Signaled by the most blatant and insulting comments about Poland expressed by some U.S. Congressmen, there seems to exist an urgent need to educate U.S. Congressmen about Poland, her WWII experience, her Polish-Jewish relations, and Poland’s current political scene.
On April 23, 2018, just one day before the voice vote on anti-Polish S. 447 in the House of Representatives, 50 US congressmen offended Poland in an open letter to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. They falsely accused our country of “glorifying Nazi collaborators and denying the Holocaust.” The initiators of the disrespectful letter were: Rep. Ro Khanna and Rep. David Cicilline. Both are members of the Democratic Party. Poland would be the last country on Earth to honor or glorify Nazism! Not one member of Congress did any basic research on the Polish WW2 history and Polish Antidefamation Act.
The Polish nation was destroyed by the invasion from the two most murderous totalitarian regimes in human history: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Poland never surrendered to Nazi Germany. It had the largest underground resistance army. Poland suffered the largest population loss (6 million citizens; half of whom were Jewish) and the most devastating destruction of all European countries invaded by Nazi Germany. Before the war, Poland had the largest Jewish population in Europe and has the largest number of the Righteous Among the Nations, those who helped the Jews despite the German-mandated death penalty for any person and his or her family who helped Jews in any way, the only such law in a German-occupied country. Poles informed the world about the genocide being perpetrated against the Jews but no allied country was willing to intervene and try to save the Jews. With a total disregard for the truth, out of malice or sheer ignorance, some U.S. Congressmen falsely and absurdly link the new Polish legislative efforts to tackle war-related matters, including those regarding Polish-Jewish relations with anti-Semitism and support for Nazism.
The German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, stated on February 4, 2018: “There is absolutely no doubt about who bears responsibility for the extermination camps, about who operated them and murdered millions of European Jews there: it was Germans. This organized mass murder was perpetrated by our country and no one else. The actions of individual collaborators do not alter that fact.”
On March 26, 2018, 59 US senators sent a letter to Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki urging him to amend draft legislation regarding property restitution and compensation that authors of the letter say discriminates against Holocaust survivors living in the United States. The bill required that claimants be Polish citizens and limited compensation to only lineal descendants, to spouses, children or grandchildren, exempting heirless properties from claim eligibility. The senators’ letter stated among others: “As a result of the Nazi attempt to exterminate world Jewry, most European Jewish families were completely destroyed, including 90% of Poland’s Jewish community. Therefore, the remaining Jewish heirs are often non-linear — such as nieces, nephews, and cousins.” However, the Articles 932 – 936 of the Polish Civil Code disallow a non-lineal inheritance as most of the civil codes in the world do. Why should Poland’s legislation make an exception for the non-lineal relatives of Polish-Jewish citizens who live in the USA now and for those who were already compensated on the basis of the 1960 Indemnity Treaty between Poland and the USA? Why doesn’t the USA make such an exception for ethnic Polish non-lineal relatives who lost their property in the USA due to the Civil War, due to robbery by oil magnates or for other reasons? Why doesn’t the USA return the stolen property to lineal relatives of native Indians who lost their lands over 100 years ago and who must live in reservations now?
Poland should not be held responsible for the genocidal policies of the German Third Reich, which resulted in the extermination of the majority of European Jews. The proper addressee for such claims should only be Berlin. It was Poland and only Poland, which, to no avail, appealed to the Allies in 1942 to intervene and put an end to the ongoing extermination of Jews by Nazi Germany.
There are many other examples exposing US Congressmen lack of fundamental knowledge of Poland’s WWII experience, as well as Polish-Jewish relations. Americans of Polish descent are determined to join forces in order to remedy this highly detrimental situation.