Poland Outlaws Blaming Poles for Holocaust

Prague, Feb 2 (CTK) – Both houses of the Polish parliament have passed a bill that turns anybody who would make the Poles responsible for the Holocaust into a criminal, which shows interesting trends, Zbynek Petracek writes in Lidove noviny (LN).


First, it shows how politics cements history by law. One can understand that the Poles do not like when the concentration camps that the Nazi Germans built in their territory are called “the Polish camps”. Everybody knows that the Poles did not set up these camps and that they were the only nation in the Europe occupied by the Nazis who resisted so much that they even did not establish a collaborating government, Petracek writes.


But must this be codified by law that makes any considerations about Polish accomplices, for example those responsible for the anti-Jewish Jedwabne pogrom in 1941? he says.


A state that passes a law that rules out an open examination of history and its interpretations shows that it is not confident enough, Petracek writes.


Second, in an ideal world no law should define the interpretation of history. As our world is far from ideal, one can understand the law against the Auschwitz lie. But there should not be laws against other lies (Polish, Armenian, Rwandan, Cambodian, Bosnian etc.), Petracek says.


Third, Poland presents a nationalist (or rightist) version of the leftist feeling of hurt and discrimination. Poland perceives itself in the role of a permanent victim of oppression, like African Americans in the United States, and it feels a similar need to defend itself. The Poles remove monuments from 1945 only because there are the Soviet five-pointed stars on them. Was it bad that the Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz? Petracek writes.


Fourth, Poland can inspire others, which would be unfortunate. Let us image a law against the Czech lie – a law that would classify as a crime if anybody held Czechs responsible for atrocities that occurred during the expulsion of Sudeten Germans from Czech territory after the war, Petracek writes.


Do you think Czech parliament would not pass such a bill? he says.