Prominent “Foreign Policy” spreads a hoax, “made in Poland” – PMI responds

Prominent “Foreign Policy” spreads a hoax, “made in Poland” – PMI responds

Dear Editors,

Somewhat ironically your correspondent’s one-sided and blinkered perspective is a form of revisionism masquerading as insight (Foreign Policy, February 12, 2019, by Mateusz Mazzini, Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology).

The suggestion in the headline is also absurd: “Poland’s Historical Revisionism Is Pushing It Into Moscow’s Arms.”

Come again? “Following more than two decades of negligence and avoidance when it came to the nation’s past,…” Two decades? Negligence and avoidance of WHAT past? What about the previous 45 years of (Soviet) communist oppression, stagnation and re-writing of history. Suddenly, as if by magic, truth can be revealed. No smoke or mirrors involved!

Internally divided, with a society segmented into political tribes and a public space brimming with hatred,…” Er, same could be said of many countries especially the US!

PiS employed historical revisionism to unilaterally define Polish-Jewish relations during World War II and in its immediate aftermath. According to PiS mythology, Poles as a nation risked their lives to give Jews shelter and safe passage, while no Polish nationals were complicit in crimes against them, despite ample historical evidence suggesting otherwise. What’s more, the government has sought to discredit the works of prominent historians and social scientists dealing with themes of Polish complicity, including Princeton University’s Jan Tomasz Gross, the University of Ottawa’s Jan Grabowski, and numerous others gathered around the world-class Center for Holocaust Research at the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Written without irony or apparent bias by someone from… the Polish Academy of Sciences! Genius.

Mazzini’s premise is incorrect and confused. Either that or he is being disingenuous verging on duplicitous.

Jan Gross and Jan Grabowski produced books with very tendentious narratives that overlook and absolve German Nazis and Germany for the Holocaust. Gross got the number of victims completely incorrect by factor of 5. Surely that fact alone indicates that something was badly amiss. Half the village did NOT murder the other half! To say Gross was selective in what he used would be an understatement. He looked for things that supported his narrative. That is not how science or knowledge is supposed to progress. Grabowski is accused of completely misrepresenting the work of another Holocaust scholar, Szymon Datner, and fabricating Grabowski’s infamous “Poles killed 200,000 Jews” rhetoric. Neither of those supposed experts have had their work actually substantiated by scientific or other expert research. On the contrary, there are academics and researchers who have highlighted the deficiencies and lack of academic rigour. The words of Gross and Grabowski were not carved in stone. Neither has subsequently provided any meaningful evidence for their rhetoric.

The Volhynia Massacres are a fact of history. Mazzini does not mention that the brutal ethnic cleansing and anti-Polish actions were carried out by the UPA and OUN-B. Many of who received their training in genocide as VOLUNTEERS to the German Auxiliary police. When Germany attacked their previous (axis) partner the Soviet Union things got complicated and the likes of Stepan Bandera emerged as Ukrainian Nationalists. Fascists opposed to the Soviet Union but now viewed as heroes in Ukraine. War criminals would be a better description.

Your correspondent avoided mentioning the principle behind the IPN law was entirely sympathetic to this internationally agreed definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion.
“Attempts to blur the responsibility for the establishment of concentration and death camps devised and operated by Nazi Germany by putting blame on other nations or ethnic groups.”

Incidentally, to date, only one investigation in Poland was abandoned. It involved Jedwabne, the subject of Jan Gross’s book. It was stopped after JEWISH requests following the inconvenient discovery of German bullets. Perhaps Mazzini and the Polish Academy of Sciences could petition for a resumption of the investigation. Joint Polish/Israeli/German. Let the academics try to determine what actually happened there. Even if what Gross wrote was even a little correct a whole country should not be judged on one incident. Especially when the occupying German forces carried out numerous IDENTICAL murders. Same techniques, often the same SS Einsatzgruppen (commanded by Hermann Schaper – a convicted war criminal).

Neither does it alter the fact that Poland was invaded and brutally occupied by Nazi Germany. No country, other than Poland, suffered greater losses or destruction. No country, other than Poland, fought Nazi Germany for longer. No country or people did more to save Jews and this is despite the German mandated death sentence for any person AND their family discovered helping Jews. The Polish Academy of Sciences is based in Warsaw. A city that was vindictively reduced to rubble by the German occupier after the WARSAW UPRISING against the Germans. Gross, Grabowski et al instead try to paint the picture of Poland/Poles as collaborators and axis allies of the German Nazis. Remarkable. That is the unacceptable revisionism.

Foreign Policy should take more care over what they publish.


Polish Media Issues

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