Poland’s new law

Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES -

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

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