Issues about Poland’s Proposed Ban on the Term “Polish Death Camps”

If the bill, passed by Poland’s lower legislature last week, becomes law, it would become illegal to suggest that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust

Late last week, Polish lawmakers granted initial approval to a law that has sparked grave concerns among Israeli officials and Holocaust historians.

As Ruth Eglash and Avi Selk of the Washington Post report, the controversial bill aims to make it illegal to suggest that Poland bore any responsibility for atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Under the new legislation, individuals could face fines and up to three years in jail for using phrases like “Polish death camps” (rather than “Nazi death camps”).

The so-called “death camp” bill was passed overwhelmingly by Poland’s lower legislature on Friday, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance day; the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs called it “miserable” timing. Before it can be enacted into law, the bill needs to be approved by the Senate and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

News of the lower legislature’s vote has provoked an international outcry. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that they “will under no circumstances accept any attempt to rewrite history,” as Jeffrey Heller and Marcin Goettig of Retuers reports.

Poland’s deputy ambassador to Israel, Piotr Kozlowski,was summoned to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on Sunday to account for the bill. Also on Sunday, Netanyahu and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke on the phone and “agreed to immediately open a dialogue between staffs of the two countries, in order to try and reach an understanding over the legislation,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, according to Raphael Ahren of the Times of Israel.

Poland has long resisted acknowledging its complicity in the Holocaust. Polish lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to pass the controversial bill back in 2013, after then-President Barack Obama referred to “Polish death camps” during a speech honoring Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski. Since then, the right-wing nationalist Law and Justice party, which won a solid parliamentary majority in 2015, has been aggressive in its efforts to sanitize Poland’s historical record.

The party leaders’ refusal to acknowledge that Polish citizens played a role in the terrible crimes committed by Nazis is distressing to Holocaust historians.

During World War II, the Poles suffered a brutal occupation at the hands of the Nazis, who saw the Poles as racially inferior. At least 2.5 million non-Jewish civilians and soldiers died before the war’s end, according to the United States Holocaust Museum. However, the Nazis also “drew upon some Polish agencies, such as Polish police forces and railroad personnel, in the guarding of ghettos and the deportation of Jews to the killing centers.” Individual Poles, the museum writes, “often helped in the identification, denunciation, and hunting down of Jews in hiding, often profiting from the associated blackmail, and actively participated in the plunder of Jewish property.”

A notorious example of Polish persecution of Jews is the 1941 massacre at Jedwabne, during which Polish villagers reportedly herded hundreds of Jewish women and children in a barn and set it on fire, burning the victims alive. (Though historians maintain that locals’ involvement in the massacre was a matter of historical record, some Poles have denied Polish complicity).

In a statement, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance center in Jerusalem, says it agrees with the new bill’s claims about the inaccuracy of the term “Polish death camps,” since these camps were set up by the Nazis. But the statement goes on to write, “restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people’s direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion.”

The party leaders’ refusal to acknowledge that Polish citizens played a role in the terrible crimes committed by Nazis is distressing to Holocaust historians.

During World War II, the Poles suffered a brutal occupation at the hands of the Nazis, who saw the Poles as racially inferior. At least 2.5 million non-Jewish civilians and soldiers died before the war’s end, according to the United States Holocaust Museum. However, the Nazis also “drew upon some Polish agencies, such as Polish police forces and railroad personnel, in the guarding of ghettos and the deportation of Jews to the killing centers.” Individual Poles, the museum writes, “often helped in the identification, denunciation, and hunting down of Jews in hiding, often profiting from the associated blackmail, and actively participated in the plunder of Jewish property.”

A notorious example of Polish persecution of Jews is the 1941 massacre at Jedwabne, during which Polish villagers reportedly herded hundreds of Jewish women and children in a barn and set it on fire, burning the victims alive. (Though historians maintain that locals’ involvement in the massacre was a matter of historical record, some Poles have denied Polish complicity).

In a statement, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance center in Jerusalem, says it agrees with the new bill’s claims about the inaccuracy of the term “Polish death camps,” since these camps were set up by the Nazis. But the statement goes on to write, “restrictions on statements by scholars and others regarding the Polish people’s direct or indirect complicity with the crimes committed on their land during the Holocaust are a serious distortion.”

Henry Sapiecha

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You know you are in Poland when…

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Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

1. You can’t figure out how to greet other people. Your friend’s grandparents give you three kisses on the cheeks — left, right, and left again. Their father kisses you on the back of your hand in an outdated fashion while their mother gives you a flimsy handshake and their brother just says, “Cześć” from a distance.

2. When people speak, all you hear is “shhh chhh shhh chhh.”

3. You have no idea what the deal is with those ą, ę, ó, ć, ł, ś, ż, ź letters. How are you supposed to pronounce city names like Szczebrzeszyn, Łódź, Wrzeszcz or Trzcianka?

4. There is a flat voice speaking Polish over the original voices in English in movies on TV. It’s the same voice that reads the lines of all characters in the movie: men, women, and children.

5. The Polish voice in movies heavily euphemizes the language. “Get the f*** out from here, you motherf****!” is read in a monotonous intonation as “Odejdź stąd, ty szarlatanie.”

6. You are required to take your shoes off and leave them by the door when you enter someone’s house. You get guest slippers to walk around in inside.

