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Poland’s Crime Against History

Poland's government wants to criminalize any reference to Poles' role in the Holocaust. But if Poles seek to gloss over or deny problematic aspects of their history, even those who identify with their pain must raise questions that until now been largely overlooked.

JERUSALEM – My parents and I arrived in Tel Aviv a few months before World War II began. The rest of our extended family – three of my grandparents, my mother’s seven siblings, and my five cousins – remained in Poland. They were all murdered in the Holocaust.

I have visited Poland many times, always accompanied by the presence of the Jewish absence. Books and articles of mine have been translated into Polish. I have lectured at the University of Warsaw and Krakow’s Jagiellonian University. I was recently elected an external member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. Though my knowledge of the Polish language is scant, the country’s history and culture are not foreign to me.

For these reasons, I recognize why Poland’s government recently introduced legislation on historical matters. But I am also furious.

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