Tekst jest traktowany jako integralna całość, można go cytować, ale zgodnie z prawem z podaniem źródła, tzn. autora książki i jej tytułu, osoby udzielające wywiadu, no i tłumacza amatora:). Tłumaczenie jest moje (z pomocą Google Translate), dlatego jest pewnie w nim dużo błędów:), pro publico bono, całkowicie bez wynagrodzenia.
The Polish right needs its catharsis
with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski
You called and took patronage of the Oświęcim Program and was the originator of changing the formula of the “March of the living” through increasing the participation of Polish youth in it. You also gave your support to the establishment of the Chair of History and Polish Language at the University of Jerusalem and support the project to build the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Where did your interest in Polish-Jewish relations come from and why did you decide to engage so much in the process of reconciliation between Poles and Jews?
From the conviction that for almost a thousand years our stories, Polish and Jewish, are very closely related to each other. Another reason is my past experience. When I was a young man, in a dramatic, completely reckless and tragic fashion, an anti-Semitic campaign was carried out in Poland in 1968. I was 14 at the time and these events were very memorable. At that time I lived in the western territories, recovered, where, in fact, the problem of anti-Semitism and Jews didn’t exist. Either they weren’t at all or they were assimilated and as individuals they didn’t play any role at all. At the same time, the outburst of anti-Semitic moods in 1968 was so large that it was a great discovery for me. I didn’t know at all that such a problem could exist. It was very painful. The accusations thrown to the left and right also concerned my family. As a president, I was convinced that our common, long and rich, but sometimes very difficult, and even tragic history, agreements and Polish-Jewish reconciliation are necessary. Not having dealt with regulating relations with Jews, we will always have trouble with them. Of course, we can also add some political calculation that, without starting the process of Polish-Jewish reconciliation, we could probably have problems in misunderstanding our aspirations from Jewish communities, or even their reluctance towards many strategic issues for Poland. Thus, Polish-Jewish reconciliation was very important in my work. Hence the series of steps that you mentioned. I was the president who invited on conference in Stockholm to support the construction of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. I was the president who faced the publication of Jan T. Gross, “The Neighbors” that is the discovery of the murder in Jedwabne, and then the departure from the heated and painful debate on this subject. For she received many of our countrymen a myth of immaculate conception and the conviction that we were always heroes and we were great. It turned out that we have various black cards in our history. So it was very important. Finally, I did something that the Lord didn’t mention and which I must say. It was considered illegal to withdraw, in 1967, 1968 and 1969, by the decision of the State Council on the issue of single-use passports, i.e. one-way passports to Polish citizens of Jewish origin. We started the action of restoring Polish citizenship to these people. It wasn’t everyone liked. However, at least minimal bureaucracy had to be maintained. This couldn’t be done by simply filling out the form, because there are no such legal possibilities. We could then stand in such a situation that some of the people who lost their citizenship in 1968 wouldn’t want to be restored to them. For example, due to the fact that in some countries there is no possibility of having dual citizenship. If we wanted to reward their old problems, then we would cause them new problems. So we chose the formula that was the least embarrassing for the victims of the 1968 decision. A letter asking for the restoration of Polish citizenship was enough. We then sought documents and if this was confirmed, then these people received the return of Polish citizenship. Many thousands of people took advantage of it. We even created additional jobs in Polish embassies in Israel, the United States and Austria. It was, therefore, some kind of satisfaction for people who were deeply harmed by the Polish state. Many publications and films show that for many people, especially those young people who left Poland at the time, the discovery that they are Jews was often a surprise and a shock. They were convinced that they were the same Poles as all of us. So there were important reasons to take care of it. I am a man who believes that reconciliation is something that is necessary if we really want to live peacefully and want to live together. Too rare, for example, we are talking about the fact that one of the foundations of the European Union, and thus the first structures of European integration, wasn’t only the desire to ensure peace and a free market in Europe, after two bloody wars, which was to be a mitigating factor, or opening the borders between the states creating ECSC, but it was primarily the process of reconciliation itself. And this process of German-French reconciliation is the best example of the fact that hostile nations, who have faced each other twice in two bloody wars, can communicate with each other. For me, the question of Polish-Jewish reconciliation was absolutely fundamental, but during my presidency I did a lot for Polish-Ukrainian, Polish-German or Polish-Lithuanian reconciliation. Reconciliation doesn’t presuppose the distortion of the past, but quite the opposite situation. It assumes that we are speaking in a conscious and responsible manner. It means that even in the most difficult moments we talk to each other in the spirit of reconciliation.
You have initiated the simplification of the procedure for the recovery of Polish citizenship by persons who have been forced to leave Poland after the events of March 1968. Who these people certainly deserved to apologize for was that the Polish state didn’t restore their Polish citizenship right after 1989. In 2000, when as President of Poland you were at the Tel Aviv University, you apologized to the Jews for the anti-Semitic campaign of 1968. don’t you think that the apology of Jews by the Polish president for communist activities in 1968 put the Republic of Poland and the Polish nation victims of the communist regime in the role of the moral continuators of one of the communist factions?
This is a very false approach. First, from the point of view of the victims, Poland is Poland. They don’t carry out such a precise analysis of who and when ruled and what were the motives for their decisions. Besides, we don’t treat Polish People's Republic as a hole in the continuity of Polish statehood. It was a different Poland with limited sovereignty, but nevertheless a certain principle of continuity applies. Perhaps I had a special title to apologize because I had been a member of the PZPR in the past, so this party which in 1968 made such decisions. I never agreed with them. I was fourteen when they were taken. However, I felt that these apologies are a necessity from the point of view of the continuity of the Polish state and responsibility for the things that were happening in Poland at the time. And I didn’t just finish the words of apology, but we created - the legal mechanism I mentioned earlier - a legal mechanism for restoring citizenship. Nations have different governments and different stages. However, some reflection on this historical continuity is necessary. You would also not accept the translation of a modern German as a good coin, because since it has nothing to do with Nazism, he doesn’t feel responsible for all his sacrifices, for Auschwitz, etc. In German moral DNA these are very important things. Not only that, none of us, especially in Poland, is ready to release the Germans from this heightened level of sensitivity, which we expect from them in connection with the crimes of Nazism. It was the crime of Nazism, not the crimes of the Germans over a thousand years, because it was Nazism that was succumbed to by thousands of Germans who supported or facilitated this ideology and carried out Hitler's orders. The Polish People's Republic was a part of Polish history. Many things happened in it that you can really be proud of, such as Polish culture, film, science etc. There are many things that absolutely need to be condemned, including the anti-Semitic campaign in 1968, and I think that's all should be preserved in the collective memory of Poles in the right proportions. The more so that the problem of Polish anti-Semitism, unfortunately, isn’t only 1968. Examples of such anti-Semitism could be mentioned quite a lot. Both in the interwar period and in the previous period. I think that the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is showing it very wisely and in the right proportions. It shows both the great days of Polish-Jewish coexistence in Polish lands, as well as the darker patches of this coexistence.
Referring to the guilt of the Germans for Nazism and the crimes committed by the followers of this ideology, it is necessary to signify that the Germans themselves brought to power in the democratic elections of Adolf Hitler. As for Poland and Poles, communism was brought to us on the bayonets of the Red Army.
Of course, but the Communists never caused such horrible dramas that Adolf Hitler caused. One can’t say that the Polish People's Republic had a very good film school, but in 1968 only the communists were responsible and we have nothing to do with it. I must tell you that the Communists made a big mistake because they moved the string, which is very risky in Polish conditions. Polish anti-Semitism has begun. I am not saying that he is universal, but he exists. If you lived in 1968 and saw the reaction of many people who weren’t party members, and yet gladly unloaded those anti-Semitic slogans, you would be very sorry. You have to have the courage to stigmatize and apologize for that. Above all, you have to have the courage to do everything so that it will never happen again. Referring to the question of apologies, I must tell you that since I was a member of the PZPR in the past, I thought I had the title to apologize for 1968. The view of the Jews departing from the Gdańsk Railway Station in Warsaw presented in the film is really moving. It was pulling the flowers from the root out of the ground they had grown on. This can’t be defended in any way and the words of apology are still missing. My apologies to the Knesset seem almost insufficient. For 1968, the liberal communities would also be willing to apologize. I don’t know how right-wing environments are. This is, however, the right's problem that these anti-Semitic threads are still present in it.
It is more of a dislike to take responsibility for the actions of one of the communist factions, which used anti-Semitism to fight the other, competitive faction.
I did my own. I would very much like the Polish right wing to finally speak in a responsible and morally correct way regarding the case of Jedwabne and those crimes that took place by the hands of Polish citizens against Jews, also Polish citizens. Then I will recognize that the Polish right has made her catharsis, which is necessary for her.
However, whether the establishment of a dialogue with Jews and agreeing to a number of postulates put forward by the Jewish community wasn’t a time for post-communist circles from the PZPR party to try to get some kind of absolution and obtain in this way - on the international arena - moral legitimacy for free actions in the Third Republic of Poland under the changed banner?
No. SLD was a new formation and it was extremely important for the SLD, as we will assess this past. And I will tell you that in my opinion SLD was a movement absolutely free from the March repression environments, even for biological reasons. I would have a great trouble to point out those people from the SLD. In the environment in which I worked, not only was there no anti-Semitism, I must say that there was even such a soft philo-Semitism, in relation to the State of Israel, and in relation to Jewish matters, or in such matters as to the idea of building the Museum The History of Polish Jews. This environment also showed me my support in the case of Jedwabne. Creating a new formation, which was without a doubt the SLD, it was necessary to build its identity. One of the elements of this new identity was the recognition that March 1968 was a disgrace in the history of PZPR. Moreover, apart from the fact that it was a disgrace, it was also a big mistake of Gomułka, who had a Jewish wife after all. Defending himself against the pressure of nationalists from Moczar, he released the genie from the bottle. And all of this, as evidenced by David Cameron's referendum on the exit of Britain from the EU, is easy to release, and it is difficult to close it back. Then Gomułka himself got scared and at some point began to slow down this campaign. He was aware that soon he would become its victim. In Poland, anti-Semitism must not be used, because it is first ugly, secondly immoral, and thirdly, it is two-edged. Considering the whole complicated story, it is just the release of the genie from the bottle. Gomułka hit the string, which was much more popular and important in Poland than it seemed to him. He, having a Jewish wife, in the 1940s repeatedly complained that there were too many Jews in the authorities. However, it didn’t lead him to anti-Semitism in any way, or to divorce his wife. However, for the nationalists from Moczar, it was a fundamental issue. They wanted to oust the Jews. I will tell you an anecdote.
In 1967, when the six-day war was going on, during which Israel defeated the Arabs and occupied all Sinai, Gomułka was to say: "As we are part of the Soviet bloc, we support the Arabs and we are against Israel". In his speech Gomułka unfortunately used the phrase: "we can’t afford to have any V column in Poland and everyone must have one homeland!" Communist activists went after this speech in various environments to explain what was going on with this one homeland. Spychalski, who was then chairman of the Council of State, went to the Polish Writers' Union to explain to his members what Gomułka was referring to at the time. Antoni Słonimski sat in the first place, Spychalski wasn’t a good speaker, and he finally looped in. He kept repeating the words about this one homeland. In the end, Antoni Słonimski didn’t hold his words and said to him: "Marshal, I understand this one homeland, but why Egypt?" (Laughs)
You said that in 1968 accusations of Jewish origin were made against your family. According to reports from Dziennik, despite the fact that you were a member of the Polish United Workers' Party from 1977 to 1990, the SB officers from Department III of the Ministry of the Interior were to monitor you and look for your father of Jewish descent before 1989. When the actions of the Department III of the Ministry of Interior came to light in 2009, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski didn’t hide his indignation, "I am surprised, indignant and shocked, I am just hit (…) in April 1989 I introduced Kwaśniewski to Gorbachev, he went to Moscow, as my right hand, it is unthinkable that a month later some bastards from the SB, otherwise I can’t say, followed a man standing near and close to Rakowski". said General Jaruzelski 27. Why were you under surveillance by SB?
I was under surveillance at a very special moment. I was then the minister in Rakowski's government. Admittedly, it was the government of the People's Republic of Poland, but it was the Polish government. Nevertheless, they did such activities. It was obviously against the law and it was unfair. This, however, lay in the nature of these services. Besides, it wasn’t them who invented these attempts to say that I am not Kwasniewski, only Stolzman. It was later dismissed. Even a well-known researcher from the Institute of National Remembrance, Dr. Piotr Gontarczyk wrote that it wasn’t true. However, it isn’t that all the accusations have been invented by the Secret Service. Such stories circulated among others in 1968 among the so-called people, because such a Polish people are sometimes. On the one hand, such methods were used by the SB, and on the other hand, during the 1995 campaign, Lech Wałęsa reached for such arguments. So we don’t have a clear conscience.
Polish-Jewish relations are extremely sensitive because they affect both the facts and the anti-Semitic moods that in Poland really were and concern the entire history of Poland. In the favorable moments of history, these moods led to many tragedies. That's how it was in Jedwabne. Of course, Poland was then under German occupation. However, Polish neighbors weren’t forced to murder their Jewish neighbors. They weren’t forced to do so either, in 1946 in Kielce. There really was no reason to carry out a pogrom on the remnants of the Jewish people. Also in 1968 there was no reason to call this anti-Semitic fuss. There was also no reason to use the Jewish argument in relation to me or Tadeusz Mazowiecki in political campaigns, already in free Poland, in the Third Republic, who later had to explain that he was from Płock, etc. I once told Tadeusz Mazowiecki: "Mister Tadeusz, don’t worry about it. This is the highest level of Jewry that can be achieved! "" Why? " - he asked curiously. "Because we are nominated Jews. We are not Ethnic Jews but Jews nominated by our compatriots. And what does it mean to be a nominated Jew? It means that he is intelligent and that others are jealous of him!" That's how I tried to turn these accusations against Tadeusz Mazowiecki into a joke. I saw how much he experienced it.
I think that similar insinuations were and still - unfortunately - are the bane of many famous Poles. Frustrats who accuse Jews of their life's defeats and all evil in the world, because there is no shortage. Being a Jew was suspected - as if being a Jew was something shameful, sinister or shameful - the Kaczyński brothers, Władysław Bartoszewski, Donald Tusk, and even Janusz Korwin-Mikke or Lech Wałęsa. As Jean Paul Sartre argued, "Jew is one whom others consider to be Jew," and thus in some way anti-Semites make up Jew. Adam Michnik said that he had "a sense of unclearness of his own status, the status of a Pole of Jewish origin, not a Polish Jew. For Pole who wants to be a Jew for anti-Semites and who always speaks in the face with anti-Semites, I am a Jew" 28. This is such a special kind of Pole. Without developing this otherwise interesting issue, I would like to refer to you more about the use of” Jewish arguments" during the presidential campaign in Poland. Not long ago, Bronisław Komorowski and Andrzej Duda faced the presidential palace race. During the electoral debate Andrzej Duda remembered Bronisław Komorowski in 2011 in Tadeusz Mazowiecki read letter in Jedwabne, in which Bronisław Komorowski wrote that: "The nation of victims had to recognize the difficult truth that he was also the perpetrator". Andrzej Duda stated that these words are part of the false accusations "and, destroy the actual historical memory." Do you agree with the opinion of Andrzej Duda about the letter of Bronisław Komorowski?
I was surprised and even indignant on the expression of the presidential candidate and today the president is Andrzej Duda. First of all, Andrzej Duda should show greater sensitivity in this matter, if only because of his family relationships. He should understand because of his close persons, what it means to be Polish Jew. He should know how sensitive this topic is and that it shouldn’t be moved in this way. It just happens that in 2011 I was at the ceremony in Jedwabne. Bronislaw Komorowski's letter was very balanced, careful and true, because the passage that you quoted is the essence of this dispute. Poland undoubtedly was a victim in the WW2. From the first day she was attacked, occupied, and the Polish nation exterminated. It's all true. However, this most tragic truth doesn’t justify the crime committed in Jedwabne. This situation may justify someone who didn’t help Jews, because he knew that he was in danger of death. It is difficult, in this situation, to understand that during the German occupation, someone who saw Jew was afraid for his life and therefore closed the door. Someone, however, who wore about where the Jews are hiding and was a typical blackmailer, can’t be morally defended. However, the cases of blackmailing took place. This is historically accurately documented. Sure enough, however, there will be an excuse, in the form of claims that the war of people demoralizes and every now and then someone dies and is in danger of being alone, then human life ceases to have the highest value. However, this doesn’t change the fact that Bronisław Komorowski wrote - that by creating this legend of the nation of victims who suffered the most, it must be admitted that terrible things happened, as in Jedwabne, for example. It must be admitted that the death of people driven into the barn and set on fire by Polish neighbors is something unimaginable. It all happened in a barn, which was 200 meters away from the Catholic church, from which the towers had to be visible at the time. When I was president and I went to Jedwabne for cleanliness there, this city was completely empty. All the doors and windows were closed. The local church was also closed. From the inhabitants of Jedwabne - apart from the extremely brave mayor, Mr. Godlewski, who later had to emigrate to the United States - the inhabitants of Jedwabne didn’t actually participate in these ceremonies. What's more, as a cantor sang, Josef Malowany, then through the field, from some cottage, the disco - polo was released with the full sound. These are all facts. The celebrations in 2011 took place, however, with a certain participation of the local population, especially young people.
They wanted to know this story. We helped these young people to make all kinds of contacts that would enable them to do so. This was treated as a great success. Please remember that when in 2001 I was the head of the Polish state, during the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the tragedy in Jedwabne, I had every right to apologize to the Jews on behalf of all Poles. In my speech, however, I applied the formula that: "I apologize on behalf of those whose conscience was touched by this crime that happened here." I didn’t apologize on behalf of all Poles, but I made my speech in the belief that I was speaking on behalf of the majority of Poles For I couldn’t imagine that the majority of Poles could be indifferent to this documented crime. Of course, you can create a protective barrier that prevents such messages from happening and it is said that this can’t be true. however, facts and it is impossible to discuss them.
27 http://wiadomosci.dziennik.pl/polityka/artykuly/156660,sb-zbierala-ha ki-na-kwasniewskiego.html.
28 Adam Michnik: tekst wygłoszony w Krakowie w czerwcu 1995 na konferencji Pamięć polska - pamięć żydowska, „Tygodnik Powszechny" Nr 29, 16 lipca
On May 30, 2001, at the instructions of Justice Minister Lech Kaczyński, exhumation activities were started in Jedwabne, during which scientists were forbidden to lift the bones of victims. A complete exhumation was to be blocked by orthodox Jewish milieus, who felt that it would be to defile the memory of the victims. Rabbi Michael Schudrich said then that "respect for the bones of our victims is more important to us than knowing who died and how, who killed and how." Lech Kaczyński respected the will of the Jewish side. His decision to limit the scope of archaeological work in Jedwabne met however, with the criticism of many people, including Prof. Andrzej Koli. How do you assess the position of Lech Kaczyński in the matter of Jedwabne?
Lech Kaczyński behaved very well in this situation. I worked with him then, because he was the minister of justice and he also worked very closely with Jewish communities. The will of the Jews to not touch the bones and not to deepen this trauma was respected. If, therefore, Lech Kaczyński would live, he would certainly belong to this wing of the Polish right-wing who would be very interested in Polish-Jewish reconciliation. However, I don’t think that Lech Kaczyński's way of thinking stands among the radical Polish right.
It wasn’t without reason that I asked you about the decision of Lech Kaczyński. Among Polish historians associated with the ideological camp from which Lech Kaczyński originated, there are more and more voices that exhumation and research in Jedwabne should be completed. They claim that testimony in the case of Jedwabne could have been prepared by the Security Service. The main witness of the accusation, Henryk Krystowczyk, was a communist collaborator who during the pogrom was hiding from the revenge of Poles outside Jedwabne, and therefore couldn’t observe the course of the pogrom. After further testimony, the court was to recognize Henryk Krystowczyk as an unbelievable person. Testimonies of witnesses during the trial were in turn contradictory. Due to similar doubts regarding the course of the trial and incomplete exhumation, questions arise about the actual course of events in Jedwabne. According to one theory, the direct perpetrators of the pogrom weren’t Poles but the Germans themselves. How will you relate to this?
I remember reading a book by Jan T. Gross at the seaside. It was a small book. Earlier, I didn’t know a place like Jedwabne. It was from Gross that for the first time I learned that the case of such murder had a place in Poland at all. It is all described very precisely. Some of these people were sentenced to death after the war in Jedwabne. It happened and undoubtedly it was done by Polish citizens and with the participation of the inhabitants of Jedwabne. We can, of course, find some mitigating circumstances, but there will not be many. I also protest against the discussion whether there were three hundred or six hundred victims. What is this because I know the difference? Mathematically, maybe, but in the sense of a crime there is no significant difference.
The court that issued the ruling in the case of Jedwabne, wrote in 1949: "The local population, and therefore in this number of accused (they took part in the crime) under terror, as you can see from all the defendants' explanations, wherever they are filed, and testimony of prosecution witnesses and evidence. "
If today it was possible to judge the people who murdered Jedwabne, then it would certainly be argued that this happened during the war, which completely demoralized many people. Probably one of the arguments raised would also be that when the Russians went to the area of Jedwabne, part of the Jews showed their joy for this reason. It is forgotten, however, that this joy could have been caused by the fact that the Jewish population could have previously been subjected to various repressions from Polish communities and Catholic circles. We know very well that there was an endogeny in Poland and anti-Semitism existed in Poland. Regardless of the motives of this joy, when the Germans came, the Poles wanted to get revenge for this Jewish joy. Here, then, the question arises, did they owe it to the Germans? Driving them to the barn and arson, however, can’t be justified in any way. Perhaps it would be beautiful to refuse the order to set them on fire ?!
I would like to refer to your commitment to commemorating the Jedwabne pogrom. I heard that after you ceased to hold the office of the President of Poland, you have come to Jedwabne privately on your private trip. Why?
I was hoping that something would break down and in 2011 I was already an optimist. I thought people had already digested it. Later, however, the number of different examples, including the inscriptions on the places of commemoration and silly statements, verified my hopes strongly. The newest thing I can’t accept is the campaign to collect the decoration from Jan T. Gross, which I gave him in 1997 at the request of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for his opposition and scientific services. These are the times when requests are made to Andrzej Duda to take away Gross's Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. I consider this to be a completely scandalous thing. First of all, the decoration has already been given. Secondly, you can only collect a badge if there has been a crime or if the court orders to remove the badge. If, however, we want to argue with Grossem, who has his views, then this polemic should take place where Gross publishes, in scientific papers, journalistic works or in artistic statements. A long time ago, there should be films about Irena Sendler or Jan Karski, who have great merits for the Jewish community. Especially Irena Sendler, who saved hundreds of Jewish children. Here are serious negligence that would be worth catching up. This is what we show. The POLIN Museum is predisposed to show how Polish Jews participated in building Polish culture, science and entrepreneurship and fought for our independence. You have to write about it. Let us not, however, discuss with a man who writes - perhaps somewhat exaggerated - about Polish anti-Semitism, depriving him of a Polish distinction. This will be the ultimate proof that we are completely unreformable.
If we have already come to a discussion on - difficult for both sides - topics that have been bearing on Polish-Jewish reconciliation for years, certainly one of such topics is the so-called Judeo-Communism. For many Jews, this is a harmful stereotype and another - resulting from anti-Semitic prejudices - a lying myth about them. For many Poles, this is a historical fact which Jews try to silence and from which they try to whitewash. Speaking of this issue, various data are often given to confirm the over-representation of Jews in communism. For example, according to the sister of Lenin, Anna Ulianova, up to 50 percent in the south and west of Russia members of the organization and revolutionary groups were of Jewish nationality 29. Although Jews constituted about 1 percent in Kiev. At the beginning of 1919, people from Jewish origin were supposed to occupy as much as positions in Czeka. Between 1934 and 1937, people of Jewish origin were supposed to constitute 40 percent senior management in the NKVD. It is also reported that the communists of Jewish origin took part in the revolution of 1905, the revolutions in Hungary and Bavaria, and in the civil war in Spain, where they fought in the Jewish company of Naftali Botwin, which was part of the XIII International Brigade of Jarosław Dąbrowski. In June 1937, in the communist international brigades in Spain, out of 3,2109 people, as many as 7758, hence 24 percent members were supposed to have Jewish origin. In a contingent from Poland, people of Jewish origin were supposed to be 2250, ie 45 percent.
Of course, among the communists were representatives of most nations, including Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Georgians, French, Germans and Poles. However, the overrepresentation of Jews in the communist world remains a fact. The only question is how to approach this fact and how to evaluate it. In 1998, in the text “Europe, the History of Europe” Anne Applebaum wrote: "Anyway, it is high time that Western Jews stop acting as if the uniqueness of the Holocaust automatically excluded them from the sphere of potential villains. Eventually, many Jews who shared in the atrocities of communism found themselves in the post-war period, and would like to treat this fact as part of a story that can and should be asked. Any attempt to repress the memory of these events only favors the development of anti-Semitism, which, in any case, we should try to exterminate. This kind of discussion isn’t at all risk of "suppressed uniqueness of the Holocaust" ". What do you think about it?
This is certainly a problem that requires reliable description by sensitive pens. It is known that Jakub Berman, Hilary Minc and Anatol Fejgin and an important part of the security apparatus, especially at managerial positions, were Jews. However, if you focus only on this, it could help the anti-Semitic wing, which would have a tool to say: "How can you not be anti-Semitic in Poland, since all of these major torturers were Jews." Therefore, this story must be described with a great sensitivity, because first of all one should answer the question whether they were more Jews or communists who believe in the happiness that the new system is supposed to bring to us. It seems that in terms of ideology they were above all communists at a time when terror and repression were elements of the entire political system and this terror didn’t start in Poland at all, but he was taken from Russia, by Stalin, who was Georgian, not Jewish, Beria was also a Georgian, Felix Dzerzhinsky while a Pole, not a Jew.
