Prison Time For Saying Polish Death Camps?

If lawmakers in Poland have their way, suggestions of any complicity by Poland in the Holocaust on its soil during World War II — such as the mere mention of “Polish death camps” as an example — will result in as much as three years in prison to those who violate the proposed law.

Prison Time For Saying Polish Death Camps?

gas chamber Auschwitz-Birkenau

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The draft legislation was approved by lawmakers in Poland on Thursday, January 28, 2018 — despite vociferous criticism from Israel and the United States.

Saying the phrase “Polish death camps” implies that Poland was at least partially responsible in the movement by Nazi Germany — which erected concentration camps such as Auschwitz — towards the ultimate goal of the eradication of the Jewish population in that country. Scientific research pertaining to World War II and other sources of factual information would not be constrained under the proposed law.

“Poland, which has gone through a painful public debate in recent years after the publication of research showing some Poles participated in the Nazi atrocities, has long sought to discourage use of the term ‘Polish camps’ to refer to Nazi camps on its territory, arguing that the phrase implies complicity”, according to this article written by Lidia Kelly and Anna Wlodarczak for Reuters. “Poland is seeing a resurgence of anti-Semitism over pending legislation that would impose jail terms for suggestions that the nation was complicit in the Holocaust, local minority groups warned, as pressure mounts on the president to veto the bill.”


Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Benjamin Netanyahu — who is the current prime minister of Israel — is one of the people who believes that the government of Poland is attempting to rewrite history.

…but there are those who say that the concentration camps were constructed by Nazi Germany and not Poland:


gas chamber Auschwitz-Birkenau

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

I can understand why members of the government of Poland would attempt to absolve the nation from any responsibility in the murders of approximately six million Jewish people — 3.2 million of them who were citizens of that country; not to mention the 1.9 million Polish citizens who were not Jewish — with the argument that Poland was unwillingly occupied by an aggressor which constructed the concentration camps and ordered the heinous crimes against humanity to be implemented on their soil…

…but that is if Poland indeed had no complicity whatsoever in the outcomes of one of the darkest periods of the history of mankind.

Regardless, does the proposed law infringe upon free speech in general — and is it an attempt at overkill by members of the government in Poland? Would this politician from the United States have been arrested for what he said in a video he recorded while visiting Auschwitz?

I still have trip reports to write of my visit to Auschwitz last year — I personally encourage a visit there — but in the meantime, please read the following articles which I have already written of my visit:

All photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “Prison Time For Saying Polish Death Camps?”

  1. Wiola says:

    I read so many ignorant comments regarding Auschwitz. Starting for the one stating that such camps never existed to the other that Polish people were “volunteer, out of pleasure” helping Nazis.
    If someone consider him/herself informed in this topic would never write such false information.
    People, please first visit the place, check the facts and numbers, maybe read a book of someone who has been in Auschwitz camp during the occupation, or al least some YT videos of those who survived, before you will take a stand on a matter so fragile like this.
    I don’t support penalty for using terms that showcase lack of knowledge by the author. And I also understand that Polish gov is sick and tired that other countries are writing Polish history the way they want to, without admitting what actually happen.

  2. Bartek says:

    German FM Weighs in on Polish Holocaust Bill: Germany Alone Was Responsible for the Holocaust ‘And No One Else’
    Auschwitz and Majdanek were German death camps, calling them ‘Polish’ is incorrect, Sigmar Gabriel says amid debate over new Polish draft law

  3. Ryan says:

    I guess if someone said “Polish concentration camps” I would interpret it as indicating Nazi concentration camps located within the borders of Poland and not an indication of Polish government complicity. Yet I understand that there can be different connotations depending on the person, culture, and language.

    I can’t claim to know with certainty whether any Poles, in an official or personal capacity, were involved in the concentration camps. But criminalizing speech, even if it is unpopular, ignorant, or even wrong, is not the right thing to do. Doing that can lead down a slippery slope to authoritarianism or worse.

    Whatever the facts are, the best antidote for “bad speech” is “good speech” that sheds light on the truth – not silencing people.

  4. Burkett says:

    Poland’s President Andrzej Duda broadcasts his choice on the Holocaust invoice on the Presidential Palace in WarsawAgencja Gazeta/Dawid Zuchowicz/Reuters Poland’s right-wing authorities says the regulation is critical to guard the popularity of its residents and ensure they’re recognised as victims not perpetrators of Nazi aggression throughout World Struggle Two. Poland has some extent: the loss of life camps weren’t Polish. The focus camps have been constructed and run by the Nazis in an space of Poland that had been annexed to the Third Reich – and as such, they have been on German soil. Map exhibiting how Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union carved up Poland in September 1939 A Google Earth view exhibiting the situation of Auschwitz and the villages of Brzezinka and Oswiecim at the momentGoogle Poland, which had Europe’s largest Jewish inhabitants when it was invaded by each Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union at the beginning of World Struggle Two, turned floor zero for the “ultimate answer”, Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe. Greater than three million of Poland’s three. 2 million Jews have been murdered by the Nazis, accounting for about half of the Jews killed within the Holocaust. Jews from throughout the continent have been despatched to be killed at loss of life camps constructed and operated by Germans in what at the moment is Poland, together with Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. In keeping with figures from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Nazis additionally killed not less than 1. 9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians. Identification snapshots of Jewish and Polish Auschwitz prisoners that have been discovered within the camp after its liberationYad Vashem Picture Archives Critics of the brand new regulation say it would backfire.

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