Origin of the “Polish Joke”

Don’t ask why but I was reading something or other and got to wondering of the origin of Polish jokes. The answer I found was that they are a by-product of Nazi German propaganda. In fact, this is what I read (source):

The Origin of the “Polish Joke”

Polish “jokes” came from Nazi German propaganda that was then pushed ironically by Soviet communist sympathizers in Hollywood.

The racist stereotype that Poles are intellectually inferior or have subhuman intelligence, originated from Nazi German propaganda and Soviet propaganda.

For example, the myth that Polish horses were used to attack German tanks in World War II was total Nazi German propaganda that the Nazi Germans repeated over and over until it took a life of its own using the “Big Lie” technique. (Click on link for more on the Nazi propaganda on Polish Calvary attacks). The Big Lie is defined as “the intentional distortion of the truth, especially for political or official purposes.” This tactic of trying to deceive a country’s citizens was written about by Adolph Hitler. [“The great mass of people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.” Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, Chapter 10, 1925].

The Soviet Communists saw the value of this myth and the racist notion that Polish people have subhuman intelligence, so they had their Left-Wing sympathizers in Hollywood push it to the American public using Anti-Polish Television and Movie imagery.

The image of Polish people having subhuman intelligence was useful to the Soviet Communists too, since then, people would not mind too much if Poland is occupied by the Soviet Union if Poles are portrayed as having a Slavic culture that is inferior and less then human.

Nazi German Hatred of Polish People

As for the German Nazis (and even the Soviets) they killed off the educated class of Poland first to make their racist stereotype of “Poland having inferior intelligence” a reality. The Nazi Germans also felt “Poles only had the intelligence for Nazi slave labor”.

Polish “jokes” were in Hitler’s two speeches after he invaded Poland.

Hitler ridiculed Poles in his Sept. 19, 1939 speech in Danzig (today called Gdansk) and in his Berlin speech in Oct. 6, 1939 with these hate-through-humor anti-Polish “jokes” and references.

Nazi Anti-Polish propaganda/Polish “jokes” in Nazi Death Camps

Michael Preisler who was a Polish-Catholic survivor of the German Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz (Auschwitz prisoner #22213), has stated on many occasions how the Nazis ridiculed the Polish people as having less then human intelligence. Polish jokes were quite popular among Nazi guards in the parts of the Nazi death camps where there were Polish Catholic prisoners being tortured and killed.

Ironically, Left-wing Hollywood and the TV Networks (like NBC-TV) pushed these racist Polish “jokes” even though Hollywood claimed to hate Nazis. Hollywood and NBC-TV evidently hate Nazi propaganda but not when its applied to Poles. Hollywood and Network-TV (NBC) have a deep hatred for Anti-communist, Pro-American, Pro-Catholic Poland. The Polish American Guardian Society has documented NBC-TV’s attacks on Poland with racist Polish “jokes”.

The recent movie “Katyn” shows the German Nazis and Soviets killing the educated Polish class in Poland in order to make Poland “intellectually inferior” and easier to rule. This was during the time Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were Allies, and were collaborating with each other to destroy Poland as per their Molotov-Ribbentrop pact to destroy Poland together.

Although there were degrading jokes about all ethnic groups in the United States due to assimilation problems when they arrived, the jokes that portray Poles as having subhuman intelligence, did not predate the 20th Century in America, since it was introduced by left-wing bigots in Hollywood and TV networks like NBC-TV in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Many Polish Americans who lived before this time have reported that they never heard these racist subhuman intelligence jokes about Poles, until after they were introduced by Left-Wing networks like NBC-TV in conjunction with Hollywood. NBC-TV launched Polish-bashing shows such as “Laugh In” which ridiculed Polish people constantly. Polish Americans felt the producer of “Laugh In,” George Schlatter, was an Anti-Polish bigot. In addition late night bigots were encouraged to bash Poles with “jokes” that portrayed the Polish people as having subhuman intelligence. Therefore the power of Television and motion pictures was used to demean and dehumanize Polish people with repetitive Big Lie type propaganda.

Anti-Polish movies such as “The End” were some of the earliest movies meant to degrade Poles with racist humor. In addition other anti-Polish shows such as “All in the Family” were used to degrade the Polish people even though the left-wing producer claimed the ruse that the show was suppose to be “against bigotry”. “All in the family” was filled with racist anti-Polish sound bites such as “Dumb Polak” in an attempt to influence its viewers to have the same anti-Polish prejudice, that the Left-wing producer of the show (Norman Lear) had.

So basically, Polish “jokes” were part of a Hollywood/TV media hate campaign against Polish people.

No Excuse Sunday

I received this in my email last week:

To make it possible for everyone to attend church this Sunday, we are going to have a special “No Excuse Sunday”:

Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, “Sunday is my only day to sleep in.”

There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard.

Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night.

We will have steel helmets for those who say, “The roof would cave in if I ever came to church.”

Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who say it is too hot.

Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.

Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can’t go to church and cook dinner, too.

We will distribute “Stamp Out Stewardship” buttons for those that feel the church is always asking for money.

One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who like to seek God in nature.

Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday.

The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who never have seen the church without them.

We will provide hearing aids for those who can’t hear the preacher and cotton wool for those who think he’s too loud!

Happy Feast

Today is the feast of the Falling Asleep of the Most Holy Mother of God according to our traditional Orthodox calendar. In the past it was on the Beheading of St. John the Baptist (Sept. 11th, Old Calendar) that we would make mention of the birthday of Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory. With the current Serbian patriarch, His Holiness Irinej however, it is today’s feast day of the Dormition that we remember his birthday. The patriarch turns 80.

By the way, I don’t think I made mention of this earlier but at a special meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops on the day of Metropolitan Christopher’s burial, this past Tuesday, it was decided to make Patriarch Irinej locum tenens of the Libertyville-Chicago Metropolitanate.

The following is a homily delivered by Fr. Michael Reagan and posted on his The Abandoned Mind blog here:

Today after a two-week fast of preparation, we gather together to celebrate the Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos. For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with these terms, the word dormition refers to the “falling asleep” of a saint, a phrase frequently used in the New Testament to describe the death of a holy one. Theotokos which means “God-bearer” is the term most often used by the Orthodox to describe the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to the Son of God in His humanity. Thus today’s Feast commemorates the death of Jesus’ mother, together with the historic events that holy Christian tradition tells us happened just before and after, and the rich, spiritual meaning these hold for all believers in Jesus Christ today.

When we speak of the departed saints “falling asleep,” this does not imply a belief that their souls lose consciousness or fall into a kind of slumber after death. The term seems to be a figurative one, referring to the holy body of the departed, rather than to the soul. At the departure of the soul, the body appears to “fall asleep” to await its reawakening when it is reunited with the soul at the Lord’s second advent. Referring to death in this way promotes the fundamental and glorious Christian belief that death has been soundly defeated by Christ and can no longer be considered a permanent condition even in the physical sense, but something more like a “nap” from which the saint’s body will one day arise.

And speaking of the physical, in contemporary Christendom outside of Holy Orthodoxy a belief has emerged that the body of a departed believer should not be regarded with any particular reverence. Even in many so-called “Christian” funerals these days it is implied or even outright declared that the dead body of the believer is little more than a discarded “shell” that once housed the so-called true person of the soul, but now is no more important than an old suit of clothes you might cast off and burn with the rubbish. This view is not informed by the scriptures or any Christian teaching, but reflects ancient pagan beliefs that despised the material aspect of our human nature as grossly inferior to the intellectual or spiritual aspects.

Because of this view that the body is unimportant after death, cremation was commonly used by the pagans to deal with the “problem” of body disposal. Orthodox Christianity so rejects this practice and the pagan ideas behind it, that the Church will not even allow an Orthodox funeral to be performed when cremation has been opted for. Orthodox Christianity does not denigrate the material as somehow less pure than the spiritual (Both aspects of our humanity were created by God and declared to be “very good” by Him). Furthermore, it sees the body as an integral part of the complete human being, even after death. This belief derives from the fact that Christ rose from the dead in bodily form, and not merely as a spirit alone. If the body were unimportant to our complete humanity or something to be discarded and left behind for the perfection of heaven, Christ’s humanity would not have been raised, glorified, and taken up into heaven to sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Christ’s bodily resurrection and ascent in glory demonstrates what God intends for each of us, regardless of the time that may pass between the hour of our death and our final resurrection. We shall all be raised, our bodies restored and glorified at their rejoining with our souls, and shall be made to ascend into heaven with Christ, joining Him in His humanity for all eternity.

For this reason, Christians have traditionally gone against the prevailing pagan practices to instead treat the bodies of their departed with deep respect; washing and anointing their bodies and burying them lovingly and with many prayers, putting them to rest in their graves to await their final reunion with their departed souls in heaven. This isn’t soggy sentimentality, but a profound theological understanding of God’s plan for humanity, and the reason “To bury the dead” is considered one of the seven chief corporate acts of mercy in the Orthodox Church.

How do we really know that Christians, after their departure from this life, will one day be bodily resurrected, glorified, and taken up into heaven as Christ was? Do we have any record of this happening to a strictly human saint that we might have hope of the same? Indeed we do, for this is precisely what we are celebrating in today’s Feast.

