IN DEFENCE OF THE HISTORICAL TRUTH AND THE GOOD NAME OF POLAND
LIDIA DUDKIEWICZ, THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF ‘NIEDZIELA’
At once I discover the essence of the issue: we should be proud of the Polish history and the fact that we are Poles. And our urgent task is unmask historical falsifiers and inscribe real facts concerning the Polish nation in historical books. This is a very urgent task, requiring building a proper historical politics. The time is running because heroes and witnesses of our real history are passing away and incidents hurting Poland are still growing in numbers.
What was the most absurd, was the fact that president Barack Obama used the words like: ‘Polish death camp’ in a laudation to the honour of Jan Karski, proclaimed in the White House in Washington during a ceremony of honouring the heroic courier of the Polish underground with the Presidential Medal of Freedom after his death. This bad setback shocked Poles. Indeed the spokesman of the American National Safety Council quickly expressed his grief because of the speech of president Obama who had made the slip of the tongue, whereas he had meant ‘Nazis death camps in Poland’.
It was a warning signal, so as to undertake a definite action preventing mistreating the Polish nation, its dignity and history. In addition, later there happened a lot of similar ‘setbacks’. Last year, for example, the Polish embassy in Tel Awiwa had to intervene after publishing the words in a journal ‘Jerusalem Post’: ‘Polish gas chambers’, in reference to Holocaust. Another known fact concerned a journal ‘General Anzeiger’ published in Bonn, which wrote about Jews ‘killed with gas in the Polish concentration camp’. Everything is expressed by the title: ‘They try to convince us of our fault….’which will be published in this issue of ‘Sunday’. Beneath it there are bitter words that in most cases these are just Poles who are accused of anti-Semitism, and the world seems to have forgotten who caused the Second World War and the hell on the earth.
And, finally, we have particular action. For the Polish government accepted an act draft on 16 August this year, which is to make it possible to sue anybody to court for the phrases like ‘the Polish concentration camp’. The draft of the new provision of the Act about the National Remembrance Institute says that who publicly assigns responsibility or co-responsibility to the Polish nation for Nazis crimes committed by the Third German Reich or other crimes against humankind, peace and war crimes, is punishable with a fine or imprisonment up to three years. This same punishment concerns ‘crass diminishing responsibility of actual culprits of those crimes’. The justice minister – the general procurator Zbigniew Ziobro says that ‘the Polish government made an important step towards creating stronger legal tools allowing for defending our rights and historical truth in a more effective way’. Maybe, finally, the world will begin to learn the historical truth and stop mistaking victims of the terrible crimes as culprits of the crimes. First of all, we must remember that Poles, besides Jews, were doomed to death by Nazis Germans and these were Poles who risked their lives to save Jews doomed to death by the Germans. Maybe, finally, there has appeared a possibility to undertake an effective defence of the historical truth…. This is a task not only for historians or politicians, but also for journalists and teachers. We should remember about it on the threshold of the new school years and undertake a lesson of a real history, which was once interrupted by political correctness.