Polish newspaper offers anti-semitic tirade "proving" Poland never did anything anti-semitic


#43

I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of what the Polish government is doing. They aren’t seeking nuance or context, they are engaging in restrictions on speech to suppress historical reality.

Your point is well taken about folks being in an untenable situation doing what they needed to do to survive (which we should all have empathy for at some level), BUT there is a meaningful difference between that and voluntarily taking the opportunity being offered to actively participate in a genocide against your countrymen (to say nothing of the pogroms that occurred after the Nazis were gone, as other folks have raised). The recognition of the latter is what the Polish government is seeking to criminalize here.

Well, yeah, but that’s an easy answer on a lot of levels that ignores misdeeds by a lot of other folks.


#44

Ah the law that makes Poland look bad (and anti-Semitic), passed to keep Poland from looking bad (and anti-Semitic).

Is there a name for a law which is an example of the thing it’s supposed to be legislating against?


#45

“Barbara’s Law?”


#46

My particular comment is more poking fun at the criminalization itself, not semantics or nuance. The right way to do it is to see what Germany has done, to own up what occurred. Obviously not every German was out killing jews and the like…some just wanted to survive. However it’s accepted that it happened, Germany as a nation was in the wrong.

What Poland is currently doing is trying to re-write history or completely ignore anything that might be remotely uncomfortable about its past. It does a disservice to the Poles that did resist and put everything on the line for others by criminalizing mere mention of history.


#47

It’s the easy answer because its the right answer.

Fuckheads being fuckheads are still fuckheads, but the fuckhead enablers have a lot MORE to answer for. (See e.g.: drumpf for a contemporary example)


#48

So I feel like I am going to regret posting in here but I do want to illuminate the trick of language and how it irks the polish population. When you say “Polish Death camp” it is very very annoying. Is Guantanamo bay a “Cuban military base?” Was the Abu Ghraib prison scandal a case of it being an “Iraqi torture prison” These words matter to the nationality they are assigned to. Poland has been very tired of this which is why the Law and order party is basically in power.

As to the all encompassing tag of saying that “Poles collaborated with the Nazi’s” this also gets the ire of many people because they are lumped in with many bad people. Does and did Poland suffer from anti-antisemitism? Yes, Did France collaborate and the population collaborate? yes, Russia? Hell yes! America? You betcha! But are these countries are never selected for shame. In the end if you don’t like the Law and order party, please don’t give them fodder.

Also please provide a link so people can judge for themselves. I usually enjoy the articles here, but this was a very poor.


#49

For sure. And I definitely can’t convince myself that I would have been one of the “good guys”. I think there is every possibility in that environment that I would have just wanted to not get involved. I like to think not, but statistic show that a of people didn’t, and I am not conceited enough to think I am somehow fundamentally different or better than the average Pole.

But my point wasn’t that there were plenty of people who “just fell in line”. My point was that there was widespread pre-war antisemitism outside of Germany, and that helped enable the holocaust, and pretending there wasn’t is harmful.


#50

Many did resist. Father of my friend died fighting in Warsaw Uprising. Many were executed by Germans for trying to save Jews:

Occupied Poland was the only country where the Germans decreed that any kind of help to Jews was punishable by death for the rescuer and the rescuer’s entire family.[6] Of the estimated 3 million non-Jewish Poles killed in World War II, thousands – perhaps as many as 50,000 – were executed by the Germans solely for saving Jews.[2]

Thanks for saying that. “Pure Polish Catholic nation” was always a myth - Poland was always multicultural, with various ethnicities cotributing to culture as a whole. Many of my neighbours are Muslims (Tatars, whose families lived here for hundreds of years), there are also followers of Eastern Orthodox Church and farther up north there are Old Believers. Also many denominations of protestants in other parts of the country.


#51

Of course many did; no group is a monolith.

Sorry about your friend’s father.


#52

Each of those countries has been selected for shame in the record of history in different contexts and eras of anti-Semitism. France was notorious for it in the late 19th century due to the Dreyfus Affair. Russia had its prominent moment of shame for it due to the Kishinev Pogrom (amongst many others) in the early 20th century. In the U.S., the notoriety came during exposes of quotas and covenants and such during the 1950s (see, for example, the film Gentleman’s Agreement).

Occupied Poland had the misfortune of being the site of actual large-scale death factories for Jews, with many Poles sitting idly by as burnt human remains rained down upon them from the crematoria chimneys; other Poles collaborated indirectly and directly in the occupation, and anti-Semitism was a big motivating factor for them. It’s not like the Nazis imported violent anti-Semitism into Poland.

Sadly, those moments of infamy of all four countries were not enough to erase the longstanding cultural traditions of anti-Semitism to varying degrees that poisoned them before and after those moments. And sadly, denialism about the extent and gravity of past anti-Semitism crops up in those countries decades or mere years after the fact.

It is not BoingBoing or @jlw saying that “Poles collaborated with the Nazis” in running the death camps – we know our history here. This is a report about a right-wing newspaper in 2019 denying established facts about the occupation in the context of an anti-Semitic screed. Unfortunately, that sort of thing isn’t an isolated case in Poland or in other countries where fascism is resurgent.

As I’ve just mentioned, “just ignore the anti-Semites” as a strategy hasn’t been a particularly effective one in Polish history. Fighting right-wing populists doesn’t necessarily feed them.

Please. The Law and Justice party is in power for the same reason right-wing populist parties are in power in other countries: because their leaders appeal to the bigotry and anti-Semitism and anti-intellectualism of those countries’ Know-Nothing 27%s.

Blaming Jews who call out anti-Semitism in Poland for the rise of anti-Semitic media outlets and political parties there is victim-blaming. You don’t want to do that on this site.

The difference is that, as far as I know, there are no Cubans on the other side of the fence ignoring or praising what goes on at Guantanamo. That wasn’t the case in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Iraq is a better analogue, as there were Iraqis pretending ignorance of or cheering on the goings-on inside Abu Ghraib. In any case, the discussion here is about a Polish media outlet engaging in denialism about what Poles did or didn’t do regarding death camps that operated on Polish soil during WWII. Everyone on this site understands that it was the Nazis and not the Poles who actually ran the camps.

ETA: Velcome to BoingBoing, comrade. Your choice to use your first comment here to express disappointment in BB in a bold one, sure to be noticed by the publisher.


#53

It is useful to offer analogues like how racism in the US was been attributed to the deep South while it has been a problem throughout the entire nation for centuries.


#54

Even Monolith Monkeys.

monolith


#55

This a million times. 1939 Europe was a tough place and it is absolutely not fair to pass judgment on people’s decisions. Good thing that this article is about the current institutional denial of history.


#56

Obligatory old joke;

Question:
What’s that?

Answer:
Monolith; It’s a Black thing that you wouldn’t understand.

I’ll see myself out.


#58

I understand what you mean. When I think of Auschwitz/Birkenau I don’t think of it as “Polish”, but it was/is in Poland, so outsiders tend to describe it as a Polish camp, as opposed to camps elsewhere like Dachau or Bergen-Belsen. Unfortunately Poland ended up being the site of all the death camps (edit: as opposed to the concentration camps like Dachau), as if the Nazis didn’t want to taint their own soil with that evil business.


#59

I’ve wanted to visit Auchwitz for a while, but stuff like this makes me leery. I visited Dachau during a trip to Munich once, and it was really moving. While I was by no means a CHUD before I went, I feel that visiting these sites instills a very visceral feeling of “Never again”, one that prompts people to think proactively about prevention instead of just tweeting platitudes.

I think it speaks volumes that someone could think twice about visiting a holocaust museum because the government is making saying the holocaust was real, bad, and real bad illegal.

Morality aside, the only other country I’ve passed on because visiting because I worried my smart assed mouth would land me in trouble in was North Korea…

to be fair, there were a lot of people who basically kept their heads down. you see a french guy with a machine gun diguised as baguette and just pretend you saw nothing. sometimes resistance is just pretending you’re dumber than you area


#60

I’ve also had a similar experience visiting the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana. Shamefully, we have our own denialist snowflakes in the U.S. who’s take issue with the realities presented there.

Anyone who claims that an oppressed group pointing out that oppression exists or existed is the root cause of the oppressors gaining or re-gaining power is victim-blaming.

