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.
Hitler’s Two Speeches after Invading Poland (parts of speeches)
From Hitler’s speech of Sept. 19, 1939 in Danzig (Gdansk Poland):
At this moment we want to give the Polish soldier absolute justice. At many
points the Pole fought bravely. His lower leadership made desperate efforts, his middle-grade leadership was too unintelligent, his highest leadership was bad, judged by any standard. His organization
was — Polish...
Note: What Hitler fails to talk about is the tremendous help Nazi Germany
got from Soviet Russia in invading Poland. Soviet Russia provided Nazi Germany millions of tons of war aid to be used in Germany’s invasion of Poland as per the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement
between Germany and Soviet Russia. Of course Hitler didn’t talk about that or how Polish troops held the Germans back well until Nazi Germany’s ally Russia attacked Poland from the
From Hitler’s speech of Oct 6, 1939:
Towns as well as villages are in a state of neglect. The roads, with very few
exceptions, are badly out of repair and in a terrible condition. Anyone who travels in that country for two or three weeks will get the proper idea of the classical German term 'Polnische
Wirtschaft,' meaning a 'Polish state of affairs!'
What Hitler failed to say in his speeches about Poland is that much of the
problems Poland had in the early part of the 20th century was because of Poland being destroyed and pushed off the map from 1795-1917 by Germany and Russia.
Poland was basically licking its wounds and catching its breath in the
early part of the 20th Century when it was back on the map.
Hitler’s Anti-Polish hate was sadly a continuation of Germany’s
prejudice towards Poland/Slavic nations although Hitler’s hatred of Poles/Slavic people went far beyond prior German Anti-Polish/Slavic prejudice.
In conclusion its disgusting that Nazi Anti-Polish hate-through-humor subhuman
intelligence “jokes” about Poles would be introduced (and pushed) by part of the Hollywood and “American” TV media such as NBC-TV in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Polish “jokes” started to decline in the United States when Polish
Americans put aside their good nature and aggressively spoke out against this Anti-Polish hatred.
Today, Polish jokes and ethnic jokes in general are seen as ethnic slurs by most fair minded Americans. In
December 2008, former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter apologized for telling “Polish jokes” after offending Polish and non-Polish Americans.
Despite the fact there is less tolerance for
Polish jokes today than decades ago, this does not mean Polish jokes have been eradicated. There are still unsophisticated people out there insecure with
their own ethnic identity, who take pleasure in making themselves feel better, by ridiculing other groups of people. Not to mention there are still Anti-Polish bigots who use hate websites and other media to
push these subhuman intelligence jokes about Polish people.
Polish people, and people of decency everywhere, should always speak out against these racist Polish
jokes as well as degrading ethnic jokes of all nationalities.