Poland Moves To Criminalize Claims Of Polish Culpability In Nazi War Crimes

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and hereand here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws.

Some countries have specifically sought to criminalize certain opinions about history, particularly over genocide. 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 violated 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.” Cyprus has also criminalized such denial.

The Poles also made it a crime to deny the murder of about 100,000 Poles by units in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during World War Two.

The effort to compel historical beliefs under threat of prosecution is anathema to both free speech and academic freedom. It also does little to actually change minds.  Germany has proven the fallacy of changing minds through threatened prosecution.  While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, I have long been a critic of the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases, I view it as not just a violation of free speech but a futile effort to stamp but extremism by barring certain symbols. Instead, extremists have rallied around an underground culture and embraced symbols that closely resemble those banned by the government. I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications.

In the meantime, Israel has lodged complaints over the Polish law.  That is ironic since Israel passed a bill this year that makes it illegal to call for boycotts of Israeli goods, services, and even universities or cultural organizations.. It has also barred groups and individuals associated with the boycott of Israel.

The solution to the misrepresentation of history is not prosecution but persuasion.  Forcing consensus through the criminal code achieves little beyond a superficial appearance of agreement.  In this case, the Poles are trying to sanitizing history with little concern of its implications for free speech and free thought in Poland.  Poland has a long and proud academic history. This is an affront to that legacy.

 

58 thoughts on “Poland Moves To Criminalize Claims Of Polish Culpability In Nazi War Crimes”

  1. Jon Turley presents a totally bogus argument where he says: “In the meantime, Israel has lodged complaints over the Polish law. That is ironic since Israel passed a bill this year that makes it illegal to call for boycotts of Israeli goods, services, and even universities or cultural organizations.. It has also barred groups and individuals associated with the boycott of Israel.”

    Making it illegal for a citizen of a nation to advocate causing economic damage to that nation is a completely different concept from making it illegal to say something the government doesn’t agree with. The former is akin to a treasonous action, whereas the latter is not.

    Turley reveals that he’s a closet anti-Semite with his bogus analogy, since, I assume that Turley is not as stupid as his bogus analogy appears to make him. This is hardly surprising as Leftists by their very nature are anti-Semitic, though, of course, many hide under the pretense that they are only anti-Israel.

      1. DB, do you favor a two-State “final solution” or the obliteration of Israel. Do tell.

          1. So, what’s your position on Israel then, since you tilt Left? You seem evasive. You avoid expressing how you really feel because you have to keep that in the closet, much like Turley does, no doubt.

    1. Poland was a Nazi country , today is a Nazi country, and always will be a Nazi country. before and during and maybe after the Holocaust, did lot of pogroms , just google “pogroms in Poland ” and will take you a week to read about all, during they helped the Nazis to kill the Jews, and killed them by themselves, after the war ,when survivors , came back to Poland, found that their homes already occupied by Polish people, with the belongings and instead to return to rightful owner , in a lot of cases they killed them, today you can read about the Jewish cemetery that will became place for supermarket or parking place, you can read about hotels that have at the entrance ,posting no entrance to Jews and thief’s, so just take your time, and google any world , what I wrote and you will get the truth. They are NAZI LIARS in addition to what they did till today. They want to wrote another false history, they can learn how to do it , from the Russians and Romanians, so doesn’t mater what law they legislate they can’t fool the world !

      1. Robert,

        Your comments display such a lack of understanding of history, current events and, indeed, logic and rational thinking that you must have been educated in the American educational system. Since you are ill-informed, let me enlighten you. The Poles fought the Nazis longer than anyone – tied with the Brits – even after their homeland was overrun. Read up on the Battle of Britain, the actions in North Africa, and the battle of Monte Cassino. While you are at it, take a look at the Yad Vashem website and count the number of Poles that received its “Righteous Among the Nations” award for courage in saving Jews during the Holocaust. Then tell me whether any nationality was more honored.

        I try very hard not to make my comments seem ad hominem. However, your reply demonstrates that you just don’t know.

