The Polish government’s decision to criminalize mentioning its people’s complicity in the Holocaust is a shameless political move to fire up populist support, asserts Rachel Donadio of The Atlantic. Poles, though themselves a victim during WW2, also took part in killing Jews. Outlawing the discussion of this fact is an authoritarian decision that seeks to revise history. The government is playing on its people’s feeling that their suffering during the war is being ignored. Backing down over this matter would be seen as extremely weak. However, anti-Semitism remains a serious and unaddressed issue in Poland, having been re-kindled by this debate.
Poland is correct to remind the world that its people actively resisted and fought the Nazis, more so than in other European countries, writes Seth J. Frantzman of The Jerusalem Post. The international community has warped this narrative, presenting Poles as collaborators, when they were heroes as well as victims. Few other nations felt the brunt cruelty of the Nazis like Poland did. Almost two million non-Jewish citizens were murdered while 1.5 million were used as slaves in Germany. Unlike in France, Belgium and other countries, no Polish Waffen SS units were established. Its resistance fought tooth and nail, forbidding members from going against Jews.