Kosher Kink and Honey Cake

This is my final post from Smutathon 2019, a story set in Poland.

I live in a land of ghosts. I live in the nondescript town of D. in south western Poland that was once the German town of R. The area is actually scenic. Just twenty miles away, the Sudeten mountains rise up on the Czech border. There are historic towns and castles nearby.  There are palaces. Most of them crumbling ruins, witnesses to a German past most people would happily forget. That last part of that past is dark. The area was littered with forced labour camps, satellite camps of the larger camps whose names still bring a shudder. My town has a synagogue, boarded up and derelict since   it was trashed and defiled on Kristallnacht. There are no Jews in D.

Actually, there is one. I am that Jew. My name is Alicja Bromberger. I am not from here. I grew up in Warsaw. I came here to live among the ghosts.  I felt drawn to the darkness that hangs over the quiet countryside like a pall. I am single. I am often lonely, But I feel that this is my fate. How can I be happy in the face if what befell my people, my family? And don’t think it ended in 1945. I have an uncle and aunt in Israel, forced into emigration in 1968. I live among ghosts and tell no one here who I really am.

I have another secret I keep from my neighbours. In my professional life I am a dominatrix. I work as Mistress Alice, Queen of Kosher Kink. Have a look on those pro domme websites. You will find me easily. There are only a handful of pro dommes in Poland. In real life I am a bit out of the way in my Silesian hideaway, but I have my regular clients, some of them from Germany. I make enough to pay my bills.

I first met Marcin the day I came home from the sops to find graffiti on the wall of my house.

“Precz z Zydami!” ”Jews out!” it read.  There was a crude Star of David overlaid with a swastika sprayed on in strokes of sinister violence. I froze. I looked around, searched for my key in my handbag and disappeared quickly into the house. I shut the door behind me and burst into tears. Who had found about me? And how? And what else did they know? If they also knew that my second bedroom was a BDSM studio, and that I did this professionally, I would have to leave. And I needed the dark solitude of the town of D.

There was a knock on the door. I opened it to a Polish man of about 30 who had a bucket of soapy water in his hand and a sponge.

“I’m Marcin. I think it is really awful what they have done. I’ve come to wash it off”.

“Thank you” I mumbled, “that’s very kind. “

He went to work and when he had finished, I invited him in for a cup of tea.

I set down a tray of tea and little cakes and sat down, watching him closely as he stirred sugar into his tea,

“Please have some cake” I said and, after a moment’s hesitation he took one.

“Actually, I knew you were Jewish, myself, I kind of found out, and I know what you do.”

“How?”

“I look at sites. I found you on InternationalDommes.com I am single, I don’t have a girlfriend, I just think about this stuff. And I hate myself for it. And I hate this country. Look, my grandparents came here from central Poland after the war. Some of my family were involved in the pogrom at Kielce. The Poles have been as awful as the Nazis, some of the anyway, And my family too. Mistress Alice, will you punish me for wat they have done? Please! I have always fantasised about being on my ness before a Mistress, but if I could kneel before you as a Jewish mistress, please”

“I can’t promise. I need to think about it.”

“But I need this. I can’t cope with the shame. Please punish me. And our town, you know it was designated as a town for Jews after the war, before the Germans were resettled? The Germans had to wear a special badge, and had to bow whenever they met a Jew, and step off the pavement”

“I had read that” I said.

“That was so justified, But I think we should made to do that too. I crave humiliation at your hands.”

He broke down and wept and I agreed to see him, despite my doubts.

**************************

“Kiss the Star of David!” I ordered him after he entered my chamber and held out my pendant towards him.  When he had kissed it I pushed him to his knees and ordered him to lick my boots. He started nervously, I could see him trembling in fear and anticipation. I grabbed his hair and yanked his head upward so that his face was looking into mine.

“You confessed to being from a family of anti-Semites. You confessed to telling Jewish jokes. What  else have you got to confess?”

He looked blank.

“Nothing Mistress.”

“What about the graffiti on my door the other day, the graffiti you mysteriously turned up to wash off for me.”

“How did you know it was me?”

“I am not stupid Marcin.”

He bowed his head. I pulled it up again and spat in his face.

“You had better be sincere in your desire to submit to me.”

“I am.”

“Prove it.”

He resumed licking and I saw him go into a trancelike state as he finished the soles and worked his eager tongue up the shaft.

“How does that feel Marcin?”

“Mistress?”

“How does it feel to be on your knees, licking the boots of a dirty Jew?”

“MIstress,  I don’t care what people say abou Jews. I have read books I have…… “

He wept again. I knew that the catharsis he sought would not be easy to find.  I sent him on his way.

