Poland’s War on History Takes an Alarming New Turn with the Police Questioning of a Jewish Journalist

Feb. 12 2021

In Poland, local Gentiles’ collaboration with the Third Reich in the persecution of the Jews remains a highly sensitive subject as it disturbs a narrative—itself grounded in undeniable realities—of Poles’ terrible oppression by the Nazi and Soviet regimes during World War II. The desire to suppress the former story to promote the latter—particularly pronounced on the Polish political right, which has been in power for several years running—has once again led to controversy, as Ben Cohen writes:

[The] facts have been stretched and twisted by the government and its supporters to determine that Poland underwent the very same Holocaust that was inflicted upon the Jews. And since 2018, any historian who asserts “publicly” that “the Polish Nation or the Republic of Poland is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich” can become the subject of a civil lawsuit.

Two prominent Polish historians were subject to just such a lawsuit, which resulted in a judge ruling on Tuesday that they apologize for “tarnishing the memory” of a Polish villager in their recent book—while exempting them from a fine. But Cohen notes “an even more sinister development.”

[O]n Wednesday of last week, the editor of the website Jewish.pl—an indispensable source of news and features about Jewish life in Poland—was called in for questioning by police in her hometown to answer for an article she wrote last year about the Holocaust. An anonymous complaint to the public prosecutor against the journalist . . . accused her of violating Article 133 of the Polish constitution in her piece. That article states: “Whoever publicly insults the Nation or the Republic of Poland shall be subject to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to three years.”

We may be coming to a point where further discussion and debate with the Polish authorities becomes fruitless, and that will pose an uncomfortable challenge to the custodians of Holocaust memory. Poland was the epicenter of the Holocaust, and it’s impossible to imagine the process of memorialization without it—the land where the Germans [built] mass extermination camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka, and where Jewish resistance fighters in 1943 staged a historic armed uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Read more at JNS

More about: Holocaust, Poland


How the U.S. Is Financing Bashar al-Assad

Due to a long history of supporting terrorism and having waged a brutal and devastating war on its own people, the Syrian regime is subject to numerous U.S. sanctions. But that doesn’t stop American tax dollars from going to President Bashar al-Assad and his cronies, via the United Nations. David Adesnik explains:

UN agencies have spent $95.5 million over the past eight years to house their staff at the Four Seasons Damascus, including $14.2 million last year. New Yorkers know good hotel rooms don’t come cheap, but the real problem in Damascus is that the Four Seasons’ owners are the Assad regime itself and one of the war profiteers who manages the regime’s finances.

The hotel would likely go under if not for UN business; Damascus is not a tourist destination these days. The UN claims keeping its staff at the Four Seasons is about keeping them safe. Yet there has been little fighting in Damascus since 2017. A former UN diplomat with experience in the Syrian capital told me the regime tells UN agencies it can only guarantee the safety of their staff if they stay at the Four Seasons.

What makes the Four Seasons debacle especially galling is that it’s been public knowledge for seven years, and the UN has done nothing about it—or the many other ways the regime siphons off aid for its own benefit. One of the most lucrative is manipulating exchange rates. . . . One of Washington’s top experts on humanitarian aid crunched the numbers and concluded the UN lost $100 million over eighteen months to this kind of rate-fixing.

What the United States and its allies should do is make clear to the UN they will turn off the spigot if the body doesn’t get its act together.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Bashar al-Assad, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations