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To the Moskals Friends

[The following is an unofficial translation by Peter K. Gessner of a column by Marek Zieleniewski published in the Newsweek-like Polish weekly Wprost on April 28, 2001. -- A large collections of Polish language articles published about Jedwabne by the Warsaw daily, Rzeczpospolita can be reached by clicking on the banner.]

Edward Moskal, the President of the President of the Polish American Congress, once wrote that "to understand something about the present, it worth peering sometimes into coffins." Today, I am under the impression that President Moskal not so much peers into the coffins of founders of the Radical-Nationalist Camp (created in1934) and the later Falanga, but lies down in them, and for variety, reaches into the and to grave of one Mieczyslaw Moczar. It is only with such symbolically understood necrophilia that I can clarify his views for myself.

To those fond of the Edward Moskal's cemeteries I recommend a visit to the tomb, forgotten by many, of the writer, journalist and dramatist (Kna╝ Patiomkin, Polskie Termopile), Tadeusz Mici˝ski. He pronaunced a dozen years before the birthday of the President of the Polish American Congress: "Don't lie that we are a higher race than the Germans, Russians, Jews, etc. Don't lie that we must remain on the Golgotha, rather than begin by taking a broom and sweep our yard free of stupidities egoisms and - dreadful thing - of Polish villainies. Exactly, Mr. President Moskal - "don't lie." Even in the matter of the life history of Jan Nowak-Jezioranski.

It seemed that we had already managed to pass the painful Jedwabne exam. That the collective examination of the Polish conscience, on account of the slaughter by Poles of Jews half a century ago, had been perceived and accepted with approval by the world's media and the international community. Jocob Baker, the venerable rabbi from Jedwabne introduced himself as "Poland's Friend.", during Wladyslaw Bartoszewski's recent and immensely difficult - as Grzegorz Dziemidowicz, the Foreign Ministry's spokesman, confessed - visit to the USA. Miles Lerman, the honorary chairman of the Board of Directors of the Washington based Holocaust Museum one of the Museum's founders, said, to one of the reporters accompanying the chief of the Polish Diplomatic Corps, "Poland is now sufficiently mature to deal with difficult issues, and to look directly in to the eyes not only of those who wronged it but also of those who it has wronged.

Yet, just as were going to press with a report on last week's Auschwitz-Birkenau March of the Living ("Steps of Reconciliation"), which - as the authors of the piece stated - "achieved much: it built a bridge of understanding across the Atlantic," it was exactly form across the Atlantic that Edward Moskal reminded us of his existance in the most revolting way.

The problem are not the phobias and obsessions of a sick old man, who referred to the legendary Warsaw curier - after the latter's statement regarding the slaughter in Jedwabne - as "passing for a Polish patriot," accusing him of collboration with the Nazis. The problem is that, on November 16, 2000, during the convention of the Board of Directors of the Polish American Congress in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnwood, this old man, drawing inspiration from the coffins of nationalists and anti-Semites, was again elected, with 89% of the votes, to be the boss of the largest Polish organization, bringing together 3000 associations active in the USA. What this means, more or less, is that dozens or even thousands of Polish dinosaurs on the Potomac think like their chief, though they do not necessarily have the courage to express that opinion publicly. Smaller and larger format "Moskals" and "petty moskals" are the third Polish Republic's veritable fifth column - located in the most powerful country of the world. They erode - as shown by the latest American census - the remains of any inclination, on the part of younger Polish-Americans, to admit their Polish roots.

"Mail order sales of amulets and talismans are breaking records." I read in an article "Luck for 69.90 zl." I will pay more to the reader who will identify among these a miraculous cure for hatred and xenophobia. It would be probably the best present for Edward Moskal who does not exclude a visit to the old country in the next few days.

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