After World War I, Germany was forced to agree to the cession of Danzig, Posen and West Prussia to Poland. This is what happens when you lose a war: you lose territory.
When the Jordan lost in the 6 Day War, it lost the territory of the West Bank. I have no doubt that if Israel lost any of its wars against the Muslim hordes, there would have been no giving back of any of the Holy Land, no matter how much Jews in the world would have cried.
But I digress, my story concerns Gdansk (the Polish spelling of Danzig) where the world first saw the efficacy of the Nazi's Blitzkrieg on 1 Sep 1939. The Germans re-annexed the City of Danzig and by the next day set up the Stutthof concentration camp by refitting the existing civilian internment camp previously run by the Danzig police. Stutthof was the first concentration camp built by the Nazis outside of Germany and, interestingly, it was also the last camp liberated by the Allies, on 9 May 1945.
Danzig had a population in the hundreds of thousands, mostly ethnic Germans but at the end of the war the Soviets handed German territory occupied by the Red Army over to Poland. The large majority of the ethnically German population of the city was forced to leave, in what today would be called an ethnic cleansing but without the genocidal aspects of that word. The few Germans who remained were forbidden to speak German and the city was rechristened Gdansk. This is what happens when you lose a war... but I repeat myself.
The reason that present day Gdansk has no insurgent German groups trying to retake the city is precisely because of the good effects of ethnic cleansing. I am not talking about killing here; I am talking about the efficient and humanitarian aspects of displacing an ethnic group from a particular territory in order to create a more ethnically stable society. The mistake that Israel made, and Poland did not, was to worry about world opinion if it were to forcibly move the West Bank's Muslim Arabs to the Jordan.
Christian Arabs Suffering From Palestinian Muslim Harassment
But because Israel failed to do the right thing, even the Christian Arabs in the West Bank are suffering under the swords of the Muslims living there. While West Bank Christians have been decimated, Israel's Christian community has prospered and grown by at least 270 percent since the founding of the state.
But again, I digress.
Here's what I wanted to say about Gdansk: I visited the city in 1968, most of it was new because 95% of the old was destroyed by the Soviets in early 1945. Since much of it had to be rebuilt, it was perhaps the brightest of Polish cities that I visited, most of them in the late 1960s were quite grey and depressing affairs.
So one day as I was walking along the street, a man comes along side of me, points to my shoes and asks if I would like to sell them, offering me 30 bucks. Since they only cost me $19.95 I sold them to him. However, before I took the money I was curious why he would buy a pair of used shoes. He said that the only shoes that he could buy in the stores were Soviet-made and consequently were expensive, shoddy, poorly constructed, pinched in all the wrong places, unfashionable and were not in the least durable. He could see, just by looking at my shoes that they were western made (actually they were Florsheims - Shoes made by Jews - the first shoe company to have a brand name). My younger readers should be told that in the 1960s everyone, including young men like myself, wore shoes, not sneakers. You carried your sneakers with you for use in gym class but you would always wear shoes.
That was the summer that my brother and I toured 9,000 miles of Europe on $5 per day financed by selling things in Eastern Europe (see my previous article Bernie's Bic Vacation).
Nike Air Jordan I
Photo Credit: SportsWrap
Whenever leftists whine about some evil of Capitalism, the real cause is usually government interference in our economy and nothing at all to do with Capitalism. Witness the recent hand-wringing about the mortgage crises as if it were the fault of greedy banks when in actual fact today's mortgage crises is directly attributable to liberal ideas foisted on the mortgage banking business to try to help poor people or others with poor credit to buy homes. But this is what happens when you concentrate on helping the poor instead of making a profit. In the end everyone, including the poor, gets screwed. I don't understand how the lesson of Soviet Communism is lost on modern liberals.
Sweetness and Light,
Thank ACORN (And Co) For Mortgage Crisis
In the 1980s, groups such as the activists at ACORN began pushing charges of "redlining" - claims that banks discriminated against minorities in mortgage lending. In 1989, sympathetic members of Congress got the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act amended to force banks to collect racial data on mortgage applicants; this allowed various studies to be ginned up that seemed to validate the original accusation.
Ironically, an enthusiastic Fannie Mae Foundation report singled out one paragon of nondiscriminatory lending, which worked with community activists and followed "the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted." That lender’s $1 billion commitment to low-income loans in 1992 had grown to $80 billion by 1999 and $600 billion by early 2003.
Who was that virtuous lender? Why - Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, recently in the headlines as it hurtled toward bankruptcy.
In an earlier newspaper story extolling the virtues of relaxed underwriting standards, Countrywide’s chief executive bragged that, to approve minority applications that would otherwise be rejected "lenders have had to stretch the rules a bit." He’s not bragging now.
Gdansk Trivia: 11 years after my visit Gdansk became the birthplace of the SOLIDARNOSZ movement openly challenging the communist authorities. In 1989 Soviet communism died and on the 30th of December the new democratic state was renamed the POLISH REPUBLIC.
Shoe manufacturing trivia: My father managed a Soviet shoe factory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where I was born during WWII, so when I asked the fellow why he was buying used American-made shoes, I already knew the answer.