February 14, 2018
News Press Release

ZOA Criticizes Poland Criminalizing Discussion of Its Own Complicity In the Holocaust

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the passage in the Polish Senate of a law which would criminalize those accusing the Polish nation or state of complicity in the Holocaust. The bill passed the Polish upper house by a vote of 57 to 23 with two abstentions and must be signed into law by the Polish President, Andrzej Duda, who has the power to veto the legislation (‘Jewish groups blast Polish Senate’s passing of Holocaust bill,’ Times of Israel, February 2, 2018).

 

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “Especially as a child of holocaust survivors born in a displaced persons camp in Germany whose mother was Polish, I and the ZOA condemns this piece of legislation that seeks to preclude entirely legitimate discussion in Poland on the extent and nature of Polish involvement in the Nazi genocide again the Jews.

 

“The ZOA believes that any legislation which precludes proper discussion of the history of the Nazi genocide is inherently wrong and would also prevent discussion in Poland of perfectly legitimate issues involving this, such as who did collaborate with the Nazi killing machine.

 

Poles need to understand both that the Polish nation resisted Hitler bravely and suffered bravely, while at the same time that many Poles assisted the Nazis war on the Jews. Both facts are true

“While we fully understand that the Polish nation suffered greatly at the hands of the Nazis and also fought the Nazis bravely, it is simply a matter of historic record that a great number of Poles were deeply anti-Semitic and that, as a result, many also collaborated with the Nazis in regard to the persecution and murder of European Jews.

 

“This record cannot be denied or swept under the carpet. Certainly, it cannot be ignored or discussion of it silenced by legislation simply because the Polish nation also suffered at the hands of Hitler.

 

“The history of the Nazi genocide as it was committed on Polish soil is a complex one. Poles need to understand both that the Polish nation resisted Hitler bravely and suffered bravely, while at the same time that many Poles assisted the Nazis war on the Jews. Both facts are true; both need to be remembered; both must be open to discussion and such discussion must be unrestricted by legislation.

 

“We call upon the Polish President to veto this ill-advised and poorly-conceived legislation.”