7. Buying bread becomes a mind-boggling decision. Bakery shelves are lined with a selection of bread you have never seen before. You find round brown whole-wheat bread, oval white with crunchy crust sprinkled with poppy seeds, square sunflower seed sourdough bread, rectangular soy or flax seed loaves, as well as croissant-shaped milky rogale and different flavored buns: cheese and onion, 7 grains, pumpkin seed and Italian herbs.

8. Your breakfast is huge. You get your favorite bread, spread some butter on it and prepare open sandwiches layered with ham, cheese or cottage cheese, lettuce leaves, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, radishes and spring onions. You then sprinkle some salt and pepper over. Instead of coffee, you drink hot tea with a slice of lemon in it.

9. You are grateful for the substantiality of your breakfast, because the main meal of the day isn’t until 4pm. Around noon you get “second breakfast” — a piece of fruit, a sandwich, or a sweet pastry and a coffee.

10. All the dishes in typical restaurants contain potatoes. Boiled, mashed, fried or baked potatoes accompany any main course, but there are also kopytka (Polish gnocchi), potato pancakes, pierogi filled with potatoes and cottage cheese.

11. With your meal, you are served a drink of warm strawberry water, a few boiled pieces of fruit floating in it. You learn that it’s called kompot and that it can be made out of any fruit.

12. You eat all kinds of food made out of “rotten” ingredients. Sauerkraut is just rotten cabbage, ogórki kiszone are fermented cucumbers, traditional barszczis made out of beets that had gone bad (now vinegar is used to gives it the sour taste), żurek is a soup based on fermented yeast dough.

13. You are surprised to discover that none of the “rotten” foods make you sick.

14. You go for a walk in the forest and run into people picking wild mushrooms and blueberries.

15. Everyone lives off seasonal fruit in the summer. You eat jagodzianki, blueberry-filled yeast-dough sweet rolls, every day.

16. You can buy beer and vodka in a shop dedicated entirely to alcohol sales. Any time, any day.

17. You order a beer at a bar and you’re asked if you’d like raspberry syrup in it. You decide to give it a try. Your beer is served with a straw.

18. You can never have another type of vodka again after tasting how delicious Żubrówka is.

19. You discover that Polish people indeed make great use of their seasonal fruit when you try nalewki, fruity spirits. Many households produce them for own personal consumption.

20. Zapiekanka is your anti-hangover food. At the end of the night, you eat an entire 50-centimeter long baguette cut open, topped with mushrooms and cheese and grilled, then served with cabbage salad and slices of ogórki kiszone on top and lots of garlic sauce.

Henry Sapiecha

THESE ARE 32 GREAT VIDEOS ON POLAND-ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY INTO POLISH HISTORY

1…TOP AMAZING THINGS ABOUT POLAND


2…Worldwide famous Poles and people of Polish roots


3…Who are the Polish People? Where did the Poles come from? History of Poland

4…Polish History in 10 minutes

5…45 Interesting things about Poland

6…Poland Rediscovered: Krakow, Auschwitz, and Warsaw

7…Best of Krakow: city of Polish Kings

8…HELL MARCH _ Polish Army || Piekielny marsz 2017 HD

9…Sexy and beautiful Women in polish army

10..Top 5 Most Feared Special Forces In the World

11..How Powerful is Poland ? – Polish Military Power 2017

12..UKRAINE VS POLAND – Military Power Comparison 2017

13..Hungary and Poland defend Europe from Islamic invasion * B.Szydło & V.Orban – ULTIMATE NO TO E.U.!

14..National Geographic – Guardians Of Nature: Poland (2005)

15..Poland is beautiful

16..Poland’s Geographic Challenge

17..Gladiators of World War II – The Free Polish Forces [E5/13]

18..Heroes Of War Poland Episode 2 Cichociemni

19..Bloody foreigners. Untold Battle of Britain

20..Husaria – Polska Duma / The Winged Hussars – Polish Pride

21..POLAND / Rzeczpospolita

22..Battle of Prostki – October 8, 1656

23..The battle of Poltava (Swedish warfare) (Without music.)

24..Z OGNJEM IN MEČEM – Sottotitoli-Podnapisi -Subtitles- WITH FIRE AND SWORD-Old world polish movie of the Robin Hood genre

25..With Fire and Sword part 3 Tűzzel Karddal, only english text, polish voice Ogniem i mieczem

26..With Fire and Sword part 4 Tűzzel Karddal, only english text, polish voice Ogniem i mieczem

27..With Fire and Sword part 3 Tűzzel Karddal, only english text, polish voice Ogniem i mieczem

28..2/4 With Fire and Sword Tűzzel Karddal

29..Ostatni pociąg do Auschwitz – PL

30..Katyń [ru, en, fr subtitles] MOVIE.The massacre of 30,000 polish elite by the Russians.

31..Karol The man who became pope. Full length movie in English

32..John Paul II A Pope Who Made History with Cardinal Sapiecha

 

33..

 

Monarchs of Poland over the centuries

Uploaded on Sep 11, 2009

Poland has a long and colorful royal history. Since the 9th Century Poland was ruled by dukes, high dukes and kings at various times. Sometimes hereditary the Polish monarchy was more often elective, the throne often passing back and forth between competing forces. From 1386 to 1572 the Jagiellon dynasty provided the Kings of Poland and Grand Dukes of Lithuania. After that the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth came into being and was, for a time, a major force in central Europe at one point even threatening to dominate Russia. In 1795 it all ended with the partition of Poland between Prussia, Austria and Russia. During World War I the Germans and Austrians set up a Kingdom of Poland under a regency but after their defeat a new republican Poland was established.

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Henry Sapiecha