The Polish orphans of Pahiatua

Children from Eastern Poland who’d been deported by the Soviets, starved and orphaned were sent to a New Zealand refugee camp called Pahiatua in 1944, writes Anne Applebaum in Slate. Despite their childhood suffering and the loss of their families, the children of Pahiatua made good lives in their new country.

On Oct. 31, 1944, their ship pulled into Wellington harbor. More than 750 orphans, from toddlers to young teenagers, and 100 adult caretakers, teachers, and doctors disembarked. . . .  they stayed together, studied together, organized Polish scouting troops, and waited for the war to end so they could go home.

When the war was over, few had anyone to return to. Their former home, Eastern Poland, had been annexed by the Soviet Union. They made new homes in New Zealand. They started new families.

. . .  they had witnessed the deaths of parents and siblings, experienced terrible deprivation, and lost years of education before finding themselves in an alien country on the far side of the world. And yet they learned the language, they assimilated, they became doctors, lawyers, farmers, factory workers, teachers, and businessmen.

We believe children need “excellent schools, carefully organized leisure and . . .  high-concentration, high-focus parenting,” writes Applebaum. The Pahiatua orphans made do with a lot less.

Professor: NEH funds anti-U.S. bias

An extremist, anti-American agenda tainted History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War,” a workshop for community college professors sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, complains Penelope Blake, a humanities professor at Rock Valley College in Illinois.  The workshop was held at the University of Hawaii’s East-West Center in July.

Blake sent Power Line a Sept. 12 letter she wrote to Illinois Rep. Donald Manzullo, her congressman, asking him to vote against funding for future workshops until the NEH explains the violation of its objective to foster “a mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all persons and groups.”

In my thirty years as a professor in upper education, I have never witnessed nor participated in a more extremist, agenda-driven, revisionist conference, nearly devoid of rhetorical balance and historical context for the arguments presented.

Among other things, presenters want Japan to be seen as a victim of U.S. imperialism forced to attack Pearl Harbor. War memorials like the Arizona Memorial should be recast as “peace memorials,” with care taken not to offend visitors from Japan. They see veterans as old fogies with suspect memories who are going to die soon anyhow, letting the academics determine what really happened.