Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Far-right hate speaker from Poland Says Jews had a part to play in their own slaughter during the Holocaust.


A far-right hate speaker from Poland  author and journalist Rafa艂 Ziemkiewicz, has cancelled   a planned UK visit  but following concerns from MPs and campaigners about hate speech, the appearances have reportedly been cancelled.
Recently, Mr Ziemkiewicz expressed revolting views on Polish television following the Polish government’s controversial Holocaust bill. Whilst appearing as a guest on Polish channel TVP, the host and Mr Ziemkiewicz mocked critics of the Polish government’s Holocaust bill, joking that death camps should be referred to as “Jewish death camps” and Jews had a part to play in their own slaughter during the Holocaust. [...] Mr Ziemkiewicz has also been accused of describing Muslims as “invaders” and “barbarians” and saying that “gays should be fought against” in an article featured in the weekly Polish news magazine Newsweek Polska.
From the reaction in the right-wing circles in Poland, it seems some do not understand that what Mr Ziemkiewicz can get away with saying and doing in his own country does not have to be tolerated in others, and comments about 'limiting free speech' are pretty ricjh coming from a country that wants to make voicing certain opinions punishable with three years in prison.

Szewach Weiss: PiS Government Destroying 25 Years' Work


Polish-born Holocaust survivor, former chair of Knesset & ambassador to Poland, who often speaks in defence of Poland in historical debates, says 'Polish govt is destroying everything achieved in relations between [our] two countries over last 25 years'

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Israeli Foreign Ministry Considers Reaction to Polish PM's Accusations


The Jerusalem Post has announced that the Israeli Foreign Ministry is sitting today (Feb 17) in an emergency session following the Polish PM's recent remarks that there were Polish perpetrators of the Holocaust, but in the same way there were also Jewish and Ukrainian perpetrators. Breaking News

 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Hotovely  [...:] "The statements made by the Polish Prime Minister are severe and call for an apology to the Jewish people for distorting the memory of the Holocaust," said Hotovely. "It is impossible to accept such provocative comparisons," she said Saturday evening.

The Polish Prime Minister forgot to mention the Hungarian ones, probably because Hungary is one of the embattled PiS party's staunchest suporters these days.

Polish Government Keeping Local Guilt in the Public Eye


Chcia艂bym serdecznie podzi臋kowa膰 rz膮dowi PiS za rozpropagowanie wiedzy o polskich szmalcownikach i mordercach 呕yd贸w w czasie 2W艢. Nikt w ci膮gu 30 ostatnich lat tak pi臋knie nie wznowi艂 praktycznie zamkni臋tej dyskusji i nie uwypukli艂 naszych win w tym zakresie.



Israel Slams Polish PM for WWII 'Jewish Perpetrators' remark'


In their attempts to control the past, the Polish government is wading deeper and deeper into the historiographical swamp. the Polish prime minister made a number of basic mistakes this week at the  Munich Security Conference (Aron Heller, 'Israel Slams Polish PM for WWII 'Jewish Perpetrators' remark', Associated Press Feb. 17, 2018):
Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay said Morawiecki sounded like any other Holocaust denier with the remark he gave in Munich, Germany on Saturday. "The blood of millions of Jews cries from the earth of Poland over the distortion of history and the escape from blame. Jews were murdered in the Holocaust and Poles took an active part in their murder," Gabbay said. "The government of Israel has to be a voice for the millions of murdered and strongly denounce the Polish prime minister's words."
The Polish Prime Minister had made a remark about Jewish perpetrators of the Holocaust (I imagine he had in mind the ghetto police and Judenrat) but - predictably - the remark provoked outrage:
 Israeli Labor Party lawmaker Itzik Shmuly, who is pushing for a counter bill in the Israeli parliament to criminalize the denial of Nazi collaboration, quipped on Twitter that "the next step of Morawiecki's pathetic project to erase the crimes of the Polish people is probably going to be blaming the Jews for their own Holocaust and presenting the Nazis as victims of the circumstances."
Morawiecki had been answering a question from Israeli journalist  Ronen Bergman (note the word Morawiecki used was not 'collaborators', but 'perpetrators').
Asking about a new Polish law that criminalizes some statements about the Holocaust, the journalist shared a personal story about his parents being reported to the Nazis by Polish neighbors. He asked if he would now be considered a criminal in Poland for relating the story. "Of course it's not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal, to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators," Morawiecki said in response. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also attended the Munich conference, called his Polish counterpart's comment "outrageous".There is a problem here of lack of understanding of history and lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people," Netanyahu said, adding that he planned to speak with Morawiecki soon. It was just the latest fallout from the Polish Holocaust speech law that has drawn outrage in Israel and elsewhere.
Because the idea of legislating what people think is in itself outrageous. The Polish governments attempt to explain away its authoritarian ambitions are simply dragging them, and everybody else into a quagmire of blame and counter-blame. The law should be scrapped and replaced by persuasion, open public debate and dialogue. In other words, what Poland has been doing for the last twenty years before the alt-right clowns came along with their ambitions to promote their own start black-and-white version opf history (where of course Poland is the snowy-white blameless victim of endless conspiracies to undermine it)
In recent weeks, Israeli officials have sharply criticized the legislation that criminalizes blaming Poland as a nation for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. Israeli critics have accused Poland of seeking to use the law to whitewash the role of some Poles who helped Germans kill Jews during the war. Holocaust scholars estimate that Poles might have either killed or helped Germans kill as many as 180,000 to 200,000 Jews. 
That was not the only gaffe the Polish minister committed in Munich:

What is he thinking?
Morawiecki also paid his respects Saturday at the Munich grave of fighters from a Polish underground military unit, known as the Holy Cross Mountains Brigade, that collaborated during the war with Poland's Nazi German occupiers. The prime minister's office tweeted a photo of him with his hands clasped before the grave and said he lit a candle and laid a wreath there. The unit, which was rooted in a far-right prewar political movement [...] collaborated with the Germans late in the war to focus on fighting communists, who were laying the groundwork for what would be decades of Soviet-backed rule. An anti-racism group in Poland, Never Again, said it was "appalled" by Morawiecki's visit to the grave. Jan Grabiec, spokesman for Poland's main opposition party, Civic Platform, criticized both Morawiecki's words in Munich and graveside visit, saying they contributed to Poland's worsening international image. Some commenters praised the prime minister on Twitter for honoring what they called national heroes. 
The  NSZ (Narodowe Si艂y Zbrojne) to which the Swi臋tokrzskie Brigade had belonged had its part in the killing of Jews in the War - though mainly those it suspected of being communist sympathisers. 
'Morawiecki's office had no immediate reaction to the uproar in Israel

Vignette: from the text The day the world media discovered fascism in Poland November 13, 2017


Polish PM Tries to Call White Black and Just Comes out Looking Bad


Associated Press, 'Polish PM: There were also Jewish perpetrators of the Holocaust' Published: 17th Feb 2018
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, {Polish Prime minister Mateusz] Morawiecki said it won't be punishable to say that there were Polish perpetrators under a controversial new law in the country outlawing public statements that falsely and intentionally attribute Nazi crimes to Poland under the German occupation "Of course it's not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian; not only German perpetrators," he said. Morawiecki further noted that Polish embassies had to respond 260 times last year to statements that there were "Polish death camps."
One would have expected the Prime Minister of a country to know the text of the laws of his own government, even if it is a new law. In fact the law quite explicitly says that it will be a punishable offence to say that the 'Polish state or nation' (ie the Poles as a people) were perpetrators of the crimes mentioned in the earlier section of the same law. Mr Morawiecki is mixing up (or building a smokescreen around) accusations of individuals and generalising from them to implicate a wider group. And frankly, who cares how may times the Polish diplomats had noting better to do than play games with words. How may times did they intervene when Malbork was called a Polish castle, or Wroc艂aw cathedral a Polish church? This is a stupid argument.

 The Israeli reaction to this nonsense was no more helpful:
Responding to Morawiecki's claims, Israeli politicians accused the Polish premier of anti-Semitism. Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said Israel's ambassador to Poland should be recalled immediately in response to Morawiecki's comments Saturday in Munich. Lapid said his comments were, "Anti-Semitism of the oldest kind. The perpetrators are not the victims. The Jewish state will not allow the murdered to be blamed for their own murder." Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay, meanwhile, said Morawiecki spoke like any other Holocaust denier.
The Polish law needs to be repealed, and in its place there needs to be more emphasis on sensitive dialogue and education. Both are commodities lacking in the political right of Poland these days however.

UPDATE 
1 godzin臋 temu
The Prime Minister of Israel "the words of the Polish Prime Minister are outrageus"
'The Polish Prime Minister’s remarks here in Munich are outrageous. There is a problem here of an inability to understand history and a lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people. I intend to speak with him forthwith'


Zybertowicz Blames Jews


Shamefully, in Poland right wing commentators are adding to the confusion:
Last week, Andrzej Zybertowicz, an adviser to Polish President Andzrej Duda, asserted that Israel's objections to the law stemmed from a "feeling of shame at the passivity of the Jews during the Holocaust" adding that Israel was "clearly fighting to keep the monopoly on the Holocaust." "Many Jews engaged in denunciation, collaboration during the war. I think Israel has still not worked it through," Zybertowicz said in the interview published in the Polska-The Times newspaper.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Poland Slowly Coming to Realise...


The Polish Prime Minister concedes for the first time it may be necessary to amend the law on the Institute of National Remebrance to 'clarify certain provisions so that none of our partners, friends, who may have concerns about how it will be interpreted, have to fear that freedom of speech will be threatened'. The only way that will happen is not to produce further 'clarification' - we've had that - but to scrap this useless and totally unnecessary law. Poland also needs to consider its policies on remembrance as a whole: like this monument to the massacre of peasants in Volhynia - what social purpose does this kind of accusatory remembrance in our time, seventy years on, serve the communities of this region?
  

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Poland's New Holocaust Law 'Unnecessary and Confusing'


Polish-American historian Marek Jan Chodakiewicz criticises the new Polish Holocaust law, deeming it unnecessary and 'confusing'. He suggests that the whole thing may have been a 'publicity stunt' by PiS, but one that 'badly misfired' after they showed 'cultural deafness' by passing the legislation on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day ('The Holocaust, the Poles, and World War II Memory' American Thinker February 9, 2018)
A hurricane of recrimination has erupted between Poland and Israel. It all started because the Poles are sick and tired of hearing the scurrilous slander of “Polish concentration camps.” That’s Holocaust revisionism plain and simple. The camps were German and Nazi. However, a bumbling Polish attempt to fix the problem via regulation blew up in Warsaw’s face. What began as a historians’ quarrel gone public has spun out of control into a diplomatic row between Israel and Poland.

Poland's Jews 'in Fear for Future'



Behind the new law denying Polish complicity in Nazi atrocities, many fear there lies a growing strain of antisemitism(Christian Davies, 'Poland’s Jews fear for future under new Holocaust law' Guardian Sat 10 Feb 2018):
Poland’s chief rabbi Michael Schudrich [...], a New Yorker with Polish roots, is credited with playing a key role in Poland’s “Jewish revival” of recent decades, having served as the country’s chief rabbi since 2004. He was also at pains to warn that inflammatory rhetoric and exaggerated claims, especially in Israel, as regards the true extent of Polish complicity in the Holocaust were helping to fuel a vicious cycle of mutual recrimination.

“What has been very disappointing to me is that we’ve re-entered a kind of a mindset where too many people are not listening to each other. Where we have been successful over the past 25 years is to have an increasing sensitivity to what hurts the other side, and what I’m seeing now is a complete lack of sensitivity, both from the Polish to the Jewish and from the Jewish to the Polish side.”

It is a point echoed by Professor Dariusz Stola, director of the Polin Museum of Polish Jews, which opened in 2013 and is seen by many as a crowning achievement of Polish-Jewish dialogue and reconciliation. “Those who condemn Poles en masse are the best friends and allies of Polish antisemites – they feed each other.”

Sitting in his office in the museum’s iron- and copper-clad structure on a site in the former Warsaw ghetto, on a street named after Mordechai Anielewicz, a leader of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising, Stola argued that the recent deterioration in Polish-Jewish relations illustrates a wider deterioration in Polish society.

“It is a sign of a deterioration in the capacity to talk, and the ability to talk is the essence of democracy. If you cannot talk, you cannot reach an agreement; you can only force a solution. The erosion of language is the erosion of democracy and the path to violence.”

The question being discussed now is whether the present crisis can be resolved before the achievements of recent decades are undone entirely.
What is clearly needed is more analysis, synthesis and informed (but also balanced0 public discussion of the historical evidence. The problem is that in identity politics, it is not books but emotions that have the upper hand.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Polish Government Target Israeli Web Users with Moronic Propaganda


The current Polish government continues to dig themselves into a hole over their completely unnecessary 'Holocaust Law' (Hagaty Hacohen, 'Why is Polish Government targeting Israeli web users?' Feb 12, 2018).
The Polish government has financed an online propaganda effort targeting Israeli web users in an attempt to sway public opinion, following tensions between Poland and Israel since Poland announced a new law banning statements alleging Polish complicity in Nazi activities in Poland. When Israelis turned to Youtube on Sunday, they found their videos were preceded by an advertisement from Poland that dealt with an unusual issue: Polish-Jewish relations during World War II. The video also appeared as an advertisement on news websites and other outlets around Israel. The film, created by the Polish National Foundation, was posted Saturday on the Youtube channel of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The film is in English, with Hebrew subtitles available to Israeli users, and claims that Jews and Poles faced the Nazi and Soviet occupations "together," and that Poles treated Jewish citizens of Poland as "friends and allies."
Here is the video, a rather pathetic repetition of the same old tropes, and utterly failing to address the actual issues, which are (a) what Jewish communities are actually saying about their (perceptions of their) experience in the period around 1939-45 in Polish lands, and (b) what the Polish government's idiot-written law actually says. Here it is in all its  dumbdown comic book glory:

.
Posted online by 'Kancelaria Premiera', 8th Feb 2018

The video ends with the motto that the current Polish government is "still on the side of truth," which if that was true, they'd not be afraid of allowing wide public debate on what the actual truth is and hiding behind a law which can only discourage such an open discourse under the threat of legal sanctions. A government unafraid of the truth does not try to enforce on single government-approved truth by law. 


Thursday, 8 February 2018

Poland’s new law on death camps is divisive. That’s the point




Poland's ruling 'Law and Justice Party' wants to rewrite history so Poles were only victims, never perpetrators ('Poland’s new law on death camps is divisive. That’s the point' Economist  Feb 10th 2018)
 Poles have long railed against the phrase “Polish death camps”, as Barack Obama learned when he thoughtlessly deployed it in 2012. But the term reflects clumsiness, not historical revisionism: no one argues that Poles ran Auschwitz or any of the other camps in Poland. [...]   Eastern Europe is criss-crossed by scars of war and occupation to a degree that many westerners struggle to understand. In a region of competing narratives, latent grievances and weak states, leaders with a taste for demagoguery will always be tempted to draw from an ample arsenal of historical memory. [...] disturbing the earth of history can exhume all manner of nasties. Fearful that Mr Duda would veto the history law, a bunch of thugs demonstrated outside the presidential palace urging him to “tear off his yarmulke” (he is not Jewish). Skinheads calling for a “Pure Poland” are a common sight on Polish marches, and there are even signs of xenophobia against the country’s 1m or so Ukrainians. 
Relations with allies have suffered,  but the PiS party thrives on this sort of opprobrium.
Its political assault on Poland’s institutions, especially the judiciary, and its diplomatic missteps have left it ostracised inside Europe and alienated from allies, including America. Yet while many voters hate this, a growing number do not: PiS commands almost 50% support in polls. The international reaction to the law cements the government’s narrative that only it can be relied on to preserve historical truth and defend the honour of the Polish nation. Hours after Mr Duda signed the bill, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, said Poland was only now beginning to emerge from the dependence on outsiders that had marked the decades after communism. His government’s law is less about correcting the record than twisting Poland’s national story into one of historical victimhood—and casting sceptics as traitors. 

Holocaust survivors picket Polish embassy in Tel Aviv


In an event which echoes the picket that started this blog, a protest was held outside the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv ( Itay Blumenthal, Roee Rubinstein 'Holocaust survivors outside Polish embassy: 'We won't forget what you did'...' Ynet news 8th Feb 2018)
Dozens of Holocaust survivors entered the Polish Embassy compound in Tel Aviv on Thursday and encircled a diplomat's vehicle, in protest of the Polish law that outlaws blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany. "No one will forget what you did," the protestors shouted at the diplomat. The Holocaust survivors arrived with signs reading, "No law can erase history, "The Polish law is a slap in the face of the people of Israel" and "Poles, we remember what you did." One protestor held a sign reading, "I still have nightmares over what the Poles did." The protestors, who arrived on behalf of the Yad Ezer La-Haver organization, stood under the embassy building and spoke about the way they were treated by Polish citizens during World War II.
The stories are worth reading, as they show the way that events are presented:
Shaul Gorka, 82, said that "every Passover they would carry out pogroms against us, so the Poles were anti-Semites and received orders from the Polish church. We were saved by the Russian army, and during the war we went to an orphanage in Lublin".
Something seems to be missing here. This orphanage was run by Germans? Poles? Russians? or the Polish Church? 
"Esti Lieber, 80, [...] I ran with my sister through Poland's woods for three years. This law is a disgrace for them. I know only one family which helped me. The rest didn’t care."
The woods were of course those which were by that time in German territory - a territory which explicitly forbade helping escaping Jews.
"When the ghetto opened, all the Jews in and around Warsaw came there".
It was not the Poles who created the ghetto of Warsaw or anywhere else. The area was walled off from the Polish population. I really do not see what this story is about, we all know what terrible place the Warsaw ghetto was (as were many of the others in other towns under German occupation), but that cannot be blamed on the Poles - many of whom were forced by the German occupier from their homes to actually create the ghetto in the first place ..
Yehudit Rosenweig, an 88-year-old Auschwitz survivor, said: "The Poles around us saw what was happening because we would walk in lines, under the rifles of German and Polish soldiers with automatic weapons. If someone would come out of the line, they would kill him because there was nowhere to run. [...] "The Poles just stood around us, doing nothing, just watching the lines. We were without any clothes on or with torn clothes in the terrible October cold. That's how we marched and that's how they watched us. No one objected and no one helped."
First of all, what 'Polish soldiers'? Partisans? Automatic rifles? And what would have happened to any Pole walking up to a prisoner with - for example - warm clothes?  Again, this is a different thing than accusing the Poles of running the camps...