29 Dimitij Volkogonov, Lenin A New Biography, The Free Press, New York 1994, s. 9.
Polish communists such as Bolesław Bierut, Wanda Wasilewska, Stanisław Redens, Julian Marchlewski, Andrei Wyszynski, Władysław Gomułka and many, many others also had Polish origins. On the other hand, there were people like Róża Luksemburg, Jakow Swierdłow, and Lew Trocki. Gienrich Jagoda, Lew Kamieniew, Grigory Sokolnikov, Béla Kun, Feliks Kon, Józef Unszlicht, Mieczysław Mietkowski and others. Of course, communism had no nationality, but it can’t be denied that there must have been strong social and social inclinations among the Jewish community that would encourage Jews to commit themselves to Communist utopia, since they were more likely to communistly than other nations. Perhaps this was due to the lack of their own state, their sense of alienation and social exclusion, and the possibility of rapid social advancement that the communist revolution gave them, or the translation of the messianic idea contained in Judaism into materialistic and atheistic communism. Perhaps it was caused by a little bit of everything. Understanding the reasons shouldn’t mean their justification.
Professor Marek Jan Chodakiewicz in his book “Jews and Poles 1918-1955, Coexistence, annihilation, communism” indicates research conducted by Gabriele Simoncini, from which it follows that Jews constituted in the Communist Party of Poland about one-third of the members, and Poles two-thirds30. However, when it comes to managerial positions, the historian Henryk Cimek estimates that in 1936, Jews accounted for over 50% in the CPP management, 75 percent publishing organization, 53 percent officers of the central apparatus and 100 percent a technical unit responsible for contacting the communist headquarters in Moscow31. Still, there were only about 4,000 Jewish communists at the time. And although there were certainly many more supporters of communism among the Jewish community in Poland, they still constituted a minority among almost 3.5 million Polish Jews. Also among the then 16.5 million Jews living all over the world, the communists were a complete margin. The average Jew had little in common with communism, and even he was hostile to him, as communism in its essence opposed both Zionism and Judaism and Jewish tradition. Despite the fact that the Jewish communists were a margin in the Jewish world, they were also a significant element in the communist world. It isn’t about quantity, but about the quality and influence of Jewish communists on the overall communism. Jewish communists, who constituted a minority among communists, constituted the intellectual core of communism. However, when you mention it, it is usually forgotten to add that because of their intelligence and education, Jewish people would be strongly represented in all intelligentsia environments, so not only in those communism but also in those with different ideological provenance, often unfavorable communism. Therefore, the Jews had a strong representation both among communists and among Polish patriots who fought for the independence of Poland. It is also forgotten that the communists of Jewish descent wanted to free their compatriots from Jewishness and not lead to the supremacy of Jews in the world. The communists of Jewish descent stayed together and supported each other not on the basis of a common religion (unless communism considers it so) or a sense of national community, but on the basis of the community in contesting their Jewish identity and emancipation and liberation from Judaism and previous social order, which pushed them into the traditional Jewish world, from which they wanted to break free at all costs and which they wanted to destroy. Thus, there was a bond between the communists of Jewish origin, based on solidarity in denying the value of the world in which they grew up and to which they never wanted to return, although with these returns they were really different. However, the communists of Jewish origin were, due to their commitment to communism, regarded by the majority of contemporary Jews as dissenters, and even as traitors.
After the war, the Jewish communists' participation in the entire Jewish community in Poland grew significantly, because the Jews, who didn’t have communist sympathy, were even hostile to communism, or were murdered by Germans or emigrated. After 1947, only 90,000 people would stay in Poland. Jews, mostly due to their worldview and susceptibility to communist propaganda, but also because of their genuine sense of gratitude to the Red Army for delivering them from extermination-sympathizing with the new communist regime. According to sociologist Jaff Schatz, 10,000 Jewish communist veterans joined the PPR after the war. However, Jewish communists could be four times more in Poland, not to mention Jews sympathizing with the new regime. 32
In People's Poland, many Jews deliberately abandoned the religion, tradition and culture of their ancestors and assimilated themselves through communism, which in its propaganda presented itself to them as their only protector. A large part of the Jews believed in communist propaganda, which claimed that Jews would be safe only under the protection of Stalin. Therefore, even those Jews who weren’t ideological supporters of communism before, often accepted Soviet supremacy over Poland. Some of them even engaged in power for new orders, acting in the Stalinist repression apparatus. Hence, the stereotype of the so-called pre-existing among some Poles Judeo-Communism, along with the departure of the tens of thousands - Jews unwilling to Communism to Israel and the United States - took on the face of a real phenomenon. Although it is not possible to throw all the Jews who remained in Poland at that time in a sack with a Jewish communist inscription, the fact was that by the attitude and activity of Jewish communists, the entire Jewish community suffered, which began to be equated by Poles with hated communism. She eagerly used it later for her purposes called Polish “chamokomuna”, without which it would be impossible for the Soviets to introduce communism in Poland, and which showed its true face in 1968. By exposing only the Stalinist criminals of Jewish descent that went into the background in the collective memory of Poles. Perhaps, among others it is from here that what is in the world considered to be created, spread and supported first by tsarist Russia, and then by the Third Reich and its allies, an anti-Semitic stereotype and myth, in Poland is widely regarded as a real phenomenon. My agonizing is only the tip of the iceberg and does not exhaust the topic in any way, which is extremely complicated and deviates from the black and white vision of history. So how to deal with such a complex and different, if not completely contradictory, Jewish and Polish perception of the so-called Judeo-Communism?
This has to be shown in all this context. Obviously, it doesn’t hide the fact that many of the communists were of Jewish origin. They included high positions, because they were involved in the communist movement from their youth, and above all, they were very educated people, like Berman or Minc, or in another field, fortunately not an executioner, Borejsza, whose brother was already an torturer. You have to write and discuss about it, but not sticking any cliches to it. All cliches are, by their very nature, false. The cliché that all Poles are anti-Semites is a deceitful lie. The cliché that all Jews were torturers is a lie. Showing the truth, or how it happened and what it resulted from, is in my opinion needed for this reconciliation process. I have a very personal experience here, because my late father-in-law, my wife's father, came from Volhynia. He survived as a young boy of the Volhynia slaughter, carried out by the Ukrainian branches of the UPA. In any case, he rescued his mother and brother at that time. She was ill and unable to walk, so they carried her together on the bed to the forest. To make it more interesting, the Soviet unit saved them from this forest. This was the only possible rescue at that time. When, as the President of Poland, I started a reconciliation process with Ukraine, when Kuchma was the president of Ukraine, my father-in-law was very much afraid and mentioned the murdered children and the burnt church. I explained to him that we live in the 21st century and we should build a new understanding and dialogue. And he told me a very important thing: "Well, you're right. Let it be built on the truth. "
30 Gabriele Simoncini, Ethnic and Social Diversity in the Membership of the Communist Party of Poland 1918-1938, Nationalities Papers (Special Issue), vol. XXII, Supplement No. 1 (Wiosna 1994), s. 60.
31 Henryk Cimek, Komuniści, Polska, Stalin 1918-1939, Krajowa Agencja Wy dawnicza, Białystok 1990, s. 106-107.
32 Jaff Schatz, The Generation. The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Communists of Poland, University of California Press, Berkeley 1991, S. 208.
On July 11, 2003, during the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the murder in Poryck, standing next to the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, although indirectly, you called the slaughter of Volhynia genocide. Since then, not many politicians who have ruled Poland have followed in this respect.
One can’t say that there were no such crimes because they were. However, the crimes don’t give us a reason for the rematch. The same applies to Polish-Jewish relations and the so-called Judeo-Communism. I have many critical remarks to the IPN, but many valuable publications have been published as part of its activities.
Also the director of ŽIH, prof. Paweł singer tried to face the topic of the so-called Judeo-Communism.
Yes, but his book is too personal. Paweł Śpiewak justifies himself why he moved to such an anti-Communist position. This is his reckoning. However, the book is very interesting. The fact that there is overrepresentation of people who have Jewish origins in the structures of the State of the People's Republic can’t, however, be any justification for anti-Semitism.
You were the chairman of the European Council for Tolerance and Reconciliation, which was created inter alia with the participation of the European Jewish Congress. One of the goals of the Council, of which the president of EJC, Mosze Kantor, is also a member, is the promotion of model legislative solutions, enabling a more effective fight against anti-Semitism. You also take action against the falsification of history through the use of “Polish death camps". When the US president Barack Obama used this wording, you wrote to him a letter in which - among others as a friend of Jan Karski - you expressed the utmost amazement and pain he used this wording and pointed out that it falsifies history and blurs the guilt of the true perpetrators of this crime. Despite similar protests, from time to time it still appears in the media is a derogatory word. What can we do to stop this?
One must first of all educate. As for Barack Obama's statement, as it turned out later, a mistake was made when writing his speech. It turns out that the biggest blunders are committed in a very simple way. Well, in the text Barack Obama read, there was the name of the camp in Bełżec, where Jan Karski crept in. This name has unfortunately not been pronounced for Barack Obama. At that time, one of his collaborators, who writes his speeches, instead of writing a German or Nazi concentration camp on these renails of Poland, used a shortcut and made a cluster of "Polish concentration camps." It was obviously comfortable and the American president could read this easily. At the same time, it proved unacceptable for Poland, so it wasn’t Obama's bad will and provocation, but unfortunate and painful coincidence for Poles. On the other hand, if we encounter such cases in the media, they must be straightened and, above all, educated. Our misfortune is that the Germans really decided to set up these concentration camps on Polish territory, and they did it because it was easier in terms of logistics. Before the war - what is worth talking about, because hardly anyone knows about it - Poland was the largest concentration of the Jewish community in the world e. Even bigger than the United States, there were about 3.5 million Jews in Poland, and less than 3 million lived in the United States. America was from Poland many times greater.
As for the logistics you mentioned, the Germans brought the death industry "almost to perfection." Buchalter of extermination, Rudolf Hös, who was the commandant of the German concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, with extraordinary meticulousness and precision improved the efficiency and effectiveness of gas chambers and crematoria. to record and keep accounts, he introduced the obligation to tattoo the prisoners' numbers on the hands of the prisoners, completely dehumanizing them". Jan Kozielewski, commonly known as Jan Karski, noticed this dehumanization of the Jews. Before the war, Jan Karski worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the 5th Consular Department, who was involved in the development of a plan to solve the problem of Jews in Poland by sending them to Madagascar. During the war, in order to gather information about the extermination of the Jewish people, which he later passed on to the powerful people of this world, he risked his life by putting on a armband with the star of David and entering the ghetto. Certainly it was an extraordinary character. Beautiful and tragic at the same time, like the heroes of Sophocles' plays. You knew him personally. Please tell me what kind of man was he?
I knew him very well. I met him in the end of his life. It was an unusual character. I don’t hesitate to say that he was a really great man. He lived his entire life with the stigma of the Holocaust, because he could never quite agree with the fact that his efforts and information weren’t convincing enough for the West to decide to help the Jews. He felt guilty that the information he had provided - which he had reached everywhere, as well as the American authorities and the British authorities - didn’t help the Jews. He was heard there. Some, however, didn’t want to believe him, and those who believed him didn’t do any great actions. To their justification, the Allies have the fact that they didn’t know what to do. Bomb the camp it is a condemnation of prisoners to death. Bombing transport lines also put life at risk. Of course, the question remains how many people had to sacrifice their lives during the bombardments of the tracks leading to the camps to save the Jews killed in these camps. This is a historical discussion. Jan Karski, however, had a personal sense of defeat and the fact that not everything was done to save Jews. His message was after conciliation, consisting in the fact that one should speak out loud about it when racism or anti-Semitism appears somewhere and above all it must be stigmatized. For if we allow it, it will spread like a plague. Jan Karski wanted dialogues to be held to exchange views between Poles and Jews. He wanted us to get to know each other. I remember the first time I took part in the March of the Living, in which Israeli youth mainly takes part. It was a completely strange event. The Jews came, went on the march and the end. At that time I asked them: "Why don’t Polish teenagers take part in it?" I remember how the Polish youth finally joined in.
At the beginning, they stayed apart, and then everyone was together, after concentrating and contemplating in such a terrible place, Auschwitz, in the evenings, when it was possible to organize joint meetings for young people, it turned out that the ice breaks because the young generation of Poles and Jews listened to the same music and watched the same films. It seemed to be overcome within two or three years, so what seemed so difficult turned out to be overcoming the first barrier and establishing a dialogue, I think this is also the message of the Polin Museum. Poland should be in the consciousness of the world not only a cemetery and death camps, but a place full of all the richness of common history and culture. It seems to me that we have done a lot on this issue. And it isn’t only about the Museum of Polin, which is a truly beautiful institution, but also about renaissance studies on Jewish and Hebrew history, and organization of Jewish culture in various places in Poland, as well as renewing Jewish synagogues and cemeteries. All this is happening today. It is important, therefore, not to be obscured by anti-Semitic events, such as inscriptions on the walls or slogans shouted out at football stadiums. What do the poor Jews have to do with football? In this case, however, it is a deeper problem, because it concerns not only anti-Semitic content, but also racist content. The way the black players were treated who appeared in the Polish league was simply horrible. This philosophy and the mentality of football fans ... If I had to talk about a worse sort, I would say that among the fans there is something of this worse sort.