        1. I will not argue with you, and accept everything you wrote as truth that I already knew, I am a proud Jewish patriot who lives in Israel for 52 years, a Holocaust second generation , WE lost to the German Nazi camps , my family, from the 11 aunts and uncles that, 8 of them with the families I never get to know , like a hundred people , get burned to ashes, the 3 remaining , my father, one uncle and one aunt emigrated to Israel, and RIP in Israel, today I am the only living Weisz at the age of 72, but we have a third, forth and fifth generation ,all of them in Israel , and this our victory , my wife all family, including her brother, that at time ,was year and half old , (when arrived to Auschwitz her mother was told’ by an old Jew in secret’ to give the child, in the hands of the grand mother, and Mengele ROT IN HELL who did the selection, let her mother and younger sister 16 years old to live, and work like seamstress doing uniforms for the Nazi soldiers), where burned to ashes also, only her mother and sister after liberation of Auschwitz at 27 April 1945, where alive, her father was in working camp in Hungary, a being a barber also came home, and was reunited with the wife, they all RIP in Israel, but my wife and sister, get families and also in Israel have till fifth generation. I am today pensioner of defense ministry’ as an electronic engineer( Studied at Teknion Haifa) . I wrote all that , so you know my background. After this I am asking you, about the history rewriting, that the today polish government trying to do , like I said the Romanian did (the country where I was borne, at 1946, and live there till 1966, when we emigrated to Israel)’ and the Russians, who talks today about Trans Istria Holocaust of the Romanian Jews ?. Every word what I wrote, in my comment is true, please google “pogroms in Poland”, “The polish Jews Holocaust”, the” cemetery’s to became place for supermarket or parking place” and the Jews body throwed away, the posts at the hotels ” No entry for Jews and thief’s”, and on and on the list is long, SO THE TODAY POLISH GOVERNMET IS BIG LIAR BUT COULDN’T FOOL THE WORLD BECAUSE NOT ALL THE PEOPLE ARE STUPID ! I STAYING BEYOND EVERY SINGLE WORLD THAT I WROTE IN MY COMMENT. IN MY 72 YEARS NEVER ONCE LIED or CHIETED ANYBODY , ALL I HAVE IS NOT MUCH ,ONLY MY INTEGRITY ! SO I AM SORRY IF YOU FELL OFENDET BY THE TRUTH I WROTE, AND I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE IN THIS WORD, WHO COULDN’T TAKE THE POLISH BIG LIES !!!!

          1. Robert,

            No one can seriously dispute that the Jewish people suffered enormously during the Holocaust. I, for one, acknowledge and appreciate the losses suffered by your family. I lost an uncle fighting the Nazis. Millions of others have similar stories. However, the Poles are the last people anyone should blame for complicity in the Holocaust. The Poles alone among the peoples of eastern Europe (with the possible exception of the Serbs) neither were allied with or collaborated with the Nazis.

            The Polish government is not trying to re-write history. Rather, it is making an ill-advised attempt to accurately recount history. The death camps were not Polish. Neither the Polish government in exile nor the Polish Home Army furthered the aims of the Nazi occupiers. If you say otherwise, you are wrong.

            The internet is a wonderful thing. However, you cannot substitute a google search for learned, peer-reviewed literature. Take a look at some scholarly research on the subject. I trust it will change your views.

            Since you live in Israel, you know about Yad Vashem. Look at their records and you will see that 6,706 Poles received their “Righteous Among the Nations” award for heroism in saving Jews from the Holocaust. This is far more than any other nation.

            1. This is my last comment, and be finished with this discussion , between friends, I hope, what I commented, and your replay all is truth. What the Polish government did, as in football , was a self inflicted goal ! WE have a saying in Hungarian, (my mother tong, because Transylvania was once, Austro-Hungarian, and because they loosed the war, being Nazi allies, The Russians gave it to the Romanians, who at the beginnings, where also Nazi allies, but cleverer than the Hungarians, finished the war with victorious party, don’t ask me how they did?, but they are clever, doing money after the war , by selling the Romanian Jews, for lot of money to Israel, and they will sell their mother also, if you offer enough money, I know what I am saying, because the first 20 years of my life ,I lived there, and was one of the Jews ,that Israel paid lots of money , that they let me emigrate ! ) , ” Stay quiet and you will not get headache “, “Ne szoj szam nem faj fejem” , but sims to me ,that the Polish government is not so clever ! Now, all the world is against them , including Israel Government, and that the Israeli consul in Poland , saying that, now they suffer of increased anti-Semitic behavior from Poland , it is not helping their situation, and if they not get a little ,not much , cleverer, they will loose also the American support, the most important thing , for the Polish people ,if not for the Polish Government. Be well my friend, and other good polish people (I visited Yad Ve Shem not once , and know everything, about the good part, of polish people , who helped lot’s of Jews to survive the Holocaust, but what the Polish government trying to do, without success, going from wrong to worse , it is not helping the polish people !