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Polish President Fuels Controversy by Signing Holocaust Speech Law


Poland's president on Tuesday signed legislation that outlaws blaming Poland as a state, but also the Polish people as a whole Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany. In doing so, he was defying strong criticism from large sectors of Polish society, as well as abroad, including criticism from Israel and a warning from the U.S. (AP, 'Polish leader signs controversial law on Holocaust speech' February 7, 2018). But as AP notes:
The legislation calls for prison terms of up to three years for falsely attributing the crimes of Nazi Germany to Poland. The law takes effect 14 days after it's officially published, but it wasn't immediately clear when that will be.  Poland's authorities have described it as an attempt to protect the country's reputation from what it believes is confusion about who bears responsibility for Auschwitz and other death camps Nazi Germany set up in occupied Poland. [...] The proposed law has fueled a diplomatic crisis with Israel, which fears it would stifle discussion about the Holocaust and enable Poland to whitewash the role of the Poles who killed or denounced Jews during the German occupation of Poland during World War II.
Duda (from the ruling conservative and backward-looking PiS [Law and Justice] party) is accused of giving in to the pressure of nationalists and anti-Semites. The signing deepens the diplomatic crisis that has developed around this law. The United States strongly opposed the legislation, as AP say: 
warning that it could hurt Poland's strategic relations with both Israel and the U.S. After Duda signed it, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the new law "adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry." Holocaust scholars and institutions strongly denounced the law as well, arguing that its unclear wording created the potential for abuse. 
Law and Justice are a party that has come to power promising to set right 'historic wrongs' done to Poland over the past seventy years or so. This seems to appeal to the older segments of society, and rural populations who feel left behind in the creation of capitalism in 1989. They had proposed measures like this bill earlier, soon after they took power in 2015. The issue only became a matter of public debate recently, in the aftermath of liberal criticism of the tolerance and even courting of radical xenophobic and supremacist nationalist movements, especially popular among young  men from the provinces.. Things came to a head a few weeks ago with the publication of a material appearing to linking prominent PiS politicians with some rather unsavoury characters in these movements. Cynics suggest that the surprise almost overnight approval of the law by lawmakers of the lower house on Jan. 26, the day before International Holocaust Remembrance Day (!) and then its being rushed through the upper house was intended to reassure the radical groups of the right wing that despite the widespread criticism at home and abroad, PiS was not abandoning the interests of its allies. Whether or not that is the case, the international outcry that inevitably followed awoke a few demons, as AP notes:
The legislation [...] has caused division within Poland, where anti-Semitic rhetoric moved quickly from the political fringes into the mainstream over just a few days.  [...]  Jan Grabowski, a historian at the University of Ottawa in Canada who studies Polish violence against Jews during the war, called Duda's signing of the law "further proof that the nationalists now in power in Poland will do anything to cater to the hard, right-wing core of their electorate." 

Poland’s Controversial Holocaust Bill Becomes Law

Poland has enacted a libel law to punish those who accuse Polish society of complicity in the Holocaust, despite objections from the U.S., Israel and some Auschwitz survivors, who said it threatened to stifle honest discussion of the Nazi genocide  (Drew Hinshaw, 'Poland’s Controversial Holocaust Bill Becomes Law', Wall Street Journal, Feb. 6, 2018)
Mr. Duda’s country is at the center of a new nationalism gaining traction in Europe, especially in the poorer, once-communist countries of the Continent’s east, where voters complain that distant, European Union elites have dominated decision-making on immigration policy, economics and religion. Differences on these issues have widened a schism within the EU, which has criticized governments in some of these newer member states for failing to adhere to the bloc’s statutes on issues including press freedoms and the rule of law. Poland has refused to back down on a series of controversial laws, including a purge of the supreme court, which the EU’s executive leadership considers grounds to potentially revoke the country’s voting rights in the bloc. The new libel law imposes fines and imprisonment for those who accuse the Polish population of responsibility or complicity in any war crimes, including the Nazi genocide. The law includes two broadly worded exemptions for academic and artistic expression. [...] Its promulgation has stirred worries about the extent to which new nationalists are turning to an old strain of prejudice: anti-Semitism. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has blanketed his capital with posters of Jewish billionaire George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, who he blames for trying to import migrants into Europe. French National Front leader Marine Le Pen speaks often of a powerful “Rothschild cartel” opposing her. Some anti-hate-speech groups have said both campaigns tap into conspiracies of Jewish wealth controlling nations. “Those who always had these anti-Semitic, xenophobic feelings now feel empowered,” said Michael Schudrich, Poland’s chief rabbi. “They perceive that they have the support, and the question is do they really have support from the government, and unfortunately, they think yes.”
The real problem is that the governing party (and those 40% of Polish society that voted them in) have a view of the world which is very much focussed on the past, past wrongs suffered by the Polish nation and people, wrongs which they imagine are still being perpetrated today:
To the governing Law and Justice Party, international criticisms of the law underscored their argument that Poland’s European neighbors would rather condemn Poland than examine their own countries’ moral failings during World War II. The party has portrayed the fight over the law as another example of distant elites trying to push Poland around. That message is resonating, said pollster Marcin Duma of the Warsaw-based research firm IBRiS. “It’s not about Jews. In fact, it’s not about history,” Mr. Duma said. “It’s about sovereignty.” . [...] “It’s a very dramatic turn in Polish history, what we observe now,” said Jan Gross, the author of a 2001 history on how villagers in wartime Poland killed their Jewish neighbors. “In Poland, the past, the wartime past, this complicity in the persecution of the Jews has never been worked through.” The current Polish government considers the retired Princeton University professor’s work counterfactual and biased. [...] State media in Poland has described foreign complaints about the law as part of a “Holocaust industry,” in which Israel is trying to pressure Poland to give up property seized from Jews during World War II. On Monday, several dozen protesters from the All Polish Youth—a group that seeks an all-white, Catholic Poland—stood in front of the presidential palace on Monday, behind a speaker who described Jews as a money-seeking “fifth column.” “Take off your yarmulke and sign the bill,” read a banner directed at Mr. Duda, who is Catholic. Police allowed the protest, which some lawyers said violated Polish anti-hate-speech laws. The same group co-organizes an annual patriotic march that draws tens of thousands.
 The current government places a priority on the establishment of Poland’s reputation as a country that largely resisted Nazi rule. Polish leaders seem to have been surprised by the backlash. After signing it:
The president on Tuesday asked Poland’s constitutional court to review the law. That court is effectively subservient to the ruling party, which has refused to implement, or even publish, court decisions with which it disagrees. 

New Polish Law Hardly Helps in 'Discovering the Truth'


Poland has enacted a libel law to punish those who accuse Polish society of complicity in the Holocaust, despite objections from the U.S., Israel and some Auschwitz survivors, who said it threatened to stifle honest discussion of the Nazi genocide  (Drew Hinshaw, 'Poland’s Controversial Holocaust Bill Becomes Law', Wall Street Journal, Feb. 6, 2018) 
Scholars differ on how widely the local population in Poland was complicit in crimes against Jews. There was no collaborationist government in Poland—unlike France or Belgium—although Polish police did, under German leadership, help round up Jews. More than 6,000 Poles are celebrated by Israel’s Yad Vashem institute for risking their lives to save Jews. As many as 400,000 Poles fought the Nazi occupation, which killed three million non-Jewish Poles before its retreat. There is ample historical evidence that pogroms against Jews occurred regularly before, during and after the Holocaust. Historians say as many as 200,000 Polish Jews were killed by their fellow Poles during the war; Poland’s government disputes those estimates. “We must put a lot of effort into discovering the truth to eliminate all lies,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a group of foreign journalists, many of them from Israel, on Friday. Afterward, waiters served the visitors a lunch: pork sausages.

The chief curator of Warsaw's Polin Museum on the 'Death Camps Law'


The chief curator of Warsaw's Polin Museum on the 'Death Camps Law'. 'Willingness to confront traumatic events is mark of mature democracy. Current bill is step backwards. Historical truth isn't to be legislated, certainly not to protect good name of a country' (Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, 'Why Poland’s Holocaust Bill Will Backfire' Forward.com February 6, 2018.

“This law is not going to limit speech, not even one iota,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared at the press conference in Markowa. This statement is at odds with the amendment, which explicitly criminalizes speech that “claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich … or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes,” whether intentional or unintentional and by Polish and foreign citizens. Exempted are scholars and artists, who are allowed to commit such criminal acts “in the course of one’s artistic or academic activity,” a provision that makes no sense. Why are scholars and artists exempted but not journalists, public intellectuals, teachers, librarians, and museum directors? Are scholars safe when they publish in obscure academic journals, but not when they appear in the media, as many often do? The Polish Historical Association, the Polish Association for Jewish Studies, and Holocaust historians in particular have raised strong objections to the bill and asked the President not to sign it.
As for the facts, who will judge their accuracy and, equally important, their interpretation, given the rationale for this amendment, which is to defend the good name of Poland? Last but not least, the public has a right to open discussion of their history, all of it, the best and the worst. As Dariusz Stola, director of POLIN Museum, has so wisely stated, “We are not responsible for a past on which we had no influence. However, we are responsible for what we do about that past today. Above all, we owe the truth to the victims of past crimes, and the truth is fueled by an open and factual discussion.”
“This law is not going to limit speech, not even one iota,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared at the press conference in Markowa. This statement is at odds with the amendment, which explicitly criminalizes speech that “claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich … or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes,” whether intentional or unintentional and by Polish and foreign citizens. Exempted are scholars and artists, who are allowed to commit such criminal acts “in the course of one’s artistic or academic activity,” a provision that makes no [sense])http://orka.sejm.gov.pl/opinie8.nsf/nazwa/771_u/$file/771_u.pdf). Why are scholars and artists exempted but not journalists, public intellectuals, teachers, librarians, and museum directors? Are scholars safe when they publish in obscure academic journals, but not when they appear in the media, as many often do? The Polish Historical Association, the Polish Association for Jewish Studies, and Holocaust historians in particular have raised strong objections to the bill and asked the President not to sign it.
As for the facts, who will judge their accuracy and, equally important, their interpretation, given the rationale for this amendment, which is to defend the good name of Poland? Last but not least, the public has a right to open discussion of their history, all of it, the best and the worst. As Dariusz Stola, director of POLIN Museum, has so wisely stated, “We are not responsible for a past on which we had no influence. However, we are responsible for what we do about that past today. Above all, we owe the truth to the victims of past crimes, and the truth is fueled by an open and factual discussion.”
Read more: https://forward.com/scribe/393818/why-polands-holocaust-bill-will-backfire/
“This law is not going to limit speech, not even one iota,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared at the press conference in Markowa. This statement is at odds with the amendment, which explicitly criminalizes speech that “claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich … or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes,” whether intentional or unintentional and by Polish and foreign citizens. Exempted are scholars and artists, who are allowed to commit such criminal acts “in the course of one’s artistic or academic activity,” a provision that makes no [sense])http://orka.sejm.gov.pl/opinie8.nsf/nazwa/771_u/$file/771_u.pdf). Why are scholars and artists exempted but not journalists, public intellectuals, teachers, librarians, and museum directors? Are scholars safe when they publish in obscure academic journals, but not when they appear in the media, as many often do? The Polish Historical Association, the Polish Association for Jewish Studies, and Holocaust historians in particular have raised strong objections to the bill and asked the President not to sign it.
As for the facts, who will judge their accuracy and, equally important, their interpretation, given the rationale for this amendment, which is to defend the good name of Poland? Last but not least, the public has a right to open discussion of their history, all of it, the best and the worst. As Dariusz Stola, director of POLIN Museum, has so wisely stated, “We are not responsible for a past on which we had no influence. However, we are responsible for what we do about that past today. Above all, we owe the truth to the victims of past crimes, and the truth is fueled by an open and factual discussion.”
Read more: https://forward.com/scribe/393818/why-polands-holocaust-bill-will-backfire/

The article concludes:
“This law is not going to limit speech, not even one iota,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared at the press conference in Markowa. This statement is at odds with the amendment, which explicitly criminalizes speech that “claims, publicly and contrary to the facts, that the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich … or for other felonies that constitute crimes against peace, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or whoever otherwise grossly diminishes the responsibility of the true perpetrators of said crimes,” whether intentional or unintentional and by Polish and foreign citizens. Exempted are scholars and artists, who are allowed to commit such criminal acts “in the course of one’s artistic or academic activity,” a provision that makes no [sense])http://orka.sejm.gov.pl/opinie8.nsf/nazwa/771_u/$file/771_u.pdf). Why are scholars and artists exempted but not journalists, public intellectuals, teachers, librarians, and museum directors? Are scholars safe when they publish in obscure academic journals, but not when they appear in the media, as many often do? The Polish Historical Association, the Polish Association for Jewish Studies, and Holocaust historians in particular have raised strong objections to the bill and asked the President not to sign it.
As for the facts, who will judge their accuracy and, equally important, their interpretation, given the rationale for this amendment, which is to defend the good name of Poland? Last but not least, the public has a right to open discussion of their history, all of it, the best and the worst. As Dariusz Stola, director of POLIN Museum, has so wisely stated, “We are not responsible for a past on which we had no influence. However, we are responsible for what we do about that past today. Above all, we owe the truth to the victims of past crimes, and the truth is fueled by an open and factual discussion.”
Read more: https://forward.com/scribe/393818/why-polands-holocaust-bill-will-backfire/eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
The intended consequences of this amendment are to promote patriotism in Poland and raise Poland’s standing in the world. While the amendment reflects the platform that won PiS the election, it has backfired internationally and precipitated a diplomatic crisis with Israel and the United States. The very statements that the amendment is supposed to criminalize are being restated and amplified across the globe. The polarizing of positions is intensifying historical distortions. Israel accuses Poland unfairly of Holocaust denial, while Poland holds Germany fully responsible for what happened to Jews during the occupation. While it is inaccurate to hold the Polish State and Polish Nation responsible for the Holocaust, along with Germany, it is also inaccurate to overlook or underestimate the violence against Jews committed by segments of the Polish population. Historical accuracy in these regards in no way diminishes the suffering of the Polish population during the occupation and the heroism of those who risked their lives to save Jews.

Read more: https://forward.com/scribe/393818/why-polands-holocaust-bill-will-backfire/ The current crisis is not simply a result of poor timing, as Poland’s Prime Minister would have it — the amendment was announced on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The crisis is the result of an effort to legislate history in the service of patriotism at home and national reputation abroad. At issue is not only the content of the amendment, but also the principle of criminalizing speech regarding the fate of Jews in occupied Poland. Education is better than legislation for setting the record straight, but not if education must follow a misguided historical policy, and patriotism continues to embolden expressions of xenophobia. At the same time, many media outlets have voluntarily added to their style sheets the historically accurate way to refer to German death camps in occupied Poland.

Among the unintended consequences is precisely the public debate the amendment would forestall if passed into law. Statements of protest from the most respected quarters in Poland and internationally are not only defending unfettered freedom of inquiry and expression, but are also weighing in on the historical issues and warning of the dangers of polarization and the historical distortions that follow. It is small consolation that the proposed amendment is unenforceable. Whether the Polish and Israeli representatives currently in discussion can overcome the impasse, the damage is done. The good name of Poland has been tarnished. The whole world is watching, and history itself is on the docket.
Read more: https://forward.com/scribe/393818/why-polands-holocaust-bill-will-backfire/

France joins criticism of Polish 'Death Camps Law'


France joins criticism of Polish 'Death Camps Law'. Foreign minister says it's 'worthy of condemnation' and that 'rewriting history is never good'. Or trying to influence how it is assessed under threat of prosecution.



Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Yair Lapid Allegations of 'Polish Death Camps'

From 'Biega艅ski the Blog':
Gene Sokolowski  February 6, 2018 at 9:17 PM
In keeping with the hysteria over the pending Polish law and the hype of the Daily Caller’s headline, Yair Lapid, leader of a centrist opposition party in Israel, goes further.
According to the New York Times, he wrote on Twitter, “There were Polish death camps and no law can ever change that.”
He also sent the following tweet to Prime Minister Morawiecki: ““I am a son of a Holocaust survivor. My grandmother was murdered in Poland by Germans and Poles. I don’t need Holocaust education from you. We live with the consequences every day in our collective memory. Your embassy should offer an immediate apology.” Lapid’s second sentence, however, is at odds with his Wikipedia bio, which states: “Both of his grandmothers, on maternal and paternal side, were alive when they moved to Israel, according to an interview his parents gave to the Spiegel (magazine). [5]”

Polish President Announces decision to Sign the IPN Act (1) Polish text

Warsaw, 6th Feb 2018 11:00 AM: One of the more chaotic and badly-conceived speeches in this Presidency. President Duda decides to give a lesson in history at primary school level, the text is repetitive, over-long, and in fact looks as if it is a hasty compilation from two different texts each of which leading to opposed conclusions. A dreadful piece of writing:

Wtorek, 6 lutego 2018O艣wiadczenie Prezydenta RP na temat nowelizacji ustawy o IPN
Dzie艅 dobry, witam Pa艅stwa bardzo serdecznie!

Jak wszyscy doskonale wiemy, w polskiej przestrzeni publicznej, politycznej – nie tylko polskiej, ale tak偶e mo偶na powiedzie膰, 偶e w przestrzeni mi臋dzynarodowej, w relacjach przede wszystkim pomi臋dzy Polsk膮 a Izraelem, pomi臋dzy Polakami a 呕ydami na ca艂ym 艣wiecie, ale tak偶e w przestrzeni relacji polsko-ameryka艅skich ‒ bardzo du偶膮 dyskusj臋 wzbudzi艂a ostatnio kwestia uchwalonej przez polski parlament nowelizuj膮cej ustawy o Instytucie Pami臋ci Narodowej, wprowadzaj膮cej do polskiego systemu prawnego przest臋pstwo zwi膮zane z fa艂szowaniem prawdy historycznej czy te偶 przest臋pstwo b臋d膮ce w istocie fa艂szowaniem prawdy historycznej. Ta kwestia ‒ jak powiedzia艂em ‒ wzbudzi艂a ogromn膮 dyskusj臋.  Tak jak to zawsze jest, ustawa trafi艂a do mnie, jako Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej, bo jak Pa艅stwo doskonale wiedz膮, Prezydent u nas zgodnie z Konstytucj膮 jest ostatnim ‒ przed ewentualn膮 publikacj膮 ‒ elementem procesu legislacyjnego, ustawodawczego. W zwi膮zku z tym jako Prezydent jestem zobowi膮zany podj膮膰 decyzj臋 w sprawie dalszych los贸w tej ustawy.

Prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, to nie jest ustawa nowa, to nie jest propozycja, kt贸ra pojawi艂aby si臋 tydzie艅 czy miesi膮c temu. Na temat tego przepisu prowadzi艂em rozmowy ju偶 przesz艂o rok temu, a tak偶e w czasie mojej wizyty rok temu w Izraelu. By艂em ju偶 wtedy o to pytany – w trakcie rozm贸w i politycznych, i przez dziennikarzy. W贸wczas jeden element bardzo istotnie w tym kontek艣cie si臋 pojawia艂, a mianowicie: zdecydowane oczekiwanie tego, 偶e ta ustawa, to rozwi膮zanie, te przepisy nie b臋d膮 w 偶aden spos贸b blokowa艂y dzia艂alno艣ci artystycznej i naukowej.

Jak Pa艅stwo wiedz膮, w ostatecznym sformu艂owaniu tych przepis贸w art. 55a takie wy艂膮czenie dotycz膮ce czyn贸w zwi膮zanych z dzia艂alno艣ci膮 artystyczn膮 i naukow膮 zosta艂o w spos贸b bardzo wyra藕ny do ustawy wprowadzone. A wi臋c to oczekiwanie, kt贸re przez 艣rodowiska 偶ydowskie by艂o tutaj formu艂owane, zosta艂o przez ustawodawc臋 – przez pos艂贸w, kt贸rzy przygotowywali t臋 ustaw臋 – zrealizowane.

Jakie jest, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, znaczenie tej ustawy? Ona dotyczy kwestii niezwykle bolesnej, bardzo delikatnej. Dotyczy kwestii zwi膮zanej z II wojn膮 艣wiatow膮, z martyrologi膮 przede wszystkim narodu polskiego: z tym, co my, jako Polacy ‒ ale oczywi艣cie w znaczeniu „nasi przodkowie, moi dziadkowie, pradziadkowie” – prze偶yli w okresie II wojny 艣wiatowej i ilu naszych bliskich w okresie II wojny 艣wiatowej z r膮k niemieckich nazist贸w i innych, kt贸rzy napadli na Polsk臋, straci艂o 偶ycie. To kwestia dla nas niezwykle istotna.

Pami臋tajmy, 偶e w okresie II wojny 艣wiatowej zgin臋艂o w Polsce prawie 6 mln naszych obywateli. M贸wi臋 „obywateli” ‒ podkre艣lam to z ca艂膮 moc膮 ‒ bo w艣r贸d nich z ca艂膮 pewno艣ci膮 by艂o ok. 3 mln polskich obywateli narodowo艣ci 偶ydowskiej. Rzeczywi艣cie by艂o tak, 偶e niemiecki, nazistowski przemys艂 zag艂ady przede wszystkim skierowa艂 si臋 na zniszczenie narodu 偶ydowskiego, na to, by ludzi tej narodowo艣ci po prostu zg艂adzi膰.

Ale poniewa偶 Polska zosta艂a napadni臋ta jako pierwsza i przecie偶 tu rozpocz臋艂a si臋 w 1939 roku II wojna 艣wiatowa, w zasadzie od samego pocz膮tku tej wojny Polska by艂a okupowana. Przypominam, 偶e polskie ziemie zosta艂y rozdarte przez z jednej strony – Niemcy hitlerowskie, a z drugiej – Zwi膮zek Radziecki, kt贸ry na mocy paktu Ribbentrop-Mo艂otow napad艂 na Polsk臋 17 wrze艣nia i zagarn膮艂 cz臋艣膰 polskich ziem.

W zwi膮zku z powy偶szym ‒ co z ca艂膮 moc膮 chc臋 podkre艣li膰 – w sensie geograficznym pa艅stwa polskiego nie by艂o, by艂y ziemie, kt贸re kiedy艣 stanowi艂y pa艅stwo polskie. Polski rz膮d zorganizowa艂 si臋 na uchod藕stwie ‒ mieli艣my rz膮d na uchod藕stwie w Londynie ‒ ale polskiego rz膮du dzia艂aj膮cego w Polsce, instytucji pa艅stwa polskiego jako takich nie by艂o. By艂o wy艂膮cznie Polskie Pa艅stwo Podziemne, by艂a Armia Krajowa – a wi臋c struktury, kt贸re si臋 zorganizowa艂y. Po co? By walczy膰 o powr贸t polskiej pa艅stwowo艣ci, by w miar臋 mo偶liwo艣ci broni膰 polskich obywateli, by ze wszystkich si艂 walczy膰 z hitlerowskimi Niemcami o wyzwolenie Polski, o powr贸t Polski na map臋 艣wiata, 偶eby艣my mogli z powrotem 偶y膰 w wolnym pa艅stwie, tak jak 偶yli nasi przodkowie od 1918 do 1939 roku.

Prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, tamte lata, gdy Polska znajdowa艂a si臋 pod okupacj膮 hitlerowsk膮, to by艂 jeden z najczarniejszych okres贸w w naszych dziejach – co do tego nikt nie ma w膮tpliwo艣ci. To prawda, 偶e na naszej ziemi niemieccy nazi艣ci zbudowali obozy zag艂ady, obozy koncentracyjne, z najbardziej znanym z nich i okrytym najbardziej ponur膮 s艂aw膮 obozem Auschwitz-Birkenau, w kt贸rym co roku obchodzony jest Dzie艅 Pami臋ci o Ofiarach Holokaustu. Prawd膮 jest, 偶e ze wszystkich narod贸w najwi臋cej zgin臋艂o os贸b narodowo艣ci 偶ydowskiej. Tak jak powiedzia艂em przedtem – zag艂ada niemiecka by艂a przede wszystkim na nich ukierunkowana.

Ale zgin臋艂y tak偶e miliony Polak贸w: zgin臋li tak偶e w obozie Auschwitz-Birkenau i innych obozach koncentracyjnych, zgin臋li w czasie prze艣ladowa艅, zgin臋li rozstrzeliwani na ulicach polskich miast, zgin臋li, walcz膮c z Niemcami w oddzia艂ach partyzanckich, zgin臋li wreszcie zam臋czeni na Pawiaku i w innych miejscach, gdzie Niemcy katowali ludzi, realizowali sw贸j przemys艂 zag艂ady – tak偶e wobec narodu polskiego, wobec os贸b nale偶膮cych do wsp贸lnoty etnicznej Rom贸w, w obozach koncentracyjnych zgin臋艂o te偶 bardzo wielu Rosjan. Ale rzeczywi艣cie, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, zgin臋艂y miliony Polak贸w.

I przede wszystkim tamten czas to czas niezwyk艂ego b贸lu dla narodu 偶ydowskiego, dzisiaj – dla Izraela. Nie ma chyba takiej 偶ydowskiej rodziny, kt贸ra mieszka艂aby wtedy Europie i nie straci艂a kogo艣 bliskiego. A wiedz膮 Pa艅stwo doskonale, 偶e bywa tak, 偶e z rodziny czasem pozosta艂a tylko jedna osoba, wszyscy inni zostali zamordowani. Jest to wi臋c dla 呕yd贸w sprawa szczeg贸lnie bolesna, delikatna i wzbudzaj膮ca szczeg贸lne emocje. Jestem Polakiem, kt贸ry ‒ w艂a艣ciwie od samego pocz膮tku swojego 偶ycia ‒ 偶yje t膮 w艂a艣nie opowie艣ci膮 czas贸w II wojny 艣wiatowej, czas贸w zag艂ady. Tak偶e w mojej rodzinie by艂a 艣mier膰 w okresie II wojny 艣wiatowej – brata mojego dziadka, kt贸ry zgin膮艂 zamordowany przez Niemc贸w. Ale ta opowie艣膰 tak偶e o 艣mierci 呕yd贸w by艂a w mojej rodzinie od samego pocz膮tku, odk膮d pami臋tam, i wszyscy t臋 histori臋 doskonale znamy.

Tak jak m贸wi臋: przede wszystkim jest ona najbole艣niejsza dla narodu 偶ydowskiego, dla wielu ludzi, kt贸rzy dzisiaj mieszkaj膮 w Izraelu i kt贸rzy w czasie II wojny 艣wiatowej w Holokau艣cie stracili swoich najbli偶szych. Jestem, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, pe艂en szacunku dla tego b贸lu, dla tej wielkiej pami臋ci ‒ i wszyscy Pa艅stwo doskonale wiedz膮, 偶e budowanie dobrych relacji pomi臋dzy Polsk膮 a Izraelem, pomi臋dzy osobami narodowo艣ci 偶ydowskiej a osobami narodowo艣ci polskiej bardzo le偶y mi na sercu. Mieszkali艣my tutaj, na tej ziemi, 1000 lat we wsp贸lnym pa艅stwie, w Rzeczypospolitej, kt贸r膮 呕ydzi nazywali Polin, co pi臋knie dokumentuje Muzeum Historii 呕yd贸w Polskich. I to jest nasza wielka wsp贸lna historia, kt贸ra zosta艂a w dramatyczny spos贸b przez hitlerowskie Niemcy przerwana.

W kontek艣cie tej ustawy pojawi艂y si臋 w Izraelu, Stanach Zjednoczonych i w innych miejscach g艂osy, 偶e mo偶e ona prowadzi膰 do zaprzeczenia prawdy historycznej, do wypaczenia, do odpowiedzialno艣ci os贸b, kt贸re b臋d膮 m贸wi艂y prawd臋, a b臋d膮 pos膮dzane o to, 偶e w艂a艣nie zak艂amuj膮 histori臋.

Ot贸偶 chc臋 powiedzie膰 jasno i wyra藕nie: w moim przekonaniu, zw艂aszcza z pierwszej cz臋艣ci art. 55a, taka sytuacja wynikn膮膰 nie mo偶e. Jest tam wyra藕nie powiedziane, 偶e kto publicznie i wbrew faktom g艂osi okre艣lone pogl膮dy, ten b臋dzie podlega艂 odpowiedzialno艣ci karnej.

