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Sometimes, you actually are what you hate

CNN has a documentary that has a double helping of irony. The documentary is about Polish Jews who are coming out of the closet about their religion. Not only did communist governments try to suppress all religion, but in the years after WWII antisemitism was rampant in Poland, to the point where many Jews hid their Jewish heritage, even from their own children.

The documentary features a couple, Ola and Pawel, who spent the last several decades being white supremacist neo-Nazis. According to Pawel

I was a nationalist 100 percent. Back then when we were skinheads it was all about white power and I believed Poland was only for Poles. That Jews were the biggest plague and the worst evil of this world. At least in Poland it was thought this way as at the time anything that was bad was the fault of the Jews.

But this all changed a few years ago when Ola started researching their family trees, and discovered that not only was she Jewish, but so was her husband.

It was unbelievable — it turned out that we had Jewish roots. It was a shock. I didn’t expect to find out that I had a Jewish husband.

But the most interesting part is that they are philosophical about their past:

I’m not saying that I don’t have regrets but it’s not something that I walk around and lash myself over… I feel sorry for those that I beat up… but I don’t hold a grudge against myself. The people who I hurt can hold a grudge against me.

Both have now joined the Jewish religion. Pawel is studying to work in a slaughterhouse killing animals according to the Jewish Kosher requirement and Ola is working in the synagogue’s kitchen as a kosher supervisor. They have even become friends with the Chief Rabbi of Poland, who is philosophical as well:

It says on a personal level, never write somebody off. Where they may be 10 years ago doesn’t have to be where they are today. And the human being has this unlimited capability of changing and sometimes even for the better.



  1. Richard wrote:

    Incredible story, thanks for posting it.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink
  2. ZJD wrote:

    I didn’t know Judaism was hereditary…

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink