Poland has added its name to the countries seeking to criminalize unpopular opinions or speech. In a law that attacks both free speech and historical scholarship, the Polish government is seeking to make it a crime to imply the country bears any responsibility for atrocities carried out on Polish soil by Nazi Germany. Violators who simply argue Polish complicity in war crimes could face five years in prison.
Russia moved in 2015 to criminalize denial of genocide under the same misguided approach. I previously wrote about a similar law passed in France as not just a denial of free speech but academic freedom. The law was later struck down. The Russians moved just weeks after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Switzerland also violation freedom of speech for its criminalization of the denial of the killings of Armenians as genocide. The European Court of Human Rights found that Switzerland violated a Turkish politician’s right to freedom of speech by convicting Dogu Perincek for denying that the 1915 Armenian killings in the Ottoman empire constituted a genocide: “It was undisputed that Perincek’s conviction and punishment, together with the order to pay compensation to the Switzerland-Armenia Association, had constituted an interference with the exercise of his right to freedom of expression.”
The government wants to deter people from referring to “Polish death camps” — a common description in the media and historical works. It would now be a crime to say that Poland “took part, organised or was co-responsible for the crimes of the Third Reich”.
In 2012, the White House said President Barack Obama “misspoke” at a public event when he referred to “Polish death camps”.
This is a terrible development for Poland that reflects a growing trend in the West of criminalizing speech. The best answer to false historical arguments is more not less speech. Arguments can be rebutted and claims refuted. Compelled acceptance of an official history is to deny fundamental rights of free speech in Poland — an ironic twist for a nation first ravaged by the Nazis and later abused by the Russians. I can certainly understand the anger in Poland which lost over 6 million of its citizens (roughly equal numbers of Christian and Jewish Poles) in World War II. However, Poland has aligned with the West and should commit itself fully to Western values of free speech and academic freedom.
25 thoughts on “Poland Moves To Criminalize Speech Suggesting Any Polish Responsibility For War Crimes In World War II”
Michael Sweig: You are a liar. I would never kill anyone because I don’t believe in killing, even for self defense. Contrary to Israel, who’s early pioneers swore to incinerate planet earth if anyone dare to take their “Promised Land.”
Tell readers, Mr. Sweig: how should “goyim” fell about a religion who’s holiest of all holy books The Talmud, reads: “Even the best of the gentiles deserve only death?”
What do you say to your beloved Judaic Rabbis who say that the (alleged) six million fellow “Jews” who died got what they deserved because they turned their backs to your beloved Rabbis? Do you “deny” that the Rabbis say this, and have said it continually since WW2? Readers should research this for themselves to confirm it.
What do you say about your fellow Judaic who murdered Judaic Prime Minister Begin for his crime of passing a truce with the Palestinians?
You and your ilk who crave to imprison persons who disagree with you are a scourge on mankind.
Judaism is the most racist “religion” on the face of the earth. Do you support the fact that Israel prohibits by law any Palestinian male from becoming an Israeli citizen? Do you cal that “democracy?”
History proves that the Rabbis claimed as far back as the early 20th C the death of “six million innocent Jews.” It never stuck till WW2, an avoidable war, as are all wars.
The bottom line is that the sum total significance of Israel to the USA absolutely nothing, zero. George Washington’s Farewell Address warned that “all foreign entanglement are temporary,” and yet the USA now says we have “unbreakable bond” with Israel, to our eternal shame and humiliation and bringing the world ever closer to nuclear annihilation.
Tell me Mr. Sweig: Does Israel allow dual-citizen Israeli-Americans to run Israel, as is the case here?
Hell, there were estimated to be over 400,000 in the Warsaw ghetto.
The Italians were not very ‘efficient’ in rounding up the Jews who had been pretty well assimilated into Italian life. 8500 Italians were deported, 1000 survived the camps, and 40,000 survived the Holocaust in Italy. I don’t know how that compares to the round ups in Austria and Czechoslovakia, but I would guess it beats the hell out of Poland.
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