Professor Danusha V. Goska

Danusha Goska has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, on both coasts, and in the heartland, of the US. She is the author of Bieganski, the Brute Polak Stereotype; Save Send Delete; God through Binoculars; and chapters in The Impossible Will Take a Little While; Love on the Road 2013; and Two Countries: US Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents. Goska received her MA from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Goska has spoken about Bieganski in Krakow’s Galicia Jewish Museum as part of the Jewish Culture Festival, in Markowa, Poland, site of the Nazi murder of the righteous Ulma family, in American synagogues, churches, and universities, including Brandeis, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Georgetown.

Goska’s work has appeared in Haaretz, Israel Hayom, Dziennik Związkowy, Polin, Tygodnik Powszechny, Polityka, and the Polish American Journal.

Bieganski won the 2010 PAHA Halecki Award. The Shofar Journal of Jewish Studies called it “Groundbreaking.” American Jewish History said that Bieganski points out that the Brute Polak stereotype “gives the illusion of absolving those who failed in their own test of humanity” during the Holocaust.

John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago wrote, ”Bieganski is a truly important book because it challenges and demolishes the widely held belief that Poles are nothing more than ignorant and brutish anti-Semites who played a central role in causing the Holocaust. Goska does a first-rate job … Let’s hope that this book is widely read.”

James P. Leary, University of Wisconsin, said that Bieganski is “A powerful, provocative, ultimately profound work of scholarship … for anyone wishing to fathom the interworkings of class and ethnicity in an America that has all too often fallen short of its promise.”

Dr. Michael Herzbrun, Rabbi Temple Emanu-El, Rochester, NY, wrote that Goska’s “Thinking is crisp, and her knowledge of this very sensitive topic is thoroughly evident. Indeed, the reader cannot help but be persuaded by the logical unfolding of the positions she brings to this necessary work. While she may jostle readers’ previously-held constructs, she will also protect them on a literary journey that could be harrowing and dangerous in lesser hands.”

US Holocaust Memorial Council member Father John T. Pawlikowski wrote “Stereotypes of Poles have been commonplace in Western society. Goska presents a comprehensive overview of such images in a balanced fashion. She offers no apologetic for a genuine instance of Polish anti-Semitism. She exposes those rooted in outright prejudice with no foundation in fact. An important contribution to improved Polish-Jewish understanding.”

Prof. Jay Bergman, the biographer of Andrei Sakharov, said, “My wife and I liked your talk immensely and learned a great deal from it. It took guts … the audience was as interested in what you had to say as I was. Your students are very fortunate to have you as a teacher!”

Bieganski is part of a series edited by Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies at Brandeis University.

Danusha Goska, Ph.D., will introduce during the “Poland First to Fight” conference the Bieganski stereotype, as described in her prize-winning 2010 book, Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype. In the stereotype in question, Poles are animalistic: physically strong, stupid, and dirty. Through this stereotype, the blame is shifted from Nazi Germany to a Poland seen as populated by backward peasant Catholics, who, exactly because they are peasants and Catholic, are seen as predisposed to violence and hate in a way that more “evolved” peoples are not. Because it is used to re-write Holocaust and WW II history, the Bieganski stereotype is of concern to all people of good will.