Poland’s new law
I agree with the sentiments expressed by Yael Antebi (“Jerusalem deputy mayor calls for cancellation of student trips to Poland,” February 8). But like so many other political statements, her thoughts lack strategy.
What the government should be asked to do is suspend all student visits to Poland until such time as the Polish government cancels the legislation whitewashing the country from complicity in the Holocaust. This would enable the Israeli government (and Jewish organizations throughout the world) to keep the matter under review and remind the Polish government publicly of its moral responsibility as an accessory to the atrocities, even if the Poles were under German occupation at the time.
I visited Auschwitz and other areas where atrocities were carried out. Some of the most moving experiences we had were our visits to various forest sites where children had been gathered together and massacred. The Nazis needed considerable help from the local Polish communities to carry out their foul deeds! SIDNEY HASS Jerusalem
The Polish government’s law banning the designation of death camps located in Poland as “Polish death camps” has caused a great deal of anger in Israel and the United States, especially among Holocaust survivors.
Granted, there was and still is a great deal of antisemitism in Poland; just ask Jews who experienced it first-hand. However, there were also good people who risked their lives to save Jewish neighbors. We should ask ourselves whether we would have done what these wonderful people did.
Admittedly, those who survived the horrors of Auschwitz are right to be angry, as they interpret the Polish law as denying history and the worst human catastrophe in memory. Perhaps the Polish government should make it clearer that this is not the case. Perhaps a change of the designation of the death camps to “Nazi German death camps in Poland” would be enough to make the law unnecessary. RACHEL KAPEN West Bloomfield, Michigan
My mother, Eva Halperin Brotman, born in Poland, survived Treblinka (yes, Treblinka), Majdanek, Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Travniki, all of them camps in Poland. She ended up in Theresienstadt at the time of her liberation.
She went back to Poland to search for family remnants and went to the rabbi in Kielce, a family friend. She joined a food line, where she saw a Pole looking at her with fire in his eyes. And then he spoke: “They said they killed them all, and here they are, the Jews like mushrooms after the rain.”
My mother went back to the rabbi’s house, got her knapsack and told the family she was leaving Poland forever. The Kielce Pogrom was three days later. My mother kept her promise. NANCY JACOB Jerusalem