Poland’s Legacy in Question
Did Poland Take Part in the Holocaust? New Claims Contradict Law That Makes It Illegal to Blame the Country
Three decades ago, Konstanty Gebert broke the law. Constantly. He took part in anti-government protests. He wrote for underground newspapers. And he helped organize a secret university that taught subjects forbidden by the state.
But since the fall of Poland’s Communist government in 1989, Gebert says, he’s tried to respect the rule of law that Poles fought so hard for. That is, until earlier this year, when Poland’s ruling far-right Law and Justice Party (PiS) made it illegal to blame the country for Nazi atrocities during World War II. Gebert felt he had to speak out. So in March, days after the law went into effect, the 64-year-old Jewish journalist made such a claim in an article for his Warsaw-based newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza. “Many members of the Polish nation,” he wrote, “bear co-responsibility for some Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich.”