Israel criticises Poland over proposed Holocaust law

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Ninja Squirrel
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42848842


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticised a draft Polish bill to make it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.
"I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," he said in a statement.

The bill, which is an amendment to an existing Polish law, would also make it illegal to describe Nazi death camps in Poland as Polish. It is expected to pass in the Senate before being signed by the president. The Polish charge d'affaires to Israel has been summoned by the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

Poland was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany during World War Two. Millions of its citizens were killed, including three million Polish Jews in the Holocaust. The country has long objected to the use of phrases like "Polish death camps", which suggest the Polish state in some way shared responsibility for camps such as Auschwitz.
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PTMalewski
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QUOTE=Ninja Squirrel;75851516]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42848842

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticised a draft Polish bill to make it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.
"I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," he said in a statement.

[/QUOTE]

The law is unnecessary, but the reaction I see as silly... How banning claims that the camps were not run by Germany denies the Holocaust?

(Original post by Ninja Squirrel)
Poland was attacked and occupied by Nazi Germany during World War Two. Millions of its citizens were killed, including three million Polish Jews in the Holocaust.
Speaking of numbers, the number of killed native Poles was almost exactly the same as the number of killed Polish Jews. Casualties among both groups were about 3 million each.

(Original post by Ninja Squirrel)
The country has long objected to the use of phrases like "Polish death camps", which suggest the Polish state in some way shared responsibility for camps such as Auschwitz.
And because of these casualties, the Poles are very touchy about this term. The fight against the Nazi-Germany is also an important part of the national identity of the nation. The Polish army took heavy casualties during the defence of Poland in 1939. The Polish Armed Forces in the West continued fighting, first in France, then together wi the UK and the Soviet Union. Occupied Poland also had strong partisan movement. The Home Army reached the number 350 000 members, Peasant Battalions 170 000, National Armed Forces 75 000 thousand, and People's Army 60 000 plus other minor organizations.
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Napp
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The Israelis do some across as complete snow flakes these days. They were recently caught bashing the Irish over the head for 'anti semitism' as well.
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Farm_Ecology
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
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Basically everything you've just said.

Poland was stabbed in the back twice. Once at the start of the war, and again at the end of it.

To then turn around and put the blame on Poland because nobody came to their aid is ludicrous.
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admonit
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
(Original post by Ninja Squirrel)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42848842

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticised a draft Polish bill to make it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.
"I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," he said in a statement.
The law is unnecessary, but the reaction I see as silly... How banning claims that the camps were not run by Germany denies the Holocaust?
Nobody insists that the camps were run by Poland.
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by admonit)
Nobody insists that the camps were run by Poland.
I suppose so, but the issue sells well around the Polish press, so they'll keep looking and writing about any appearances of the phrase "Polish Death Camps" everywhere they can find it, and it's on hand for the current Polish government, to make an impression that Poles get shafted everywhere, because 130k people run away from this country every year and they don't do anything to challenge the issue. On the contrary, the only thing they can do is to raise taxes, and give some social handouts to bribe their electorate.
Obama mentioning the 'Polish Death Camps' only made the case seem serious for too many people.
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admonit
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
I suppose so, but the issue sells well around the Polish press, so they'll keep looking and writing about any appearances of the phrase "Polish Death Camps" everywhere they can find it, and it's on hand for the current Polish government, to make an impression that Poles get shafted everywhere, because 130k people run away from this country every year and they don't do anything to challenge the issue. On the contrary, the only thing they can do is to raise taxes, and give some social handouts to bribe their electorate.
Obama mentioning the 'Polish Death Camps' only made the case seem serious for too many people.
It's not about "Polish Death Camps", but about the complicity of Poles in the persecution of Jewish citizens during the German occupation.
"According to a 1970 article, 200,000 Jews died at the hands of their Polish neighbors. A new law in Poland could make it difficult to publish these findings today" https://www.timesofisrael.com/compli...-scholars-say/
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by admonit)
It's not about "Polish Death Camps", but about the complicity of Poles in the persecution of Jewish citizens during the German occupation.
"According to a 1970 article, 200,000 Jews died at the hands of their Polish neighbors. A new law in Poland could make it difficult to publish these findings today" https://www.timesofisrael.com/compli...-scholars-say/
It is, and it isn't, I shall explain why there is no contradictory. Let me first state, that I don't see any rational point of this bill, but that's another issue.

Polish public believes that the bill's aim is to fight the phrase "Polish Death Camps", which occasionally turns up here and there in the foreign press and was even spoken by president Barrack Obama. (how the Polish law would affect foreign publications I know not)
This makes Poles angry because whatever the facts, recent generations were raised in belief that the Poles were aiding Jews, so this has become a part of national identity.
And the facts are that the Polish state did not collaborate with the Nazis, unlike the Vichy government of France for example, there was nothing like Vel' d'Hiv, while, certainly, what the state does, does not apply to all of it's citizens, which people tend to forget.

