DALLAS, Feb. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is deeply concerned over a recent ruling by a Polish court that may compromise the future of Holocaust scholarship in Poland.
Poland has long struggled to come to grips with its role in the Holocaust, as both victim and perpetrator. Its 2018 law banning statements that accuse the Polish state and nation of complicity in Nazi crimes deliberately obscures the participation of Polish collaborators in the murder of Jews.
As part of this struggle, in 1998 Poland created a state-run Institute for National Remembrance (IPN) to research and document losses suffered by the Polish nation under the Nazis and Communists. IPN has a history of ignoring or explaining away Polish complicity with the Nazis. IPN has appointed Dr. Tomasz Greniuch, head of a major city branch. Greniuch, a far-right historian, founded a chapter of the National Radical Camp (ONR) group, a successor to a pre-war antisemitic far-right organization. As the leader of an ONR chapter, Greniuch advocated neo-Nazi, antisemitic, and white supremacist ideology, far-right rhetoric and participated in neo-fascist rallies and marches.
Dr. Jan Grabowski, a distinguished Holocaust historian, has been an outspoken critic of Poland's distortion of history, facing harassment and death threats over his scholarly research. This month, a Polish court ordered Grabowski and fellow historian Dr. Barbara Engelking to apologize for writing that a Polish village mayor collaborated with the Nazis during World War II in their recent scholarly work, Night Without End. They are appealing the decision.
Holocaust historians working in Poland must be free of politically-motivated criticism from politicians, courts, and organizations like IPN. Rulings such as this one have a chilling effect on Holocaust scholarship. Historians and other scholars work painstakingly to uncover the truth about the murder of 3 million Jews in Poland between 1939 and 1945. They must be allowed to do their scholarly work without fear of political repercussion.
The court's ruling also opens the door to Holocaust distortion, which can lead to Holocaust denial, antisemitism, the spread of anti-Jewish conspiracy myths, and violence against Jews.
We support the earnest efforts by many in Poland who work to promote unfettered academic scholarship and public discourse on the Holocaust's unique history and role in the country.
The mission of the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum is to teach the history of the Holocaust and advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference.
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SOURCE Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum