- This topic has 62 replies, 12 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Anonymous.
- February 3, 2018 at 7:17 am #347602
Poland’s Senate passed a controversial bill on Thursday that outlaws blaming Poland for any crimes committed during the Holocaust.
The bill was proposed by the country’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and calls for up to three years in prison or a fine for accusing the Polish state or people of involvement or responsibility for the Nazi occupation during World War II. The proposed legislation has raised concerns among critics about how the Polish state will decide what it considers to be facts. Lawmakers in Israel have pointed to historical records citing complicity by some Poles in the activities of the Nazi regime. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it an “attempt to rewrite history.”
Early Thursday morning, senators voted 57 to 23 for the bill, with two abstentions. The proposal requires approval by President Andrzej Duda, who supports it, to become law. “We have to send a clear signal to the world that we won’t allow for Poland to continue being insulted,” Patryk Jaki, a deputy justice minister, told reporters in parliament.
Here’s what you need to know.
What exactly would the law make illegal in Poland?
The legislation criminalizes any mention of Poles “being responsible or complicit in the Nazi crimes committed by the Third German Reich.” The harshest penalties are reserved for those who refer to Nazi-era concentration camps such as Auschwitz as “Polish death camps.” Only scientific research into the war and artistic work are exempted.
The use of the term “Polish death camp” has riled both the current nationalist government and its more liberal predecessors. According to Polish politician Jan Grabiec, the Polish foreign ministry issued 913 statements between 2008 and 2015 in response to the term being mentioned.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama caused an uproar in Poland when he used the phrase “Polish death camp” while posthumously bestowing a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 to Jan Karski, a Polish World War II resistance fighter. Obama apologized for using the phrase after being denounced by current European Council President Donald Tusk, who was then the Prime Minister of Poland.
Why has the proposed law become a diplomatic incident?
The bill sparked outrage in Israel after it passed through Poland’s parliament on Jan. 26, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Many in Israel call it an attempt to whitewash the role some Poles had in the detention and killing of around three million Polish Jews during World War II.
“The legislation will not help further the exposure of historical truth and may harm freedom of research, as well as prevent discussion of the historical message and legacy of World War II,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The bill was passed despite assurances from Poland that there would be a dialogue with Israel before the vote took place.
The U.S. State Department also warned Polish lawmakers against passing the bill, saying it could have “repercussion” on the country’s “strategic interests and relationships, including with the United States.”
What does the historical record say?
Poland was attacked and occupied in 1939 by Nazi Germany, which led to the building of concentration camps, including Treblinka and Auschwitz, that were operated by the Germans. The Germans killed about 1.9 million non-Jewish civilians and about three million Jews during the occupation of Poland, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. A number of Poles risked their lives to help hide Jews, according to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
But like certain citizens of other nations occupied by Nazi Germany, some Poles were complicit in the Nazi atrocities. According to the POLIN museum, a small minority of Poles either extorted money from Jews hiding from the Germans or outed them. The Nazis also recruited local collaborators to round up Jews for the camps. In addition, there were anti-Semitic pogroms during and after the war. The most infamous happened in 1941 in the town of Jedwabne, in which 400 Jews were set on fire in a barn by their neighbors.
The Polish prime minister tweeted a metaphor on Sunday intended to put these activities in context. Morawiecki wrote: “A gang of professional thugs enters a two-family house. They kill the first family almost entirely. They kill the parents of the second, torturing the kids. They loot and raze the house. Could one, in good conscience, say that the second family is guilty for the murder of the first?”
Why Poland is doing this now?
Critics have accused the right-wing government of using the issue to bolster political support. PiS has been accused of pandering to nationalists and the far-right through xenophobic language and tailoring its message to appeal to a spectrum of right-wing voters. PiS’s leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski once said Muslim refugees carried “various parasites and protozoa” and the government’s education minister in 2016 discounted two well-documented massacres of Jews, including Jedwabne, by calling it a matter of “opinion, ” according to the Times of Israel.
There has been a resurgence of far-right sentiment in the country. A Polish government pollster found in a November survey that more than one in three polled said they supported far-right activities. That same month, far-right nationalists marched in Warsaw, brandishing slogans and signs that said “Clean Blood,” “White Europe, and “Europe Will Be White.” Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said the march wad fueled by “patriotic behavior of Poles” and displays of xenophobia were “incidents” that were “of course, reprehensible.”
The government denies the bill was intended to limit free expression or rewrite history, but critics say otherwise. Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel, agreed that the term “Polish death camps” was a historical misrepresentation in a statement late last month. “However, 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 statement read.February 3, 2018 at 7:23 am #446347
Poland trying to outjew the Jews by legislating themselves un-extortionable.
They gazed into the abyss for too long, it seems.February 3, 2018 at 12:52 pm #446359
We’re living in police states over here. 😮 We are not allowed to say “fuck the police” anymore. The law protects those 4 or 5 police officers who don’t deserve it.
Insulting a public figure in public is illegal.
I like American freedom of speech, where you can insult your president. Although after saying “death to the president” you might see a new van parking in front of your house on the other side of the street for at least half a year.February 4, 2018 at 12:54 am #446367
@”Kapitán Denis” best thing about America is the freedom of speech. Austrians can’t even make a joke publically making fun of nazis. That’s absurd u are making fun of them. Do u want to defend them or whatFebruary 4, 2018 at 1:36 am #446370
The law is idiotic, but the approach of Israel and certain Israeli citizens who spread hateful venom in teh Internet is even more stupid.February 4, 2018 at 7:33 pm #446378
The best thing about America is freedom in general. In America, even if you have the most idiotic positions (saying for instance that Nazism was right, or the sadly more accepted “communism is good”), you can hold such positions. The eroding of freedoms of expression, thought, speech, and assembly in Europe (and in other countries) is a slippery slope that will only lead to violence and repression. Banning something, as proven through history, only makes the thing banned all the more intoxicating to adopt, as it is the thrill of doing something daring or frowned upon that makes many people click. That is why banning languages, religions and beliefs, political positions, and other things usually sees a general rise. Instead of banning, raising awareness is what is needed. In Ukraine, for instance, instead of glorifying Bandera, the approach should simply be to educate people on the monster he was (killing Jews, Poles Russians (I know someone who was in one of those camps as a child run jointly by Banderists and Nazis in Ukraine)), not glorify his cooperation with the Nazis as fighting for independence of Ukraine. I’ve learned that just because someone say they fight for something doesn’t make it right, even if they claim they are fighting for a hypothetical “you”.February 4, 2018 at 11:44 pm #446380
In Russia if you participate in solitary piquet or protest you will attract administrative fine. For example, put a tee-short on which you write something you don’t like or on a placard. If you continue attracting numerous fines you maybe pursecuted . In fact one person Ildar Dadin was sentenced to 3 years of prison. Then his sentence was reduced to 2.5 years. The constitutional court was ready to make a decision stating this law is unconstitutional until the court was put under a lot of pressure from top policians stating the society is calling for this law at this time and circumstances in the country. Eventually, the supereme court of Russia ordered to relase Ildar Dadin and rehabilitate him meaning remove criminal record from him. Dadin was released in the beginning of last year. The decision of the highest court was that other courts were too formal in applying the law and he was not a threat to the public. Dadin spent more than 12 months in jail, where he was tortured. The case made into European parliament.
The new law is ridiculous when a single person wearing a short marching to express his protests or write something a placard maybe jailed.
What is Article 212.1?
Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation penalises those found guilty of violating Russia’s protest rules at least three times within 180 days
The current punishment ranges from a fine of 600,000 roubles (£8,200; $10,200) to one million roubles, “corrective labour” or up to five years in prison
Mr Dadin is the only person to have been prosecuted under the law since it was introduced
Article 212.1 is a new law. The Russian government is afraid people may protest. In any case if people protest, then the courts will not jail thousands under this law. Perhaps organisers of protests only.February 5, 2018 at 10:40 am #446381
@Sviatogor I’m happy what happened to pussy Riot though. Those girls were niet horoshoFebruary 5, 2018 at 11:11 am #446382
Few cared about pussy riots. They were nuts before danced in the central Orthodox church of Russia. Such as having sex in a state biology museum taking pictures and putting them on the Internet. They were crazy!February 5, 2018 at 11:18 am #446383
You’re happy they’re in the States now, I guess? :tongue:
And, yeah, that Polish law is just as ridiculous as the German one about Holocaust denial. I mean, if you’re free to deny that the Earth is round, if you’re free to deny evolution etc., why ban just that?February 5, 2018 at 1:47 pm #446385
Who is now in America? I fear the answer.February 5, 2018 at 3:25 pm #446386
On pussy riots
Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a young Cathedral. It’s one of the largest in Orthodox world. It took around 40 years to build it in the 19th century , after Russia defeated Napoleon’s army.
When Napoleon Bonaparte retreated from Moscow, Tsar Alexander I signed a manifest on 25 December 1812 declaring his intention to build a cathedral in honour of Christ the Savior “to signify Our gratitude to Divine Providence for saving Russia from the doom that overshadowed Her” and as a memorial to the sacrifices of the Russian people. It took some time for work on the projected cathedral to get started.
In 1920-1930s commies exploded thousands of churches and cathedrals. Some were turned to warehouses and other were left for ordinary use. In 1931 Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was exploded by commies. It was rebuilt in the 90s. It’s a masterpiece, today. Pussy riots went onto Altar performing an act of sacrilege. It was not clergy outraged by Pussy Riots’ act, as much as ordinary people.
I didn’t know pussy riots are living in the states. I recall they were living in Canada at some stage. Nowadays, no one remembers them. If people remember them, then for the wrong reasons. If they are abroad, then it’s a good riddance.February 5, 2018 at 3:57 pm #446387
Ah, could’ve been Canada indeed – the better part of America anyway.
Though Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (the one from the clip above) does seem to reside in California.February 5, 2018 at 4:30 pm #446388
I have to tell you that you might be wrong. Canada is clamping down on freedom of speech (can be charged as hate crime if you get “gender identity” wrong/assume gender). Forgive me, but I cannot imagine living in Canada when it betrays freedom like that.February 5, 2018 at 4:30 pm #446389
just for the record, Christ the Savior cathedral is a life-size mock of a church where mainly members of the corrupt oligarchy go. it was a masterpiece before it was destroyed because it took 40 (!) years to build it using donations from ordinary people. the new thing was built in like a year. it looks plastic if you’ve ever seen a church in your life at all. nobody considers it a ‘holy place’ in Moscow. it’s not where you’d go to pray if you’re seriously Orthodox and not a foreigner on a tour. which is what Pussy Riot was hinting at by their performance, among other things. two years of jail for a dance that lasted less than a minute was overkill, too. it was an administrative violation according to the law, to be punished by a fine, but who cares if the ‘people’ were ‘outraged’, right?
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.