  2. Hey, speaking of Poland, guess what great thing they just did???

    Poland limits Sunday shopping to benefit family life

    2 hrs ago

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president on Tuesday signed into law a bill that largely limits trade on Sundays, saying it would benefit employees’ family life.

    The legislation, worked out by the conservative government and the Solidarity trade union, is expected to draw protests from large Western supermarket chains that are the main target of the law. A large part of their profit is earned on weekends, when many consumers do their big weekly shopping trips. Critics say some of the supermarkets make employees work long hours for modest pay.

    President Andrzej Duda said that big traders would need to adjust their practices to the new system and asked them for “understanding.”

    The law allows numerous exemptions, including for small private retailers, bakeries, gas stations, florists, hotel shops and artistic events.

    As of March 1, shops and markets will be closed on two Sundays each month. Only one Sunday a month will be open for trading in 2019, and starting in 2020 the legislation applies to all Sundays except before major holidays.

    Critics say it will be easy to circumvent the trading ban.

    At the signing ceremony, Duda praised the law as giving children a chance to be with parents and giving shop workers some needed time off. He said a worker in his local shop has thanked him for supporting the law.

    Duda said he was trying to “restore normalcy” and that the policy would be in line with similar laws in some other European Union countries including Germany and Austria.

    “Where there are hired trade employees, Sunday should be a day off to allow them time with their families,” he said.

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/world/poland-limits-sunday-shopping-to-benefit-family-life/article_af7e2d01-086f-5b04-bde0-4f5607430616.html

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  3. Criminal speech laws require the government to decide what is the acceptable truth.

    Our government told us the IRS did not persecute conservatives, the NSA did not spy on millions of us without a warrant, it was a video, and that Trump Tower was not spied on.

    All of the above was false. Do we really want our government decided what we are legally allowed to say? There is a big difference between an employer firing someone for making inflammatory statements that hurt his business, and actually jailing someone for something they said.

    We are allowed to criticize each other and the government. No one has the right not to be offended.

  4. People complain about Trump when he stands in front of an Andrew Jackson statute at the White House. Trump is said to be on the verge of issuing an executive order denying people the right to disparage Andrew Jackson for his Trail of Tears or other acts.
    Next people will try to tear down the statue of Andrew Jackson at Jackson Square in New Orleans. Some can argue that winning the Battle of New Orleans against the Brits was not like the Trail of Tears.

  5. Hugh,

    There’s no evidence that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis, but precious few on this site have ever studied the subject. Much easier to simply call people conspiracy theorists – which THEY certainly are.

    1. My, are you confused.

      I knew a man, a famous mathematician, all of whose family was killed by the Nazis.

      1. DBB,

        And you know this to be true – how? Are you also one of those people that claim they knew someone that worked at NASA and they told you that U.S. Astronauts really did walk on the Moon? And you know someone else who told you that they watched a large plane crash into the WTC and go thru all that steel like building was made out of butter?

        1. As for the last, I saw it on the telly.

          As for the previous, I worked for North American Rockwell for awhile. Fun watching the lobbing of the 3/5ths scale Apollo landing modules into the pond.

          As for the first, he was a good acquaintance.

          You are being the fool.

  6. There seems to be more to this effort than simply criminalizing speech. There are provable facts that cannot be ignored. What harm could come from the people openly discussing the truth of their history? Are people (victims or their heirs) looking for reparations? Trying to get property returned? Are there people exploiting the perpetuation of lies for personal gain? Are there truths that if exposed would harm powerful people in the government or those influential to their government?

    1. What is the “truth of their history” that you want discussed? And what are the “lies for personal gain” to which you refer. The truth is that the death camps were built and operated by Nazi Germans. The Polish Home Army fought the Nazis from the beginning of the war to its end in Poland, in the Battle of Britain, in Italy, and in North Africa. To state otherwise is inaccurate at best and an outright lie at worst.

