Dear Friends,

As I understand it, the new law in Poland makes it a punishable crime to refer to “Polish Death Camps” and to make claims that the Polish government had a hand in the Holocaust. The controversy was only intensified when the Polish Prime Minister, days ago, made the claim that there were “Jewish perpetrators” of the Holocaust as well as Poles.As I understand it, the new law in Poland makes it a punishable crime to refer to “Polish Death Camps” and to make claims that the Polish government had a hand in the Holocaust. The controversy was only intensified when the Polish Prime Minister, days ago, made the claim that there were “Jewish perpetrators” of the Holocaust as well as Poles.

So are Poland’s Jews reeling from a wave of antisemitism as the controversy intensifies over Poland’s role in the murder of three million Polish Jews during the Holocaust. Polish television commentators, government officials, and even a prominent Catholic priest have since been caught making anti-Semitic statements. These public pronouncements have led to direct anti-Semitic incidents such as threatening phone calls and emails to the Jewish community, urination in front of a historic synagogue, and racist graffiti.       

The American Jewish Committee’s Berlin Director, Deidre Berger, responded with the following: “Poland’s suffering at the hands of the Nazi regime was enormous, its bravery in resistance is unquestionable. There were also Poles who risked their lives to save Jewish neighbors. Still, it is undeniable that Jews before, during, and after WWII died due to collaboration and antisemitism. Accusing Jews themselves of allegedly being perpetrators in the Holocaust was a stunning reversal of responsibility for the Holocaust, turning victims into perpetrators.”     

What a sad time, especially for the Jews of Poland.  It seems that we take two steps forward and one step back in our struggle against antisemitism and all forms of racism.  May the Jews of Poland know that we stand with them in the struggle against hatred and bigotry in all its forms and expressions.

         Rabbi David Greenberg