Appeal to the US citizens of Polish descent!

Last updated 2018-02-28

Poland has been the target of an unprecedented wave of slanderous attacks for months now.  The Polish people, already victimized by the events of WWII, have now been slandered as being complicit with Nazi Germany’s Holocaust. Such inaccurate and extremely offensive media reports about Poland are being completely misused for political purposes.  On February 1, 2018 the U.S. Congress Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism sent a letter to Polish President Andrzej Duda.  This letter urged him to reject legislation passed by the Polish Parliament which would criminalize references to Polish complicity in Nazi war crimes against Jews during the occupation of Poland. The letter sent by your U.S. Congressional representatives is based on fundamental misinterpretations of the anti-defamation bill and overall ignorance of historical truth.

We urge you to join us in our fight for historical justice by  sending a letter to the U.S. Congress Task Force on Combating Anti-Semitism. For a sample letter, please scroll down, copy the letter, modify it if you wish, sign it and then forward to the appropriate Congressional representative listed below*.  Please also follow up with a call to your representative and inform him/her about the misinterpretation of the proposed anti-defamation bill by the U.S. Congress Task Force on Combating Anti-Semitism!

Thank you very much for supporting this very important initiative.

* If you wish to send the letter by post please go to the House of Representatives website in order to find the mailing address of your representative.


    US Congress Task Force on Combating anti-Semitism
HR Representatives District Party Contact Phone Fax
Ted Deutch FL-22 D jason.attermann@mail.house.gov 202-225-3001 202-225-5974
casey.kustin@mail.house.gov
Kay Granger TX-12 R texas.granger@mail.house.gov 202-225-5071 202-225-5683
spencer.freebairn@mail.house.gov
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen FL-27 R mark.gage@mail.house.gov 202-225-3931 202-225-5620
Christopher H. Smith NJ R marisa.kovacs@mail.house.gov 202-225-3765 202-225-7768
Eliot L. Engel NY-16 D ned.michalek@mail.house.gov 202-225-2464 202-225-5513
dpmurray@mail.house.gov
Nita M. Lowey NY-17 D dana.miller@mail.house.gov 202-225-6506  202-225-0546
Peter Roskam IL-06 R akrejci@mail.house.gov 202-225-4561 202-225-1166
Mark Veasey TX-33 D nicole.varner@mail.house.gov 202-225-9897 202-225-9702

Letter to the U.S. Congress Task Force on Combating Anti-Semitism:

U.S. Congress Representatives:

Ted Deutch, D-FL                                                                                                                          Eliot L. Engel, D-NY

Kay Granger, R-TX                                                                                                                        Nita M. Lowey, D-NY

Ilena Ros-Lehtien, R-FL                                                                                                               Peter Roskan, R-IL

Christopher H. Smith, R-NJ                                                                                                       Marc Veasey, D-TX

February __, 2018

Dear Members of the Taskforce on Combating Anti-Semitism:

As Unites States citizens of Polish descent, we are alarmed by your protest against the Polish law which would punish those who falsely ascribe to Poland the responsibility for crimes committed during WWII by the Nazi German Third Reich.  Such an accusation is contrary to all historical facts. We are shocked by your attempt to accuse Poland of “complicity” in war crimes committed by Germany against the Jewish people. We consider any attempt to charge Poland with complicity in the Jewish Holocaust as an attempt to diminish German responsibility, which erroneously promotes a serious distortion of the truth regarding the Holocaust. We also view your action as a denial of the German genocide committed on ethnic Poles during WWII.  In light of the legislation on Jewish Holocaust-era restitution claims now pending in the U.S. Congress, we consider such “complicity” allegations against Poland as a politically motivated tool to extort substantial restitution payments from Poland.

The Polish bill is neither Holocaust denial nor a threat to academic freedom. Academic research and expressions of art are explicitly exempted by the IPN Law. The bill has been under consultation with representatives of the Jewish community for more than a year, and all issues raised have been appropriately addressed. Your statement that this legislation could have “a chilling effect on dialogue, scholarship, and accountability in Poland about the Holocaust” is baseless and truly counterproductive.

Free Speech

Rest assured, we greatly value free speech and open debate.  But we also value historical truth and are intensely aware of the fact that Poland, the nation having suffered the greatest losses in WWII, remains completely uncompensated for her losses to this day! The purpose of the IPN Law is to defend the truth about the German occupation of Poland because the “admirable” Holocaust scholarship, education and dialogue that you advocate so strongly has been a complete failure.  Thus, your allegation that the IPN Law prohibits seeking the truth about the Holocaust constitutes a material misrepresentation of historical facts.

We are deeply disappointed that for the decades you have failed to react to such appalling falsehoods, including one such term systematically promoted in the West describing “Polish” concentration camps.  In fact, such camps were built first and foremost to exterminate the Polish resistance to Nazi Germany’s illegal occupation of Poland.  According to the Judgment at the  Nuremberg Tribunal, one of the most notorious means of terrorizing people in Nazi-occupied territories was through the horrific use of concentration camps.  In their administration of the occupied territories, these concentration camps were used to eliminate all opposition groups. The murder and abuse of civilian populations reached its height with the mistreatment of citizens of both the Soviet Union and Poland. Because resistance to German occupation was  strongest in Poland, ethnic Poles unfortunately became the primary victims of the German concentration camps during the first phase of the War.  Hundreds of thousands of Poles were killed in the camps along with the Jews.  Nearly 100,000 innocent people perished in Auschwitz alone.

Furthermore, you have not questioned nor objected to the replacement of the term “Germans” with the term “Nazis” by Holocaust scholars. The use of the term “Nazis” effectively eliminates Germany from the Holocaust vocabulary, thereby diminishing the historical guilt of Germans as the true authors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. This terminology is intentionally used to divert blame for Holocaust crimes from Germans to others such as the Poles.  Such an insulting and disturbing distortion of the truth demonstrates yet another despicable manipulation of WWII history.

We consider all attempts to ascribe to Poland crimes committed by her German oppressors as an immoral attempt to obfuscate and diminish the responsibility for the establishment of concentration and death camps devised and operated by Nazi Germany.  This ultimately shifts the blame for such crimes to other nations or ethnic groups, including the first victims of these death camps. The above-referenced acts and inaction on your part constitute nothing less than Holocaust denial and Holocaust distortion in its purest form in accordance with Article 5 of the working definition of Holocaust Denial adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Complicity

Your statement that we must acknowledge the numerous documented instances of Poles aiding the Nazis in the murder of innocent Jews is not only deeply offensive to the most victimized country of Nazi Germany but is viewed by Polish-Americans as a political tool to pressure Poland to pay an exorbitant amount of money to Jewish organizations as moral compensation for heirless property.  This is a newly invented concept contrary to Western legal tradition and the laws of the United States and all European countries. According to the Israeli War Crimes Commission, less than 0.1% of Poles (many of them Polish Germans) collaborated with Nazi Germany.  This means 99.9% did not!

Before you acknowledge instances of Poles aiding the Nazis, we ask that you first acknowledge and fully disclose all instances of Jews like Abraham Gancwajch who supported  the Nazis by murdering many innocent Jews. You should then advocate for the release of suppressed research, scholarship, and dialogue regarding all instances of Jews murdering innocent Poles.

Second, do not disregard  the well-established Law of War, which clearly states that the occupying power is responsible for assuring safety of the civilian population on conquered territory.

Third, use unbiased scholarship to study all rules, regulations, orders and practices that the German occupying power established in occupied Poland to control and exploit the conquered population. Only after drawing conclusions from such unbiased comparative analysis of the mechanisms implemented by Nazi Germany in various occupied countries would you then have the moral right to even discuss complicity of the Polish people with the murder of innocent Jews.

Fourth, use the “admirable” Holocaust scholarship talent to show to the world in a professional, unbiased manner the scale and forms of Polish resistance to the German occupation, Polish contributions to saving the Jews (including the price they paid for it), Polish international efforts to help the Jews, the American response to the Polish call for such help, Polish contributions to the Allied war effort, and the payback Poland received for such heroic deeds.

Inherent Bias

In your letter you present “admirable” scholarship of the Jewish History Museum by grossly underestimating Polish losses while overestimating Jewish losses by stating that the “murder of almost 2 million non-Jews and 3 million of Jewish Poles.” Such a statement completely  ignores the findings of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance that estimates the losses for ethnic Poles of at least  2.7 million people, without even counting the 100,000 Polish victims of the Wolyn genocide, and Polish Jews at 2.7-2.9 million. It is also contrary to the less admirable scholarship presented by the California Model Curriculum for Human Rights and Genocide that provides the WWII losses on ethnic Poles due to German genocidal activity to be at 3 million people.

We are alarmed at the obvious bias presented in your January 31, 2018 letter to Polish President Andrzej Duda and dismayed at the ease with which the Taskforce on Combating Anti-Semitism in the U.S. Congress uses its power to blackmail Poland for her honorable effort to stop the flagrant and morally repugnant falsification of WWII history.

Your unjustified attack on Poland, historically and currently the closest ally of the United States in the European Union, is detrimental to the interests of the United States of America

Sincerely yours,

____________________

[1] Judgment, International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, Avalon.law.yale.edu.

[2] IHRA’s 31 member countries adopted the “Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion” at IHRA’s Plenary meeting in Toronto on 10 October 2013. See the definition here: https://chrissmith.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=400888

[3] Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907; http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hague04.asp

[4] IPN: Polska poniosła największe straty osobowe w II wojnie światowej, https://wiadomosci.onet.pl/kraj/ipn-polska-poniosla-najwieksze-straty-osobowe-w-ii-wojnie-swiatowej/n3193

[5] The California Model Curriculum for Human Rights and Genocide approved by the State Board of Education is available here: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/im/documents/modelcurrichrgenoc.pdf