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Book Reviews Poland-Current Issues Recommended

Review of Polska Dla Polaków! Kim Byli i Są Polscy Narodowcy? By Jolanta Mysiakowska-Muszynska, Wojciech Muszynski, and Marek Jan Chodakiewicz. 2015. Zysk i S-ka


Authors Chodakiewicz et al. repudiate integral nationalism, as it is a racist and state-deifying construct, and a criminal one. (pp. 13-14). Ethnonationalism is chauvinistic, and incompatible with Poland’s Catholic tradition. (pp. 527-528).

They also contend that modern Polish nationalism should be of the Jagiellonian type. (p. 526). Polish nationalist thinking, as exemplified by the SN (STRONNICTWO NARODOWE) was centered on Roman Catholicism as one of the main foundations of Polish national identity, and it soundly rejected Nazi-style racism. (p. 161). [There were a few Polish nationalist groups in existence, in the 1930’s, based on neo-paganism or National Socialism. However, their membership was negligible, and they soon disappeared. (pp. 206-208).]

Wincenty Lutoslawski, a leading Endek thinker decisively said, in 1939, that a Pole can be of Jewish, Gypsy (Sinti and Roma), Armenian, German, or Tatar origin. Even an African-American (in modern parlance) or American Indian (Native American, in modern parlance) can become a Pole. (p. 5; See also pp. 17-18). Consider the pedigrees of some Polish nationalist leaders. For example, Roman Dmowski was of Tatar descent (p. 35), and Wojciech Wasiutynski was of Jewish background. (p. 22). This was no anomaly. Various Polish nationalist organizations long had the habit of accepting certain “Poles of Jewish background” as valid Poles. (p. 27). So much for the myth of Endek ethnonationalism!

Now consider religion. The central role of Roman Catholicism, in Polish national identity, does not mean that other religions were, according to Endek opinion, unwelcome under the rubric of Polishness—to the contrary. The Endeks recognized Polish Protestants, Uniates, and Muslims as valid Poles, but did not accept those currently practicing Judaism as Poles. (p. 21, 29). [The reader should remember that, unlike most other religions, the Jewish religion ITSELF has connotations of nationality (e. g, “Next year in Jerusalem!”). In fact, until recent times, diaspora Jews thought of themselves as situated among the GOYIM (gentile nations) but not OF them. As Jews became secularized, this increasingly gave way to politicized forms of Jews as nationality (Bundism and Zionism).]


During the 1905 Revolution, a considerable number of Jews fought in the ranks of the proto-Communist SDKPiL, and engaged in the slayings of Endeks. The Endeks eventually conducted retaliatory killings. (pp. 77-81).

Now consider the 1912 Duma elections. The usual criticisms, nowadays, of Roman Dmowski, for launching a boycott against the Jews, leave out crucial facts. The Jewish electoral action that had provoked the boycott was no innocent little game. It had put an anti-Polish socialist [Jagiello] in power. In addition, the boycott was hardly some sort harsh, unusual, or anti-Jewish act. In fact, it was the Jews who had started the boycott process in the first place. In 1907, Jews had enjoined fellow Jews to boycott Polish doctors. In 1909, the Jews broke a Polish boycott, of German goods in the Russian occupied part of Poland, by supporting the Germans—another enemy of Poland. (p. 133).

We now move on to interwar Poland. Boycotts of Jewish shops were deemed necessary in order to rein-in Jewish privilege, to break the Jewish economic hegemony over Poland, and to create business opportunities for Poles, who were otherwise kept out of entrepreneurship, and locked in poverty. (e. g, p. 134, 161). [Nowadays, in the USA, this process of discrimination against a more successful group, in favor of a less-successful group, is called affirmative action.] It should be stressed that Endek actions were not just anti-someone, but also FOR the Pole. This included the promotion of Polish commerce (p. 141) and numerous other affirmative forms of nation-building. (p. 123).

As for the universities, the numerus clausus, numerus nullus, and ghetto benches came about because Jews were much overrepresented at Poland’s universities. This not only denied a university education to many Poles including underprivileged ones (p. 148), but also meant that Poland’s elite would continue to have too many Jews, whose ways were generally foreign to Polish ones, and who were prone to act not in accordance with Polish interests. (p. 134).

Julian Tuwim had attacked Poland in his writings (and later became openly Communist). No wonder that he had earned an unfavorable opinion among Polish patriots. (p. 24). Nowadays, some marginal Polish nationalists try to ferret out the alleged Jewish origins of Poles—including even the likes of Lech Walesa. Ironically, during the interwar period, it was the leftists and mainstream Jews that tried to unmask the Jewish origin of certain Polish nationalists! (p. 22, 24). This was futile on its face, as the Endeks never adhered to any Nazi-style belief of Jews as a race.

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