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Argentine Newspaper Sued Under the New Polish Holocaust Law

Argentine Newspaper Sued Under the New Polish Holocaust Law

Newspaper Página 12 highlighted Polish involvement in Jedwabne pogrom during the Holocaust

A Polish group is suing an Argentine newspaper for violating a new law that makes it a criminal offence to suggest Poland was complicit in the Holocaust. Warsaw-based Polish League Against Defamation (RDI) filed a case against the newspaper Página 12 shortly after the law came into effect on Thursday.

Last December, the newspaper published an article on the Jedwabne pogrom of 1941 in which the invading Nazi soldiers and Polish civilians carried out a massacre that killed at least 340 Jews.  The article was accompanied by an illustration of so-called Polish ‘doomed soldiers,’ seen by many Poles as national heroes who fought against the Soviet occupation. These fighters were, however, also involved in atrocities against the Jews and other minorities.

Polish League Against Defamation (RDI) regards the linking of ‘doomed soldiers’ to these historic genocidal crimes as “an action intended to harm the Polish nation and the good reputation of Polish soldiers.”

According to the Polish government, the aim of the law is to prevent people from describing Nazi death camps located in Poland, such as Auschwitz and Treblinka, as Polish. However, as the lawsuit shows, the legislation could be used to suppress public debate over the involvement of Polish nationals in the Holocaust orchestrated by the Nazi Germany. If the lawsuit succeeds, the law could be applied retroactively and beyond the borders of Poland.

German newspaper Die Welt reported the details of the lawsuit on Saturday:

Just a day after its inception the controversial Polish Holocaust law has become the basis of a lawsuit: the conservative Polish League Against Defamation (RDI) filed a legal complaint against the Argentinian news website Página 12 for “harming the Polish nation” through its reporting.

The group is substantiating the claim on the law that was enacted on Thursday. Penalties and prison sentence of up to three years can be handed out if complicity in Nazi crimes are attributed to the “Polish nation or the Polish state.”

The Polish League’s lawsuit refers to an article published by Página 12 on the massacre of Jews in the town of Jedwabne in 1941. Polish citizens were involved in it. Página 12 illustrated the article with a  photo of anti-Communist resistance fighters from the post-war period. The League took an exception to that. [Translation by the author]

Earlier this week, Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett, agreed with the “historic fact that Germans initiated, planned and built the work and death camps in Poland.” He, however, questioned the wider implications of the Polish law.

“It is a historic fact that many Poles aided in the murder of Jews, handed them in, abused them, and even killed Jews during and after the Holocaust,” Bennett told reporters.

Video: Israeli Education Minister Bennett reacts to the Polish Holocaust Law

As the debate leading up to this legislation shows, the issue is bigger than merely the nomenclature of the Nazi death camps situated in Poland. Political and media debate over the issue in Poland has been mired in vicious antisemitic rhetoric.

The social media campaigns, initiated to highlight German authorship of the death camps and Polish innocence, often turned antisemitic. “In the last few days we could not help but notice a wave of antisemitic statements, reaching the embassy through all channels of communication,” Israeli embassy in Warsaw said in the run up to the passing of the legislation.

At the last month’s Munich Security Conference, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki suggested that Jews were partially responsible for the genocide committed against them during the Holocaust.

“Of course it’s not going to be punishable, [it’s] not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian; not only German perpetrators,” Prime Minister Morawiecki said. He has repeatedly defended those comments ever since.

While the Polish Prime Minister goes around blaming the Jews for their own genocide, the legislation backed by him is being used to criminalize any discussion over Polish involvement.

People and the state of Poland have every right to emphasize the Nazi authorship of the Holocaust carried out on Polish soil. However, as the application of the new Holocaust Law shows, the legislation will be used to muzzle critical investigation into the complicity of Polish population under the Nazi occupation.

Video: Poland’s Holocaust Bill causes diplomatic spat with Israel

[Cover image via YouTube]


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What’s next? Jail time for Polish jokes?

I’m shocked—shocked!—to hear that a government passed an overly-broad and clumsily crafted law.

4th armored div | March 4, 2018 at 5:12 pm

my mom survived Auschwitz and she told me about why she and my dad came to the USA. about the pogroms before and after the war.
Poland was no haven for Jews, with the Church preaching the christ killer mantra.

Polish Catholic publisher defends Holocaust book. by Jonathan Luxmoore. February 18, 2011. Warsaw, February 18 (ENInews)–Poland’s largest Roman Catholic publishing house has defended its decision to issue a controversial book, which accuses Poles of profiting from the Holocaust by betraying Jews to the Nazis

    Milhouse in reply to 4th armored div. | March 5, 2018 at 10:29 am

    There’s no question that Poland, which had been a haven for Jews for centuries, turned hostile to Jews somewhere around 1900, and that by the 1930s the antisemitism among Poles and of the Polish government was shocking. Nor is there any question that after the War Jewish survivors were prevented from returning and reclaiming their property by antisemitic Poles who were happy with what the Germans had done and were willing to finish the job if the Jews came back.

    However the Holocaust itself was none of Poland’s doing. However much the Poles may have liked it, they did not, as a whole, participate. Some did on their own initiative, but some also resisted and even risked their lives to save Jews. Nothing that happened between the fall of Poland in 1939 and its reconstitution in 1945 can be attributed to Poland or to the Polish nation. The death camps were not Polish and had no Poles working there. And since this is a fact, it’s morally wrong to claim otherwise.

I’m curious: how are they going to enforce that against a newspaper in Argentina?

My father was born in Poland and once said that when he heard about how it was to black in Mississippi in the 1930s, it was still better than being a Jew in Poland at that time.

As somebody who despises the EU as much as the Poles do, and recognizing how they have stood up for Israel in the EU, it does pain me to say this — but Israel has learned that even for anti-leftist, ant-Muslim Eastern Europe, the Jew-hatred is incurable.

At this point, Israel can take its Israel support and shove it up its collective *ss.

I just don’t understand how supposedly intelligent lawyer-politicians make such stupid laws and decisions. John Adams signing the Aliens and Sedition Act being a prime example of stupid in action.

As to Poles and the holocaust? Did they behave any differently than their European neighbors? The French sent many trainloads of Jews and undesirables to NAZI deathcamps. Silesian Ukrainian peasants were whipsawed between hate of the Soviets, Waffen SS, rival German and Polish peasant farmers and small village Jewish produce trade merchants. Yet it was Ukrainians guarding the deathcamp train cars at Sobribor.

The whole bloody tarbaby is bound up in centuries of ethnic jealousies and religious intolerances. How can those hurdles be overcome? Read Undergound in Berlin.

Roman Polanski directed one of the best films ever made about Warsaw Jews. As a child he survived WWII. Yet the same man raped a girl in an LA valley hot tub? How do we reconcile that? Just to be clear – Polanski should spend a few years in the state penitentiary for drugging and raping

    Tom Servo in reply to Tiki. | March 4, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Next you’ll tell us that the majority of the French supported the Vichy government, and that only a very small minority of Frenchmen ever had anything to do with the resistance.

      bear in reply to Tom Servo. | March 4, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      Tom, unless I missed /s/ in your comment, just remember that you can always tell a French rifle from all others, because it has only been dropped once. /s/

        Eric R. in reply to bear. | March 4, 2018 at 7:02 pm

        All you have to know about French military history is that its two greatest leaders were an Italian and a teenage girl.

      Tiki in reply to Tom Servo. | March 4, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Oh, Tom, bless your heart. Ray of sunshine. Next thing you’ll be implying is that Laval was awesome hecause he kept the trains running.

      And that the French didnt sink a British troop transport at Oran.

If the left in America had its way, we’d be in prison for commenting on this blog.

The truth is and should always be an absolute defense.

At the last month’s Munich Security Conference, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki suggested that Jews were partially responsible for the genocide committed against them during the Holocaust.[…] While the Polish Prime Minister goes around blaming the Jews for their own genocide,

No, he didn’t and doesn’t. He pointed and points out, 100% correctly, that there were Jewish collaborators. Nobody denies this. It’s completely uncontroversial. So why shouldn’t he say so?

And if pointing out their existence is equivalent to blaming the Jewish nation, and thus unfair and wrong, then how is pointing out the existence of Polish collaborators not equivalent to blaming the Polish nation, and thus unfair and wrong?

The current lawsuit takes no issue with the article about the Jedwabne pogrom, including the accurate description of the leading role played by some Polish citizens. What it objects to is the false use of Polish soldiers in the illustration. The newspaper should apologize for that. The practice of using stock photos to illustrate news stories they have nothing to do with is journalistic malpractice, and often results in the reader getting a false impression.

The whole point of WW2 was for Germany to ethnically cleanse the Poles and recreate greater Germany. The Poles were the primary victims of the war.

This is uncontested. Most of the 40-60 million civilian dead came from Poland and Western Russia.

I get that Poland has a right wing government that doesn’t want to take refugees, but using this tact to get them to change their policy is insulting.

Poland has been the guardian of the Holocaust sites for 70 years now. The foolish people blaming Poland for the Holocaust are practically begging Poland to send Holocaust revisionist historians to investigate and manage the sites for the purpose of exonerating the Poles.

Let’s rewrite history again. No of course we weren’t bad. It is always the others and they are very very bad, not just bad. There were people of all ages, colors, sexes, religions, nationalities, political stripes that were complicit. There was no particular group that wasn’t complicit is some kind of horror, whether it was the fire bombing of Dresden or Hamburg or Tokyo, or the bombing of London or the concentration camps of Europe, or the extra-judcial punishments of the others. And let’s not forget that even some jews were complicit too in the horrors of the camps. Doesn’t make for fun reading or remembering, but do we really want to rewrite history? And sue?