Poland Moves To Criminalize Speech Suggesting Any Polish Responsibility For War Crimes In World War II

180px-Auschwitz_entrance.JPGKinder_KzPoland 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.

Source: BBC

25 thoughts on “Poland Moves To Criminalize Speech Suggesting Any Polish Responsibility For War Crimes In World War II”

  1. davesnothereman

    I think if you research the before, up to, and durings of WW2 you will find that most of the allied countries had a fairly disgusting track record concerning the Jews. The US and Canada severely limited their finding refuge in North America. The US turned them away and sent them back to Germany. After the fact, when the horrors were revealed, then it was fully understood. Up until then most people in France were given a choice, help to relocate the Jews-relocate as it was explained-or get shot. The French suffered horribly. 400,000 civilians were slaughtered by the Nazis while their country was occupied. The Nazi/white supremacist phenomenon was alive in every country to some extent. In those countries that had a choice after the war started, fascism was reviled. In those that were occupied, it was suffered. People are not so different. The US, Great Britain, and Canada had the advantage of being geographically protected. If Great Britain had been connected by land, it would have fallen in a matter of weeks as well. The US capitulated in the Philippines when confronted by overwhelming force. Japan had two thirds of its army and air force tied down in China. Germany had three quarters of its military tied down in Russia. Things could have been a lot different if Germany and Japan were not so stupid. History is written by the country which uses it to teach its children. The answer for world peace is to study the histories written by other countries and understand how biased things can get.

    1. issac – in France the French police (not Nazis) went house-to-house and found the foreign residing Jews. These were sent off to camps (without their children), the children were sent next. Then they rounded up the French Jews, including children. Still, no Nazis involved, just French police.

  2. @randyjet

    NATO is already divided. http://www.vox.com/2015/6/11/8764887/russia-nato-chart

    See where NATO stood back in 2015. Now, if Putin wanted to flex his Russian muscles, all he has to do is press the red button in the Kremlin. Then off goes his armored brigades, the jets, and the many millions of Russians armed to the teeth.
    France, Italy, and Germany would fail to hold the line for their allies. In the end, what you have is a smashing of NATO and Russians occupying Europe. An invasion of Britain will not deter Russian forces as they number more than just the Nazis. They just might attempt to bomb the hell out of England like last time and force a land invasion if they wanted.

    We would be by ourselves. The most damagig alliance we’ll ever face is if Russia and China ever aligns themselves together then the whole world’s incredibly screwed. We’ll end up having to make sure the Chinese Reds don’t come through the Pacific, thanks to the distance; super-cavitating subs are being built by the Chinese along with their “revenge best served cold” Dongju (sp?) missiles that would be launched after a sub sank. It would crush aircraft carriers in theory.

    If Russia and China does not ally themselves, all we need is to keep Russia and China at each other’s throats.

    “The supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” – Sun Tzu, Art of War

  3. During my trips in Eastern Europe, I found that the right wing opposition to the “communist” regimes were far worse than those regimes. They were basically fascists and hated blacks, Jews, and those who were not rabid nationalists like themselves. So this is no surprise to me. What we can do is to cut those regimes and politicians like them loose and get them out of NATO or get rid of NATO entirely since there is no rational military reason for it now, unless of course, you wish to go to war against Russia. Now that is an idea that many here would cheer I see. The one problem is that they have nukes too. Unfortunately, our so called leaders will view that as not playing the great power game, so we will support such governments no matter how bad they are or become. Kicking them out of NATO will put a damper on their wish to have the USA fight to the death for them. That is the only rational course for those who wish to preserve democracy there.

  4. Europe led the way in socialism and are currently paying the price for that mistake. These speech controls could end up being just as costly.

  5. Watching the global erosion of free speech is further evidence that we must guard this right vigorously. It is one of the most basic freedoms of mankind.

    You would think they would value freedom more in Poland, after their efforts to separate from the USSR. They went to all the trouble of a revolution to overthrow communism. You would think they would try harder to fight for freedom and democracy, and free speech is a cornerstone of both.

    1. LinnChainey – most of these things come with instructions. I would always modify as I needed them. The Muslims used to make a nice set, about 30 pages, relatively neutral. Sandra Day O’Conner is doing the same thing with something called iCivics.