Recently, it has been more and more often said that trips of Israeli youth to Poland do not serve mutual understanding, but cause a growing dislike of Poles, because they perpetuate negative stereotypes about Poles among Jews and deepen mutual prejudices.. Professor Hanoch Gutfreund claims that: "Young people who come to Poland from Israel (...) concentrate mainly on the plain or on purely Jewish matters, while Poland only appears in the context of anti-Semitism. There is an attempt to separate the fate of Polish Jews from the fate of the land on which they lived ". Apparently, this is slowly changing, but a few years ago, the Israeli Ministry of Education stated that after many years of mass trips to Poland, as many as 86 percent of young Israelis declare a negative attitude towards. If today it is similar, then it seems that these trips don’t bring Poland or Poles any benefit, and even harm us, because Poland is still in the eyes of young Israelis almost exclusively a museum of extermination. Of course, one can’t prevent another state from building its identity and patriotism according to its own patterns. However, looking from our perspective, it is clear that we shouldn’t accept that it would take place at the expense of the image of Poland and Poles. This problem was more widely demonstrated in the documentary film entitled “Defamation” of Yoav Shamir. In turn, Tom Segev in the book: Ha' milion haszwji. Izraelim we'ha'Szoa (Seventh Million Israelis and Shoah) wrote: "The journey is dedicated to worshiping the bizarre kitsch of death. It is marked by religious content, xenophobia, fear of a stranger. The universal-humanistic content was neglected in it, and therefore it can’t be the basis of Israeli identity". Aleks Doron in "Yediot Achronot "stated in 2012 that: "Trips to Poland are the cause of the mental health disorder of young people. After returning from extermination camps, some students develop depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder".
There are of course also completely different opinions on the program of Israeli trips to Poland. On the “Erec Israel” website, you can read that: "Israelis, just like every nation, don’t build their identity and sense of national belonging only on tragic events. (...) Next generations of Israelis primarily build their present and future by drawing the success of his country, constantly developing and fueling the success of his own country. (...) Every year, thousands of Poles go to Israel to follow the traces of one crucified Jew, while Jews come to Poland to pay tribute to millions of murdered Jews. Poles have no right to demand a change in the program of Israeli "trips", even if there is no meeting with Polish youth during their time, nor is Israeli youth going to Masuria. Just as Israel has no right to interfere in the Polish pilgrimage program to the Holy Land. These trips don’t serve to build or strengthen relationships, or if you prefer - friendship between Israeli Jews and Poles. They serve to make the Jewish experience of the tragic part of the history of their nation and make the possibility of acquiring this knowledge and going to places where annihilation from anyone's wishes to change anything in their program is done would be an extraordinary hankering". What do you think about all this?
When I influenced the Live Marches, they ended with various concerts in Krakow in Kazimierz, where Israeli and Polish youth met with each other. When it comes to Israeli youth trips to Poland, I don’t see any theoretical problems to change this. If the information given by you is true, it is wrong. It means that those organizers and curators who sponsor it should change their program. There isn’t thing to be afraid of these young people. Most of them are normal and even if there is one anti-Semite and one anti-Polonium, they will do it on their own and that's what it will be. The rest will benefit from these meetings. I myself participated in such meetings in Krakow. Yes, as on the prom, the boys are sitting on the left, and the girls on the right, so those from Israel are sitting at the beginning on the left, and those from Poland on the right. Later, however, music is played. Young people drink one beer and somehow it goes. They speak English, exchange contacts. Let's believe in human reason! In my opinion, the climate for Jewish culture is very positive in many places in Poland today. A year ago, together with my wife, we ate in Tel Aviv with the son of Szymon Peres lunch. He deals with high-tech in Poland. His accomplice was with him, named Kalisz. I remember his name easily because my friend is called the same. His father was still alive, but he was after the stroke. Therefore, he couldn’t fulfill his dream of coming to a nearby town near Kielce. So he sent that son there. He arranged something in Warsaw and from there he went to this place. He took a taxi and told to take it to the walls of the old synagogue. His father directed him through the mobile phone to the orchard, in which the old house was renovated. He understood that this house belonged once to his family. He accosted a person on the street and introduced himself. It turned out that he was an employee of a local city office. He suggested to Kalisz that he should go to the municipal archives with him. Although it was Sunday, a woman dealing with these archives was specially sent to meet with him and information about his family and this house was found in them. From that moment he became interested in his father's home village. He organized the money for which the synagogue was renovated and the museum was made. It turned out that the mayor of this city is a philosemit. Towns and departures began to be organized for this city. Not only that, I, as president, had no such idea at all. At the level of the town and civil society, silent things happen that require applause. And this is enough proof for me that this idea of reconciliation has a deep meaning and it isn’t just that politicians at the top of power will give their hands and put flowers or stone there.
Many people point to the fact that the history of Poles and the history of the Jews are like a system of connected vessels. Jewish political scientist and philosopher prof. Shlomo Avineri once said: "We all know that our national anthem Hatikwa", starting with the words: "Our hope has not died yet", wrote Naftali Herz Imber. However, it isn’t common knowledge that this line "Our hope isn’t yet lost" is based on a quote from the Bible, Ezekiel, Chapter 37, in which Jews say, "Our hope is lost." But Naftali Herz Imber, who was born in the town of Brody, knew the other context of this line: "Poland has not perished yet." So even in our national anthem there is a Polish echo ". In turn, Benjamin Gepner, who fought during the WW2 in Palestine alongside Abraham Stern against the British, wrote: "We, Polish Jews in Israel, feel that the help given to our liberties by the Polish Government is a pearl in the Polish crown. It is proof that what we learned about Kosciuszko and Mickiewicz in the school benches isn’t a phrase, but a tradition". Bearing in mind this wealth of interconnectedness and common history, how do you think Polish-Israeli relations should look like?
Due to our common past, Polish-Israeli relations should be under special protection. Therefore, we should show great activity and sensitivity in our relations. Historically, Poland has two development scenarios. One is the European scenario, that is Poland joins the European bloodstream and tries to play an important role there. The second is a familiar parish scenario, which I am afraid is related to the thinking of the current authorities. As I look at these people, I see that they have neither traveled around the world nor their world isn’t very interested. They are also not especially fluent in foreign languages and they appreciate our familiarity with it - not to call it provincialism or parochialism. In this second world, the level of anti-Semitism will certainly grow, because the more open and European you are, the less xenophobic, racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic you are. You know that the world is changing and it is becoming more and more multi-cultural. If we continue to close, we will also have more and more fears of foreigners and emigrants. We will also have reasons for anti-Semitic phobias.
The state of Israel is in a difficult geopolitical situation. Fortunately, it has a strong army and the strongest economy in that region. In the Middle East, there is no other economy as strongly oriented to high-tech as the Israeli economy. I think that if we look economically on the whole region, the greatest misfortune that could befall him is the fall of the State of Israel, because these are jobs, etc. On the other hand, the political problem of Israel is as follows. The specific moral commitment that the world has had to Israel due to the Holocaust is exhausted. The last victims and the last witnesses of those tragic events come down from the stage. A good example here is the attitude of Barack Obama. From the point of view of both of us and his entire life experience, a country much closer to him than Israel, is Indonesia. Regardless of the strong pro-Israel lobby in the United States, the distance to Israel will only increase. Speaking in simple language, Israel will be one of the many normal countries in the world. It will no longer be a unique state with a contract of higher moral responsibility for its future. Israel is of course justified by the fear that if the anti-Israeli sentiment persists in Arab countries and Iran, their state will not be calm and its existence will continue to be in danger. Therefore, I hope that, looking for ideas to stabilize the Middle East, the great powers will take into account Israel's particular situation.
However, there is a very difficult time for the leaders of Israel. Due to its historical heritage, Poland should be very sensitive to Israel. Of course, we will not be the main player in the Middle East. The main players are the United States, Russia, China, or also Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, we should be present in that region of the world. However, looking at the policy that is currently being conducted in Poland, it seems to me that our voice will not be strengthened there, but it will be even weaker. If, however, someone would ask me from the current authorities about how to deal with Israel, I would advise him to maintain high political activity in relations with Israel, also in face-to-face contacts. We also need to understand that Israel is a state that must have a sense of security. For the Jewish people have gone through too much history to guarantee that this security will not be guaranteed. On the other hand, in a naive, but at the same time beautiful picture, the developing Israeli economy could have a really positive impact on the entire Middle East. If the relations between Palestine and Israel were regulated, thanks to Israel, Palestine could develop very quickly, and the Palestinian backing would certainly have a positive impact on the development of the Israeli economy. Now, the level of unwillingness and hatred between Jews and Palestinians is huge.
Speaking in the Knesset in 2000, you supported Israel's efforts to ensure that the Israeli Society of the Red Star of David - the only one in the world without full membership in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Half Moon Societies - could obtain such membership, not while changing its symbol - the star of David on the red cross. While Israel fights for its identity by means of the presence of religious and national symbols on ambulances, the reverse is true in Poland. We removed from our ambulances a blue, evenly armed cross, replacing it with the so-called a star of life. It happened even though the blue cross on ambulances was part of the Polish tradition and its removal wasn’t even decided in the PRL. Does the issue of determination in the struggle to preserve our own identity - which also manifests itself in preserving our traditional symbolism in public space - should we follow the example of the Jews?
We don't have a blue cross in the ambulances?
We don’t have.
I didn’t notice this change. In my opinion, however, even the most powerful atheist movement in Poland will not change the Polish tradition or the attachment of Poles to the Catholic Church. I don’t even speak in terms of the depth of faith, but in symbolic and traditional terms. If I don’t know how Polish atheism developed, which we don’t experience in Poland at all, it will not change the fact that 99 percent Poles will sit together with their families on Christmas Eve and will observe tradition. Symbolism will also exist. However, it should be emphasized that exaggerated symbolism is an expression of weakness. I surround myself with symbols to protect myself, because without this my faith and integrity will break down? I don’t think so. In the same way, it doesn’t scare me that someone else wants to use their symbols. Maybe I'm a particularly tolerant character?
I will never forget our debate on the European Union. It was 1991. At that time, we were signing an association agreement. Stefan Niesiołowski, whom I like very much today, was at that time one of the leaders of the Christian-National Union. He thundered at the Sejm tribune that a united Europe is a threat to our traditional values and to Polish Catholicism. I then went to the grandstand of the parliament and asked Niesiołowski, "If the association with the European Union is a threat to our values, what are they worth? If we can protect Polish tradition and Polish values by creating a kind of open-air museum from Poland, it means that they are afraid of any confrontation because they have to lose". When later Niesiołowski met me, he said to me:" You know, but you're right. it can’t be like that". Today, when I hear a debate about the adoption by Poland of 10,000 immigrants, during which one of the leading Polish Catholics, Tomasz Terlikowski, says that the arrival of a Muslim family to a Polish parish can cause the Islamization of this parish, what is this faith?! If I were the father of a Muslim family, I would be afraid that my children would quickly convert to Catholicism. How can one assume that one Muslim family will change the parish of several thousands into the world of Islam?! Therefore, the fundamental dilemma today is whether Poland will be moving towards openness, Europeanness, or will it go towards backwater, and thus anti-Semitism and xenophobia.
Today, the entire western world is experiencing a significant problem in the form of progressing secularization and has considerable trouble with faith. I am a man who isn’t a believer. I believe, however, that this isn’t so good, because depriving people of this ethical and moral foundation, which is faith, will result in increased confusion among people. However, we live in such a world and we have to deal with it somehow. So I think that certain processes are irreversible. For example, in Europe, whoever says that he will create barriers for immigrants will certainly not fulfill his promise. If, for a thousand reasons, one can’t radically increase the demographics in one's own population, then taking into account the labor market and an aging society, the admission of immigrants becomes a necessity. When I was in Switzerland, I was invited to dinner, during which the issues of the possibility of stopping the wave of immigrants who recently came to Europe were discussed. While we were discussing this, having dinner. she cooked Portuguese in the kitchen, Bosniak served the table with a Moroccan driver, and Serb worked in the garden. So I say to the hosts: "Okay. You have here at least four people from other countries that help you. Exchange them for the same money for Swiss people. " "No it isn’t possible. Besides, these people have been working with us for a few years, so we treat them as theirs" they explained. "You have had them for a few years and others need help from people who after a few years will also be treated as their own. You will not stop this wave". I knew, the modern world is struggling with many problems, on the one hand, we have created colossal possibilities of communication with each other, and on the other hand the Internet is the most atomizing instrument ever invented. or a smartphone, it is thought that you have access to everything, but at the same time you are sitting completely alone. My predecessor, Lech Wałęsa, is said to communicate with his wife almost exclusively by e-mail. He is sitting on the first floor and she is on the ground floor at that time. Instead of going to her and talking to her, he prefers to write an email to her, which shows what atomization of society a technician can lead to.
March 8, 2016