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.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Holocaust, Poland

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam