the Holocaust, the land marked with the stigma of the German Nazi crime.

In conclusion, in my opinion, Mr. Michael Gans comments, aim at discrediting the Poles as a whole nation, picturing them as anti-Semitic. This invalidates the historical facts but in the longer run may prepare the ground for making the Poles jointly responsible with the German Nazis for the Holocaust.

Hopefully, Mr. Michael Gans, will devote himself to a serious, systematic and scholarly study on the anti-Semitism and stop publicly ascribing it to two nations that were also victims of German Nazi racial and ethnic hatred, before he can be promoted from his Sessional Lecturer post to the permanent staff of UVic and start teaching young generations of Victorians in regular courses.

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