Over the past couple of weeks, you might have spotted a poster around Greenpoint promoting a Polish protest.
Last Sunday, Polish nationalist demonstrators gathered in Manhattan’s Foley Square to protest the U.S.’s passage of the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, which became law last year and calls for Holocaust survivors and their families to receive compensation for their seized and stolen property during World War II.
Polish resistance fighters during WWII fought against Nazi occupation and helped save Jewish lives, but recently the Israeli and Polish governments have argued over a new Polish law making it a crime to say that Poland participated in any crimes against Jewish People during WWII, as The Forward explains:
The demonstration comes as there has been considerable pushback from Poland and the Polish government against the historical evidence of Polish participation in the carrying out of the Holocaust in Poland. Last year, Poland passed a law effectively making it illegal to blame Poland or the Polish people for Nazi crimes. The law passed amid widespread sentiment in the country that Poland has been falsely accused of playing a role in the Holocaust, and its government has insisted that international media not use phrases like “Polish death camp” when referring to Auschwitz, which is in Poland.
On Sunday, several protestors carried signs reading “Holocaust Industry,” “Treat anti-Polonism like anti-Semitism” and “Stop slandering Poland in the media.” Others spoke to the considerable losses that the Polish population endured under Nazi occupation.
NYC-based artist Molly Crabapple documented the rally and found some of the Polish protestors to be abrasive, “One demonstrator waved a dollar bill to taunt Jewish counterprotesters,” Crabapple tweeted.
Polish nationalists held signs saying “stop the holocaust industry” and accusing Jews of welcoming Nazi and Soviet invasions pic.twitter.com/pGeMCP4SmH
— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) March 31, 2019
Newsweek also covered the protest and confirmed that the differences in recollection of WWII history between Poland, the U.S. and Israel is not likely going to be settled anytime soon:
In Poland, as in all other nations under Nazi occupation, historians have found evidence of anti-Semitic collaboration between Poles and the occupying Nazis. Simultaneously, Polish resistance groups are among some of the most celebrated anti-Nazi partisans of the entire war.