Ale, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, poniewa偶 te w膮tpliwo艣ci s膮 i one by艂y zg艂aszane, ja osobi艣cie – jako Prezydent – jestem sk艂onny si臋 przychyli膰 do tego, 偶e te w膮tpliwo艣ci powinny zosta膰 wyja艣nione, rozstrzygni臋te. Bo tego wymaga – moim zdaniem – tak偶e w艂a艣nie szacunek dla pami臋ci, dla odczu膰 tych, kt贸rych bliscy zgin臋li. Dla odczu膰 tak偶e tych, kt贸rzy s膮 ocalonymi i kt贸rych straszliwe wspomnienia stanowi膮 wielkie memento dla ca艂ego 艣wiata: 偶eby do takiego straszliwego dramatu i niebywa艂ego okrucie艅stwa ‒ jakim by艂 Holokaust, jakim by艂a zag艂ada 呕yd贸w, a tak偶e i innych narod贸w ‒ nigdy wi臋cej ju偶 nie dosz艂o.

呕eby tak by艂o, musimy o tym pami臋ta膰 i musimy o tym m贸wi膰. To musi by膰 偶ywe nie tylko w pami臋ci Polak贸w oraz 呕yd贸w, ale i w pami臋ci 艣wiata. 呕eby by艂o 偶ywe, niezwykle wa偶ne jest 艣wiadectwo tych w艂a艣nie ocalonych, kt贸rzy na w艂asne oczy tamte fakty widzieli i kt贸rzy w zwi膮zku z tym dzisiaj s膮 wielkimi 艣wiadkami historii ‒ a, dzi臋ki Bogu, wielu z nich jeszcze ca艂y czas 偶yje, jest z nami i to 艣wiadectwo mo偶e dawa膰. Nie chcia艂bym – absolutnie bym nie chcia艂 – by ktokolwiek z nich mia艂 jakiekolwiek w膮tpliwo艣ci co do tego, czy mo偶e g艂osi膰 swoje 艣wiadectwo spokojny, 偶e nie narazi si臋 w Polsce, wed艂ug polskiego prawa na odpowiedzialno艣膰 karn膮 w tej kwestii. To jest rzecz niezwykle wa偶na.

Ale r贸wnocze艣nie, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, jest dla mnie tak偶e niezwykle wa偶ne, aby艣my my ‒ jako Polacy, pa艅stwo polskie, nar贸d polski ‒ nie byli pomawiani o udzia艂 w Holokau艣cie. Przede wszystkim, tak jak niekt贸rzy m贸wi膮 – co dla mnie jest ogromnie bolesne i my艣l臋, 偶e dla wi臋kszo艣ci Polak贸w – 偶e Polacy jako nar贸d brali w zinstytucjonalizowany spos贸b udzia艂 w Holokau艣cie, 偶e mia艂o to charakter systemowy. Ot贸偶, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa: nie! Prawda historyczna jest taka, 偶e Polacy w 偶aden zinstytucjonalizowany, systemowy spos贸b nie brali udzia艂u w Holokau艣cie. Wszyscy o tym doskonale wiemy.

Polski nie by艂o w tamtym czasie: nie istnia艂o pa艅stwo polskie, nie istnia艂y instytucje pa艅stwa polskiego – w zwi膮zku z tym nie mog艂y one si臋 w艂膮czy膰. Istnia艂o – tak jak powiedzia艂em – Polskie Pa艅stwo Podziemne, istnia艂a Armia Krajowa, polska armia podziemna, kt贸ra wr臋cz przeciwnie: nie tylko w 偶aden spos贸b nie pomaga艂a Niemcom hitlerowskim w zag艂adzie, ona przeciwdzia艂a艂a tej zag艂adzie w miar臋, jak by艂y takie mo偶liwo艣ci. To przecie偶 przy Delegaturze Rz膮du na Kraj w Londynie zosta艂a stworzona Rada Pomocy 呕ydom „呕egota” – w艂a艣nie po to, by obywatelom polskim narodowo艣ci 偶ydowskiej pomaga膰 uchroni膰 si臋 przed zag艂ad膮. To wielkie, wspania艂e karty chwa艂y wypisane przez Zofi臋 Kossak-Szczuck膮, przez Iren臋 Sendlerow膮 w ratowaniu 偶ydowskich dzieci. To, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, wielka misja Jana Karskiego w艂a艣nie zlecona przez rz膮d emigracyjny w Londynie, aby udokumentowa膰 i zaraportowa膰 pa艅stwom alianckim sytuacj臋 w Polsce, a przede wszystkim zag艂ad臋 呕yd贸w. To misja rotmistrza Pileckiego do Auschwitz, kt贸ry przecie偶 absolutnie ryzykuj膮c 偶ycie, dobrowolnie znalaz艂 si臋 tam, w tym obozie zag艂ady, po to, by dokumentowa膰 to, co tam si臋 dzieje, i zaraportowa膰 do w艂adz emigracyjnych i w艂adz pa艅stw alianckich.

Szanowni Pa艅stwo, oczywi艣cie to jest ta strona instytucjonalna, od tej strony mo偶na powiedzie膰 – wr臋cz przeciwnie: nie tylko Polska i Polacy nie brali udzia艂u w 偶adnym przemy艣le zag艂ady, w sensie instytucjonalnym przeciwdzia艂ali艣my temu, staraj膮c si臋 pom贸c, ratowa膰 naszych wsp贸艂obywateli narodowo艣ci 偶ydowskiej. Takie s膮, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, fakty historyczne.

Od strony ludzkiej, jednostkowej – jak Pa艅stwo wiedz膮 – bywa艂o r贸偶nie. Mamy najwi臋cej Sprawiedliwych w艣r贸d Narod贸w 艢wiata ze wszystkich narod贸w, jakie s膮 na 艣wiecie. To w艂a艣nie polscy obywatele, Polacy, maj膮 najwi臋cej swoich drzewek zasadzonych w Instytucie Yad Vashem upami臋tniaj膮cych pomoc 呕ydom. To w艂a艣nie Polska, ta ziemia, tutaj – i okupowana, i Generalna Gubernia – by艂a tym miejscem, gdzie za pomoc 呕ydom grozi艂a kara 艣mierci. Nie by艂o, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, kary 艣mierci wyznaczonej przez Niemc贸w za pomoc 呕ydom w Holandii, we Francji czy w innych krajach, kt贸re znajdowa艂y si臋 pod okupacj膮 niemieck膮. By艂a w Polsce.

Ka偶dy, kto w Polsce pomaga艂 osobom narodowo艣ci 偶ydowskiej, by艂 zagro偶ony 艣mierci膮 razem ze swoj膮 rodzin膮. I doskonale Pa艅stwo wiedz膮, 偶e takie sytuacje, gdy kar臋 艣mierci wymierzano, by艂y. Najbardziej udokumentowanym i znanym przypadkiem, gdy taka tragedia nast膮pi艂a, by艂a 艣mier膰 rodziny Ulm贸w. Ulmowie razem ze swoimi dzie膰mi zostali zamordowani w艂a艣nie za to, 偶e ukrywali swoich 偶ydowskich s膮siad贸w. Takich przypadk贸w – jak Pa艅stwo doskonale wiedz膮 – by艂o w skali okupowanej Polski du偶o wi臋cej.

Oczywi艣cie nie zaprzeczam: by艂y te偶 przypadki wielkiej niegodziwo艣ci. Byli szmalcownicy, by艂 te偶 – prosz臋 Pa艅stwa – strach. Poza zwyk艂膮 pod艂o艣ci膮 i wydawaniem ludzi po to, by si臋 podliza膰 okupantowi czy nawet uzyska膰 z tego tytu艂u korzy艣膰 materialn膮, by艂y te偶 przypadki zwyk艂ego strachu – przed 艣mierci膮, w艂a艣nie przed tym, 偶e przyjd膮 Niemcy, odnajd膮 ukrywaj膮cych si臋 呕yd贸w i zg艂adz膮 rodzin臋. Nikt z nas – zw艂aszcza m艂odsi – nie jest dzisiaj w stanie wyobrazi膰 sobie, jakie wtedy by艂y uczucia i co to znaczy rzeczywi艣cie ba膰 si臋 o 偶ycie, gdy twoja rodzina mo偶e zosta膰 zamordowana niemal w ka偶dej chwili.

Ale chc臋 powt贸rzy膰 jeszcze raz: nie by艂o 偶adnego systemowego udzia艂u ani pa艅stwa polskiego, kt贸re nie istnia艂o, ani 偶adnych polskich instytucji w niemieckim przemy艣le zag艂ady. Nie by艂o kolaboracji instytucjonalnej pomi臋dzy Polsk膮 a Niemcami. W wielu krajach by艂y rz膮dy sprzyjaj膮ce hitlerowcom, w wielu krajach by艂y wyznaczone przez Niemcy hitlerowskie marionetkowe rz膮dy – w Polsce taka sytuacja nie mia艂a miejsca. Polska walczy艂a z Niemcami.

Ale poniewa偶, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, ta sprawa jest tak trudna, tak bolesna na kartach naszej wzajemnej historii i w ostatnim czasie rzeczywi艣cie wywo艂a艂a tak wiele dyskusji – niekiedy bardzo burzliwych i nasyconych niezwyk艂ymi emocjami ‒ trzeba te偶 rozumie膰, 偶e ta sprawa wywo艂uje i b臋dzie wywo艂ywa艂a emocje. I dobrze, 偶e je wywo艂uje. Bo po to mamy o tym pami臋ta膰, 偶eby to w艂a艣nie wywo艂ywa艂o emocje, 偶eby nigdy wi臋cej do takiej sytuacji nie dosz艂o i 偶eby艣my byli wyczuleni na wszystkie przypadki nienawi艣ci ‒ na tle etnicznym, narodowo艣ciowym ‒ kt贸ra prowadzi do Holokaustu. Bo to w艂a艣nie nienawi艣膰 doprowadzi艂a do Holokaustu.

