Poland’s Problematic Holocaust Law

Poland recently initiated criticism from foreign nations when its Senate adopted a law that effectively outlawed blaming Poland for Holocaust war crimes, and forbidding the use of “Polish Death Camps” for the German operated Nazi Concentration Camps in Poland such as Auschwitz.

The new law imposes a 3-year prison penalty for anyone who participates in political speech that is considered to be anti-Polish.

The sentiment behind criminalizing “Polish death camps” goes back many years and is shared by different political groups as millions of Polish citizens including non-Jewish citizens, died in the camps including academics and Catholic priests.

Unlike the Vichy regime in France, and Nazi influenced Belgium, Italy and other German-occupied nations, Germany intended to destroy Poland as a nation, and Germanize the nation during the 6 years of occupation by the Nazi’s.

The Israeli government sees the new law as an attempt to whitewash the role some Poles played in the murder of Jews during World War II.

In response to Poland’s announcement, Israel’s education minister Naftali Bennet canceled his visit to the nation and issued a statement this Monday stating:

“The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it. The government of Poland cancelled my visit, because I mentioned the crimes of its people. I am honored.”

 

The Israeli minister also mentioned how “many Polish people, all over the country, chased, informed, or actively took part in the murder of over 200,000 jews during, and after the Holocaust. Only a few thousand people, Righteous among the Nations, risked themselves to save Jews”.

During the Holocaust the Nazi’s and their sympathizers systematically murdered 6 million Jews, wiping out a third of the worldwide Jewish population, among other groups they deemed unfit.

This week vandals in Poland defaced a memorial of what was once a synagogue that was burned by the Nazis in fall 1938 with the words “Juden Raus”, German for Jews Out, and a crossed-out Star of David.

Image of the defaced Memorial. Source: Wojciech Kozlowski, Facebook

According to Wojciech Kozlowski, 

“This plague is not new to my town; it was here before… Anti-Semitism is not a philosophy, it’s a disease, but of a specific kind,”

The Zielona Gora synagogue was built in 1882 during the Kristallnacht between November 9-10, 1938 when Jewish-owned businesses and buildings were systematically targeted and hundreds were killed.

More than 70 years after the Holocaust, synagogues and Jewish memorials around the world continue to be vandalized by modern-day Nazi sympathizers, and anti-Semitism is strong in Poland.

 

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