  6. They could offer study guides for teachers, so the teachers can help their students get their information right.

  7. If you rate the Europeans in WWII and their respective roles in the Holocaust then you have to go something like this: 1. Germany; 2. France; 3. Italy; 4. Austria; 5. Chechkeslovakia; 6. Poland.

    As one commenter pointed out, the Frogs were right up there with the Krauts.

  8. When you cannot deny inconvenient truths then deny the right to express them. This denial of rights is an addictive behavior for those empowered by the state and for those that support those empowered by the state.

    We have the “doomsday clock”, perhaps we need a “democracy clock”. Where on our political lifecycle are we? If the 3rd self-evident truth marked the beginning then how close are we to the 4th?

    3. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”
    4. “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

  9. The reason that I brought up the French role in the Holocaust is not to take the focus off of Poland but to show how broad the participation in the Holocaust was. In France, until late in the war, Marshall Petain was leader of unoccupied Vichy France, roughly one third of the country. The movie Casablanca was on TV last night. Perhaps some were perplexed as to why there were French officers in some control in a French town somewhat occupied by the Germans.

  10. I wonder what laws they have in France for speech critical of Frances’ role in the Holocaust. After the war was over the U.S. wanted to have a new government in power and certainly not a communist one. All notions of punishing the Vichy Government officials and agents was off the table. Those of you who read the blog should be aware of how bad the French were in participating in the Holocaust. They did not just sit by and watch when the Germans rounded up Gypsies and Jews. They helped, led the way, pointed them out to each other and made the seizures of persons themselves without German help and sent them off to the death camps. The role of French citizens in the Holocaust was huge. I think we punished Marshal Petain and that was it. We let the French participate in the prosecution of the Germans at the Nuremberg Trials.

    I am sure that there were Poles who were active in the Holocaust. Their story is not so easy to unravel or undig. The French story has been buried, swept under the rug and denied. This is what “Holocaust Denial” is all about and where it begins, in France, whether on the Vichy side or not.
    You all know what “Vichy France” was don’t you? And of course, here in America we had The German American Bund. You all know what that organization was don’t you?
    Are any of us in the U.S. in denial? What would the Bund have done if we had not gone to war against Germany in WWII? Ask your great grandpa.

  11. Hasn’t this started already in the U.S., we call it PC? Instead of saying a particular word we say the “F word” or the “N word”. We don’t put anyone in prison (yet) but we label them especially if they disagree on certain issues. So maybe for Americans this should be a wake up call?

  12. “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” (probably not a Goebbels quote). Yes, the way to combat a lie is with the truth, but are we equipped to tell the difference?

  13. The urge to pass bad laws for good reasons seems to hit every country (RICO comes to mind in the U.S.).

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions (though sometimes I wonder about the motives of some law makers).

  14. To Joseph Jones: Perhaps you realize the free speech rights you and I have in the US do not apply to this blog, since it is private. By the uncensored grace of Prof. Turley, let me say your repulsive, ignorance and anti-Semitism is precisely why we remeber the Holocaust: cretins like you would kill a Jew or anyone else they don’t like if murder were legal, and often even if it were not. Ait’s a good thing indecent people like you can post here and elsewhere, as a warning to all.

  15. It not poland but who put ass for them. The eu is so ficckle

    .who takes the sicckle?

    No one to even isend.

  16. Maybe i am still pist siri was killed. Yep maybe its just me and no one else is pist. Maybe.

  17. Meanwhile the ppl of poland who shut their pie hole developed more than tra tors. Crickets. From the capitalist. No change …

    Until. A plane crash
    . then change


  18. Zionists, their sycophants, and their Zionist-“Christian” cousins can look in the mirror, pat themselves on the back, and say, “Atta boy!”

    The modern post-WW2 era of criminalizing free speech started with criminalizing the denial of Holocaustianity, for the safety and security of “Chosenites.” Canada and seventeen (IIRC) European nations have such laws. People are in prison in Canada, solely for the thought crime of disagreeing with government-ordained dogma.

    Global warming proponents propose the same types of laws, for the same reasons: national security requires imprisonment for persons who “deny” scientific dogma.

    Why stop with prison? Shoot any one on sight who disagrees with government dogma.

    It’s for God! It’s for the children!

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