Guilty or Innocent?: Poland's Relationship with Jews and the Holocaust

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Raulston, Sela Elizabeth
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Middle Tennessee State University
The Amendment to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance was passed in 2018 by Polish President Andrzej Duda and the Polish Parliament. Through this law, the Polish government controls the historical narrative of the Holocaust. While Poland attempts to be seen as a victim of Nazi and Soviet rule, it is clear that the nation is not a victim, but instead a perpetrator of crimes against its Jewish population. The slew of pogroms during and after the Holocaust are some of the most evident ways that Poland attacked its Jewish community and continued to be complicit in antisemitism. The lawsuit against scholars, Barbara Engelking and Jan Grabowski prove that the “Holocaust law” in Poland has become one that targets Holocaust scholarship because it adds to the narrative that Poland is pressing about the Holocaust. Antisemitism in Poland stems back many years. Once Poland gained independence after WWI, the allies forced a signature of Poland on the ‘Polish Minority Treaty’. This treaty stated that Poland will give equal rights to its minorities and that they shall not be discriminated against. However, this treaty was broken. The goal of the Institute of National Remembrance is to erase Polish complicity, so that they are not found guilty of breaking this treaty. Overall, the law eradicates the problematic antisemitic actions of Polish citizens and those of Polish nationality during the Holocaust. The importance of understanding this law is vital to historical narrative. The larger consequences of this law consist of legal action and antisemitic and xenophobic crimes. Such as the lawsuit against Engelking and Grabowski and the growing hate crime statistics of antisemitic and xenophobic crimes in Poland.
History, Holocaust studies, Judaic studies