Moreover, the underground Polish state not only did not run anti-Jewish actions, but the AK (the Home Army, subordinate to the Polish Government in Exile),
recently depicted in a German TV series 'Generation War' as a bunch of anti-semites, had an official order to execute those who informed the Germans about hiding Jews - quite a radical solution since the Germans would execute those who were in possession of such information and did not tell it to them. This meant that the Poles who possessed such information had no other choice but to be targeted either by the IIIrd Reich, either by the Polish underground state.

Anyway, the point is, that the Poles, generally, do not know that the bill could do any harm to historical research. They believe there are agendas who wish to white-wash the Germans, and this is on hand for some groups of interest who wish to take state-owned buildings all around the country which used to belong to Jewish owners before the WWII.
We're talking mainly about tenement houses which are homes for many families. These were being renovated for decades for public money, and which's owners are dead and the rights often unknown due to a lack of documentation. There is a lot of fear about it, especially in the light of US bill 447 (Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today) that Poland will be forced to pay large sums of money to foreigners, although have received very little to zero compensation from Germany for WWII, and that by 1960 Poland paid 40.000.000 of US dollars to the US as a result of a treaty that the US government shall take responsibility for payment of damages taken by the US citizens in Poland.

Now, Israel (and Polish Academy of Sciences as well) is concerned that the new Polish bill will falsify history, but this is exactly the reason why Poland tries to push this unfortunate bill because the Poles believe that others try to falsify history, only the other way.

Speaking of facts, there is no doubt that there were some Polish people collaborating with Germans, some killing Jews, and some even killing not only the Jews but Poles of different political orientation.
The thing is, that these were relatively minor incidents, if we consider what was happening in other countries like France, and how large was the Jewish population in Poland. If 200 000 Jews died of Polish hands, I'm not surprised at all. There were over 3 000 000 of Jews in Poland, antisemitism was common all around Europe, and we're speaking of an era when millions of Poles couldn't even read or write. These people didn't even have much of national identity, they were usually, as they declared on their own just 'local'.

Israel though is not doing a good job here either.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticised a draft Polish bill to make it illegal to accuse Poles of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.
"I strongly oppose it. One cannot change history and the Holocaust cannot be denied," - nobody denies the Holocaust.
Actually the Poles would be happy with the broader definition of Holocaust, that takes into account also victims of other nations.
After all millions of Slavic people were killed as well, also as a result of planned operations like Generalplan Ost or Intelligenzaktion. In Poland roughly equal number of Polish Jews and native Poles were killed.
Now, imagine that you're an average worker, you work roughly 500 hours a year more than people do in the west, you have no time, energy or education to read law bills, but you hear about scams on reprivatisation of tenement houses every day, you hear about US bill 447, you watch a German TV series in which your beloved Home Army is depicted as a bunch of anti-semites, even though you know they actually had an order to kill those who betray the Jews, that the US president says "Polish Death camps" and Israeli Prime Minister says something like the Poles deny the Holocaust.
This is roughly how the world looks like if you live in Poland and rely on (insane) media for which bad news is good news because it sells well - which seems to be a problem everywhere.

As John Cleese said: 'British newspapers offend me every day, with their laziness, their nastiness, their inaccuracy',

Let me state once again, that I don't like this Polish bill either. Poland has various problems with it's history right now, and Polish politicians are certainly doing a very bad job about it. I'm just explaining how the Poles see what's happening. This is the core of most conflicts, the lack of mutual understanding.

One more thing.
If they will sue me
I shall then rewrite the bill
“Whoever claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich… or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes – shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to 3 years.”
into a language of formal logic and prove that accordingly to the law, I can claim anything about co-responsibility for Nazi crimes, as long as it is not contrary to the facts.
Even in this hyper-democratic and unrespectful to the rule of law country, any court should consider me not guilty.
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spiritusuk
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Perhaps another perspective is how do you define the term "complicit" when you and your family are living in constant fear of being the next victim. Of course, some Poles would have been complicit in the deaths of Jews during WW2 but it's easy for us to judge sat in our armchairs and typing away on a keyboard but not so easy if a Nazi officer is shouting in your face demanding you reveal the whereabouts of any hidden Jews in your village or you and your wife and children will be killed.

We have the benefit of looking through the prism of hindsight when we see the events of WW2. We know that Germany lost the war and peace followed. People at the time were living in a reality that Nazi occupation could be the future of them, their children and grandchildren
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admonit
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(Original post by spiritusuk)
Perhaps another perspective is how do you define the term "complicit" when you and your family are living in constant fear of being the next victim. Of course, some Poles would have been complicit in the deaths of Jews during WW2 but it's easy for us to judge sat in our armchairs and typing away on a keyboard but not so easy if a Nazi officer is shouting in your face demanding you reveal the whereabouts of any hidden Jews in your village or you and your wife and children will be killed.

