Reaction of the IPN to a feature in “The Washington Times”

The article Why Poland’s new Holocaust law is a mockery is a manifestation of a false narrative about Polish history – full of misrepresentations, concealments and untrue statements.

The Republic of Poland was the first state in the world to mount armed resistance against the German Reich and the tyranny of Adolf Hitler. The overwhelming majority of the Polish society displayed solidarity with the stance of the Polish authorities, which in 1939 explicitly rejected the policy of concessions to the demands of Adolf Hitler, often accepted by other countries.

The Republic of Poland and its citizens of various nationalities, including Jews and Poles, fell victim to German crimes during World War II. The Germans carried out genocidal activities on an unprecedented scale on our land. Almost 6 million Polish citizens were killed during the Second World War (including 3 million Jews and Poles of Jewish origin).

There is not a single family in Poland on whom the tragic events of war have not  left an imprint. In almost every Polish town there are places of mass executions and graves of victims. For Poles, World War II is the most horrific experience in our history.

During the German occupation, the authorities of the Third Reich subjected Polish citizens to terror on an unprecedented scale. People of Polish nationality were regarded as an inferior race, exposed to persecutions, whereas the Jewish population was, in fact, deprived of any legal protection. The German Reich built a network of German concentration camps. The Germans murdered about one million Jews and over 70,000 Poles in KL Auschwitz – Birkenau alone. From the first days of the occupation, Germans carried out arrests and mass crimes against Polish scientists, intellectuals, artists,  state and local-government officials, freedom fighters and other citizens.

The Republic of Poland never capitulated to Germany. It never stopped fighting. Despite the occupation of Poland, the state, represented by the government in exile and the secret structures of the Polish Underground State in the country, remained an integral part of the Allied camp throughout the war. The Polish Underground State was supported by the overwhelming majority of society, and was a source of hope for regaining freedom. It was the Republic of Poland which alarmed the world about the Holocaust and German crimes. At the expense of enormous efforts, the Polish underground structures, as the only ones in Europe, organized a system of state-funded assistance to the persecuted Jewish population. For the Poles, any form of help offered to Jews was punished by death.

 Entire countries – such as France – collaborated and cooperated with the Germans in the crimes of the Holocaust. Poland was never part of such collaboration. The Republic of Poland never took part in German crimes.

The Germans found vile people in every occupied society. However, every Polish citizen who willingly participated in the crimes of the occupant or used the protection of the German Reich, following the imposed criminal (also anti-Jewish) German orders, was treated as a traitor by the Polish state. This also included the zealous officers of the so-called “navy blue” police (Polnische Polizei )created by the Germans. The Polish Underground State executed death sentences on such people, and others were warned against bearing absolute responsibility for such actions even after the war. The traitors constituted a marginal part of society – and their executions received social acceptance.

The disgraceful words on the allegedly enthusiastic support of the population for the extermination of Jews published in the Washington Times are not only contradictory to the facts, but also offend the memory of all victims of the German occupation and the Holocaust. They offend the memory of thousands of people involved in helping persecuted Jews. The traitors have never represented Polish society. The death penalty for any manifestation of help for Jewish people in hiding was introduced in Poland for a reason. There would have not been any need for the Germans to pass such a law in a country that would collectively support their criminal ideas.

The article falsifies the history of the Holocaust and the history of Poland.

The Institute of National Remembrance has been conducting research on the situation of the Jewish population in occupied Europe for years. It cooperates in this field with many partners. The effects these activities  are available for presentation at any time.


Image:, © IPN.