Kendra

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Eric Scott

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Filmmaker

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Those Jewish figurines that I saw on sale in Warsaw in the restored Old City truly disgusted me. There would be no way I would consider buying one unless to prove to the outside world how the innate negative stereotype of " the Jew" remains embedded in the Polish collective consciousness, without any public figure or political leader in Poland questioning the appropriateness of marketing such vulgarity. The figurines reminded me of those "Little Black Sambo" statues that the most ignorant Americans stuck on their lawns in the 1950s and in the early 60s before the Civil Rights movement taught them how demeaning and how those effigies were to Black Americans Perhaps Israelis and Jews should sell " Little Polak" statues in Tel Aviv, featuring poorly dressed, fat, blond haired and blue-eyed Poles with bad teeth, on their knees before images of the Black Madonna - then maybe, just maybe the Poles who make and sell this garbage would realize the profoundly insulting and condescending character of their "art". But maybe there wouldn't be much of a market. Poland has become Holocaust Disneyland, drawing in a steady profit for the country as a solid foreign currency earner. Admittedly, aside from Krakow, the country offers little to draw in foreign tourists. Poland cannot seriously compete with other European travel destinations. Holocaust tourism is the exception. It draws in foreign tourists in by the bus load. There they can visit the death camps; they can visit historic Krakow and tour the ersatz Jewish village in Kazimierz, replete with Poles dressed up as Jews who can even dance the hora. Hey, after Kazimierz they can even send those tourist buses to Jedwabne on their way to Warsaw and build a barn and fill it with life sized dolls, just like the terracotta army exhibition in Xian, China. Outside. Polish tourist authorities in conjunction with the Jedwabne municipality could open a crafts store specializing in every kind of Jewish figurine imaginable for sale, featuring ones like those inside the barn. Once those tourist buses get to Warsaw ( a city that has little to draw in foreign tourists anyway) they'll take those foreigners on a visit the brand new museum dedicated to Poland's dead Jews. Strolling to the Old Town they can even pick up a statute of a Jew or two, just to keep the memory of their visit alive, just in case they didn't manage to buy a statuette in Jedwabne. Just like Disneyland - the Polish Holocaust Tourist industry will branch out into designing its own collection of souvenirs. Why not sell it as " Mickey Mouse for the macabre"? It's a sure money earner.


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