Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

Home

www.google.co.uk


Recent Comments


Monthly Archives


Most recent entries


Search


Advanced Search


Other Blogs I write for

Brian Micklethwait's Education Blog

CNE Competition
CNE Intellectual Property
Samizdata
Transport Blog


Blogroll

2 Blowhards
6000 Miles from Civilisation
A Decent Muesli
Adloyada
Adventures in Capitalism
Alan Little
Albion's Seedling
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
Alex Singleton
AngloAustria
Another Food Blog
Antoine Clarke
Antoine Clarke's Election Watch
Armed and Dangerous
Art Of The State Blog
Biased BBC
Bishop Hill
BLDG BLOG
Bloggers Blog
Blognor Regis
Blowing Smoke
Boatang & Demetriou
Boing Boing
Boris Johnson
Brazen Careerist
Bryan Appleyard
Burning Our Money
Cafe Hayek
Cato@Liberty
Charlie's Diary
Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry
Chicago Boyz
China Law Blog
Cicero's Songs
City Comforts
Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog
Clay Shirky
Climate Resistance
Climate Skeptic
Coffee & Complexity
Coffee House
Communities Dominate Brands
Confused of Calcutta
Conservative Party Reptile
Contra Niche
Contrary Brin
Counting Cats in Zanzibar
Скрипучая беседка
CrozierVision
Dave Barry
Davids Medienkritik
David Thompson
Deleted by tomorrow
deputydog
diamond geezer
Dilbert.Blog
Dizzy Thinks
Dodgeblogium
Don't Hold Your Breath
Douglas Carswell Blog
dropsafe
Dr Robert Lefever
Dr. Weevil
ecomyths
engadget
Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights
English Cut
English Russia
EU Referendum
Ezra Levant
Everything I Say is Right
Fat Man on a Keyboard
Ferraris for all
Flickr blog
Freeborn John
Freedom and Whisky
From The Barrel of a Gun
ft.com/maverecon
Fugitive Ink
Future Perfect
FuturePundit
Gaping Void
Garnerblog
Gates of Vienna
Gizmodo
Global Warming Politics
Greg Mankiw's Blog
Guido Fawkes' blog
HE&OS
Here Comes Everybody
Hit & Run
House of Dumb
Iain Dale's Diary
Ideas
Idiot Toys
IMAO
Indexed
India Uncut
Instapundit
Intermezzo
Jackie Danicki
James Delingpole
James Fallows
Jeffrey Archer's Official Blog
Jessica Duchen's classical music blog
Jihad Watch
Joanne Jacobs
Johan Norberg
John Redwood
Jonathan's Photoblog
Kristine Lowe
Laissez Faire Books
Languagehat
Last of the Few
Lessig Blog
Libertarian Alliance: Blog
Liberty Alone
Liberty Dad - a World Without Dictators
Lib on the United Kingdom
Little Man, What Now?
listen missy
Loic Le Meur Blog
L'Ombre de l'Olivier
London Daily Photo
Londonist
Mad Housewife
Mangan's Miscellany
Marginal Revolution
Mark Wadsworth
Media Influencer
Melanie Phillips
Metamagician and the Hellfire Club
Michael Jennings
Michael J. Totten's Middle East Journal
Mick Hartley
More Than Mind Games
mr eugenides
Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
My Boyfriend Is A Twat
My Other Stuff
Natalie Solent
Nation of Shopkeepers
Neatorama
neo-neocon
Never Trust a Hippy
NO2ID NewsBlog
Non Diet Weight Loss
Normblog
Nurses for Reform blog
Obnoxio The Clown
Oddity Central
Oliver Kamm
On an Overgrown Path
One Man & His Blog
Owlthoughts of a peripatetic pedant
Oxford Libertarian Society /blog
Patri's Peripatetic Peregrinations
phosita
Picking Losers
Pigeon Blog
Police Inspector Blog
PooterGeek
Power Line
Private Sector Development blog
Public Interest.co.uk
Publius Pundit
Quotulatiousness
Rachel Lucas
RealClimate
Remember I'm the Bloody Architect
Rob's Blog
Sandow
Scrappleface
Setting The World To Rights
Shane Greer
Shanghaiist
SimonHewittJones.com The Violin Blog
Sinclair's Musings
Slipped Disc
Sky Watching My World
Social Affairs Unit
Squander Two Blog
Stephen Fry
Stuff White People Like
Stumbling and Mumbling
Style Bubble
Sunset Gun
Survival Arts
Susan Hill
Teblog
Techdirt
Technology Liberation Front
The Adam Smith Institute Blog
The Agitator
The AntRant
The Becker-Posner Blog
The Belgravia Dispatch
The Belmont Club
The Big Blog Company
The Big Picture
the blog of dave cole
The Corridor of Uncertainty (a Cricket blog)
The Croydonian
The Daily Ablution
The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Kitchen
The Dissident Frogman
The Distributed Republic
The Early Days of a Better Nation
The Examined Life
The Filter^
The Fly Bottle
The Freeway to Serfdom
The Future of Music
The Futurist
The Happiness Project
The Jarndyce Blog
The London Fog
The Long Tail
The Lumber Room
The Online Photographer
The Only Winning Move
The Policeman's Blog
The Road to Surfdom
The Sharpener
The Speculist
The Surfer
The Wedding Photography Blog
The Welfare State We're In
things magazine
TigerHawk
Tim Blair
Tim Harford
Tim Worstall
tomgpalmer.com
tompeters!
Transterrestrial Musings
UK Commentators - Laban Tall's Blog
UK Libertarian Party
Unqualified Offerings
Violins and Starships
Virginia Postrel
Vodkapundit
WebUrbanist
we make money not art
What Do I Know?
What's Up With That?
Where the grass is greener
White Sun of the Desert
Why Evolution Is True
Your Freedom and Ours


Websites


Mainstream Media

BBC
Guardian
Economist
Independent
MSNBC
Telegraph
The Sun
This is London
Times


Syndicate

RSS 1.0
RSS 2.0
Atom
Feedburner
Podcasts


Categories

Advertising
Africa
Anglosphere
Architecture
Art
Asia
Atheism
Australasia
Billion Monkeys
Bits from books
Bloggers and blogging
Books
Brian Micklethwait podcasts
Brians
Bridges
Business
Career counselling
Cartoons
Cats and kittens
China
Civil liberties
Classical music
Comedy
Comments
Computer graphics
Cranes
Crime
Current events
Democracy
Design
Digital photographers
Drones
Economics
Education
Emmanuel Todd
Environment
Europe
Expression Engine
Family
Food and drink
France
Friends
Getting old
Globalisation
Healthcare
History
How the mind works
India
Intellectual property
Japan
Kevin Dowd
Language
Latin America
Law
Libertarianism
Links
Literature
London
Media and journalism
Middle East and Islam
Movies
Music
My blog ruins
My photographs
Open Source
Opera
Other creatures
Painting
Photography
Podcasting
Poetry
Politics
Pop music
Propaganda
Quote unquote
Radio
Religion
Roof clutter
Russia
Scaffolding
Science
Science fiction
Sculpture
Signs and notices
Social Media
Society
Software
South America
Space
Sport
Technology
Television
The internet
The Micklethwait Clock
Theatre
This and that
This blog
Transport
Travel
USA
Video
War


Sunday October 25 2009

At least half the point of conferences like this annual LA/LI gathering that I’m now at, is meeting the other attenders, and as if to prove this fact, I now realise that one of the most interesting things I heard on day one of this conferenc yesterday was told to me not by any of the official speakers, but by a bunch of Poles with whom I shared a table at the evening dinner.

At first, the conversation was the usual banter.  I visited Warsaw in 1984, under circumstances that were a mixture, for me, of comical and humiliating, and I got a few laughs with that.  The Poles responded with lots more jokes, with the mere memory of Communism still serving as a rich source of comedy.

But then the conversation got more serious.  I recently read - I don’t recall where – some stuff about Polish anti-Semitism, and, I forget how or what precise connection, I cautiously asked about that.  In response, I was told about the following set of highly unusual historical circumstances.

Before the Second World War, there were many Jews living in Poland, not least because in the past, the treatment of Jews in Poland was better than it was in quite a few other European countries.  And, the Jews of those times being the Jews of those times (i.e., arguably, the most talented and industrious group of super-high-achievers in the entire history of the human species), the Jews of Poland excelled at just about everything.  Politics all across the spectrum, the media, business, science, the arts, the works.  And there were, of course, a quite large number of high-profile Jewish Communists.

For reasons that, it so happens, were not explain but which are not hard to guess about, a quite large number of Communists were expelled from Poland just before the start of the Second World War, including all those Jewish Communists.  These Communists went to Russia.

Then, the Second World War.  To cut a long and horrible story very short, the Nazis then murdered all the remaining Jews in Poland

After the Second World War, Communism was imposed by the USSR upon Poland, and to do the imposing, all those Communists who had taken refuge in Russia returned, including many Jews.

So it was that during the decade following the Second World War, the people of Poland only had one direct experience of Jews.  Basically, all the Jews they had any dealings with were Communist Bastards, active imposers of Communism, on behalf of the USSR, upon the people of Poland.  In 1958 (or around then – that date may be a bit wrong) there was a purge, and the Jewish Communists were again expelled, this time most of them going West, including quite a few to Britain.

After that, very few Jews lived in Poland.  Which meant that the only direct experience of Jews that the Polish people have had since has remained the memory of those Communist Bastards.

Not all Communist Bastards were Jews.  But an appallingly high proportion of Polish Jews were Communist Bastards.

In such circumstances anti-semitism makes quite a lot of sense.  It is still not nice.  But, it is thoroughly understandable.

Is that story, as I have just told it, very approximately, correct?  My Polish acquaintances themselves emphasised that they were simplifying an inevitably quite complicated story - not all the Communist Jews were expelled, not all the non-Communist Jews who remained were murdered by the Nazis, and so on.  But as a first approximation, so to speak, is the above historical sketch broadly accurate?

Is it true that before the Second World War, Polish anti-Semitism was (a) not that virulent and (b) less virulent than it subsequently became?

I’ve now done a bit of googling, and here is something relevant.  Polish anti-Semitism in the early twentieth century was quite bad, it says.  And re the connection between post-WW2 Communism and Jewishness, there is this:

Polish nationalists opposed to the 4 decades of Communist rule identified their oppressors as being of Jewish origin. Some Communist leaders had been of Jewish background but the stereotype belied statistics. And the Communist leaders of Jewish heritage had rejected their Jewish identity. Then in 1968 the Communist government expelled the majority of the Jews who had remained in Poland, some 20,000 people.

Right away there, we see that the Nazis did not murder all the Jews.  But 20,000 does indeed not sound like very many compared to how many Jews there were in Poland before WW2.  But the expulsion of Communists before the war to Russia, and the subsequent prominence of Jewish Communist, compared to other prominent sorts of Jews, is not mentioned.  If my Polish history teachers last night were approximately right, that seems a significant omission.