Dlatego zawsze m贸wi臋, 偶e dla 偶adnej, jakiejkolwiek iskry nienawi艣ci, niech臋ci mi臋dzy narodami, na tle etnicznym w Polsce absolutnie nie mo偶e by膰 miejsca. I zawsze apeluj臋 o to, 偶eby szczeg贸lnie na t臋 kwesti臋 by膰 wyczulonym. Nie ma takiej mo偶liwo艣ci, 偶eby w Polsce by艂y tolerowane jakiekolwiek przejawy nienawi艣ci na tle rasowym, a przede wszystkim antysemityzmu. Wszyscy doskonale wiemy, do czego doprowadzi艂 antysemityzm i wszyscy doskonale wiemy, 偶e nigdy w historii 艣wiata to ju偶 nie mo偶e si臋 powt贸rzy膰.

Prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, ale poniewa偶 trzeba chroni膰 tak偶e dobre imi臋 Polski i Polak贸w, to kwestia tak偶e naszej wra偶liwo艣ci. My te偶 mamy prawo do swojej wra偶liwo艣ci. My mamy te偶 prawo do prawdy historycznej. I my mamy te偶 prawo do tego, aby艣my byli w prawdziwy spos贸b, zgodnie z faktami oceniani.

Dlatego podj膮艂em jako Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej nast臋puj膮c膮 decyzj臋: po analizie sytuacji, po analizie tych przepis贸w. Ot贸偶 zdecydowa艂em, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, 偶e podpisuj臋 t臋 ustaw臋 i 偶e w zwi膮zku z tym te przepisy z art. 55a wejd膮 w 偶ycie. Ale jednocze艣nie ‒ poniewa偶 jest dla mnie niezwykle wa偶na ta wra偶liwo艣膰, ta w艂a艣nie, kt贸ra powoduje te g艂osy sprzeciwu, wywo艂uje obawy, 偶e nie b臋dzie mo偶na g艂osi膰 prawdy, 偶e b臋dzie zamykanie ust tym, kt贸rzy ocaleli – zdecydowa艂em si臋 skierowa膰 t臋 ustaw臋 w trybie nast臋pczym do Trybuna艂u Konstytucyjnego po to, aby Trybuna艂 Konstytucyjny zbada艂 zgodno艣膰 z Konstytucj膮 tych przepis贸w w dw贸ch kwestiach.

Po pierwsze – je偶eli chodzi o zgodno艣膰 z art. 54, kt贸ry m贸wi o wolno艣ci g艂oszenia swoich pogl膮d贸w, w tym oczywi艣cie chodzi tu przede wszystkim o wolno艣膰 s艂owa. Czy wolno艣膰 s艂owa nie jest przez te przepisy w spos贸b nieuprawniony ograniczona? To jest pierwsza rzecz. I druga: by zbada艂 kwesti臋 tzw. okre艣lono艣ci przepis贸w prawa.

To s膮, prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, przepisy o charakterze prawnokarnym. One maj膮 w zwi膮zku z tym jakby szczeg贸lny walor – na ich podstawie s膮d mo偶e dokona膰 skazania. Musz膮 wi臋c to by膰 przepisy precyzyjne. Ka偶dy obywatel zas艂uguje na to, by – przeczytawszy przepis – by艂 w stanie zidentyfikowa膰, jakie jego zachowania w zwi膮zku z tym mog膮 by膰 zachowaniami karalnymi, a jakie nie. Chcia艂bym, 偶eby Trybuna艂 Konstytucyjny wypowiedzia艂 si臋, czy pod tym wzgl臋dem te przepisy s膮 zgodne z art. 2 w zwi膮zku z art. 42 Konstytucji Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, i taki wniosek do Trybuna艂u Konstytucyjnego – jako Prezydent – skieruj臋.

Prosz臋 Pa艅stwa, powtarzam jeszcze raz: zdecydowa艂em si臋 podpisa膰 ustaw臋, ale jednocze艣nie zdecydowa艂em si臋 w tzw. trybie nast臋pczym – jako Prezydent Rzeczypospolitej, korzystaj膮c z prezydenckiej prerogatywy – skierowa膰 ustaw臋 do Trybuna艂u Konstytucyjnego celem zbadania zgodno艣ci art. 55a z Konstytucj膮. Taka jest moja decyzja.

My艣l臋, 偶e jest to takie rozwi膮zanie, kt贸re z jednej strony zabezpiecza polskie interesy – powtarzam jeszcze raz: naszej godno艣ci, prawdy historycznej, tego, aby艣my byli w spos贸b sprawiedliwy oceniani na 艣wiecie i aby nas nie pomawiano jako pa艅stwa i jako narodu. Ale z drugiej strony – tak偶e uwzgl臋dniaj膮ca wra偶liwo艣膰 os贸b, dla kt贸rych kwestia pami臋ci historycznej, pami臋ci o Holokau艣cie jest niezwykle wa偶na, a przede wszystkim tych, kt贸rzy ocaleli i powinni 艣wiatu, p贸ki mog膮, m贸wi膰 o tym, jak pami臋taj膮 tamte czasy i co prze偶yli.


Polish President Announces decision to Sign the IPN Act (2) English text


Like everything else surrounding this disgracefully-prepared and badly-worded act, the translation of the President's announcement about it was hurried through and contains many mistakes (in red I have shown the most obvious places where in my opinion the text is wrongly translated). The yellow highlighting indicates bits I think are rather contentious.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018 Statement by the President of the Republic of Poland on the amendment of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance \

          Good afternoon, a very warm welcome to you!

As we all know, the adoption of the amendment of the Act on the Institute in the Polish Parliament has provoked an animated discussion, spanning not only the public and political circles in Poland but also the international fora, [affecting?] primarily the relations between Poland and Israel, but also the relations between Poles and Jews world-wide, and Polish-American relations. The amendment ushers in a new crime into the Polish legal system which consists in distortion of historical truth or an equivalent crime, tantamount to such a defamation. As I have just noted, this issue gives rise to an avid debate.

As it is always the case, the bill has been presented to me, as President of the Republic of Poland. As provided for by the Constitution, the President is the last stage in the legislative track in Poland, before the bill is published as an act of law. Therefore, it is incumbent on me, as President, to decide on the course that the bill will take further on.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not a recent act of law, something that would be recently presented: just one week ago or one month ago. More than a year ago, during my state visit to Israel, I was discussing its provisions and was enquired about them both during our political talks and by journalists. In this connection, one particular aspect featured importantly: an expectation was voiced that the act and its provisions should in no way impede artistic and scientific activities.

As you know, Ladies and Gentlemen, the final wording of Art.55a contains a clear and explicit exclusion of such activities related to artistic and scientific pursuits. By the same token, the expectation that was expressed by Jewish milieus, was taken on board by the legislator; by the MPs who were drafting the bill.

What is the significance of the proposed act? It touches on an issue that is extremely painful and very delicate. It has to do with World War 2, with martyrology, primarily of the Polish nation; it relates to what we, Poles, meaning “our ancestors, grandparents and great grandparents”, went through in the course of World War 2, how many of our relatives lost their lives in the aftermath of war, killed by German Nazis or by other invaders who attacked Poland. This is a question of great import for us.

Let us recall: almost 6 million of our citizens lost their lives in World War 2. I reiterate most emphatically “citizens of Poland” and among them, there were approximately 3 million Polish citizens of Jewish nationality. Indeed, it was the case: the German Nazi annihilation industry (sic) focused its efforts on the destruction of the Jewish nation, to exterminate people of Jewish nationality. Since Poland was the first country to be attacked: it was the place where World War 2 broke out, principally Poland as a country was under occupation almost from the outset of war. Let me remind you that Poland’s territories were practically torn apart: by Nazi Germany from the one side, and by the Soviet Union from the other, the latter assaulting Poland on September 17, 1939, and seizing part of our lands, on the strength of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

Bearing this in mind, and I must stress this point most emphatically, in geographical sense, the Polish state was virtually non-existent, there were Polish lands of which the Polish state had been once made up. The Polish government was formed in exile, we had a government in London, but there was no government as such operational in Poland, nor were there institutions of the Polish state. Instead, there was only the Polish Underground State, there was the Home Army, the structures which were in the making. What for? In order to fight for the restoration of Polish statehood, to defend Polish citizen best they could, to vigorously fight with Nazi Germany; to struggle to liberate Poland, to bring Poland back on the map of the world, so that we could live again in a free state, the way our forefathers (sic) had done from 1918 to 1939.

Ladies and Gentlemen, those years back then when Poland was under Nazi occupation, form one of the darkest chapters in our history. There is no doubt about it. It is true, undoubtedly, that on our soil, German Nazi built extermination camps, concentration camps, the best known and most infamous of them being Auschwitz-Birkenau, where we [here English text diverges from original] annually observe the Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. It is true that of all nations, people of Jewish nationality paid the highest toll of lives. As I have just noted: the German annihilation programme was primarily targeting people of Jewish nationality.

