I have got this feeling today that I need to comment on the latest hoopla surrounding the change of Polish law in Poland [sic!] and the reception of this statutory amendment to the IPN law- link to the amendment.
My translation of a section of the amended law:
1. One who publicly and against the facts imputes to the Polish Nation or to the Polish State responsibility or joint responsibility for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich, defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International MilitaryTribunal, Annex[...]major war criminals of the European Axis, signed in London on August 8, 1945 [ Dz. Ust. 1947], or for other offenses constituting crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or who in different manner blatantly reduces the responsibility of the actual perpetrators of said crimes, may be subject to a fine or imprisonment for up to 3 years. The judgment will be made public.
2. If a perpetrator of the act defined in subsection 1 acts unintentionally [he or she] will be subject to a fine or non-custodial sentence .
3. Perpetrator commits no prohibited act as defined in subsection 1 and 2 who has manifested the act as part of artistic or scholarly activity.There is nothing sudden or new about this law- already in 2016 English-language media in the UK etc were reporting about these proposed changes, eg The Independent. According to the official statement by the Polish President the Polish officials had been in discussion about this law with their Israeli counterparts since 2016.
It is about the Nazi German genocide, and to lesser extend about the Ukrainian crimes, against all Polish citizens perpetrated during the World War Two and the Holocaust committed by the Nazi Germans within the pre-1939 Polish Republic's occupied (both Soviet and German) territories during the period of 1939-45. And it is about the invention of Polish culpability, including the invention of the term ''Polish concentration camps,'' by the former-Nazi officials in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1950-60s (part of the German historical policies and blame shifting).
For years media, be it 'fake news' creators and allegedly truthful news media outlets like New York Times et al. in the US, Canada or Australia had been writing about the Nazi camps as 'Polish ones' and perpetrating the awful lie invented by the Gehlen people/BND - especially by Alfred Benzinger and Dienststelle 114.
Back in the 1990s and 2000s I used to call NYT or NY Daily News etc complaining about the lies stated in their biased articles, when writing about old or contemporary Poland, Polish society, Polish history and finally about the mythical and alleged Polish antisemitism.
Mind you, my immediate ancestors participated in and saved Polish-Jewish citizens by also hiding two Polish-Jewish artisans from Lodz Ghetto during the WWII, and they, according to my Grandmother who hid these men in her barn, left for Israel and new life after 1947.
In 1940, I do not remember from my Grandmother's story what part of the year but must have been after April 1940, my Grandmother was beaten to unconsciousness by a Glowno Ghetto German guard for the offense of throwing loaves of bread over the ghetto fence to the ghetto inhabitants on the other side. She was only saved from being beaten to death by her friend, who was a Polish-German woman and her friend since the elementary school. As a consequence she had been unconscious for a week and sick for a month, with my Grandfather in a prison camp since September 1939 and my little father taken care by my Great Grandfather who was a widower.
ad rem, the law had been delayed too long and its final passage last week by the Polish Sejm (parliament ) and subsequent signing of it by Poland President this week will remedy some of this decades-old negligence and outright cowardice on the part of the Polish State as represented by her elected officials, diplomats and academics.
This new mindset displayed by the Polish Republic's government, especially this novel approach to Polish historical policy, has been brutally attacked, not criticized [sic!], by Israel and even criticized by US State Department.
The US critics of this law citing the freedom of speech, please note that even in the US freedom of speech is not unqualified, certain type of speech that is not protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, see hate crime statutes.
Nota bene Israel already has many laws muzzling the expression of speech, eg the 2011 law punishing people or companies for calling for boycott of Israel, eg threat to punish the Amnesty International, New Zealand 2018 example.
How badly this law is needed can be seen in this article by Danusha Goska - it describes an unjust bias and prejudice against Poland, Polish descent and even Polish names in the US, yet then the author concludes that the law is a mistake - please read it carefully. [Do note that I completely disagree with the author's conclusion as to the new amendment to the IPN law being a mistake]
I just want to add here -
remember the Medieval Statute of Kalisz ('Calisia' in Latin) passed into law by Piast duke Boleslaw Pobozny (the Pious) AD 1264, and adopted as the royal law for the entire Kingdom between AD 1334-62 , by last Piast king Kazimierz the Great and subsequent Polish rulers, thus these laws survived in effect until the passage of the May Constitution of AD 1791. Compare this and contrast with the English, Spanish, Portuguese, French or German Jewish histories of the same period.
and the beautiful art by Polish-Jewish artist Artur Szyk illuminating the XX century multilingual re-edition of this Polish Medieval Statute.
so cui bono?
I hope the truth will ...
cavalryman and officer, rotmistrz Witold Pilecki is the hero of the quest for truth about the Nazi concentration camps, and Jan Kozielewski (better known under the nome de guerre as Jan Karski) comes in as second being the official Polish Government in Exile emissary to the Western, especially American government etc. Along with hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens who participated in this quest, and millions who suffered.
Unfortunately the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp Museum found no room for the family of rotmistrz Pilecki in 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the liberation of this Nazi camp by the Soviet Red Army.