I can agree with the Polish idea of renaming Auschwitz and other death camps in Poland as Nazi Death Camps located in Poland rather than Polish Death Camps. Nazi death and work camps existed in many countries besides Germany and Poland. But I sense a guilty conscience here that refuses to come clean. Why make a law prohibiting people from calling them that? This smells of Soviet era paranoia.
Much more problematic is Poland’s proposed law to prohibit people from saying that Poland was complicit in the Holocaust.
Poland was absolutely complicit in the Holocaust. Aside from the terrible stories my own parents told me as survivors, there exists one glaring fact: Before the war Poland had 3.5 million Jews or more. After the war they had none. The elimination of that many people couldn’t have happened without the help of many Poles. One can easily find videos depicting hundreds of thousands of Poles cheering on Hitler when he paraded through Poland. There is tons of proof of the vile behaviour of many Poles towards Jews before, during and most disgustingly after the war. Besides my own family who owned property in Poland prior to the war, there are tens of thousands of Jews who also lost real property like houses, hotels, businesses and factories. Their Jewish bodies weren’t even cold (from the ovens) before many Poles (often their own neighbours, business associates or employees) had repossessed them. Unlike Germany who has formally apologized numerous times for the Holocaust and continues to pay millions in reparations, Poland has done little. In Germany it is illegal to deny the Holocaust but now in Poland it may become illegal to acknowledge it. Poles have profited immensely both from the property they stole and from the tourist business that continues to pour in to places like Auschwitz (pictured above). There were a couple of countries who protect their Jews, like Denmark and Bulgaria. Poland was not one of them.
I often hear the defence that many Poles suffered at the hands of the Nazis and died in Nazi death camps. True. But what had that got to do with the Poles treatment of their Jews?
Some have told me to be quiet about this. No sense in opening old wounds and I’m not going to change the age old antisemitism in Poland. Wrong. I speak out about injustice. That’s what I do. Maybe I’ll plant a seed of doubt into one Polish citizen who was brainwashed to think otherwise. Most people in the world sadly know nothing or little about this. Probably my own children. I write this for them and for the memory of my parents and six million more who lost their lives in the most brutal fashion. Who does know about the horrors of the Poles? Those survivors who are still with us, their children and many older Poles are also still with us. And most disturbingly, the Polish government.
Since we have relations with her (Canada and Israel) I urge us all to write letters to the Polish government to overturn their proposal. If we can’t get them to admit the historical truth on this, perhaps we can at least embarrass them to change their minds. The Polish treatment of Jews circa WWII is not prevalent in textbooks. It needs to be. Have you seen the Polish documentary (by 2 righteous Poles) called the ‘Two Barns’? It happened in a small rural town in Poland at the beginning of the war. The nazis had not yet even entered their town. Jews had lived peacefully, side by side with their Polish neighbours for over 800 years. The Poles had a meeting to decide what to do with ‘their’ Jews. They rounded them up, put them in a barn at gun point and burnt them alive. But not before they grabbed one of the good looking young Jewish women. They raped her, chopped off her head and played soccer with it. The Nazis had nothing to do with this. And there were other similar horrific incidents in Poland.
If I was Poland I would be very quiet on any Holocaust denial. I would certainly not open up this can of worms. It’s obvious that they urgently require Holocaust education and a Polish history lesson. Any Jewish survivor from Poland will always remember the fear of being pointed to by a Pole to a Gestapo agent shouting the words: Here is a Jew!
If Poland can’t see the wrong in their proposal, they are erasing any good that righteous Poles did by risking their lives and in some cases giving their lives, to save Jews during the Holocaust.
I’m not saying all Poles were Nazis but many were. Until Poland stops sweeping their guilt under the carpet, they will never heal nor can they be trusted.