************************************************************************************************************

A month later he came back. Again he kissed the Star of David. Again he licked my boots. This time I judged him ready. I had done a lot of thinking. I strapped him to the bench. And showed him the canes I was going to hit him with.  I went into the emotional void that was the main feature f my life here in the town of D.  formerly R. No anger, no feeling, just a cold concentration on the task in hand, the placement, the technique.

One hundred and one strokes, and I made him count every one, each stroke a shedding of a burden, an act of contrition for things done long before he was born, that had trapped him in shame and guilt. He breathed in deeply ahead of each stroke, fought against the agony that radiated through his body. And then surrendered to it.

When I released him from the restraints, his buttocks were an angry red, bloody and marked with the tramlines that are the marks of my craft, of a caning delivered with accuracy, with utter ruthlessness, yet with profound care for the man who had trusted me enough to give himself to me in this way. I took hi into my arms to hug him, give him reassurance, aftercare, and love. Few of my sessions had been as emotionally charged as this one. He wept again, but I sensed that these were tears of release. I kissed him gently on the forehead. He wept uncontrollably

“Thank you, Mistress, thank you, Mistress.”

“And next time,” I said, “I am going to cut off your foreskin and then I will know that you have embraced the redemption you asked for.”

He slipped free of my grasp and prostrated himself on the floor before me. I raised a foot and pressed a stiletto heel into his burning, bloodied backside. He screamed. I laughed, as I hadn’t laughed in years. I was free too.

 

******************************************************************************

Marcin is devoted to me. He comes most days to cook and clean. He will be here tomorrow with honey cake he had baked for me. We will celebrate New Year together, eat sweet things and maybe I will give him a caning to finish up.

It is Rosh Hashanah and I wish you the very best dear reader. I had to get Eve to tell you my story because my English isn’t great but If my story has spoken to you, please consider a donation for abortion rights in the USA. And please, also think about the isolation of so many people like me in a country not so far from many of you. I don’t mean Jews, but as kinky people, LGBT people, anyone who is sexually alternative. This is not such a bad country in many ways. There are good, tolerant people here. But we need your love too, and the strength it gives us.

 

Repeal the Eighth

If there is an overarching theme to this blog it is that everyone should have the right to bodily autonomy and that consent is sexy. Yet millions of people across the world have no guarantees of bodily autonomy. This is particularly the case if you are female. If you are female and pregnant it is often the state that denies you that autonomy, and this denial occurs in many western democracies, and several members of the European Union. This is not a hangover from the past either. Social conservatives are active in many countries seeking to reverse the gains of the last 50 years. Who can say that Roe v Wade is safe from being revisited by the Supreme Court of the United States once Trump had packed it with right wing placemen, in a country where the lifestyle choices of women are being made to penal sanction because they happen to be pregnant?

Tomorrow, the people of Ireland  have the  chance to contribute to the fightback when they vote in a referendum to decide whether the Eighth Amendment to the constitution, approved by a referendum in 1983 and which gives the unborn a right to life on the same footing as the already born, should be repealed. They have the chance to say that bodily autonomy matters, that women matter, that bearing children is not the sole criterion of the worth of a woman.

And a yes vote in Ireland would be a big boost to women in other European countries fighting their own battles with the “pro-life” obscurantists. Poland already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws  in Europe, and it is sign of the prevailing political climate there that the 1993 legislation which does allow for abortion in exceptional circumstances such as danger to the health and life of the mother, is regarded as an acceptable compromise by many. It is not. Every year thousands of Polish women go to Slovakia and the Czech Republic for terminations just as Irish women get the ferry across the Irish sea. Yet for the zealots this is not enough. A citizens’’ imitative in 2017 originating with a crazy fundamentalist Catholic group attracted support from the ruling Law and Justice Party and draft legislation was drawn up only to be shelved when women took to the streets in their tens of thousands in a Black March. There were women’s strikes, a mass walk out from churches on the day a pastoral letter supporting the proposed changes was read out. The Government took fright. The threat has not gone away.

The current legal position in both Ireland and Poland has led to women either being denied treatment they need or, disgracefully, being forced to undergo medical interventions they have not consented to. I had the opportunity to talk to a Polish obstetrician about the possible impact of a total ban on abortion. He have the example of a woman with severe pre-eclampsia at 32 weeks. The only treatment is to induce the birth. This may led to the death of the baby (although doctors will do all they can to save it) but, if that is what has to be done to protect the health and life of the mother that is what will be done. Unless the laws are tightened further in which case the doctor inducing a birth may find herself jailed for up to 5 years for carrying out an abortion.

Doctors, he said, will become reluctant to carry out medically necessary procedures, and women will die. This is where pro-life legislation grounded in theology and not actual biological reality leads. Give a foetus which can have no existence independently of the mother an inalienable right to life and you deny this right to the woman who is carrying it.

I hope the Irish people will vote yes tomorrow. I hope too that such a vote will give impetus to efforts to change the unacceptable and totally anomalous situation in Northern Ireland. I know that the women of Poland will be watching with interest too. I hope that the message to the fundamentalists will be what many of us have chanted at demos over the years:

“Pro-life that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die”

Suffer the Little Children

If you knew Ireland say 40 years ago you will have an idea of what much of Poland is like today; the stifling dominance of the Catholic Church, an arrogant and out of touch hierarchy that lectures elected politicians in what the people want, village priests who no-one dares to disagree with, a disempowered laity.that is expected to sit quietly in the pew and cough up when the collection plate goes round.

There is a further similiarity with Ireland which is that victims of clerical sexual abuse are finally finding the courage to come forward. For years they remained silent for fear of the consequences, or were not believed.  There have been a number of convictions.

In Ireland the hierarchy tried to hush it up and suffered the consequence of a collapse in its moral authority. In Poland the Church has a more aggressive approach. It blames the victims or rather it blames feminism for destroying the moral underpinnings of society for the moral collapse that leads to children being brought up without a moral compass throwing themselves at the poor priests. Victim blaming has surely never been as shameless as this.

The new bogeyman (or should that be bogeywoman) of the Church is the gender ideology or as they put it Gender. What they mean is gender studies which might seem to any normal person to be a wholly legitimate study of the way in which gender roles are socially and culturally determined, how they change across time. vary between countries and cultures and so on. No, merely suggesting that the role of a Polish woman as housewife and mother (the so-called Matka Polka) is culturally and historically determined and not handed down from Mount Sinai is alleged to undermine Polish society. The next step from Gender Studies is sexualised children climbing into the beds of priests to seduce them.

I find it hard to accept that they believe any of this but am all the more shocked at the ruthlessness with which the Church is defending its power and privilege. Priests facing serious criminal charges are left in their parishes to denounce their accusers from the pulpit while convicted priests feel free to ignore court orders forbidding then from having contact with children. The criminal justice system seems unwilling or unable to treat these offences as seriously as they deserve.

The Church will surely pay a price for this arrogance in the long term just as it has in other countries. That is probably little consolation for the victims, many of whom face social ostracism for speaking the truth. What Jesus would have made of it, the man in whose name the Church claims to act, can be guessed from what he said.

“Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for of such is the Kingdom of God.”

A Few Thoughts from Poland

This post begins and ends with a holiday. Recent news from the Irish Republic about the abortion debate reminded me of my first ever visit to Ireland, a cycling trip with a friend from Dublin to Dun Chaoin at the end of the Dingle Peninsula with its magical view out over the Great Blasket to the vast Atlantic stretching away behind it. This was in 1983 when the big news topic was the upcoming referendum to amend the constitution to include a clause protecting the unborn, effectively putting abortion, or rather the ban on abortion, beyond the legislative reach of the Dail. It became quickly apparent just how much power the Roman Catholic hierarchy exercised 60 years after partition. We didn’t , of course, know that, just a few streets away from where we were staying, ‘fallen’ women were still slaving away in laundries for the good of their immortal souls.

This was before the child abuse scandals which, conventional wisdom has it, have broken the Church as a political force. Recent reports from Ireland, concerning both abortion and possible legislation to criminalise sex work, suggest that the demise of the Church has been much exaggerated.

Further east the position in one of Europe’s arch Catholic countries was a little different then. Communism was crumbling in Poland to the extent that only a military coup had been able to shore up the system and 1983 was a from year of shortages, power cuts and so on. Nonetheless it had brought some benefits to women. Abortion and contraception were both freely available. Not that I wanted to exaggerate the benefits. Most women worked and received little help at home with cooking and child rearing. They also bore the brunt of the soul destroying waits in queues before empty shops. Nonetheless they were spared the worst effects of ecclesiastical misogyny.

This all changed in 1989. It is important to say that Poland has become a relatively stable democracy in the last twenty four years. The clergy have had to learn the hard way that Poles will not put up with instructions from the pulpit on election day. Indeed between 1995 and 2005 neither the President nor Prime Minister were Catholics. This was a disappointment to the likes of the Primate Cardinal Glemp who genuinely wanted Poland to become a confessional state but he soon discovered that he could bully governments of any colour and the list of demands was soon handed in, a Concordat was demanded and granted, Church lands confiscated by the Communists were restored, resulting in an unseemly land grab, while a systematic attack on the rights of women was orchestrated.

A ban on abortion was introduced in 1993. This has resulted in two important cases being brought to the ECHR. The first was that of Alicja Tysiac who wanted an abortion for health reasons, specifically that she had impaired vision and her pregnancy carried a threat of her losing her eyesight altogether. Polish law would actually have allowed her to have one but she could not find a doctor willing to perform one. The other case involved a 14 year old girl, pregnant following a rape, who was similarly denied an abortion. Polish law does have limited exemptions to the ban as I mentioned above but in practice the right to a termination can be difficult to enforce. Even these limited exemptions are under threat. There are some on the right pressing for an Irish style amendment to the constitution but, thankfully, nothing has come of this yet.
What the Church wants, it generally gets. There will be no in vitro fertilisation anytime soon, and no gay marriage. I have discussed Poland’s antediluvian attitudes to LGBT people here. Having said that Poland does not have its first openly gay MP and the world’s only transgender MP, Anna Grodzka. They are both members of the Palikot’s Movement party, named after its founder, a millionaire businessman called Janusz Palikot. this party standing on an openly anti-clerical platform achieved 10% of the vote in the last elections and as much as 25% amongst first time voters suggesting that things are changing.  Palikot is saying things that need to be said but has a history of opportunism and if advances in women’s rights and LGBT rights are in his hands we need to worry.

The Church is keen to promote the idea of the ‘Matka Polka’ the devoted mother who stays at home to care for her children, to cook and clean for her husband and so on. In reality most women in Poland work. Low wages mean that families with children cannot survive on one income. At work they enjoy little job security. What does the allegedly pro-life Church have to say about employers who sack women for becoming pregnant? You’ve guessed it – nothing. At home, as in Communist days, the work falls mainly on their shoulders.

Domestic violence has never been taken seriously by many in Poland. It doesn’t happen, many people think, because every Polish man is a gentleman who opens doors, gives up his seat on the bus and would never dream of raising his hand against a woman. Some twenty years ago a left of centre government funded a helpline for victims of domestic violence, with a hard hitting poster campaign to publicise it. The scale of the problem quickly became apparent, painfully so for many Poles, so much so, in fact that a minister in the subsequent right of centre government withdrew funding on the grounds that it was encouraging Catholic mothers to desert their families and, therefore, wrong. He had nothing to say about the abuse that drove women to do this.

So we arrive in 2013 and my latest holiday. I had the chance to discuss these issues with some women but sadly the general awareness of them is low. One woman I spoke to suggested that Alicja Tysiac was a ‘whore’ for wanting a termination to save her sight. Feminism is seen as the hobby of a handful of educated metropolitan women and of no relevance to others in their daily struggle to make ends meet. Some Polish women have had successful careers in business and politics. They are the exception. The power of the Church has been a major factor (but not the only one) in making Polish women second class citizens in their own country. If the position of Polish women in 1983 was in some respects better than that of Irish women it certainly isn’t now.

Bigos and Bigotry

Last week a Polish friend living in the UK confided in me that her eighteen year old daughter had come out as a lesbian. She was quite upset about this and suggested, hoped maybe, that it might be just another teenage fad.

I suggested to her that, actually,  the love of a woman for a woman can be a beautiful thing and that, if she is happy, it doesn’t matter what other people think or say. I also said that, for a girl from a small town in Poland to come out was an act of courage for which I admire her.  The following story illustrates why.

Joanna Duda and Anu Czerwinski want to marry. This is not possible in their native Poland where legislation on civil partnerships is long overdue but even liberal politicians lack the courage to take on the Bishops who, despite having no personal experience of marriage, like to lecture the rest of society on the subject. Fortunately Anu and Joanna live in France and the Registrar in Paris is happy to marry them. The catch is that they have to produce a certificate from Poland stating that they are not married already, a bit like the Certificate of Non-Impediment that UK citizens need to produce if they are marrying abroad. The Registrar in Gdansk is refusing to issue a certificate to Joanna saying that marriage is between a man and a woman and that Polish law forbids same sex marriage. This is clearly irrelevant. Joanna is not marrying in Poland but in France and she is fully entitled to have this certificate. Without the certificate, however, there can no wedding. The French Registrar is sympathetic but her hands are tied.

Joanna is applying for French citizenship which offers her a way round the problem. She can also go to court. These things take time though. The wedding they planned and looked forward to will have to be postponed, by a year or more and all because of a bigot in an Gdansk office who thinks he has the right to dictate to others how to live their lives.

Homophobia is alive and well in Poland. This is the country that was severely criticised by the European Court of Human Rights for banning a Gay Pride March in Warsaw on the spurious grounds that it would cause disruption to traffic. As the Court laconically noted other, larger, marches didn’t seem to be expected to cause traffic chaos. And when they do take place there are invariably noisy and aggressive counter demonstrations brandishing banners about paedophilia.  Poland can be a lonely place to be lesbian or gay.

In the light of things like this I can only say again that I admire Agnieszka for the step she has taken and wish her happiness in her new relationship.