On the Polish Holocaust law debate

Eurozine-Liebich-AuschwitzAndré Liebich at Eurozine:

Until now, puncturing the belief in Polish innocence has been the work of academics, often located abroad, such as Jan Gross, a Princeton professor and former Polish dissident, and Jan Grabowski, a sometime specialist on native Americans now at the University of Ottawa, who has written about betrayal of the Jews by ethnic Poles during the War in selected areas of Poland. A narrow segment of the Polish intelligentsia is also experiencing pangs of conscience over the revelations of past Polish misdeeds, particularly since the publication of Gross’s book on the pogrom in the village of Jedwabne in 1941, almost two decades ago. This fraction of the intelligentsia is, in any case, not the electorate on which the governing party depends.

Loss of support from its main ally, the United States, is, however, a major source of concern. Poland relies upon Washington to shield itself from pressure from the European Union to which it belongs, and it founds much of its international legitimacy upon American approval of its policies. The Polish government’s efforts to curb international indignation – indignation commended by Nazi hunters as proper but selective given the woeful record of Holocaust revisionism in other post-Soviet countries – have been clumsy and unsuccessful. Most recently, Jarosław Kaczyński praised Israel and sought to condemn antisemitism, but blamed its recent upsurge on the enemies of Poland, ‘one can even say the devil’.

more here.