That not really being an active part of the resistance, though. It’s the positive flipside of being a silent bystander in the face of oppression, but it’s something you deserve a cookie and not a medal for.


#61

So I can go on and on about this ad nauseum, but I will try to remain brief and on point.

What we are seeing in Europe and in the US is people using the tools of Nationalism. Now let me specific about my use of the term “nationalism” because there are common uses of the term that ignore the academic definition. What do you need to make a nation?

  1. shared language
    2.) Shared Culture (religion falls under this)
  2. A shared enemy
  3. Shared Goals

Now if you use these as a guide they will provide you with a structure to look at a nations history and how Nationalism is being used to the benefit of Fascists.

The law and order party are scratching historical gripes of the polish people to keep power. Law and order was in power like 20 years ago and did not resort to these tactics. They lost power and are now consolidating power. So how do you fight the above tools?

Since we are talking about Europe and Poland
1.) Shared Language: Nationalist use this one to crap on immigrants and their desire to speak their own language. “It get into the question of integration. Why won’t they integrate? Speak the language, they are trying to displace us!”
2.) Shared Culture: well most of the older people fear losing their culture and that is one thing the nationalist are capitalizing on. Most European countries are very internal with their cultures. A good deal of nationalist are using migration in the eu and from the middle east to justify their positions. Just look at the Brexit guys. take a look at their argument about “polish plumbers” in england.
3.) A shared enemy: This is a favorite of nationalist: Islam, Globalists, George Soros (a favorite for the antisemites)
4.) Shared goals: well this one is gets into cries of freedom from oppression, freedom from attack etc. This is where Nationalist start to get into expansionism. “Greater Serbia, Greater Russia. Making us great again. We will Rise again!” Russia claims it is simply protecting russians in Ukraine and Georgia.

So if we look at these we can see how we can plan how to stop them.

What I am trying to get at is Poland has a very very long history of enemies (Germany/ Russia) trying to destroy them, especially from within (See the partition of poland) Law and order are capitalizing on this collective memory. The way to get them out of it show them that they are not being attacked. Don’t say “POLISH DEATH CAMPS” it is not that hard. and it isn’t erasing history, it is doing right to a people that have been tread on for hundreds of years.

As for the article they are talking about, I think they should show it, not put the headline and just show a editorial from Newsweek. That is just lazy as all hell.

PS. Thanks for the welcome.

If there are typos and bad grammar my apologies, Got nothing but love, want to look forward. It breaks my heart to see this shitty Nationalism on the rise. Oh and Fuck the Law and Order Party.


#62

Right-wing nationalism and anti-Semitism have been inextricably linked since long before the Nazis. The bond is so powerful that a form of it exists amongst some far-right Israelis, who villify liberal or non-observant Jews as not worthy of their exclusionary view of Zionism. So the anti-Semitism is part-and-parcel of the nationalism this Polish media outlet supports. And the historical gripes that Law and Justice is picking at are in significant part gripes (bogus ones, of course) against the Jews.

This article is describing Polish anti-Semites reacting badly to those discussing facts about the behaviour of some Poles in regard to Nazi death camps that existed on Polish soil, in close proximity to Polish villages. That’s not erasing history or blaming Poland for their operation, that’s stating facts. If Polish fascists are going to get upset over that or assume we’re as ignorant as they are of history, that’s their problem.

[No worries about typos and grammar – your English is 100% better than my Polish. That said, it may be an issue of translation, but the party is known in English as “Law and Justice”. In the U.S., “Law and Order” is a police procedural TV franchise, which would be an interesting basis for a political party]


#63

I know what you mean. I visited the atom bomb Memorial in Hiroshima in 2006, and subsequently the atom bomb Museum.

The horrors I saw inside permanently convinced me that nuclear war should never happen again in a very concrete and personally definitive way.

When you are face to face with a diorama of a child and mother with their skin falling off screaming and a hunk of concrete with a human shadow burned into it and that’s all that left behind, the horror of what happened really hits you hard.

I think Auschwitz must be the same kind of feeling but I have never been there. It makes me think that maybe Trump and a lot of people would have turned out different had they seen such things growing up.