Bauer: Poles’ Shoah law is antisemitic
Professor Yehuda Bauer is the doyen of Holocaust historians and arguably the greatest living Jewish historian. When he speaks, the world takes notice.
Little attention has been paid to date to a plan by the Polish government to criminalise anyone who accuses Poles of participating in the crimes committed by the Germans in Poland during the Holocaust.
In this piece, written exclusively for the JC with his colleague Professor Havi Dreifuss, he attacks the legislation as “a return to Bolshevik methods of suppressing freedom of thought”.
Devastatingly, the authors argue that the move is driven by a “deep-seated antagonism on the part of important segments of Polish society towards the Jews”.
Prof Bauer’s intervention is of fundamental importance and should awaken the world to what is about to happen in Poland. Stephen Pollard, JC editor
THE CURRENT Polish government, led by the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), is about to pass a legal amendment that threatens to prosecute anyone in the world who accuses Poles or the Polish nation of participating — even partly — in the crimes committed by Germans on occupied Polish soil during the Holocaust.
Such a person, who, according to the amendment, will contradict “facts”, will face three years in prison. The new law includes a paragraph exempting “a perpetrator” committing the act “within the framework of his or her artistic or scientific activity”.
Yet, the “exemption” of academics is hardly watertight, not only because “truthful facts” will be determined by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a government institution; nor because of the very thin line between academics, educators, journalists and others.
The “exemption” was far from
THERE WERE cheers from the packed public seating at Barnet Town Hall on Wednesday night as Barnet’s planning committee gave the green light for an enlarged Hasmonean High School.
By the narrowest of margins, six votes to five, the committee overturned the recommendation of its planning officers to reject the proposal, primarily on Green Belt considerations.
Councillor Melvin Cohen, chair of the planning committee and a Hasmonean old boy, said “an exceptional case has been made to override the Green Belt consideration”. Councillor Wendy Prentice, the committee vice-chair, had argued that approving the plans would set a dangerous precedent.
In an impassioned address to the meeting, Hasmonean parent Anushka Levey said general facilities at the boys’ and girls’ sections were “woefully inadequate” and the proposal represented a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The plan will bring the two sections together on the Page Street, Mill Hill, site of the girls’ school, which will be expanded and redeveloped. Girls and boys will still be taught separately.
At present, the boys’ school is in Holders Hill Road, Hendon in premises first occupied in 1947. Originally intended for 350 pupils, it now accommodates 600. The buildings are in poor condition and there is no room for expansion. The girls’ premises also require modernisation. The split school additionally creates dropping-off and collection difficulties for parents with children in both sections.
An enlarged Hasmonean will also ease the pressure on secondary school places in London, allowing the school to increase its combined capacity from around 1,100 to 1,400.
Andrew McClusky, Hasmonean’s executive head, was “absolutely delighted” at the committee’s decision. It was essential for the school to expand and have new premises. “I am grateful to council committee members for appreciating the level of that need.”
The school will ease pressure on secondary places