      1. What is the “truth of their history” that you want discussed? And what are the “lies for personal gain” to which you refer.

        Vince,
        You seem unnecessarily defensive over a series of questions. I’m not an expert on the history of Poland before, during or after WWII. Perhaps you are and perhaps what you believe is the truth is all there is. For a government to take the extraordinary step of criminalizing speech that they don’t approve of would then seem to be an extreme overreaction to something easily countered. The truth should stand on its own. The lies would be exposed and then move on. Criminalizing speech is an authoritarian move. It would be unnecessary if the government had the truth on their side.

        So all I’m asking is why are they doing it? What makes the most sense?

        1. As I have said before, speech should not be criminalized. I also agree that criminalization is an overreaction by the government. However, I think it is clear that the reason is not to shield the truth but to the contrary to make sure that the truth is told. The effort may be misguided and it may not result in the intended goal, but it is genuine.

          1. However, I think it is clear that the reason is not to shield the truth but to the contrary to make sure that the truth is told.

            I don’t see it as a reasonable conclusion at all. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. But their approach seems similar to the beatings will continue until moral improves leadership style.

            The following is an interesting article regarding the decrease in trust of government, media, NGO’s and business.

            Philosophers, politicians, and theologians will of course debate what is true and what is not. But there are practical consequences when a people no longer can ascertain what is true.

            “When truth itself feels uncertain,” The Atlantic asks, “how can a democracy be sustained?”

            It’s a good question.

            I don’t have an answer, but Nietzsche gives a clue as to what a democracy that has lost its understanding of truth might look like.

            “What is good? – All that heightens the feelings of power, the will to power, power itself in man,” Nietzsche wrote. “What is bad? – All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? – The feeling that power increases – that a resistance is overcome.”

            http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/atlantic-crisis-truth-upon-us-apart-trump?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10039987&utm_content=newsletter(10039987)&utm_term=newsletter

            1. The Atlantic has it all wrong. Democracy can certainly be sustained when truth is uncertain. In fact, democracy is, of all the forms of government, the one best suited to deal with the uncertainties of truth. Truth, as opposed to opinion, is objective. Uncertainties can be clarified through vigorous, uncensored debate which is why the actions of the Polish government were wrongheaded. Nevertheless, the efforts of the Polish government to call out “fake history”, while it could have been done in a less onerous fashion, was done for a noble purpose. It is only the means which are objectionable.

              1. I agree Vince, truth is objective; it doesn’t take sides. However, without vigorous debate, how do we know what is truth? How do we know who is being objective and who is merely being opinionated? How can we determine who is being noble? I for one would never conclude the side coercing silence is well-armed with the truth.

  7. Just another example of man’s gross inhumanity to their fellow human being.

  8. The House Intel Committee voted to Release the Memo, and we’re talking over The Strange Death of Europe. Priorities seem a bit off.

  9. Reminds me of what people say about Donald Trump. He’s just saying what everybody’s thinking.

  10. We need a topic on The Frog Holocaust. I am speaking of the Holocaust in France. This was done by many, many French cops, lawyers, judges, army members. They, along with the Germans, rounded up Jews and Gypsies in all parts of France including Vichy France which was held by the Frogs for a few years after their surrender to the Krauts. After WWII the Americans and Russians and others who tried the Germans for war crimes ignored the Frogs.

  11. Speech should not be criminalized. However, there is a difference between denying the Holocaust and denying Armenian genocide and calling the death camps Polish death camps. The Holocaust and the Armenian genocide are historical facts. Denying them yields a distorted view of history and an incorrect assessment of the present. Auschwitz and the other camps were not Polish. They were German, more correctly Nazi German. Many Poles were interred and died in them. There were no death camps on Polish soil before September 1,1939 and there were no death camps on Polish soil after the surrender.

    The Poles and the British were the only nations that fought the Nazis the entire duration of WWII. Contrast the French, the Dutch, the Hungarians, the Finns, etc. Yet, the Poles were treated like a defeated foe after the war, losing territory and falling under the Soviet yoke. Now, some knuckleheads are trying to foist responsibility for the Holocaust on the Polish nation to boot. It is understandable that the nation wants to set the record straight, although, I repeat, speech should not be criminalized.