According to the tradition of the Church, after her Son’s ascension into heaven, Mary lived the rest of her life in Jerusalem in the house of John, in whose care our Lord had placed His mother with the charge to care for her as if she was his very own. When in time it was revealed to Mary that her hour of death was drawing near, she asked to see all of her Son’s beloved original disciples one last time. These men were dispersed to the far corners of the known world, preaching the gospel. Exactly as Philip had once been taken up by the Holy Spirit and transported to another place after baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch, God was please to catch up each of the disciples from their respective locations and bring them to the bedside of Mary. Only Thomas, reviled by some as “The Doubter” but whose inspired confession of faith in the risen Christ, “My Lord and My God!” revealed the very heart of Christian truth, was excluded from this miraculous reunion for a divine purpose that would soon be revealed.

The other disciples gathered at Mary’s bedside and received a final blessing from her. When she reposed, they placed her holy body in a tomb, glorifying God that they had been allowed to be with her one last time. Three days later Thomas arrived, and asked his fellow disciples to accompany him to the tomb of Mary that he might see her body and pay his respects. When the tomb was opened, the body of Mary was found to be gone, with nothing but the sweet aroma of myrrh left remaining. As the apostles exited the tomb in awe, they all together beheld a vision of Mary being received into heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ to take an honored place beside her beloved Son. The apostles understood from this that the Lord had permitted these things to happen to His mother as an example and foretaste of what awaits all true believers, all those “who hear the word of God and keep it.” Their preaching of the certainty of our hope of resurrection and eternal life in Christ became all the more fervent after this.

Throughout Christian history there have been many extreme opinions about Mary. Some have exalted her so highly as to nearly make her out to be a “fourth person” of the divine Godhead. Others have so minimized her as to barely acknowledge her role in the incarnation of Christ or as a person of any importance to God beyond that. The Orthodox Church sees Mary in a more balanced way: as a merely human being like us, but also as a truly holy person with whom God was well-pleased. In her blessed death, together with her bodily resurrection and glorification and assumption into heaven, the Church sees a beautiful expression of God’s love for His saints. What happened to her is promised to one day happen to every one of those who strive during their lifetimes to love God. If we will remember God during our life, and love and serve Him to the best of our ability now, He will by no means forget us at the hour of our death. We can know this, because God was pleased to reveal it to the Church through Mary the Theotokos.

Every day we must stir ourselves up to love God, to seek Him in prayer, to serve Him in purity of heart and body. Sometimes we feel discouraged over what seems like such an endless and impossible effort. But we must remember that God is at work in us, both to work and to will for His good pleasure. Our task is the smaller one really. We must simply aim not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God, but to cooperate in His work, and allow the life and holiness of God to be formed in us. It is God who makes people holy, not we ourselves. Isn’t that refreshing, good news? If we will abide in Christ, Christ will abide in us, making us holy and abundant in every spiritual fruit.

From the example of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos, we can see that such holiness is the only thing that truly abides. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His holy ones.” When the time comes for us each to fall asleep in Christ, the love of God will awaken us, and we will understand then that all our striving was not in vain. Is this not worth any struggle we may face in our present lives? Let us not lose sight of this, but labor all the more and with renewed hope as the day of our salvation draws near.

The Experience of Community

I was reading today an article based on a study done at Brigham Young University which states that our “social relationships [add] to the ‘short list’ of factors that predict a person’s odds of living or dying”. (See full article here.)  It seems as though community plays a role in both our physical and spiritual lives. Bishop Maxim (Vasilijevic) writes in an article, The Ethos of Holiness Between Ontology and Gnoseology, that “Holiness is a gift given to those who are open to the experience of community.” He writes later:

“Dogmatic formulations in the ancient church were “doxological” expressions of the liturgical community, as “hope delivered to the saints” (Jude 3), something that was continually and anew accepted from the conscience of the “community of saints” in new forms of experience. Therefore, dogmas were not untouchable fields of knowledge in which one is not permitted to enter, as some “conservative” theologians think (thus the dogmas of the Church would turn into stone remnants of the past). On the contrary, dogmas are “experienced” as existential ethos, “doxologically”, the exclamation of the community and thus something which requires constant “updating”, with a constant openness to the future. Saints accept dogmatic teachings as the empirical heritage of the Fathers (or the councils), and not as a collection of formulas which are to mechanically repeat themselves. Knowledge is identical to being in a community of Saints. Therefore holiness appears primarily as an existing reality of life in the community, and secondly as a knowing reality, subsequently the precedence of being over thinking/knowing. Hence in the church the same honor is shared by the educated saint and the unlearned holy ascetic. Their “equality” and equality-in-honor is unquestionable, even though their services differ. Namely, in terms of quantity of our knowledge (that is, the amount of information about God) we differ among one other in small fragments, being that we are all more or less equal in our endless ignorance; the lives of the Saints envisage no other but precisely that description of man’s reality in history.  Therefore it is preferable to speak of the quality of our knowledge of God, since God “does not give the Spirit by measure” (John 3:34). There are already great differences here, being that the question is do we know God personally or not.”