The nationalist offensive on the history of the Shoah

The controversial Museum of the Warsaw Ghetto has been created two years ago by Piotr Gliński, the Polish minister of Culture, a die-hard nationalist responsible for energetic campaigns against independently-minded intellectuals. Internationally, Gliński acquired certain notoriety by his brutal takeover of the highly-regarded Museum of WW II in Gdańsk, undermining years of hard work of eminent historians such as prof. Paweł Machcewicz and appointing instead loyal and obedient agents of the state such as dr. Grzegorz Berendt of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) issue. The Museum of the Warsaw Ghetto was to become – mused Gliński – “a museum of Polish-Jewish love” (I am not being facetious, this is a direct quote).

Well, according to the website of the “Museum of Polish-Jewish Love” , the positive and optimistic vision of the past espoused by the Minister is in process of becoming a reality. The Museum of Warsaw Ghetto’s website now features as its expert one dr. Tomasz Domański, an employee of the infamous IPN, better known for spearheading a brutal attack on the authors of “Night Without End”. The two -volume study published in 2018 (full disclosure – of which I am co-author and co-editor) became a focal point of intense hate campaign led by the state-owned Polish TV, radio, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, most of all, by the IPN. Domański, a junior historian with no relevant publications to his credit, produced a 70-page long attack on our study.

In reality, Domański’s text has been compiled from various other texts produced by a commando of several employees of the IPN detached by their superiors to “counter the threat”. Domański’s attack, which testified not only to his bad will and ignorance, but also to basic lack of comprehension of the history of the Shoah, has been circulated widely by the IPN and by other agencies of the Polish state. Domański’s libelous drivel would have landed him in court – had Poland been a normal country. Poland, however, is no longer a normal country for independent scholars of the Holocaust. Presenting dr. Domanski, the Museum of Warsaw Ghetto stresses his major contribution to the history of the Shoah – namely, his attack upon the independent scholars of the Holocaust. The Museum of Polish-Jewish Love, also known as the Museum of Warsaw Ghetto, is no longer a normal museum – with the arrival of dr. Domański as its “expert”, it has become a part of the nationalist offensive on the history of the Shoah.

Prof. Jan Grabowski