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Poland, Purim and Masking the Truth

Poland, Purim and Masking the Truth

Just when evil people and destructive ideologies seem to dominate the world, the darkness can turn into light.


I used to think that it was silly to fight Holocaust deniers. What’s the point? Their viewpoint is so absurd and ridiculous. No serious person would believe them anyway.

But as I watch the Polish government deny the role of the Polish people in the Holocaust, I see that I am watching history being revised before my very eyes. It’s something that would have been unimaginable 30, 20, even 10 years ago. And yet now they are saying with a straight face that it was all the Germans, that they had no complicity. They are making it illegal to even suggest such a thing.

How is this possible? As absurd as it is to us now, for their children and even, God forbid, for ours, it will become the new “reality.” I use the term reality loosely since that is the way they seem to use it!

All the horror stories we were raised on, all the books we’ve read, all the articles we’ve researched about the abhorrent behaviors of the Poles, the Ukrainians, the Lithuanians are all going to be whitewashed? Banned? Destroyed? Did anyone in the Polish government see the documentary Shoah? The Poles themselves speak of their complicity, what they did, what they saw, what they heard.

And yet their governments are desperately trying to alter this reality, to use dishonest words to change facts, to challenge truth, to (and this is the crux) absolve them of blame and make them feel better about themselves. Unlike the Germans who at least have had the decency to acknowledge their evil, to document it and create memorials and come to some kind of uneasy reconciliation with their past, these other peoples are trying to recreate it, to make a new history for themselves, to do the seeming impossible.

When the world seems to be the most upside down, the Almighty reveals His Hand intervening behind the scenes and turns it all right-side up again.

In our confused world, this behavior is no longer deemed impossible. They seem to have bided their time and waited for the moment when there are so many untruths in the world – about the role of the Israelis in 9/11, about the facts on the ground in Israel, even about whether people actually walked on the moon (Google it and you will find multiple conspiracy theories suggesting it never happened!) – that they could just slide this one in.

Purim is fast approaching. We are taught that at the time of Purim the world was hanafoch hu, upside down – evil was ascendant and good was declining. But one of the true messages of the story is that just when the world seems to be the most upside down, the most backwards, the most confusing, the Almighty reveals His Hand intervening behind the scenes and turns it all right-side up again. It’s at the moment of greatest confusion that He can bring the greatest clarity.

Every year at this time something happens to reinforce this idea. The world seems to have lost its moorings. And then the ship is righted again.

It’s hard not to read the news these days and feel like we have fallen down the rabbit hole. But the story of Purim gives us hope. Just when the world seems to be at its darkest, just when evil people and destructive ideologies seem to dominate the world, the Almighty flips the switch, as it were. He turns darkness into light; good triumphs and evil is destroyed. Sometimes it’s so clear, sometimes it’s a little less obvious. But He’s always there.

It seems like this year we could use the more “obvious” intervention – but the Almighty knows best. I just pray that His intervention (covert or overt) occurs soon – before these damaging and dishonest ideas become, in what can only be the most appropriate use of the word, the ironically “new” version of history.

February 24, 2018

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Visitor Comments: 7

(4) Anonymous, February 26, 2018 10:41 PM

Holocaust and Poland

The thing that is most shocking of all about the Poles, is that they are saying that the Jews were complicit with the Germans and the Russians, and that 6,000,000 Poles were killed in Siberia. Even more infuriating is their saying that we are lying and that if the Poles collaborated with the Germans at all, it was because they had no choice. They even have the chutzpah to post pictures of different Jews, who were most probably partisans, who may have tried to hook up with Russian Partisans. I once read where Professor Deborah Lipstadt who was sued by a Holocaust denier in England and who won the case, say that she never ever debates deniers. She simply says to them, "show me the proof that the Holocaust didn't happen." Just like the person that sued her, David Irving, they cannot produce it, because it doesn't exist. I always find it interesting that the Holocaust, where there is so much proof is the only historical event that is denied. I never heard anyone say that there was no slavery, that it is a hoax, and that the Civil War didn't happen. The level of anti-Semitism is astounding. But then we know, we have them in every generation. They always disappear and we remain.

(3) Jerry, February 26, 2018 4:13 AM

judge people not by their parents' actions, but their reactions to their parents' actions

You know, I went to Poland not too long ago, and saw the Holocaust sites. I told myself that because the murder was enabled by the grandparents of the people there, rather than the current people there (with the obvious exception of the aging 90 yr olds waiting to die), that I would maintain an open mind towards the Poles and not become consumed with hate despite what happened there. It is Europe after all, Eastern Europe, where we've been hated before and after the Holocaust.

As such, on another occasion, like as a stop over on a visit to Ukraine (to see Odessa, Babi Yar, etc.) or Moldova (Kishiniev/Chisinau), I thought I could stop in Krakow/Warsaw and see non-Holocaust sites, take advantage of the stupid cheap prices, etc. I take the same attitude towards Germany, hence why I don't proscribe German goods or a trip there (I own a BMW). Looks like Poland has lost me, unless they ditch this disgusting "law."

(2) Anonymous, February 25, 2018 7:57 PM

Here is the law

Article 55a:
1. [Anyone] who, in public and against the facts, ascribes to the Polish Nation or to the Polish State, responsibility or co-responsibility for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich, [as] defined in Article 6 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, Annex to the Agreement for the prosecution and punishment of the major war criminals of the European Axis, signed in London on August 8, 1945 [...], or for other offences which are crimes against peace [or] humanity or [that are] war crimes, or who otherwise grossly reduces the responsibility of the actual perpetrators of said crimes, is subject to a fine or [to] imprisonment for up to 3 years. The judgment shall be made public.

2. If a perpetrator of the act referred to in paragraph 1 has acted unintentionally, [such person] shall be subject to a fine or community sentence [(pl)].

3. No offense referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall have been committed if the act was performed as part of artistic or scholarly activity.

and Article 55b:[3]
Regardless of locally binding regulations at the place at which the forbidden act took place, this law applies to Polish citizens as well as to foreigners in the case that a crime occurs as described by Articles 55 and 55a.

(1) Steve Edelman, February 25, 2018 7:20 PM

The Nazis were excellent record keepers.

Find the Holocaust records and you find how many Polish Jews died in the camps. Ask yourselves whether they just gave themselves up. How many Poles worked at the camps? Plenty of them.

Jerry, February 26, 2018 4:07 AM

Poles won't admit they were Poles tho

even tho many people who worked the camps had Polish citizenship before Germany and USSR took Poland over, and spoke Polish, a hard to learn language, the standard Polish excuse is "but the Kashubians, Goralenvolk, Pomerians weren't ethnic Poles/threw away their Polishness so we're innocent." Its as if its lost on them that Jewish victims remember facts like the guards' hometowns in POLAND, their ability to speak POLISH, etc.

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