It is not know when they arrived at the areas of Poland. This issue is disputed by Polish and Jewish historians. Some of them say that it happened in 11th century, the others – that even earlier. It is certain that their legal situation was regulated by the so-called Kalisz statute, established in 1264 by Bolesław Pobożny and confirmed by Kazimierz Wielki in 1334. The fact is that they arrived in Poland in an escape from big pogroms and found here – as a lot of Jewish generations used to say – Paradisus Judaeorum.

In the former German Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, on 27 January 2018, the ambassador of Israel Anna Azari ‘did not say what she thought’ – as she said one day in one of radio stations. She had another prepared speech, but the prime minister of Israel Beniamin Netanjahu told her to change the text of her speech protesting against novelization of the act about the National Remembrance Institute the last minute. Azari said, among the others, that in Israel the act about the National Remembrance Institute is ‘treated as a possibility of a punishment for testimonies saved from the extermination’. She added that it was obvious that it were not Poles who had built Auschwitz but the act about the National Remembrance Institute in her country was treated as ‘impossibility of pursuing investigations about Extermination’.

The reason for this change is seen mainly in pre-electoral games of the prime minister of Israel, whereas playing on anti-Polish resentments is an unusually easy field – anti-Polonism in Israel is extremely strong. Successive political teams of this state have been working on it for years, including refugees from Poland responsible for Stalin’s murders in the 40s and 50s of the 20th century.

This time a pretext was a false information about how the act of the National Remembrance Institute was to ‘tell a lie about Holocaust’. The pronouncement of the ambassador Azari made a great impression on participants of the ceremony in Auschwitz. It sounded particularly strong in the voice of the prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki. A few minutes earlier he said that per 20 thousand ‘righteous’ trees planted in the Yad Vash Institute in Jerusalem 7 thousand belongs to Poles. He added that in Yad Vash there is one missing tree: the tree for Poland.

After those pronouncements in Israel a real war against Poland began. Its axis was the act about the National Remembrance Institute which was to punish allegedly for….speaking about Holocaust. Manipulation was, however, obvious in an irritating way, art 55a assumed punishment for deliberate speaking about alleged ‘Polish camps of death’. Soon, a opponent of Netanhaju, the former minister of finances Jair Lapid – a probable candidate for the post of the prime minister in the future government. On Twitter he said: ‘Those were Polish death camps and no law cam change it’. The former minister was supported by the president of Israel Reuven Rivlin, criticizing the Polish act in a similar spirit. The anti-Polish action was also joined by Jan Tomasz gross and his supporters in Poland and abroad, and, finally – also national media, including newspapers published by the Germans. And for nearly five months journalists were getting specialized in interpreting the Act about the National Remembrance Institute.

The atmosphere of hatred, being still raised, was not calmed by statements of our successive ministers, the prime minister and president. Also the voice of the spokeswoman of the government Joanna Kopcińska who emphasized: ‘Provisions which we want to implement have one purpose – to show the truth about terrible atrocities done on Poles and Jews in the 20th century. Victims of the cruel totalitarianisms – the German Nazis and the Soviet one’.

Jews often write and speak about how many Jews were killed by Poles during the Second World War or were denunciated by Poles. They refer to various statistics, often uncertain, without giving the sources. Whereas they never speak about how many Poles were murdered by the Germans and denunciated by Jews during the Second World War…..We can see anti-Polonism in Israel nearly every day – like in Israeli media. A lot of anti-Polonism is in textbooks at schools and universities. Israeli children arriving at Poland, similarly as the youth, are full of fear of ……Polish anti-semitism.

During the Second World War there was another partition of Poland – this time with the permission of countries which consider themselves or are considered – as pillars of democracy: England, France, USA. Poland was under the Soviet occupation, the governments were taken over by the communists. A slaughter of Polish patriots began – those who had not been murdered during the German action ‘AB’ or the ‘Katyń’ action. Among the members of communist authorities holding the authority in occupied Poland there were a lot of Jews, the Soviet and the Polish ones. According to the latest surveys carried out by scientists of the National Remembrance Institute, till the mid of the 50s of the last century Jews were 37 percent in the communist apparatus of violence. This type of knowledge had been hidden by communist activists for years. Whereas Jewish groups, including the Polish ones, have considered this information even today as……a sign of anti-semitism. The fact that it is necessary to apologize Poles for the Jewish atrocities, has never come to mind of decision-makers of the Israel State.

The term ‘Polish camps’ in the years of the cold war was introduced in the western media already in 1953 by a German N.C.O. Alfred Benzinger. During the war he served in Geheim Feldpolizei, that is, a German police formation Wehrmacht, whereas after the war - in the Organisation Gehlen established by the Americans of the German Intelligence Formation. It was him who suggested using the term ‘Polish camps’. First they were enforced through the so-called whispered propaganda, then they were introduced into fine literature. And here ‘democratic’ Germany is using the idea of the Nazis propagandist. After the year 2000 it were the Germans who began to popularizing this term in order to get rid of the odium of the atrocities, ‘sharing’ the genocide with Poland. Paradoxically speaking – with the country which suffered from the German atrocities the most. After some time Israel and Jewish groups spread all over the world began to participate in this propaganda, particularly in the USA. The greatest victims of the atrocity – the Jews. There was even a scandal when in 2012, on the day of honouring Jan Karski with the American President’s Medal of Freedom for saving the Jews, president of the USA Barack Obama said about ‘Polish death camps’. It was not opposed to by the former foreign minister present at the ceremony – who did not hide his Jewish origin – Adam Daniel Rotfeld.

‘A discussion’ about Holocaust, in other words – about alleged Polish death camps, brought a positive effect, though. Well, a lot of journalistic and opinion-makers’ groups all over the world found out that the camps had been run only by the Germans, not by Poles. After the discussions Poland went on compromise, removing a writing from a bill about punishing those with imprisonment who would tell lies about ‘the Polish camps’. Let’s hope that the accepted six-point Common declaration of the prime ministers of the Israel State and the Republic of Poland will begin partnership relations between these governments. ‘Both governments completely condemn all kinds of anti-semitism – it is written in the declaration – and they express their engagement through fighting all kinds of its signs. Both governments also reject anti-polonism and all negative national stereotypes’.

In Israel the declaration is considered as a success of the Polish government. Some people even - as a defeat of Netanjahu. However there is an opinion that the ‘quarrel’ about the Art. 55a of the act about the National Remembrance Institute is only an introduction for a game for….bigger money. It is all about forcing Poland to accelerate privatization. Certainly, beneficial for the Jews – although they received damages from Poland for their possession left on the area of our country in the 60s of the 20th century and they also denounced all kinds of claims. However, at present the Jews consider these damages as not sufficient.

Till today a lot of people of Jewish origin have been holding high posts in the Polish administration of the government, in the parliament. Also in culture, literature and cinema. And this is not an expression of ‘Polish anti-semitism’. Bronisław Geremek, once asked in the American television by a Jewish journalist about anti-semitism in Poland, answered: ‘I was born in ghetto. My family were killed in ghetto. I was hidden by Poles. Now I have been elected for a foreign minister of Poland in free elections by the free government. Do you need anything more to know?’

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 27/2018 (1 VII 20188

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl