Enough with this lie, there must be accountability,” Minister Ziobro told Polish radio on Saturday, February 13, 2016. Poles are rightly very sensitive to depictions of their country; its wartime history is complex.Poland suffered greatly during World War II, and there were many heroic instances of individual Poles risking their lives to save Jews.Poles are also sensitive to any attempt to minimize their suffering during World War II.Three million Poles were killed during the war and Polish resistance was widespread.These were quasi-normal events, and even remained a subject of conversation for years to come at local gatherings.The plunder was a widespread social practice, sanctioned by norms.” Today, political considerations are once again tempting some inside Poland – particularly the right-wing governing Law and Justice Party – to rewrite history.were not innocent bystanders or passive observers in the wave of antisemitism that encompassed Poland in the latter half of the 1930s…Even when nationalistic youth translated anti-Semitic attitudes into violence... Gross, who was born in Poland to a Polish mother and Jewish father, published Neighbors, a groundbreaking book that documented that some atrocities long blamed on Nazi officials were in fact carried out by local Polish civilians.
He quotes a Jewish resident of the Warsaw Ghetto, Emanuel Ringelblum, who wrote in his diary that on November 18, 1940 – the day the Jews were confined to the ghetto – “many Christians brought bread for the Jewish acquaintances and friends”. One Christian Pole was observed “throwing a sack of bread over the wall” – and was promptly murdered by the Nazis for aiding Jews. Yet historians have also documented many troubling instances of Polish antisemitism during the Holocaust as well.
But making it a crime to imply any Polish culpability for Nazi crimes denies the historical record – and sets a dangerous precedent for denying the full scope of the Holocaust.
A number of historians in recent years have unearthed new evidence both of Polish complicity in the Holocaust and of Polish heroism.
Poland is soon to unveil plans to make it illegal to refer to “Polish Death Camps”.
Many of the Nazis’ most brutal death camps – including Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka and Sobibor – were located in Poland.