A new video, “I will go to jail,” has just been released that assails Poland for perpetrating a “Polish Holocaust” against the Jewish people during the Second World War.
It comes in the aftermath of the controversy triggered by legislation adopted by the Polish Parliament and signed by President Duda, criminalizing any attempt to ascribe blame for complicity in the Holocaust to the Polish nation or state.
“We have made abundantly clear our opposition to the new legislation,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who has been involved in Polish-Jewish relations for decades. “That said, this video, which I just viewed, is deeply troubling and misguided. Whatever its intentions, it only makes a bad situation worse by sweepingly and inaccurately accusing Poland of waging a ‘Holocaust’ against the Jewish people during the war, and calling on the United States to suspend diplomatic ties with the Central European nation and NATO ally.”
“Let’s be both clear and clear-headed,” Harris, the son of survivors, continued. “There was a Holocaust. It was conceived, operationalized, and led by Nazi Germany. It was the Third Reich that formulated the plans for the Final Solution. None of that is evident in this video. Yes, there absolutely were other Europeans, including Poles, who, for a variety of reasons, from hatred of Jews to opportunism and greed, committed crimes against the Jewish people. But there were also others, including Poles, who sought to rescue Jews and alert the world to the unfolding Nazi plan.”
“In other words,” Harris concluded, “the history is complex and multi-layered. Regrettably, the video is not. It will only serve to pour oil on a dangerous fire, which should be the last thing any of us committed to finding a solution and moving forward ought to want.”
AJC opened a Central Europe office, headquartered in Warsaw, last year as an expression of the organization’s commitment since the 1980s to strengthen ties and build greater understanding among the nations of the region, the United States, Israel, and the Jewish people. Agnieszka Markiewicz is director of AJC Central Europe.