We have the benefit of looking through the prism of hindsight when we see the events of WW2. We know that Germany lost the war and peace followed. People at the time were living in a reality that Nazi occupation could be the future of them, their children and grandchildren
Nobody blames Poles for not hiding Jews or for not aiding Jews.

"Individual Poles often helped in the identification, denunciation, and hunting down of Jews in hiding, often profiting from the associated blackmail, and actively participated in the plunder of Jewish property.”

“Current research shows they were lost not only because the Germans were hunting for the Jews, but because of a deep involvement of Poles from all parts of society. Sometimes the Jews were caught and handed to the Germans, or were caught and handed to the Blue Police [Polish police force in German occupied Poland]. And some were killed by Poles,”
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by admonit)
Nobody blames Poles for not hiding Jews or for not aiding Jews.

"Individual Poles often helped in the identification, denunciation, and hunting down of Jews in hiding, often profiting from the associated blackmail, and actively participated in the plunder of Jewish property.”

“Current research shows they were lost not only because the Germans were hunting for the Jews, but because of a deep involvement of Poles from all parts of society. Sometimes the Jews were caught and handed to the Germans, or were caught and handed to the Blue Police [Polish police force in German occupied Poland]. And some were killed by Poles,”
Correct. I only hope that you shall remember two things:
1. this was happening all around Europe
2. The Reich put a death penalty on those who don't provide possesed information on the Jews
https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niemie...ych_%C5%BBydom
In the west, you could pay a fine, or at worst go to prison camp for aiding Jews. In Poland you were killed.
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(Original post by admonit)
Nobody blames Poles for not hiding Jews or for not aiding Jews.
The point I was trying to make is that there were Poles who outed Jewish families. As I sit here now typing this I would like to think I would not have done anything like that but living in Nazi-occupied Poland was a completely different world. We cannot ALWAYS judge using our 2018 sensibilities.
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PTMalewski
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It was a generation when people could go into a frontal assault on foot against machine guns, artillery, or fight tanks with hand grenades.
These days people are shocked when 4 soldiers get killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, while back then a massacred column with tens or hundreds of killed, was a normal thing.
How would people today behave if they had to choose between betraying a neighbour or a death penalty for themselves?
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
I suppose so, but the issue sells well around the Polish press, so they'll keep looking and writing about any appearances of the phrase "Polish Death Camps" everywhere they can find it, and it's on hand for the current Polish government, to make an impression that Poles get shafted everywhere, because 130k people run away from this country every year and they don't do anything to challenge the issue. On the contrary, the only thing they can do is to raise taxes, and give some social handouts to bribe their electorate.
Obama mentioning the 'Polish Death Camps' only made the case seem serious for too many people.

That's so weird.

I keep seeing public service announcements on Youtube, that look like they're advertising a film but they're not, talking about "GERMAN death camps".

The whole thing is so bizarre.

The world is on the brink of environmental Armageddon, the threat of nuclear war is not unreal, deregulated neoliberalism has failed us all and we are heading back to populism and fascism and our governments are focusing on the most inane and irrelevant BS. The West is falling apart. Ironically, Germany is the one of only countries that has an iota of sense nowadays and can keep Europe on track.
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admonit
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
Correct. I only hope that you shall remember two things:
1. this was happening all around Europe
Are you sure that this was happening all around Europe?
2. The Reich put a death penalty on those who don't provide possesed information on the Jews
https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niemie...ych_%C5%BBydom
Sorry, I don't read Polish..
English translation shows only death penalty for helping Jews, not for sharing information about their location. And English Wiki confirms it:
"This is a categorical warning to the non-Jewish population against:
1) Providing shelter to Jews,
2) Supplying them with Food,
3) Selling them Foodstuffs.
Tschenstochau, Częstochowa, 24.9.42
Der Stadthauptmann
Dr. Franke"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue..._the_Holocaust
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Snufkin
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It's a ridiculous, not to mention completely unenforceable law. Anne Applebaum sums it up perfectly here:

The Streisand effect is one of the curious byproducts of the Internet age. Named for the singer — who tried to suppress a photograph of her Malibu mansion, only to have the picture seen far more widely as a result — it occurs when an attempt to hide, remove or censor something from public view backfires badly.

The Streisand effect is now in full swing in Poland, where a simultaneously incompetent and malevolent government has passed a law — rapidly, in the middle of the night — intended among other things to criminalize the term “Polish death camps” and other expressions implying that the Polish nation was responsible for Auschwitz and other camps built by German Nazis. The national dislike of this term goes back many years and is shared widely by all political groups, for understandable reasons. Millions of Polish citizens, including many who were not Jewish, died in these camps, among them university professors and Catholic priests, both groups deliberately targeted for extinction. Unlike in France, Belgium, Italy and most other European countries, there was no fascist, pro-German or collaborationist government in Poland during the war, and no Polish SS formation. The Nazi occupiers intended to destroy Poland as a nation, to Germanize a large chunk of the country and to turn the rest of it into a German agricultural colony.

Nevertheless there were individual Poles who did terrible things to Jews during the war and afterward, just as there were individual Poles who did heroic things. The debate about how much Poland, as a nation, bears responsibility for these individual crimes has gone on for a long time and has had depressing as well as uplifting aspects. At times the conversation has been ill-tempered. But for a quarter century, dedicated Polish historians, diplomats, politicians and curators have also tried to reconcile different memories and heal wounds; one of the results was Poland’s superb museum of Jewish history, jointly built by the international Jewish community and the Polish state. Another result was the hitherto excellent Polish-Israeli relationship, which has had big cultural as well as political benefits. Every summer, for example, a Jewish festival in Warsaw (there are others in other cities too) brings Israeli pop singers to a square near my apartment, and the concerts are always packed.

The imposition, now, of a three-year prison penalty for anyone who participates in the conversation about the past in ways that irritate the current ruling party is simply ludicrous, even laughable. Will the long arm of the Polish state reach out to academic conferences in Tokyo or Buenos Aires if someone uses an incorrect phrase? Will people be punished for politically incorrect memoirs? In a pompous speech the Polish prime minister gave supporting the law, an automatic translation service made it appear as if he himself said that "camps where millions of Jews were murdered were Polish." Should he go to prison, too? Should Google Translate? The very stupidity and unenforceability of this law is what has brought on the Streisand effect: Beginning in Israel but moving quickly across all forms of social media around the world, the use of the phrase “Polish death camps” has suddenly spiked and has now been used many more times than ever before in history.
To Poland’s anti-pluralist ruling party that doesn't matter, because the real purpose of the law was never Poland's international image. In a sharp break with all previous democratic governments of the left, right and center, going back to 1989, this government does not care how isolated or ridiculous the country becomes. On the contrary, foreign criticism offers another chance to solidify the support of "patriots" who oppose the “slander” of the country, against "traitors" who do not. One pro-government journalist gave the game away when he declared that the criticism of the law in Israel was an element in an international conspiracy against the Polish government. On cue, Polish social media has been saturated with the howls of anti-Semites defending their country against this terrible attack.

I have no doubt that the Israeli government is also using this nasty little controversy for its own purposes. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not been disturbed by the Hungarian government’s long-standing and well-funded campaign — on billboards, in the noisy state and pro-government media — against billionaire George Soros, with its clear anti-Semitic overtones, since he dislikes Soros’s philanthropic support for liberal causes. His decision to make an issue of this absurd Polish law instead no doubt gives him a chance to solidify his domestic support as well. Taking a stand on the past is so much easier than dealing with the complex present.

The irony is that none of the protagonists of this story can actually remember World War II, or the terror that it brought to the Jews and to Poland. But that is part of the explanation: As genuine memories of the horror recede, cartoon versions of history, easily manipulated, have come to replace them. This illiterate “debate” is one of the more sordid results.
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by admonit)
Are you sure that this was happening all around Europe?
Antisemitism was broad all over the continent, which is the main reason for a tendency that Jews ran from all around the continent to Poland for centuries, where they had relatively the most of freedom and laws.

Speaking of WWII there was a Vel'd'Hiv Roundup in France, there was Holocaust in Norway as well as Belgium administration was co-responsible.
Polish state wasn't responsible, there was no collaboration government, and the AK had an order to kill the traitors, including those who tip the Germans about Jewish hideouts. Some peasants and bandits surely did some wrong things, but the only thing our state did wrong, was that they lost the September campaign.


(Original post by admonit)
Sorry, I don't read Polish..
English translation shows only death penalty for helping Jews, not for sharing information about their location.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue..._the_Holocaust
Google translator does tolerably well these days.

You're naive if you believe that a person who was in possession of information about Jewish places of residence could get away with it if the Germans got to know about it, and that person didn't report them.
They could shoot you just if only they didn't like you, not only if you kept information they considered important.


Many Polish families, including a family of my own, learned first hand that the Germans were capable of anything.
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The eternal Polish victim mentality.

I was using a library computer the other day, and I saw the Polish government's propaganda video about this ( #GermanDeathCamps ).

Though to be fair to the Poles, many Jews also sold each other out to the Germans.
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(Original post by FriendlyPenguin)
The eternal Polish victim mentality.

I was using a library computer the other day, and I saw the Polish government's propaganda video about this ( #GermanDeathCamps ).

Though to be fair to the Poles, many Jews also sold each other out to the Germans.
That's just the price they got was different: Poles got money or food, Jews got delay of execution.
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