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Friday, 9 February 2018

DO NOT USE "Polish Death Camps"!

Dearest sweethearts,

When the German Occupation hit Poland and the Nazis were searching for places to build their Death Camps they choose Poland, as Poland is the heart of Europe - dead Center on the map. Back when the occupation  started in 1939, the borders of Poland were very different than they are now and the closest city to the border with Germany was actually Krakow, a couple of hours away. When they looked upon what could be spared and what not, Polish government agreed that they should first allow the Nazi to take over Krakow, so the city and its inhabitants would be safe - not as much can be said about Warsaw, that put up a great fight and was torn to the ground approximately 90%, no stone being unturned. But Krakow manages to maintain its old time beauty, though it also faced horrible horrors in its wake. When the Nazis build Auschwitz - the most well known Death Camp of the Holocaust - they chose Oswiecim, a remote village, so they would do their horrible deeds without being watched. It was previously a Polish Army barracks but nowdays nobody mentions that anymore...
The purpose of the Nazis was to destroy Poland, enslave it's people and take the land - make Germany bigger and stronger in the process. They did not plan the same as they did in France or Norway where they created governments that would collaborate with the German one. By the end of the Second World War, 6 million Polish people have been murdered, including 3 million Jews (almost half of the Jews killed during the Holocaust). Tuesday, the president of Poland signed legislation making it a crime to suggest that Poland bore any responsibility for the atrocities committed by the Nazi Germany. This has infuriated certain historians and Israeli government. The law has 2 parts: 1) outlaws the phrase "Polish Death Camps" - even scholars agree the term is very misleading, considering the fact that the camps were build and controlled by Nazi Germany; 2) it is a crime - punishable by a fine or up to 3 years in prison - to accuse "the Polish nation" of complicity in the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities. 
Naftali Bennett, Israel's education minister, criticized the law: "The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it". Poland's government decided to cancel his planned visit on Monday. On another hand, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance Center in Jerusalem, formally recognised more than 6700 gentiles in Poland as "righteous among the nations" because they risked their lives to save the Jews - more so than ANY other country in Europe! The estimates suggest that up to 35000 Polish Jews may have been saved through their efforts. Last week the Center made an official statement saying that the term "Polish Death Camps" was without a doubt a historical misinterpretation, but they cannot agree with the Second part of the law, erasing all blame from Poland. 
I believe that the Polish state was not complicit to the horrors of the Holocaust, yet that many Polish people are to blame for the acts that they carried out. Each story has its light and dark side, it's heroes and it's foes. We do have righteous people who have saved many Jews, yet we also have Polish people that blowed covers, picked on Jewish people out of the darkness of their heart or simply by trying to protect their lives, family or their assets. They chose themselves over others, but whom are we to judge - would we have done the same, given the situation? You can't know for a fact, can't you?! #DidYouKnow that Poland was the only country where if you would have hidden a Jews and you would be found out, both the Jews, yourself and your family would be immediately executed? Also, Poland has sustained the heaviest losses during the Second World War with up to 17% of it's entire population vs. Russia - 14% and Germany - 10%. Not to mention Poland bring the only occupied country that had it's government immediately liquidated, it's army disbanded and schools and universities closed (their professors and "grey minds" being the first ones taken away and locked up/executed). 
If you will blame the individuals, the Polish people that acted against the Jews, than why would you not blame the Jews that acted against the Jews? You would then be implicitly blaming the Jewish community for the Holocaust. I know that sounds horrible and absurd, but is it not what people are doing when they say Poland is to blame? 
   
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Poland