Quite remarkable

So, bloke writes about grandfather, Polish Jew who fought in the Red Army. And uses it as a base from which to muse about remembrance and just war and so on. Fair enough:

But, as the historian Sheila Fitzpatrick noted in a recent essay in the London Review of Books, such views aren’t uncommon. “Many Polish Jews … who found themselves in the Soviet Union during the war, deportees as well as refugees, retained affectionate memories of the place and its people, whom they experienced as not antisemitic and generous in sharing the little they had with strangers,” she writes.

The remarkable bit is rather brushing over that attempt to exterminate Poland as a nation. You know, by Stalin?

22 thoughts on “Quite remarkable”

  1. Iremember, as a 17-year-old taking an A-level in history, coming home from school and one of my mums asking what I had learned that day

    Lol, gay.

    Britain marches on with an unblemished record of moral victory, even as its power wanes, begetting the belief that we don’t owe anything to anyone – neither neighbouring nations nor asylum-seekers.

    Oy veh, maybe we should be more like Israel.

  2. We were in Hahndorf in South Australia over the weekend, a town immensely proud of its German heritage. As we passed the war memorial with its “Lest We Forget” inscription, I couldn’t help wondering who it was they were not forgetting.

  3. Strange article. Presumably most of the Polish people in the USSR during the war would have been forced labourers. Her family were lucky to get away.

  4. Off-topic but in Spudland the amenable Professor reports “I have been expelled from membership of an organisation” In this case the Progressive Economic Forum which it turns out “was an autocracy with the power to expel dissident opinion.”

    Another group Spud has fallen out with. How many is that now?

  5. There were some Jews who fought for the Finns in WWII alongside the Nazis.

    It might be possible to find one who had fond memories of the Nazis – it wouldn’t really change anything about the Nazis though would it?

  6. I understand anti-semitism was widespread in Poland before the war. Hardly surprising then that many Polish Jews were not especially nationalistic.

  7. “Many Polish Jews … retained affectionate memories of the place and its people”: particularly the commies amongst them, I dare say.

    I note that no reference is made in the article to the politics of the family. Neither are we told whether the family lost any members in fighting off Lenin’s invasion of Poland in 1920.

    In 1940 the USSR had just conquered half of Poland – which sorts of Poles are likeliest to have forgiven this in next to no time? Which sorts are least likely to have been shot for having been conspicuous in the defence defence of Poland in 1920?

  8. dearieme – FFS. I wish people would stop prancing gaily around the shrubbery.

    The reason lots of Jews from Poland “found themselves” in the Red Army is because lots of Polish Jews welcomed the communist invasion of their host nation with open arms, because the USSR was pretty damn kosher at the highest levels.

    The reason there was lots of anti-Semitism in Poland is because diaspora Jews evolved a survival strategy of being an obnoxiously visible and extremely clannish minority with lots of shibboleths and barely concealed hostility towards the goyim so as to discourage out-marriage and assimilation – which were and are far bigger threats to the continuance of the Jewish race than the occasional pogrom by retarded Slav peasants.

    They’re nowhere near as bad as the Peaceful religion and its peaceful prescription of peacefully murdering apostates, but in the not so long ago days a Jewish boy or girl who married a Christian would very likely have been shunned by the Jewish community and considered dead to their parents.

  9. So his grandfather was a traitor, fighting for the Russians as who invaded and occupied the country of his birth (and who were, when he joined the Red Army, allies of the anti-Semitic Nazis).
    Naturally he doesn’t like Remembrance Sunday

  10. I can’t see that Britain owes anything to the Soviet Union. The Russkies combined with Nazi Germany to destroy Britain’s ally. They then allowed the Germans to destroy the Western front.

    But when Adolf attacked them, it was all the UK owed them something.

    I’d argue that Churchill’s mistake was to give the Russians too much. The Russians couldn’t really use British military equipment made to British military standards. Even the Russians admit that allied aid wasn’t really of much use before 1943.

    And of course once the Japs were freed from their fear of Russian attack, they promptly attacked British (and Dutch and French) territories in SE Asia. If they’d had the good sense to leave the Yanks alone, they’d have won. If British tanks and aircraft had been directed here they’d have been of more use.

    If Churchill really thought the Russians needed help, what he should have sent them was plenty of spam and snoek. Stalin had made such a mess of Russian agriculture that this would at least have been of some use.

