Every time I write an article about the Jewish experience or Jewish issues, I can almost see the eyes rolling from behind a dozen computer screens. Not this again, you all must be thinking. Doesn’t this girl think about anything else? Does she just crouch over her keyboard, waiting for someone to say something politically incorrect? Is her writing life a succession of one hit piece after another? To answer those questions in order: yes, no, and no. But I write about Jewish issues for one reason and one reason only — to remind the larger world that not only do Jews still exist, but we’re still targets for the most insidious, virulent, and longest-lived campaign of prejudice in the world. I’ve said it a million times in a million different ways. Anti-Semitism didn’t end with the Holocaust. It still exists.
Take Poland, for example. At the start of the Holocaust, Poland had almost three million Jewish citizens. By the end of the Holocaust, 88% of those Jewish citizens were murdered. Need a comparison? The only country that lost a higher percentage of its Jewish citizens was Lithuania, and Lithuania had only 220,000 Jewish citizens. Poland had 131 times more Jews than Lithuania did, and almost all of them died. So why are we talking about Poland and not Lithuania? Because Lithuania isn’t actively trying to erase its complicity in the deaths of a good half of the Holocaust’s Jewish victims.
On February 1st, Poland passed a bill that would make it illegal to state that Poland or Polish people were at all responsible for the Holocaust. If Poland wanted to, it could fine me for writing this article, or put me in prison for up to three years. Poland would like us to forget that its citizens sold their Jewish neighbors out to get their hands on their property, that they killed their Jewish neighbors before the Nazis could get the chance to, that they murdered Holocaust survivors attempting to return to their homes.
Poland would like you to forget about all that, please. Dead Jews don’t matter to Poland. Not then, and definitely not now.
This is just the latest in a long list of offenses that Poland has committed against Jewish people, and Holocaust survivors, the people in the world who most deserve to catch a break from this shithole of a country, have gotten the worst of it. Last year, Poland took steps to make it impossible for the majority of Holocaust survivors and their descendants to claim restitution from the Polish government for nearly a billion dollars worth of possessions and property stolen from them by Poland and its citizens. And last week, Poland’s Prime Minister went public with Holocaust denial when he stated that Jews were also responsible for the mass genocide committed during the Holocaust.
The world should be furious about this blatant rewrite of the worst genocide in history. The United States, a country that’s constantly grappling with its checkered past, should hold Poland accountable for their part in the Holocaust. And yet the only people I see and hear talking about it are, once again, other Jewish people. Holocaust denial terrifies me. If all of you are willing to let Poland get away with pretending they had nothing to do with it, you are endorsing giving the perpetrators of anti-Jewish violence a free pass.
Oh, wait. You already do. You always have.