But at the same time, also millions of Poles perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau and in other concentration camps, perished during persecutions and put before firing squads in the streets of Polish cities, were killed standing up in arms against Germans in various partisan formations, finally were tortured into death in Pawiak and in other sites where Germans launched their annihilation industry (sic), also targeting the Polish nation, also targeting the ethnic Roma community; with whole numbers of Russians also being killed in concentration camps. But in total: millions of Poles lost their lives.

Those days have inflicted an immense pain on the Jewish nation, and on the contemporary state of Israel. There is probably no single Jewish family living in Europe back then that would not lose a relative or a friend. And, as you realize, it would also happen that out of the whole family, only one person would survive, all others being murdered. Therefore, for Jews this is a matter of great import, delicate and stirring. I, as a Pole, have also an experience of being raised among the stories of World War 2 and the days of annihilation. Death took its toll on my family as well: my grandfather’s brother was murdered by the Germans. And from my earliest childhood, as far as my memory can go back, the accounts of Jews murdered in the war were always told in my family, we all know their history.

As I was saying: this history is most painfully felt by the Jewish nation, by many people who nowadays live in Israel and who lost their nearest and dearest in World War 2. I have my utmost respect for this grief and this profound memory, and you will appreciate that forging good relations between Poland and Israel, between people of Jewish nationality and of Polish one respectively is something that I have at heart. We used to live here on this soil for one thousand years in a shared state, in the Commonwealth, which Jews called “Polin”, as it is beautifully documented in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. And this is a grand shared history that was most dramatically interrupted by Nazi Germany.

Against the backdrop of the amended act, voices were raised in Israel, in the United States and in other places suggesting that it might lead to the denial of historical truth, to its distortion, eventually making people liable for telling the truth, and this under the pretences they have distorted it.

Let me make it fully clear: in my view, Article 55a, and its initial part in particular, does not give rise to such doings. It provides clearly that only a person who publicly and in defiance of facts will profess certain views will be punishable by criminal law.

Given that there have been and there still persist doubts, I myself, as President, I am inclined to clear them out and to have them resolved [*]. This is, I believe, something that ought to be done out of respect for the memory and sensitivities of those bereaved. Also, out of respect for the feelings of the Survivors, whose accounts make up a momentous reminder to the entire world: so that this unspeakable drama and unprecedented cruelty, as exemplified by the Holocaust, and the annihilation of Jews, and of other nations, should never recur.

To make sure it does not happen again, we must remember and talk about that experience. It must be alive not only in the memory of Poles and Jews but also in the memory of the world. And to make this experience alive, testimonies of the Survivors are essential, the people who were eye-witnesses of those events, who stand as great witnesses of history. Thank God, many of them are still alive, are among us and they can give their testimonies. What is important: it is not my intention to provoke any doubts as to whether one can give freely one’s testimony, without fearing criminal liability in Poland, under Polish law.

At the same time, it is for me also essential to make sure that we as Poles, as the Polish state and the Polish nation should not be defamed and charged with complicity in the Holocaust. In the first place, some people say, much to my regret and grief, shared by most of the Polish people, that the Poles as a nation had their hand in the Holocaust, and in a systematic institutionalised way. Nothing of that kind! The historic truth is that there was no systematic institutionalised participation among Poles. This is something we know fully well.

Back then there was no Poland, the institutions of the Polish state were non-existent, therefore they could not possibly collude. As I have just noted: there was the Polish Underground State, there was the Home Army, the underground army, which was not only not complicit in the Holocaust but did all it could to prevent it. The Council to Aid Jews, „呕egota” was formed at the level of the Delegation for Poland to assist Polish citizens of Jewish nationality to escape annihilation.

These are proud and grand chapters written by personages such as Zofia Kossak-Szczucka and Irena Sendler who worked to rescue Jewish children. Also, by Jan Karski who was entrusted with a great mission to document and report to the Allies on the situation in Poland, and primarily on the extermination of Jews, the mission which was formulated by the Polish Government in Exile. And also, the daring mission of Rittmeister Pilecki sent to Auschwitz [here English text diverges from original], at the risk of his own life, who voluntarily got there to the extermination camp to gather evidence about what was going on there and to report on them to the Government in Exile and to the Allied Governments.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is precisely the institutional side of it. Looking from that angle, one can say that the reverse is true: not only Poland and Poles were not complicit in extermination effort; institutionally we were opposing it, trying to help and to save our fellow citizens of Jewish nationality. These are historical facts, Ladies and Gentlemen.

On an individual, personal level, as you know, admittedly, there were ups and downs. Of all nations in the world, we can claim the highest number of Righteous Among the Nations. Polish citizens, Poles, have the biggest number of trees planted in the Yad Vashem Institute to commemorate their aid to Jews. And it was precisely Poland, equally occupied lands and the General Government, where assisting Jews was punishable with death penalty.  [here English text diverges from original] Mind you, such penalty was not provided for by Germans in other countries: the Netherlands, France or other lands under German occupation. It was instituted in Poland. 

Whoever aided people of Jewish nationality in Poland, was under death threat, and his or her family likewise. You know perfectly well that such penalties were enforced. The best documented and best-known instance of such an ordeal was the death of the Ulma family. The Ulma couple together with their children were slaughtered for offering shelter to their Jewish neighbours. You will appreciate that there were many similar cases all across occupied Poland.

Obviously, undeniably, there were also instances of gross baseness. There were shmaltzovniks, there was also fear. Next to baseness, where people were surrendered only to please the Germans and even to be awarded with some material benefit, there were simply instances of fear: lest Germans come, find Jews in the hiding and exterminate the whole family. None of us today, and especially none of the younger ones can possibly fathom it, imagine what it is like and what it means to fear for one’s life, when also your own family can be murdered any time.

But I wish to make this point again: there was no systematic complicity: either on the part of the Polish state, the state which was non-existent them, or on the part of any Polish institutions, in the German annihilation industry. There was no institutional collaboration between Poland and Germany. In many countries, there were government colluding with Nazi, in many countries German instituted puppet governments but this was not the case with Poland. Poland fought with Germany.

That being said, Ladies and Gentlemen, given the gravity of the case, given how painfully it features in the annals of our shared history, given how much discussion it has recently provoked, often stormy discussion imbued with greatest emotional reactions, we must understand that it stirs up a lot of emotions and will be stirring them. And it is good. The point in remembering that experience is to be moved, so that we can never see such situation again, so that we are alert to all instances of hatred, be it on ethnic or national grounds, the hatred which leads to the Holocaust. For it was hatred that brought the Holocaust about.

That is why I keep saying: there can be no room for any spark of hate, ill-will among nationalities, among ethnic groups, in Poland. And I insist on being extremely sensitive on this point [here English text diverges from original]. Condoning any manifestations of hatred on racial grounds in Poland, and anti-Semitism in particular, is out of question. We know all of us what anti-Semitism has led to and we all know it cannot recur, never in history.

Ladies and Gentlemen, also good name of Poland and of Polish people needs to be protected. This is a question of our sensitivity [here Polish text is unclear, English does not reflect its meaning]. For we also have the right to our own sensitivity. We also have the right to historic truth. And we also have the right to be judged based on facts and in truth.

That is why, as President of the Republic of Poland, I have taken the following decision, having viewed the existing situation and the provisions in question. I have made my decision to sign the bill into law. Therefore, provisions of Article 55a shall enter into force. But concurrently, and this is for me a point of particular sensitivity [here English text diverges from original], bearing in mind the voices of defiance [here English text diverges from original] and objections, suggesting that it would no longer be possible to speak out the truth, suggesting that the Survivors would be now silenced, I decided to send this act of law to the Constitutional Tribunal in order to have the conformity of the two provisions examined by the Tribunal [here English text diverges from original, the 'the' in redundant and misleading]:

In the first place, regarding Article 54 which provides about freedom to profess one’s own views, something that has obvious bearing on freedom of speech. Is freedom of speech not unduly limited by the provision in question. And this is the first point. The second is for the Tribunal to examine the so-called specificity of the provisions.

The provisions entailed relate to criminal law. Therefore, they have a particular strength: on their basis, a court may pass a sentence. Therefore, such provisions must be specific. Each citizen deserves this clarity: having read a provision, one must be able to make out which kind of behaviour may be punishable, and which not. I would like the Constitutional Tribunal to rule whether the above provisions are line with Article 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, and as President, I shall apply to the Constitutional Tribunal for such a ruling.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me reiterate: I have decided to sign this bill into law but at the same time, thereupon, exercising the powers of President, I have decided to send it to the Constitutional Tribunal to have Article 55a examined in terms of its conformity with the Constitution. This is my decision.[**]

On the one hand, this measure will safeguard our Polish interests, and by that I have in mind securing our dignity, historic truth, so that we are judged in a fair manner worldwide, so that we are not slandered as a state and as a nation. But on the other hand, this measure will take on board as far as I can go back with my memory  [here English text totally diverges from original- this fragment of text is not in the original!!]  the sensitivity of the people for whom historic memory and the memory of the Holocaust is of vital importance, primarily the Survivors who should be able to relate to the world, as long as they can, what are their memories of those days and what they went through.[***]
[*] Polish: jestem sk艂onny si臋 przychyli膰 do tego, 偶e te w膮tpliwo艣ci powinny zosta膰 wyja艣nione, rozstrzygni臋te". the time to do that is before it is passed. The law as it is written makes no mention of any additional protocols defining the concepts used and the application of its vague phrasing. This passage looks as if it comes rfrom an earlier version of this statement in which the President announces why he will not sign it, but send it for further consultation.
[**] The President swears to uphold the Constitution. He has signed an act into law without knowing whether it is in line with the Constitution or not.
[***] but not how they interpret them?