It’s possible that Polish President Andrzej Duda is not be an anti-Semite.
But he sure is doing everything he can to make everybody think he is.
The United States and Israel objected to Duda signing a controversial Holocaust bill into law, but he did it, anyway.
What was controversial about it?
Essentially, it allows for the jailing of anybody who suggests Poland had anything to do with Nazi War Crimes committed during World War II.
There were literally concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. But apparently completely whitewashing history is somehow ok to Duda and many others in the Polish government.
Except it is not ok. Not for the many victims who suffered or were killed during that time and not for those who wish to know what really happened.
Poland in general has seen a rise in Anti-Semitism and it goes beyond isolated bigotry. Beate Mazurek, a spokesperson for Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, even went so far as to quote a tweet by a Catholic priest exclaiming that criticism of the law by Israel’s ambassador to Poland would “make it hard for me to look at Jews with sympathy and kindness.”
Likewise, it is possible that Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki is not an anti-Semite.
But he, too, is doing everything he can to make everybody think he is.
Morawiecki claimed that some of the perpetrators during the Holocaust were Jewish. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered that Morawiecki’s claim was outrageous.
Netanyahu is not generally one for understating things, but I’d say this is an exception. Those comments were more than outrageous.
They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The saying “Never again” refers to that fact — because the only way to stop something like the Holocaust from ever happening again is to teach the truth about it — no matter how uncomfortable — and consistently remind people just how evil it truly was.
Poland wants to pretend like its role in it never happened. And apparently, they want to lump Jewish people in as perpetrators with the Nazis who carried out the murders of over six million Jewish people.
I’m sorry, but it does not work that way.
Just as the United States must grapple with all of its historical flaws — from slavery to women being denied the right to vote — so, too, must Poland face its demons from the past.
The Holocaust happened. Polish concentration camps were real. And any suggestion to the contrary is just an wicked lie.
People need to know the truth so they can learn from it and avoid ever taking part in something like it ever again. Sometimes a little shame goes a long way. Sometimes a lot of shame goes even farther. But the truth is the truth, no matter how hard that can be for some people to accept. And denying the truth when it comes to something as horrifying as the Holocaust isn’t just childish, it is dangerous. I hope Poland understands that and reverses course on this path they are on before they give even more fuel to the rising Anti-Semitic tide in their country.