Political talk from outside of the UK
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By Timbo
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As some of you might be aware, the current nationalist government of Poland (Law & Justice Party / PiS) have passed a law which "criminalizes public statements that falsely ascribe, to the Polish nation, collective complicity in Holocaust-related or other war crimes or which "grossly reduce the responsibility of the actual German perpetrators". They've specifically banned use of the phrase "Polish Death Camps" and a few permutations thereof.

To back this up, they're now running a social media campaign in English:

This obviously raises a few issues. Firstly, as far as I'm aware even the nuttiest holocaust denier isn't saying there was a holocaust perpetrated by the Poles, so this seems like a demented over-reaction to geographically accurate-yet-vague use of English (in one notable instance, by Barack Obama). Second, Polish society is in enormous collective denial over quite how fascist the country was in the 30s before being invaded. I've tried discussing this with some Poles, and the minute you talk about Jozef Beck's plan to forcibly expel their Jewish population (who were already banned from many professions, and held limited citizenship), they go into meltdown and say that anyone who mentions this is lapping up Hermann Göring's propaganda.

Worrying stuff, and I get the strong impression this is the beginning of a Putinesque slide for our Polish friends.
By Timbo
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Yes, I noticed that, too. A lot of the user-generated memes going round Twitter seem to be using the modern German flag. I just can't for the life of me figure out what purpose this absurdly manufactured outrage serves in the Anglosphere.
By The Red Arrow
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That's nationalism for you.

It's well-documented that the Nazis relied on collaboration. The arrests of the relatively few Jews in the Channel Islands were carried out by the local constabulary, for example. And contrary to popular belief, there weren't trench-coated Gestapo men (they undoubtedly existed) listening in on every street corner of the Reich*, the state relying instead on 'dobbers-in' reporting 'undesireables' to the authorities - usually by post. See the Beeb's 'The Nazis - A Warning From History' containing one such 'dobber' being caught bang to rights and blithely trying to change the subject to the weather.

On a personal bugbear front, which I'm sure I've mentioned before, there's the odious companion of collective denial in there - collective ownership. 'We did this'. No you didn't stand up to the Nazis - your parents and grandparents did. The English in particular are very good at this - claiming credit for everything from Agincourt to WWII as if they were actually there (see Rees-Mogg and Trafalgar for a recent example - maybe that's why this attempt to warp history has been aimed at the Angloshphere).

Of course, 'we' weren't collaborators or kapos - 'we' were brave resistance martyrs, Spitfire pilots or the takers of Monte Cassino (or what was left of it) after every other nation had failed.

Nazis existed. They had help. To deny that is to deny history.

*Interestingly, the British government employed 'gossip monitors' to guage the public mood
Malcolm Armsteen, Zuriblue, visage and 3 others liked this
By cycloon
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Well said, Red.

I find the Anglosphere advertising almost more interesting in this case. The pan-European attempts to disown any involvement with even anti-semitism, let alone participation in the Holocaust, is familiar: denial that certain people were complicit, denial or evasion of anti-semitic activity pre-war, denial of fascistic tendencies in certain governments, etc.

However, what is totally new, to me at least, is seeing English-language adverts from Poland, on totally unrelated websites, making the claim that these laws in effect defend historical truth. I have to wonder if it's an attempt to plug in to the culture wars in the Anglosphere. Quite how, I am unsure: alt-right will fringe into anti-semitic denialists, easily, I would have thought, so who is the target, whilst the left has its own problems with anti-semitism, but this isn't anti-semitic [directly, anyway], it's anti-German and anti-academic. 'Anti-globalist' bent? I dunno. It doesn't fit into these labels easily, and that's why it's interesting.
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By Kreuzberger
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I am pretty much of the mind that this is a deliberate dead cat designed to move the discussion away from the internal ructions caused by the politicisation of the judiciary and the proposed ban on abortion in Poland.

On a technical note, I am similarly convinced that the video is captioned in English simply so as to reach an international audience rather than the Anglosphere per se.
By Andy McDandy
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IIRC after the war the Soviets spent considerable energy propagating the "Nazis did it, you were all victims of them too" view across the Warsaw pact countries. As opposed to in western Germany where the de-nazification programme stressed the collective guilt of society.
By The Red Arrow
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The Poles had to wait until the late eighties for Gorby to admit to Katyn. There's no doubt that Poland was horrendously shat upon, but not all of the shitters were German. And let's not forget that having ostensibly gone to war on Poland's behalf, His Brittanic Majesty's Government did little other than disbar Poles from the victory parade once hostilities were concluded for fear of offending Stalin.

Dead cat or not, I feel that had the current Polish government let this one lie, there is enough goodwill towards the plucky Poles who did indeed fight and die at home and abroad to have countered any potential can of worms being opened by this blatantly anti German rhetoric. It's just needless.
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By The Red Arrow
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Mon 19 Feb 2018 18.26 GMT
The Guardian view on Holocaust responsibility: Poland cannot wholly escape blame
Germans planned the genocide and carried out most killings. But they had helpers and informants who should not be forgotten
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... P=soc_3156
By Timbo
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You know you've gone too far as a nation when Donald Trump thinks you're too oppressive and far-right:

https://www.politico.eu/article/polands ... caust-law/

Key points:
- Trump and Pence will not meet any senior Polish govt. officials while the law is in place
- If not reversed then Congress is likely to rescind recent funding to expand US and NATO military operations in Poland
- If any US citizen is charged under the law, the consequences for Poland will be 'dramatic'
By The Red Arrow
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It's getting more than a little ugly now. Official guides heckled at Auschwitz...really, Poland? Really?

Poland's Holocaust law triggers tide of abuse against Auschwitz museum

Staff say they have suffered a campaign of disinformation and hate from Polish nationalists
Officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum have described how they were subjected to a wave of “hate, fake news and manipulations” as a result of the controversy surrounding a contentious Holocaust speech law passed by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party earlier this year.

The campaign of disinformation and abuse at the hands of Polish nationalists has raised concerns about pressure being exerted on official guides at the site in southern Poland, after the home of one foreign guide was attacked and supporters of a convicted antisemite filmed themselves repeatedly hectoring their guide during a visit to the camp last month...
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/ ... itz-museum
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