    1. What a twerp! Yeah, we should all pretend that if the Palestinians are just dying for peace, and would never ever to kill every Jew they could get their hands on. The IDF has been too nice. They need to borrow some B-52s from us and carpet bomb Gaza and the Palestinians until the creeps begged for peace. Let the IDF snipers start shooting the rock throwing Palestinian teens under the “broken windows” concept.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

    2. “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel’‎”

      ― Benjamin Netanyahu

      1. True, Mespo.

        The Middle East openly wants the destruction of Israel. Egypt used to be more tolerant, but is sliding down the extremist rabbit hole.

        There is a Muslim Palestine: it’s called Jordan, and it’s by far the larger part of the region formerly referred to as Palestine. The Jews got the teeny, tinier part, but that is too much according to the ME. The Philistines were Aegean and their culture disappeared. Modern day Palestinians were nomadic Arabs. They were never a people with their own language. They were the same nomadic Arabs living elsewhere, and the majority came for the jobs to build Israel under the British Mandate. The took the jobs, but objected to the goal of the project. After all, the entire Middle East was put to the sword and conquered by Islam, so tolerance for a sovereign non Islamic country was never going to be forthcoming. Hopefully, one day, Islam in the Middle East will tolerate other faiths equally.

  12. Free speech? Whose doing the defining. Some think a dollar bill is free speech. their motto is I have THE right without explanation to all of your rights without exception.

  13. The same place that the statues went. People unwilling to face reality and learn from the past are the first to tip them over and burn the history books – replacing them with a PC version.

    Luckily and I’ll give credit to Amazon’s Kindle for this we have a ready, at hand series of books by multiple authors who preserved the past and not like what’s his face Z something distorted and defacing it.

    But there is not much you can do with a population that has either been educated as Poland and Germany are trying to do or worse one like ours distorts it into unrecognizable New books that truly do deserve burning .

  14. PROSECUTE U.S. / ISRAELI WAR CRIMINALS
    NUREMBERG TRIALS OF WASHINGTON, DC

    America needs the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial, media and other economic leadership of the U.S. Government & Israel, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the U.S / Israeli war crimes.

    The Satanic Terrorist state of Israel, Zionist Jews have hijacked the American Media & Political System.
    Because the Zionists control the media most all Americans are ignorant of our situation.

    As the U.S. / Israeli invasions are War Crimes, the U.S. and Israel have Nazi Governments.
    The U.S. and Israel have committed the same crimes as the Nazis – Wars of Aggression, War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity.

    The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, requests judicial authorisation to commence an investigation into the Situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

    https://www.icc-cpi.int//Pages/item.aspx?name=171120-otp-stat-afgh

    International Criminal Court Prosecutor Calls For Afghanistan War Crimes Investigation

    1. this poster is a prime example why history and statues should not be defaced lest the lessons have to be repeated.

    2. straight ahead, PATRIOT

      People have had their lives turned upside down for merely disputing the Official story about the Nazi Labor Camps being “death camps”, assassination of JFK, the ludicrous Apollo Moon landings, 9/11, Sandy Hook,
      Las Vegas etc.

      If you want to make someone MAD, tell them a lie. If you want to make them FURIOUS, tell them the truth.

    1. If it is a jailable offense to even think about it for fear you might say something and the same is true in Canada the answer is not much time at all.

    2. Squeeks, I’m with you. This is an outsized response to a miniscule problem. Less speech is never the answer. Methinks the Poles have thin skins and too much time on their hands for picayune issues.

  15. They are not denying the Holocaust, just that the concentration camps were theirs, Technically, they are German concentration camps on Polish soil. I can see their point as would you if you if you kept getting painted with the broad brush of the Holocaust. Accuracy is everything.

    1. and it’s also true that some of the guards were from other countries not just Germany and Poland even some of the internal guards were from the same culture as most of the prisoners Even France and England had their fascist National socialist adherents along with the USA along with their equally fascist international socialists. But like sexism, racism and bigotry it’ snot defeated by covering it up as Evergreen College in Washington does or creating a reverse situation.

  16. Fighting fire with fire. In many countries one can be jailed for denying the holocaust. Where’s the outcry for free speech there?

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