Creating “Fake” History – Poland’s Holocaust Bill – A National Shame and An Historical Disgrace
The so-called “Holocaust Bill” (originally titled the “Amendment to the Act of the Institute of National Remembrance”) criminalizes any public speech that suggests that Poland or the Polish people were complicit in Nazi crimes. As mentioned in my last blog, the bill criminalizes any reference to Polish death camps, making such references punishable by fine and/or imprisonment of up to three years. The bill was signed into law earlier this month by Poland’s President and only Poland’s Constitutional Court can give it real life or bury it. It is difficult to put into a few, simple words the storm of protest and controvery that this bill has generated in Israel, particularly among Holocaust survivors and their families. It doesn’t matter how much Poland tries to protest its active and aggressive involvement in the Holocaust, it will not, and must not, succeed. Libraries are filled with historical documents, photographs and sworn declarations that are a condemnation of the country and its cooperation with the Nazis that will forever remain a wart on the hide of Poland and the Polish people. Add to that book by Polish-born historian, Jan Grabowski, entitled Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland, discussed at length in an Israeli newspaper article only one year ago. The efforts by Poland’s right-wing Law and Justice Party to revise history are doomed to fail, as the evidence against the Polish people, as a whole, is too great.
The bill is nothing more than a gag law, designed to white-wash Poland’s participation in the murder of Polish Jews during World War II and to produce a single, historical narrative which denies – perhaps “avoids” is the better term – Poland’s complicity and historical responsibility for its actions against the Jewish people during the Holocaust. In order to do that, it must, of necessity, shift the blame and its shame from itself to someone else. In this instance, the blame is shifted to the Jewish people, the victims of rampant Polish anti-semitism. Three and a half million Polish Jews made up about one-tenth of the country’s population during WWII. About 90 percent of them were systematically murdered during the Holoaust.
Interestingly, the Holocaust Bill was introduced when Poland was still considering another bill, introduced in October, 2017, that would allow Polish Holocaust survivors or their children or grandchildren to file a claim for restitution of Jewish property seized by the Nazis or the post-WWII Polish regime. Adding to its national shame, Poland is the only major, European country that has not yet enacted a law for the restitution of Jewish property. Much of the proposed restitution law contains provisions that will make it difficult, if not impossible, to file a claim. If made by a Holocaust survivor, he would have to be a current citizen of Poland, as well as having lived there when his property was seized. But, there is another provision in the proposed law that precludes survivors from filing a claim, if they could have made a claim for compensation under various restitution treaties to which Poland was a party after the war. The bill also limits the type of claims that surivors could make, as well as imposing a statute of limitations on such filing of only one year from the date that the proposed bill would be passed. After that, the property would revert to the Finance Ministry of Poland.
Now, after the introduction of the Holocaust Bill, the Polish government decided, for some unknown reason, to “reexamine” the restitution bill, which will be inspected by its Justice Ministry. This could well result in killing the bill, or it being put on hold indefinitely, or for a significant period that would, for all intents and purposes, preclude any claim being made, because there is no one around who could prove it.
Is there a connection between the Holocaust Bill and the restitution bill? We cannot rule out the possibility that the latter was introduced as an excuse to withdraw the former. Why was it necessary for Poland to introduce the Holocaust Bill at this time? Follow the money and follow the property. A financial loss to the Jewish people means a financial gain for Poland.
It seems that Poland is going from bad to worse. While attending the Munich Security Conference, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attempted to defend that Holocaust Bill. He responded to a question by an Israeli reporter, who asked him what Poland stood to gain from the bill. While the answer was anything but a response to the question, Morawiecki said: “The Nazis had Polish perpetrators” and added “[as] there were also Jewish perpetrators” – a term that he used three times, so there can be no doubt that this statement was intentional. Once again, Poland is attempting blame the victims for not only being victims, but also for perpetrating the atrocities of the Holocaust against themselves. The controversy surrounded this bill is certain to increase the present anti-semitism in Poland.
Israeli Knesset Member, Avi Gabby, who heads up the Zionist Camp, said, in response to Morawiecki’s statedment: “Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks like the last Holocaust denier. The blood of millions of Jews cries out from Polish soil about the distortion of history and the escape from guilt. Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder. The government of Israel must be here for the millions of those murdered and condemn the words of the Polish prime minister harshly.”
And that’s exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did today, who said that the Polish Premier’s claim of Jewish Perpetrators is the Holocaust is “outrageous”.
Yair Lapid, the Chairman of the Yesh Atid centrist party, added, in part: “The Polish Prime Minister’s statement is antisemitism of the oldest kind. The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder.”
If this wasn’t enough, a member of Poland’s government sent a letter last week to Polish organizations around the world, asking them to “document and react” to indications of anti-Polish sentiment and to report to Polish diplomatic missions “statements and opinions” that are injurious to “Poland’s good name”. Really? Report “opinions” that disagree with Poland’s attempt to rewrite history? Has someone spiked Poland’s kielbasa!
Prime Minister Netanyahu Under Investigation
On Tuesday of this past week, the Israel Police recommended indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and breach of trust, stemming from gifts that he received and for making a deal with a certain newspaper for favorable coverage.
One case involved the receipt of gifts of cigars and jewelry that the Prime Minister and his wife, Sara, are suspected of having received from billionaire benefactors. At some point last year, he was questioned by the police for over four hours over having received expensive cigars. The second case relates to deals supposedly made with the publisher of a popular Israeli daily newspaper to receive more favorable coverage, if he would weaken the status of a rival newspaper that is supportive of the Prime Minister.
In response to these police recommendations, Netanyahu addressed the nation in a live speech on television. He denied any wrongdoing, saying that he would “continue to lead Israel with responsibility and dedication and loyalty“, adding “I’m sure that the truth will come to light, and I’m sure that also in the next elections I will once again win your loyalty, with the grace of God.”
Israel is a democratic country and one is still presumed innocent until proven guilty. Netanyahu repeatedly said in his speech: “there will be nothing because there is nothing” – an expression that he has used many times in the past. So far, nothing. As of this writing, the worst thing about the “cigar caper” is that he might be allowed to smoke them in his home. Unless there is some hard evidence of wrongdoing, the case may just go up in smoke.
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17)
And so, we begin a new week.
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.