  11. Bogs – If they’d had the good sense to leave the Yanks alone, they’d have won.

    No way, Jose. There’s just no plane of existence in which the Septics were ever going to allow a bunch of buck-toothed, slitty eyed yellow midgets turn the Pacific into their own personal koi pond.

    Yanqui imperialism in the Orient was already a longstanding tradition by 1941 (Admiral Perry, the Philippines) and they never had any intention of surrendering the vast resources of East Asia to bespectacled, kow-towing, I Ching consulting suicide enthusiasts.

    War was inevitable irrespective of the sheer fucking hubris of Yamamoto and Genda in assuming the hirsute roundeyed pink barbarians were too fat and decadent to wage total war after a supplise attack. Exactly the same mistake Goebbels and co. made in assuming they could out-savage the effete tea-sipping boarding school buggerering Englishers.

    BTW is it still ok to use the term “Jap’s eye”? Asking for a friend.

  12. Steve is quite right. The Yanks were already committed to intervening in East Asia – hence their support of the Chinese nationalists. And their economic sanctions upon Japan.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABCD_line

    A more interesting question is what would have happened if the Strike north faction, that favoured hitting the USSR had won out over the Strike South (attack US, GB, France, Dutch). It would have meant that at a critical point, Zhukov and his tank divisions would have been unable to move to the west.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokushin-ron

    Of course, Zhukov had won the battle of Nomonhan/Khalkhin Gol which led to a loss of power by the strike north faction.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Khalkhin_Gol

    (Biggest tank battle in history at the time, although with pretty crappy tanks)

  13. @ Boganboy
    Churchill commented was that the biggest benefit to the UK from the Soviet Union joining the war against Germany (actually it was Germany attacking the USSR – only the UK and France declared War on Germany without being attacked first) was that the Communists ceased their campaign of sabotage in the UK’s docks.
    However the Japanese had no particular reason to be afraid of Russian attacks – they had trounced ,the Russians last time round and had a massive superiority complex *and* the Russians were allied to their German allies. So “promptly” is an exaggeration.

  14. “War was inevitable irrespective of the sheer fucking hubris of Yamamoto and Genda in assuming the hirsute roundeyed pink barbarians were too fat and decadent to wage total war after a supplise attack.”

    Leave Yamamoto out of it. He knew attacking the U.S. was a bad idea. He did so because he was ordered to.

  15. “If they’d had the good sense to leave the Yanks alone, they’d have won.”

    War with China had been going on for years. ‘Mericans didn’t interfere. U.S. did cut fuel and steel trade. Had Japan invaded Malaysia and Indonesia, leaving the Philippines and Hawaii alone, it is likely the U.S. would have stayed out of it. Japan blundered in bringing the U.S. into it, as did the Germans 3 days later.

    Trivia of note. Japan attacked Hawaii on Dec. 8, 1941. “December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.” American perspective. It was Dec. 8 in Japan (other side of international date line).

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    Steve November 9, 2020 at 4:08 pm – “The reason lots of Jews from Poland “found themselves” in the Red Army is because lots of Polish Jews welcomed the communist invasion of their host nation with open arms, because the USSR was pretty damn kosher at the highest levels.”

    When the USSR was established Jews were over-represented in the top leadership. It was also certainly true of the Eastern European communist parties until first Stalin and then Khrushchev forced them to purge their Jews. But was it true in 1939? The Great Purge did hit Jews quite hard but it is not obvious that is because they were Jews or just because if you purge a lot of Communists you are going to kill a lot of Jews.

    One thing Khrushchev said in his memoirs is that after the partition of Poland he could not believe all the Jews begging to be allowed to move to German-occupied Poland.[1] They may or may not have believed the Soviet propaganda about the Nazis, but Khrushchev just could not understand why they did not love the USSR.

    It did not give him pause for thought.

    [1] I would think that there are two Jewish communities in most places. The religious who do not care for Communism. And the secular. Who are Communists. So it would likely be the religious trying to flee the rule of their secularised compatriots and their non-Jewish friends.

  17. DocBud: a lot of cultural Germans emigrated to America and Australia in the nineteenth century, during the assembly of Germany from its disparate principalities, kingdoms, duchies and independent cities. Many did not like its increasingly military tone. I know there is an Ozzie association that researched these settlers. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, wartime leaders have a similar German background.

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