Polish court orders historians to apologize for appointing mayor in Holocaust dispute

WARSAW — A Polish court has ordered two historians to apologize for identifying a city mayor as an accused collaborator who abandoned the Jews to Nazi occupation forces during World War II, potentially chilling the discussion of the role played by some Poles during the Holocaust.

It is estimated that nearly 3.2 million Polish Jews died during the five years of Nazi rule. Decades of research have shown that while many Poles risked their lives to help Jews, others participated or aided in the massacre.

The ruling Law and Justice Party has attempted to limit discussion of the actions of Polish nationals in the genocide, warning that it regards any investigation into the alleged complicity of Poles in the Holocaust as dishonoring Poland. He prefers to present the country as an irreproachable victim of great regional powers.

The party oversaw the introduction of a defamation law in 2018 to punish anyone falsely accusing Poles of collaborating with the Nazis, despite objections from the United States, Israel and some concentration camp survivors in ‘Auschwitz. “It is important to protect the good reputation of Poland and of the Polish people,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said at the time. “We are entitled to our historical truth. “

Tuesday’s verdict, delivered by the Warsaw District Court, now threatens to widen the schism between the European Union executive in Brussels and the more nationalist countries in the east of the bloc. The court found that a 1,600-page academic study, “Endless Night: The Plight of Jews in Certain Counties in Occupied Poland,” violated libel law by documenting cases of Polish Catholics collaborating with the regime. Nazi.

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