I believe that Poland, once again, could become a beacon for West European Jews wanting to start over in a safe family environment but not to abandon Europe. Poland could even serve as a haven and headquarters country for European Jewish business elites whose interests are global. Some reasons are the hospitality of the Polish people, despite residual prejudices kept alive by a slow-to-reform Catholic Church; the openness of the Polish economy to Jewish entrepreneurship; and Poland’s receptivity to Jewish culture, as reflected in the concept enunciated by Polish intellectuals and journalists of the phantom limb. The once-thriving but now near-extinguished population has been compared to the missing limb of an amputee that no longer exists but still has feeling. Many intellectuals and students paraphrase the greatest Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz, who may himself have had Jewish roots — Jew, “you are like health, cherished only once it had been lost.”
But there is another reason. Let us be candid — Anti-Jewish Islamization hasn’t happened and isn’t expected to happen during the next half-century the way it has in Western Europe and may even happen in America. It is also reassuring to know that Poland’s neighbor to the west, the most powerful country in Europe, is its ally and the ally of Jews and Israel. For generations now, Germany has taken upon itself the task to oppose anti-Semitism in Germany and beyond and has staunchly supported Israel and its right to exist. Germany has been a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Eastern European Jews, has encouraged further growth of its Jewish population and would have great allure were it not for its large and growing Muslim population that is not immune to radicalization. All of this creates a new Polish “window of opportunity.”
Among other benefits to Poland, the returning Jews would bring with them their experience of teaching at the highest level of academia and further enhance the Polish institutions of highest learning. (It is worth noting that about a third of the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences are Jews.) Their knowledge of economics, international trade and business in general would help turn Warsaw into a major European financial center. Jews have a highly developed sense of responsibility for the community at large; an example of which would be Leopold Kronenberg’s construction in 1875 of the Warsaw Business School and later the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, for which he was the initiator and one of the main benefactors. The presence of a significant Jewish community would no doubt spur the creation of hospitals, schools, museums, theaters and music venues, as has been done in other parts of the world.