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

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